Scripture reading for January 21st: Genesis 38-40; Mark 15
Mark 15: 1-5 “Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led Him away and handed Him over to Pilate. “Are You the King of the Jews?” asked Pilate. “You have said so,” Jesus replied.” The chief priests accused Him of many things. So again Pilate asked Him, “Aren’t You going to answer? See how many things they are accusing You of.” But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.”
Nothing hurts as bad as being falsely accused by people you love and respect. Both Jesus and Joseph of old had similar experiences and endured it with grace and restraint. In this passage, Jesus was falsely accused but refused to defend Himself. He fully entrusted Himself to His Father and gave Himself to do His Father’s will that He might save all who would believe on Him. Joseph entrusted himself to God and God used him to save His people from famine. God is our defender and will ultimately bring justice for all His people. Now, in this life, our role is to serve others. Our life is the sweet aroma of God’s life to those being saved but the fragrance of death to those who are perishing! (2nd Corinthians 2:15-16)
Genesis 39:19-21 “When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in prison, the Lord was with him; the Lord showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.”
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the examples of Scripture where Jesus and Joseph suffered false accusation and imprisonment and with Jesus, death. Thank You for Your purposes and abundant restraint and patience that You bestow on Your people in their suffering and the vision of fulfilling Your will and plans! Fill me with abundant restraint and self control.
Proverbs 16:32 “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”
Scripture reading for January 4th: Matthew 2
(For 2016, we can read through the entire New Testament one chapter a day, five days each week. We will complete Revelation on December 31st. Each day I will choose a short passage and give an over-comer’s exhortation!)
Key Scriptures: Matthew 2:12-13 “And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, “Get up,” he said, “take the Child and His mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the Child to kill Him.”
In dangerous times of religious persecution, God knows how to take care of His people. He can use many methods to move them to protect them from danger, but here He chose to use dreams. By a dream, he warned the wise men not to go back to Herod. They listened and understood and obeyed. These were Gentiles that feared God and searched for the One that the star would lead them to. Joseph also listened and through prompt obedience spared his Son’s life and the family much sorrow! After the danger passed, Joseph was told to return with his family. Providentially, he ended up in Nazareth!
Observation for over-comers: Humble people are always open to God speaking to them, even in dreams or visions. They humbly listen and take prompt action after discerning God’s voice. God will protect us through faith and obedience! “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
Scripture reading for January 14th: Genesis 37-40
The story of Joseph is a fascinating one! He was a dreamer and the youngest of 11 brothers. He was his father’s favorite and probably a little spoiled. He had unusual dreams that caused him trouble with his brothers! Because of sharing his dreams, Joseph was sold into slavery and taken to Egypt.
In his new role as servant to a wealthy Egyptian, Potiphar, he was noticed by his master’s wife. One day when Potiphar was gone, Joseph was propositioned by Potiphar’s wife: “Come to bed with me!” Joseph’s response was full of truth and godly wisdom: “My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:6-9) This happened day after day and Joseph continued to refuse her advances.
Adultery is a sin! It is a sin against God and another person made in God’s image and joined as one to their spouse. God hates sin and this sin causes lying, jealousy, hatred, violence and ultimately death. Adultery sows violence in a relationship and destroys marriages and affects children. (Malachi 2:13-16)
Joseph gives us some very practical advice about how to escape temptation. Our first line of defense is our feet! If we would just quickly remove ourselves from the temptation, how much easier we can resist! When we linger and begin to reason, we will always be defeated! Running away may seem cowardly but it is better than the mess caused by sexual sin!
“One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants were inside. She caught him by the cloak and said, “come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.” (Genesis 39:11-12)
“Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed should be kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” (Hebrews 13:4)
Scripture reading for January 14th: Genesis 37-40
Have you ever tried to get even with someone and found that your revenge came back on you in another form? This is what happened to Joseph’s older brothers. They were jealous of Joseph, their younger brother, because he was his father’s favorite. (Genesis 37:3) His father made him a special coat of many colors. His father sent him on errands and gave him responsibility to check on the work of the older brothers. On top of that, Joseph had dreams in which he was the ruler over his brothers and father, and he unwisely shared these dreams with them. These circumstances brought about jealousy, envy, and anger that nearly led to Joseph’s murder! (Genesis 37:18)
The brothers ended up selling Joseph into slavery in Egypt, taking his robe, and dipping it in blood to fake his death. They thought that they had solved their problem of a brother who was a pompous dreamer! They could now get on with life with no more aggravation. Note that their jealousy did not hinder, but rather promoted, God’s plan of salvation!
