Tuesday, March 27, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 3/27 /2012
WINNING YOUR BATTLE WITH TEMPTATION, Lesson 44c
The Character Of The Tempted -
By watching Joseph and how he conducted himself during this attack, we can learn how we too can stand when temptation stalks us!
V. 8 He Met It With A Firm Refusal - When the temptation came to him, Joseph was ready with a firm, “No!”. The Bible doesn’t say, but I am almost sure that Joseph had already settled this matter within his heart. He had already made the decision of what to do when temptation came. He had already decided that he would go with God and stay away from sin!
When we allow our minds to be unprincipled and uncontrolled, we run the risk of being unprepared for the attacks of sin and Satan. When temptation comes after you, it is hard to say “No!”, and mean it in the heat of the moment. But, if the decision has already been made, it is far easier to stand! That is why you have got to guard the mind and protect it from all the things that would enter it, pollute it and weaken your ability to mount a strong defense! I want to teach you one word that will help you in this matter of temptation. It is the word “No!”. Learn it and use it! It will help you! Spurgeon said it like this: "Learn to say no. It will be of more use to you than to be able to read Latin." This was the strategy Daniel and the 3 Hebrews boys adopted in Babylon and it worked like a charm. It still will!
V. 8-9 He Met It With A Faith-based Refusal - First, Joseph refused on the grounds that Potiphar had placed Joseph in a position of power because he trusted him. He refused to violate that trust. However, at the very foundation of Joseph’s refusal was his walk with His God. He knew that committing adultery with this woman might bring pleasure in the short term, but in the long term, it would mean violating the trust Potiphar had placed in him and it would cause a breach in his relationship with his God. And, even if Potiphar never found out, Joseph knew that God would know and he knew that Joseph would know. For Joseph, that was a price far too high to pay! His integrity before men, his walk with God and his ability to look into the mirror without guilt were worth more to Joseph than a few moments of physical pleasure!
Before you give in to that temptation and do that thing that looks so enticing, take a moment to think about the consequences. What will happen to your testimony in the eyes of others when they find out? What will happen to your walk with the Lord? Will you be able to live with yourself? For Joseph, the fear of the Lord was a powerful motivator! I realize that few people walk with that in their minds in our day. However, fearing God will keep you out of a lot of trouble! When you know that you will pay the price of chastisement, of being shelved and of a loss of fellowship with Him, it is worth saying “no” to a few temptations along life’s way!
V. 10 He Met It With A Faithful Refusal - Every day this woman tempted Joseph and every day he steadfastly refused her advances. He didn’t resort to mind games like, “Well, if the Lord didn’t want me to do this, He would just take it away from me.” He just faithfully stood for the Lord and against the evil! We need to get this truth: Temptation is going to come and God is not likely to take it away! He will strengthen us and enable us to stand against it, but we are going to have to fight it and learn to take a stand! Not everything that you are offered in life is good for you. You need the wisdom of God to be able to choose that which is pleasing to him and to refrain from that which is not!
There is something very important to notice in verse 10. Joseph refused to listen to her words and he even refused to be with her. He came to the place where he physically avoided her! This is a great step in avoiding sinning through temptation. Don’t flirt with it! Don’t try to prove you can handle it! Never come to the place where you think you have it whipped! If something is a temptation to you, then avoid it like the plague! Don’t be foolish enough to think that you can handle temptation and sin. They will show you short order that they can handle you, 91 Cor. 10:12.) On the TV show "Hee Haw," Doc Campbell is confronted by a patient who says he broke his arm in two places. The doc replies, "Well then, stay out of them places!"
