What will it reveal about your character? What will your response say about who you are? Where will you find strength? Where will you put your trust? Where does your hope come from? In this world you will have troubles – Jesus tells us that – He doesn’t say you may, He says “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He doesn’t leaving us hanging with a message of despair, but speaks to us encouragement with a message of being an overcomer! Jesus also tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds – He doesn’t leave it there though, He provides more details by saying “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – that’s right “perfect and complete, lacking nothing”. So let’s allow it to work in us and through so for good. Let’s remember that what the enemy plans for evil God can turn it around and use it for good.
Today’s reading starts out speaking about adversity as we continue with the story of Joseph…God was with him. God gave him favor. Joseph’s character kept him from doing anything that would hurt him, even though it ended up he was put into prison. He found favor again thanks to God in and through all the adversity he faced. He succeeded in the face of adversity! So can you!
Joseph Succeeds in Adversity
1Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt. Potiphar, an official of Pharaoh, commander of the bodyguards, bought him from the hand of the Ishmaelites, who had brought him down there.
2But Adonai was with Joseph. So he became a successful man in the house of his master, the Egyptian.
3His master saw that Adonai was with him and that Adonai made everything he set his hand to successful.
4Joseph found favor in his eyes, so he served him as a personal servant and he made him an overseer over his household; everything that was his he entrusted into his hand.
5From the time that he made him an overseer in his house and over everything that belonged to him, Adonai blessed the Egyptian’s house because of Joseph; Adonai’s blessing was on everything that belonged to him, in the house and in the field.
6So he released everything he owned into Joseph’s hand. With him in charge, he did not think about anything except the food he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and handsome in appearance.
7Now after these things, the master’s wife lifted up her eyes at Joseph and said, “Come, lie down with me!”
8But he refused. “Look,” he said to his master’s wife, “my master doesn’t think about anything in the house with me in charge, and everything that belongs to him he’s entrusted into my hand.
9No one in this house is greater than I, and he has withheld nothing from me—except you, because you are his wife. So how could I commit this great evil and sin against God?”
10So whenever she spoke to Joseph, day after day, he did not listen to her invitation to lie down beside her, to be with her.
11Now on one such day, he came into the house to do his work, and none of the people of the house were there in the house.
12Then she grabbed him by his garment saying, “Come, lie with me!” But he left his garment in her hand, fled and went outside.
13When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and fled outside,
14she screamed to the men of her house and said to them, “Look! Someone brought a Hebrew man to us to fool with us. He approached me to lie with me so I screamed out loud.
15When he heard me raise my voice and scream, he left his garment with me, fled and went outside.”
16Then she kept the garment with her until his master came home.
17She spoke the same words to him saying, “The Hebrew slave that you brought us approached me to fool with me.
18When I raised my voiced and screamed, he left his garment with me and fled outside.”
19Now when his master heard the words his wife spoke to him saying, “Such are the things your slave did to me,” his anger burned.
20Then Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. So there he was, in the prison.
21But Adonai was with Joseph and extended kindness to him and gave him favor in the eyes of the commander of the prison.
22The commander of the prison entrusted into Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison, so that everything that was done there, he was responsible for it.
23The commander of the prison did not concern himself with anything at all under his care, because Adonai was with him, and Adonai made whatever he did successful.
–from Genesis 39
God can position you and use you right where you are at. Will you let Him? God is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. Will you trust Him? Do you have a chip on your shoulder that needs to be knocked off? Do you have some pride that you need broken off? Is there anything that is keeping you away from everything God wants for your life? His plan for you is good! His plan isn’t to harm you, it’s to give you a hope and a future! God loves you! For God so loves the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever will believe in Him will not perish but have eternal life! For God didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world, God sent Jesus to save it!
Let’s see how Jesus responds…Don’t lose hope! Don’t give up! Others may forget, but God never forgets! He will never leave you nor abandon you! Stick with God!
Interpreter of Dreams
1Now it was after these things that the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt.
2Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, with the chief of the cupbearers and with the chief of the bakers.
3So he put them in custody of the house of the commander of the bodyguards—in the prison, the place where Joseph was confined.
4The commander of the bodyguards assigned Joseph to be with them and served them as their personal servant. They were in custody for some time.
5Then the two of them each dreamed a dream on the same night. The dream of each man—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison—each had its own interpretation.
6When Joseph came to them in the morning, he observed them, and there they were, looking miserable.
7So he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were with him in the custody of the house of his master saying, “Why are your faces so sad today?”
8They said to him, “We dreamed a dream and there is no one to interpret it.” Then Joseph said to them, “Don’t interpretations belong to God? Please tell me.”
9So the chief of the cupbearers told his dream to Joseph, saying to him, “In my dream, suddenly, there was a vine in front of me.
10On the vine were three branches, and as it was budding, its blossoms came out, its clusters ripened into grapes.
11Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand and I took the grapes, pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup and put the cup in Pharaoh’s palm.”
12“This is its interpretation,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches: they are three days.
13In another three days, Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position. Then you’ll put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand just as you used to do before when you were his cupbearer.
14But if you remember me, that I was with you, when it goes well with you, please show me kindness and mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house.
15For I was forcibly kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing at all that they should put me in this pit.”
16When the chief of the bakers saw that the interpretation was good, he said to Joseph, “I also was in my dream. Expectantly, there were three baskets of white bread on my head.
17In the top basket was food for Pharaoh—all kinds of baked goods. But the birds were eating them from the basket on my head.”
18Then Joseph answered and said, “This is its interpretation. The three baskets: they are three days.
19In another three days Pharaoh will lift up your head—off of you—and will hang you on a tree. Then the birds will eat your flesh off of you.”
20Then it happened on the third day—Pharaoh’s birthday—that he held a banquet for all his servants. He lifted up the head of the chief of the cupbearers and the head of the chief of the bakers among his servants.
21He restored the chief of the cupbearers as his cupbearer, and he put the cup on the palm of Pharaoh’s hand.
22But the chief of the bakers he hung. It was just as Joseph had interpreted for them.
23Yet the chief of the cupbearers did not remember Joseph—indeed, he forgot him.
–from Genesis 40
This isn’t the end of the story! You may feel like you are in prison. You may feel like you are in a pit. You may feel like you have been forgotten. But realize and don’t give up because it’s not the end of the story! (we’ll pick up more on Joseph tomorrow)
God hasn’t forgotten you! Remember what we learned about having troubles? Remember what we learned about trials? Don’t give up! Allow endurance to complete its work! Put all your trust in God and allow Him to complete the work in His perfect timing!
If God tells you to go, what will you do? If God tells you to speak, what will you do? If God tells you to do something, will you be obedient to His calling on your life? Let’s allow God’s completing work to be done in and through our lives!
Today’s reading continues into Acts and the journey of Paul…
Many Respond in Corinth
1After these things, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
2There he found a Jewish man named Aquila—a native of Pontus having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all Jewish people to leave Rome. Paul went to see them;
3and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and began working, for by trade they were tent-makers.
4And he was debating every Shabbat in the synagogue, trying to persuade both Jewish and Greek people.
5Now when Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul became occupied with the message, urgently testifying to the Jewish people that Yeshua is the Messiah.
6But when they resisted and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said, “Your blood be upon your own heads—I am clean! From now on, I will go to the Gentiles.”
7After leaving there, Paul went into the house of a man named Titius Justus, a God-fearer whose house was next door to the synagogue.
8Crispus, the synagogue leader, put his faith in the Lord, along with his whole household. And many of the Corinthians, upon hearing, were believing and being immersed.
9Now the Lord said to Paul through a vision in the night, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent!
10For I am with you and no one shall attack you to harm you—many people in this city are for Me.”
11So he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
12But while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jewish leaders made a united attack against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat,
13saying, “This man persuades men to worship God contrary to the Torah.”
14But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jewish people, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or a vicious crime, there would be a reason to put up with you, O Jews.
15But since it is issues about words, names, and your own law, see to it yourselves. I do not wish to be a judge of these.”
16And he drove them from the judgment seat.
17Then they all grabbed Sosthenes, the synagogue leader, and began beating him in front of the judgment seat. But Gallio paid no attention to these things.
Sailing East to Revisit Communities
18Paul, having stayed many more days, said farewell to the brothers and set sail to Syria, and with him were Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchrea Paul had his hair cut off, for he was keeping a vow.
19When they arrived at Ephesus, Paul left Priscilla and Aquila there. But he himself went into the synagogue and debated with the Jewish people.
20When they asked him to stay longer, he declined,
21instead taking leave of them while saying, “God willing, I’ll return to you again.” He set sail from Ephesus.
22After landing at Caesarea, he went up and greeted Messiah’s community; then he went down to Antioch.
23After spending some time there, he departed and went one place after another throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
Discipling New Leaders
24Now a Jewish man named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, well versed in the Scriptures.
25He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. With a fervent spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the facts about Yeshua—while only being acquainted with the immersion of John.
26This man began speaking out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the way of God more accurately.
27When Apollos wanted to cross over to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. Upon arrival, he greatly helped those who by grace had believed.
28For he powerfully refuted the Jewish people in public, demonstrating through the Scriptures that the Messiah was Yeshua.
–from Acts 18
Will you answer? Will you go? Will you stay? Will you do? How will you respond? What if it isn’t easy? How will you respond? What if it bring you to a point of adversity? What are you going to do? Let’s not lose hope and let’s not give up! Jesus isn’t just lord of somethings, He is Lord of and over everything!
