BBs Special Request: Bible Ballistics

Bible Ballistics: “BBs”  Special Request

Please pray—Go vote—–And pray, pray, pray, pray….. For the Righteous to “stand, and having done all to stand….” (See Ephesians 6:10-18), and for God to have mercy on our nation!!!

If my people,

which are called by my name,

shall humble themselves,

and pray,

and seek my face,

and turn from their wicked ways;

then will I hear from heaven,

and will forgive their sin,

and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Even so Lord Jesus!!! Amen and Amen!!!

 

 

Where Are Your Dominoes??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 12. No.11

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 12 No.11  Where Are Your Dominoes???

 

I remember playing with dominoes as a child, not always the “game” of dominoes but laying them out in a line and then watching them fall on each other and thinking that was so amazing. And we’ve all seen those elaborate dominoes that take people hours and days to set up and then in just a few short minutes the dominoes fall in intricate patterns to amaze us all. But the dominoes that I want to talk about today are the cultural “dominoes” that are falling all around us—and the results are anything but happily amazing—they are tragic and frightening and we need to wake up and make some changes while we still can!

Be not deceived;

God is not mocked:

for whatsoever a man soweth,

that shall he also reap.

8 For he that soweth to his flesh

shall of the flesh

reap corruption;

but he that soweth to the Spirit

shall of the Spirit

reap life everlasting.

9 And let us not be weary

in well doing:

for in due season

we shall reap,

if we faint not.” Galatians 6:7-9

We are reaping not the fancy, cutesy, domino stunts that we see on videos, but we are reaping Satan’s domino effect which is tragic—ruining our homes, churches, cities and our nation (besides the world at large!). Many of us bought the lies as young people (I am a product of the 50’s and 60’s and the end has been less than admirable—divorces, rebellion, child abuse, pornography, drugs, no work ethic, not even considering the rejection of God!), and made choices in light of our belief in and acceptance of those half-truths and lies (And just FYI—half-truths are lies!) and now we are watching the consequences of those choices, even we who have repented and returned to God. I must share the things that are on my heart. We bought into the “soap opera” mentality—that if we “love” anyone or anything then what we do for that “love” is all right! But that isn’t what God says—sin is sin and if we sow sin to our flesh, we will reap corruption and destruction. Even as Jesus told us:

Enter ye in at the strait gate:

for wide is the gate,

and broad is the way,

that leadeth to destruction,

and many there be

which go in thereat:

14 Because strait is the gate,

and narrow is the way,

which leadeth unto life,

and few there be

that find it.” Matthew 7:12-13

Jesus told us that there are two ways to go—a popular way, and a straight/narrow way (and I mean that any way you want to take it!) —and we have the privilege to choose which way we will go, but we aren’t privileged to set the consequence, for God has already set the consequences, and warned all that will receive His Word of the danger of sin, and the deliverance that HE has provided to all who will “hear what the Spirit says…” about the Son of God who gave HIS life for us! But what we must come to grips with is that we have created most of the problems that we are now facing in our country (and the world in general) by choosing the wisdom of men over the true wisdom of God.

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 14:12

There is a way that seemeth right

unto a man,

but the end thereof

are the ways of death.”   Proverbs 16:25

I’ve learned in reading and studying the Bible, that when something is repeated, we need to take note of—it is important—and God wants us to know that sin will look good in the beginning for Satan is the greatest advertising executive of all time—He can paint a picture of beauty and glory, but it is all gilded with lies, and the truth will come to light, but often too late to escape an inevitable consequence. Even scripture tells that there is “pleasure” in sin, but at what price? Let’s consider what the “faith” chapter tells us about the prophet Moses.

By faith Moses,

when he was born,

was hid three months of his parents,

because they saw

he was a proper child;

and they were not afraid

of the king’s commandment.

24 By faith Moses,

when he was come to years,

refused to be called the son

of Pharaoh’s daughter;

25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction

with the people of God,

than to enjoy

the pleasures of sin

for a season;

26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ

greater riches

than the treasures in Egypt:

for he had respect unto the recompence

of the reward.

