Monday, April 09, 2012
JOSPEH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 4/ 9 /2012
FORGOTTEN, BUT NOT FORSAKEN, Lesson 48b
V. 6-7 PRISON DEMEANORS
As Joseph went about his duties, he saw that these two fellows were sad. Now, I can understand their sadness, can’t you? After all, they have been removed from prestigious position and cast into prison. But, they are only there because Pharaoh is mad at them. They are short timers! They will be getting out soon.
Joseph, on the other hand, is there to stay, as far as he is concerned. Yet, he is not sad. In fact, he is concerned about their attitude and he reaches out to help them through their prison experience.
What a lesson that is for us! Isn’t it true that most of us can see no further than our own need? Isn’t it true that when we are in a prison in our lives, we really don’t have time to be too worried about the needs of others, because all we can think about is how bad we hurt? Isn’t it true that most of us are pretty self-centered when it comes to dealing with our burdens and problems? Did you know that an attitude like that is not what the Lord wants from His people?
He wants us to lose ourselves in the needs of others, (Phil. 2:4). He wants us to look around for someone that we can help, (Gal. 6:1-2). He wants us to be like Jesus Who willingly laid down His life so that others might get help! That’s not easy, but it is biblical! The fact is, when you and I get our eyes off self and all its pains, needs and problems, and set our heart about the business of helping someone else, we will find that our own load gets lighter! The Lord wants us to be a blessing, even when we are in the prison!
There is another lesson here that we do not want to miss. Joseph may be in a prison; His dreams may seem to have been shattered; It may seem that he is in that prison to stay. But, Joseph still had joy! That is am amazing example!
Most people have no problem being joyous when they have no burden. Most folks can praise the Lord, laugh, smile, and be joyful when their need is met. But, it takes someone filled with genuine faith to praise the Lord when the bottom falls out of life.
Joseph is in that prison, but he is happy. Why? He is serving the Lord and the Lord is blessing him. Blessing him in the prison! Absolutely! Look again at (Gen. 39:21-23).
Anybody can praise the Lord and be filled with joy when everything is going their way. When the bills are paid, everyone is healthy and there are no problems, it is easy to say “Hallelujah! Glory to God!” But, when you have to shout on credit, you are getting somewhere!
When you can praise the Lord and testify to His grace and goodness, even when your heart is broken, you are getting somewhere in your faith! When you can shout and bless His name in spite of and in the midst of your pain and heartache, it glorifies Him!
Most folks aren’t even good for a holy grunt anymore! Most of us are like the butler and the baker! We wear around a sad face and a gloomy countenance. What a poor advertisement we are of the living Lord. You say you are happy in Jesus and have joy in your heart? Then, how about notifying your face! It hasn’t got the memo!
Give us more people like Job who could praise and worship the Lord in midst of extreme hardship, (Job 1:20-21). Give us more people like Abraham who went to offer up his son Isaac and called it worship, (Gen. 22:5). God give us more people who know that He is just as much God in the storm as He is in the sunny day! Give us people who will worship and praise Him in spite of everything!
Charles Edison, the son of Thomas Edison gives us this glimpse into his father’s faith with this excerpt from his book entitled The Electric Thomas Edison.
“One December evening the cry of ‘Fire!’ echoed through the plant. Spontaneous combustion had broken out in the film room. Within moments all the packing compounds, celluloid for records, film and other flammable goods had gone up with a whoosh...
“When I couldn't find Father, I became concerned. Was he safe? With all his assets going up in smoke, would his spirit be broken? He was 67, no age to begin anew. Then I saw him in the plant yard, running toward me.” “’Where's Mom?’ he shouted. ‘Go get her! Tell her to get her friends! They'll never see a fire like this again!’”
“At 5:30 the next morning, when the fire was barely under control, he called his employees together and announced: ‘We're rebuilding!’ One man was told to lease all the machine shops in the area. Another, to obtain a wrecking crane from the Erie Railroad Company. Then, almost as an afterthought he added, ‘Oh, by the way. Anybody know where we can get some money?’
