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Reading - Exhortation - Doctrine
Wednesday, 13 April 2005
Serving Willingly and Faithfully
Now Playing: How willing are we to serve despite adverse conditions ?
Topic: Service
Genesis 40:1-8

Service was one of the main links in the remarkable chain of events that God brought about in Joseph's life. Now he was made responsible for the king's butler and baker, for "he served them" (Gen. 40:4).

Joseph was made responsible for them because his godly character had won him favor with those in authority. And Joseph was willing to serve in any way he could.

As Joseph faithfully served God by serving others, little did he know how God would use his association with the butler and baker to bring about His will. Because God was in it, the relationship of the Hebrew slave with Pharaoh's two servants had far-reaching results.

We also need to realize that the smallest circumstance of life has meaning.

Even though we may not understand how God can use a particular thing to work out His glory, we need to realize that He can use small things as well as big things to accomplish His will.

The words, "all things," are very important words in 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."

Note particularly that Joseph's religious convictions did not stand in the way of earthly promotion. Men of the world soon detect when a person has quality of character. Joseph did not compromise to obtain promotions; the promotions came because he had a character that would not compromise.

"Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart; for consider how great things he hath done for you" (1 Sam. 12:24).

(from T. Epp)

Posted by dondegr0 at 10:26 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 31 May 2005 8:45 AM EDT
Monday, 11 April 2005
God Knows our Heartaches
Now Playing: Is there a sense in our soul of God's care for us ?
Topic: Christian walk
Genesis 40:9-15

Having assured the chief butler that he would be restored to his former responsibility, Joseph urged him, "But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: for indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon" (Gen. 40:14,15).

These verses reveal the heart and thoughts of Joseph. They show how human he really was. But his trials were inhuman; they were extremely hard to bear.

There was nothing wrong with Joseph's seeking release, but he found that waiting for God's time is often one of the hardest things to do. Joseph was not rebuked by God for seeking his release because God knew the heartache Joseph had.

Regardless of what you are going through, God understands your deepest emotions; He knows how you feel.

Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us, "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

"Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust"
(Ps. 103:13,14).

(from T. Epp)

Posted by dondegr0 at 12:23 PM EDT
Thursday, 7 April 2005
God's Mysterious Ways
Now Playing: Circumstances don't always tell the whole tale !
Topic: Ways of God
Genesis 37:5-11

The Scriptures record that there was a twofold response to Joseph's dreams: His brothers "envied him; but his father observed the saying" (Gen. 37:11).

His brothers were jealous of him, but his father pondered and heeded what Joseph said. He began to reflect on how all this might fit into God's program, although at first he had rebuked Joseph.

These prophetic dreams were God-given, and we are not told what Joseph's attitude was as he told his father and brothers about them.

Whether it was wise or unwise for Joseph to have told them, God permitted him to do so and even used the brothers' reaction as a means toward fulfilling the prophetic aspect revealed in the dreams.

Many times in the years to follow, Joseph must have wondered about his dreams and their fulfillment. The next 13 years of his life were filled with many tests and trials. Humanly speaking, they all seemed to stem from the time when he incited his brothers' hatred by sharing his dreams with them.

Had Joseph been looking at only the circumstances, he would have despaired of all hope, but his trust was in God.

God's ways are mysterious; they are beyond man's comprehension. As God sovereignly works, man is often unable to understand why he is being led down a certain path.

"Man's goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?" (Prov. 20:24).

(from T. Epp)

Posted by dondegr0 at 12:57 PM EDT
Tuesday, 5 April 2005
Faith for Life's Uncertainties
Now Playing: Are we obedient to God even in our troubles ?
Topic: Uncertainty
Genesis 37:25-36

The brothers sold Joseph into Egypt, "but God was with him" (Acts 7:9).

In spite of what the unrighteous may do to the child of God, they can proceed no further than God permits. In the midst of such trials, the believer needs to put into practice what is stated in Psalm 37.

