I ran across this story from a website with sermon illustrations. They pulled it from “Today in the Word, MBI, January, 1990, p. 36″
In Genesis, chapter thirty-seven, Joseph’s brothers threw him into a pit, out of jealousy. Joseph was sold to traders that were passing through on their way to Egypt, for twenty shekels of silver (v. 28) Chapter thirty-nine picks back up on the narrative of Joseph’s success as a slave in Potiphar’s house. Potiphar was an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard (v. 1). Joseph was purchased to work as a common slave. Potiphar noticed Joseph’s work and showed favor to him by promoting him from an ordinary slave to one with power and high responsibility. Everything was entrusted into Joseph’s hands, so Potiphar did not worry about anything except the food he ate.
While Potiphar is gone, his wife starts tempting Joseph to lie with her. She was very persistent and continued to plead with him to “lie with me”, but Joseph continues to avoid her. He could have had the thought that if he did this it could affect his job or his masters trust, but Joseph’s main concern was “how then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” (v. 9) Joseph made the mistake to be in the house alone with her. She tried again to seduce him but he refused. She grabbed a hold of his garment and pleaded the more, “lie with me”, but he fled leaving his garment with her. She held on to it and screamed for the other servants. ‘That Hebrew came to lie with me and to make sport (laugh) of us, but instead I screamed and he fled.’ (v. 11–16) She held on to the garment until her husband came home. Having no witnesses there, it came down to her word against his.
When Potiphar heard this, he was hot with anger. It does not really direct who he was mad at. Was it Joseph or his wife? Potiphar had every right to have Joseph killed, but it seems that Potiphar knew that it was his wife’s fault. So Joseph was thrown it prison instead, but it seems that it was not long before God allowed Joseph to find favor with the chief jailer.
Joseph pressed on; refusing to let any past events in his life to control his future. In the same way, Christians should forget what is behind them and press on forward to what lies ahead (Phil 3:13). If anyone had the right to be tempted with bitterness about the past, it was Joseph. (brothers hated him and sold him, wrongfully accused by Potiphar’s wife, cup bearer forgot about him, seems like God abandoned him,…) Dwelling on past misfortunes takes one’s eyes off what God is trying to do in the present and future. Joseph’s eyes were so fixed on God, that when temptation came, he was focused on the consequences of his sin and the potential damage to his relationship with a holy God.
All of Joseph’s troubles were all part of God’s sovereign plan to preserve Israel from a future famine. As Joseph was in this prison, he was able to interpret a baker’s and cupbearer’s dream, with God’s help. Accurately interpreting these dreams allowed Joseph the opportunity to interpret Pharaoh’s dream warning of the future famine that was coming to the land. Throughout all the misfortunes in Joseph’s life, he did not let them control how he was going to live in the present. Joseph pressed on through the misfortunes instead laying around in his own self pity.
In the second letter to Timothy, Paul exhorts Timothy to remain faithful in his faith like his mother Eunice, and his grandmother Lois. (1:5) Timothy needs to remain faithful to the word so he is able to with stand against the false teachers. The power to overcome these false teachers comes from God. Paul also says how this will be a fight. He will have to guard the treasure that has been entrusted to him. (1:14)
In Chapter two, Paul compares the Christian life as an athlete competing for a prize, a hard-working farmer getting his share of the crops, and a soldier suffering hardship. Paul tells Timothy to be strong. He should work hard studying so he is able to properly handle the Word of Truth. It is going to take some effort or energy to be an approved workman that is not ashamed. (2:15) The reason Paul is urging Timothy to be diligent in his studies is because if Timothy can handle the Word of God properly, he can handle and discern when false teachers come.
Continuing in chapter Three, Paul tells Timothy that evil and difficult times will increase, especially for the ones who desire to live godly. (3:12) This is all the more reason to diligently study the Word, because it is bad now, but it will get worse. False teachers will continue to slip into the church to teach their heresies. This makes it a great place for the insertion for the inspiration of the Bible. If one diligently studies the Bible, he will know what the bible says. He will be able to discern what he hears. Being familiar with the Bible, one would be able to properly teach, reprove, correct, and or train others in righteousness. This is done so each man can be adequately equipped to discern what is taught to them and to be able to stand up to false teachers when they come.
It is great that one is diligently working hard studying the Bible, but Paul, in Chapter four, takes it one step further. Considering the situation, Paul emphatically charges Timothy to not only to be ready to preach the Word, but to boldly preach it. “The preacher is not to air his own opinions but to proclaim God’s eternal, authoritative Word of truth…The minister has to be on duty constantly, ready for any emergency. ‘In season and out of season’”(1) Preach the Word whether this means by correcting someone who is wayward or rebuking false teachers, or exhorting the discouraged. Again the time is coming when people will not want to hear the Word and false teachers will also come, but despite this, Timothy is to do the work of the evangelist and preach the Word anyway.
In Paul and Timothy’s day, false teachers were very active propagating their distorted beliefs of God. Today is no different. We must constantly study the Bible, so we become so familiar with the truth, that when a lie comes, we can instantly spot it, defend it with truth, and rescue the spiritual immature from it.
1. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 11, General Editor Gaebelein, Frank E. (Grand Rapids: Zonderman, 1978), 411.
I heard this song a little bit ago and it always excites be because I’m a visionary with many big dreams that will only work if God helps.