“Later on he explained, 'You can always make capital out of disaster. We've just cleared out a bunch of old rubbish! We'll build bigger and better on these ruins.’ With that he rolled up his coat for a pillow, curled up on a table and immediately fell asleep.” That is the kind of prison demeanor we need to display when we walk through our own difficult hours. May God help us to learn that He is always God and always good, regardless of how we are treated by life!
TODAY’S Hymn and BLESSING!
“Be Still, My Soul” By K. Von Schlegel (1855)
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side. Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide; In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake; All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone, Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.
INVITE A FRIEND TO THE TEAM!
Sunday, April 08, 2012
JOSPEH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 4/ 8 /2012
FORGOTTEN, BUT NOT FORSAKEN, Lesson 48a
Our text finds Joseph in the midst of a great trial of faith. He has been mistreated, misrepresented, falsely accused and imprisoned. In the midst of it all Joseph remained patient and kept his testimony intact. He did not see himself as a victim, but as a victor waiting for his liberty and viictory!
A brief glimpse at Joseph’s life reveals the trials he was called upon to endure.
· He was treated unfairly by his own brothers and sold into slavery.
· He became a slave in a foreign land.
· He was falsely accused of attempted rape and imprisoned.
Through it all, he refused to be a victim. Joseph knew what the writer of Genesis records for us in Gen. 39:21-23, “The Lord was with Joseph!” That truth alone made the prison bearable for Joseph.
I want to join Joseph in his prison today. His experiences there have some much needed lessons for the people of the Lord. This passage finds Joseph shut up, shut down and shut off, but still serving the Lord. This passage finds Joseph in a prison of pain and suffering. In that prison he was forgotten by many, but Joseph was not forsaken by the Lord.
The path of life leads us into prison situations from time to time. We all face hardships and trials. That is the way of life, (John 16:33). Sometime we feel like we are shut up, shut down and shut off too. And, we feel that we are forgotten in that prison. Many times we are forgotten by those around us. Even though man may forget us in the prisons of life, the Lord never forgets and He refuses to forsake us while we are there, (Heb. 13:5).
Let’s join Joseph in the prison and glean the lessons that are revealed in these verses. As we look on the subject: “Forgotten, But Not Forsaken“.
v. 1-4 PRISON DUTIES
While Joseph waits in the prison, he receives some company. Two men, former highly placed servants of Pharaoh, are thrown into the prison with Joseph. These two men are Pharaoh’s butler and his baker.
The butler was Pharaoh’s “cupbearer”. When anything was to eat or drink was brought before Pharaoh, the cupbearer would taste it first to make sure it was safe for Pharaoh. In other words, if anybody died from bad food or from poisoning, it would be the cupbearer and the Pharaoh would be saved. These cupbearers, by the very nature of the jobs, were close to the rulers they served. They were so close that they had conversations, and sometimes, cupbearers were privy to royal secrets. They were highly trusted servants. In some way they were the most trusted servants in the court. The cupbearer literally held Pharaoh’s life in his hands. (Nehemiah , Neh. 2:1).
The baker would have been over Pharaoh’s kitchens. He was responsible for cooking the food that Pharaoh ate. He too would have been a trusted servant in Pharaoh’s household. Apparently, there had been a problem with Pharaoh’s food and these men are in trouble. They have been cast out of their positions and find themselves locked up in prison.
When these men get to prison, they receive preferential treatment. They were treated like the celebrities of our day. They even have a servant assigned to minister to their needs. Joseph is handpicked to be their servant while they are there.
On the surface, this seemed to be just another assignment given to a slave in the prison. In reality, this was the providence of a sovereign God at work in Joseph’s life. God had just brought Joseph face to face with the man God would later use to secure Joseph’s release from prison.
We should never discount the seemingly small twists and turns of this life. Some people would have said, “Oh well, just another job for poor old Joseph to take care of.” What no one could see was how God would use this small matter in a great way down the road.
The same is true in your life and mine. I remember when we had to leave one state behind to move to another state. That was hard for our children. I didn’t understand it at the time, but it was God’s providence at work. Because of that move, I got under the sound of the Gospel and was saved. I have been privileged to serve several churches, and I have been allowed to preach in a few more churches.