V. 12 He Met It With A Final Refusal - When the big day came and this woman allowed her thoughts to find physical expression, she grabbed Joseph and said “Lie with me!” It was time to make a decision and he did! He spun out of that robe and ran out of the house, leaving her holding the garment! Joseph literally ran away from Potiphar’s wife to preserve his character. You cannot have it both ways! You can either give into sin and pay the price for your pleasure, (Prov. 5:11-14). Or, you can run from temptation and protect your testimony! "What are you doing, son?" the shopkeeper asked a little boy whose eyes were on a large basket of apples outside the storefront. "Trying to steal one of those apples?" "No sir," replied the boy. "I'm trying not to."
Before we leave this thought, I want to point out a few facts about temptation:
1. Temptation is never from God - (James 1:13) - Potiphar’s wife tried to blame Joseph and Potiphar for her lust, (V. 13-18). Some people even try to blame God for their sins, but God is not responsible for the things that tempt you! God tests His children, but He always sets the test up so that we can pass. Satan tempts us, but always to make us fail! Temptation is never from God!
2. Temptation is always from within - (James 1:14-15) - Temptation always comes to us based on the things we already want. Just like a fisherman baits his hook with the proper bait to attract the kind of fish he wishes to catch, Satan baits the hook of temptation with the very worm he knows we will like!
3. Temptation Must Be Handled Properly - (1 Cor. 10:13) - God will make a way out of temptation, but we must be active in finding the door out! Here are a few suggestions for dealing with temptation:
Deal with it Immediately - Don’t allow it to linger in your life and grow out of control. As Barney Fife would have said it, “Nip it in the bud!” Get before God and ask for His help!
Deal with it Realistically - Understand that sin is more powerful than you are. It will destroy you if it has an opportunity. Do not give it that chance! Jesus said this to His disciples, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”, (Matt. 26:41).
Deal with it Ruthlessly - Whatever you have to do to avoid the temptation is in order! Remember what Jesus said about this matter - (Mark 9:43-48). Regardless of what you have to do, get away from it! During the Falkland’s War, England’s Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, ordered the bombing of the British airstrips in Port Stanley to prevent them from being used by the enemy!
Deal with it Consistently - Learn to be consistent in your resistance. If you aren’t, you will be caught off guard and overcome! The same wind can send one ship east and another west. Which way the ship goes is determined by the set of the sails!
Deal with it Confidently - We have the Lord’s great promise in 1 Cor. 10:13. God will make a way of escape, just be sure you look for it! Most of give into temptation, not because we can’t get out of it, but because we don’t want out of it!
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“God Will Make A Way” By Don Moen (1990)
God will make a way Where there seems to be no way He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me He will be my guide Hold me closely to His side With love and strength For each new day He will make a way He will make a way.
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Monday, March 26, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 3/26 /2012
WINNING YOUR BATTLE WITH TEMPTATION, Lesson 44b
V. 7-19 THE TEMPTATION JOSEPH ENDURED,
The Character Of The Temptation - Despite Joseph’s walk with the Lord and holy lifestyle, temptation still stalked him. These verses have much to teach us about how temptation can come to us as well.
V. 7 It Was Subtle - Potiphar’s wife began her temptation of Joseph by first “casting her eyes” upon him. He was a handsome young man, v. 6. This proved to be his Achilles Heal. When temptation comes into your life or mine, it will seldom appear as a full blown invitation to sin. Most of us would quickly see through that and would avoid it altogether. The Tempter is far more subtle than that! He will attack us is small ways that, on the surface, might not appear evil. I mean a teenage boy might have been flattered to know that he had caught the eye of a sophisticated, beautiful Egyptian woman.
Temptation is almost always subtle in the beginning, but if it is not stopped at that point, it will quickly escalate into outright sin! (for example: The temptation of Jesus, (Matt. 4:4-11). At first, Satan tempted Jesus to do things that, on the surface, didn’t appear to be evil. Beware of the subtlety of temptation and sin. If evil is tolerated, to any degree, it won’t belong before you are in over your head! A woman was bathing in the Gulf of Mexico. She was enjoying the comfort of relaxing on an inflated cushion that kept her afloat. When she realized that she had been swept about a half mile out from the beach, she began to scream, but no one heard her. A coast guard craft found her five miles from the place where she first entered the water. She did not see her danger until she was beyond her own strength and ability. That is what the flesh and the devil want to do to you!
