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Practicing the Presence of God

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers
The Truth Network Radio
November 1, 2023 4:00 am

Practicing the Presence of God

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers

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November 1, 2023 4:00 am

The secret to an abundant life is practicing the presence of God. One of the greatest examples of this is found in the Book of Genesis, through the life of Joseph. In this message, Adrian Rogers shares four principles that reveal how to practice the presence of God.

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Adrian Rogers was a motivator, an encourager, and a leader of the faith. He was also passionate about presenting scriptural application to everyday life circumstances, and you'll hear that in today's message.

Now, let's join Adrian Rogers. Now, what is the greatest tragedy of all? I suppose the greatest tragedy of all would be to come to your deathbed, being ready to die, and to discover you never lived, because Jesus said, I've come that you might have life and have it abundantly. There are many people who are grinding it out, who are enduring, who are existing, but they are not living. One man described it this way, youth, a struggle, maturity, a blunder, and old age, a regret. Yet there's some people who seem to be born with so little, and yet they accomplish so much. And there are other people who seem to be born with so much, and yet they accomplish so little.

What is the difference? I submit to you that the difference, the secret, is the presence of God. Now, we're going to study the life of a young man named Joseph, and I'm going to show you later on, there's a refrain about Joseph that comes in the story of Joseph and it says this, and God was with him, and God was with him, and God was with him. That is, here was a man who learned how to practice the presence of God.

It's an interesting thing. The book of Genesis is a wonderful book, but let me give you an astounding fact. Twenty-five percent of the book of Genesis is about Joseph.

That's an amazing thing because in the book of Genesis, it also tells about the creation of the universe, and in five words, five words it says, and he made the stars also. Five words for the whole universe, and then 25% of this one book about one man whose name was Joseph. I believe the most Christ-like character in the Old Testament was Joseph, and we have so much to learn about him, and the story we're going to read pretty soon takes up when Joseph was a teen, 17 years of age, just about ready if he were to live in today's society to graduate from high school, and sometimes we think that these were mighty men, great men, never had any problems, and somehow they were born full-grown and mature and all of that. Let me tell you about Joseph. Joseph came from a dysfunctional family. His father, Jacob, was a con artist by nature.

I mean, he was, if you study the life of Jacob, you'll understand before God got hold of Jacob and turned him inside out, upside down, Jacob was a con artist. He had an uncle, Laban, who was slicker than Jake, and this was cheat, cheating, cheat. Now, I'm not going to get into all that story, but let me tell you that on top of all of that, his mother died when he was in mid-teens.

Can you imagine the trauma of having your mother? He had a gracious, beautiful mother whose name was Rachel, but she died, and when he came up, friend, he lived in a nest, a swarm of wicked, ungodly brothers. Now, that's the kind of a background that this boy had. He's a 17-year-old kid, and that's the start that he gets, and then we're going to find out in the story that he gets into all kinds of difficulty and trouble. Sort of to set the stage, if you're not familiar with the story of Joseph, I'm going to give you just a brief thumbnail sketch of this boy named Joseph. First of all, he was his father's favorite son. I believe he was his father's favorite son because he was born of Rachel, his true love. Jacob loved Joseph so much that he gave him a coat, a coat of many colors, and we'll talk about that coat later on, but he receives a coat of many colors, and he receives some greens, and God gives him a vision, and God says to Joseph, this boy, 17-year-old boy, one day, all of the world's resources are going to be at your disposal, and all of the world's rulers are going to bow down to your feet. He's just a 17-year-old kid, and God gives him this dream, and he tells it to his brothers. His brothers envy him because of his coat of many colors, his distinctiveness. They are jealous of him because of the father's love for him. They resent him because of his dreams and his visions, which he told them, well, upon a time when they were out in the field, his brothers took him, stripped off his beautiful coat, really wanted to kill him. They put him in a pit to die, a pit where there was no water to languish there, and then when a caravan coming to Egypt passed by, they said, well, hey, we'll do something better than let him die in the pit. We'll sell him, and so they sold him for the price of a slave.

Here's this teen boy. He's done nothing wrong. Now he has been abused by his brothers, sold as a slave. I can see him as he's bound to the caravan there, the whip whistles through the air, and off he goes all the way to Egypt. When he gets down to Egypt, he's put on the slave block down in Egypt, and the chief of Potiphar's guard, Potiphar, who was Potiphar?