Never discount the small moves of life. What we see and a “chance” encounter may just be the meeting of lifetime. What we see as an “accident” or as “coincidence” is really God at work in your life in a great way. ( Psa. 37:23; Pro. 16:9 ) God orders the minute details of our lives! There are no accidents with Him!
v. 5-19 PRISON DREAMS
One morning Joseph checks on his charges and they are both sad. They tell him they have dreamed dreams and can’t figure out what they mean. When Joseph hears about them dreaming, it must have made his mind go back to his own dreams, (Gen. 37:5-11). His dreams, however, looked as though they had been derailed, or at least delayed for the time being.
Joseph encourages them, to tell him the dreams, because he knows the God Who can give them the interpretation. The butler tells Joseph his dream and receives a favorable interpretation, (v. 9-13). When the baker hears that good interpretation he tells Joseph his dream. His interpretation is not good, but Joseph humbly tells him, (v. 16-19).
Put yourself in Joseph’s place today. He has been given a dream from the Lord. In his dream, he is going to rule someday. His dream has yet to be fulfilled. In fact, from all appearances, Joseph’s dreams have all been shattered. What does Joseph do? Does he get angry and give up on the Lord? Does he say, “I’m finished with all this dreaming! Just leave me alone!”? Even though Joseph finds himself in one of the waiting rooms of life, he does not lose his grip on his dreams or on the God Who gave them to him. In fact, Joseph is actively looking for ways to glorify God while he waits in that prison, (v. 8).
What a lesson for the redeemed today! There are going to be some times along the way when it seems like God has forgotten all about you. There will be times when it seems that your dreams have been derailed too. There will be times when you find yourself in one of the waiting rooms of life. What you do there has a great deal to do with what the Lord will do for you later.
Our duty in all the prisons of life is to actively seek ways to glorify Him, (1 Cor. 10:31). Our circumstances might be bad, but our God is good! We need to learn how to glorify Him when the sun is shining and when the rain is falling. We need to look for ways to point others to Him even though our own hearts are breaking! If He is the God of the mountain, He is also the God of the valley, or He is God of neither. ( 1 Kings 20:22-29) The Syrians thought the God of Israel was only a God of the hills. So, they attacked Israel in the valley. They soon learned the God was God regardless of the terrain. It would do the church good to learn that truth as well. He is God when dreams are on track and He is God when they seem to have derailed. He is God and we need to glorify Him as God in spite of what we face in life, (1 Thes. 5:16-18; Phil. 4:4).
TODAY’S Hymn and Blessing!
“Heavenly Sunlight” By H. J. Zelley (1899)
Walking in sunlight all of my journey, Over the mountains, through the deep vale; Jesus has said, I’ll never forsake thee— Promise divine that never can fail.
Heavenly sunlight! Heavenly sunlight!
Flooding my soul with glory divine;
Hallelujah! I am rejoicing,
Singing His praises, Jesus is mine!
Shadows around me, shadows above me Never conceal my Savior and Guide; He is the light, in Him is no darkness, Ever I’m walking close to His side.
In the bright sunlight, ever rejoicing, Pressing my way to mansions above;
Singing His praises, gladly I’m walking, Walking in sunlight, sunlight of love.
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Saturday, April 07, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 4/ 7 /2012
The Prison Experiences Of The Bible, Lesson 47c
THE PRIVILEGES OF THIS PRISON
The problem makes the prison difficult. The provisions make them bearable. But, it is the privileges we find in the prisons of life that cause them to become places of growth and blessing
The Privilege Of God’s Plan – What kept Joseph going through the dark days of betrayal; deceit and suffering? It was the sure knowledge that God was working out a wonderful plan on Joseph’s behalf ( Gen. 37:5-11 ), where many years before God had told Joseph that he was going to come out on top. During the broken hearted days when he was betrayed and sold into slavery by his brothers; Joseph was looking for that plan to be fulfilled. During the hard days when he labored for Potiphar and fought off the advances of Potiphar’s wife; Joseph was waiting for God to do what he said he would do. Then, during the years he languished in that dark, dreary prison; Joseph kept on believing and kept on waiting. He knew his God had made him a promise and that God would keep that promise.