27 By faith he forsook Egypt,

not fearing the wrath of the king:

for he endured,

as seeing him

who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:23-27

We see two examples of faith here; we see Moses’ parents, who hid him for three months “because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment”! The Pharaoh had commanded that all the baby boys should be killed, yet Moses’ parents kept him hidden from the king and later trusted him to God as Jochebed put him in a basket and placed him where he could be found by some Egyptian who would take pity on him. Then beyond imagination, Pharaoh’s daughter took Moses to be her own child, and paid his mother to nurse him until he was weaned. Yet when Moses became an adult (I can’t help but believe he remembered the stories that Jochebed shared with him as a child!) he recognized that there was a difference between God’s people, and ways and the “pleasures of sin for a season” in the Egyptian palace! Moses could have continued to live in opulent wealth, prestige and power, yet he saw that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was the true God, and His ways were worth the cost! He had set his heart on the true Almighty God, and chose to follow Him “not fearing the wrath of the king”! Moses, unlike some of us, recognized the fleeting, seasonal nature of sin, and he chose God’s way.

And while it took forty years in the dessert for God to prepare him for the difficult task ahead, God had his heart. What about you and me? There is another man of God who made good choices in his youth but messed up in his latter years, who reminds us that Satan is no respecter of age—he tempts the young, the middle-aged, and the older generation. Sin has no age limit! We must choose to serve God, God’s way! He hasn’t changed the rules no matter what people may think. Sometimes it seems that people have more faith in their “check” than in God. And marriage is one of Satan’s main targets! Yet God has made His standard clear, and how He feels about marriage and adultery (and any sex outside of marriage is adultery—pre, current or post marriage!) is key! The author of Hebrews reminds us of how believers ought to behave before the world, and where our confidence ought to be—and it’s not in the government (checks or no checks) or the weather person!

Let brotherly love continue.

2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers:

for thereby some

have entertained angels unawares.

3 Remember them that are in bonds,

as bound with them;

and them which suffer adversity,

as being yourselves

also in the body.

4 Marriage is honourable

in all,

and the bed undefiled:

but whoremongers

and adulterers

God will judge.

5 Let your conversation be

without covetousness;

and be content

with such things as ye have:

for he hath said,

I will never leave thee,

nor forsake thee.

6 So that we may boldly say,

The Lord is my helper,

and I will not fear

what man shall do unto me.”   Hebrews 13:1-6

The rules haven’t changed! And the other man I want us to look at is Solomon. A young man who started strong but fell into sin—and you might be amazed at what caused his demise!

In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said,

Ask what I shall give thee.

6 And Solomon said,

Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David

my father

great mercy,

according as he walked before thee

in truth,

and in righteousness,

and in uprightness of heart

with thee;

and thou hast kept for him

this great kindness,

that thou hast given him a son

to sit on his throne,

as it is this day.

7 And now, O LORD my God,

thou hast made thy servant king

instead of David my father:

and I am but a little child:

I know not how to go out

or come in.

8 And thy servant is in the midst

of thy people

which thou hast chosen,

a great people,

that cannot be numbered

nor counted for multitude.

9 Give therefore thy servant

an understanding heart

to judge thy people,

that I may discern

between good

and bad:

for who is able to judge this

thy so great a people?

10 And the speech pleased the Lord,

that Solomon had asked this thing.

11 And God said unto him,

Because thou hast asked this thing,

and hast not asked for thyself long life;

neither hast asked riches for thyself,

nor hast asked the life of thine enemies;

but hast asked for thyself

understanding to discern judgment;

12 Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise

and an understanding heart;

so that there was none like thee

before thee,

neither after thee

shall any arise like unto thee.

13 And I have also given thee

that which thou hast not asked,

both riches,

and honour:

so that there shall not be any

among the kings

like unto thee

all thy days.

