DAILY DISCIPLINE #54
By Colleen Donahue
Joseph and his coat of many colors is a story that has always been most popular with children -- a young lad sold into slavery, only to become a top official in Egypt. It's a story full of drama and human interest. Yet Joseph's life is much more than a great story for children.
From the life of Joseph we can see some principles for being a successful vessel in God's service. We can't tie up spiritual progress in neat packages and steps, yet we are foolish if we don't see certain lessons from great men and women who have gone before us.
Success can mean many different things but for a Christian, success can be only one thing -- being rightly related to God so that we can be a vessel that He can use to pour forth His blessings to others. Let's look now at.....
THE LIFE OF JOSEPH AND SUCCESSFUL LIVING
Day 1- If I were to ask you what makes a man successful, what would you say? We all might have a slightly different answer but the Bible gives us a clear description of a successful and prosperous man.
Day 2 -This was the kind of man that Joseph was. It says in
Genesis 39: 2-3....
Although we have very little background of Joseph, we know that he was the beloved son of Jacob (the 11th son) and that he had a relationship with God.
I. FIRST PRINCIPLE OF A SUCCESSFUL MAN.....A Close Relationship With God
Day 3- A close relationship with God is the first step in becoming a useful vessel for God's service. How important was this to a man like the Apostle Paul?
Day 4- This relationship involves a heart commitment to love Him with all of our heart, mind and soul.
Deuteronomy 10:12/ Deuteronomy 11:13 / Deuteronomy 6:5
Day 5- Drawing close to God also involves a DAILY commitment to spending time with God both by prayer....
Matthew 26:41 / Ephesians 6:18/ I Thessalonians 5:17 / James 5:13
Day 6- ....and in reading and studying His word--the Bible.
Jeremiah 15:16/ Deuteronomy 8:3b/ Deuteronomy 11:18-20/ Deuteronomy 6:6-9 / Deuteronomy 17:19 / Romans 15:4
Day 7- Although we are only given clues to Joseph's relationship with God we know that God spoke to Him and conveyed His plans to him via the dreams that he had.
Day 8- It was perhaps this relationship with God that became the source of jealousy amongst his brothers that finally erupted into hatred when Joseph explains to them the dreams God had given him.
Let's look at a part of Joseph's life that reflects a second important principle in becoming successful for God.
II. DEAL DECISIVELY WITH TEMPTATION AND SIN.
Day 9- When we align our life with God we can expect that those living for themselves and this world will be against us or will be a temptation to draw us away from God.
I John 3:13 / John 15:18-21
Day 10- For Joseph, this temptation came at a time when things were going very well in his life. He had gained position, prosperity and success at everything he did.
Genesis 39:1-6 / I Peter 5:8
Day 11- Times of rest, peace, prosperity and success can be gifts from God, but they are just the times to be most on your guard.
Deuteronomy 8:10-14 / 2 Peter 3:17
Day 12- Temptations come in the form of thoughts, objects, people, or circumstances. The power of temptation comes in the form of suggestions made to us to act apart from God's will. What was Joseph's temptation?
Genesis 39: 7-10
Day 13- We see first in Joseph's case a PROMPT REFUSAL. He didn't even consider the suggestion. This is the point where most of us lose our battle. We consider something too long. It may be only a few seconds but even that may be too long. There must be a prompt refusal to anything that is sin or would lead to it.
Proverbs 1:10/ Proverbs 4:14-15 / Romans 6:13/ Ephesians 6:13
Day 14- One would think that, had Joseph consented to sin, it would have been a sin against Potiphar, his boss. Even though sin may appear only to affect ourselves or one other person, who is affected the most?
Day 15- A prompt refusal to temptation will almost always necessitate PRACTICAL ACTION.
Genesis 39:10 / Romans 6:13
Day 16- Yet, even Joseph's practical action wasn't enough. Potiphar's wife would not give up easily. Temptation is often like that. Even with our efforts to stay away from it, temptation can still tenaciously cling to us.... Joseph's method?
Day 17- Removing ourselves from the place, the person, or the situation where we are exposed to temptation becomes a practical step to....
Day 18- Joseph's determination to FLEE from evil needs to be ours as we each face personal temptations. What are God's comforting promises to us?
I Corinthians 10:13 / James 1:12
Joseph did all the right things regarding the temptation in his life. Yet his reward for keeping himself from fornication was prison! Had God forgotten about his "crown of life"? The third principle of a successful man is to ....
III. KNOW THAT GOD IS IN CONTROL
Day 19- Have you ever felt someone was controlling your life? Causing you to go in a direction you didn't want? Forcing you beyond your will? Are you in a situation right now that seems unfair and unjust?
I Peter 4:12-13
Day 20- This is what Joseph found himself asking as he sat in a dark prison cell for two years for being accused of a crime he never committed.
Day 21- Then Joseph tried something that we try as well when we're in a tough spot. We try to get other men to help us out of it rather than to trust God that He has everything under control and will work on our behalf.
Genesis 40:1-19 (vs.14-15)
Day 22- The results are always disappointing when we trust in other men for deliverance.
Genesis 40:20-23 (vs.23) / Psalm 146:3/ Isaiah 2:22 / Isaiah 31:1 / Jeremiah 17:5
Day 23- God had not forgotten Joseph. He was allowing him to go through a time of discipline. A man or woman that expects to be used by God should EXPECT GOD'S DISCIPLINE!
Hebrews 12: 5-11
Day 24- God had not abandoned Joseph even though everything may have appeared that way. God never leaves us or forsakes his children even in the worst testing.
Hebrews 13:5b / Isaiah 43:2
Day 25- God's plans for us are always far beyond what we can think or imagine and therefore He takes special care to prepare us. Thus we see the humbled Joseph rise quickly from the lowly prison cell to become second in charge over the land of Egypt at the young age of 30 years.
The fourth principle that we can glean from Joseph's life is .....
IV. FORGIVENESS TOWARD OTHERS
It was not long before there was a famine throughout Egypt and the surrounding lands just as the Lord had said there would be. It was during this time that Joseph came face to face with his brothers?yes, the same ones who despised and tried to kill him 20 years earlier. If ever a man was in a position to "get even" Joseph was.
Day 26- The Bible doesn't give us any indication of how Joseph dealt with any bitterness or resentment he may have faced during his years as a slave. But by the time he sees his brothers face to face there is only forgiveness and love that pours forth. Joseph played tough on the first meeting with his brothers. Yet what was his reaction when he heard them talking together?
Day 27- Read the account of Joseph's second visit with his brothers (Genesis 43). How did Joseph react to seeing his youngest brother Benjamin?
Day 28- "Forgiveness has two sides that are inseparably joined; the forgiveness each of us needs from God, and the forgiveness we owe to other human beings. Most of us prefer not to face up to the fact that God's forgiveness and man's are forever linked." -Catherine Marshall
Mark 11:25 / Ephesians 4:32 / Colossians 3:13
Day 29- "Jesus warned us that if we want the Father's forgiveness, there is only one way to get it. Start the flow of forgiveness between heaven and earth by forgiving our brother from the heart." -Catherine Marshall
Day 30- We see the dramatic revealing of Joseph to his brothers in Genesis 45. Joseph had been able to see beyond all the hurts and trials of the years. God had allowed it all for his own good purposes. In our own situation, can we say confidently as Joseph did....
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