Notice that there are no limits to the cruelty of Satan. The brothers evidenced no shame for their sin and even tried to comfort their father. Imagine their trying to comfort him when they were the ones who were responsible for his grief.

Although the brothers had apparently gotten rid of Joseph, they had not gotten rid of their responsibility.

From this account, we should realize the uncertainty of life itself. Joseph went on a mission, but he never returned--he never saw his homeland again.

He was mightily used of God in the path in which God led him, but the opportunity to be a blessing in his own land was never his again. Let us take advantage of every opportunity to be a blessing to others.

Life itself is uncertain. Tomorrow we may be in eternity. Are you ready to meet God? You cannot be sure of tomorrow, so take advantage of the opportunity to receive Christ today.

"Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2).

(from T. Epp)

Posted by dondegr0 at 11:17 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 14 May 2005 5:36 PM EDT
Saturday, 2 April 2005
Influence During Formative Years
Now Playing: Do we distinctly affect the younger ones around us for good ?
Topic: Growth
Genesis 37:1-4

After the record of Joseph's birth in Genesis 30:23,24, very little is said of him until he was 17 years of age. Genesis 37 begins the detailed record of his life.

In addition to the children of Bilhah and Zilpah, the children of Leah were also Joseph's early companions.

The half brothers of Joseph were unfit companions for spiritual encouragement. They had naturally been affected by the life they had witnessed in Haran and the conflict they had seen between their father, Jacob, and Laban.

They were also affected by the jealousies they saw in their homes among their mothers.

These children were older than Joseph and had received their early impressions from the old Jacob--the Jacob before Peniel. These impressions came before their father was mellowed in spiritual things.

Perhaps you say, "Yes, but couldn't they have learned differently after Jacob became Israel and had his experience with God and began to really walk with God?" This might seem logical, but indelible impressions had already been made on their lives.

Regrettably, we cannot go back and change the past, but this shows us the importance of training children in their formative years. Those who know Christ as Saviour and have children in this stage of life should be sure that they are doing their best for the Lord and their children.

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6).

(from T. Epp)

Posted by dondegr0 at 11:11 AM EST
Thursday, 31 March 2005
Fear Follows Great Experience
Now Playing: Do we rely on emotions or strive for daily faithfulness ?
Topic: Testing
Genesis 33:1-11

Jacob had just experienced a wonderful night with God that resulted in his becoming the new man, Israel. But when he saw the danger--Esau and his 400 men--fear gripped his heart.

Great experiences do not guarantee constant faithfulness. Jacob's experience at Peniel was a stepping-stone to greater living, but it did not guarantee faithfulness on his part.

He had made significant progress during his 20 years with Laban, but he was not yet all that God intended him to be.

Even Paul wrote: "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13,14).

Experiences that result from crises are like open doors that make it possible for us to enter a new aspect of our Christian walk. Thus, Jesus said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me" (Luke 9:23).

We are to daily take our position in Christ and follow Him. Galatians 5:16 assures us that when we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

When we commit ourselves to following Him, the Holy Spirit controls our lives, and God lives His life through us.

"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor. 10:12).

(from T. Epp)

Posted by dondegr0 at 3:57 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 22 April 2005 11:16 AM EDT
Tuesday, 29 March 2005
Arriving at Bethel
Now Playing: Is our relationship with the Lord where it should be ?
Topic: Growth
Genesis 35:4-12

God protected Jacob, and he arrived safely at his destination. Bethel at last!

The princeliness of Jacob was restored. God called him Israel instead of Jacob. Ten years earlier God had changed Jacob's name to Israel, but Jacob had not appropriated his position.

From this time forward Jacob did not backslide to his old life of scheming and deception. He applied faith and appropriated the provisions of God. As a result, in Hebrews 11 his name is mentioned in the gallery of people of faith, along with Abraham and Isaac (vv. 17-21).

When Jacob returned to Bethel, his communion and prayer life were reestablished. Genesis 35:13 says, "And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him."