V. 7 It Was Shocking - Potiphar’s wife came right out and propositioned Joseph! This was a blatant offer of sexual sin! Joseph wasn’t the only one being tempted, but he was the only one fighting temptation. It is interesting to see how temptation worked in the heart of this woman. First, she looked at Joseph in a way that was inappropriate for a married woman, then she fed the fantasies in her mind until they became realities! That is why sin must not be tolerated, even within the thoughts of the mind! They may begin there, but they will grow until they become reality! The very thoughts of the mind must be brought under the control of the Lord, (2 Cor. 10:5). Satan knows that outward sin begins within man’s heart, (Matt. 15:19, James 1:14-15). He knows that if he can get our minds to dwell on evil, it is but a short step to get us to live out that evil! The whole point here is that if the devil can get our minds to accept the subtle temptation, we will cave in when he comes against us with the full frontal assault!
V. 10 It Was Sustained - She offered herself to Joseph every single day! She is a woman completely consumed by her lust for this young man. His refusals did nothing more than make him more desirable to her. Joseph was a typical teenage boy. He had the same desires that inhabit all teenage boys. It must have been a difficult time in his life as this beautiful, older woman repeatedly offered herself to him! Yet, he remained firm in his resolve to be faithful to his Lord. What we need to learn here is that temptation is not going to go away! Neither age nor time will make temptations vanish.
As long as we are in these bodies, we are going to be tempted to sin against our Lord. Satan knows our weaknesses and he exploits them. He will repeatedly attack us in an area time after time. We can resist, yet he still attacks us. When the temptation subsides, we tend to let our guard down, and here it will come again! Temptation is a relentless force that we will battle for the duration of our lives! That is why we must never let our guard down and we can never think we have our sins conquered! Sin and temptation are always waiting to attack us and to overcome us, (Gen. 4:7).
V. 11-16 It Was Strategic - Whether this woman set this up or not we do not know, but there came a day when no one was in the house but Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. She saw the opportunity to fulfill the fantasy in her mind and she made her move. This is how temptation works! It will entrench itself within our minds so deeply that it becomes the center of our thoughts. It relentlessly pressures the mind to act on the desire. Then, when it sees an opportunity, it pushes us to bring our thoughts to life! You can see this progression in the temptation and fall of King David ( 2 Sam. 11:1-4). He saw her. She filled his thoughts. He took her into his heart and then into his arms! The pages of the Bible are filled with many examples of temptation: Eve, Adam, Cain, Abraham, Lot, Esau, Israel, Peter, etc. We should never think that we are going to be immune to it! Temptation hounds us all and it will master you if it isn’t handled properly. In this area, Joseph sets a great example!
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Yield Not To Temptation” By H. R, Palmer (1868)
Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin; Each vict’ry will help you some other to win;
Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue; Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.
Ask the Savior to help you, Comfort, strengthen, and keep you; He is willing to aid you, He will carry you through.
Shun evil companions, bad language disdain, God’s name hold in rev’rence, nor take it in vain; Be thoughtful and earnest, kindhearted and true; Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.
To him that o’ercometh, God giveth a crown, Through faith we will conquer, though often cast down; He who is our Savior, our strength will renew; Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.
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Sunday, March 25, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 3/25 /2012
WINNING YOUR BATTLE WITH TEMPTATION, Lesson 44a
One day a father said to his son, "Now, son, don't swim in that canal." "OK, Dad," he answered. But he came home carrying a wet bathing suit that evening. "Where have you been?" demanded the father. "Swimming in the canal," answered the boy. "Didn't I tell you not to swim there?" asked the father. "Yes, Sir," answered the boy. "Why did you?" he asked. "Well, Dad," he explained, "I had my bathing suit with me and I couldn't resist the temptation." "Why did you take your bathing suit with you?" he questioned. "So I'd be prepared to swim, in case I was tempted," he replied.