He was the one who protected the Pharaoh, and he saw this goodly handsome young man full of virility and strength. Potiphar bought him and made him a household slave, but Joseph was of such character and industry and ingenuity and fidelity that he begins to rise up in the ranks, and before long, he is running Potiphar's household for him, but then Potiphar's wife begins to lust after Joseph and begins to try to entice him to an adulterous affair, which Joseph refused, and hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, so she says that Joseph tried to assault her and to rape her, and her husband takes Joseph now by the nap of his neck and cast him into prison. He's languishing there in prison, not for doing something wrong, but for doing something right, for keeping himself pure, and there he is down in the prison, and he begins to rise to the top again. He's beginning to be in control of the prison, and he helps a man who gets out of prison.

The man says, Joseph, I know you're innocent. I'll speak a word for you when I get out of prison, but he forgets Joseph, and Joseph is there rotting in prison, languishing in prison. He stays there for a while until Pharaoh has a dream.

He needs somebody to interpret the dream. Joseph is taken out of prison because Joseph has the wisdom of God about him. Joseph interprets the dream for Pharaoh. There's going to be seven years of plenty and seven years of famine, and Pharaoh says, Joseph, you're so wise.

You're so smart. I'm going to put you in charge of all of this, and Joseph is gathering grain, and after a while, Joseph becomes the savior of that known world in the physical material sense, and Pharaoh exalts Joseph. He is the prime minister of Egypt, and there's a famine in the land.

Down in the land of Canaan, those wicked brothers who had sold him into slavery have to go to Egypt for food. They don't know who Joseph is. I mean, Joseph now is dressing like an Egyptian. He's grown up.

He's changed. But they've come, and they have to appear before Joseph and ask Joseph for grain. But finally, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers and forgives his brothers, brings his father there, old Jake, all the way from Canaan to Egypt. It is a glorious story. It's one of the greatest stories ever written. I mean, it's not fiction. It is fact. It is truth, and it is full of Bible truth. There's a theme.

Well, let's just look at it. Now, turn to chapter 39, if you will, here for just a moment. Genesis 39, verse 2, And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man.

Do you see that? Look in chapter 39, verse 21. But the Lord was with Joseph, and showed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. Look, if you will, in verse 23. The keeper of the prison looked not to anything that was under his hand, because the Lord was with him, that is, with Joseph, and that which he did, the Lord was with him, and made him to prosper.

I love that. The Lord was with him. The Lord was with him. The Lord was with him.

No matter what happened, here was a man who was practicing the presence of God. Now, would you like to do that? Would you like to prosper? I mean, have real prosperity? That's not necessarily wealth. Prosperity is the progressive realization of the will of God for your life. Would you like to prosper? Let me give you four principles.

Can I do that? Go back to chapter 37, if you will, here. Principle number one, express your God-given difference. When God saved you, God made you different. And Joseph expressed his God-given difference. Read the first four verses. And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was estranged in the land of Canaan.

Now, let's look at the celebrations of Jacob. Joseph, being 17 years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren. And the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives. And Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. Now, that doesn't mean he was a tattletale. It means he was a truth teller. Now, Israel loved Joseph more than all his children because he was the son of his old age, and he had made him a coat of many colors. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him and could not speak peaceably unto him.

Now, put it down big, plain, and straight. Joseph was distinct, and Joseph was different. And the multicolored coat that he wore was a mark of distinction. Now, I believe, and we'll get into this later, was because Joseph was given the birthright, which was spiritual as well as material. That is, he was distinct because of his nobility.

The multicolored long-sleeved coat was a mark of nobility. Now, what does that have to say to you today? Folks, I want to tell you that we are nobility in the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm a king and a prince. You say, you're full of yourself.

I can't help it. I'm a king and a prince. If you don't want to call me pastor, just call me Prince Adrian. Folks, I am telling you that God has made us a kingdom of priests. We are somebody. We are a chosen generation. The Bible calls us a peculiar people.

We are different, and the world resents our nobility in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the world always wants to squeeze us into its mold, as Paul said in Romans chapter 12, verse 2, be not conformed to this world. Joseph was different. His brothers hated him.

