Saturday, March 31, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 3/31 /2012
THE POWER OF A FAITHFUL LIFE, Lesson 45c
v. 13-19 FAITHFUL IN SPITE OF TRIALS,
Someone once said that “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. Mrs. Potiphar has been scorned and she sets her trap. When Joseph runs out, I can see her as she rumples her hair, smudges her makeup and tears her cloths. She starts to scream and cry. The other servants come running to see what is going on. She tells them that Joseph tried to rape her. I can also imagine them saying, “Yeah, right!”
She holds on to the garment and when her husband arrives home, she springs the trap. In essence, she blames Potiphar for the problem, (v. 17). She says, “If you hadn’t brought this slave home, none of this would have happened. Look what you have allowed to happen in our home.”
Potiphar hears the accusations against Joseph and he becomes angry. I have always wondered who he was really mad at. Was he mad at Joseph because he believed her story? Was he mad at her because he knew the lust that was in her heart? Was he mad at himself because he didn’t have the courage to stand up against a domineering wife? Or, was he mad because he was thinking of all the money he was going to lose, (v. 5)?
Surely, Potiphar could see the inconsistencies in her story. For instance, why would Joseph have left the incriminating garment when he fled? Hadn’t Joseph proven himself to be a faithful servant who was above reproach year after year? If Potiphar believed his wife, he allowed his anger to get in the way of his making a clear decision.
At any rate, the story ends the same. Joseph winds up in prison. Psalm 105:17-19 tell us something about the pain Joseph endured when he was first thrown into that prison. Put yourself in Joseph’s shoes for a moment. You have been a faithful servant to your master. You have successfully avoided committing adultery with his wife even though she has practically thrown herself at you every day. You have been falsely accused. What do you do?
Most of us would have launched a loud and long defense. We would have declared our innocence and we would have vowed to take our revenge when the opportunity presented itself. Not Joseph! In fact, there is no record of him even opening his mouth. In this respect, Joseph is once again just like Jesus,( Isa. 53:7). He took the trial that came his way and he endured it with grace and faithfulness.
I am not saying that we should never defend our name and reputation when it is slandered. What I am talking about is the fact that trials are going to come along in this life. There will be times when you will be attacked, misunderstood and misrepresented. When those times come, remember that God knows the truth, and, eventually, that truth will come out!
What I am saying is that you and I must learn to be faithful even during the trials of life. When everything goes against us and the full weight of life comes crashing down on top of us, we must ever remain faithful to the Lord Who loved us, bought us and saved us.
In other words, don’t get mad at someone and try to quit. Don’t let the hardships and valleys of life throw you off course. Don’t get upset when things do not go your way all the time. When people lie about you and talk about you, do not prove them right. Prove them wrong by remaining faithful to the Lord! Nothing silences the tongue of a critic any quicker than a faithful life. Just live so well that no will believe what the lying liars say about you anyway!
Trust God and stay the course, He is looking for faithful servants, (1 Cor. 2:4). He is looking for people who will be the same regardless of which way the wind is blowing. I don’t know about you, but I want to be found faithful! He’s been faithful to me and I want to be faithful to Him!
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“A Beautiful Life” By W. M. Golden (1918)
Each day I’ll do a golden deed, By helping those who are in need; My life on earth is but a span, And so I’ll do the best I can.
Life’s evening sun is sinking low, A few more days, and I must go To meet the deeds that I have done, Where there will be no setting sun.
To be a child of God each day, My light must shine along the way;
I’ll sing His praise while ages roll, And strive to help some troubled soul.
The only life that will endure, Is one that’s kind and good and pure;
And so for God I’ll take my stand, Each day I’ll lend a helping hand.
I’ll help someone in time of need, And journey on with rapid speed;
I’ll help the sick and poor and weak, And words of kindness to them speak.
While going down life’s weary road, I’ll try to lift some trav’ler’s load; I’ll try to turn the night to day, Make flowers bloom along the way.
SHARE THIS LESSON WITH A FRIEND!