Many people Iive their lives just like that. They expect to sin and so they live their lives in such a manner that they actually excite sin and make it easier for them to fall. Whenever we play with temptation, it is easy to drift into great danger. A woman was bathing in the Gulf of Mexico. She was enjoying the comfort of relaxing on an inflated cushion that kept her afloat. When she realized that she had been swept about a half mile out from the beach, she began to scream, but no one heard her. A coast guard craft found her five miles from the place where she first entered the water. She did not see her danger until she was beyond her own strength and ability.
The remedy for this is found in Romans 13:14, "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." Our text today speaks about a young man who faced a fearful time of temptation. Instead of falling, like so many do, Joseph weathered the storm of temptation and won a great victory in his spiritual life. He stayed clean in a situation where many others would have fallen.
Now, the fact is, every person faces temptation in one form or another. And, the fact is, most of us want to live clean lives. We want to please the Lord. We want to win over sin! To do this, we need to know how to win the war over temptation. This passage gives us some insights into just how to do this. Today, I would like for us to look into the experiences of young Joseph on this thought: “Winning Your Battle With Temptation“
V. 1-6 THE TESTIMONY JOSEPH EXHIBITED
V. 2a He Had A Personal Testimony - The Bible is very clear that Joseph had a personal relationship with God. He knew the Lord and was walking with God by faith. This is the starting point for true spirituality and personal holiness. When an individual has a personal, faith relationship with God, they have the potential to live for Him and to live like Him. That is why it is so important for each of us to search our hearts to be sure we are in a personal, faith relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, (2 Pet. 1:10; 2 Cor. 13:5).
V. 3 He Had A Powerful Testimony - Joseph’s faith was not just lived out in his heart, but it was lived out before everyone around him. Everyone could see that something was different about the life of Joseph.
1. Men Saw God In His Walk - The way Joseph lived among the Egyptians marked him as different. Those around him saw the difference. Can men see the difference in us? They should be able to, (Matt. 5:13)!
2. Men Saw God In His Work - Joseph had the Midas touch! The Lord blessed Joseph and all he did. When our walk with the Lord is as it should be, men will see the hand of the Lord and His activity on our lives, (Pro. 16:7).
V. 4-6 He Had A Prosperous Testimony - As Joseph walked with his Lord and worked for Potiphar, the Lord continued to bless him and use him for His glory. The Lord made it clear to all who were looking that He was blessing and using Joseph in a great way.
Here was a young man who had his priorities in the right order. He loved his God and he walked with Him faithfully. While this is the right way for everyone to live, we also need to understand that this makes you a prime target for attack. The devil likes nothing better than to defeat, destroy and devastate real men and women of God, (1 Pet. 5:8)! He isn’t too concerned about those who are merely nominal Christians, and who don’t live the life. He isn’t concerned about those who talk about Jesus but who don’t live like Him! He is after those who run hard after God. He wants those who want to live holy lives. He wants those who are in the fight! He wants you! A life lived for Jesus is a life that will be attacked, (2 Tim. 3:12).
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Living For Jesus” By T. O. Chisholm (1917)
Living for Jesus, a life that is true,
Striving to please Him in all that I do;
Yielding allegiance, glad hearted and free,
This is the pathway of blessing for me.
O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee,
For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me.
I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne.
My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.
Living for Jesus Who died in my place,
Bearing on Calvary my sin and disgrace;
Such love constrains me to answer His call,
Follow His leading and give Him my all.
Living for Jesus through earth’s little while,
My dearest treasure, the light of His smile;
Seeking the lost ones He died to redeem,
Bringing the weary to find rest in Him.
