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Alan

Independent Fundamental Baptist
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Sermon Entries posted by Alan

  1. Alan
    Genesis 41: 47-53, “Fruit in the Life of Joseph”
    “And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number. And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah the priest of On bare unto him. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended.” Genesis 41:47-53
    As God warned Pharaoh, in Genesis 41:1-8, in two frightening dreams, which the magicians and wise men could not correctly interpret, that a severe famine was coming, and how Joseph correctly interpreted the two dreams, the two dreams of Pharaoh start to happen. For seven years the earth brought plenty of food exactly how Joseph correctly interpreted the two dreams. As we read the Bible we must remember that every word, of every prophecy, will come to pass, whether or not the wise men of this world correctly understand it, and that the man of God, who correctly interprets the scripture, will be rewarded in the end.
    For seven years, exactly as Joseph had prophesied, the land of Egypt brought forth the fruit of the ground in so much abundance that Joseph stopped numbering the quantity that he had stored up. God is one who causes the land to bear fruit as He so decrees it. Like the ant, Joseph stored up food, as God led him, during the time of plenty, in preparation for the time of want. “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.” Proverbs 30:25.
    Could it be that during the time of his confinement that Joseph studied, by observation, nature, and learned how to lead men?
    Joseph, a Jew, due to the envy of his brethren, was rejected, temporarily, by his own people, had a Gentile bride, and bore fruit. The Lord Jesus, a Jew, due to the envy of His brethren, was rejected, temporarily, by His own people, has a Gentile bride, and bears fruit.
    John 1:10-12, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
    Romans 11:11, “I say then, Have they [the Jews] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them [the Jews] to jealousy.”
    Ephesians 5:23-25, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”
    God is using the life of Joseph, a type of Christ, to give us, Gentiles in the church, because of His love and promises towards the Jews, a clear picture of what He is going to do with His chosen people in the last days. Like Joseph, the Lord Jesus, loves His brethren and, like Joseph, will reconcile Himself to them in the last days
    The first son, Manasseh, means that God caused Joseph to forget his toil and His father's house. I think this meaning can help us. The Lord Jesus can help us in our troubles.
    The second son, Ephraim, means that God caused him to be fruitful. I think that this meaning can help us also. The Lord Jesus can help us be fruitful in our toils of life. It is obvious that Joseph believed that God caused the hardship and the blessings. We need to remember that. In this life God will give us hardship and blessings. Job 1:21, “And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return hither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
    In Josephs era, and in our era, this world is full of temptations of the flesh, heartache, anxiety, distress, and times of unjust actions from others. We need to reminded of the words of Paul the apostle in order to encourage us in our time of toils, hardships, anxieties, and distress. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
    With a wife, Asenath the daughter of Potipherah, God is starting the family of Joseph and eventually the tribe of Ephraim, and Manasseh. Proverbs 20:7 “The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” The integrity of Joseph, as with the integrity of Job, has wonderful fruit.
    God is starting to abundantly bless Joseph for his life of integrity and his close walk with God. Throughout the story of the life of Joseph we can see the results of the fruit of the Spirit. Joseph is an example for every believer who will decide to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Galatians 5:22-23  & 25, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law… If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
    At this juncture we need to consider the part of the prophecy of Zechariah in Zechariah 10:5-10.
    Zechariah 10:6, “ And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them to place them; for I will have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them.” And, Zechariah 10:10, “I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them.” This prophecy is literal, is very clear in interpretation, cannot be applied, or given, to the church, and has not been fulfilled yet in any sense of the word.
    Among many passages in the Old Testament prophets, the Lord Jesus prophesied that one day the house of Joseph would be gathered a second time out of Egypt, and bring them back to the land of Israel, “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:31
    Exactly as Joseph prophesied that after seven years of plenty there would be a famine of seven years comes to past. I am reminded of the words of King Solomon when he said, “In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.” Ecclesiastes 7:14
    God brings prosperity, and adversity, in everyone’s life for a particular reason. When adversity comes our way, and surely it shall, then at that time we need to consider what God is trying to tell us and to let us know that, in the end, all of this life apart from God, and His perfect will, is what we should do.
    And, in conclusion, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13
     
     
  2. Alan
    Genesis 41:37-46, “God Raises Up Joseph”
    Introduction
    The Psalmist said, “Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high, Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth! He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.” Psalm 113:5-8 God is going to lift Joseph out of the depths of the dungeon of Egypt, the dunghill of Egypt, the poorest of the poor, and set him above the princes of Egypt.
    Joseph is a type of the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus was the poorest of the poor during His lifetime. When the soldiers crucified the Lord Jesus He only had the clothes on His bloody back and was mocked as one that was filled with the filth of the world. God so highly exalted the Lord Jesus that now He sits on the His throne on the right hand of the Father in Heaven.
    Joseph gave Pharaoh wise counsel. Joseph knew that God wanted to help the nation of Egypt and his family. So, Joseph used his talents for the glory of God and was able to help other people. Joseph used his mouth to bring God glory and wisdom to give Pharaoh wise counsel. Proverbs 12:14, “A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him.” We need to be like Joseph. To use our mouth for the glory of God and use wisdom to give other people counsel.
    God has tested Joseph. Now Joseph is ready for God to use to help the nation of Egypt. God is going to promote Joseph from the prison to the palace. Psalm 113:7 & 8, “He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.”
    Joseph is a type of Christ. The Lord Jesus humbled Himself. The Lord Jesus left the glories of heaven and came to earth. The Lord Jesus became like a servant and helped other people. Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
    Joseph had this type of mind. Joseph believed that even as a slave, or prisoner, though wrongly convicted, he could serve God in the depths of prison.
    The Lord Jesus – A Better Joseph
    “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Hebrews 1:4 The Lord Jesus was better than the angels, better than Joseph, better than any saint, better than the Law, and better than Moses .
    Therefore, the glory due to the Lord Jesus will be better, will exceed and surpass, all of the glory of the angels, the Law, Moses, Joseph, or any other saint.
    Verse 37 - 30 Joseph was filled with the Spirit of God
    God showed the interpretation of Pharaoh's two dreams to Joseph. Pharaoh knew that God gave Joseph the correct interpretation of the two dreams and that Joseph used wisdom to give Pharaoh counsel. The servants of Pharaoh also knew that God gave Joseph the correct interpretation of the two dreams. The servants saw that the counsel of Joseph was wise.
    Joseph was bold in his witness. Joseph gave the glory to God for the correct interpretation of the two dreams. Joseph was filled with the Holy Spirit. Joseph walked in the Spirit. When a person is filled with the Holy Spirit he will witness like Joseph and be able to correctly interpret the scriptures.
    As with the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit was with Joseph. Throughout his life, Joseph had the fruits of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22 & 23. Joseph walked in the Holy Spirit of God as Paul the apostle taught every saint to walk in the Holy Spirit of God, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25
    As the Holy Spirit was with Joseph, the fulness of the Holy Spirit of the Lord Jesus is better than the Spirit given to Joseph. John the Baptist said, “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” John 3:34
    Verse 39 God was with Joseph
    Pharaoh knew in his heart that God gave Joseph the interpretation of the two dreams. Pharaoh also said that Joseph was discreet and wise. Joseph could discern between hard choices and make wise decisions.
    In Acts 7:9 & 10 we read, “And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him. And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.” The brothers of Joseph, as with the Lord Jesus, were moved with envy to destroy him. But, Joseph, as with the Lord Jesus, ‘God was with him’ and delivered Joseph, and the Lord Jesus, out of their afflictions.
    As God was with Joseph, in the life of the Lord Jesus, God was with the Lord Jesus in a better way. “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” John 8:29
    Verse 40 -44 Pharaoh makes Joseph Governor of the land of Egypt
    Psalm 113:7 & 8, “He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.” God works in the lives of men, even in the poorest of conditions, and lifts up those into responsible positions of authority in order to help other people.
    Now, God will give Joseph ‘favour and wisdom’ in the sight of Pharaoh. Pharaoh understood that Joseph gave the proper interpretation of the dream that God gave him. Pharaoh also understood that God gave Joseph the wisdom, discretion, and understanding that was required to save the nation of Egypt from destruction.
    Pharaoh found out that Joseph ruled the house of Potiphar well, he ruled the prison well. Therefore, Pharaoh knew that Joseph could rule the land of Egypt well. Because of the wisdom, faithfulness, and discretion of Joseph in ruling previous responsibilities well, Pharaoh make Joseph ruler over Egypt. The Egyptians then bowed the knee before Joseph in recognition of his authority and position of power in the nation of Egypt.
    Joseph is a Type of Christ
    The Lord Jesus left heaven, humbled Himself, and became like a servant. Because the Lord Jesus was obedient and died on the Cross of Calvary; God exalted the Lord Jesus. Philippians 2: 9-11 teaches, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ”
    Every Knee will bow on the Earth to the Lord Jesus
    The glory that Joseph had in Egypt was great. Every knee bowed before him and all of the Egyptians were a witness to his wisdom and discretion in leadership for the physical salvation of the nation.
    The glory of the Lord Jesus will be far better than than the glory of Joseph. One day, on the face of the earth, the knee of the people of the different nations of the world, will bow to the Lord Jesus as KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. The prophet Zechariah prophesied, “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.” Zechariah 14:16 & 17
    The prophecy by the prophet Zechariah of all of the nations, or families, bowing before the King, the LORD of hosts, in Jerusalem, during the feast of Tabernacles, has not been fulfilled, in any sense of the word, since Zechariah penned this prophecy.
    Every Knee will Bow in Heaven to the Lord Jesus
    One day, at the Great White Throne of Judgment, as written in Revelation 20:11-15, every person that has lived on the earth, will bow the knee before Jesus and confess that He is lord. Revelation 20:11-15 says, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which are written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
    The knee of Buddha will bow. The knee of Confucius will bow. The knee of every Taoist will bow. The knee of every lost politician, the knee of every atheist, the knee of every agnostic, the knee of every lost religious hypocrite and false teacher. Every individual from every county, in every culture, will confess that Jesus is Lord to give God the glory.
    Verse 45 Joseph gets married.
    Joseph was a Hebrew: a Jew. His wife was a Gentile: Egyptians are Gentiles.
    The Lord Jesus is a Hebrew: a Jew. The wife of the Lord Jesus, the church, is mostly Gentiles.
    Ephesians 3:6, “That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.”
    Ephesians 5:23-25, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
    The Bride of Christ is the church. One day, in heaven the church will be without spot or wrinkles, and we will be sanctified wholly. The ‘spot’ and ‘wrinkles’ are the false doctrines, false teachers, false teachings, and insincere motives and lack of holiness and sanctification of the saints in the local congregations. We ought to love the church. If a person loves the Lord Jesus than he will love the church.
    Verse 46 Joseph's History
    Joseph was 17 years old when his brothers sold him into slavery. Now Joseph is 30 years old and is exalted as the ruler of Egypt. For 13 years Joseph was a slave or in prison. Initially, the brothers of Joseph were going to kill Joseph and the life of Joseph would have ended when he was 17 years old. “And when they [the brothers of Joseph] saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.” Genesis 37:18 If Joseph would have died at age 17 than he would not have been made ruler of Egypt at 30 years of age. At 30 years old, at he prime of his life, Joseph was exalted.
    In the history of man, when a person dies, death means the end of his ability to rule, the ability to obtain fame, and the ability to do his will. A lot of men, especially in time of war, are cut down in the prime of life.
    Even in death, the Lord Jesus was better. The Lord Jesus was cut down, crucified on the cross, died, in the prime of His life. If the Lord Jesus was an ordinary man than that would have been the end of His career. But, the Lord Jesus was ‘better’ than man and rose from the dead. The resurrection from the dead by the Lord Jesus gives us the eternal hope of eternal salvation and a new body in heaven.
    The Lord Jesus was perfect, sinless, and righteous in every aspect of the word in word and deed. And, after He died, was resurrected and then entered into His glory in heaven. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Hebrews 1:1-3
    As with Joseph, so will the Lord Jesus rule the world in the proper timing of the Father in heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” The history of the Lord Jesus is far better than the history of Joseph and the end has not been fulfilled as of yet; nor will the history ever be fulfilled. The exaltation of the Lord Jesus will be far better than the exaltation of Joseph in Egypt.
     