He would not conform. I can hear these wicked brothers say, hey, Joseph, you sissy. Hey, Joseph, take a drink of this. Hey, Joseph, take a puff of this.

Let's get old Joe a date with you know who. And Joseph, they're constantly trying to get Joseph to conform, but he will not do it. He would not conform. You know this world wants to make us conform.

I'll guarantee you. There's something about nature that makes us want to conform. We speak of a flock of sheep, a pack of wolves, a swarm of birds, a covey of quail, a pride of lions, a gaggle of geese, a bevy of women, a gang of boys, we might say, and a giggle of girls.

We all want to get in there and somehow conform, and the chief religion in America is the cult of conformity. The chief sin is to be different. Now, it's very strange that sometimes, however, somebody will break out from the group, and he'll be different. They'll be an old boy, and rather than putting his hat on this way, he'll put the bill back this way. And for a while, all the kids look at him, and then the first thing you know, they're all putting the bill back this way. And that's the way they wear the hat. That thing's supposed to keep the sun out of your eyes, and then the first thing you know, somebody will wear a pair of baggy pants that most young, respectable young men wouldn't be caught dead in, but he'll wear these pants hanging down and real baggy and so forth. Next thing you know, all the kids are wearing these baggy pants. They don't want to be different.

They want to conform. Somebody will put a safety pin through his nose. Good night!

Good night! All the kids go with a safety pin through their nose. Everybody's got to conform.

You've got to be like the crowd. I was reading where some scientists were trying to understand why fish swim in schools. You know what they did? They took a fish, and by surgery, they did a lobotomy on that fish, removed his brain, but he could still swim. They took away the schooling instinct, evidently was in his fish, and so he no longer followed the school. He just swam off by himself.

Now let me tell you what happened. All the rest follows him. True. Here is a fish without brains! Without brains! The rest are following him.

For further reference, go to any junior high school. Here was Joseph. Joseph refuses to conform. He is different, and I want to tell you, friend, a child of God is different. What we believe starts at a different source. It follows a different course. It follows a different conclusion, and we are twice-born people in a world of once-born people, and you're going to be going against the tide most of the time, and you ought to stand out like a diamond in a gold mine. Number two, explore your God-given dreams.

Explore your God-given dreams. Look in verse five. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren, and they hated him yet the more, and he said unto them, Here I pray you this dream which I have dreamed, for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright, and behold, your sheaves stood round about and made obeisance to my sheaf.

And his brethren said unto him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us, or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams and for his words. And then in verse nine on through 11, he dreamed another dream. I mean, here was a man who had a God-given dream.

He's just a teen. But God is putting a dream into his heart. May I tell you that youth is a wonderful time not to conform but to dream.

Let God put a dream in your heart. I was about Joseph's age a little younger when God called me into the ministry. I was in high school, and my pastor told me that God had a plan for everybody's life, and I wanted to know God's plan for my life, and I said to the Lord, Lord, I don't know what you want me to do, but whatever it is, I want you to show me your will, and whatever it is, I want to do it. Now, God spoke to Joseph through a dream. He may speak to you some other way, but the point is this, that God has a plan for your life. Would you like to know what God's plan for your life is? Really?

Would you? Now, remember, Joseph just had a vision. He had a hint, but that's all. God didn't give him a roadmap. I think Joseph would have been perturbed if God told him about the pit and the prison and the accusations and all this, but he had a dream.

He had something that he aspired to. Romans 12, verses 1 and 2, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service, and be not conformed to this world. Now, notice the order, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. You want to know the will of God? There it is.

There's the formula. Presentation plus transformation equals realization. Presentation. Just present yourself to him. Have you done that? I mean, have you really done that? Have you presented yourself to him? Here I am, God.

Most people have never done that. Present yourself to him. Sign the contract and hand it to him and tell him to fill it in. Don't be afraid of that because when you present yourself to him, then you transform. Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed. And the word transform is the word we get our English word metamorphosis from. You will have a divine metamorphosis. What is a metamorphosis?

It actually means meta means change. Morphous means form. It's a change of form.