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Saturday, March 24, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 3/24 /2012
I MUST BE DREAMING, Lesson 43
As a Christian, I'm often amazed at just how good to me God is. When I consider all that He has done for me, is doing and has promised to do, I am sometimes overwhelmed! In fact, when I consider how low I was when God saved me, when I look at the changes He has made in my life, and when I consider what the end of it all will be, well, I feel that I must be dreaming! I want to look at the life of a dreamer today. A man named Joseph who had a reputation for dreaming. Joseph's life is one of the most blessed studies in the Bible.
He is a picture of Jesus and a portrait of the amazing grace of God. But, today, I want to look at the parallels between Joseph's life and that of the average Christian. When we look at what he endured, it is almost impossible not to see yourself in the life of Joseph. There is hope for the hurting, help for the struggling and a hand for the falling in these verses about the life of this man Joseph. I want to speak to you today on the subject, “I must be dreaming“!
Gen. 37:3, JOSEPH IN THE PLACE OF HONOR
Jacob's love for Joseph as seen in the coat of many colors is an example of God's love for His children ( Jer. 31:3; Rom. 8:35-39).
We stand in the place of honor and blessing today (1 John 3:2; John 1:12; Luke 12:32) When I consider where I came from and where I are - I must be dreaming!
Gen. 37:8-28, JOSEPH IN THE PIT
Joseph was cast into the pit because he was in the will of the Father, (v.13-14). Sometimes God's people get into the pit also! (For example: 3 Hebrews, and Daniel)! Don't allow it to steal your dreams! (2 Tim. 3:12; Rom. 8:28) Even when in the pit, Joseph still had the promises of God! (Verse 20). Dreams don't change just because circumstances do!
Gen. 39:1-20, JOSEPH IN POTIPHER'S HOUSE
Blessings in v.1-6; Temptations in v.7-13; and Trials in v.14-20 are all part of life. Life contains all three of these circumstances, but they can all be precious when you are in the will of God!
In every area of life, Joseph was an over-comer! ( Rom. 8:37; 1 Cor.
15:57; 1 John 5:4-5), I must be dreaming! Jesus has made me a victor regardless of my situation!
Gen. 39:21-41:13, JOSEPH IN PRISON
Joseph was surrounded by hatred, sin and in bondage; yet Joseph never lost his dreams! Best of all, God never left him (Gen 39:21)!
Regardless of how bad life becomes, remember:
1. God will always love you - ( How you know - Rom. 5:8)
2. He is always seeking your best interests - (Rom. 8:28)
3. He will always be with you - (Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20)
4. He will still use you - ( Gen40:8; 1 Cor. 1:27-28)
5. He will ultimately deliver you - (Gen 41:14, In His time)!
You may feel that your are in prison today. If so, just keep dreaming!
God hasn't forgotten you (2 Cor. 1:10).
Gen. 41:14-43. JOSEPH IN THE PALACE
A slave becomes a ruler!! Where we come from, what we are and where we are headed depends on God‘s plan for you!(1 Cor. 2:9)!
Sometimes I still think, "I must be dreaming!" Mine has been a journey from the pit to a palace! What a joy when it all ends up at my Father's throne!!
Conc: Regardless of where you are today, child of God, the Father knows, cares and is working on your behalf! Just don't lose the dream, we're not home yet! What some of you need is salvation! Others need to obey and follow Jesus. The Father has that too! All He asks is that you come to Him and receive His Son as your Savior. He loves you! Won't you love Him too?
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSINGS!
“Ivory Palaces” By Henry Barrowclough (1915)
My Lord has garments so wondrous fine, And myrrh their texture fills;
Its fragrance reached to this heart of mine With joy my being thrills.
Out of the ivory palaces, Into a world of woe, Only His great eternal love
Made my Savior go.
His life had also its sorrows sore, For aloes had a part; And when I think of the cross He bore, My eyes with teardrops start.
In garments glorious He will come, To open wide the door; And I shall enter my heav’nly home, To dwell forevermore.