14 And if thou wilt walk in my ways,

to keep my statutes

and my commandments,

as thy father David did walk,

then I will lengthen thy days.”  1 Kings 3:5-14

Solomon knew that only God could give him a heart of wisdom and understanding to rule God’s people, and God was so pleased with his humble request, that He not only granted Solomon’s request, but God also granted him riches and honor. God also told him that if he would walk in HIS ways, like David had, He would “lengthen thy days”! The catch was Solomon’s heart of compromise toward the pagan women that he took as wives (and remember he had a lot of them—700 wives and 300 concubines!) who caused him to stumble and fall away from faithfully serving God. And to borrow from the NASB “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals” (See 1 Corinthians 15:33)

But king Solomon

loved many strange women,

together with the daughter of Pharaoh,

women of the Moabites,

Ammonites,

Edomites,

Zidonians,

and Hittites;

2 Of the nations

concerning which the LORD said

unto the children of Israel,

Ye shall not go in to them,

neither shall they come in unto you:

for surely they will turn away

your heart

after their gods:

Solomon clave unto these in love.

3 And he had seven hundred wives,

princesses,

and three hundred concubines:

and his wives turned away his heart.

4 For it came to pass,

when Solomon was old,

that his wives turned away his heart

after other gods:

and his heart was not perfect

with the LORD his God,

as was the heart of David

his father.

5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess

of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.

6 And Solomon did evil

in the sight of the LORD,

and went not fully after the LORD,

as did David his father.”   1 Kings 11:1-6

Solomon chose foolishly—he surrounded himself with pagan wives (“bad companions”, regardless of the reasoning—whether it was for political positioning, or lust, or seasonal pleasure) who turned his heart away from following God! And when we choose the way of the world, it will always be in a direction opposite from God’s way! We can choose that “broad way” and face the destruction, or we can choose the “narrow… way” and have life. Yet Jesus said, “few there be that find it”—it has never been popular to follow God’s way, and it never will be, but it IS the only way to God.

Who will you follow—what dominoes are you setting up? Who will follow you (and your dominoes)? Are you leading them to God, or will they be lead to destruction. Paul talks about those who willingly and gladly lead others down the wrong road, and our world abounds with such people!

Because that,

when they knew (recognized) God,

they glorified him not as God,

neither were thankful;

but became vain in their imaginations,

and their foolish heart was darkened.

22 Professing themselves to be wise,

they became fools

32 Who knowing the judgment of God,

that they which commit such things

are worthy of death,

not only do the same,

but have pleasure in them

that do them.” Portions of Romans 1:21-32

We/I/you can only turn our culture around one choice at a time—we must repent of our failures and wrong choices (our sin) which have demeaned the truth of the Gospel, and come back to The Word of God as our lodestar, before the dominoes completely crash around our feet. May we all seek to “stand fast in the evil day”, being a reflection of the glory of our Lord, not falling for the lies of the enemy, nor being drawn astray by the “pleasures of sin” for any season! Oh God forgive our failure to stand for YOUR truth in days gone past, as well as today, and help us to keep our eyes on JESUS—the only way, who is the same always.

Jesus Christ the same

yesterday,

and to day,

and for ever.”   Hebrews 13:8

Keeping our eyes on HIM, and abiding IN HIM, that His glory may be seen in us each and every day!

I am the true vine,

and my Father is the husbandman.

2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit

he taketh away:

and every branch that beareth fruit,

he purgeth it,

that it may bring forth more fruit.

3 Now ye are clean

through the word

which I have spoken

unto you.

4 Abide in me,

and I in you.

As the branch cannot bear fruit

of itself,

except it abide in the vine;

no more can ye,

except ye abide in me.

5 I am the vine,

ye are the branches:

He that abideth in me,

and I in him,

the same bringeth forth

much fruit:

for without me ye can do nothing.”   John 15:1-5

When we belong to Jesus, we are empowered by His Holy Spirit to do HIS work, and by His power we can truly pray and see:

Thy kingdom come……Thy will be done…

Praying with a heart set on HIM, knowing HE will prevail!!!

I can do all things

through Christ

which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

I’ll close with a passage from Psalms:

Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.” Psalm 37:3-6

Counterfeit Faith??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #505

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #505      Counterfeit Faith???

 

We’ve talked recently about ‘people of faith’, and I’d like to take a bit of a turn today. I’ve been seeing a lot of billboards, ads and social media input lately that I want to call our attention to because genuine believers are often gullible and naïve when it comes to what we hear and see, especially when it claims to be from “people of faith”. What I want to call us to consider today is ‘the counterfeit’: just because it “walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and even have feathers like a duck”, it may not really be a “duck”! Just like Jesus reminded us, not every thing that says, “baa baa” is a real “sheep”!