Than the day came! They called him out of prison and brought him before Pharaoh, (Gen. 41:14). Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, (Gen 41:15-36), and was made the second ruler in the kingdom, ( Gen 41:37-43). Joseph had suffered greatly while God worked out His plan; but he remained faithful and he saw God’s plan fulfilled in his life. We may not understand this, but when God puts us through a prison experience in our lives, He has honored us. It is an honor to be counted part of God’s plan. To know that I, as insignificant and as meaningless as I am, am a part of God’s plans is an amazing truth. To think that He would take the time to develop me so that He might use me for His glory is a truth too wonderful for words. But, that is one of the things that makes His grace so amazing. He does not just save us to keep us out of Hell. He saves us to make us because we are a part of His eternal plan. He saves us because He intends to use us for His glory, (Eph. 2:10).
The fact that I am saved today tells me that I am important to God. He loves me and He has a plan for my life. So, when my path becomes difficult, it is because He is working out that plan in me and through me. My sole duty is to submit to Him.
The Privilege Of God’s Praise – Joseph is careful to give all the glory to the Lord, ( Gen 40:8; 41:16, 25). Joseph knows that God has been working in his life so that God could get glory to His name. God did the things He did in Joseph’s life so that He might develop Joseph and so that He might use Joseph to show others the greatness and glory of the God of Heaven. Pharaoh and his nation were introduced to the God of Israel, all because Joseph was submissive to the Lord. That is what the Lord is doing in our lives when He sends us into a prison experience. He is growing us, but He is also using us to bring more glory to His name. Since that is true, and since our heart’s desire ought to be for His glory, (1 Cor. 10:31), there is no greater thing that we can do in life than to submit to His will for our lives, even when we don’t understand what the Lord is doing.
The Privilege Of God’s Providence – In the end, Joseph saw every promise of the Lord fulfilled and he came to understand that all the pain he was forced to endure served to glorify God; grow Joseph and that it all worked for good in his life, (Gen. 50:20), and in the lives of others. Because of Joseph’s obedience and submission, God was able to save the nation of Egypt and the family of Joseph. Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery to get rid of him; God had orchestrated everything to save the bloodline of the Messiah, (Gen. 45:5; Psa. 105:17). In our lives, God is going to send us into some places when faith is going to have to swim and where reason cannot even wade. During those times, we are going to have to trust God. You see, when all Joseph could see was the pit, Potiphar’s house and the prison; God could see the palace!
He knows what He is doing in my life. He knows where He is taking me. He knows all about the plans He has for me. He knows what He is preparing me for in this life. I do not! Sometimes all I can see is the prison; during those times, I must trust that He sees the palace. Let me give you two great “Prison Promises”. These two verses will sustain you when all you can see is the prison.
1. Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
2. Psalm 138:8, “The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.”
Conc: Many years ago, Martin Luther made this statement, “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my little apple tree and pay my debts.” That simple statement says a lot about Luther. He was saying, “No matter what comes my way, I am going to do the right things and keep on serving the Lord.” You see, those who won’t serve God in the prisons of life are not fit to serve Him the palaces of life either.
Does this message find you looking at some kind of a prison experience in your life? What are you doing in that prison? Are you rebelling against it, or submitting to it? God has you there for one reason: He is using that prison as a tool of preparation for a future promotion. Has He spoken to your heart through this message? If so, then come and get before Him and deal with the word He sent to your heart today.
TODAY’S Hymn and BLESSING!
“ Standing On the Promises” By R. K. Carter (1886)
Standing on the promises of Christ my King, Through eternal ages let His praises ring, Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing, Standing on the promises of God.
Standing, standing, Standing on the promises of God my Savior; Standing, standing, I’m standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises that cannot fail, When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, By the living Word of God I shall prevail, Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises I now can see Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me; Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free, Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord, Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord, Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword, Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises I cannot fall, List’ning every moment to the Spirit’s call, Resting in my Savior as my all in all, Standing on the promises of God.
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Friday, April 06, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 4/ 6 /2012
The Prison Experiences Of The Bible, Lesson 47b
THE PROVISIONS OF THIS PRISON
This prison is a place of problems, but it also a place filled with God’s provisions. He may send us into a prison experience, but He never sends us there alone, or without the resources we will need to survive and thrive in that prison.
The Provision Of God’s Presence – We are told in Gen. 39:21 that “the Lord was with Joseph.” That young man went into a prison experience, but he did not go into it or through it alone! The God Who sent him there went with him into that awful place.
