Wednesday, 8 February 2017

On the Way to the Palace-Potiphar's house 2


And the midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s  and captain of the guard”-Genesis 37:36 KJV King James Version

“And Joseph was brought down to Egypt and Potiphar , an officer of Pharaoh ,captain of the guard ,an Egyptian ,bought him of the hands of the Ishaemelites which had brought him down thither”-  Genesis 39:1 KJV King James Version

Another salient point we notice in these verses above is that Potiphar is an Egyptian. We have already noticed that this man who bought Joseph from the slave market had close links with royalty. He is an officer of Pharaoh and called the “chief executioner”. In other words, he dealt with the unpleasant business of getting rid of those the king was displeased with.

The fact that he brought Joseph to live in his house tells volumes about Joseph that we should not ignore. It appears that Joseph may have initially started out on the fields before working his way to serve in the household of his master. For Joseph to be able to do this effectively, he would have had to go through the challenges of learning a new language so as to be able to communicate properly. And with the language of the new people he found himself amongst, there was the added burden of learning a new culture in the midst of strangers.

The man on the Way to the Palace is one who must be able to adapt to changing circumstances and be ready to learn and unlearn as the  situation requires. Adaptability is an essential requirement for the man on the Way to the Palace.

It was no coincidence that Joseph was bought by someone who served the King, God had to position Joseph rightly and as such Potiphar’s house served as a training ground for Joseph. In addition to the language and culture of Egypt, he learned the business and politics of Egypt. It is also worth noting that Joseph’s sale to Egypt was all part of fulfillment of prophecy ( Genesis 15:13).

It takes a great degree of humility to be able to learn anything ( Proverbs 11:12;Psalms 25:8-9) .Forced with the estrangement from his father, Joseph decided to not to allow his history deprive him of the current moment or his glorious future. He maximized the moment by getting to know the Egyptian language, culture, business and politics.

In  Conclusion, the man on the way to the Palace  is one who is easily adaptable  and ready to learn new skills.  Refusing to learn and improve ourselves will eventually make us unfit for God’s purposes and getting to the Palace. This new location of Joseph is all part of God’s sovereign plan and on the Way to the Palace, our location is critical    and hence relocation should not be taken lightly or changed solely on economical reasons. He should also be one who is always ready to make the best use of whatever situation he finds himself in (Proverbs 16:4& Ecclesiastes 9:10).

In His Service,

Grace Tom-Lawyer.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

On the Way to the Palace -Potiphar's house 1

“And the midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s  and captain of the guard”-Genesis 37:36 KJV King James Version
“And Joseph was brought down to Egypt and Potiphar , an officer of Pharaoh ,captain of the guard ,an Egyptian ,bought him of the hands of the Ishaemelites which had brought him down thither”-  Genesis 39:1 KJV King James Version

So Joseph,our prototype for the man  on the Way to the Palace  got delivered and pulled out of the pit(Genesis 37:24,28) and just before he could give his testimony of deliverance, he meets yet another challenge. With utter disbelief, he is accosted with the fact that the reason why he was pulled out of the pit was not for rescue but to  be sold  into slavery(Genesis 37:28) .How could God have answered his prayers with such glaring contradiction.

 I believe that as Joseph was sold to the Ishaemelites ( Genesis 37:28) and money exchanged hands ,hot tears flowed freely down his cheeks while he pleaded with  his brothers for mercy. With their grim faces set on seizing the momentous opportunity of getting rid of Joseph and his dreams, they chose to be stone deaf to their younger brother’s cries. 

Wittingly Joseph’s brothers had thought things through and knew that with his coat of many colours in hand, their fabricated story about his possible whereabouts  would  be believed by their father ,Jacob(Genesis 37:31-34  ).They did not mind their father grieving due to heir false evidence(Genesis 37:35). Moreso ,Joseph was almost as good as dead. Out of the way, he finally would no longer serve  as a threat to their father’s love.