  3. Alan
    Genesis 41:1-36, “The Wise Counsel of Joseph”
    Introduction
    In the Old Testament, before the scriptures were written, God gave the kings of the various countries dreams in order to warn them of danger to the country and in matters of other importance. In this passage, God gave Pharaoh two dreams.
    In the first dream, Genesis 41:1-4, Pharaoh dreamed about 7 fat fleshed cows and 7 ill favoured cows. The 7 ill favoured cows ate up the 7 good cows. It was a strange dream. Pharaoh awoke.
    In the second dream, Genesis 41:5-7, Pharaoh saw 7 good ears of corn. And then 7 bad ears of corn that were eaten up by the west wind. Again, it was a strange dream and then Pharaoh awoke.
    In those days, the kings knew that God gave them dreams to warn them. But, Pharaoh did not know how to interpret the dreams.
    Pharaoh asked the magicians and the wise men to interpret the dream but they could not: Genesis 41:8. Even though a person can be wise in the ways of the world; he may not be wise in the things of God.1 Corinthians 1:21, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
    Previously, in Genesis 40:8 Joseph correctly stated, “Do not interpretations belong to God?” It would behoove every saint to understand that if a prophecy is not according to biblical interpretation than it is a false interpretation. If an individual teaches a false prophecy, even a saint, than one day he, or she, will stand before the Lord and give a personal account for his foolishness.
    The chief butler heard of the dreams of Pharaoh and remembered that Joseph had correctly interpreted his dream and the dream of the baker, Genesis 41:9-13
    Verse 14-16 Joseph gave God the glory
    Pharaoh knew that the two dreams were important, so, he had Joseph taken out of the prison and cleaned up. Pharaoh asked Joseph a question, “I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it.” Genesis 41:15b
    "And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace." Genesis 41:16 In the presence of a heathen king, an idolatrous Court, a Court full of sorcerers and magicians, Joseph made a clear statement of faith in his belief in God. God gives every man talents. Our talents come from God. Our health comes from God and God sits on His throne in heaven controlling the affairs of men. We need to be like Joseph and give God, the Lord Jesus, the glory for our health, our jobs, our lives and the blessings of life.1 Corinthians 1:31, “That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
    God can give peace. Even though Joseph had tribulations in his life, and imprisonment, he had peace in his heart. John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Joseph believed that God could give Pharaoh peace.
    God is willing to give peace to those people who sincerely trust in Him.
    Verse 17-24 The Two Dreams of Pharaoh
    Pharaoh relates the two dreams to Joseph. Pharaoh also said that the magicians could not tell the interpretation of the dreams. The false prophet, the false teacher, and the false religions, cannot tell correct interpretations of prophecy in the Bible.
    Verse 25 God is in full control of all things
    Genesis 41:25, “And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do.” God is the creator of the universe and He is the one who controls the world. Nahum 1:3, “The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.”
    In the church age, God does not use dreams to warn us: He uses the scriptures. The scriptures are the complete words of God. 1 Corinthians 13:10, “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”
    Verse 26-32 Seven Years of Plenty and 7 Years of Famine
    Joseph gave the correct interpretation of the two dreams. Joseph emphasized four things: 1. The 7 years of plenty will precede the 7 years of famine. 2. The famine will be very grievous. 3. The famine is established by God. 4. God will bring it to pass.
    Also, the 7 years of famine, after a brief false peace from the anti-Christ, is a type of the grievous famine that will occur over all of the world during the entire 7 Year Tribulation Period throughout the whole earth. Revelation 6:8, “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” God gave us the book of Revelation so we can know what God will do in the end times and to warn the people of the earth to escape the wrath to come.
    If a saint desires to know how to correctly interpret the end times of the book of Revelation, “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble,” specifically Revelation chapter 6, 7, 11, 12, and 19:16, it would be wise to study the interpretations of Joseph, the dreams of Joseph, and the wise counsel of Joseph.
    Verse 33-36 “The Counsel of Joseph”
    Joseph gave Pharaoh wise counsel. God warned Pharaoh because God was going to bring a grievous famine in the land of Egypt and the surrounding area. God is starting to raise up Joseph to save the land of Egypt from destruction, save his kinsmen, Jacob, his brothers, and their extended families.
    Joseph is a type of Christ. God is going to bring a grievous famine upon the whole earth in order to save the remnant of the kinsmen of the Lord Jesus, His brethren, the Jewish race, and save as many as will repent of their sins during the reign of the anti-Christ during, “The Time of Jacob's Trouble.”
    Furthermore, God gave us the Bible to let mankind know the truth of eternal life, heaven and hell, the Lord Jesus and things to come. In the spiritual battle, Ephesians 6:11-17 and 2 Timothy 2:1-5 and 4:1-8, that every saint faces, we need wise counsel to direct our paths. Proverbs 24:6, “For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counselors there is safety.” And, Proverbs 11:14, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”
    Joseph is a type of Christ. The Lord Jesus, as we read the scriptures, can give us good counsel. Proverbs 8:14, “Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.” Good counsel for our work, our family, and our lives. A mature Christian will listen to the counsel of the Lord Jesus as recorded in the scriptures.
     
     
  4. Alan
    Genesis 40:1-23, “Do not interpretations belong to God?”
    Only God knows the future. In the Bible, God recorded all of the knowledge of the future that God wants us to have. The Bible is the word of God and can tell us what is important. The philosophy of man, the religions of man, the interpretations of man, and the idols made by men, cannot help a person when he dies. The interpretations of man, false religions and prophets, are erroneous.
    Joseph is an example to the every Christian who wants to have a close relationship with God and walk in the Holy Spirit. God gave us the story of Joseph to show us how to walk with God.
    In Genesis 40:1-23, in the confines of a prison, while suffering tremendous adversity, we can see several fruits of the Spirit in this passage in the life of Joseph: longsuffering, gentleness, goodness and faith. Galatians 5:22 and 23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
    Because Joseph walked in the Spirit of God; he could have the proper interpretations of the dreams.
    Verse 1-8 Interpretations belong unto God.
    Astrologers and false prophets cannot accurately foretell the future. The reason why we have so many different interpretations of the prophecies of the scriptures is due to the fact that false prophets, and false teachers, cannot accurately interpret the scriptures. The apostle Peter clearly stated that only holy men of God, using the scriptures as their standard, can properly interpret the scriptures. 2 Peter 1:20 and 21 says, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scriptures is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
    “… but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Because Joseph was ‘holy,’or as Galatians 5:23 states, ‘temperance,’ God gave him the proper interpretation. The meaning of temperate is; (1) marked by moderation: as, keeping or held within limits: not extreme or excessive; and, marked by an absence or avoidance of extravagance, violence, or extreme partisanship. A saint cannot be ‘holy’ without having ‘temperance’ in his character.
    Daniel 2:27 & 28, “Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these.” The false prophets, and false teachers, in the churches, the false gods of the Taoists, the Confucian, and the Buddhists, cannot reveal the end times. Only the Bible can give us the events of the end time.
    The prophecies of the scriptures are true and will come to pass. Joseph was a true prophet. God gave him dreams and Joseph could interpret the dreams of others. In this story God gave us two examples.
    As with Daniel, God gave Joseph the proper interpretation and Joseph gave the honour and glory to God. “Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these.” Daniel 2:27 & 28
    Even though Joseph was in prison unjustly, Joseph still had goodness in his life to help the Baker and the Butler in their trials of life in the prison. Please take note that Joseph saw the sadness of these men and had an inward desire, without the prospect of a reward, to help both of these men in their sorrows of life.
    Is not this act of goodness, this act of kindness, without any prospect of reward, like the goodness and kindness of the Lord Jesus? “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Acts 10:38
    Verse 9-13 The dream of the Butler.
    The butler told Joseph the dream and Joseph told the the butler the correct interpretation of the dream. Only God could have told Joseph the interpretation.
    Verse 14 and 15 Joseph's Request and Testimony.
    Joseph asked the butler to make mention of him to Pharaoh. Joseph then told the butler his story. Joseph reminded the butler that he did nothing wrong. The life of Joseph, as the life of the Lord Jesus, was above reproach.
    Verse 16-19 The dream of the Baker
    The chief baker told Joseph his dream and Joseph told the baker the correct interpretation of the dream.
    Verse 20-22 The Fulfillment of the Two Dreams
    The interpretations of Joseph were correct. God gave the interpretation to Joseph and Joseph told the interpretations of the two dreams to the butler and to the baker. The dreams were fulfilled in public.
    As with Daniel, God gave the correct interpretations of both of the dreams.
    The interpretation of a true prophet is always right. Deuteronomy 18:22, “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”
    Verse 23 the Butler forgot Joseph
    Man forgets, but God does not. In God's proper timing, and in His proper ways, He will fulfill His will. In the life of Joseph we know that he had a good relationship with God. Even though he is in prison, he did good, the butler forgot him and Joseph remained in prison. Even in intense adversity, Joseph was kind to those around him.
    In spite of the other peoples failure, Joseph still trusted in God. In spite of his still being in prison, Joseph still trusted in God and did good. Joseph, throughout his life, and in this instance, had longsuffering, gentleness in adversity, goodness and faith.
     
     
  5. Alan
    Genesis 39:21-23, “But the LORD was with Joseph.”
    Genesis 39:21-23, “But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.”
    Throughout the hardships and sufferings in the life of Joseph, the LORD was with Joseph.
    Psalm 105:16-19, “Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread. He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.”
    Because of the evil of the 11 brothers, Joseph was made a slave. Because of the evil of one evil woman, Joseph was put in prison. While in prison, among other hardships and sufferings, the Egyptians put fetters of iron and hurt Joseph's feet. God allowed evil people to cause Joseph to be put in prison to test Joseph. God is preparing Joseph to rule the land of Egypt. In order for God to use Joseph for His glory, God is going to test him in the prison. Psalm 105:19, “Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.”
    God tests those people whom He wants to use with hardships and sufferings. Joseph, like Christ, loved God, and God is using hardship and suffering to prepare Joseph as the ruler of Egypt and for the physical salvation of Jacob and his family. Genesis 45:4-6, “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. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry, with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a prosperity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”
    Furthermore, God, through the salvation of Jacob and his sons, will use Joseph to provide the protection for the lineage of the Saviour of the world, the Lord Jesus. Romans 9:4 & 5, “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises. Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.”
    God tested the Lord Jesus with hardships and sufferings for the salvation of the soul and for the eventual salvation, both physical and spiritual, of the sons of Israel. Hebrews 5:8 & 9, “Though he were a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” And, Romans 11:26 & 27, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” In His timing, God will turn away the ungodliness, and unbelief, of the sons of Jacob.
    Verse 21 Let us consider three things.
    1. “But the LORD was with Joseph”
    God was with Joseph. Joseph had a close relationship with God. Joseph did not allow the conspiracy of his brothers, the lies of Potiphar's wife, destroy the relationship he had with God. Joseph believed that God would fulfill the two dreams that God gave him. 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” While in prison Joseph had comfort in his relationship with God.
    2. “... and shewed him mercy..”
    In the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, God is merciful. If a person has a humble heart, repents of his sins, and has faith and trusts in the mercy of God, than God will shew him mercy. 2 Samuel 22:26 & 27, “With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright. With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the forward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.”A proud person will not find the mercy of God.
    If a person wants God to show him mercy than he needs to be merciful. From Genesis to Revelation we see that God is merciful to the humble person. 1 Peter 5:5, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
    Psalm 33:18, “Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.”
    3. “… and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.”
    God caused the the keeper of the prison to find favor in Joseph. God can cause the people of this world to help the person who trusts in God. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” God is now going to promote Joseph. Eventually, Joseph will become, in modern terminology, the vice-president of Egypt.
    First, Joseph became a slave, and then a prisoner in a jail, in order for God to prepare him to rule over the country of Egypt and save Jacob and his brethren. Before God can use us in a high position He wants us to see if He can use us in a low position. God found out that Joseph really loved Him, really trusted in Him, and God found out that Joseph was faithful in the small things of daily living. The Lord Jesus said, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” Luke 16:10 Because in the time of his testing Joseph was faithful, God will promote him to be the second ruler in Egypt.
    Verse 22 & 23 The Lord made everything that Joseph did to prosper
    God blessed the efforts of Joseph. Joseph trusted God, had faith, and was a man of integrity and high character. So, God prospered his work. Joseph was a very faithful and trustworthy person and is a good example of the character of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Joseph is a good example for the Christian. 3 John 2, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest proper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
    As Joseph loved God, and God worked all things out for his good, so should we love God and watch Him work out all things for our good. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
     