Beware of false prophets,

which come to you

in sheep’s clothing,

but inwardly

they are ravening wolves.”   Matthew 7:15

Counterfeit sheep–Jesus warned us that we must beware of whom we listen to, trust, and believe—especially in regard to faith. The issue with “people of faith” is that some claim one thing but have an agenda that is 180 degrees opposite of what they are ‘selling’ (or giving away!) and their real goal is to lead people away from biblical, authentic, and righteous ‘faith’ in the ‘blood of Jesus Christ…..that cleanseth us from all sin’!

We need to be careful and always aware that there are a lot of claims floating around from so-called ‘people of faith’ who are pushing a ‘faith’ in a ‘gospel’ that is totally foreign to the biblical Gospel that calls sin sin, and calls people to repentance and faith in Jesus alone, as the Only Way to God–the only way to be saved from sin, and its penalty (death and hell) to live a pure and holy life before God and man. These counterfeit ‘people of faith’ promote (in Jesus name) everything from abortion and sexual immorality to a debauched life and almost anything that is the opposite of a holy, righteous lifestyle conformed to biblical standards! Scripture calls us to examine things before we jump into them, for not every ‘spirit’ that speaks to our hearts and minds is from GOD!

Beloved,

believe not every spirit,

but try the spirits

whether they are of God:

because many false prophets

are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1 

Just because something sounds ‘good’ on the surface, we need to ‘dig a little deeper’ into the source, whether it’s a sign on a billboard, or a cute ‘meme’, or an invitation to something ‘new’ and/or life changing! We must recognize that Satan is extremely busy these days, and we must inform ourselves of the things we encounter, always being ‘ware’ before we join or support anything or anyone who claims to present some new “ministry”. Checking out the “facts” before we contribute our time, money and energy into something that may turn out to be diametrically opposed to the very Savior whom we love and want to serve.

It’s important to know The Word, so that we can recognize the false when it comes along—and my friends, it is coming along in boatloads today—on TV, radio, books, newspapers, billboards and of course on social media. We must be sure we are trying everyspirit’ to see if it is “of God”, for not everyone is speaking (or writing) truth!

For such are false apostles,

deceitful workers,

transforming themselves

into the apostles of Christ.

14 And no marvel;

for Satan himself

is transformed into an angel of light.

15 Therefore it is no great thing

if his ministers also be transformed

as the ministers of righteousness;

whose end

shall be according to their works.”    2 Corinthians 11:13-15

I don’t mean to belabor the point, but we must, we simply must know truth to “…withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand…” (See Ephesians 6:10-19) We must keep God’s Word before us and examine the things we see and hear before we buy into what may be lies—as the old adage sums up so aptly, “look before you leap” (or believe, or follow or give!)!

Wherefore by their fruits

ye shall know them.

21 Not every one that saith unto me,

Lord, Lord,

shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;

but he that doeth the will of my Father

which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me

in that day,

Lord, Lord,

have we not prophesied

in thy name?

and in thy name

have cast out devils?

and in thy name

done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess

unto them,

I never knew you:

depart from me,

ye that work iniquity.”    Matthew 7:20-23

We must “try the spirits” that call to us every day and examine them in light of The Word, not the by the “cutesy”, eye-catching pictures, ads and slogans that they are using to mislead people—even genuine people of faith. We need to take special care as the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons are coming, beware of who you give your money to—you can check them out online to see how much of their ‘donations’ go to the people or causes they claim to be collecting to support and relieve—you might be surprised. I’ll simply leave you with the words of Jesus:

Behold,

I send you forth

as sheep

in the midst of wolves:

be ye therefore

wise as serpents,

and harmless as doves.”   Matthew 10:16

Amen and Amen!

 

 

Did You Say Thank YOU??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #504

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #504 Did You Say Thank YOU???

 

I have had some situations of late that have allowed me to praise and thank GOD for His abundant care and mercy!!! I try to maintain an “attitude of gratitude” but sometimes we just get distracted and forget to say “Thank YOU Lord!” Whether it’s answered prayer, a special blessing you weren’t expecting, a close call for harm, or any other circumstance—we can always thank our precious Lord Jesus and our Heavenly Father God, for “Thank YOU” is always a reminder to humble ourselves with gratitude (and there’s not much as intolerable as an attitude of “ingratitude”)!