Joseph in Egypt
And so Joseph got sold  to Ishaemelites who were travelling down to Egypt. From Dotham to Egypt was approximately  300  miles and could have taken about 15 days. Surely this was not his idea of a visit to that country and not anything that looked like his previous dreams. As a slave, he lost the freedom of what to wear, when to eat, sleep .His position as the favoured son in his father’s house had changed dramatically. He perhaps witnessed some other fellow slaves with him not make it to the market place due to the harsh conditions..Thank fully, we are told he did and he was later bought by Potiphar(Genesis 37:36).

We are told some important facts about Potiphar. In the two verses where Potiphar is mentioned ( Gen 37:36& 39:1), the writer of Genesis is careful to let us know that he is linked to royalty .He was an officer of Pharaoh which was the title for the Egyptian ruler or king. Egypt  was the centre of civilization and Pharaoh was probably one of the most powerful men on the planet at that time. Potiphar was an officer and some translations tell us that he was an eunuch. He acquired Joseph in the slave market and took him home.

The Bible does not shield from  us the fact that men that God  used also had their share of trouble and trying times. On the Way to the Palace, we can expect trouble. James in his letter tells us to welcome trouble  as friends(James 1:2  J.B.Phillips).It is all part of the deal for the man on the Way to the Palace . In short,the Psalmist seemed acquainted with this when he said “The righteous person may have many troubles ,but the Lord delivers him from them all”.(Psalms 34:19 NIV ). God placed Joseph in the house of Potiphar strategically and he continues to do so for every man who will eventually get to the Palace.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Another Joseph 5

Another Joseph 5
Today, hopefully we shall conclude on the life of this “Another Joseph” with the concluding verses of Luke Chapter two.

When Mary and Joseph had completed everything required by the Law of the Lord,they returned to their hometown , Nazareth in Galilee.The child grew up and became strong .He was filled with wisdom and God’s favour was on him  Luke 2 :39-40


According to Scriptures by the time Joseph and Mary had completed all that was necessary, they returned back to their home town with Jesus. The thing that struck me about the next verse is the fact that it says Jesus grew. There was something about the home that Joseph and Mary had that created the  right environment which  fostered growth. There are certain basic things that a child needs to be able to grow and develop properly. If the parents of a child do not provide these basic things, there is a high probability that development will be hampered and this would show up later in the life of the individual as an adult. The progress of Jesus was all rounded and not lopsided.

Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival.When he was 12 years old,they went up to Jerusalem according to their custom. Luke 2:40-41

The obedience of this another Joseph is seen with this very next verses. It was required that all men appear three times before the Lord in Jerusalem. These times were during the festival of Unleavened bread - Passover(  Deutronomy 16:16   ), the festival of weeks ( Exodus 34:20,23,24)  and the festival of Booths  (Exodus   23;14,17 ). Even as the years went by, the obedience of Joseph and Mary to this instruction was not hindered. Jesus was not the only child in the family but his parents did not use him as an excuse for absence from the temple or what was commanded.

After the festival was over , they were returning home, but the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t know it. Supposing that he was among their band of travellers,they journeyed on for a full day while looking for him among their family and friends. When they didn’t find Jesus ,they returned  .After three days they found him in the temple .He was sitting among the teachers ,listening to them and putting questions to them ,Luke 2:43-46

It was also in obedience that Jesus was taken to the festival when he was twelve years of age  and the above verses show that after the festival, Joseph and Mary  assumed that Jesus was travelling in the company of friends and relatives when they set off to return. This story also shows us the humanity of Joseph and Mary and the fact that they were not above error. They probably noticed Jesus absence and felt he was still in their company somewhere. It was not too long they found out that they were wrong in their assumptions. Someone has said that assumption is the lowest form of knowledge. And although they missed it initially and traveled for a good one day without their son, when it was noticed , they retraced their steps back.

This is another quality of the life of “Another Joseph” that is worth emulating. He did not continue going on towards his home town when he discovered that Jesus was not in their company. He was not too proud to retrace his steps to search for his son and most importantly we see his fatherhood exhibited here. Joseph did not ask Mary to go and search for her son rather he followed her back and they went in search of Jesus together .

He did this willingly as we see the persistence with which he continued in the search until they found Jesus seventy two hours later. What an example for godly fathers.