  6. Alan
    “The LORD was with Joseph”
    Genesis 39:1-6
    Genesis 39:1-6, “And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, brought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down hither. And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptians house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not aught he had, save the the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.”
    Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” Joseph had faith and loved God. Joseph was a “good man” and righteous in his heart and in his relationship with God. God allowed the evil actions of his brothers in order to test Joseph and to prepare him for the responsibility to rule Egypt. Therefore, the steps of the good (in the sight of God) man, in any generation, in any country, in either the Old or New Testament dispensation, are ordered by the LORD.
    Psalm 17:3, “Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.” When Joseph was a slave, God tested Joseph to see if Joseph loved, and trusted in God, with his heart. Joseph, like Job, had integrity... Joseph was determined not to transgress God and His ways. Like Job, Joseph was upright, feared God, and hated evil. Job 1:1, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.”
    One of the highest respected men in the Chinese church in China, Wang Ming-Tao says, “Those whom God uses, who can be used by God, must be of noble morality and conduct, and a good reputation among men. God is a holy and righteous God, He will only use those men who are also holy and righteous men.” 王明道說「神所要使用,能使用的,也是高尚的德行和好名聲的人。神是聖潔公義的神,他所要使用的人也是聖潔的人。」1 Free translation by the author.
    If we are to walk with God then we must be in agreement with God and His ways. The ways of the world are not in agreement with God and we must be separate with the ways of the world. 2 Corinthians 6:14 & 15, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness: and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”
    The false gods, idols, and beliefs of the false religions of this world, have no place in the life of the individual who wants to walk with God. 2 Corinthians 6:16 & 17, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” The world is an harsh environment for every saint. Like Joseph, we need to keep ourselves separate from the evil things of this world and walk with God.
    Joseph is an example to the Christian who desires to serve the Lord in a harsh environment. Joseph felt that he was serving God whether in his father's house, among his deceitful brothers, in the hands of an Egyptian master and under the authority of the king of Egypt. The Lord Jesus said, Luke 19:17, “And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.”
    Every Christian can examine the example of Joseph and Job and serve the Lord Jesus as a servant in any occupation and the Lord can be with you.
    The LORD was with Joseph
    Joseph had a good relationship with God. Every day, Joseph walked with God. Even in the times of his distress Joseph walked with God. Like Job, Joseph separated himself from the sinful habits and ways of this world and walked with God. Joseph is an good example to the Christian. If we want to have a good relationship with God, and have God with us, we need to hate evil and not transgress the ways of God.
    As the LORD was with Joseph, the apostle Peter states, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Acts 10:38 Joseph was an example of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    God prospered Joseph and his work
    Joseph walked with God. Because Joseph walked in the ways of the Lord, separated himself from the evil ways of this world, God blessed him, his work and his relationship with other people.
    God wants to prosper the Christian. 3 John 2 and 3, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest proper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.” Please notice, we need to walk in truth. We need to walk in truth in our talk, our character, and in the doctrines of the scriptures.
    God is willing to help us spiritually, mentally, in our family life and in our work. God wants every Christian to be stable. Colossians 2: 6 & 7, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Joseph was separated from the evil things in this world, walked with God, and was established in his conduct, and in the truth.
    And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand
    Joseph was completely trustworthy with the physical possessions of his master. Joseph did not steal, did not pilfer, did not miss-use, and did not cause any harm to the physical goods in the house of his master, or under this direct control. Joseph was faithful in all that was under his authority. Joseph is an excellent example for the saint who works for other people in any occupation. Every Christian in any endeavor of work; whether in a factory, a business, a store, an office, a government bureau, the military, and in other occupation, should be the most trustworthy individual the boss has.
    Joseph was a goodly person and well favoured.
    Remember Psalm 37:23? “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” We need to learn how to be good in our conduct. In the eyes of the world, in the eyes of his Egyptian master, Joseph had a strong testimony.
    The character of Joseph was like the character of the Lord Jesus. “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Luke 2:52
    Lastly, Paul the apostle stated that the man who is the bishop, or elder, or pastor, of the church, should be of likewise character and conduct. “Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the the snare of the devil.” 1 Timothy 3:7
    1Wang Ming Tao, Treasuries of Wang Ming Tao, Volume II The Hard Road, (Touliu, Taiwan: Conservative Baptist Press, 1996), Page 314. 王明道,王明道文庫,第二冊,小徑(臺灣台中:浸宣出版社,1996),314頁。
  7. Alan
    Analyzing the Chinese word Righteousness
    「義的分析」
    by Alan
    Introduction
    The Chinese written language is very unique. The Chinese words are called, “Characters,” and use a visual, or pictograph, series of lines, called, “strokes,” that represent a word, or a thought, or an action.
     
    In written Chinese, we have an example of the righteousness of God through His Son, the Lord Jesus, in the word, “righteousness.” In Chinese, the word righteousness is written as, 「義」 The Chinese word righteousness is composed of two major words; the word Lamb「羊」 on the top and the word Me 「我」or Us 「我們」on the bottom. The word Me 「我」or Us 「我們」is composed of two words: the hand 「手」 and a spear「戈」
     
    Righteousness is very important. God is holy and will not allow sin into heaven. A person needs to be reconciled to God, or to become righteous, in the sight of God, in order to escape the punishment of hell and enter into everlasting life in heaven. Before a person is a Christian in the sight of God he is unrighteous. The Apostle Paul said, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3:10 Therefore, in order for a person to have eternal life in heaven, in the presence of God, he must be righteous. He must have his sins forgiven.
     
    We will analyze the Chinese word for righteousness and look at an example of how we can become righteous by God’s principles. In order to understand righteousness in the sight of God, we must turn to the word of God; the Bible. The Bible is God’s word and we can trust it.
    First 「羊」 A Lamb
    A sinless sacrifice must be made to forgive sins. And, it must be according to what God says. The Bible says that the blood of animals cannot take away the sins of mankind. Hebrews 10:4 says, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.” The animal sacrifices of the world cannot take away a persons sins. This includes the Muslims in the Middle East, and the sacrifices of the Buddhist, Confucianists and Taoists of the East. Hebrews 10:4, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” The sacrificial lambs that God required by the Jews under the Law of Moses in the Old Testament did not take away sins; they were an object lesson of the sacrificial sacrifice for sins by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. They were a guide, or a teacher, for the sacrifice of Christ. Galatians 3:24, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
     
    The Lord Jesus was sinless and perfect. In contrasting the sacrifices of the Jews under the Levitical law, the Old Testament, and the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus as our priest and sacrifice for sins, the author of the book of Hebrews makes this statement. “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. … For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,and made higher than the heavens. Who needed not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for his he did once, when he offered up himself.” Hebrews 7:22, 26 & 27
     
    The Lord Jesus was sinless and totally righteous. A Chinese proverb says,「義刑於色」Translated, that means, “Righteousness manifested in one's appearance.”
     
    Wang Ming-Tao says, “Yes, our Lord is completely holy. You can not find anything that He did without any blemish or unrighteousness. When He was on the earth no matter if it was a disciple, or if it was an enemy, including anybody else that had anything to do with Him, they all gave a clear testimony that He did not have even a little bit of sin or unrighteousness. 王明道:「是、我們的主就是那樣完全聖潔。你不能在他的身上找出一點污穢不義來。他在世上行走的時候、無論是他的門徒、他的仇敵、以及與他毫無關係的人、都證明他沒有少許的罪惡不義。」i A free translation by the author.
     
    The Lord Jesus was like a lamb sacrificed for us. John the Baptist said, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29 The Lord Jesus died on the cross, like a harmless lamb, and shed His blood as a sacrifice.
     
    As with the Jews in the Old Testament the eternal salvation of the soul is by the imputation of righteousness the moment a person, by faith, trusts in God. When a person realizes that he has sinned against God, and deserves to spend eternity in hell, and believes by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as his payment for sins, than God imputes, or gives, His righteousness to that individual. “For what saith the scriptures? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4:3
    Second 「我」 Me,  「我們」or Us
    Why did Jesus become a sacrifice? In order to redeem us. So we can obtain eternal salvation. To reconcile us to God. Before a person is saved he is a sinner and His relationship with God is severed . The sacrifice of the Lord Jesus is the only way we can be reconciled with God. The Lord Jesus was sinless. He became sin for us while on the cross in order for us to become righteous.2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
    Third 「手」The Hand
    God made us. He made our hands. We can use our hands for good or for evil. God gave us the ability, the will, to either serve Him or the Devil. The decision is ours. Matthew 27:1&2, “When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontus Pilate the governor.”
     
    Because of our sins, the hand of man apprehended the Lord Jesus Christ. The hand of man hit Jesus. The hand of man took a whip and whipped Jesus. The hand of man took a nail in one hand and a hammer in the other hand and nailed Jesus on the cross. The hand of man caused the blood of Jesus to be shed. The Lord Jesus allowed men to crucify Him so His blood could be shed for our sins.
     
    The apostle Peter testified, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Acts 2:23 We can either use our hands for good or for wickedness.
    Fourth「戈」 A Spear
    The hand of man took a spear and pierced the side of Jesus and more blood flowed from the body of Jesus. John 19:34 says, “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.” Jesus died for us! The Lord Jesus became a sacrificial lamb to die for the penalty of our sins on the cross of Calvary.
     
    John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” We need to have a repentant heart and believe on the Lord Jesus as our Saviour!
    Conclusion
    The Lord Jesus was righteous in every aspect. When a person repents and trust in Jesus as their Saviour then God imputes the righteousness of Jesus to that person. The Lord Jesus becomes our righteousness. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”
     
    Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary we can have forgiveness of our sins, escape the punishment of hell, and obtain eternal life in heaven. The Lord Jesus left the glory of heaven, became a man, to die on the cross as a sacrificial lamb, to shed His blood, so we could be saved and the righteousness of God imputed to us. So we can be reconciled with God.
     
    i Wang Ming Tao, Treasuries of Wang Ming Tao, Volume II The Hard Road, (Touliu, Taiwan: Conservative Baptist Press, 1996), Page 93. 王明道,王明道文庫,第二冊,小徑(臺灣斗六:浸宣出版社,1996),93頁。
  8. Alan
    Genesis 37:15-36, “The Work of the Flesh and the Spirit in the Life of Joseph and his Brethren.”
    Introduction
    In the life of the brothers of Joseph we can see the works of the flesh. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21
    In the life of Joseph we can see the fruits of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22 and 23
    We are further admonished by Paul the apostle to walk in the Spirit. “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25 As we notice the fruits of the Spirit in the life of Joseph, we can notice the fruits of the Spirit in the life of the Lord Jesus.
    We are further admonished by Paul the apostle to consider, and follow, the examples, akin to the precepts given in the Old Testament, of the men like Joseph, Abraham, Jacob, David and the other men and women in the Old Testament as they walked in Spirit. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”1 Corinthians 10:11 The precepts, and examples, of the Old Testament saints were written for the admonition of the saints in the church in the New Testament. As we develop the story of Joseph, and see the fruits of the Spirit in his life, we will notice the attitude, the character, the will, the heart, of Joseph is of a good nature. Our walk with the Lord will develop our attitude, our character; our very being.
    The Willingness of Joseph
    Genesis 37:13, “And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I.” we can see the good attitude of Joseph, “Here am I.” Joseph was willing to do all that his father Jacob told him to do. This was the attitude of the Lord Jesus. John 14:31, “But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.” This is also a good attitude, or characteristic, for every Christian.
    God, in either Testament, wants us to be saved, and serve Him, with a willing heart. Leviticus 1:3, “If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.” The Apostle Paul stated, “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” 2 Corinthians 8:12The concept, the belief, the doctrine that man does not have a free will, or the concept, the belief, the doctrine, of irresistible grace,is foreign to the word of God and repugnant.
    Even though his father, and his brothers, did not understand the two dreams, Joseph was not discouraged nor did he have a bitter attitude. Joseph determined to love God, to do the will of God, and have a cheerful attitude. Joseph did not let the world, the pressure of the world, and the attitude of the world, hurt his relationship with God.
    Joseph did his Father’s will
    Genesis 37:15-17, “And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, what seekest thou? And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed the flocks. 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.” Joseph did his fathers will and was going to help his brothers. Even though his brothers hated him, Joseph did not hate his brothers but wanted to help them in feeding the flock.
    As Joseph wandered about trying to find the brethren he did not get discouraged. Joseph continued to seek out his brethren after an initial failure. This willingness, spirit, this attitude, this characteristic, is seen in the life of Christ.“And it came to pass, when the time was come that he [Jesus] should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.” Luke 9:51We need to take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus despite the hard road in this life. “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” mark 8:34 As the Lord Jesus had steadfastness in His life, so should we have steadfastness in our life.
    The brothers conspire against Joseph
    Genesis 37;18, “And when they say him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.” Joseph did nothing wrong or evil. The brothers hated Joseph for no good reason. The brothers are conspiring to reward evil for good. Proverbs 17:13, “Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.” Is not rewarding evil for good one of the works of the flesh? “… and such like.” Galatians 5:21
    The rewarding evil for good is what the Jews did to the Lord Jesus. The Jews did not like Jesus, did not believe in Jesus, and rejected His doctrines. But, in spite of the evil of other people, the Lord Jesus did good works; He did not do any evil. Matthew 27:22-24, “Pilate saith unto them, what shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified, When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.”
    Joseph is sold to the Ishmeelites
    Genesis 37:28, “Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.” The greed in the hearts of the brothers of Joseph led them to sell Joseph for sold for twenty pieces of silver. 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith,and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” The number of saints, and ministers, who have walked in the flesh, and loved mammon more than the Lord Jesus, will only be known until the Judgment Seat of Christ.
    The Lord Jesus was also sold out to the enemy by one of His brethren: Judas Iscariot betrayed, and sold Him, for 30 pieces of silver. Matthew 26:14-16, “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.” The history of the church is filled with saints, and ministers, who walked in the flesh and sold out the Lord, His doctrines, His walk, His precepts, and His church, for the coins of this life.
    The brothers of Joseph deceive their father
    Genesis 37:28, “And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their Father; and said, This have we found: know not whether it be thy son's coat or no.” One sin leads to another. First, the brothers hated Joseph for bringing their evil report to their father, then they envied Joseph, and then hated Joseph even more for his two dreams, then they wanted to kill him, then they sold Joseph, and now they deceive their father. Sin is now the master of the brothers. Romans 6:16, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; (whether of sin unto death,) or of obedience unto righteousness?)
    Joseph in Egypt
    Genesis 37:36, “And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard.” The Midianites sold Joseph to Potiphar. It was Potiphar’s responsibility to protect the king of Egypt.
    In the Bible, Egypt is a type of the world. The Lord Jesus left the glories of heaven to come into the world as a man. Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
    Conclusion
    We need to have the attitude of Joseph. Joseph was very humble and willing to do the will of Israel, his father. Joseph said, “Here am I.” The Lord Jesus had a willing heart to do the will of God. Mark 14:36, “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”
     