Regardless of the nature of the prison experiences you may face in life, remember that God will go with you and through them all, (Heb. 13:5; Isa. 43:2), “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” When it came time for Noah to enter the ark, God did not say “Go into the ark”; He said “Come into the ark”, (Gen. 7:1). When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace, they found the Lord was already there, (Dan. 3:24-25).
The Provision Of God’s Peace – We are told that God “showed him mercy”, (Gen. 39:20). This word is translated “lovingkindness” in other places in the Old Testament. It carries the same idea as the New Testament word “Grace”. In other words, God gave Joseph the power and strength he needed to endure the prison he was forced to face. He will do the same for you! Our Lord’s promise to Paul as seen in 2 Cor. 12:9. Paul’s “thorn” is not named! There will be grace, peace and power sufficient for the trials you are called upon to face in life. ( Isa. 40:29-31; Isa. 41:13; Deut. 33:25-27).
The Provision Of God’s Promotion – Gen. 39:21-41:14 tell us that even in prison, God was busy using Joseph for His glory. In that horrible dungeon; locked away with the vilest criminals in Egypt; Joseph shone like the star that he was. Because Joseph submitted to God’s will in the prison experience of his life; God elevated him and used him for His glory.
God does not send us into the prison to bury us there. He sends us to prepare us for even greater things in His work. When He allows you to suffer a time of being shut up; shut off and shut it; He does it to grow you so that His image can be more clearly seen in your life. This is how gold is refined – This is what God is doing in your life through your prison experiences ( 1 Pet. 1:6-8). “How Firm A Foundation.” – “When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie, My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply; The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.”
God sends you into His furnace so that He might use you more greatly for His glory.
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“How Firm A Foundation” By Rippon Selection of Hyms (1787)
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said—
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.
“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy trouble to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not harm thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
“The soul that on Jesus doth lean for repose,
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”
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Thursday, April 05, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 4/5 /2012
The Prison Experiences Of The Bible, Lesson 47a
One of the striking things about the Law of the Lord is the fact that God authorized no prisons among His people. When a person committed a crime in Israel, their punishment was to be swift and sure, and it was to be a punishment that fit their crime. Yet, throughout history, kings and other rulers have built prisons to contain political enemies and lawbreakers. This is still true in our day.
Even though God did not order His people to build any prisons, He did allow some of His most choice servants to spend time in the dungeons of their day. In fact, a few of God’s men met their deaths in prison cells. When God allowed one of His servants to go into prison, it wasn’t because they were criminals. God sent each of those special prisoners to their prison because He wanted to teach them some lessons they could learn nowhere else.
I believe that it is worth our time to consider these prison experiences, because they have much to teach us about our God. With that in mind, let’s look at Joseph and his prison experience.
Genesis 39:20-22; 41:14
THE PRISON OF HIS PROMOTIONS
Our text tells us that one of the greatest characters in the Old Testament had his own prison experience. Joseph, who pictures the Lord Jesus in at least 100 ways, pulled a long, hard stretch in Pharaoh’s prison. Why was Joseph in prison. Why wasn’t he executed? Joseph was there because Potiphar wanted to punish him. But, in reality, Joseph was there because God wanted to promote him. God used a time of confinement as a time of refinement in the life of Joseph. God prepared Joseph for leadership by sending him to the lockup.
Now, I am interested in Joseph’s prison experience, because I find that God will often do the same thing in your life and mine. He will have a plan to promote us to a greater level of service, but that path will often lead through some prison experience or the other. God’s path for us will lead us through a time when we are shut off; shut down; shut away and shut up.
It is in these prison experiences of life that God prepares us for greater service and responsibility. Let’s take a few minutes to join Joseph in “The Prison Of His Promotions“. There are a few truths in this passage that we need to understand.
I. THE PROBLEMS OF THIS PRISON
I have never been in prison, but I understand that prison is not a pleasant place to spend your time. It is a place of problems. Joseph’s prison is no different. In Joseph’s prison we see mirrored the problems we can expect when God sends us into a prison experience in our own lives.
