Joseph had been doted on by his father, sold by his brothers into slavery, bought by Potiphar, and eventually promoted to manage Potiphar's entire household. He was doing a great job. Then he was falsely accused of rape and thrown into prison.
Sometimes after we have had a little success, after we have come through the adversity, after we have climbed the social ladder, we are more vulnerable than we were before. There was a time we trusted in God because we had to. We trusted in God because if He didn't come through, we weren't eating that night. We trusted in God because if He didn't come through, the rent wouldn't get paid. If God didn't come through, we weren't going to make it through the week.
The 12 men that Jesus called were a rough-cut crew. But these are men we call saints today. Over time, we have venerated them. Forever enshrined in stained glass, they are like superheroes from the Bible—no flaws, shortcomings, imperfections; they are the spiritual elite.
Lot's point of reference was Egypt. Genesis 13:10 tells us, "Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the Lord or the beautiful land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)"
Sometimes people who have less are more materialistic than those who have a lot. I have met people who have a lot and are very generous. They don't let everyone know all the things they do for others; they just do them quietly. They are thankful for what God has blessed them with. They help others.
When I'm around nonbelievers, I don't expect them to behave like believers. I don't hold them to the standards of Christians. But sometimes Christians will get really uptight around nonbelievers. They used a cuss word. They said something that is contrary to my faith.
Jonathan Edwards is best known for his sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" and his role in one of the great spiritual awakenings in the United States. He also was the third president of Princeton University.
What you decide to eat for lunch and what you decide to wear don't have long-lasting repercussions in life. But there are other decisions that are very important, like whom you will marry and what career path you take. And the most important choice of all is whether you will follow Jesus Christ.
The way some people behave, you would think that the Bible says, "If another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should first gloat about it and make sure that you condemn him or her for it. Then proceed to tell as many people as possible."
When I take my wife out for lunch, I'm usually hungry, so I'll decide what I want in the first minute. But even if it's the same restaurant we've been to before, she has to read the menu. Then she needs to ask the waiter a bunch of questions. Then she usually ends up ordering what she ordered last time.
How often we call upon the Lord in our hour of need. But then when He answers our prayer, we all too often forget about Him.
George Smith thought his ministry was a failure. He felt called to Africa, but he was only there for a short time as a missionary when he was driven from the country. He left behind one convert, a woman. Not long after that, George Smith died on his knees, praying for Africa.
God takes no pleasure in bringing judgment. In the New Testament we find Jesus grieving over the city of Jerusalem and weeping over her: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!" (Luke 13:34).
I have a little game I play with my granddaughters. When we are out and about, I ask them the question, "Do you want to go the regular way or do you want to go the secret way?"
I don't know why people become perplexed as to why they fall into sin when they hang around places where they are vulnerable. Let's say that someone is struggling with drinking and then suddenly falls off the wagon, so to speak. So a friend asks, "Where were you?"
It was a glorious day of victory for Israel and the Lord. Elijah had faced off with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, where God sent a stream of fire from Heaven and consumed Elijah's sacrifice. At God's command, Baal's prophets had been slain, and Jezebel, the wife of wicked King Ahab, wanted Elijah dead.
As much as we may miss our loved ones who have gone before us to heaven, we need to know that they are in pure bliss. The apostle Paul died and went to heaven and was brought back to life. Paul said he longed to go there—because it is "far better" (Philippians 1:23).
If you happen to hear a dirty joke and don't get it, way to go. All too often, we know more about this wicked world than we need to know. And we know far too less about God's Word, which we need to grow. Writing to the believers in Rome, the apostle Paul said, "I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil" (Romans 16:19).
When I was a kid, I collected snakes. I am not really sure why, but I used to be fascinated by them. I had all kinds. I would read books about snakes. I would go out looking for them and bring them home. And I was bitten by snakes many times. I discovered that you never really know what a snake is thinking. Snakes aren't expressive creatures; they are cold-blooded reptiles.
Martin Luther said, "The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me."
One thing I have found in life is that it is full of surprises. Many of them are unexpected pleasures and blessings that come our way. Others are tragic and sad. I have been greatly surprised by the way some people's lives have turned out.
Somewhere along the line, we have separated evangelism from discipleship. We preach the gospel, but we don't disciple. We don't get people on their feet spiritually. But the two go together.
Some may think the Christian life is restrictive, but actually it is the very opposite. Out there in the world where there are no restrictions, people will start reaping the consequences of their foolish actions. But those who are following Christ will find life at its fullest. Yes, there are boundaries and parameters, but they are there for our own protection.
Thus, there were quite a few last names I could have chosen to take. But there was only one of those men who treated me as a father should treat a son: Oscar Felix Laurie. So I chose that name. When looking at the other options, it was the "name above all other names." Though he was not my biological father, he was in every other way my dad.
To be growing Christians, we must be disciples of Jesus Christ. Why? Because Jesus told us to go into all the world and make disciples. It takes one to make one. So first we have to know what a disciple is so that we can then go and make other disciples.