     
  9. Alan
    Genesis 37:5-11, “Joseph and his Jewish Dreams”
     
    Joseph had faith and loved the Lord God. In the Old Testament, before the Bible was written, God spoke to men in dreams. God had given Joseph dreams. As we read the story of Joseph, we can see that Joseph was like the Lord Jesus. Joseph was a type of Christ. Joseph walked with God and had the characteristics of the Lord Jesus.
     
    Also, Joseph is a good example for the Christian. God gave the examples of the Old Testament men and women for us. 1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” The wise Christian will look at the examples of the saints of the Old Testament and use these examples to learn how to walk in the Spirit (not in the Flesh), and please the Lord Jesus. Romans 15;4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” The stories of the Old Testament saints can give the Christian hope and comfort our hearts.
     
    Joseph walked in the Holy Spirit and had the fruits of the Spirit.Galatians 5:22 and 23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
    Joseph and his brothers
    Genesis 37:1-4, “And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.”
     
    Joseph was hated by his eleven brothers for two reasons:
     
    Joseph told his father, Jacob, or Israel, the evil things that his brothers did. Amos 5;10, “They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.”
     
    Most people do not like it when you rebuke them. When the pastor rebukes a sin, and people do not want to repent, then some people get mad, criticize the pastor, the church. A wise person will repent when you rebuke him. Like Joseph, and the Lord Jesus, it is the responsibility of the man of God to rebuke people’s sins. 2 Timothy 4:1 and 2, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” A faithful pastor will rebuke the sins of the people. A false pastor will not rebuke the sins of the people.
     
    Proverbs 28:23, “He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.” A faithful pastor will find good results but a false pastor will flatter people.
     
    Proverbs 13:1 says, “A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.” A wise Christian will hear the rebuke of the faithful pastor. A scorner will not listen to the rebuke of the pastor.
     
    Jacob, or Israel, his father loved him more than the other 11 brothers because Joseph was the son of his old age.
     
    The eleven brothers of Joseph were all walking in the flesh and had the fruits of the flesh. Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
    The Dream of the Sheaves that did Obeisance
    Genesis 37:5-8, “And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? Or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.”
     
    Both dreams came from God and God will fulfill both dreams in the life of Joseph and in the life of Christ. In the first dream, the brothers were binding sheaves in the field and Joseph’s sheaf stood upright and the sheaves of the brothers stood up and did obeisance. The brothers hated this dream and the interpretation. The brothers of Joseph rejected the words of Joseph.
     
    The brothers did not like the dreams that God gave Joseph. They did not want Joseph to reign over them. The brothers did not want to make obeisance to Joseph. Therefore, the brothers hated the words of Joseph and questioned the dreams of Joseph. When a person does not agree with the pastor who faithfully preaches the scriptures, they will question the scriptures and the pastor.
     
    Joseph’s brothers are like the nation of Israel. When the Lord Jesus came and dwelt among the nation of Israel, His brethren, the Jews rejected Him. John 1:11, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”And, in the church Age, most of the Jews hate Jesus and his words.
     
    When the Lord Jesus came the first time, the Jews also did not want Jesus to be their king. John 19:14 & 15, “And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he [Pilate] saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.”
     
    This dream was fulfilled in the life of Joseph. Genesis 42:6, “And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.”
     
    And, this dream will be also fulfilled in the life of Christ when the 12 tribes of Israel recognize the Lord Jesus as Saviour and serve the Lord Jesus as KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. tells us that 12,000 Jews from each tribe of Israel become the servants of the Lord Jesus in the 7 Year Tribulation Period.
     
    Joseph is like the Christian who walks in the Spirit. The Christian who walks in the spirit will be persecuted, talked against, scorned, maligned, and despised by those who walk in the flesh. & Galatians 4:28 & 29, “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.”
     
    The Dream of the Sun and the Moon
    Genesis 37: 9 & 10, “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. 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?”
     
    This dream is almost the same; but slightly different. In the first dream, only the other brothers did obeisance and in the second dream the Sun and the Moon, and eleven stars made obeisance. The sun represents Jacob, the Moon represents Rachel, and the eleven stars represent the eleven brothers. Rachel is already dead (Genesis 35:16-20). As with Job, and the other saints in the Old Testament, Jacob believed that one day that God would raise the saints from the dead.
     
    So, this represents all of the children of Israel, Jacob, and Rachel. This dream was fulfilled in Joseph's lifetime, among his own family (minus Rachel). The second time the brothers of Joseph came to Egypt they bowed before him the second time and said that their father (Jacob), was his servant. Genesis 43:28, “And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.”
     
    The second dream, along with the first dream, represents the whole nation of Israel bowing down to the Lord Jesus. Genesis 37:9 & 10 is the interpretation of . Revelation 12:1-17. Revelation 12:1, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.”
     
    The fulfillment of the second dream is when the nation of Israel gets saved and bows down to the Lord Jesus. Romans 11:26, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”
    Jacob observed Joseph’s sayings
    Genesis 37:11, “And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.” Jacob did not question the dreams of Joseph. Jacob did not fully understand them; but, he did not question them. Jacob observed them.
     
    Joseph’s brothers did not care for the words of Joseph. The brothers walked in the flesh. Envy is a one of the fruits of the flesh as listed in Galatians 5:19-21The father, Jacob, loved the Lord. So, he observed these sayings. We need to observe the saying’s in the scriptures. Psalm 107:43, “Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.”
     
    A wise Christian will walk in the Spirit and will observe the life of Joseph.
     
  10. Alan
    1 Kings 4:29-34, “And God gave Solomon wisdom.”
    1 Kings 4:29-34, “And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon's wisdom excelled of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.” 
    Wisdom and understanding is very important. We need wisdom is our lives. We need wisdom to learn how to raise our family, working on our job, dealing with our neighbors, and those in the church congregation. As God gave King Solomon wisdom; so can the Lord give us wisdom. “If any of you ask wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5
    James does add one thought concerning asking God wisdom that we need to consider in our hearts. “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” James 1:6 & 7  
     “And God gave Solomon wisdom” 
    Why did God give King Solomon wisdom? In 1 Kings 3:5-15 God appeared to King Solomon in a dream and said, “… Ask what I shall give thee.”  1 Kings 3:5
    I am going to ask the reader of this devotion to read, and consider, every word that occurs in the dream of King Solomon. God is looking at the heart of King Solomon and Solomon is speaking from his heart.
    In his heart, King Solomon knew that God wanted His people to walk in righteous and in truth. “..according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness...”  1 Kings 3:6
    King Solomon was very humble and of a sincere heart. At this time, Solomon was 20 years old. In 1 Kings 3:7 Solomon said that he was a servant of God and was like a little child. “… and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.”1 Kings 3:7 Most people are very proud and will not follow the ways of God. Most people are unwilling to be a servant of God. Even though Solomon was king he felt that God was his king. King Solomon willingly called himself a servant. Solomon believed that he was a servant of God in order to do the will of God. 
    1 peter 5:5-7, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” King Solomon humbled himself.
    God made us. He is the King in Heaven. God is not our servant. We are His servants. God resists a proud person. One of the reasons why God does not answer a Christian’s prayer is because they are not humble nor sincere. If we want God to give us wisdom, we need to walk in unrighteousness, truth, be humble, and sincere .
     1 Kings 3:9 “Discernment”
    ! Kings 3:9, “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?” God gave King Solomon wisdom because he asked for wisdom in order to discern between good and evil  and to judge the nation of Israel. Solomon did not ask wisdom for his own fleshly desires or experience. He asked God for wisdom to lead the nation of Israel according to the will of God.
    King Solomon was unselfish. He did not ask for wisdom to help his own desires. He did not ask for money. He did not ask for health. King Solomon loved God and loved the nation of Israel. King Solomon wanted wisdom to help him to discern between good and evil. Long before God gave Solomon wisdom, Job wrote the definition of wisdom; “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28
    Most people are selfish and they do not care to help others. A Chinese proverb says, “To care nothing outside one’s window – one does not care what is going on beyond one’s own surroundings.” 俗語說「兩耳不聞窗外事」
    It is the will of God for Christians to discern between good and evil. The Lord Jesus wants all Christians to discern between good and evil. The Lord Jesus wants us to discern between evil and good, right and wrong, and good and bad doctrine. Ephesians 4;14 , “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” A Christian who is not concerned about good doctrine, or is unwilling to forsake bad doctrine, is like a child who is unconcerned about the parents guidance, is deceived, and is like the waves of he sea driven hither and yonder by every wind of the heretics of this world. A lost person, or an immature Christian, cannot discern between good and evil. But a mature Christian can discern between good and evil: or judgment. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14
    God blessed King Solomon
    “And Solomon's wisdom excelled of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.” 1 Kings 4:30The East country would include Iran, India, China and Japan.  “And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.” 1 Kings 4:34 Even today, in the Western world, when a person thinks of wisdom, he thinks of King Solomon and the book of Proverbs.

    King Solomon was humble, righteous, and sincere in the sight of God. He asked for wisdom to judge the nation of Israel and to learn how to discern between right and wrong. We need to have the same attitude. God can give us wisdom if it is His will. says, Proverbs 2:6, “For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” 
  11. Alan
    1 Kings 15:11-15, “Right in the Sight of the Lord”
     
     11 "And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father. 
     12 And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. 
     13 And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron. 
     14 But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with the LORD all his days. 
     15 And he brought in the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which himself had dedicated, into the house of the LORD, silver, and gold, and vessels."
     
    The heart of King Asa was perfect in the sight of the LORD. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 All of the issues of life; eternal salvation from hell, service to the Lord, and our relationship with others, are determined with the attitude of our hearts. Like Asa, we need to have a perfect heart in the sight of the Lord.
     
    God established King Asa
     
    For 41 years, King Asa reigned in Jerusalem. King Asa did the will of God as recorded in the scripture. God blessed him and established him. God is also willing to establish us in our homes, our jobs, in our spiritual life is we do His will.
     
    Colossians 2:6 & 7, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Salvation is by faith in the Lord Jesus as ones personal Saviour. As we obtained salvation by faith, after we get saved, we need to walk with Jesus by faith. The Lord Jesus is the root of the tree. A person cannot see the root of the tree. The root establishes the tree. The Apostle Paul is teaching that as we take deep root in the Lord Jesus, the Lord builds us up and establishes us in the faith. As we discover these wonderful truths, as Paul said, we need to have a thankful heart.
     
    God uses the scriptures to establish us and to teach us His will. This includes correct doctrine, holiness and righteousness in our lives. We need to listen to and study the scriptures in order to be established.
     