Friday, March 30, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 3/30 /2012
THE POWER OF A FAITHFUL LIFE, Lesson 45b
v. 7-12 FAITHFUL IN SPITE OF TEMPTATIONS,
Joseph was a good looking young man, (v. 6). Not that I would know, but beauty must bring with it its own set of problems.
As Joseph ministered in Potiphar’s house, he caught the eye of Potiphar’s wife. She began to flirt with him, (v. 7). After a short time, she became downright brazen in her approach, asking Joseph to “lie” with her. He refused her advances, but she persisted, (v. 10). Then, on a certain day, she was in the house alone and when Joseph came in she grabbed him by his outer garments and said “Lie with me”, (v. 11-12). Joseph left his garment in her hand and ran away. In this “trial by fire” he remained absolutely faithful to the Lord.
There are several features of this temptation that would have made it very attractive to any young man.
It was a temptation to fulfill a natural and legitimate need – The offer from Potiphar’s wife was for sex, pure and simple. God made us sexual creatures and many people believe they have the right to satisfy their sexual desires in any fashion they choose. God has a different opinion. Any sexual expression that takes place outside the boundaries of the marriage relationship is either fornication or adultery. Either one is a sin against God, your spouse, your future spouse, or yourself, ( V. 9; 1 Cor. 6:18-20). Joseph’s response to Potiphar’s wife was a response we should all adopt when it comes to dealing with sexual sin, (v. 12; 2 Tim. 2:22).
Joseph was a long way from home in a strange land – Some people might have adopted the motto: “When in Rome, do as the Romans”. A lot of people live like that. A salesman will do things on the road that he will not do at home. A young person will do things at a party they will not do at home. Joseph did not care where he was, he was determined to do the right thing.
He refused to violate the trust of his master and of his God, (v. 9). His family would have never known. Potiphar might have never known. But, Joseph knew that God in Heaven would know. And, that knowledge was enough to keep him pure. (Pro. 15:3; Heb. 4:13).
Mrs. Potiphar was surely a beautiful woman – Egyptian women were renowned in that day for their physical beauty. Surely she would have appealed to the male in Joseph. Nowhere in this text does it say that he was repulsed by her appearance. Nowhere does it suggest that she was an unattractive woman. Had he given into her advances, there can be little doubt that it would have been an enjoyable experience.
However, Joseph was interested in more than simply gratifying his flesh. He was determined to be faithful to God regardless of the personal cost. It was a decision he made long before he arrived in Egypt, and it was a decision he was determined to stand by. Joseph had some conviction and he had drawn himself some boundaries. As I mentioned earlier, we need to do the same thing. Then, when times of temptation come our way, there is no choice in the matter; we have already decided what we will do!
It came on the heels of a big promotion – A lot of people would assume that they had arrived. After all, Joseph had the Midas touch. He had the favor of Potiphar. He was the king of the roost at the big house. He did as he pleased. Some people might have concluded, “I can do no wrong. I might as well enjoy the fruits of my labors.” But, not Joseph!
It would do us well to remember that we are never more vulnerable to temptation than when we have just enjoyed a great victory. When we have been part of a great victory, we seem to feel like we can do anything. In those moments, temptation and failure are more real than ever, (1 Cor. 10:12).
It came at the perfect time and opportunity – Potiphar’s wife caught Joseph when there was no physical reason why they should not and could not commit adultery. The only thing that stopped them was Joseph’s integrity. He stood his ground, determined to do what was right regardless of the cost.
We need to remember that our enemy is a master of setting things up. He will put us in just the right places at just the right times. He will make sin look so innocent and easy. He will make it seem that we are fool to refuse him. I would remind you that “all Satan’s apples have worms”. I would also remind you that the opportunities he gives you to sin will lead to disappoint, disillusionment, discouragement and possibly death, (Pro. 13:15).
Let me make a few statements about this matter of temptation.
1. Temptation is never from God - (James 1:13)
2. Temptation is always from within - (James 1:14-15)
3. There is always a way out of Temptation – (1 Cor. 10:13) (How?)
Deal with it Immediately – Nip it in the bud!
Deal with it Realistically - Get away from it at all costs.
Deal with it Ruthlessly – Do whatever it takes to avoid it.
