"These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us" (2 Cor 4:17, Message)


For all of us there WILL be times when everything in our lives is going smoothly, with no trouble, with no stress, with no heart ache … only good news. BUT for all of us there WILL also be times when it seems as if nothing is going right … only bad news.

Today you may be in a time of your life that
· you don't feel good about
· feels as if it's never going to end
· seems like "bad-news-times"

… for example
· unstable relationships
· poor finances
· bad health
· bondages of sin
· worries/burdens
· discouragement
· rejection
· maybe you are in some kind of PRISON

Remember that:
· it is not important where your life-story may be today, but how it will end.
· There is a saying: "all is well that ends well"
· What matters most in any good news/bad news story is it's ending. If it ends with bad news, all the good that went before will be forgotten; if it ends with good news, the entire story is remembered as good, and the previous bad news is seen in a different light. (Do you remember the fairy tale endings: … and they lived happily ever after?)

Read in the Bible (Gen 37 to 47) how Joseph's life is a good news/bad news story that ends in GOOD.

Here is a short summary:

Good news: Joseph is his daddy's favourite. (Gen 37:3 Jacob loved Joseph more than all his other sons)
Bad news: His brothers hate him. (Gen 37:3 they hated their brother so much that they would not speak to him in a friendly manner)
Good news: His daddy gives him a beautiful coat.
Bad news: His brothers rip it off, cover it with blood and sell him as a slave.
Good news: In Egypt he is sold to Potiphar (who is the captain of the palace guard; he is wealthy and has a lot of influence). He likes Joseph very much, makes him his personal slave, puts him in charge of his household and everything he owns.
Bad news: Potiphar's wife also likes Joseph and thinks him good looking. She tries to seduce him.
Good news: Joseph says "NO".
Bad news: She's furious. She lies to her husband and Joseph gets arrested and locked up in prison.
Good news: The jailer is pleased with Joseph, puts him in charge of all the other prisoners and makes him responsible for everything that is going on in prison.
More Good news: Joseph meets Pharaoh's personal butler in prison, interprets his dream that predicts that the butler will get paroled. When the butler leaves prison he will organize something to help Joseph get out of prison.
Bad news: The butler forgets all about Joseph and he stays in prison for 2 more years.
Good news: The king has a dream; with God's help Joseph is able to interpret the dream and gives the king wise advice on how to prepare the country for the coming seven years of famine. The king is impressed, and appoints Joseph as second in charge of the whole country….

And from here on it is only a story of good news for Joseph. His family came to Egypt for food when there was no food in their country, and he was able to help them. As a result he was reconciled with his father and brothers…… and this story ENDS WELL!!

· our real character starts to show
· we are ready to give up
· we become impatient
· we become depressed
· we feel sorry for ourselves
· we stop eating, or start over eating
· we stay in bed all day with the blanket over our head
· we ignore the people around us
· we become sick
· we loose our energy and our sparkle
· we blame God, we blame our family, we blame our boss ….
· we turn to alcohol
· we turn to bad company
· we do not listen to other people's advice
· we do not think clearly
· we start to tell lies so that we can get out of the situation


When he was alone in a foreign country, separated from his family

Joseph didn't
· feel sorry for himself
· blame his brothers
· curse and shout at everybody
· see himself as powerless
· give up

Joseph did
· the job that his master gave him to do
· work hard
· the best he could
In the middle of this bad news time we read:
"The Lord was with Joseph and made him successful" (Gen 39:2)

We can believe this: if Jesus is the Lord of your life, if you have given your heart and your life to HIM, then you can know that in your most difficult circumstances THE LORD IS WITH YOU! He can and wants to turn bad news into good news.

With God we are never helpless victims.

When he was standing before temptation

When Potiphar's wife tried to seduce Joseph by inviting him to go to bed with her, he had to make a decision: will he give in to her invitation, or will he say NO?
"Although she asked Joseph day after day, he would not go to bed with her" (Gen 39:10)

Joseph did:
· say no every time
· remain committed to his values
· his conscience stayed sharp
· remember God's laws: "How then could I do such an immoral thing and sin against God?" (Gen 39:9)

Joseph didn't:
· give in to fleshly desires
· take what was given to him on a plate
· use his situation to sin

Will you keep on doing the RIGHT thing - what the Lord wants from you - even when you are in a bad-news stage of your life?

What temptations are facing you today? Maybe …
· to join in gossip
· to break the rules
· to lie in court
· to engage in relationships that you know are wrong
· to join in with the others in using the Lord's name in vain and cursing ….
· to doubt that God exists

When he was sent to prison for a crime he did not commit

In the middle of this bad news prison time for Joseph, the Lord was with him and blessed him:

39:21"But the Lord was with Joseph and blessed him, so that the jailer was pleased with him. He put Joseph in charge of the other prisoners and made him responsible for everything that was done in the prison" (Gen 39:21)
"The Lord was WITH Joseph and made him succeed in everything he did" (Gen 39:23)

Joseph did:
· do the job that was given to him
· do it well as if for the Lord and not for people
· work hard
· find meaning in his life - he had a purpose
· experience God's blessing!

Joseph didn't
· pull the blanket over his head and sulk about the unfairness of the situation
· blame God ("Look God, I made the RIGHT choice, and see where it brought me!!")

When a promise was broken
After Joseph helped the king's butler, by interpreting his dream , the butler promised to put in a good word for Joseph with the king when he was out on parole…. And he forgot! This meant 2 more years in prison for Joseph.

· Did someone promise you a visit or help from outside and then just forgot about it?
· Did someone promise to pay your bail and then they disappeared?
· Did your attorney make a promise about conversion and it was rejected?
· Did the parole board give you another 2 years?

God was not finished in Joseph's life, and that's the reason why the prison doors didn't open for him at that time. Maybe God is not finished in your life!

Joseph still had to see the deeper meaning that God planned for him through this situation - only later on when he was the highest official of the king and was able to save his family and country from starvation, did he realize that every detail of his life was planned by God with a higher purpose:

Now do not be upset or blame yourselves because you sent me here. It was really GOD who sent me ahead of you to save people's lives. (Gen 45:5)
God sent me ahead of you to rescue you in this amazing way. (Gen 45:7)
So it was not really you who sent me here but God. He has made me the king's highest official. I am in charge of his whole country; I am the ruler of all Egypt. (Gen 45:8)

TRUST God that He has a higher plan with your life, with your BAD NEWS time, with your suffering.

· no bad news can separate you from God
· trust in Jesus - good-news-times will follow after bad-news-times
· nothing happens to you that God doesn't know about and that is not under His ultimate control.
l remain faithful to God, don't give up. "God will bless you, if you don't give up when your faith is being tested. He will reward you with a glorious life". (James 1:12)

It's not about where you are today, but where you will end …. END WELL!

"God had sent me to be a witness in this place. There are many people here who need Jesus. I will be in this prison for exactly the length of time God has determined. I won't leave one moment too early and I won't stay one moment too long. When God determines my ministry in prison is complete, I will come out"  ~ From "Heavenly Man"


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