Our Brother’s Distress…Our Distress

Our Brother’s Distress…Our Distress

Then they said to one another, “Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen; therefore this distress has come upon us.” – Genesis 42: 21

The above scripture refers to the story of Joseph being placed inside the pit by his jealous older brothers and later sold into captivity. As a result, Joseph would spend the next thirty years in prison before becoming second in command under Pharaoh of Egypt.

It was only after Joseph had been retrieved from his prison life by the Pharaoh and made overseer of Egypt’s land that his brothers traveled to Egypt in search of food due to the intense famine that covered Israel’s land. Three decades after their shameful scheme, they surely thought Joseph was long dead. They never suspected for one minute that his life had been divinely protected and divinely orchestrated by Elohim God. But, they were about to find out in a most startling way. As the story goes, God had protected Joseph’s life while in captivity in order to save and protect the lives of his brothers and his father, Jacob.

As the above scripture explains, the brothers admitted among themselves that they had “saw the distress of his (Joseph’s) soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen; therefore this distress has come upon us.” Using this particular confession, I want to pose a question to those of us living in America today…”Are we ignoring the pleas of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are in distress in the Middle East because of their Faith in Christ Jesus?”

Tonight, I watched a FOX newscast report on the ongoing deaths and tortures happening to Christians all around the world where radical Islam terrorist groups are taking over. I sadly listened to a young lady “beg” for the help of our nation to come to the aid of Christians being killed and persecuted in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries. At the end of her interview she held up a sign that read, “Help to Stop the Christian Holocaust.” To say the least, the report greatly disturbed me.

See, I am not only a Christian living in America, but I am also a retired Language Arts and Social Studies teacher who taught the story of Anne Frank to my middle grades students for several years. Tonight, as I was surrounded by the comforts and safety of my home I was witnessing on TV a young dark-haired girl begging for her life to be protected and spared from “distress,” persecution, and death at the hands of radical Islamists. This easily could have been a telecast from the early 1940’s of a young Anne Frank begging for the same protection and aid.

My USA friends, what are we going to do? Are we going to one day lower our heads in shame and say, “We saw the distress of their souls when they pleaded with us, yet we would not listen?” Are we going to listen to their pleas and send help? Or, will we not listen until the same “distress” and persecutions are knocking at our front doors? God forbid.

I feel as if I want to rush outside and sound the alarms saying, “Wake up!” “Wake up!” “The enemy is upon us and we must wake up!” How close is this enemy to our own door steps? Five days? Five months? Five years? Yes; it is what it is…While we are living in the USA seemingly with our “heads in the sand” our brothers and sisters in Christ living within the Middle East are filled with fears and begging for their lives.

I was shocked to see dozens and dozens of “Christians” lined up, face down, in the streets with their hands tied behind their backs awaiting torture for not denying their faith in Christ Jesus. This was not a scene from seventy years ago, but a scene from yesterday’s current news headlines. How does one go to sleep after seeing something like this? For me; I didn’t. That’s why I am up and writing this blog after midnight.

My friend, I feel we must seriously, seriously seek our GOD in prayer on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being tortured and killed right now for their Faith. We also must pray for the continual safety of Israel against her enemies. We in America have lived somewhat “charmed” lives compared to the majority of the world. I’m not saying that we are without challenges, problems, burdens, trials, sicknesses, concerns, and setbacks. But, for the majority of Americans we live in some type of “blessed” environment each and every day with resources, liberties, and freedoms that many in this world never experience.

Right now, my heart is heavy for those who are suffering for their Faith in Jesus Christ. Today, it is happening across a wide ocean and vast lands away from us…But, tomorrow, it could be occurring upon and within our own shore lines and streets.

The forces of darkness are upon us and without GREAT Faith, GREAT Strength, GREAT Wisdom, and GREAT Courage; we too may come to know what Great Distress is all about. God, have mercy upon me and my family; and our land of America.

My prayer is that we, as Christians, will be protected each and every day and that our lives will be divinely orchestrated much the same way as Joseph’s. Though we are sold into suffering captivity, that our GOD will provide a way of escape that we may bring Honor, Hope, Praise, and Glory unto the Name of our LORD, Jesus. In HIS Name I pray, Amen.

Remember, God Loves You! (In Jesus’ Name).
Lin T Rollins, M.Ed. Author

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Joseph’s Prison…

Joseph’s Prison…

In the book of Genesis, chapter thirty-nine, we learn that Joseph was taken “DOWN” to Egypt where he was sold as a slave to Potiphar, a captain in Pharoah’s mighty army.

Joseph was Jacob’s 11th son; the first son born unto Jacob by his beloved wife Rachel.  Because Jacob loved Rachel better than he loved his other wife and concubines, he loved and favored his son, Joseph, more than his other ten sons.  Scripture also teaches us that Rachel birthed a younger son unto Jacob as well; Benjamin (Genesis 46:19).  Thus, the Twelve Tribes of Jacob (Israel) were established.

Joseph was known as a “Dreamer.” And, he loved sharing his dreams with his older half-brothers.  Although, they did not receive his dreams nor his “favored” life so well. In one dream, he told how his brothers would one day bow down to him.  This, of course, angered his older half-brothers. So, they decided to get “even” with their “dreaming” younger brother!

As opportunity presented itself one day, as the brothers were out hunting, the older boys took hold of Joseph and lowered him into a nearby “pit.”  While discussing what to do next, something went terribly wrong…A group of traveling merchants on their way to Egypt saw Joseph in the pit.  So, they pulled Joseph up from the pit and took him with them.  When they arrived at the market place in Egypt, they sold Joseph into slavery…His buyer was none other than Potiphar.