It literally means when that which is on the inside comes to the surface. For example, the worm goes into the cocoon and comes out a moth or a butterfly. It has gone through a metamorphosis.

The inner nature of that caterpillar is a beautiful butterfly. Jesus, on the Mount of Transfiguration, the Bible says he was transfigured. It's the same word, metamorphosis. Jesus went through a metamorphosis. What was his inner nature? Glory.

It just came to the surface. What is the inner nature of a child of God? If you're born again, what? It's God. It is glory. It is Jesus. Your inner nature is Jesus. Christ lives in you. When you present yourself to him a living sacrifice, there will be a metamorphosis, and that which is on the inside will come to the surface rather than letting the world squeeze it out.

It begins to come out. Presentation plus transformation equals realization, and you will know what is that good, perfect, acceptable will of God. Hey, folks, listen to me. You don't find the will of God. The will of God finds you. You get your heart right with God.

You present yourself to him. You let the glory of Jesus come out of you. You have the mind of Christ, and you just get in the stream, and you'll find out that God will be guiding you.

God will be guiding you. I mean, Joseph, God didn't give Joseph a road map, but God gave to Joseph a dream. Now, don't say, God, you show me what you want me to do, and I'll consider if I want to do it.

No, sir. Now, make sure it's God that's speaking now. When I'm talking about dreams here, I'm not talking about carnal ambition. I'm not just telling you that God has promised to fulfill your fantasies. I'm talking about a God-given dream. I found this verse, Jeremiah 29, verse 8. The Bible says, "'Hearken not to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed.'"

Boy, that's a good one. Did you write it down? No, you didn't write it down. "'Hearken not to your dreams which ye have dreamed.'" God has a dream for you, and God wants us to dream dreams, not daydreams, God-given dreams. The book of Joel says in Joel chapter 2, verse 28, "'And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your old men shall dream dreams. Your young men shall see visions.'"

What's he saying? He's saying, let God be real in you. How can I tell whether my dream is a God-given dream? Think about it.

Pray over it. When Mary had a vision about the coming Savior, the Bible says that Mary pondered all these things in her heart. One of my great verses that I love is Proverbs 4, verse 18, that says, "'The path of the just is as a shining light that shines more and more unto a perfect day.'"

What does that mean? Sometimes you don't know what the will of God is for your life, even the will of God for today, but the path of the just is as a shining light that shines more and more unto a perfect day. At first, it's dark. Then it's gray dawn, no colors.

You can only see shadows, and then the sun is coming up, and you can see the colors, but they're long shadows, and after a while, it's high noon. The path of the just is as a shining light that shines more and more unto a perfect day. When I was a kid, I said, Lord, what do you want me to do? Then after a while, I got a little German in my heart. Lord, I think you want me to preach, and then Lord, do you want me to preach? Then after a while, it was Lord, I think you want me to preach. Then after a while, it was Lord, if you don't want me to preach, you better let me know. Then finally, Lord, I know this is what you want. You see, check your dream out. Soak it in prayer. God will guide you.

You say, Lord, if this is you speaking, keep on speaking, but explore your dreams. I'm not trying to talk about that. By the way, there were plenty of wet blankets in Joseph's time. They hated him because of his nobility. They despised him, and when you get a dream in your heart, I can promise you the devil will see to it.

There'll be a bunch of people on the cold water committee and the wet blanket committee to keep you from doing it. I was a teen sleeping in the back bedroom or taking a nap. My dad was out on the patio with a man named Bert.

He was the sheriff of that county, and I respected him so much. Bert said to my dad, what's Adrian going to do when he gets out of high school? My dad says he thinks he wants to be a preacher. Bert said, that boy will never be a preacher. That boy will never make it.

He didn't know I heard that, but I was sitting there listening. There are plenty of people who say that it can't be done, but I'm telling you, if God gives you a dream, it can be done. Let it be a God-given dream. Let it endure your God-given difficulties. Now, when there's a God-given dream, there will be some God-given difficulties.

In this chapter, if you read from verse 8 through 27, you would find just a few of the difficulties. Here's this man. He's scorned by his brothers. There's a conspiracy against him. He's thrown into a pit. He's sold as a slave. He's falsely accused.