The Lord of Shabbat
1At that time Yeshua went through the grain fields on Shabbat. His disciples became hungry and began to pluck heads of grain and eat them.
2But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not permitted on Shabbat.”
3But He said to them, “Haven’t you read what David did when he became hungry, and those with him?
4How he entered into the house of God, and they ate the showbread, which was not permitted for him to eat, nor for those with him, but only for the kohanim?
5Or haven’t you read in the Torah that on Shabbat the kohanim in the Temple break Shabbat and yet are innocent?
6But I tell you that something greater than the Temple is here.
7If you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you wouldn’t have condemned the innocent.
8For the Son of Man is Lord of Shabbat.”
9Leaving from there, He went into their synagogue.
10A man with a withered hand was there. And so that they might accuse Him, they questioned Yeshua, saying, “Is it permitted to heal on Shabbat?”
11He said to them, “What man among you will not grab his sheep and lift it out, if it falls into a pit on Shabbat?
12How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is permitted to do good on Shabbat.”
13Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out and it was restored, as healthy as the other.
14But the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.
God’s Chosen Servant Brings Hope
15Knowing this, Yeshua went away from there. And large crowds followed Him, and He healed them all.
16And He sternly warned them not to make Him known.
17This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,
18“Here is My servant whom I chose, the One I love, in whom My soul takes delight. I will put My Ruach upon Him, and He shall proclaim justice to the nations.
19He will not quarrel or cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
20A crushed reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, until He brings forth justice to victory.
21And in His name the nations shall hope.”
–from Matthew 12
We need to make sure we get it straight! We need to make sure we know what is real and what we can hope in! We need to realize the purpose! We need to remember where to turn! We need to remember who to call upon! We need to remember who has authority over everything!
Whose Power Will Rule?
22Then a demon-plagued man, who was blind and mute, was brought to Yeshua; and He healed him, so that he spoke and saw.
23All the crowds were astounded and saying, “This can’t be Ben-David, can it?”
24But hearing this, the Pharisees said, “This fellow drives out demons only by beelzebul, the ruler of demons.”
25Knowing their thoughts, Yeshua said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.
26If satan drives out satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?
27And if I drive out demons by beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive them out? For this reason, they will be your judges.
28But if I drive out demons by the Ruach Elohim, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
29Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he will thoroughly plunder his house.
30He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
31“For this reason I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Ruach will not be forgiven.
32Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Ruach ha-Kodesh will not be forgiven, neither in this age nor in the one to come.”
33“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree rotten and its fruit rotten; for the tree is known by its fruit.
34You brood of vipers! How can you who are evil say anything good? For from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
35The good man from his good treasury brings forth good, and the evil man from his evil treasury brings forth evil.
36But I tell you that on the Day of Judgment, men will give account for every careless word they speak.
37For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
–from Matthew 12
We need to remember His plans are for good! We need to remember the power of unity! A house divided will fall! We need to realize that from the overflow of our hearts and other’s hearts the mouth speaks! We need to remember that you can see and tell a lot about someone by the fruit they produce! So guard your tongue for you will have to give an account for everyone of them.
A Sign Greater than Jonah
38Then some of the Torah scholars and Pharisees answered Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”
39But Yeshua replied to them, “An evil and adulterous generation clamors for a sign, yet no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.
40For just as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.
41The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah. And behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
42The Queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. And behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
43“Now when an unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places looking for rest and doesn’t find it.
44Then it says, ‘I’ll go back home where I came from.’ And when it comes, it finds the house vacant, swept clean, and put in order.
45Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there. And that man’s last condition becomes worse than the first. So also will it be for this evil generation.”
–from Matthew 12
Jesus and Jonah had some similar experiences. 3 days … one in a giant fish and the other in a tomb. On the 3rd day came back to life (one on the shore, the other raised from the dead). So let’s live believing Jesus and believing in Jesus! Let’s be more than readers of the Word, let’s be doers of the Word! Let’s be more than knowing about Jesus and start a real relationship with Him where it becomes a dialog rather than a monologue! That was the light or the aha moment for me! It was went I realized it was more than routines and rituals, flows and lines up, it was about having a living relationship with Jesus when my life was turned around and turned upside down. God was then able to do things in me and through me that weren’t ever available before because I was now listening as well as speak, I was no longer deaf but could hear Him speak into me. He put a jetpack on my back and accelerated my learning and transformation, a metamorphism from who I was to who I am becoming.
So let’s do what God calls us to do! So let’s be part of the family of God by being obedient to God!
Embrace and Refrain
46While Yeshua was still speaking to the crowds, His mother and brothers were standing outside, trying to speak to Him.
47Someone said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, trying to speak to You.”
48But to the one telling Him this, Yeshua responded, “Who is My mother? And who are My brothers?”
49Stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers.
50For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”
–from Matthew 12