Tuesday, May 22, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 5/ 22 /2012
CRISIS MANAGEMENT , Lesson 63b
CRISES ARE NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS
When the famine came to Egypt, it came to everyone. The poor, the rich, even royalty were all affected by the crisis of the moment. The same is true in this life, every person in the world is affected by crisis from time to time. We have almost worn out the words of Job, (Job 14:1; Job 5:7); and of Jesus, (John 16:33).
In my life it seems that I move from one crisis to the next. Of course, I am not alone; I see that happening to people all around me. This life is a life filled with crisis moments. No one gets out of this world without facing moments of crisis.
That was how Solomon saw this life. (Eccl. 2:17), “Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” (Eccl. 2:22-23), “For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.” That is how I see it too!
CRISES CAUSE US TO RETHINK OUR PURPOSES
When this crisis came to Egypt, the people were told to do one thing, “Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do,” (Gen. 41:55). From that moment on, the people of Egypt had just one purpose. They had just one duty. They were to obey Joseph and do exactly what He said to do.
Sometimes it takes a crisis moment in our lives to remind us of our purpose in life. Sometimes, we lose focus in life. We find ourselves doing things the Lord doesn’t want us to do; going places He doesn’t want us to go; and being someone the Lord doesn’t want us to be.
If we are saved, our first and foremost duty is to do exactly what they Lord tells us to do, (Luke 6:46). That is our sole purpose before the Lord. We are to be who He wants us to be. We are to go where He wants us to go. We are to do what He wants us to do. Our primary duty is to yield the totality of ourselves to Him and allow Him to use us as He sees fit.
There is nothing like crises to cause you to rethink your purpose in life. When you distill it all down to the bottom line, our main duty is to be who He wants us to be! (Eccl 12:13) No one wants to come to the end of life and say, “I wish I had lived my life another way. I wish I had done something else with my life.”
Whether we are in a crisis or not, we need to ask ourselves a few questions. “What am I doing? What does God want me to do? Am I being responsible and obedient to Him?”
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Walking Alone At Eve” By T. R. Sweatmon (1917)
Walking alone at eve and viewing the skies afar,
Bidding the darkness come to welcome each silver star;
I have a great delight in the wonderful scenes above,
God in His power and might is showing His truth and love.
O! for a home with God, a place in His courts to rest,
Sure in a safe abode with Jesus and the blest;
Rest for a weary soul once redeemed by the Savior’s love,
Where I will be pure and whole and live with my God above.
Sitting alone at eve and dreaming the hours away,
Watching the shadows falling now at the close of day;
God in His mercy comes with His Word He is drawing near,
Spreading His love and truth around me and everywhere.
Closing my eyes at eve and thinking of Heaven’s grace,
Longing to see my Lord, yes meeting Him face to face;
Trusting Him as my all where-so-ever my footsteps roam,
Pleading with Him to guide me on to the spirits’ home!
INVITE A FRIEND TO THE TEAM!
Monday, May 21, 2012
Loving Father, Caring Savior, We lift up to You the areas of our life that are overwhelming and burdensome. We come to You not to complain, but rather to seek Your help. Forgive us when we try to handle every crisis by our own strength instead of depending on Your love and strength. Teach us Lord, to pray that You will take each burden of our heart and enable us to rise above every challenging situation on our life to live to Your glory and praise. This we pray and ask in Your Son's name. Amen!
Monday, May 21, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 5/ 21 /2012
CRISIS MANAGEMENT , Lesson 63a
As I read the story of Joseph, I am convinced that he had his act together. He is a man who knows how to handle himself in all kinds of situations. For the last while, we have been occupying ourselves with the details of Joseph’s relationship with his brothers and his father. Those events are the primary emphasis of these chapters. But, it is easy to forget that while Joseph was dealing with his brothers, he was also managing a crisis in Egypt. By the time Joseph faces this time of trouble, he has become master of crisis management. Consider the trials he had already faced and overcome.
His mother died while he was young.
His family was in a state of constant upheaval.
There was jealousy, hatred and infighting within his family.
