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Summary: Surviving and thriving amidst the difficulties and injustices of life.

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THRIVING AMIDST THE HARD-KNOCK LIFE

Sunday AM Service, January 6, 2008

Rev. Todd G. Leupold Perth Bible Church

INTRODUCTION

Life can be so very hard can’t it? It can be wonderful and it can be outright unfair. Around my 10th or 11th B-day, I received one of my most memorable Birthday presents - we went to see a wonderful musical about a little red-headed girl named Annie.

There was one scene that remains prominent. . .

[Show sing-along clip from DVD - “Hard-Knock Life” , 3:42]

Have you ever felt like it’s a hard-knock life? No matter how hard you work or how good you try to be, the world just keeps knocking you down? Every time you climb out of one hole, you soon get knocked down into another? False friends, injustice, divorce, abuse, broken or unfulfilled dreams, trouble with work, injury, illness, and the list goes on. . .

Significant circumstances that are beyond our own control!

Most of you know that, not long ago, I lost first my mom and then my grandmother to ovarian cancer within a year. Having a courtside seat for such an experience of one so close and loved and then to almost immediately repeat it again was no picnic.

Then, there was Jean, a young woman, husband of a godly minister. The doctor informed them that their developing baby girl would be born with encephala - a condition in which the skull would not develop fully, leaving the brain exposed. Their baby was unlikely to live to term, and even if she did she would die within minutes of birth. To make matters worse, the hospital intensely pressured them to abort their daughter Rachael . . .

Ramjit was a young Indian boy, born into poverty and economic slavery. When his father and uncle were small boys they were kidnapped from India and illegally taken on a ship to a Caribbean Island. They never recovered. Frequently, young Ramjit watched his father balled up like a baby banging his head and crying for his long-separated mother. Ramjit grew up in a small barracks on a sugar cane plantation where, even as a boy, he worked from sunrise to sunset. His reward? No education, tattered clothes, and just enough food to subsist. . .

Is it possible to not only survive, but even thrive, in the hard-knock life? Absolutely, if you put your faith and life in God’s hands. The key is to remember that God is in control in all things and at all times, ! When you remember this and put your trust in God, you will know that there is a bigger picture, you will be filled with hope and confidence, and you will be free to forgive!

Regardless of our “feelings” or “perceptions,” God is never far. He is in control, He loves you and He DOES have a plan for your life!

Let me encourage you, if there was a “Hard-Knock Hall of Fame,” it would be full of God’s people - people like many of you! Genesis concludes with one such “Hard-Knock Hall of Famer” – Joseph.

Joseph was the eleventh of twelve sons, born to four different women. He was the first son born by Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel. Jacob unabashedly loved and favored Joseph far more than any of his other sons. And, while all of his other brothers were sent to work in the fields, Joseph got to stay home and would occasionally be sent out to spy on his brothers. Then, Joseph had a dream predicting that all of his brothers would bow down to him – and he told them about it. Duh! A good boy, just not too bright!

Well, one day, Joseph was again sent to spy on his brothers. Only this time, they decided to throw him in a pit and leave him to die. It’s a hard-knock life! But, the brothers had second thoughts and decided not to kill him. God is in control! Instead, they sold him and he ended up in Egypt, a slave of Potiphar, captain of the Pharaoh’s guard. It’s a hard-knock life!

Now, the Lord blessed Joseph so that he had great success and was made the overseer of Potiphar’s house. God is in control! But then, Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him. When Joseph resisted the temptress, she falsely accused him and he was thrown into prison. It’s a hard-knock life!

The Lord again blessed Joseph. He was put in charge of all the prisoners and given favor. Then he interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s baker and cupbearer. The cupbearer was pardoned and swore to speak good of Joseph. God is in control! But the cupbearer forgot Joseph. It’s a hard-knock life!

Two years later, Pharaoh had a dream, which nobody could interpret. The cupbearer finally remembered Joseph, and he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream about the harvest and forthcoming famine. Pharaoh was so pleased that he made Joseph second-in-command over all of Egypt. God is in control!

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