The story of Joseph’s life—his journey from the pit to the pinnacle—leaves us in awe. Few have known such highs and lows, and fewer still have lived a life so full of grace and forgiveness. If we choose to follow Joseph’s example, our lives can be marked by such noble traits, creating a spiritual legacy for those who come after us. What greater memory could we leave to those who love us than that of a life well lived—full of grace and truth?
Living harmoniously as a family is an ongoing, intentional journey. The beginning of that journey is marked by great anticipation and genuine excitement. A bride and groom have high hopes and great dreams as they start out life together. However, as in all journeys, unexpected challenges pop up, including the arrival of children, which requires the couple to cultivate valuable parenting skills—without a handbook! At each age, from preschool through elementary school, each child requires his or her parents to make adjustments along the way to keep the relationships harmonious. Just about the time parents get their arms around all of that, the teenage years arrive! This stretching and complicated time calls for even more adjustments and a greater willingness to change if the parents hope to sustain harmony in the home. Then, after all that adapting, a new set of challenges arrives—the children reach adulthood, with minds of their own. Can there still be mutual respect and meaningful relationships in the family? Can harmony continue between parents and their grown-up kids? Absolutely! The question is, how?
The story of Joseph provides a moving example not just of reconciliation but of long-awaited reunion. Studying the reunion of Joseph and Jacob reminds us of that joyful day when we will be united with our heavenly Father. As we wait for the reunion of the family of God, how do we prepare? This lesson explores how we should live today in light of eternity.
Joseph was one of the greatest men of the Bible. Joseph’s attitude set him apart. Joseph displayed greatness not because of some miraculous actions, but because he demonstrated a daily positive attitude toward God and others. And his example stands as a challenge for us today.
Though seasoned in walking with God, Jacob remained a victim of his own carnal clumsiness. Instead of seeing the Lord’s hand of protection on his sons’ lives, he became paralyzed by fear, worry, and resentment. Jacob relied on himself rather than on God’s strength. And his reluctance to trust God almost led to disaster. Sometimes we tend to be just like Jacob—expecting the worst rather than trusting God’s best.
The biography of Joseph is nothing short of remarkable, occupying as much or more space in Genesis than the biographies of Adam, Noah, Abraham, or even his father, Jacob. Joseph emerges from the pages of Scripture as a man with whom most of us can identify. Over his long life, Joseph responded to broken dreams and impossible circumstances with a faith that propelled him from the pit of slavery to the pinnacle of power.
There are times when attending a growing church is exciting…and other times when it is irritating. At times like these, questions arise. Should a church get this large? Wasn’t the first-century church small and easy to manage? Is it OK to make more room for our growing family…or should we attend elsewhere? The answers to these types of questions may surprise you.
Too often, we end up saying “if only I had known then what I know now.” How deep the feelings of regret and anxiety in the hearts of parents who “blew it!” Since there’s no way to go back and relive our lives, we need to focus on the best way to respond to these painful memories. Otherwise, we will live under clouds of blame and shame and be paralyzed by fear.
Children eventually reach adulthood, with minds of their own. Can there still be mutual respect and meaningful relationships in the family? Can harmony continue between parents and their grown-up kids? Absolutely! The question is, how?
Psalm 127 and 128 paint a mural of inspired images depicting four stages of family life: the foundation of the home (Psalm 127:1–2), the expansion of the home (127:3–5), the child-rearing years (128:1–3), and the later years (128:4–6). These verses can help us appreciate, as well as improve, our families.
Just as a river without the boundaries of the shorelines can become a devastating force, love without discernment can sweep away the reality of sin and the power of grace. John’s letter to a lady and her children provides for us guidance as we seek to balance truth and love.