He was betrayed and sold into slavery by his brothers.
He was lied on and falsely accused in Egypt.
He was imprisoned.
The butler, who promised to help him, forgot about him for two years.
He was suddenly promoted to a position of prominence, power and responsibility.
He suddenly finds himself occupied with preparing an entire nation to deal with a famine.
In every crisis he faces, Joseph displayed exceptional wisdom and faith.
In this passage, we are allowed to witness how the Lord used Joseph to prevent a nation from descending into starvation and anarchy. We get the see Joseph use all his skills of Crisis Management.
Genesis 42:1-47:12 is a parentheses passage. As we pick up the story of Joseph today, we see that the verses we have read are a recap of (Gen. 41:53-57). In that passage, the people are hungry and they come to Pharaoh for help. His advice to them is clear, “Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do,” (Gen. 41:55). That is what the people did, and they survived that famine as a result. The people were brought to the end of themselves and of their own resources. They turned to Joseph because they knew there was no future apart from him.
What Joseph did was to take steps to save the nation. He took steps to bring everything in Egypt under the authority of the throne. You can see this played out in these verses.
Joseph took control of their Purses (v. 13-14) Joseph took control of all the money in the land. All of the people were placed on the same level. There were no longer rich people and poor people, there were just people. Every dime was brought under the control of the throne.
That is where our money needs to be as well. We should strive to bring every cent we possess under the control of the Lord. Let Him use it in His work as He sees fit.
Joseph took control of their Possessions (v. 15-17) When the money ran out, the people traded their livestock and their possessions for food. Everything they possessed was brought under the control of the throne.
Shouldn’t the same thing be true in our lives? Everything we have should be dedicated to the glory of the Lord. If you possess anything that cannot be dedicated to the Lord to be used for His glory, it has no place in your life.
Joseph took control of their Property (v. 18-20) when their money was exhausted and their possessions were all gone, they gave Joseph their land. He brought that under the control of the throne.
Again, everything we possess should be relinquished to God for Him to use as He sees fit. After all, it all came from Him anyway, (James 1:17).
Joseph took control of their Persons (v. 19; 21) When their money, their possessions and their property was all gone, they willingly gave themselves up to be the servants of Pharaoh, in exchange for food to eat.
We need to consider self. Sometimes we are able to give the Lord everything we own, but we keep ourselves back for our own use. He would have us surrender the totality of ourselves on the altar for His glory, (Rom. 12:1-2). After all, if you are saved, He owns you already, (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
Joseph took control of their Positions (v. 21) Joseph moved the people from the country and other outlying areas and brought them into the cities, where work and food distribution could be more easily managed.
Just a reminder, but you and I really have no say in where we go and what we do. We belong to Him and He chooses where we serve; how long we serve; and what happens while we serve there. He is the Lord of His people, (James 4:15; John 3:27).
Joseph took control of their Production (v. 23-26) At the end of the famine, everything in Egypt was under the control of the throne. Joseph was in absolute over everything and over every person in the land of Egypt, (Gen. 41:44). He graciously gave the people seed to sow on the land and allowed them to keep eighty percent of everything they raised. Everything they produced was subject to a twenty percent tax.
This is what Joseph did to be sure there was grain during the famine,( Gen. 41:44). And, this is what he did to ensure that the people would succeed after the famine. Everything Egypt produced was brought under the authority of the throne.
God doesn’t ask His people to give Him twenty percent. He doesn’t even ask us to give Him ten percent. He graciously asks us to give Him one hundred percent of everything we have. When we do, He will show us how much of that 100% that He wants invested in His work and how much of that 100% we can keep for our own use. Our checkbooks need to be brought under His control.
Some people criticize Joseph for his tactics in these verses. They see him creating a feudal system where everything is controlled by a central power. No one owns land, no one owns houses, and no one can get ahead in a system like that. Some people have a hard time believing that he instituted a 2o% income tax on the people. I wish that was all we paid! – Income tax, Social Security tax, gas tax, road tax, county tax, city tax, sales tax, usage tax, plus assorted user fees. The people of Egypt did not criticize Joseph. In fact, they credited him with saving their lives, (v. 25). They saw him as a savior of their nation.