But here in this story is  a point for us to always take heed to as we conclude these series of “Another Joseph “. The whole family had gone to fulfil religious obligation and somehow had not noticed that Jesus was not with them as they journeyed. It may be that you may have been going on doing God’s work, church business, so many good things and did not notice that things have been so crowded that there is no space for Jesus. Jesus is no more in the house, somehow you have left him somewhere. Following what Joseph and Mary did, it is not too late to retrace steps back because like one of my mentors,Selwyn Hughes  who has gone to glory says, “If God seems far away , guess who moved?

It is never too late to retrace your steps back to Jesus, he is patiently waiting for you(Revelation 3:20).There is indeed in everyman a void that only Jesus can fill.

 #Love to hear from you
Grace Tom-Lawyer

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Another Joseph 4


The various gospels show the birth of Jesus and his early life with different emphasis and for us to fully appreciate this other Joseph we are studying, let us now turn  to Luke’s account as we continue to glean from the life of  “Another Joseph”.

“And all went to be taxed , every one into his own city .And Joseph also went up from Galilee ,out of the city of Nazareth ,into Judea ,unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem  (because he was of the house  and lineage of David )”Luke 2:3-4  KJV King James Version
 

We can comfortably infer that  Joseph, was a  good citizen. He was one who obeyed the laws of the land. This journey back to Bethlehem was not convenient at all and he did have every excuse not to make it. After all, Mary his wife was heavily pregnant(Luke 2:5) but a man on the way to the Palace can learn from this example of responsible citizenship in the life of “Another Joseph”.Apostle Paul in his letters to the churches emphasized the matchless value of the witness of good citizenship and urged his readers to obey the government because they are however God’s agents for maintaining law and order( Romans 13:1-5;2 Peter 2:13-17 ). And it was because Joseph obeyed this government law that Jesus was born in where it was written that he would be born (Micah 5:2&Matthew 2:5-6).

The next verse subtly adds to the character of this man as we read  that he went to be taxed with Mary,his wife (Luke 2;5). This Joseph was able to also command his household to obey the laws of the land. Severally, we see him leading his household to obedience by being a good example(Luke 2:5).

“......And they came with haste and found Mary,and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger” Luke 2:16 KJV King James Version

After the  shepherds were instructed by the angels who shared the good news  about the birth of the saviour, they went and found Mary, Joseph and the baby. This man Joseph was not an absent father. He was involved even when Jesus was an infant and so could witness some of the great moments in the life of his adopted son.

“When the time came to do what the law of Moses taught about being made pure, they took Jesus to Jerusalem to present to the Lord”Luke 2:22  NCV New Century Version

 Not only do we find this Joseph obedient to the laws of his country, he is also obedient to what has been written in the law of Moses which was the much he knew( Exodus 13;13-16).Every firstborn was to be redeemed. Joseph  did not feel too big to do this rite as commanded. In our days, this action of Joseph could be likened to that of being a good church member. It is also worth noticing that when it was time to bring Jesus to the temple, he did it with Mary. He was not the kind of husband that would send wife and children to church and not be a participant .At various times whenever Luke referred to this family, Joseph is mentioned first showing that he was the leader, even in spiritual things and taking his rightful place as  the priest in his own home.

“And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law , a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons” Luke 2:24 KJV King James Version 

Another thing about this Joseph was the fact that he gave(Luke 2:24). Not only did he bring Jesus to the temple but he offered the sacrifice required. According to the laws given by Moses, God made a provision for offerings to be done according to the financial status of the giver in order to foster compliance and willingness. Joseph did not allow his meagre means  to serve as an excuse for not giving what was required. He offered two turtle doves which was what was required if one was poor (Leviticus 12:6-8 ) and could not afford a lamb. Joseph was a man who gave according to his level without the need to impress.


And it was because he did all these that they were met by two people who gave prophecies: Simon(Luke 2:25-36) &Anna(Luke 2:36-38).


One of the rewards of obedience is blessings and the life of Joseph is full of several examples of this (Luke 2: 34) . When Joseph and Mary got to the temple, they were met by two people who eventually gave prophecies and strengthened their faith. There was definitely something about their promptness to obedience that allowed their paths to collide with the lives of destiny enhancers( Luke 2: 27,28,& 38).