He languishes in prison. Well, was God out of control? Not for a second was God not in control, not a nanosecond when it was all over. And you can just put in your margin Genesis chapter 50, verse 20. Joseph is confronting his brethren, and he says, as for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good to bring to pass to save much people alive. Now, they meant it for evil. God meant it for good.

What's the corresponding verse to that? You know it, Romans 8, 28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. God is going to allow you to have difficulties in life. God does not cause these things. God did not cause Potiphar's wife to accuse Joseph of rape.

God did not cause these things to happen, but wherever man rules, God overrules. Are you having difficulty? Did you have a dream and your dream is now shattered? Your dream is shattered. I want to tell you that God is over it all, and no matter what Satan does, no matter what happens, there's a God who's in control of this world, and friend, you better get a lock on that, okay? Now, here's the fourth thing. If you would practice the presence of God, enlist your God-given dynamic.

You've got the dream. You've got the difficulties, but there is a dynamic, and what is the dynamic? Go back again to Genesis chapter 39, and God was with him, and God was with him, and God was with him. And, you know, in the book of Acts, when a great preacher was preaching a sermon on the Old Testament, you know what he said about Joseph? You know what he picked out about Joseph? Put it in your margin, Acts chapter 7 verse 9, and it says this, and the patriarchs moved with envy, sold Joseph. Now, the patriarchs were his other brothers. Sold Joseph into Egypt, but notice what he said, but God was with him.

I love it, but God was with him. A little boy stopped me. He said, preacher, I've got a question to ask you.

I said, what is that? He said, is God in hell? Pretty good theological question. Boy looked at me like he's 13, maybe 12.

If he's here, maybe 18, he looked 18. He said, is God in hell? I said, son, there's nowhere where God is not. God is in hell. Satan doesn't rule in hell. God is in hell.

God has given Jesus a name which is above every name that of things in heaven, things in earth, and things under the earth shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. There is no place where God is not. One philosopher said that God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.

Now, you chew on that. God is a circle whose center is everywhere. There's nowhere where God is not. God is here, God is here, God is here, but there's nowhere where God is not. Well, then what is the difference in God being with Joseph and God being with Hitler?

You see, the difference is not his actual presence. When the Bible says that God was with him, it means that God was for him. God was on his behalf.

God was engineering things for Joseph. God was with him in times of persecution. God was with him in times of responsibility. God was with him in time of temptation.

We'll see it later. God was with him in times of slander and suffering. God was with him.

God was with him when he died. You know what I want? I want God with me. I want there to be something about Adrian that you cannot explain apart from the fact that God is with me. I don't want God to take his hand off of my life. I don't want God to take his hand off of our lives. We'll have sorrows.

We'll have sickness. You know that Joyce and I lost a little boy. A little boy died on Mother's Day, one of those crib deaths, on Mother's Day. I just preached on the glories of a Christian home. We left that Sunday afternoon to go from Fort Pierce to West Palm Beach about 60 miles to be with family. They called somebody else in to pastor a little church, and the church members had come by. We had not been in that church for just several weeks. And as Joyce and I backed out our automobile, they didn't have air conditioning in that church. There was a little white church building. I could see the yellow light as it was streaming out of the open windows, and the congregation was singing.

You know what they were singing? No, never alone. No, never alone. He hath promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. I've seen the lightning flashing.

I've heard the thunder roll. I've felt sins breakers dashing trying to conquer my soul, but I heard the voice of Jesus telling me still to fight on, for his promise never to leave me, never to leave me alone. I would not take anything for the conscious presence of God. And this little phrase that speaks about Joseph's life and God was with him. God was with him. In prison, God's with him. In the pit, God is with him.

In slander, God is with him. In prison, God is with him. In business, God is with him. In pain, God is with him. In prosperity, God is with him.

He's dying. God is with him. And I want to tell you that God is in Christ, and if you want God with you, you need Jesus. And if you're not saved today, pray a prayer like this. Dear God, I am a sinner, and I am lost, and I need to be saved, and I want to be saved. And Jesus, you're the son of God. You died to save me on the cross. You died to save me, and you promised to save me if I would trust you. Come into my heart. Forgive my sin. I trust you to save me. In your name I pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-01 09:29:02 / 2024-05-01 09:41:53 / 13

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