Deal with it Consistently - Learn to be consistent in your resistance.
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! The word “escape” means “egress, or way out”. It was used in ancient Greece to refer to a landing place for a ship. God will give us a way of the rough sea of temptation. Those temptations that we cannot escape, He will enable us to “bear” them. God’s promise to us is that while temptations will come our way, He will enable us to land safely on the other side.
The main reason Joseph was able to remain faithful in the day of temptation was because he saw sin for what it really was. He did not see it as a few moments of pleasure. He did not see it as his right. He did not see it as even an option. Joseph saw sin as an affront to Almighty God, (v. 9).
If you want to successfully navigate the troubled waters of temptation, then learn to see sin for what it really is. It is not a mistake, it is wickedness. It is not an affair, it is adultery. It is not an alternate lifestyle, it is an abomination. It is not a slip of the tongue, it is blasphemy. It is not an abortion, it is murder! Sin is a shame in any life; that is especially true when it is in the life of a Christian!
Joseph was faithful in spite of temptations. I don’t know about you, but I want to finish well! I would like to be able to say what Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith,” (2 Tim. 4:7).
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Amazing Grace” By John Newton (1779)
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.
T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear. And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far and Grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me. His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be, As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil, A life of joy and peace.
When we've been here ten thousand years Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise Than when we've first begun.
INVITE A FRIEND TO THE TEAM!
Thursday, March 29, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 3/29 /2012
THE POWER OF A FAITHFUL LIFE, Lesson 45a
A young man applied for a job as a farmhand. When the farmer asked for his qualifications, he said, “I can sleep when the wind blows.” This puzzled the farmer. But he liked the young man, and hired him. A few days later, the farmer and his wife were awakened in the night by a violent storm. They quickly began to check things out to see if all was secure. They found that the shutters of the farmhouse had been securely fastened. A good supply of logs had been set next to the fireplace. The young man slept soundly. The farmer and his wife then inspected their property. They found that the farm tools had been placed in the storage shed, safe from the elements. The tractor had been moved into the garage. The barn was properly locked. Even the animals were calm. All was well. The farmer then understood the meaning of the young man's words, “I can sleep when the wind blows.” Because the farmhand did his work loyally and faithfully when the skies were clear, he was prepared for the storm when it broke. So when the wind blew, he was not afraid. He could sleep in peace.
The story about the young farmhand illustrates a principle that we would do well to learn. There was nothing dramatic or sensational in the young farmhand's preparations. He just faithfully did what was needed each day. Consequently, peace was his, even in a storm. A short poem expresses this principle as it pertains to your life.
It isn't the things you do,
It's the things you leave undone,
Which gives you a bit of heartache,
At the setting of the sun.
When the sun sat each day on Joseph’s life, he could rest easy, because he has been faithful. When he was home with his father Jacob, he had been a faithful son. When he minded his father’s flocks, he had been a faithful worker. When he was sold to Potiphar, he proved to be a faithful servant. Because he had been faithful, the Lord blessed everything he did.
In this passage, we are allowed to see the faithfulness of Joseph very clearly. He remains faithful to His God, and to himself, in the face of some problems that would cause many others to fail. Of course, there is a word here for our lives today. As we pass through this life many situations will arise that have the potential to throw us off course. The world, the flesh and the devil will all conspire to get us to quit on God. They will do everything in their power to cause us to drop out or to fall far short of our potential.
God wants us to be faithful. He wants us to stay the course and run the race for His glory until He calls us home. Joseph teaches us how to be faithful in spite of what we may face in this life. Now, let’s look at “The Power Of A Faithful Life” and show you the areas in which Joseph was faithful to the Lord. God expects no less from you and me! Let’s not disappoint Him.
TODAY’S HYMN and Blessing!
“Living By Faith”, By James Wells (1918)
I care not today what the morrow may bring, If shadow or sunshine or rain, The Lord I know ruleth o’er everything, And all of my worries are vain.
Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arm,
I’m living by faith and feel no alarm.
Though tempests may blow and the storm clouds arise, Obscuring the brightness of life,
I’m never alarmed at the overcast skies—The Master looks on at the strife.