After Jacob had made things right in his life, he was able to commune freely with God.
Have you also experienced the spiritual dryness that comes from a lack of communion with God? Are there things in your life that need to be confessed to God?

If so, apply 1 John 1:9, and as you appropriate His forgiveness and cleansing, you will again know the sweetness and blessing that comes from talking and communing with God. How wonderful it is to be on good speaking terms with our God!
"Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God" (1 Chron. 22:19).

(from T. Epp)

Posted by dondegr0 at 2:27 PM EST
Thursday, 24 March 2005
All on the Altar
Now Playing: Have we fully yielded our lives to the Lord ?
Topic: Sacrifice
Genesis 32:27-32

The first key to God's victory in Jacob's life is that Jacob was left alone with God. The second key is that Jacob had to be brought to the end of himself.

His own strength had to be broken. He had come to the end of his own resources. All confidence in his flesh had to be brought to an end, and this was done when his opponent crippled him. Then he realized his utter weakness.

Jacob could no longer fight his brother, Esau, in his own strength, for his thigh was dislocated. Four hundred men were coming with Esau, and Jacob was completely powerless to do anything.

Previously, he had resisted relying completely on the Lord, but now he had to because of his helplessness. He had to depend on God.

What all must God do to us to bring us to the end of ourselves? What must He do to us individually, organizationally, nationally and internationally to bring us to the end of ourselves? We struggle, strive, fight and resist, but we must realize that surrender to God is the only answer.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Rom. 12:1).

(from T. Epp)

Posted by dondegr0 at 5:22 PM EST
Tuesday, 22 March 2005
God Forgives the one who Repents
Now Playing: Have we owned our shortcomings to the Lord ?
Topic: Spiritual State
Genesis 30:25-33

When Laban told Jacob to name his wages, this gave Jacob another opportunity to scheme and gain more blessings by deceit. Although Jacob schemed and plotted, God did not let him out of His sight--and even continued to bless him.

How marvelous was God's patience with His unworthy servant! God must have seen much in Jacob because of all the years He spent in disciplining him, leading him, overruling his mistakes and forgiving his sins.

When God was finally through with Jacob and had forgiven all of his sins, it is said of God, "He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them" (Num. 23:21).

Consider the grace of God that is revealed in this statement: "He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob." The verse does not say that Jacob did not sin, but God had forgiven it all and had blotted it from His mind.

What a marvelous God we have! Take time to examine your heart before God and confess any sin that is in your life. God has promised to forgive our sins when we confess them to Him (1 John 1:9).

Clear the record with God so that there is no unconfessed sin in your life. Because Christ shed His blood to pay the penalty for sin, it is possible for God to blot out your sin.

"He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy" (Prov. 28:13).

(from T. Epp)

Posted by dondegr0 at 10:45 AM EST
Tuesday, 15 March 2005
God teaches us through others
Now Playing: Are we learning through what God allows in our life ?
Topic: Ways of God
Genesis 29:13-15

Laban invited Jacob to stay with him, and thus began 20 years of grueling discipline that eventually led to Jacob's complete transformation. Jacob had experienced an inner spiritual change, but his outward life also needed to be transformed.

During the 20 years, God subjected Jacob to hard discipline so that He could make him a worthy instrument. His life reminds us of Proverbs 13:15: "The way of transgressors is hard."

In Jacob's life we also see the truth of Galatians 6:7: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." God purposed to train Jacob by having him live with Laban.

These men were similar in many ways, but there was also a great difference between them. Jacob believed in God, whereas Laban apparently did not, as evidenced by the fact that we are later told of his idols.

However, God did not allow Laban to bring harm to Jacob. Laban would have sent Jacob away with nothing, but God was in control of the situation, and He saw to it that Jacob received proper payment for his diligent work.

Jacob must have been a hard worker, and God even blessed Laban because of Jacob. God wanted Jacob to have plenty, and He allowed Laban to have plenty also. When God undertakes for us, He always does the right thing.

"Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" (Prov. 27:17).

(from T. Epp)

Posted by dondegr0 at 9:07 AM EST

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