There is so much more we cam cull from the life of this “Another Joseph” if we must eventually get to the Palace. A life of prompt obedience both to God and living in such a way that he could lead his family on different levels does make him worth emulating .As a father , he was present and involved in the life of the little one entrusted to him .I urge you readers to take a few moments to read through again and pray for the lives of your sons, brothers, uncles, husbands and fathers. We sure need a lot of godly male role models these days.

In His Service,

Grace Tom-Lawyer,

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Another Joseph 3

24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.[d] And he called His name Jesus.  Matthew 1:24-25  KJV  King James Version

“When Joseph woke up, he did what the Lord’s angel told him to do. He married Mary”-  Matthew 1:24-25 ERV-English Revised Version

“When Joseph woke up he did what the angel had told him. He married Mary, but had no intercourse with her until she had given birth to a son. Then he gave him the name Jesus.”--Matthew 1:24-25 Phillips

As we continue to look at the life of “Another Joseph” ,I am amazed at the strength of the character of this man. We are told in the next verse(Matthew 1: 24 ) that although he took Mary home as his wife, he did not sleep with her until she had her first born son. That tells me at least three things about this man that is once again worth emulating if we are eventually going to get to the Palace or raise children who will eventually get to the Palace.

Firstly, this “Another Joseph” was a man of great self control. It is one thing not to sleep with your fiancee as per honouring God’s guidelines against pre-marital sex but it is another thing to be married to your wife and not touch her out of respect for the seed she is carrying and what God has planned to do with her life. Let us imagine that he saw Mary go to the bathroom, return ,dress up ,lie on the same bed with him  everyday for almost nine months and he did not have any sexual relations with her( Matthew 1:24).This man’s  ability to keep his legitimate desires under control  is a testimony of a life that is recklessly abandoned to the will and purpose of God .

The next thing that is worth noting is that this  “Joseph “is man enough and confident in himself to support the dreams of another, especially his wife’s dreams. He watched her belly protrude throughout those nine ,months and I am really convinced that he helped her around the house during that period. Unlike the brothers of the original Joseph we were studying who were so bent on aborting his dreams(Matthew 37:19-20), this Joseph helped to nurture the dreams of another. He must have created an environment that enabled Mary to carry the pregnancy successfully without feeling threatened neither did he resort to emotional abuse .He created the kind of atmosphere that enabled his wife to fulfil the purpose of God for her life .

The third thing from this verse is that Joseph called the name of the son that Mary gave birth to “Jesus” (Matthew 1: 24). He did according to the instructions he had been given in his dreams(Matthew 1: 21 ). He was a man of complete obedience as we see him carrying to the latter the commandments that were given him. All through the recount of the genealogy of Joseph, none of his ancestors as it were bore that name but Joseph obeyed and gave the child the name that was given in the dream. He was a man of humility and gave up the right of naming his wife’s firstborn son what he would have loved to call him. Most people having a baby usually have a preference for the name they want to call their child but all these is put aside as this man Joseph seeks to honour God.

This “Another Joseph” was a man who worked in partnership with God.He was more concerned about God’s purpose and will and as we look at his life up to this point, we are challenged to see someone living his life in a way that the words “this was to fulfil scripture” could be written about him. Almost after every verse about him is a confirmation from Matthew so that it may be fulfilled what was written in Scripture(Matthew 1: 22; 2:15,23).

If we are eventually going to get to the Palace, we must live our lives according to scriptures like the way Joseph did .One of the things written about us is the truth  that we have been recreated to do good works which God planned for us long ago to do( Ephesians 2:10). Another scripture that has been written concerning us is that God’s purpose is that we eventually become like his son ,conformed into his image ,so that his son Jesus may be the firstborn among many brethren( Romans 8:29).

Self control, the ability to nurture the dreams of another and complete and thorough obedience are attributes that the man who will eventually get to the Palace must possess.

In His Service,
Grace Tom-Lawyer.

