We are a people who are constantly under pressure from sexual temptation—men and women both. The way to resist this temptation and be a Joseph is to live in the face of God and to understand the blessing of God. In this way, the temptation itself will seem so petty.
God blesses us so that we might be a blessing. Those today who preach a message that success and the prosperity of God means a bigger house or car have fundamentally misunderstood what it means to be blessed.
The first question people ask when they're really in crisis isn't why, but how. How will I survive this? There are no easy answers to the problem of evil and suffering in the world. But there is One who suffered, died, and rose again. Turn to Him and find salvation and a way to survive.
We live in a culture which is entranced with the idea of the American dream. We have been told over and over again that we must have a dream so that it can come true. The story of Joseph includes a dream that God himself plays a part in.
The cast of characters in Genesis 37 shows us the nuances of personality types and the moral culpability of us all. These lead us to the sovereign grace of God and to finding mercy in Jesus Christ.
When we meet Jacob, we can ask him what it was like to wrestle with God. Except all of us at some point in our lives wrestle with God: some of us wrestle for our children, some for our marriages, some for our careers. Eventually, we have to come to terms with the fact that He is God, and we are not.
It's easy for us to think that only special religious places can be zones of access to God. But as Jesus taught us, his worshippers are to worship him in spirit and in truth. So even a desert road with a few rocks can be the house of God. God can even meet us in a dream on the road to nowhere.
Through the story of Isaac and Jacob we see that God blesses the world through broken individuals and broken families. That is encouraging!
Does God test us today? The word "test" has so many connotations. The truth is that we are constantly being refined by life and by God's loving fatherly care.
We come to the story of Abraham in Genesis and we find a command, a blessing, and then an action. The hard part for us is to believe that it is actually the case that to center our lives on God, to commit our lives to God, is indeed good.
There is an open door, and the name of that door is Christ. But in order to go through that door you can't be trying to go through another door too. Jesus is the only way, and there is a choice that has to be made. You may think you're losing something, but once you go through the right door, Christ and everything else is yours.
Baptism makes no sense if you don't believe in the resurrection. Baptism is a form of dying and rising to new life. There are those who hold to traditions like baptism or membership in a church as the things that save them. But what truly saves you is a living faith in Jesus.
We can become passionate in the church about secondary, non-essential issues without considering the damage that can be done by wounding the conscience of another Christian. We sometimes judge others who disagree with us about these things, and instead we need to have our passions rightly ordered around the centrality of Christ and the gospel.
John is not just saying that it's really healthy for you spiritually to go to church and Bible study, although that's true. He says it's inevitable that if you have fellowship with God, you will want to have fellowship with other people. True Christians are a part of God's family, and they will want to be with God's family in church.
Here Paul lists several spiritual gifts in a bit of a hierarchy. The key is the significance of the clarity of the gospel. The most important thing is that people understand it, so he lists the speaking gifts first. All of this needs to be understood in the context of love, submission to one another, and reverence for Christ.