John Waller said,
“Attempt something so big for God that it is sure to fail without Him.” I’m not sure who first spoke these words, but they’ve never left me. I believe the desire to be a part of something greater than ourselves is built into the core of each one of us. That’s the reason I left Georgia to become the worship pastor of a church plant in south Denver called “Southlink.” I believe that this song will strike a chord with many visionary dreamers who are contemplating stepping out and doing something that only God can truly do through them. In his book, “Visioneering,” Andy Stanley said, “A divine vision done God’s way and in God’s timing is sure to succeed.”
Open another browser and drop this link in so you can see the words and hear it play.
I wanna see something I’ve not seen Something so big I wanna be a part of something great Greater than me
It’s time to dream big dreams To see Your vision Become reality ‘Cause it’s for You, by You, those who Love You wanna do
Something so big It’s destined to fail without You, Lord It’s gonna fail without You, Lord Something so great It takes a miracle to do We, Your children Wanna do something big for You
We, yes, we are gonna sing a brand new song Something so strong We will be the sound that wakes the dawn Something so loud
It’s time for breaking through ‘Cause there are no limits For he who holds the truth When it’s for You, and by You, and those who Love You wanna do
Something bigger, something greater For the glory of Your splendor Something bigger, something greater Tell the story of Your wondrous loveYour wondrous love Those who love You wanna do
As long as we live, let us do something so big for You
© 2005 New Spring (ASCAP) / John Waller Publishing (ASCAP). All rights on behalf of John Waller Publishing (ASCAP) administered by New Spring (ASCAP).
When we have big dreams that we want to do for God, God has to mold us to his image so we don’t brag and take the credit that we did it all by ourselves.
God is knowable and He has revealed himself with general revelation (creation..Rom 1:20) and with specific revelation through his written word. The entire Christian life is a process of knowing what God is like. The more time that is spent with him, the more one can know about him. Man will never be able to know everything about Him because if that were possible than man would be God. God is knowable, but he is so awesome, man’s finite minds can not explain him completely in man’s limited vocabulary.
In chapters fourteen through sixteen of second Chronicles shows the life of king Asa of Judah. King Asa reigned for forty-one years. He did what was right in the sight of the Lord (1 Kings 15:8). His first ten years of reign there was peace (14:1b-8). God gave him victory over Zerah the Cushite (14:9-15). There was a second reform in chapter fifteen. Here in chapter sixteen there are hostile moves against king Asa by king Baasha of Israel.
Since God never changes, we know without a doubt that he will never ever ever leave us, abandon us, or become unfastened from us. (Heb 13:5)
I don’t know if there are others out there like me, but every now and then I struggle with going to church. Now it’s not the church’s fault, but sometimes as life pulls on you, you just don’t feel like worshipping, praying, or even serving. Today was one of those days. I felt like a mindless zombie going through the motions (you know: smiling, shaking hands, high fiving the kids,..), but when it came to the worship time, I just couldn’t sing. I felt that I had no song in me. Sunday school worship….nothing. Church worship…nothing. Three quarters through the evening service…nothing, …..until we came to the second to last song: Give Thanks.
GIVE THANKS WITH A GRATEFUL HEART
Today I read an article that talked about a teenager that was upset that her dad was laid off from his engineering job. She went on to explain how she is not able to have money to go to the movies or eat fast food with her friends. “It is so unfair, I deserve better,” she said.
Everyone is probably shaking their head and thinking, “Boy, that girl is very selfish.” We do not like to admit it, but we are sometimes just like that girl: selfish. The mentality is that the world should revolve around us. If it is to boast about our own self pity and failures, or to show off our accomplishments or the new material possession that we just bought, we like the attention.
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
To be selfish is to be self seeking. Looking out for number one, worried about how things will affect you instead of others. Humility is the opposite of selfishness. One needs to consider (see the value/worth) of the other individuals around them, to see that the value of the other individuals around them surpasses their own.
We are to be imitators of Christ (Eph 5:1).
Philippians 2:5-8 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Jesus, God in flesh, willingly took a lower position by becoming a slave (servant). He did not cry and whine in heaven saying, “But Father I shouldn’t have to veil my attributes, it’s not fair. I’m God. I deserve better.” Jesus willingly veiled some of his attributes to be tempted in all ways like us (Heb 4:15) and to die the worst death possible for this lost world that was in rebellion against Him (1 John 2:2).
This really puts to light how selfish we really are at times. When we are selfish, we are focusing on ourselves instead of Jesus Christ.
Solomon had made a peace treaty with pharaoh king of Egypt by marrying pharaoh’s daughter. He understood that a pagan queen should not be with the Ark of the Covenant (at David’s palace), so she was brought to the City of David instead. A Canaanite tradition of sacrificing in the mountains (to be closer to their gods) was practiced by everyone, including Solomon. Solomon wanted to show his love for God by living his life like his father David did, but he continued to sacrifice like the pagans did. The Lord appeared to Solomon at night in a dream and offered him one wish. Solomon did not have a selfish heart and he realized his inexperience as a leader (only 20 years old), so he asked for a discerning heart to govern God’s people. Really what he asked for was a heart tuned to the voice of God. You know the rest of the story. God gave him a discerning heart, plus power, riches, and a chance for long life if he obeys God’s word. The interesting thing is how God’s blessing brought him closer to God. He turned from the high place to the appropriate place to sacrifice (stood in front of the Ark of the Covenant). The sacrificed burnt offerings expressed the complete dedication of himself to God. To show his joy and gratitude, Solomon gave a feast for his whole court.