I know that He safely will carry me through, No matter what evils betide; Why should I then care though the tempest may blow, If Jesus walks close to my side.
Our Lord will return for His loved ones some day, Our troubles will then all be o’er; The Master so gently will lead us away, Beyond that blest heavenly shore.
SHARE TODAY’S LESSON WITH A FRIEND!
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 3/28 /2012
WINNING YOUR BATTLE WITH TEMPTATION, Lesson 44d
V. 20-23 THE TRIUMPH JOSEPH EXPERIENCED,
I will be brief here, but I want you to know that Joseph benefited from his stand against temptation and sin. Let me point out three ways in which this is true.
V. 21, 23 He Triumphed In His Relationship With The Savior - Notice how the Bible says that the Lord continues to be with Joseph and to bless his life. Those who stay true to the Lord can be assured of His smile upon them and upon all they do. Those who stray from the path of righteousness will find themselves alienated from God and from His blessings in their lives. This is worth far more than any pleasure sin might offer! This was Paul’s fear - (1 Cor. 9:27).
V. 20-23 He Triumphed In His Relationship With His Own Self - Joseph’s integrity was intact. His reputation in Potiphar’s house had been undermined, but his character remained intact! He had successfully weathered the storm of temptation and he had retained the ability to look into the mirror without guilt! Friends, that is worth more than any thing sin can offer you!
V. 22-23 He Triumphed In His Relationship With Sovereignty - It may look like all Joseph got for his refusal of this woman was trouble. After all, he was thrown into prison. However, because he stayed true to the Lord, he was still in the center of God’s will for his life, even though it may not have appeared so on the surface. Before many years could pass, Joseph would be raised up by the power of God and would sit as second in command to Pharaoh. The best you can do is stay close to God, live holy and trust Him to being His best into your life in His time. Getting God’s best is always worth more than what sin can give!
Conc: Men who trap animals in Africa for zoos in America say that one of the hardest animals to catch is the ring-tailed monkey. For the Zulus of that continent, however, it's simple. They've been catching this agile little animal with ease for years. The method the Zulus use is based on knowledge of the animal. Their trap is nothing more than a melon growing on a vine. The seeds of this melon are a favorite of the monkey. Knowing this, the Zulus simply cut a hole in the melon, just large enough for the monkey to insert his hand to reach the seeds inside. The monkey will stick his hand in, grab as many seeds as he can, then start to withdraw it. This he cannot do. His fist is now larger than the hole. The monkey will pull and tug, screech and fight the melon for hours. But he can't get free of the trap unless he gives up the seeds, which he refuses to do. Meanwhile, the Zulus sneak up and nab him.
Friend, you are smarter than a monkey! Satan wants to trap you and he wants to destroy your life! Don’t let that happen! If you are save today and you battle with temptation, know that there is help for you in the Lord. Get to Him and get away from the evil! If you are lost, don’t let Satan destroy your life! He will tell you that you don’t need Jesus or the church to make it to Heaven. Don’t listen to Him! If you need the Lord today, whether it be for salvation, forgiveness, help to fight temptation or to thank Him for a victory over sin in your life, get to God right now. Let go of the sin and the thought of the thrills temptation is promising you and get to God today, while there is time!
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Father, Hear The Prayer We Offer” By Love M. Willis (1856)
Father, hear the prayer we offer Not for ease that prayer shall be But for strength, that we may ever Live our lives courageously.
Not for ever in green pastures Do we ask our way to be But by steep and rugged pathways Would we strive to climb to Thee.
Not for ever by still waters Would we idly quiet stay But would smite the living fountains From the rocks along our way.
Be our strength in hours of weakness In our wanderings be our Guide Through endeavour, failure, danger Father, be Thou at our side.
Let our path be bright or dreary Storm or sunshine be our share May our souls, in hope un-weary Make Thy work our ceaseless prayer.
INVITE A FRIEND TO THE TEAM!
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.
SHARE THIS MESSAGE WITH A FRIEND!
Get An Email Alert Each Time MJRVIC2000 Posts