-

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Another Joseph 2

We continue our series today as we explore more attributes of this “Another Joseph”. This is the Joseph who married Mary and was the adopted father of Jesus .We will continue looking at his life from Matthew’s account in Chapter 1. 

20  But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived [1] in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: [2] for he shall save his people from their sins. 22  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24  Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25  And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS  Matthew 1:20-25 KJV King James Version 



......he thought about those things  
That to me means that this man Joseph was one who was not rash. He doid not just act on his feelings . He took time to weigh his actions and be sure that his course of action was right. He was a thinker and every woman can do with a man who would just  think and actually apply a little break to his actions I believe that God was able to  communicate with him because he thought about these things.

God could speak to him  
Once again we see dreams being a means of communication. God spoke to this other Joseph also through dreams. In those days they had the books of the Law and prophets and were also guided by them. A caution though is that we should check our dreams to the standard of the word of God. There is no need using a dream as a reason for doing something that clearly contradicts scriptures .The message that the angel gives to Joseph is also   backed up by  a scripture quotation “For it is written ,a virgin shall give birth to a son Matthew 1:23.

He was a man of the Word .....
Joseph must  also been a man who was familiar with scriptures hence he was able to identify his current circumstances and Mary’s claim in retrospect as prophecy being fulfilled and what a honour it was for him.

And when we woke up he took Mary as his wife
This man was an obedient man and quite prompt at it. Following instructions received, he got up and did the right thing making it easier for Mary who was already in an emotional state
As we celebrate this day, let us reflect on some of these attributes of this Joseph whose adopted  son eventually  got to the Palace and sits on a throne where his dynasty never ends

On the way to the Palace, we must be people who do take time to think before acting, communicate regularly with the Lord and be good students of the Word .Moreso our obedience must be prompt. These are attributes we have seen in the life of this other Joseph.

In His Service,

Grace Tom-Lawyer.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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One of the things about the New Year is there is a certain hope and  contagious expectation with which most people   start a year. Somehow there is a new surge of faith that says that the life that has been afforded is a divine sign that there is going to be change for the better in the future. With this new surge, several people start out with New Year resolutions that sadly do not last the first week of the year.

I was on a Radio show the other day and one of the members of the panel said that New Year resolutions should be scrapped! Perhaps she had seen enough failures at it but the truth most times is that people sometimes set unrealistic expectations that are only doomed to fail, leaving them paralysed with guilty feelings. At other times, the resolutions have just been mere wishes with no concrete plans on how it would be achieved. When I was in High school, one of the paintings on the central building  which we as students had to see daily was  a quote by Benjamin Franklin   If you fail to plan you plan to fail “ .

Since I assume most people have made their plans/goals/resolutions  or currently making them,  permit me to add (just in case it is not already on your list ) that for this year, make a resolution to be more grateful. It is a great way to not only start the year but to continue the year. Be grateful to God and to people. Most things God does for us happen through human agents and we should never take this for granted. Always make a big fuss about what people do for you. Do not take any little act of kindness for granted, I always tell myself people are not obligated to do anything for you.

  Over the Christmas period, I had the privilege of giving and receiving gifts from people. There were varied responses to the gifts I gave. For some people, it seemed they just managed to offer a polite Thank you and did not bother afterwards. For some others, they did not only say the initial Thank you but got to their homes and still sent Thank you messages. You sure do not need a prophet to tell you that the latter group will be the first on my list next time.

 Usually at the beginning of the year, we are optimistic  that this is going to be the year” which gradually wanes down sadly and I do not just want this to be one of those up and down years for you. If there is anyway I have learnt to remain cool calm and collected, it is to always always look for reasons to be grateful, specifically. This will keep you all year round.  It is a top  secret tip for being   a very attractive person and one people would definitely want to be around. Let us  be extremely  deliberate about gratitude for  gratitude is an enhancer of relationships.

It is easy to start being grateful,start  as you wake up each day, take each as a gift from God and watch out for little mercies along the way and be grateful.

 On this note, I  want to say "Happy New Year" and   a big “Thank you” for following this blog and sharing with all your fans, friends and family.

In His Service,

Grace Tom-Lawyer.