Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: When we face crisis, we can either allow it to paralyze us or take effective action. Joseph provides us an excellent example.

In the Vice Presidential Debates of 1992, Dan Quayle implored the voters to vote for him and George Herbert Walker Bush. His reason for it was this:

“Sometime in the next four years, you’re going to have a crisis! You need to be able to trust the leader you have at that time.”

Now of course, Mr. Quayle and his running mate lost but he was right in his point. A crisis during a four year Presidential term was inevitable. A crisis in life is inevitable. If you’re going to live, breathe, walk, talk, and interact on this earth…you’re going to face crises from time to time. I do not wish to be a prophet of doom and gloom. It’s just true.

When we face a crisis, we have a limited number of choices as to how to react. For many, the idea might be to let it paralyze them.

You probably know people like that . Maybe you are a person like that. A crisis comes and you allow it to emotionally paralyze you. It cripples you and you can’t move on in life until it is resolved.

Or you can decide to take effective action. You know that there are solutions and you actively seek to find them. You refuse to let a crisis beat you because you know that you serve a God who is bigger that any obstacle that could come your way.

In our continuing walk through the Bible, we come across the character of Joseph. What a life he had. The favorite son of Jacob. The most despised of his brothers. The favorite servant of Potiphar, the one who caught the eye of Potiphar’s wife, a prisoner in the bowels of the prison, an interpreter of dreams, an official in the high court of Egypt, and ultimately the only one that his brothers (who hated him) could call on in a time of need.

Joseph knew crisis. He knew problems. But he did not allow them to paralyze him. Today, we look at the life of Joseph and we see why he accomplished much despite tumultuous times.

First of all, Joseph made it through tough times because he had a significant vision from God.

Look at Genesis 37:5-6:

Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more.

He said to them, "Please listen to this dream which I have had; for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf rose up and also stood erect; and behold, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf."

What a dream? And it caused no small reaction from his brothers. How dare he? How dare he think they were going to bow down to him? But when Joseph said this, he wasn’t saying it out of arrogance. God had revealed to Him that He was going to do something amazing in his life. And Joseph was excited about that. Despite the despisement of his brothers, he knew God was going to use Him someday for something special.

And that buoyed him. That gave him confidence. That told him to hang in there. God was going to do something!

How about you? How many times do circumstances cause you to want to write yourself off. But the truth is that if you just looked to God and held tightly to Jeremiah 29:11, you would be able to face the future with an excitement.

What does Jeremiah 29:11 say?

“I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.”

And we know from when we went through the 40 Days of Purpose that God has a plan for each of us.

So no matter how bad circumstances seem to be…look to Jesus. He has a plan. He has a reason and purpose for your life. Don’t let the pressure of the moment get you down. Grab a significant vision from God and hang on tight!

Secondly, Joseph was able to take effective action in a crisis because he had a vital relationship with God.

Genesis 39 tells us that God was with Joseph. The phrase “with Joseph” implies an intimate relationship. It implies that Joseph knew God well enough to know His thoughts and know His plans. The verses that make it clear in this chapter that such a relationship existed between God and Joseph and that because of that , Joseph was able to escape harm, receive blessings and weather the storm.

It amazes me how many of us claim to have a relationship with God , claim to love Jesus, and yet He is the last one to call on in times of trouble.

The promises concerning prayer in the Bible are well known…. But just to refresh your memory, let me share them with you.

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