One of my favorite passages is found in Lamentations, first because I love the writings of Jeremiah; not because they’re always easy to read, but because he was a man with a single, God-given, “unpopular”, and often rejected message—but he faithfully delivered it with a broken heart for the judgment that was surely coming on his people and his beloved city of Jerusalem. Yet after the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians, he gave us one of the greatest writings on grief and sorrow in all of scripture, with one of the greatest reminders in scripture, of the source of our hope! All written from the broken heart of an obedient servant (Always a reminder that when we are called to preach/teach the hard things of God, we are to be humble and broken rather than puffy, self-righteous or arrogant.)

I would simply like to share Jeremiah’s wondrous words with you this morning. Perhaps you need a reminder to ‘say thank you’, or maybe you’ve been questioning why you should be thankful, or perhaps you’re just weeping from a broken heart or loss. I pray that this portion of God’s Word will encourage you, and bless you today!

Remembering mine affliction

and my misery,

the wormwood and the gall.

20 My soul hath them still in remembrance,

and is humbled in me.

21 This I recall to my mind,

therefore have I hope.

22 It is of the LORD’S mercies

that we are not consumed,

because his compassions fail not.

23 They are new every morning:

great is thy faithfulness.

24 The LORD is my portion,

saith my soul;

therefore will I hope in him.

25 The LORD is good unto them

that wait for him,

to the soul

that seeketh him.

26 It is good

that a man should both hope

and quietly wait

for the salvation of the LORD.”    Lamentations 3:19-26

As the great old hymn says, “Great IS THY Faithfulness” (written by Thomas Chisholm)! Thank YOU Lord for Your faithfulness, for because YOU are faithful we can say:

Let your conversation be without covetousness;

and be content

with such things as ye have:

for he hath said,

I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

6 So that we may boldly say,

The Lord is my helper, and

I will not fear

what man shall do unto me.” Heb. 13:5-6

Amen and Amen!!!

Real People Of Faith??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 12 No. 10

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 12 No. 10   Real People Of Faith???

 

What is “real” faith? I want us to examine that question in light of scripture. Is real faith simply being giddy all the time, with no problems, being as the old proverb says, “healthy, wealthy and wise”! Or does real faith turn to God for the answers? That’s what I want us to spend our time doing today. I would like to start in a place that many turn to when they talk of faith, but with a twist that many miss.

Now faith is the substance

of things hoped for,

the evidence

of things not seen…..

5 By faith Enoch was translated

that he should not see death;

and was not found,

because God had translated him:

for before his translation he had this testimony,

that he pleased God

6 But without faith it is impossible to please him:

for he that cometh to God

must believe that he is,

and that he is a rewarder

of them that diligently seek him.”    Hebrews 11:1 & 5-6

We must believe “that he is”, that HE is The Almighty God who created “all things” and that He not only created us, but has provided for our redemption because man chose to sin rather than obey and trust God. Faith is placing our confidence and future in God’s hands, based on the cross of Jesus and His substitutionary (in my place), atoning (paying a debt He didn’t owe, because I owed a debt I couldn’t pay apart from death and hell), sacrifice (giving up Himself for me, even though I was unworthy!) for MY sin. Paul describes this so aptly as he wrote to the Roman believers.

For when we were yet without strength,

in due time

Christ died for the ungodly.

7 For scarcely for a righteous man

will one die:

yet peradventure for a good man

some would even dare to die.

8 But God

commendeth his love

toward us,

in that, while

we were yet sinners,

Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8

Christ died for me/you—and HE is what/who our faith is in. Faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed—and Jesus is the only place where saving faith rests.

As we see in the first part of Hebrews 11, faith is having our heart and mind set on Jesus! Yet so many take the examples that are shared in this chapter, and conclude that all who have “faith” will be prosperous. But when they make this claim, it is evident that they have missed the last part of the chapter! Faith doesn’t mean that we will have a life of ease and/or prosperity, but it does mean that whatever we face, pleasant or unpleasant, our confidence is always in our God and His faithful promises, for our God is ever faithful.