In this passage, Joseph is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. The same advice that Pharaoh gave to Egypt regarding Joseph was given to us regarding Jesus, ( Gen. 41:55; John 2:5), “His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.”
In Egypt, Joseph’s desire was to bring everything under his control He knew that unless he could consolidate power in Egypt, the country would tear itself apart when the famine came. He knew the rich would oppress the poor. He knew the nation would be ripped to pieces by rebellion, revolution and upheaval. To stop this from happening, Joseph took control of everything and brought it under his authority.
Jesus possesses the same desire in our lives. He knows that if we are left to ourselves; we will bring our lives to ruin. But, if we will yield control of everything we have and are to Him and His authority, He will bless us and use us beyond our wildest dreams.
Are the areas of your life I mentioned under His control? Does He control your Purse, your Possessions, your Property, your Person and your Position? Has everything been brought under control of the throne? That was the introduction. Usually, there will be a short introduction and a long message. Today, there will be a long introduction and a short message.
In Joseph’s dealings with the people I see a few important principles for living that we must not pass over today. These principles can make all the difference when a crisis comes into your life. These principles teach us the real value of the crises we face in our lives. Let me share those principles with you today as we think about this matter of “Crisis Management“.
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Lord, Take Control” By Unknown
My heart, my mind, my body, my soul
I give to You, take control
I give my body a living sacrifice
Lord, take control, take control
I surrender my life into Your hands
Nothing less is what my soul demands
Only You can satisfy my soul
Oh my Jesus, come, take control
INVITE A FRIEND TO THE TEAM!
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Heavenly Father, Blessed Lord, we celebrate the moment when we came to know You and we became an obedient child in Your Family. Jesus is Lord, our Lord, an we celebrate His glory every ime we assemble as Your chilfren, every time You heal us and bless us. We celebrate Your Name every time you answer our prayers. We celebrate Your Great Name when You deliver us from our mistakes and shortcomings, and You forgive our sins. We celebrate the wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ when You bring them into our life. We celebrate every opportunity You give us to teach and proclaim Your Word and Truth to others. We celebrate that we have been given a life with You with Great Promises in Christ Jesus our Lord. We thank You, Father, and we pray all this in Jesus' precious name. Amen!
Sunday, May 20, 2012
JACOB, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 5/20/2012
THE DEATH OF A PILGRIM, Lesson 62b
A WORD ABOUT BREVITY
We are told that the years of Jacob’s life were a “hundred forty and seven years”. 147 years! I can almost guarantee you that no one here will live to be that age! I can also guarantee you that Jacob looked at his own life and thought the years had passed by way too fast, (Gen. 47:9). The word “few” in that verse means “too little; short; not nearly enough.” After living far longer than any of us will ever live, Jacob believed that his life had ended way too soon. That is how this life is. It is over in just a short time. Of course, that is what the Bible teaches. ( James 4:12-17; Job 7:6-7; 9:25-26; 14:1-2; Psa. 102:3).
We need to remember that death is coming for all of us. Barring the Rapture, every person will die one day, (Heb. 9:27). Disease, tragedy, natural causes, and other evils are all conspiring to take us out of this world. We are all in the process of dying!
My visit last week to visit the graves of my family members. One died at 68; one at 69, but they all died. Just up the hill I have a cousin. He died when she was just under 14 years old. Just across the little dirt drive, is the body of a 16 year old girl who died in a car wreck in 1999. Beside her is the body of her mother who also died in a car wreck just over 1 year ago. One day, I will join them and “be gathered to my fathers.”
This life has been described as a brief pause between two long eternities. When this life is over, you and I will leave this world behind. We will go either to Heaven or Hell, depending on what we have done with the Lord Jesus Christ. What kind of preparations have you made for eternity? When your time comes to leave this world will you be ready to meet that hour? Have you trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior? Remember, what you do with Him in this life, will determine what He does with you in the life to come, (1 John 5:12).