As the story unfolds, we find that during Joseph’s enslaved years of service to Potiphar, that Potiphar’s wife became attracted to Joseph and tempted him to commit an affair with her.  However, Joseph, being filled with godly, moral character and goodness, refused. As a result, the now “rejected,” scorned wife immediately accused Joseph of trying to seduce her.  So, she screamed out for prison guards.  Joseph was immediately arrested and thrown into prison where he remained for many, many years for a crime he did not commit.

Figuratively speaking, have you ever felt as if you were thrown into “prison” for a crime you did not commit?  Have you ever felt you were being unfairly mistreated?  Wrongly judged?  Misunderstood?  Falsely accused?  Falsely represented?  Rejected? Betrayed?  Or,  Wronged? ….  I know I certainly have!  Even though our circumstances may be quite different from Joseph’s, at one time or another we have all been cast into our own custom-made, “Joseph’s Prison.”

Even with today’s modern-day jail systems, no one wishes to be in “prison.”  The first thing a prisoner learns about prison life is that their individual RIGHTS have been revoked and their lives are now dictated by guards and prison officials.  Prisoners are stripped of their freedoms until released and pardoned.  At times, that’s exactly how it feels when a Christian is suffering through one of life’s many trials.  It’s seem that Satan and his group of demons have stripped us of our RIGHTS and freedoms!  We feel helpless and even somewhat hopeless at times as the “trial” washes day-after-day across our lives much like pounding waves upon the sea-shore.

However, the one thing that simply amazes me about Joseph’s situation and circumstances, as well as the character of Joseph, is his persistent FAITH in God.  He knew that no matter his circumstances, NOTHING could separate him from the LOVE of his natural father, Jacob, nor the LOVE of his Heavenly Father, God.  Almost like Job, Joseph stood the test.

Possibly, in Joseph’s upbringing, Jacob had read the story of Job to his sons helping to empower their FAITH and to build a stronger more sustaining HOPE in God.  As a result, Joseph APPLIED the teachings of God’s unfailing LOVE into his own personal circumstances that eventually brought forth amazing results!!  Amen…Do I hear a PRAISE in the house!! Oh, yea!

Nonetheless, possessing such an amazing “sustaining” Faith is not always an easy thing to do; especially for people like myself who struggle with the ideologies of “unconditional” love.  When you were “raised” or “brought up” on receiving “love” or supportive “acclamations” based upon performance, or “performance-based,” it takes a life time to fully accept and understand God’s amazing, unconditional Love.  The very first song I ever wrote, at the age of twelve, is called, “God’s Love.”  “God’s Love has found a new home. God’s Love has found a new home. I opened up my heart and let God come in. God’s Love has found a new home.”    Even at the young, tender age of twelve, I knew first-hand that there was something completely new and different about God’s love than any other type of love I had ever experienced thus far in life.

So, let me ask you this question:  Is it possible, even today, for a Christian to be imprisoned within a spiritual battle and still maintain, sense, trust, and have faith and hope in God’s unconditional Love no matter the circumstances; as both Job and Joseph?  You decide…

This morning, as I pondered the above question, I began to think about how some people place their sense of “value” and “self-worth” upon external conditions. If they are surrounded by people whom they love and trust as well as love and trust them back, they feel “valued” and their self-worth soars.  Happy. Happy. Happy.  However, when the opposite presents itself and they are surrounded by people who are not so “in love” with them or their ways, they plummet down the mountainside into a pattern of low self-esteem and no-worth-value; whatsoever….It just shouldn’t be this way; especially for the Believer!!

Of course, some people, no matter their outward circumstances or situations seem to be able to maintain a well-balanced sense of “value” and “self-worth” no matter what… They find their “self-worth” from an internal component, hopefully based upon the Love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  For these people they do NOT value themselves based upon “eyes,” “ears,” “actions,” and “reactions” of others. They do not allow their self-value to become distorted based upon the feelings or accolades orf others…A well-balanced life of moderation!

Sadly and unfortunately, the first group of “responders” tend to bounce back and forth much like a bowie between feeling good about themselves and feelings of inadequacies; like being on a continuous see-saw…One day “up” and the next day “down.”  Their self-worth “freedoms” have been taken away much like being in a “prison.” Inner feelings of self-worth are based upon external conditions… Sad and tragic.

Joseph is a good example for ALL of us to follow…His self-worth and self-value were not based upon his external circumstances but his relationship with his FATHER; God.  It mattered not that he had been thrown into the pit by his brothers, kidnapped by traveling salesmen, and eventually sent away to ROT within the prison walls of life for a crime he did not commit….His heart remained secured…He was his Father’s son and that’s all that mattered to him…And, when time and opportunity finally came into Joseph’s life to prove that point; he did just that…He fully demonstrated his LOVE back to both his Heavenly Father and his earthly father…As through Joseph, Israel and all of their families were saved during a very dark and barren time in the history of Jacob and his twelve sons.  Oh, thanks be unto God for Joseph’s faith, hope, strength, and unconditional Love for the Father!

Today, you may be pacing back and forth inside your own mental prison.  Please don’t fret; take courage and keep the Faith, For God So love you that he gave his only begotten Son to die for you (John 3:16).  He also promises that He will never leave nor forsake you though the waters rage and the tempest roar.  He, GOD, is the Great Comforter who will be with you and me until the end.  He is Alpha and Omega the Almighty God and HIS LOVE is higher and far, far exceeds our every thought and imagination….So, Christian, Lift Up Thy Head, our promised Redemption draweth nigh….Amen.

Remember, God DOES LOVE YOU!

Lin T Rollins, Author

@copyright by Lin T Rollins 2012