In hope of eternal life,

which God,

that cannot lie,

promised before the world began;”    Titus 1:2

God didn’t lie to those who suffered in the past, and He hasn’t lied to us when suffering comes, for He is working a great work of power, grace and spiritual maturity in us.

The Spirit itself beareth witness

with our spirit,

that we are the children of God:

17 And if children,

then heirs;

heirs

of God,

and joint-heirs

with Christ;

if so be that we suffer with him,

that we may be also glorified together.

18 For I reckon that the sufferings

of this present time

are not worthy to be compared

with the glory

which shall be revealed

in us.

19 For the earnest expectation

of the creature

waiteth for the manifestation

of the sons of God.” Romans 8:16-19

Did you see verse 18—“the sufferings of this present time”? We will experience suffering in this life, but don’t miss the wonder of the “sufferings”—“the glory which shall be revealed in us”! Our faithfulness to God as we undergo suffering and trials, will reveal His glory “IN US”—the “sufferings” of this life reveal HIS glory ‘in us’ both when we are with HIM, and for others to observe in us today! Since Jesus suffered as the perfect God-Man, Son of God, why would we think that being HIS follower and servant would be any different in the world that seems to hate God more every day; and they certainly don’t want to hear truth, even as Jesus said:

And ye shall be hated

of all men

for my name’s sake:

but he that endureth to the end

shall be saved.

23 But when they persecute you in this city,

flee ye into another:

for verily I say unto you,

Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel,

till the Son of man be come.

24 The disciple is not above

his master,

nor the servant above

his lord.” Matthew 10:22-24

So how are we to walk? By faith which is seen in our devoted obedience to God. Let’s look at a few faithful servants of God from scripture, and see what kind of things they endured. I would like to begin our study by looking at two young men from the Old Testament, who have nothing negative recoded about their character.

Without going into the detail of Joseph’s story, I just want to hit the highlights due to time and space. Joseph was the next to the youngest son of Jacob—the first son of his beloved wife, Rachel—and Jacob favored him (not a good practice within a family, creating hard feelings just as it did with Jacob’s family) leading to his brothers to hate him.

And when his brethren saw that their father

loved him more than all his brethren,

they hated him,

and could not speak peaceably unto him.

5 And Joseph dreamed a dream,

and he told it his brethren:

and they hated him yet the more.”   Genesis 37:4-5

Not only did partiality cause problems in this family, but it also seems that Joseph had a heart for spiritual things of God, and God had granted him a special gift of dreams. Now while some beat Joseph up for telling the dreams, if he hadn’t related the dreams—that they were of God, and that they seemed to involve this family—how would these brothers have seen God’s hand at work when they came to pass? Joseph’s brothers were also jealous.

And he dreamed yet another dream,

and told it his brethren,

and said,

Behold, I have dreamed a dream more;

and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars

made obeisance to me.

10 And he told it to his father,

and to his brethren:

and his father rebuked him,

and said unto him,

What is this dream that thou

hast dreamed?

Shall I and thy mother

and thy brethren indeed

come to bow down ourselves

to thee to the earth?

11 And his brethren envied him;

but his father observed the saying.”   Genesis 37:9-11

While I don’t think that Joseph understood what these dreams meant (yet), and his father didn’t understand either, he did take note of it, while his brothers “envied him”—like many today who hear from God! When we share the message that God gives us with others, often, rather than receiving the message that God has given us to share, they resent, reject or ignore the message, or even become jealous of the one who has been called to share it—the messenger, if you would. But there’s more.

And the man said,

They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan.

And Joseph went after his brethren,

and found them in Dothan.

18 And when they saw him afar off,

even before he came near unto them,

they conspired against him

to slay him.

19 And they said one to another,

Behold, this dreamer cometh.

20 Come now therefore,

and let us slay him,

and cast him into some pit,

and we will say,

Some evil beast hath devoured him:

and we shall see

what will become of his dreams…..

26 And Judah said unto his brethren,

What profit is it if we slay our brother,

and conceal his blood?

27 Come, and let us sell him

to the Ishmeelites,

and let not our hand be upon him;

for he is our brother and our flesh.

