His feet they hurt with fetters; he was laid in chains of iron: until the time that his word came to pass; the word of the Lord tried him. Psalm 105:18, 19, R.V.
Joseph’s faithful integrity led to the loss of his reputation and his liberty. This is the severest test that the virtuous and God-fearing are subjected to, that vice seems to prosper while virtue is trampled in the dust…. Joseph’s religion kept his temper sweet and his sympathy with humanity warm and strong, notwithstanding all his trials…. No sooner does he enter upon prison life, than he brings all the brightness of his Christian principles into active exercise; he begins to make himself useful to others…. He is cheerful, for he is a Christian gentleman. God was preparing him under this discipline for a situation of great responsibility, honor, and usefulness, and he was willing to learn; he took kindly to the lessons the Lord would teach him. He learned to bear the yoke in his youth. He learned to govern by first learning obedience himself.
Joseph’s real character shines out, even in the darkness of the dungeon. He held fast his faith and patience; his years of faithful service had been most cruelly repaid, yet this did not render him morose or distrustful. He had the peace that comes from conscious innocence, and he trusted his case with God…. He found a work to do, even in the prison. God was preparing him in the school of affliction for greater usefulness, and he did not refuse the needful discipline. In the prison, witnessing the results of oppression and tyranny and the effects of crime, he learned lessons of justice, sympathy, and mercy, that prepared him to exercise power with wisdom and compassion…. It was the part he acted in the prison—the integrity of his daily life and his sympathy for those who were in trouble and distress—that opened the way for his future prosperity and honor. Every ray of light that we shed upon others is reflected upon ourselves. Every kind and sympathizing word spoken to the sorrowful, every act to relieve the oppressed, and every gift to the needy, if prompted by a right motive, will result in blessings to the giver.
Conflict and Courage p. 76
—–update—Kamerah is still sick with stomach pain. She has an appointment with an infectious disease doctor later this week. Please keep this young girl in prayer.
—– Our new grandbaby Hunter really needs prayers. Because of being born early (plus a c section) he has fluid in his lungs and the drs now think he has pneumonia. We were in again today to see him for a minute and its so hard to see him struggling to breath–so fast. He’s in the best place he could be and they’re giving him the best of care, but its still pretty scary. Mandy and Jason really need prayer for courage and peace through all of this too. Debbie
Many years ago, I was at the home of some people that I knew. One day, their daughter Ann, who was about 15 at the time, decided to surprise everyone by making supper. Mashed potatoes sounded good, so she opened the cupboard and began looking for a bag of instant potato flakes. Soon she found it and poured its contents into the big pan of boiling water. Only after that did she discover that she had too much water for the amount of instant potatoes. It was more like potato soup. Ann searched through the cupboards until she found another sack, opened it, and began pouring the contents into the pan and stirring. After the mashed potatoes were just the right consistency, Ann set the potatoes aside while she finished the rest of the meal.
Everyone ooohed and aaahed as she proudly served us the delicious-looking dinner she had prepared. The mashed potatoes looked especially good even though they were a little cold. As we began to eat them, we discovered that were hard crunchy chunks in them. That was strange. No one could understand why instant potato flakes could be crunchy. Upon investigation, we found that one of those bags of instant potatoes was not potatoes at all. It was a bag of plaster of paris!
Just as those potatoes contained something other than potatoes, so in life things are not always what they appear to be. A pleasure that looks so innocent can start us down the wrong path. Two ways are open before each one of us. Two paths that at first glance may look the same can lead in very different directions. Often the wrong path looks at the beginning like it is the better path, one that will give us a happier, richer, fuller life, but too late we find that it is as Solomon says, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Prov 16:25
How important it is, then, that we look beyond the path’s beginning and see where it will end. How vital it is that we are not deceived as to which path to take. Jesus bids us, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 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.” Matt 7:13-21 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” 6:24
How can we know which way we are traveling? How can we know which master we are serving? Appearances can be very deceiving. We can be easily fooled. David gives the answer to our dilemma. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Ps 119:9-11 Paul adds, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim 2:15 Jesus assures us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6 “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jer 29:13
May we choose each day to set our feet upon the Solid Rock, Christ Jesus our Lord. May we “give diligence to make [our] calling and election sure.” 2 Peter 2:10 May the Light of Heaven guide our footsteps all the way to His Glorious Kingdom is my prayer.
A Prison Apprenticeship