    King Asa Followed God
     
    Asa trusted in and loved God. As King, Asa determined to fear God and do what is right in the sight of God and not man, or society. Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” When we put our trust in God, and do those things that are right in His sight, than we are safe. We have a safe home in eternity and God will protect us on the earth. The fear of man brings a snare. When a person fears man, or society, he caught in the snare of the devil. False religion is the snare of the devil.
     
    When we fear God and trust in Jesus as our Savior then God will bless us. Deuteronomy 12:28, “Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou dost that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God.”
     
    1 John 3:22, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” When we obey the Lord Jesus then the Lord Jesus will answer our prayers.
     
    One of the reasons why the Lord Jesus does not answer our prayers is because we miss-use His name, we say, ‘Lord Jesus,’ but, we do not do what is pleasing in His sight. We need to do what is pleasing in His sight, not ours. “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”  James 4: 4
     
    King Asa knew the history of King David and did as King David did. King David is a good example for all of us.
     
    King Asa removed the Sodomites and the idols
     
    King Asa was a very moral person and righteous in his authority. The physical act of sodomy is vile, unnatural, destroys society and the family. King Asa obeyed the commandment of God in removing the Sodomites and the idols from the land of Israel. “There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.” Deuteronomy 23:17
     
    Exodus 20:3 & 4 “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”
     
    In the New Testament, we read that an idolater will not enter into heaven. Revelation 21:8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
     
    King Asa removed the evil things in the kingdom of Israel. We need to get remove evil things, thoughts, beliefs, personal agendas, and desires, from our lives.
     
    Dedication
     
    God blessed King Asa with wealth. King Asa brought the dedicated things into the House of the Lord. Three items are mentioned: Silver, gold, and vessels. King Asa knew his wealth came from the blessings of God.
     
    In our age, the visible house of the Lord is the local church. We need to dedicate our lives to the Lord Jesus and to the furtherance of the gospel. 1 Timothy 3:15, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” Every Christian needs to learn how to behave themselves in the church. The church is not an entertainment center, or a social club.
     
    When a person loves the Lord Jesus, he will love the church. If a person loves the Lord Jesus, he will learn how to behave in the church. In a local New Testament, Bible believing, independent, fundamental, Baptist church you will find the doctrinal truth of the scriptures and practical behaviour that pleases the Lord.
     
    The Removal of the Queen
     
    The Queen of Jerusalem, Maachah, was King Asa’s mother. King Asa’s own mother was involved with idolatry. Because King Asa wanted to do that which was right in the sight of the Lord, instead of doing that which is right in the sight of man, King Asa removed his own mother from being Queen.
     
    So often, in churches, in politics, in the affairs of this world, people who know to do right do not do right because they fear man and want to please a person, or an organization, or a denomination, or the lay people of the church. This was the attitude of King Saul. “And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.” 1 Samuel 15:24 “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25
     
    The Chief Shepherd of the local, New Testament Church, is the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 5:4, “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” The pastor of every church has only one person he must be accountable too; the Lord Jesus. The pastor obeys the Lord Jesus through the scriptures.
     
    Like King Asa, good pastors will remove any false teacher, false bibles, or individuals following the gods of this world (music, methods, a denominational hierarchy, or anything contrary to scripture), from any church office. The Apostle Paul gave us an example in 1 Timothy 1:19 & 20, “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they learn not to blaspheme.” The blasphemy of Hymenaeus and Alexander was a departure of the faith; they were heretics.
     
    Concluding Thoughts
     
    King Asa was a good king. He loved the Lord in heaven as David loved God. King Asa removed evil from the Israel as David removed evil. King Asa had a perfect heart with God. We need to have a perfect heart with God.
     
  12. Alan
    “Four Principles concerning the New Testament Church.”
     
    King Solomon, and the nation of Israel, was seven years in building the Temple. Wow! Seven years is a long time. It takes a long time to get a large job accomplished. Sometimes when a person starts a work, and it takes a long time, they get discouraged and give up.
     
    King Solomon did not get discouraged and he did not give up. He finished the task that God told him to do. The task of building the Temple was a very important task. King Solomon is a good example to persevere in a task. It is hard for a person to persevere in a large task.
     
    The Apostle Paul stated that the stories in the Old Testament were examples to the saint in the New Testament. “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.”1 Corinthians 10:6 Furthermore, Paul stated, “For whatsoever things were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4
     
    As we ponder on the faith, and principles, that guided the Old Testament saints, as our examples, we can learn, obtain patience, comfort, and have hope. Our pondering of the saints of old will also help us as we work for the Lord, see souls saved, enjoy working for the Lord in Church, and enjoy the fellowship of the saints in church.
     
    How did King Solomon persevere for seven years building the Temple? and, how may we learn from his experience? I would suggest that the reader, in connection with this devotion, read
    1 Chronicles 29
     
    Four Principles for building the Temple that
    King Solomon learned from his father.
     
    The Temple was the Lord’s house to do the work of the Lord. King Solomon learned four principles from King David his father concerning building the Temple. The fathers should teach the sons the things of God. Fathers should teach these principles not only by words, but also by heart-felt action.
     
    First Principle in Building a Church
     
    Building a Church is a Great Work
     
    Concerning the building of the Temple, King David said that the work of the Lord was great. “Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the LORD God.” 1 Chronicles 29:1
     
    King David said that the Temple was the Temple of God and not for man. And, King David said that building the Temple of God was a great work.
     
    The attitude of David is an example for the saints in the New Testament Church Age. The building of the local, New Testament, church is a great work and it is the Lords House. Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
     
    The Lord Jesus started to build His church through soul winning efforts. “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” Mark 1:17 In order to become a part of the church of the Lord Jesus, a New Testament church, you need to become saved.
     
    The primary reason why we have churches that do not believe sound doctrine, full of hypocrisy, full of charismatic foolishness, full of evil practices, is due to the lost nature of the “members.”
     
    1 Timothy 3:15, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
     
    In a true New Testament, independent, Bible believing, Baptist church, you will find the truth of the scriptures. A true saint seeking to learn correct behavior, righteousness, holiness, and doctrinal truth, will leave an unsound church and find a sound one. The untoward behavior as found in a lot of churches in age of Laodicea is not of the Lord.
     
    A Polite Reminder
     
    Before I continue this devotion, may I remind the reader that in the New Testament Church Age there are no denominations, no bishops controlling local churches as we see in the Catholic Church and the Presbyterian Church and other denominations.
     
    A saint in seeking to learn correct behavior, sound doctrine, will not learn these matters in a man-made religious denomination, backslidden saints with a heart problem, nor by an, “internet theologian.” Man-made denominations, internet theologians, out of church saints, Theological Seminaries, will not teach the saint sound doctrine and correct behavior in the New Testament Church.
     
    The New Testament churches, local assemblies, followed the baptism of John the Baptist, (Baptist is a title not John’s last name), the authority of the Apostles, and after the Apostles died, the absolute authority of the written scriptures. The Lord Jesus did not organize any denomination, Seminary, nor internet ministry.
     
    Second Principle in building a church
     
    The Church is for the Lord Jesus
     
    We need to be like King David. Building a church is for the cause of the Lord Jesus and His work. It is not a social work. It is not an entertainment center. It is a place for the preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a place where the Bible is taught.
     
    Because it was a great work King David prepared the materials with all of his might. 1 Chronicles 29:2 says, “Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance.”
     
    We need to serve the Lord with all of our might. Furthermore, we are we need to start today. John 9:4, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”
     
    Third Principle in Building a Church
     
    We Need to Love the Work
     
    King David said, “Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house.” 1 Chronicles 29:3
     
    King David loved the Temple and he loved the Lord. King David loved the house of God and gave his own financial resources (carnal things), for the Temple of God. Psalm 26:8 , “LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.” Psalm 18:1, “I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.”
     
    When Solomon was a child, he saw that his father, King David truly loved God with his heart and loved the Temple of the Lord and gave of his gold (carnal goods), for the building of the Temple of God.
     
    In our hearts, we need to love the Lord Jesus and the church. Ephesians 5:23-25 , “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”
     
    Colossians 3:2, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
     
    As with King David, those saints who love the church, who love the salvation of souls, who love the preaching of the scriptures will give of their carnal goods, willingly and lovingly, for the furtherance of the local church. “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” 2 Corinthians 8:12 
     
    The Old Testament saints are an example in the area of giving to the house of God in the New Testament. “Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? for it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it together for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of this hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the alter? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar.” 1 Corinthians 9:8-14
     
    The Lord Jesus ordained that in the New Testament local (physical), church, that the ministers of the gospel, and the church itself, to be taken care of the saints of the assembly through their offerings as the Old Testament saints took care of the Temple; as the law “saith.”
     
    The obedience of this ordinance by the Lord Jesus does not put the New Testament saint under the law, but, the Lord Jesus, through the Apostle Paul, commands us to follow the example of the law. As Paul states, the law of Moses concerning giving was given for “for our sakes.”
     
    King Solomon made the decision to love the Lord. 1 Kings 3:3a, “And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father.”
     
    Song of Solomon 8:7, “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.”
     
    Sometimes we let the problems of this life quench our service for the Lord Jesus. King Solomon was able to persevere because he loved the Lord and loved the work of the Lord.
     
    Our children notice whether we love the Lord and the church. To love the Lord Jesus and to love the church is a good principle in our lives. Can we not say that to love the Lord and to love the church is the greatest principle?
     
    Fourth Principle in Building a Church
     
    We need to be willing to build the church.
     
    In 1 Chronicles 29:5 King David asked who was willing to consecrate his service to prepare to build the Temple. “The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hand of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD?” 1 Chronicles 29:5
     
    I have already quoted 2 Corinthians 8:12 in connection with the giving of our carnal goods (or finances), to the church, but, it bears repeating as a willing heart and mind is essential in all of the work involving the Lord Jesus. “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” 2 Corinthians 8:12 
     
    In verse 6, the people willingly offered to consecrate themselves to prepare the materials for the Temple. “Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly.” 1 Chronicles 29:6 
     
    Application
     
    When Solomon was growing up he saw the willingness of the his father, King David, and the willingness of the people, to serve build the Temple. Our children look at us and see if we willingly serve the Lord. We are an example to our children. And the Old Testament saints are an example to the saints in the New Testament.
     
    King Solomon was willing to build the Temple. In fact, King Solomon was determined to build the Temple. 2 Chronicles 2:1, “And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.” King Solomon willingly made this decision because of his love to God and to the Temple of God.
     
    King David and the people rejoiced in preparing to build the Temple.
     
    In and 17 King David and the people with great joy prepare to build the Temple. When King Solomon was a child, he rejoiced that he could help prepare to build the Temple. In fact, King Solomon, the wisest man in the world, when the Temple was built, said, all the saints ought to rejoice.
     
    2 Chronicles 6:41, “Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness.”
     
    We need to consecrate, to love the Lord Jesus, and willingly serve the Lord Jesus in building His church. As we build the church, through soul winning efforts and the teaching and preaching of the scriptures, we need to have a joyful heart.
     
  13. Alan
    Matthew 14:22-33 “Peace in the Midst of the Storm.”
    By Alan
     
    “And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.”
    Matthew 14:22-33
     
    The account of the Lord Jesus walking on the water is a wonderful story that shows us His lordship over His creation and loving care for His saints.
     
    Before we begin this devotion, let me bring a reminder that the disciples in the ship were Jews and were familiar with the account of how the LORD God takes care of the saints; even on the dangers in the sea. “They that do down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.” Psalm 107:23 and 24 God, in either Testament, God is Lord over all of the creation.
     
    The Bible is a wonderful book. The Bible is God’s Word and it gives us an understanding of God and His will for our lives. It also gives us peace in our hearts as we go through the storms of life and the hope of eternal life in heaven.
     
    “... tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.”
     
    In this world, all of us go through storms of life. We have physical, mental, and spiritual problems. We have fears in our hearts, doubts, wants, needs, and stress, in our family and work. Everybody has storms in their lives. The Lord Jesus wants us to have peace in the midst of our storms: whether those storms are physical, mental, spiritual, societal, governmental, family, or work related. 
     
    What a wonderful story! This story tells of the power and majesty of the Lord Jesus. Jesus is truly Lord.
     
    “... walking on the water.”
     
    During the time of their deepest anxiety of life, the disciples saw the Lord Jesus walking on the water. Also, there was a very big storm on the water at the same time.
     
    How was it possible for Jesus to walk on the water? Can you walk on the water? Do you know of anybody else that can walk on the water in front of other people? Did Confucius walk on the water? Did Buddha walk on the water?
     
    Job knew, as the Jews knew, and as those who know their Bible know, only God in heaven, the LORD, can walk on the water. Job 9:8 says, “Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.”
     
