Bible Studies & Devotionals

From Olive Branch Ministries

By Mark and Tinsley Baker

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Press On!


Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

I would like to start off by saying we have all fallen in life at different times. I know I have, however falling is not the same as failing. Because we may stumble and fall does not mean we are failures. It means we have to get up, many times repent and make things right, but the alternative is to stay down. Not getting back up is failure. I donít think that is much of an alternative. I donít consider failure an alternative. Life is too precious to stay down isnít it? If you fall and begin to wallow in self pity then you truly are going to fail. Self pity is ungodly and leads to all kinds of sin. We see so many examples of this in the Bible, where people wallowed in self pity and it led to terrible things. But the opposite is also true, where people who had every opportunity to feel sorry for themselves did not give in to self pity and God delivered them.

Joseph in the Old Testament is a very good example of this. Joseph was called of God for a special purpose. He was to deliver the sons of Israel, his family and all of Egypt from a great famine that was to come on the land. Yet before he fulfilled the calling of God on his life he went through a lot of terrible things. We often read these stories in the Bible and think that was so long ago that we can hardly relate, but Joseph was a real person, who went through really horrible things. As we discuss some of the account of Joseph, put yourself in his place and consider how you would react if these things happened to you, maybe you will take on a new perspective. I encourage you to get your Bible out and read these verses for yourself.

Joseph was thrown in a pit by jealous brothers and would have been killed by them accept for his brotherís Reuben and Judah. He was then sold into slavery by a passing caravan and taken to Egypt. The Midianites then sold him to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard .

Genesis 37:19-36. Then they said to one another, "Look, this dreamer is coming!

"Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, `Some wild beast has devoured him.' We shall see what will become of his dreams!'' But Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands, and said, "Let us not kill him.'' And Reuben said to them, "Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him'' that he might deliver him out of their hands, and bring him back to his father. So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat a meal. Then they lifted their eyes and looked, and there was a company of Ishmaelites, coming from Gilead with their camels, bearing spices, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry them down to Egypt. So Judah said to his brothers, "What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? "Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother and our flesh.'' And his brothers listened. Then Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt. Then Reuben returned to the pit, and indeed Joseph was not in the pit; and he tore his clothes. And he returned to his brothers and said, "The lad is no more; and I, where shall I go?'' So they took Joseph's tunic, killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the tunic in the blood. Then they sent the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, "We have found this. Do you know whether it is your son's tunic or not?''

And he recognized it and said, "It is my son's tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces.'' Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his waist, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and he said, "For I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning.'' Thus his father wept for him. Now the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard. Potipharís wife falsely accused Him of sexual assault, and Potiphar had him thrown into jail unjustly.

Genesis 39:1-20.. Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful 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 he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put in his hand. So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field. So he left all that he had in Joseph's hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate. And Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. Now it came to pass after these things that his master's wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, "Lie with me.'' But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. "There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?'' And so it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her.

But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, that she caught him by his garment, saying, "Lie with me.'' But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside. And so it was, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and fled outside, that she called to the men of her house and spoke to them, saying, "See, he has brought in to us a Hebrew to mock us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. "And it happened, when he heard that I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me, and fled and went outside.'' So she kept his garment with her until his master came home. Then she spoke to him with words like these, saying, "The Hebrew servant whom you brought to us came in to me to mock me; "so it happened, as I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me and fled outside.'' So it was, when his master heard the words which his wife spoke to him, saying, "Your servant did to me after this manner,'' that his anger was aroused. Then Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison.

Through all of this, Joseph certainly had reason to quit and give up. If anybody could have said I donít want to get back up, it was Joseph. God would prosper Him and then he would fall into even worse circumstances. But notice how He reacted in the midst of this.

Genesis 40:6. And Joseph came in to them in the morning and looked at them, and saw that they were sad. 7. So he asked Pharaoh's officers who were with him in the custody of his lord's house, saying, "Why do you look so sad today?''

In the midst of false imprisonment Joseph was the one who would try to encourage people. He wasnít feeling sorry for himself and wallowing in self pity. In the midst of false imprisonment Joseph was the one people would turn to. There is a big lesson to be learned in this for us all. Joseph would not give up on the dream that God had given him. He refused to allow circumstances to dampen his outlook. He remained faithful to God's vision for his life and stayed in faith regardless of what he was going through.

Genesis 37:5-9. One night Joseph had a dream and promptly reported the details to his brothers, causing even deeper hatred. 6. So he said to them, "Please hear this dream which I have dreamed: "There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.'' And his brothers said to him, "Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?'' So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, "Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.''

If he had given up, God surely could not have prospered him. Yet he trusted God even in the midst of terrible circumstances. He was sold into slavery by his brothers and falsely imprisoned for sexual assault. He was faithful to glorify God regardless of what happened to him, and God was faithful to fulfil the dream He had given to Joseph as well. Joseph was promoted to where only Pharaoh was over him in authority in all the land of Egypt, so that he would be in a place where he could later help not only them but the whole land as well. He had to remain faithful to what God had shown Him or he would never have been put into the place where God used him as He did.

Genesis 50:18-20. Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, "Behold, we are your servants. Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

God's gifts and callings are without repentance. In other words He will never take them back. Joseph had to remain faithful to the call of God before God could use Him to be the deliver he was called to be. He was also a type and a shadow of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was through the hardships and the suffering that God allowed him to grow up into the man of God that would deliver a whole nation from destruction. Iíve heard it said that God rarely calls leaders from the ranks of the unscathed. How we deal with adversities will determine our future, and the future of others as well. I would like to encourage you to be faithful even in the midst of troubling times, donít give up on the Lord. He will never give up on you! After all he went to great lengths to bring deliverance to us all.

Living Bible -- Hebrews 2:10. And it was right and proper that God, who made everything for his own glory, should allow Jesus to suffer, for in doing this he was bringing vast multitudes of God's people to heaven; for his suffering made Jesus a perfect Leader, one fit to bring them into their salvation.


The first step is to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you want to be a joint heir with Christ? If so, I urge you to earnestly pray the following prayer.

Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "Öand the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),

So I know You wonít cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).

I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "Öthat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).

I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "Ö with the heart one believes to righteousnessÖ" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),

And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!

I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!

Glory to God!!!! Amen.