And his brethren were content.”   Genesis 37:17-20, 26-27

Joseph was hated because of the love of his father (over which he had no control), and also for the gift of dreams, from God—which none of them understood at the time—so they hated him so much they decided to kill him. Doesn’t sound much like a life of “ease and prosperity” does it. But they relented (by chance, right? NOT—but God’s providence is ever at work here!) and chose to sell him into slavery instead of killing him, meanness with a profit! So we find Joseph in Egypt.

And Joseph was brought down to Egypt;

and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian,

bought him of the hands

of the Ishmeelites,

which had brought him down thither.

2 And the LORD was with Joseph,

and he was a prosperous man;

and he was in the house of his master

the Egyptian.

3 And his master saw

that the LORD was with him,

and that the LORD made all that he did

to prosper in his hand.” Genesis 39:1-3

God was with Joseph—this young man of 17 years old, the favored son of his father, is now a slave in Egypt—but his new master saw that “the LORD was with him”! Joseph was a godly young man who was trusting God to care for him—but he was still a slave, a favored slave, but nonetheless, a slave. And skipping forward, Joseph was once again treated poorly and cast into prison, being falsely accused by his master’s wife. What about those dreams now? What was going on? If God was “with him”, why all this suffering? Well, to cut to the chase, God had a different plan, and Joseph saw God work on his behalf, but 13 years later—while we want “instant” insight and maturity! Joseph was raised to prominence by this very gift from God for interpreting dreams.

Yet after his promotion his heart was still set on God, and when he had the opportunity to take revenge he kept trusting to the God who was in charge, not vengeance!

And Pharaoh said unto his servants,

Can we find such a one as this is,

a man in whom the Spirit of God is?

39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph,

Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this,

there is none so discreet

and wise as thou art:

40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled:

only in the throne will I be greater than thou.

41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph,

See, I have set thee over all

the land of Egypt.”   Genesis 41:38-41

As ruler of Egypt, he exercised the mercy of God toward those who had mistreated him. In response to his brothers who experienced the “fulfillment” of his dreams, he extended grace, not revenge—and he credits God for it all.

And Joseph said unto his brethren,

Come near to me, I pray you.

And they came near.

And he said,

I am Joseph your brother,

whom ye sold into Egypt.

5 Now therefore be not grieved,

nor angry with yourselves,

that ye sold me hither:

for God did send me before you

to preserve life.” Genesis 45:4-5

Joseph knew that faith was trusting to God’s plan even when he didn’t understand it all ‘yet’! What about us?

And Joseph said unto them,

Fear not:

for am I in the place of God?

20 But as for you,

ye thought evil against me;

but God meant it unto good,

to bring to pass,

as it is this day,

to save much people alive.

21 Now therefore fear ye not:

I will nourish you,

and your little ones.

And he comforted them,

      and spake kindly unto them.”   Genesis 50:19-21

Now let’s go on to another young man who found himself in bondage to a pagan king—Daniel. I could spend months on Daniel, he was an amazing young man, but for our purposes, we’ll just peruse the highlights of some of Daniel’s encounters.

But Daniel purposed in his heart

that he would not defile himself

with the portion of the king’s meat,

nor with the wine which he drank:

therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

9 Now God had brought Daniel into favour

and tender love

with the prince of the eunuchs.”    Daniel 1:8-9

Taken into Babylonian captivity, Daniel determined to be faithful to his God, no matter the cost! It’s also interesting that God blessed Daniel with the same gift that He gave to Joseph—dreams and interpretation of dreams. Because Daniel and his friends determined to be faithful to their God—their God honored their faithfulness.

Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in,

then the prince of the eunuchs

brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.

19 And the king communed with them;

and among them all was found

none like

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:

therefore stood they before the king.

20 And in all matters

of wisdom

and understanding,

that the king enquired of them,

he found them ten times better

than all the magicians

and astrologers

that were in all his realm.”   Daniel 1:18-20

Daniel and his friends were faithful to God, and God blessed them so that the king found them “ten times better than all” the other ‘wise men’ in the kingdom! Yet that blessing caused them no measure of conflict with their pagan peers! Just like Joseph, they suffered for their faith—yes they were in a position of authority and even luxury of a sort, but they were still captives in a pagan land–yet they remained faithful even under fire! (Literally for his three friends.)

Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound ….. and all kinds of musick,

ye fall down

and worship the image

which I have made;

well:

but if ye worship not,

ye shall be cast the same hour

into the midst

of a burning fiery furnace;

and who is that God

that shall deliver you

out of my hands?

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king,

O Nebuchadnezzar,

we are not careful to answer thee

in this matter.

17 If it be so,

our God whom we serve

is able to deliver us

from the burning fiery furnace,

and he will deliver us

out of thine hand,

O king.

18 But if not, be it known unto thee,

O king,

that we will not serve thy gods,

nor worship the golden image

which thou hast set up.

19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury,

and the form of his visage was changed

against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake,

and commanded

that they should heat the furnace

one seven times more

than it was wont to be heated.

20 And he commanded the most mighty men

that were in his army

to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,

and to cast them

into the burning fiery furnace.”   Daniel 3:15-19

These three faced the fire, and while God did deliver them out of that fire, they were willing to go into the fire, trusting that whether God delivered them out of the fire, or through it—our God “will deliver us” for their good and HIS glory. Daniel and his friend left a footprint of faith before those who loved them as well as those who hated them. Even his enemies had to admit in chapter 6 that the only fault they could find with Daniel would be in regard to his relationship with his God.

Then the presidents and princes

sought to find occasion

against Daniel concerning the kingdom;

but they could find none occasion

nor fault;

forasmuch as he was faithful,

neither was there any error

or fault

found in him.

5 Then said these men,

We shall not find any occasion

against this Daniel,

except we find it against him

concerning the law of his God.”  Daniel 6:4-5

Daniel was a faithful man in all his ways—even in captivity, even when he was facing a den of lions. Yet because of his faithfulness, others saw God in him! Suffering and opposition in the life of the faithful is not a popular message, but it is still truth!

16 Then the king commanded,

and they brought Daniel,

and cast him into the den of lions.

Now the king spake and said unto Daniel,

Thy God

whom thou servest continually,

he will deliver thee……

19Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. 20 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel:

and the king spake and said to Daniel,

O Daniel,

servant of the living God,

is thy God,

whom thou servest continually,

able to deliver thee from the lions?

21 Then said Daniel unto the king,

O king, live for ever.

22 My God hath sent his angel,

and hath shut the lions’ mouths,

that they have not hurt me:

forasmuch as before him innocency

was found in me;

and also before thee, O king,

have I done no hurt.” Daniel 6:16 & 19-22

Daniel was found innocent before God and man—he had been faithful for some 70 years and while he faced opposition, God vindicated him and honored his faithfulness. So what about you and I? Is our faithfulness an assurance of ease and prosperity? Or have we realized that it is the assurance of God’s purposes being accomplished in and through our suffering and trials? Amen!

If we have time, we could look at Paul, at Jeremiah, at the prophet Macaiah, at King Jehoshaphat and others, all with the same conclusion that faithful servants trust The Master in all kinds of situations, no matter the difficulty, trial or inconvenience, even when we don’t understand. God has called us to keep our eyes on Him, and that last part of Hebrews 11 is the icing on the cake!

And what shall I more say?

for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

33 Who through faith

subdued kingdoms,

wrought righteousness,

obtained promises,

stopped the mouths of lions,

34 Quenched the violence of fire,

escaped the edge of the sword,

out of weakness were made strong,

waxed valiant in fight,

turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

35 Women received their dead

raised to life again:

and others

were tortured,

not accepting deliverance;

that they might obtain

a better resurrection:

36 And others

had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings,

yea, moreover of bonds

and imprisonment:

37 They were stoned,

they were sawn asunder,

were tempted,

were slain with the sword:

they wandered about in sheepskins

and goatskins;

being destitute,

afflicted,

tormented;

38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:)

they wandered in deserts,

and in mountains,

and in dens

and caves of the earth.

39 And these all,

having obtained a good report through faith,

received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”   Hebrews 11:32-40

Think on these faithful things!!! Let’s be sure we know that real faith isn’t measured by ease or $$$! Amen and Amen!!!