Archive for category Study the Bible

Wait, Promotion Comes from God

When you find yourself in a dead-end assignment, you are not alone. It may feel like you are alone, but you’re not. Joseph was a slave in a foreign nation with a foreign culture and language. He did not know anybody and he were cut off from his family. But Genesis makes it clear that he wasn’t alone but that the Lord was with him. [1] Promotions come from God. Never seek to be promoted using human methods. Joseph failed whenever he attempted to promote himself. He wanted to promote himself among his brothers and they sold him for slavery. But God promoted Joseph after proving his faithfulness as a slave. Next he looked up to Pharaoh’s cup-bearer. But the cup-bearer forgot Joseph. At best, the cupbearer could have gotten Joseph freed from prison. But then he would not have
been in a position to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh. When the time came for God to promote Joseph everything worked in perfect harmony. Never attempt to promote yourself in leadership. Always depend on God; humble you and God will promote you.

For Christians, Joseph is a shining example of a man who does his work as unto the Lord (Col 3:23) in times of prosperity as well as in trials. No matter what situation Joseph found himself in, he worked hard and remained faithful. It is easy for modern Christians to convince themselves that they do not have the right position or influence to make an impact for God’s kingdom, but Joseph knew that he could have an impact in any situation, whether as a shepherd, a slave, a prisoner, or second in command of all Egypt. Like Joseph, we Christians can live in a way that makes people notice divine influence. [2]

Allow God to prepare you to become a practical leader, in order to handle the challenges of the future much better. Psalm 37:23 is very clear: The steps of a man are established by the Lord, And He delights in his way.” You may not completely recognize how God is moving and providing for you. Whenever you are moved to a different phase, or place, during a stressful season in your life, God will turn what seemed like a bad situation, into an arrangement that works in your favor. God is in control over all your assignments of life. [3]

[1] Farrar, Steve: God Built. Colorado Springs, CO  David C. Cook, 2008

[3] Farrar, Steve: God Built. Colorado Springs, CO  David C. Cook, 2008

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Who is Joseph?

Joseph’s story is one of trust: how he trusted God in the face
of great adversity and great success, and how God trusted him with great responsibility.
It’s a drama filled with incredible passion and tension, and it is played out
on the stage of Genesis 37-50. From the time of his birth, Joseph was his
father’s favorite. He was the firstborn of Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel.
Joseph was also unlike his brothers in character and attitude. Perhaps Jacob
favored Joseph for all those reasons. Not only did Jacob love Joseph the most,
he unwisely showed him great favoritism. Joseph’s brothers had come to despise
him so bad that they could not say a kind word about him.[1]

One day, for whatever reason,
Joseph announced to his brothers that he had dreamed that they were all working
together in a field when the sheaves of corn started to bow down to each other.
Their interest and anger were piqued when he suggested that their sheaves were
bowing to his, and they bluntly asked, “Shall you indeed reign over us? Or
shall you indeed have dominion over us?”
(v. 8). They already disliked him
intensely. The result of this further revelation was “they hated him even more
for his dreams and for his words”
(v. 8). Subsequently he had another dream
on a similar theme and he said “this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven
stars bowed down to me”
(v. 9). Having already offended his brothers, he
now managed through this announcement to offend his father who said to him, “What
is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers
indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?”
(v. 10). The young man
may have been short on tact but he was no stranger to truth.[2]

1. What can we learn about Joseph?

Joseph was seventeen years old and he was a shepherd. Joseph
did not participate in his brother’s misconducts. In fact, he brought reports
of their mischief to his father.

2. Why did his brothers hate him?

They hated him because he was the favorite son of their
father Jacob. They hated him for this reason and could not speak a kind word of
him. His dreams only intensified the hatred they felt for him. [3]

3. Should Joseph have told his brothers about his dreams?

Joseph was rather naïve to tell his dreams to his brothers
about his future supremacy and his brother’s submission to him. This just
intensified their hatred towards him. [4]

4. What did Joseph’s brother do to him after they heard
about his dreams?

When the opportunity came at Dothan, they planned to kill him. But Reuben
tried to rescue him by persuading them not to kill him. His brothers would then
sell him to a caravan of Ishmaelite going to Egypt were he would become a slave.

[1] Swindoll,
Charles R.: Joseph: A Man of Integrity and Forgiveness, Nashville, Tennessee
: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1998

[2]Briscoe, D. Stuart ; Ogilvie, Lloyd J.: The
Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 1 : Genesis
. Nashville, Tennessee
: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1987 (The Preacher’s Commentary Series 1), S. 294

[3] Arnold,
Bill T. Encountering the Book of Genesis.Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003.


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Agent of Change: Changed by Christ

The great commission tells us:

Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

We need to be Changed by Christ. God loves you as you are, but he loves you to much to let you stay that way.

2 Corinthians 4:2-4 (NIV)
2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.
4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Paul was certainly alluding to the Jews when he wrote these words. The Jews were guilty of twisting the Scriptures to fit their own preconceived interpretations, and people were willing to follow them. A veil was covering their hearts.

Whose hearts were veiled? – vs. 3 says it is veiled to those who are perishing. Paul says that the minds of the Jews were “veiled” because of the blindness of their minds. The minds of the Gentiles are also blinded!

Who blinded their minds?

vs. 4 says the god of this age. Who is the god of this age, it is Satan. So, the mind of the sinner is blinded by Satan. And because of this, sinful man finds it easier to believe lies than to believe truth. This blindness is due to the activity of Satan.

Why does Satan do this?

Again vs. 4 – So they cannot see the light of the Gospel. Satan does not want people to see the light of the gospel. Satan keeps lost sinners in the dark. The sad thing is that Satan uses religious teachers to deceive people. I once read, “If we can not find good religion, and cannot do without, we will turn to bad religion.” Many of the people who today belong to cults were originally members of Christian churches. Many false teachers today claim to base their doctrine on the Word and they are deceiving people.

Listen to what a famous TV preached once said: “I was shocked when I found out who the biggest failure in the Bible actually is. The biggest one in the Bible is God. Now, the reason you don’t think of God as a failure is He never said He’s a failure. And you’re not a failure till you say you’re one.”  Are you following a God that is a failure?

We need to trust but verify. The Apostle Paul tells us to – Test everything. Hold on to the good. People need to be changed by Jesus Christ. It is not just the people outside the church it is also the people in the church. It’s been said that the biggest problem with Christianity is Christians. Before we can make more Christians we need to become better Christians. Before we can be agents of change we must understand the gospel. It is only through Christ that our veils will be removed.

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