Serving others by standing-up for them

When it comes to displaying godly behavior, the ways of doing so are numerous. In the latest issue of Gospel Minutes the following point was made after noting Joseph’s willingness to stand-up for his brother Benjamin during his incognito interaction with the rest of his brothers:

This is one of our principle duties as Christians. We are not here to just go through the motions of worship and religious activities. We are here to protect the weak. We must act when we see children abused. We must act when we see domestic abuse. We must act when we see people at risk or in danger of maltreatment and do all we can to protect them. In the process, we may (like Joseph) discover what it is in the hearts of others. In the meantime, we will be rescuing a helpless victim. (Taking Responsibility by David Thurman – Gospel Minutes – Volume 66, No. 16)

The social justice movement abuses the essence of the gospel, but the essence of the gospel comes with the responsibility of societal justice. In other words, we have a responsibility to love our neighbor, and that includes not only doing right ourselves but also helping others when they are wronged. This responsibility can be seen in the lessons of the Good Samaritan, the woman taken in adultery and even in the interaction between Jesus and Simon the Pharisee (not to mention Jesus’ crucifixion and everything that surrounded his injustice).

As Christians, we cannot “fix” the world but we can help others by being a light that reveals the difference between right and wrong.

But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.” (Ephesians 5:13 NKJV)

#christianity, #help-others, #joseph, #quote

HEART FOR JESUS!

When there is the expectation of a child being born, what will become of that life is held dear, especially in a mother’s heart. Though Mary’s conception was out of the ordinary (Luke 1:34-35), her experiences as a mother would have been most natural. Her role, however, began with an OPEN HEART to what God was going to be working through her in the coming of the Messiah into the world. (Luke 1:38) It was an OPENNESS IN SPITE OF NOT UNDERSTANDING all the details and all that was to come.

Our Lord’s coming and life journey on earth were filled with wonder. Following the visit of the shepherds we read. . .

“(19) But MARY TREASURED UP ALL THESE THINGS, PONDERING THEM IN HER HEART.” (Luke 2:19 ESV)

Then, when Jesus was of the age of twelve — after finding he was not among their relatives for their journey home — they returned to Jerusalem, marveling to find Him in the Temple talking with the teachers there. Again we read. . .

“(51) And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And HIS MOTHER TREASURED UP ALL THESE THINGS IN HER HEART.” (Luke 2:51 ESV)

Jesus’ earthly parents “DID NOT UNDERSTAND” (Luke 2:50 ESV), but a treasury of moments and thoughts began to FILL THE HEART of Mary. Other than the description of Jesus growing intellectually, physically, spiritually, and socially (Luke 2:52) we do not have much written about Jesus’ early years. Most of what is recorded in the Gospels is that of His three short years of ministry.

We might wonder what other thoughts Mary may have TREASURED UP IN HER HEART. Though there was a STRUGGLE IN UNDERSTANDING (note also Luke 8:19-20), the OPENNESS following the Lord’s resurrection and ascension into Heaven had her in the midst of the disciples. (Acts 1:12-14) In spite of life’s struggles and sometimes confusing situations, may our OPENNESS OF HEART to the truths of Jesus keep us in the midst of His disciples.

Have a great day POSSESSING A HEART THAT TREASURES THOUGHTS OF JESUS! – Carl Hanson

Part 1 of a 3 part series from “teEn-MAIL”

(“teEn-MAIL” is sent out daily by Carl Hanson, preacher for the Church of Christ in Port Townsend, Washington, USA, located at 230 A Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Come visit us if in the area. www.porttownsendchurchofchrist.org)

#faith, #heart, #jesus, #joseph, #mary

Joseph respects Potiphar

Almost every child Bible student knows the story of the coat of many colors that was given to Joseph. It was that coat that was deceitfully used by Joseph’s brothers to make Jacob think that Joseph had been killed by an animal. Those of us who are Bible students know that it is “the rest of the story” about Joseph that is so intriguing.

We have so much blame spread around today by those who feel they have had a bad deal in life. Many who believe they have been mistreated in life, especially as youth, become bitter, hateful, and prejudiced against all who have a more pleasant life.

Joseph is a great example for us all. How could one be treated much worse? He was hated by his brothers, which must have made life miserable. He was forced into slavery. He was imprisoned through false accusation.

But we never even read a hint of bitterness nor see a coarseness of heart against others. All of this happened while he was a boy and then a young man. It happened at the time that counselors tell us we have the least control over our emotions. We often excuse someone’s misconduct because of “how tough a life” he or she had.

Joseph shows us we can overcome emotional and physical adversity in our lives. We can choose to act with different emotions than anger, bitterness or self-pity. Joseph never acts as though he would steal, cheat or mistreat others because he had been so cruelly mistreated by the world. Continue reading

#genesis, #joseph, #relationships, #respect

A Wonderful Old Testament Passage About God’s Providence

The providence of God is an amazing Bible topic to study. It’s also an amazing work of God to see in our life. More often than not, God’s providence isn’t one of those things that we see coming, it’s something that we see going. This was the case in Joseph’s life when he told his brothers in Genesis 50.20:

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

To say that Joseph had been through a lot in his life would be an extreme understatement, but how else would you describe it? Betrayed by his own brethren at the age of seventeen. Sold and carried into a foreign land only to find prosperity, but then the prosperity is dramatically taken away because of someone else who meant him evil. Finding himself captive, again, Joseph could have thrown away the key and given up on life, but prosperity came again due to God’s grace. Joseph wasn’t able to see it all but God was still opening doors, one of which was going to lead straight to the royal palace of Egypt through the mistakes of a chief baker and butler who angered the Pharaoh.