When God is involved in a family and speaks to individuals, He knows how everything will work out. He is not shocked by our boastful behavior or our brothers’ angry reactions. God goes about working out His plan and the dream that He had given Joseph. Joseph got a free ride to Egypt when he would have never gone on his own. While there, the word of the Lord tested his faith during slavery, temptation by a married woman, (Genesis 39:10) and extended time in prison. (Psalm 105:17-19) All of this God used to prepare Joseph for his mission of saving his brothers and the known world from a disastrous 7 year famine.
God even used Joseph in interpreting dreams and he gained a reputation as someone with knowledge and insight. (Genesis 40:8) While in jail, Joseph interpreted two dreams that came true to the letter. The chief cup bearer was supposed to remember Joseph to Pharaoh when he was restored according to Joseph’s word, but promptly forgot him. (Genesis 40: 12-14, 23) Even bad memories work out for good in God’s economy!
Take time today and invite God to work in your mess! Read His word and trust His promises. Wait patiently in the midst of your messy trial for God is working out something for good for you! (Romans 8:28)
Scripture reading for January 15: Genesis 41-44
The lottery is a big thing in our land. People play the lottery because they hope to become rich overnight! If their “lucky number” is drawn, they could become an instant millionaire! Of course, some do win but the statistical odds are not in your favor. Those who do win, find that “dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” (Proverbs 13:11) A Christian worldview understands the lie behind the lottery and gambling. There is a something far different than luck behind our hero, Joseph, in today’s reading.
Joseph had been in prison for several years for a crime he did not commit. He had been faithful to God and avoided the seductive trap of Potiphar’s wife but it cost him time in jail. There he had risen to a key helper in the jail. Today we would call him a “Trustee” who could work. He had interpreted the dreams of two other prisoners; the one who was freed had agreed to help him get out but promptly forgot! What “luck”! Two years later, Pharaoh had a disturbing dream that none of his advisers could interpret and the chief cupbearer, formerly Joseph’s fellow prisoner, remembered Joseph’s ability! What “luck” again! Joseph was brought before Pharaoh and he interpreted the dream, giving God credit! ( Genesis 41:16) There is really no luck, only the grace of God that rests on those who fear Him. Pharaoh promotes Joseph to second in command in all of Egypt! From jailbird to Prince by the grace of God!
The lessons from this passage help us to see that it isn’t winning a lottery that will make us rich and famous. Faithfulness to the Lord to serve Him and live for Him brings great reward. Sometimes it takes us on paths we didn’t sign up for, however. Joseph’s time in jail tested his faith and centered him even closer to God. God’s blessing rested on him even in that jail. When God’s time came, the prince came out! Joseph’s dreams came true! Joseph is also a type of Jesus Christ. He was sent before us to deliver us by His suffering. The Word of the Lord has proved Him true too! Our light momentary afflictions are working an eternal weight of glory! Keep on being faithful and He will exalt you in due time!
So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took the signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.” Genesis 41:41-42
” and he sent a man before them–Joseph, sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the Word of the Lord proved him true.” Psalm 105:17-19
Scripture reading for January 13th: Genesis 37-40
The story of Joseph is a fascinating one! He was a dreamer and the youngest of 11 brothers. He was also his father’s favorite and probably a little spoiled. His dreams that showed his father and brothers as somehow bowing down to him caused him to nearly lose his life! Jealousy arouses forces that cause trouble! At least one of his brothers showed a small amount of compassion and his life was spared. So much for the big dreams! Joseph was sold into slavery and taken to Egypt.
Joseph was evidently quite handsome and muscular. In his new role as servant to a wealth Egyptian, Potiphar, he was noticed by his master’s wife. One day when Potiphar was gone, as Joseph was doing his duties in the house, he was propositioned by Potiphar’s wife. “Come to bed with me!” Joseph’s response was full of truth and godly wisdom. “My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” This happened day after day and Joseph continued to refuse her advances. What amazing self-control!
Adultery is a sin! It is a sin against God and another person made in God’s image and joined as one to their spouse. God hates sin and this sin causes lying, jealousy, hatred, violence and ultimately death. Adultery sows violence in a relationship and destroys marriages and homes. Children are the victims and the devil loves to devour children in the midst of adultery, lying and violence.
Joseph gives us some very practical advice about how to escape temptation. Our first line of defense is our feet! If we would just quickly remove ourselves from the temptation, how much easier we find we can resist! When we linger and begin to make allowances and reason we will always be defeated! Running away may seem cowardly but it is sure better than the mess caused by sexual sin! “Use de feet to avoid defeat!”
One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants were inside. She caught him by the cloak and said, “come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. Genesis 39:11-12 “
Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed should be kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Hebrews 13:4