A WORD ABOUT BURYING
As Jacob reaches the end of his own earthly journey, he has a final request. Jacob simply asks his son not to bury him in Egypt. He wants his body taken back to Canaan so that he can be buried in the same place as his fathers, (Gen. 23). Joseph promises to carry out his father’s wishes.
This tells me something about this man. He was not asking Joseph to bury him in Canaan out of superstition; he was asking in faith. Jacob died with full assurance that all the promises God has made to Abraham and Isaac would be completely fulfilled. He has lived long enough to see the partial fulfillment of some of those verses; he died believing the rest would one day come to pass.
Therefore, he wants to be buried in the Promised Land. He wants to be buried in that land that will witness the birth of the nation Israel. He wants to be buried in that land that will witness the birth of the Redeemer. He wants to be buried in the land the Lord promised to his fathers and to him.
After he receives Joseph’s promise to carry out his final wishes, Jacob goes to his death knowing that his body will be buried in Canaan, but that he, himself, will be gathered to his fathers. Jacob died knowing that one day a Deliverer would come and rescue the Israelites from Egypt. He also knew that one day God would send a Redeemer Who would deliver lost men and women from the bondage of their sins, (Gen. 49:10-15). Jacob died with confidence in the promises he possessed. I am sure he didn’t have all the information he wanted, but he took what he had and he believed God. He believed God for the promises. He believed God for what he could see and he believed God for the things that were yet to appear.
Isn’t that where we find ourselves today? We look at the blessings of our lives and we are thankful. At least we should be! We look at the brevity of our lives and we are filled with dread of the unknown. But, I tell you that we can go to our own burying with peace in our hearts. We can died with the same confidence that has secured to hopes of countless saints down through the ages, ( Psa. 73:23-26; Job 19:25-27).
There are several truths that offer hope and encouragement to us today. We have the promise of a resurrection ( 1 Thes. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:42-44). We have the promise of a glorified body - Whether we leave this world through the clods or through the clouds, these bodies will be changed and we will go to be with Him, (1 Cor. 15:47-54). We have the promise of a heavenly home ( John 14:1-3; Rev. 21:4) and live in the glories of that city! We have the promise of a heavenly reunion – Ill. With loved ones and with the Lord, (John 14:3; 1 Thes. 4:17). With these promise, plus many others, we can face our own times of departure with hope and peace.
Jacob received the promise he was seeking from Joseph. He died with the confidence that his son would honor his legacy. And, he did, (Gen. 50:1-13)! These verses talk about the fulfillment of Joseph’s promise to his father. In fact, Pharaoh had such respect for Jacob that he ordered a royal funeral for him. Joseph took his father’s body, along with the rulers of the land of Egypt, and they traveled to Canaan to mourn Jacob’s death and to bury his body. The funeral made an impression on the inhabitants of Canaan.
When we leave this world, it will comfort us to know that others are carrying on for the glory of God. I look behind me and I am comforted by what I see! It is hard when the people we love and admire pass from the scene. When they do, we need to consider the lives they lived and the legacy they left behind. We need to honor that legacy. If we were blessed to have had godly parents and a godly heritage, we should honor their desire that we live a good and godly life.
In the church we are privileged to walk in the footsteps of some godly people who paved the road of holiness for us. They left us a standard of living that we would do well to honor and uphold.
According to Heb. 11:21; Jacob died worshipping the Lord. When the Bible says “And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head”, it does not mean that he died, but that he worshipped. How could he worship in the face of death? He simply believed the best things in life can only come to us after death! He believed the best days were still to come!
I believe that too. I would like to live my life for the glory of the Lord and leave this world worshipping Him. That can happen; all it takes is faith in the Person, Plans and Promises of God! He has big plans for His people and I am excited by what lies ahead!
Conc: If the Lord has spoken to you about your soul, your blessings or your future, you need to come to Him now.
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“We Shall Assemble” By Twila Paris (1991)
We shall assemble on the mountain
We shall assemble at the throne
With humble hearts into His presence
We bring an offering of song
Glory and honor and dominion
Unto the Lamb
Unto the King
We sing the song of the Redeemed
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