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Friday, March 23, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 3/ 23 /2012
Genesis 37:36; 39:1-6
THE LORD WAS WITH JOSEPH’ Lesson 42c
Gen. 39:4-6 GOD PROMOTED HIM,
Potiphar saw that the hand of God was upon the life of Joseph, (v. 3). He knew there was something special about this Hebrew slave. As he watched Joseph work, and as he saw the results of his work, Potiphar saw that everything Joseph touched turned to gold.
Potiphar promoted Joseph and made him the overseer of his entire household. Joseph was in control of everything that happened in Potiphar’s home and in his business interests. Potiphar learned that he could trust Joseph to do the right thing. He discovered that Joseph was a man of industry and integrity. He was a worker who did the best job that he could for his master. Joseph served Potiphar like he was serving the Lord!
There is a word here for every person today. We all answer to someone! Whoever that person or group of people is, we should give them our best at all times. That means giving eight hours of work for eight hours of pay. That means doing what they tell you to without complaint and without an attitude. That means serving your employer like you were serving the Lord, (Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 3:22-4:1). It means working with industry and integrity for the glory of God.
Like cream, Joseph continues to rise to the top. Regardless of the situation in which he finds himself, he walks with integrity, seeking to glorify his God, and it showed in his life. Even Potiphar, the pagan Egyptian, saw something different in the life of Joseph. Joseph didn’t have to blow his trumpet and tell Potiphar what a great believer he was. The life he lived proclaimed the glory of his God and Potiphar saw for himself the influence of God in the life of Joseph! The touch of God on his life opened the door for Joseph to share his faith with Potiphar. The same thing ought to be true of each of us! The lives we life should be so different from the world around us that the mark of God’s favor will be clear to see, (Matt. 5:16).
Joseph lived a godly life. He glorified God and God promoted him and used him in a powerful way. The Lord will do the same in your life and mine. If He can trust us with the tasks He assigns to us, He will entrust us with greater things down the road. “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much,” (Luke 16:10) When we bloom where we are planted and when we serve the Lord with industry and integrity, He will open up new avenues of service for us. He will use us when we get in a place of usability!
Conc: God used the sorrows of Joseph’s life to shape him into the man He desired him to become. The trials Joseph faced, and the trials you and I face, are never easy. They do, however, teach us to depend on God. Our trials help us to maintain a tender and compassionate heart. Our trials teach us the value of tears. Our trials make us useful to the Lord. We should never seek to shun the trials of life. In shunning our trials, we are also shunning the best of God’s blessings in this life.
Some poet penned the following words.
They fit well right here:
I walked a mile with pleasure,
And she chattered all the way;
But left me none the wiser,
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she;
But oh the things I learned from her,
When sorrow walked with me.
We want to be used, but we do not want the heartaches that come first. I am afraid that we cannot have the one without the other. They seem to go hand in hand.
Here is a final word of encouragement. No matter how hard the way of life becomes, if you are saved, the same thing that was said about Joseph is true about you: “And the Lord was with him.” You do not face your trials alone. You do not walk through your valleys alone. Every step you take you are in the path of divine providence and God is in the business of protecting you, prospering you and promoting you for His glory!
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Beyond This Land OF PARTING” By Mary B.C. Slade (1876)
1. Beyond this land of parting, losing, and leaving
Far beyond the losses, darkening this
And far beyond the taking and the bereaving
Lies a summer land of bliss!
Land beyond (land beyond), so fair and bright!
Land beyond (land beyond), where is no night!
Summer land (summer land), God is it's light
Oh, happy summer land of bliss!
2. Beyond this land of toiling, sowing and reaping
Far beyond the shadows darkening this
And far beyond the sighing, moaning, and weeping
Lies a summerland of bliss!
3. Beyond this land of waiting, seeking, and sighing
Far beyond the sorrows darkening this
And far beyond the pain, and sickness and dying
Lies a summer land of bliss!
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