    Jesus could walk on the water because He is Lord. Colossians 1: 15-17 says, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Because Jesus created all things, He is Lord and has the power to walk on the water!
     
    God, who lives in heaven, is invisible to all of us. The Lord Jesus is His only son. Jesus is the image of God. The Lord Jesus created this world and all that is in it. He created all of the things that you see and all of the spiritual things that you cannot see. The Lord Jesus created: the oceans, land, mountains, islands, our body, the thrones, or the governments, of this world, the angels, the Devil, or Satan, heaven and hell. All of the creation of the Lord is used for His purposes.
     
    “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”
     
    The Lord Jesus can give us peace in our heart in the midst of the storms of life.
     
    The disciples were on the boat and the storm was raging. They thought that maybe they would die. Some of the disciples were fishermen. The disciples knew the dangers of the sea. Also, they never had seen a person walking on the water.
     
    The disciples had never seen a person walk on the water, so they thought that a ghost was coming to them. At the beginning, they did not understand what was happening. They were very scared. Then they cried out with fear. Like the disciples, so often in our lives we are fearful of the dangers in our paths and do not have a full understanding of the spiritual happenings around us.
     
    The Lord Jesus said, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” The Lord Jesus does not want the Christian to have fear in their hearts.
     
    The Lord Jesus also said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave unto you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
     
    The Lord Jesus gives the Christian peace in our hearts. The Christian has peace in their hearts that only Jesus can give. Jesus gives the Christian peace in the midst of the storms of live. When a Christian dies, he knows that he will ascend into heaven and live with Jesus.
     
    “Come.”
     
    When Jesus spoke these words the apostle Peter realized that it was the Lord walking on the water. Peter had faith in the Lord. So, Peter asked the Lord if he could come on the water and walk to Him. Jesus said one word, “Come.” We need to come to Jesus in the storms of life!
     
    Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
     
    Peter is a good example. In verse 29 we see how Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus. How did Peter walk on the water? Because of his faith the Apostle Peter was able to walk on the water. Faith is an amazing thing. We all need to have faith.
     
    “Lord, save me.”
     
    But, now we see that Peter took his eyes, his thoughts, off of the Lord Jesus, and looked at the wind and waves. Then he became afraid. Then he started to sink .That caused Peter to cry out, “Lord, save me.”
     
    “Lord, save me.” All of us need to pay careful heed to these words of Peter. If you are not a Christian then you need to cry out to Jesus and say, “Lord, save me I do not want to go to hell. I do not want to go to hell forever. Lord save me! I am a sinner and deserve to die and go to hell. But, Lord, in your mercy save my soul.”
     
    If you are a Christian, and you have taken your eyes and thoughts off of the Lord Jesus and onto the world and all of its problems then you need to turn your eyes on Jesus and say, “Lord save me.”
     
    In the hymn book there is a song called, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.” The stanza says, “Turn your eyes on Jesus, look full into His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” Jesus is Lord and He is truly wonderful. We need to take our eyes, our thoughts, our actions, off of the things of this life and trust in the Lord Jesus for all of our needs and give Him our fears.
     
    “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”
     
    In verse 31 we read these wonderful words, “And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
     
    Faith pleases God but doubting does not. When we doubt, and criticize the Bible, and the things of God, then we displease God. The Bible, and all of the doctrines, stories, miracles, prophesies written therein, are to be believed and not doubted.
     
    With very little argument, the greatest defender of the faith in the Chinese world was Wang Ming-Dao, July 25, 1900-July 28, 1991. Wang Ming-Dao is one of the best examples of the work of the scriptures in the heart of a Chinese convert. After salvation, as he was teaching in a Presbyterian mission school, because of his biblical stand to be immersed, he was dismissed in 1920.
     
    Later on, in the beginning days of the Charismatic Movement in China, he openly taught against the Charismatic movement and denominational hierarchies. Wang Ming-Dao became known for his indigenous church work. From 1955-1980 he was imprisoned, twice, by the Communist government. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Ming-Dao
     
    Through all of his intense verbal, spiritual, cultural, family relations, religious, denominational jealousy, and governmental persecution, Wang Ming-Dao maintained a rock-solid faith in Christ, doctrinal integrity, and inward peace through his personal storms in life.
     
    Wang Ming-Dao said, 王明道「魔鬼敗壞信徒的計策很多,但最毒的莫過於使他們對神的話發生疑惑,因為這是根本的方法。」“Satan has many scheme’s to destroy the believer, but the greatest poisonous, and the original, method is nothing more than to cause them to doubt the word of God.”[1] The English translation is a free translation from the author.
     
    The Lord Jesus saw that, without divine intervention, Peter would quickly drown and lose his life. But, until Peter called out for the Lord to save him Jesus did nothing. But, when Peter called out to Him then Jesus saved him. When we call upon the Lord to save us He will do so. “I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” Psalm 18:3
     
    Many a person, in time of extreme distress, potential loss of life, war, accidents, and other physical dangers or spiritual dangers, have called upon the Lord for not only the eternal salvation of their soul, but for physical deliverance.
     
    “Of a truth thou art the Son of God.”
     
    The Lord Jesus took Peter’s hand then both Jesus and Peter walked back to the boat walking on the water. Peter embraced Jesus! When they got back to the boat the wind ceased. When Jesus and Peter arrived back to the boat the other disciples realized the wonderful thing that Jesus did. Then the disciples worshipped Jesus. They said, “Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” As Job realized that only the Lord in heaven could walk on the waves of sea, so must we. The confession that Jesus was the Son of God was a confession that Jesus was the Lord from heaven and equal in attributes, character, power, and authority. Both the Father and the Son are eternal and worthy of worship.
     
    Psalm 2:7 and 12, “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee. ... Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”
     
    In conclusion, we need to be like Peter and the rest of the men in the boat. We need to worship the Lord Jesus. Why not be saved today? Call upon Him in prayer and say, “Lord save me.”
     
     
      [1] Wang Ming Tao, Treasuries of Wang Ming Tao, Volume II The Hard Road, (Touliu, Taiwan: Conservative Baptist Press, 1996), Page 256.
  14. Alan
     
    “The Kindness of God”
    2 Samuel 9:1-13 David & Mephibosheth
    The theme of this story is the kindness of God. In David’s life, we can see the kindness of God. Because David and God had an intimate relationship, David developed a kind heart.
    Background
    Before David became the King of Israel King Saul tried to kill David and prevent David from becoming King over Israel. King Saul was David’s enemy. For seven years, David fled from King Saul.
     
    Except during times of  religious expediency, King Saul did not obey God. He rebelled against God, listened to the people, and had a stubborn heart.
     
    God rejected King Saul and anointed David to be king over Israel. 1 Samuel 15:10 & 11 and 23 says, “Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried all night.” and, Samuel told King Saul, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king."
     
    King Saul is like many people. Most people, yea, even a lot of religious people, reject the will of God because they are rebellion against the Bible, stubborn, and will only listen to the world.
     
    David, before he became King, had a close relationship with King Saul’s son, Jonathan. Jonathan was an individual who had a love for God, for the will of God, and for the man of God.
     
    Verse 1-3, “And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake? And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet.”
     
    King David loved God and God gave David peace and love in his heart. King David did not have hate nor have bitterness in his heart towards the house of Saul. King David put into practice the love and kindness of God. “Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy loving kindnesses; for they have been ever of old.” Psalm 25:6
     
    King David is a good example for us how we should love our enemies and exhibit the love and kindness of God. In this passage twice, King David said that he wanted to show the kindness of God towards the house of Saul. Jonathan was King Saul’s son and a friend of David. Mephibosheth was Jonathan’s son and King Saul’s grandson.
     
    Mephibosheth was lame. He could not walk nor could he earn money. He was very poor. Mephibosheth was the grandson of Saul. Mephibosheth represents the Christian. Before we are saved, we are a child of the Devil and unworthy to enter into the presence of God and into heaven. And, only the love and mercy of God makes us worthy enough to enter heaven.
     
    “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved.) Ephesians 2:4 and 5
     
    Love Produces Kindness
     
    Verse 5 & 6, “Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!”
     
    Please note that even though David was the King he sought Mephibosheth. King David is a type of God. God loves us and He is seeking us. 1 John 4:9 & 10 says, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
     
    God loves us!
     
    The Lord Jesus, the Son of God, said, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10 God is seeking the salvation of man in order for man to escape the torment of hell and enter the joy of heaven.
     
    Jesus loves us!
     
    Verse 7 & 8, “And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. And he bowed himself, and said, What is they servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?”
     
    The first words out of the mouth of King David was “Fear not.” King David relieved the heart of Mephibosheth. Is that not like the kindness of God? “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee: yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10
     
    Mephibosheth realized that he was not worthy to receive this honor and was humble. In this passage, Mephibosheth twice said that he is David’s servant and did not deserve his mercy.
     
    Before we are saved, we are unworthy to enter into the presence of the King of Heaven. We deserve to go to hell. Like Mephibosheth, we need to have a grateful heart to the king of heaven and be God’s servant and follow Jesus.
     
    Verse 13, “So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.”
     
    King David gave commandments that his servants were to provide the physical necessities for Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth could not take care of himself so David took care of his needs.
    The Lord Jesus is our king and one day we will sit at His table in heaven and eat. The Lord Jesus, as an added blessing to the salvation of our soul, will give us a new, glorified body, and will take care of the needs of our new body for eternity. Revelation 19:9, “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”
    Conclusion
    The story of King David and Mephibosheth is a wonderful story of the loving kindness and mercy of God. It shows us how God gave David love for his enemies’ grandchild. It shows us the humility of Mephibosheth and love and kindness of God in a practical manner. It shows us how God will take care of our spiritual, physical, and eternal needs.
     
    Like King David, when we have a close relationship with God we can have the love and kindness of God in our hearts.
     
    God loves us! He is Merciful and Gracious! Before we loved God He loved us! Because God loves us He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, to die on the cross and become the propitiation for our sins. This story shows us how God is seeking man for the eternal salvation of our soul so we can escape the torment of hell and enter into the joy of heaven.
     
