Overcoming The Odds by Claude Thomas

Genesis 39:1-6; 37:1-4,5-11

Introduction: I have spent recent days in Russia. There are wonderful believers there. After seventy years of oppressive rule having been intimidated, interrogated, and incarcerated for their faith in Christ, they still are overcomers in the face of adversities. This year they had their first ever crusade in Liburtse. There were public baptisms in the river, public witnessing by Janice and the pastor's wife at Hemki. These people are overcomers!

Joseph is one of the most notable and successful persons in the Old Testament. He became that by being an overcomer. Learn from him:

I. Overcomers Face Adversities - 37:1-4

Explanation: Dysfunctional family - 37:1-4. Doting Dad; Bitter Brothers, Many Mothers; Fighting Family. Bleak future - sold to Ishmaelites, 37:27-28, then to Midianite merchantmen and taken to Egypt as a slave.

Application: All people face adversities.

Illustration: Someone said, "Blue sky and big lie to think we're going to live now without difficulties."

Application: They will be in varying degrees and varied kinds, but adversities are a part of life.

Application: Successful people overcome adversities -- refuse to whine about them and resolve to win over them!

II. Overcomers Make Choices

Illustration: James Dobson in his book, Children at Risk, compares life of a teenager to a walk down a long corridor. Doors marked "Alcohol", "Sex", "Drugs", "Materialism" line the hallway. Laughter, fun, music, and friends beckon from behind the doors. If a door is opened, a "monster" lurks behind the door. It is a matter of choice -- not to open the doors.

Transition Statement: Sometimes doors open that we don't choose. Doors marked "Divorce", "Abuse", "Conflict", "Loss." Those are situations we did not choose, but we do choose how to respond to them.

Transition Statement: Learn again from Joseph.

Explanation: Situations not chosen --
37:24 ...

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