To make a long story short, Joseph dreamed that one day his family would bow before him – that dream got him into trouble didn’t it? Or did it? I guess it did, but that dream also got him out of his native land and eventually into Egypt where he sat as a man with great authority over the house of a powerful Egyptian ruler at only thirty years of age! From a shepherd boy, to a slave, to a chief servant, to sitting in prison, to serving over the prison, to riding second in the Pharaoh’s entourage in only thirteen years and later being the savior of all of Egypt and his family. There’s so much more that could be said, but Joseph said it plain enough when he summed up what had happened by saying that his brothers’ actions meant to do him harm, but God’s plan turned it into good. And that’s why Genesis 50:20 is a wonderful Old Testament passage about God’s providence.

#a-wonderful-old-testament-passage, #faith, #god, #joseph, #providence-of-god

Joseph Thinks It Through

Our text today covers a lot of ground. It is to be found in Genesis 37 and also in 39-50. It is the story of the life of Joseph. Joseph is an excellent person through which to study the characteristic of thoughtfulness. Consider how hard and emotionally damaging the following litany of daily happenings made his life.

• His brothers (his primary companions as a child) hated him from an early age. (37:4).

• They never spoke kindly to him. Their voices always had irritation, sarcasm or hatred in them (37:4).

• They learned to hate him with more passion after his dream of their subservience to him (37:5-11).

• You can imagine that with this sibling jealousy and hatred, he never felt that he belonged to the family except in the presence of his father and, no doubt, his mother (37:3).

• In today’s psychology, his self image was severely battered every day.

• In addition, think of the temptation of pride that was part of his life because he was his father’s favorite and because he did have these prophetic dreams.

• Also, think of the temptation to return the lifetime of hatred back at his brothers.

• Eventually, his brothers hatred found fruition in their sale of Joseph into slavery (37:23-28).

• In slavery, he did have some reprieve from his brothers and rose to a position of trust with Potiphar (39:5-6).

• But that too was stolen from him by the false accusation of Potiphar’s wife. He found himself unjustly imprisoned for several years (39:11-20).

• In prison also, he rose to prominence as an honest and diligent trustee. But, he was still in prison unjustly (39:21-23).

• Finally, after 30 years of abuse and suffering, Joseph was lifted by Pharoah to a position of prominence he would hold to his death (41:39-46). Continue reading

#genesis, #god, #joseph

“Round and round she goes….”

No doubt Joseph felt like his life was going in circles on more than one occasion. Get rewarded, get punished! Get rewarded, get punished! Read Genesis 37:12-36 and all of chapters 39 and 40 and you can definitely see the circular pattern there.

But one thing that Joseph didn’t see, at least until later, was how God was using these “walking in circles” moments in his life to bring him “full circle” before it was all said and done. When speaking to the very betraying brothers who started the whole pattern, Joseph said, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” (Genesis 50:20)

When we are introduced to Joseph in chapter 37, Joseph has some dreams. Before we leave Joseph in chapter 50, the dreams become a reality. Joseph didn’t get to where he was in relation to his brothers in a straight line, but with the help of God, he made it.

So, the next time you feel like your walk of faith toward Heaven seems to be taking you in circle after circle after circle and you want to quit, remember – there’s a difference in “walking in circles” and “coming full circle.” We just have to wait around long enough to see it played out.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them,embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them…22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.” (Hebrews 11:13-16, 22)

#genesis, #hebrews, #joseph, #providence

Favorite Bible character: Joseph

Daniel is ahead in the running, so I’m going to go with Joseph. My reasons, in no particular order, follow.

One, you see no moaning and groaning, at least, evident, in all the bad things that happened to him. He wasn’t passive, but made use of his circumstances to serve God.

Two, he was a forgiver, when his brothers appeared before him.

Three, he knew God’s providence when he saw it.

Four, God sent him into a foreign land, albeit in chains (or ropes, maybe?), to save his people; the Lord used him mightily, that young whippersnapper.

Five, even though he might have done well not to say much about it, he was a dreamer — but the proclamation of those dreams later served to demonstrate that God was behind it all. Sure, God gave him those time- and person-specific dreams, but it appears he took them to heart. I want to dream the dreams of God. (I think I wrote a poem or two about that.)

Sixth, Joseph was pure; he resisted temptation to sin.

Seventh, he was a man of great faith in God’s promise, for he made arrangements for his body to be buried in Canaan.

Like Daniel, I can’t remember offhand anything negative being written about him, though he’s sometimes painted as a spoiled brat. I have my doubts about that portrayal.

So Joseph is my favorite non-divine Bible character.

#bible-characters, #joseph