    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
     
  15. Alan
    “Glory in Heaven.”
    Daniel 12:3, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament;
    And they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”
    According to the scriptures, what is wisdom? And who is a wise person?
    “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28  A person who fears the Lord, and is trusting in the Lord for the salvation of their soul, has wisdom. 
    God looks at the heart. Our motives, our character, our personal righteousness (or sanctification), and our walk with the Lord will determine the glory, or rewards, we will have in eternity. In the scriptures, we see a contrast between various people who were wise in salvation and wise in sanctification. 
    Contrast in Salvation
    The fool trusts in his own heart, merits, works, religious ceremonies, wealth, influence, and other foolish things for the eternal salvation of his soul. The rich man in hell was a fool and Lazarus was the wise person in
    Contrast after Salvation
    After salvation, a wise person is one who decides to forsake the pleasures, comforts, ideology, philosophy, and the striving for wealth, fame or other worldly pursuits, in order to please the Lord in heaven. Lot was wise in salvation but not in his personal walk with with the Lord. Abraham was wise in salvation and in his walk with the Lord. 
    Lot was righteous in the heart but not in his character.
    Abraham was righteous in his heart, character, and beliefs.
    “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament”
    Winning souls is wise and will be rewarded in eternity. Proverbs 11:30, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.”
    When an individual tells another person, whether by word of mouth, testimony, preaching, a tract, or the manner of his life, and the person witnessed to turns to the Lord in salvation, then that person who witnessed is wise and in eternity will 'shine as the brightness of the firmament.' 
    As the glory of one star is different from the glory of another star, so are our rewards in eternity.
    Sanctification – Holiness – Right Living
    Righteousness in our life, or Sanctification, or Holiness, is wise and will be rewarded in eternity. 1 Thessalonians 4:4 and 7, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; … For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.”  
    In a direct reference to the shameful living of the Corinthian believers (who were righteous in soul but not in daily living), Paul the apostle wrote, “I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? No, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?” 1 Corinthians 6:5. Please take careful note. The lives of the Corinthian saints were 'shameful' even though they were wise in salvation, Paul clearly said they were not wise in judging; i. e., they could not discern spiritual things.
    Lot is an example of this type of saint. They are unrighteous, unholy, and not sanctified, in their life. 1 Corinthians 6:  8 & 9. They allow the world, the pleasures of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, to destroy their testimony. Therefore, they do not win souls by either word of mouth nor testimony and their glory in eternity will not be so bright.
    In eternity, those saints who lived in the flesh and taught false doctrine will be ashamed.
    A wise Christian is one who is righteous in his daily walk with Christ. Abraham was a man righteous in  his heart for salvation and righteous in his heart in his walk with the Lord. Abraham was holy and sanctified  in his life. Since the scriptures have been written down the personal testimony of Abraham has caused the salvation of many throughout the ages and in many lands. 
    Therefore, in eternity, the glory of the rewards given to Abraham will cause him to shine as the stars for eternity.
    Righteous in Belief
    A heart belief, before salvation, in an incorrect, or unrighteous, doctrine cannot save the soul. 1 Timothy 4:16, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” The saint who walks with the Lord will take heed about every doctrine he believes.
    A heart belief in Buddhism, Taoism, baptismal regeneration, salvation by works, and other erroneous methods of salvation will cause a person to spend eternity in hell. As Timothy preached salvation by grace, through a sincere, and repentant, heart belief in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour; Timothy could win those people to Christ. 
    Timothy could lead many to righteousness through correct doctrinal salvation preaching. In eternity, Timothy, and many other sound gospel preachers, will shine as the stars in heaven.
    A heart belief in an incorrect, or unrighteous, doctrine, after salvation, will cause the believer to be deceived. The false teachers (some are saved, but teach erroneous beliefs), that are teaching in the churches (or an Internet theologian), is causing confusion among the saints by using deceptive doctrines and bibles. 
    After salvation, a belief in incorrect, or unsound, or corrupted doctrines, will cause many saints to lose their rewards in eternity. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, they will be ashamed of their erroneous doctrinal beliefs.
    “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” 2 Timothy 2:5  If a man that is in the ministry, or a teacher of the scriptures in any capacity, teaches unsound doctrine, then he is not striving lawfully (according to the scriptures), and is not leading people to sound doctrine, or, a belief in right doctrine.
    Unsound doctrine would include, but not limited to,  corrupted bibles (any modern version starting from the RV of 1881 is a corrupted bible), heresies like the Charismatic Tongue Movement, The Gap Theory, any form of a non-belief in the creation of the world in six days, Calvinism, CCM music, Ecumenicalism, and any perversion of the Second Coming of Christ (Preterist, A-millennialism or Post-millennialism).
    “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. ” 2 Timothy 3:8 & 9 Saints, who resist the truth of the scriptures, are in error.
    Paul the Apostle will be rewarded, and shine as the firmament in heaven, for eternity. But, the saved teachers of false doctrines in the churches will be openly shamed at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
    Concluding thoughts
    If a person is not a Christian, the wisest decision they will ever make it to trust in the Lord Jesus as their Saviour. 
    If a Christian is to be wise in their relationship with the Lord Jesus, our lives, and the lips of our mouths, should be a testimony of the saving grace of the Lord Jesus and His work in our lives.
    If a Christian is wise, sanctified, and is striving lawfully, according to the correct doctrines in the scriptures,  he will be able to lead other saints to a sanctified life. In eternity, the wise saint will shine as the stars in the heavens.
    “The Galactic Bulge – A field of White Dwarf Stars”
    Note: A White Dwarf is actually bluish white.
    Courtesy of NASA – the Hubble Space Telescope
    “Sagittarius Window Eclipsing Extrasolar Planet Search (SWEEPS)

    “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament:
    and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” Daniel 12:3
    “… for one star differ from another star in glory.” 1 Corinthians 15:41

     
  16. Alan
    1 Samuel 30:6, “Encouragement.”
     
    “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6
     
    Enemies on Every Side
     
    In addition to the world, his own flesh, and Satan, David had many other enemies. In this passage, 1 Samuel 30:1-20,  we will consider three of them: the Philistines, the Amalekites, and King Saul.
     
    David had so many enemies that desired to kill him that he was living in the wilderness like a hunted animal. On some occasions, such as his relationship with Achish, he was able to live in a city. In spite of his enemies, David maintained a personal relationship with God.
     
    David, in his close relationship with God, wrote, “Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.” Psalm 27:11 David based his daily path through life, his every day decisions, on the leading of the Lord in his life. David knew the will of God in his life and followed it, except with notable exceptions that are not related to this passage, to the day of his death.
     
    Physical Background - Ziklag
     
    1 Samuel 27:1-7 For his service to Achish, Achish gave the city of Ziklag to David. While David was preparing to battle with Achish (1 Samuel 29), against King Saul the lords of the Philistines demanded that David and his men refrain from entering the battle.
     
    As David and his men of war returned to Ziklag they discovered that the Amalekites had burned the city, carried away all of the women and children captive, and took away the spoils of the city. Because David made the decision to leave Ziklag to help Achish, the men of war blamed David. Furthermore, due to the great distress and anxiety in their heart for the loved ones, the men of war were going to put David to death.
     
    Great Distress
     
    In times of one of the most stressful times in his life, David discovered that his own men turned against him and was preparing to stone him to death. David was greatly distressed. Unless God intervened, David was going to die a very painful and agonizing death.
     
    In David’s time of extreme distress, he encouraged himself in the LORD. To further understand David and how he could encourage himself in the Lord we need to look deeper in his soul before this horrific incident occured.
     
    Spiritual Background - David’s Relationship with God
     
    From a child, David fell in love with God, the Law of God, the work of God, and the will of God in his life. As a child, then a teen-ager, and then a young man, David created and sang Psalms, had faith, walked close with God, and continually encouraged himself in the knowledge of eternal salvation in heaven, judgment to come and the wonderful promises of God as revealed in the scriptures.
     
    From his younger years until this time of extreme crises, David desired to have a close relationship with God. David wrote, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD for all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4
     
    In the heart of David, the house of the LORD, the LORD Himself, the holiness of God, was beautiful. In his close relationship with the LORD God in heaven, David discovered the beauty of holiness. “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” Psalm 29:2 David, from a child, with noted exceptions, walked in the Spirit.
     
    Contrast the relationship of King Saul with God
     
    The relationship of King Saul with God was not good, or, it was non-existent. In eternity, we will discover whether he was truly a saint.
     
    We do know that King Saul walked in the flesh after two years in the King’s office. The power as the King of Israel went to his head. Actually, the phrase “went to his head,” while it is a good phrase, it is not entirely correct to describe a person who lets pride run his life. The phrase, “went to his heart,” is more precise. Proverbs 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” King Saul had a heart problem.
     
    To King Saul, the sacrifices of God were just a religious ceremony, and, he listened to the voice of the people instead of obeying the voice of God. “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15: 22
     
    If a person was honest with himself, like King Saul, a lot of our problems are the result of our own sinful pleasures, worldliness, fleshly desires, wrong decisions, and pride. Please study James 4:1-10. In other words, we are walking in the flesh and not in the Spirit, Romans 8:5-8, and the fruit in our lives are the fruits of the flesh Galatians 5:15-21
     
    David obeyed God with a loving heart and walked with God. David put his trust in the work of God in his life. David walked in the Spirit and enjoyed the fruits of the Spirit. Please read Galatians 5:22-25
     
    As we walk in the Spirit, we also can enjoy the fruits of the Spirit.
     
     
    “... but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”
     
    In spite of all of the distress David experienced, he believed that God was the solution to the problem. David placed his faith completely in the hands of God. In times of distress in our lives we need to be like David and encourage ourselves in God.
     
    God in on His Throne in Heaven and He will accomplish His will in our lives. David knew that God had anointed him King over Israel and that God would help him in his time of extreme distress. David inquired of the Lord and plainly asked what should he do. “And David inquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt overtake them, and without fail recover all.” 1 Samuel 30:8
     
    The Victory
     
    David inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him, and David did what God told him to do. David did not question God, David did not walk in his own will, and David simply did what God told him to do.
     
    “And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, either sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all.” 1 Samuel 30:18 & 19
     
    The military success of David in recovering all of the captured people and spoils from the Amalekites is one of the most successful military campaigns in the history of mankind.
     
    This story is also written to encourage all of us in our walk with the Lord Jesus. In times of distress in our lives, we need to inquire diligently of the Lord that His will is and wait patiently for Him. We need to encourage ourselves in the Lord and in the wonderful promises in the scriptures.
     
    “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
     
  17. Alan
     
    1 John 4:10, “The Propitiation for Our sins.”
     
    “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us,
    and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10
     
    The word propitiation means, “an atoning sacrifice.” An atoning sacrifice is a sacrifice that atones for sins. To atone for ones sins is to reconcile a person to God. The sacrifices of the Old Testament animals, or any animal of any culture, cannot take away sins; they were temporary until the Lord Jesus shed His blood to pay the penalty for our sins. The Lord Jesus became the Lamb of God that takes away our sins.
     
    John 1: 29 says, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
     
    Only the blood of Jesus can take away our sins.
     
    Revelation 1:5, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”
     
    The Lord Jesus shed His precious blood on the Cross of Calvary to save us from our sins. Jesus Christ is the propitiation, or atoning sacrifice, for our sins.
     
    Leviticus Chapter 1
     
    The book of Leviticus was given in order for mankind to know that we needed an atoning sacrifice, as a propitiation for sins, for the payment of sins. In these ordinances, God told the nation of Israel how to conduct these sacrifices. In Leviticus 1:1-9, God gives us some very important aspects of the sacrifices. God was very specific about the offering. The sacrifice must be according to what God said.
     
    Leviticus 1:3
     
    “If the offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.” Leviticus 1:3
     
    The sacrifices of the Old Testament Law, specifically the book of Leviticus, were to be brought on the voluntary will of the individual. Every man has a will and God wants our sacrifice to come from the voluntary will of the individual.
     
    “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23
     
    The Lord Jesus Voluntarily Gave His Life to Became Our Sacrifice
     
    “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:51 The Lord Jesus willingly gave His life for our life.
     
    God Sent the Lord Jesus to Become the Atoning Sacrifice
     
    God sent Jesus to become the propitiation for our sins. The plan of God, before the foundation of the world, was for the Lord Jesus to leave heaven and become the propitiation, or atoning sacrifice, for the sins of all mankind.
     
    Why? Because God Loves Us
     
    Verse 10 says, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
     
    We also need to notice that before we loved Jesus: Jesus first loved us. In verse 10, the scripture says, that, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us.
     
    In the sight of God, man is not righteous and not seeking Him. Romans 3:10 and 11, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.”
     
    But, God is seeking man. God does not want anybody to spend eternity in hell. Hell is the place for the punishment of our sins.
     
    Luke 19:10, “For the son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
     
    The love of God, and the love of the Lord Jesus, was manifested on the Cross of Calvary. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
     
    On the cross, the Lord Jesus, of His own free will, became the propitiation for our sins. Jesus loves us!
     
    Concluding thoughts
     
    We have seen some tremendous truths in this passage of scripture that can help us understand the love of God. 
     
    And we found out that, God is seeking us and that Jesus Christ willingly allowed Himself to be crucified on the Cross of Calvary that we might be saved. The Lord Jesus became the propitiation, the atoning sacrifice, for our sins in order for to have eternal life in heaven. We need to accept this sacrifice in our hearts for our salvation and have a heart of thanks. 
     
  18. Alan
    “The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble;
    and he knoweth them that trust in him.”
    Nahum 1:7
     
    “The LORD is good.”
     
    In this short devotion I would like to consider Nahum 1:7 in the light of our Saviour Jesus Christ being LORD and a few thoughts brought out by the Lord Jesus when He preached the Sermon on the Mount.
     
    The LORD is good. The character of God, is good and perfect in every sense of the word. God is good in character, in holiness, in righteousness, and in every act, deed or word. God is perfect in all aspects. To question the work of God, the word of God, or the actions of God, is to put doubt on His character and His word.
     
    The character, the inward righteousness of the Jesus Christ, is good and perfect in all aspects. Jesus is Lord.
     
    God above has given to all of us good things: life, food, shelter, friendship, families, and many blessings too many to mention. God is good to the lost and to the saved. The Lord Jesus said, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:44 and 45
     
    We need to remember the goodness of God in our lives before we were saved and after we are saved.
     
    “…a strong hold in the day of trouble.”
     
    A strong hold is a place of safety and protection from evil and the enemies of the righteous. A strong hold is a place of protection from whatever will harm us. This is true in both the physical and spiritual realm. Heaven is a strong hold.
     
    The Lord God was a stronghold for the nation of Israel when they trusted and followed His words, leading, commandments, statutes, and precepts. God was a strong hold for Abraham, David in the wilderness, King Solomon on the throne and the beggar Lazarus sitting at the gate of the rich man.
     
    The Lord Jesus is our strong hold. The Lord Jesus is our Rock of Salvation. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” Matthew 7: 24 and 25
     
    A wise man will hear and do what Jesus says.
     
    "and he knoweth them that trust in him.”
     