This Is A Painful Prison – In verse 20, we are told that Joseph was “put” into prison. There is no mention of torture of abusive treatment. However, Gen. 40:3 tells us that Joseph was “bound” in this prison. Psalm 105:18 adds even more detail. When all this is considered, it becomes clear that this was a painful time in Joseph’s life. It is never easy when the Lord sends you into a prison experience in your life. Of course, God never promised His children that serving Him would be a painless affair. Some of God’s most choice servants have been shaped on the harsh anvil of pain, for example: ( Job – Job 1-2; Paul – 2 Cor. 12:7-10;). David was hated and hounded by Saul without reason; (Elijah – 1 Kings 17-19).
It has been said that “those God would use greatly, He firsts hurts deeply.” So, we should not be surprised when we find ourselves locked away in one of the prisons of life. We are not the first ones to inhabit the cell of affliction and we will not be the last.
This Is A Perplexing Prison – Nowhere are we ever told that Joseph questioned anything that happened to him during his young life. But, surely there had to be questions in his mind. He must have wondered why his brothers hated him so. He must have wondered why he should end up as a slave in Egypt. He must have wondered why he was being punished for doing the right thing. Surely those questions and others must have perplexed his mind.
One of the problems of this prison is that is can be so perplexing in nature. I mean, you try to do your best and live your life for the Lord and still trouble comes your way. That is a troubling truth for many people. And, some are blown off course by the trials they are forced to endure. They throw up their hands and say, “What’s the use?” That is the wrong attitude to take with the trials of life! We may not understand all that is happening, but we can be sure that our Lord is in control of the situation.
There were some parents who lost their little boy in a tragic automobile accident. They both were very bitter at God. When the pastor came by to see them, the mother said, "Where was God when my son died?" The pastor said, "The same place he was when His Son died."
When we take that attitude, we are mistaken. You see, even though the prisons of life are disturbing and distracting, they are part of a plan that we know nothing about. God is using the hard, harsh events of our lives to shape us and move us to where He wants us. We must trust the Lord, even when we can’t figure out what He is doing. We need to remember that He has a plan. It is a good plan; it is the best plan, (Rom. 8:28). Our duty is to serve the Lord even when we don’t understand Him. Who would want a God they could figure out anyway? ( Isa. 55:8-9)
Regardless of what life brings our way, we must submit to His will and trust Him to do right. That is what Joseph did. That is what Paul did, (2 Cor. 4:7-11). And this is what we are to do too.
This Is A Prolonged Prison – We do not know how long Joseph spent in his prison. It was at least two years, (Gen. 41:1), but it may have been as long as 13 years, (Gen. 41:46)! We do know for sure that from the time Joseph was thrown into that pit by his brothers until the day he became the second ruler in Egypt, some 13 years passed by. For and extended period of this man’s life, his motto could have been “Nice guys finish last.”
Sometimes our trials are over in a short time; at other times they may last for years. God may spend many years shaping your life for a relatively short period of service. He may send you into a prison experience in your life to prepare you for greater service.
It took at least 15 years from the time David was anointed king over Israel until he ruled over the land, (1 Sam. 16; 2 Sam. 5:4). Those 15 years were hard years; but they were years of development. David was forced to walk through some hard places, but God used that time in his life to develop David to sit on the throne of the land. Regardless of how long or how short our prison experiences may be, our duty is to submit to God and to His will for our lives.
Peter Marshall once said, “It is a fact of Christian experience that life is a series of troughs and peaks. In his efforts to get permanent possession of the soul, God relies on the troughs more than the peaks, and some of his special favorites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else.”
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Jesus Is Coming Soon” By R. E. Winsett (1942)
Troublesome times are here Filling men’s heart with fear Freedom we all hold dear
Now is at stake. Humbling your heart to God Saves from the chastening rod Seek the way pilgrims trod Christians Awake!
Jesus is coming soon Morning night or noon Many will meet their doom Trumpets will sound All of the dead shall rise Righteous meet in the sky Going where no one dies
Love of so many cold Losing their home of gold This in God’s Word is told evils abound When these signs come to pass nearing the end at last It will come very fast Trumpsts will sound!
Troubles will soon be o’er Happy forever more When we meet on that shore Free from all care Rising up in the sky Telling this world goodbye Homeward we then will fly Glory to Share.
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