    In the Old Testament, beginning from the days of Adam, through Abraham, the Judges, the Kings of Israel, and the prophets, people have trusted in God.
     
    On the contrary side, in those times there were false saints, false prophets, false priests, and false teachers mentioned throughout the Old Testament. A close look at the work of Moses and the prophets reveal that they were hindered and resisted primarily by false, or backslidden, brethren.
     
    At times, these false, or backslidden, brethren used the very word of God the true saints used, used the very same prayers that the righteous saints used, and, as for as the outward appearance was concerned, was “religious.”
     
    The LORD said, “…and he knoweth them that trust in him.”
     
    The wisest man in the world once observed, “The thing that hath been, is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9
     
    In the New Testament nothing has changed. The Lord Jesus, “… knoweth them that trust in him.”
     
    After the discourse of the Lord Jesus concerning the false prophets in Matthew 7:15-20 the Lord Jesus said, “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. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name hath cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23
     
    The Lord Jesus never knew these lost, religious, charlatans who used His name to build religious edifices, denominations, good work organizations, and falsely taught and preached His word. As with Moses and the prophets, the Lord Jesus, Paul the Apostle and the other true men of God were resisted by false, or backslidden, brethren or other religious individuals.
     
    The problem is a heart problem. Solomon said, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” We need to trust in the Lord above with all of our heart and do those things which are commanded of us in spite of the false ministers, false teachers, social problems, political unrest, economic unrest, and other problems in this short life.
     
    The Lord knows all and He is good. We need to trust in the Lord Jesus with all of our heart and follow Him.
     
    May God truly bless all of you.
    Alan
  19. Alan
    “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”
    Psalm 46:10
    “Be still, and know that I am God:
     
    Every saint should realize that God is God. God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. We need to sit back, be still, and just meditate on the attributes and character of God. We need to understand that the very essence of God is eternal and beyond our human comprehension. “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” Exodus 3:14
     
    So often, we ask unnecessary questions and seek un-attainable answers. It is not within us to understand all of the plan, actions, methods, and work of God due to our finite understanding. “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29
     
    So, God told us, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
     
    “I will be exalted among the heathen,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”
     
    God has a plan to exalt Himself on the face of this earth. His plan was prophesied in the Old Testament by the prophets and revealed to us in the New Testament. This plan unfolds in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and the exaltation of Christ as the Saviour of the world. “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” John 17:4
     
    The plan of God to exalt Himself continues through the church Age, the 7 Year Tribulation Period, and 1000 Year Reign of Christ on the earth as, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
     
    The plan of God to exalt Himself on the face of this earth will culminate in eternity. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Revelation 21:1-3
     
    God knows exactly what He is doing and His plan will come to pass exactly as He has planned it.
     
    “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen,
    I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
  20. Alan
    Proverbs 16:7, “Pleasing God & Peace.”
     
    Proverbs 16:7, “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
     
    God can give peace to a person, or a nation, or He can take away peace from a person, or a nation. Isaiah 45:6 & 7, “That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”
     
    Most people seek peace through worldly and physical pleasures. Most people love pleasure more than God and sometimes the saints love pleasure more than God. 2 Timothy 3:4, “Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”
     
    When a person pleases God than God can give that person peace. God wants us to give us peace in our hearts. The Lord Jesus said, John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” In the early church, the disciples were persecuted severely for their faith in Christ and in the ages since that time, more persecution arose from various false religions and leaders. In the midst of these persecutions, the Lord Jesus gave these people peace.
     
    Even though we sometimes have problems and difficulties, the Lord Jesus can give us peace in our hearts. We need to learn how to please God. Colossians 1: 9 & 10, “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
     
    God can give us peace in our hearts and peace among our enemies if we please him.
     
  21. Alan
     “Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity,
    than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool”
    Proverbs 19:1
     
    The meaning of integrity is moral soundness or purity; incorruptness, uprightness; honesty.
     
    Job is an excellent man of integrity. Job 2:3, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth [ hate ] evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.”
     
    Job eschewed, or hated, evil. Job was upright, morally pure, incorrupt in business, and honest in his dealings.
     
    A person who hates sin, and stays away from sin, is a person of integrity. Psalms 97:10, “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.” Job, a man of God, was a man of integrity.
     
    “... than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool”
     
    The meaning of perverse is: to be obstinate; in the wrong; disposed to be contrary; or stubborn.
     
    Balaam, a false prophet, because his way of life was contrary to God, was perverse. Numbers 22:31 & 32, “Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me.”
     
    Balaam, and other false teachers, are obstinate, contrary, and stubborn against the ways and doctrines of God as written in the scriptures. They are fools and perverse in the sight of God.
    Jude 11, “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” See also 2 Peter 2:1-22
     
    Conclusion
     
    Job is a fine example of a man of integrity. Job maintained his integrity in spite of intense physical, mental, social (his three friends), and spiritual testing. In these last days of spiritual unrest, false teachers, political uncertainty, wars and rumors of war, legal persecution, verbal animosity, and other trials of these perilous last days, we need to maintain our integrity. May God bless you all.
  22. Alan
    Psalms 37:1-5, “Trust in the Lord.”
     
    Verse 1 – 5, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”
     
    David was King over the nation of Israel. He was not a pastor, a religious leader, or a priest. He was a man who trusted in God and God anointed him become King. David trusted in God and in the promises in the Bible. So, God lifted him up in his life.
      
    A lot of people commit evil. We see, or hear; people do evil, commit crimes, war, deceit or other bad things. Sometimes we see evil people become famous or rich. Sometimes this causes us to worry or to envy them. God says not to worry or fret. Why? They will perish like the grass one day and spend eternity in hell.
     
    Instead of worrying, or being jealous, we need to trust in God and do good.
     
    Verse 9 says, “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.”
     
    The Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5
     
    All of us have desires in our lives. We have plans and hopes for our lives, our jobs and our families. God can help us overcome obstacles so we can have these desires. God wants to bless us. We need to know and enjoy the things of God as written in the Bible. 1 John 4:4 says, “Ye are of God, little children and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
     
    In order for God to bless us, we need to decide to commit our lives to Him. God knows our situation and when we trust in Him, He can give us our needs and desires.
    Jesus is Lord. When we trust in Christ as our Saviour, He promised to give us eternal life in heaven. Titus 1:2 says, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”
     
    God knows the situation of this world. He knows that it is full of evil. So often, because we see the wicked prosper, we forget God. God knows that the wicked will be punished in God’s proper time. By studying the Bible, we can know God. We can know how He will punish the evildoer in the future. And, because we have Christ in our hearts we can overcome the Devil and the world. So, we need to trust in God and not worry. He will bless us when we trust in Him.
     
    May God bless all of you.
    Alan
  23. Alan
    Proverbs 1:5 Analyzing the Chinese word, ‘Hear.’ 「聽」 Introduction Proverbs 1:5 says, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” A wise man will listen to the scriptures and OBtain counsel. The Chinese language is unique, interesting, and very complex. Also, within their own culture, the Chinese language has a written testimony of the mind of God. The Chinese language is an ideographic language. It uses lines, called, ‘strokes,’ and, every individual word, is called a, ‘character.’ And, within every ‘character’ are other ‘characters.’ Finally, every line within the word has to written in proper sequence. I did not make up the sequence of this message; a Chinese dictionary made the sequence. The ‘character,’ or word, listen in the Chinese is comprised of six different Chinese words put together to form one word: the word listen or to hear. Let us breakdown the word, ‘Listen’ in Chinese and see what the Bible says. Also, we will list these words in the standard sequence that the Chinese use in writing their language. First Chinese Word - Ear 耳 Proverbs 20:12, “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.” God created our ears for us to have the ability to hear words. To God words are important as they reveal what a person has in its heart. We need to be careful what we say and what we hear. God gave us two ears and one mouth so we will listen more than we speak. Proverbs 28:9, “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” God gave us the Law in order for us to understand His holiness, His righteousness, His will, and our need for a Saviour. The Law is contained within the Old Testament. When a person, whether saved or lost, does not want to hear the Law than even his prayer is an abomination. As one studies the Old Testament Law he realizes that he comes far short of the righteousness of God and realizes that the Lord Jesus truly fulfilled the Law of God. The more we learn the Law the more we appreciate the grace of the Lord Jesus. Second Chinese Word - King 王 “For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.” Psalm 47:2 God rules the affairs of this earth from His throne in heaven. God is in full control and He knows exactly what He is doing and why He allows all events to happen. Revelation 19:16, "And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” One day, hopefully soon, the Lord Jesus is coming back to this earth to rule and reign for 1000 years in His Millennial Kingdom. The first time that the Lord Jesus came was to suffer the penalty of our sins as a sacrificial Lamb. The next time that He comes to the earth, not in the clouds, will be as King over the earth. Third Chinese Word - Cross 十 The Lord Jesus was crucified on the cross of Calvary for us. He took our sins and died in our place. God will not allow sin into heaven. Nor can a sinner atone for his own sins using any form of works or religious ceremony, God will only accept a perfect, or sinless, sacrifice for our sin. The Lord Jesus is sinless. Therefore, He was able to be qualified as our sacrifice for sin. Apart from the Lord Jesus, no other man is sinless. The Lord Jesus became sin for us that we might be saved. 2 Corinthians 5:21 declares, “For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” The gospel is the death, burial and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we believe the gospel, in our heart, then we can be saved. Fourth Chinese word - Blood. 血 God plainly said in Leviticus 17:11, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh and atonement for the soul.” God requires a blood sacrifice in order to save the souls of mankind from an eternity in hell. The blood sacrifices in the Old Testament were never intended to justify the sinner. The sacrificial Law was instituted by God to show mankind the need for a sacrifice for sins and the coming suffering Messiah that could atone for their sins as a sacrificial Lamb. Isaiah chapter 53. “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29 The Lord Jesus was the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. When the Lord Jesus died on the cross He shed His blood for our sins. The Lord Jesus became our blood sacrifice for the salvation of our souls. The scriptures are very clear that only the blood of Christ shed on the cross can make an atonement, or redeem, our souls. Hebrews 9:11 and 12 state, “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once unto the Holy place, having OBtained eternal redemption for us.” The blood of animals, and any other man made sacrifice, cannot OBtain our salvation. Only the blood of Christ, shed on the cross of Calvary, can save our souls. We need to hear what God says about the blood of Christ. It is very important. Fifth Chinese Word - One. 一 In Acts 4:10 - 12 Peter lets us know that, “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Belief in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way any person can be saved. Belief in the name of Muhammad, the Pope, Joseph Smith, Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu, or some other man, cannot save the soul. The Lord Jesus said Himself in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” All religious attempts to OBtain salvation through good works, earning merit, ceremonies, striving to keep the Law, or some other religious belief, will fail to save a soul from an eternity in hell. Except through the Lord Jesus, there is no other way into heaven. The Sixth Chinese Word - Heart 心 The things that we believe in our hearts are those things that are dear unto us. We love with our hearts. What we believe in our hearts will guide our actions and create our character. The same thing is true with salvation. A heart belief is necessary in order to have salvation. A lot of people know about the Lord Jesus with their head, but they do not know Him with their heart. Salvation is a heart belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul said this to the Romans, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9 and 10 When a person truly believes with their hearts that Christ died for their sins, and that He was buried and rose again the third day, then that person can be saved. Paul said further, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans10:13. If you are not saved through the Lord Jesus, than why not right now ask Him in sincere prayer to save your soul and give you eternal life in heaven. Conclusion In Luke 9:37 God, speaking audibly from heaven, said, “This is my beloved Son: hear him.” The Lord Jesus is the beloved Son of God and we should hear, and follow, Him. The Lord Jesus spoke of those things that God told Him to say. The Lord Jesus said in John 12:49 and 50, “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” A wise man will listen to the Lord Jesus speak in order to learn the will of God.  
  24. Alan
    Luke 9:51, "And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem." The Lord Jesus was determined to proceed to Jerusalem to be the sacrifice for the sins of the world. Jesus did not let the affairs of this life, the Pharisees of the religious world, the issues of His day, and the clamour of the world deter Him from the will of God in His life.

    Proverbs 4:25-27, "Let thine eyes look straight on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil."

    The way of salvation is narrow and straight and the way of proper service to God is also straight and narrow. We should not let the religious hypocrites of this world, the babbling of the Charismatics, the corruption of the new versions of the Bible, the defection of the Calvinists from the truth, and the emerging church dictate how we serve the Lord. We need to reject, ignore them and follow Christ.

    The will of God as revealed in the scriptures, the methods of soul-winning and church government, and the doctrines of the scriptures, as revealed in the AV 1611, is our guide. Let us not falter in these last days from following Christ on the narrow path of service.

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