John Gunn - Mountain Ranch II Convention - 1993

Life is made up of experiences, many of which we wouldn't have chosen.  God has not planned one negative experience for us.  It is our attitude that changes a positive experience into a negative one.  Reap from them the blessing, the fruit.  God wants His work to prosper.  It is not so important to know the experiences of others; what is important is that you are here. 

In a little village where we were having meetings in Scotland, a small fishing fleet was out for three days and three nights because of a storm at sea.  There was damage but no one cared because they all came back. The whole village came out to welcome them back; including ourselves. These fishermen were not intimidated.  They went back out again in a couple of days.  Through the storms we come to know the Captain of our salvation better.  Our confidence is in the Captain; not in ourselves.  Some things the disciples learned only in the storm with Jesus.  Experiences of others teach us much.  It is what we are in an experience that makes it possible for God to enrich our lives.

Isaiah 65:8, new wine in cluster of grapes.  We like to flee from experiences but we are actually fleeing from the blessing.  

Genesis 16, Hagar had success in the home of her mistress but it affected her wrongly.  She despised her mistress.  Little victories can affect us wrongly.  Victory comes from the grace of God.  When we flee from the will of God, we all know where we came from; but no one knows where they are heading.  Jonah wouldn't have known he was headed for the belly of a whale.  The prodigal son fled from the house of abundance, but didn't know he was going to a place of famine.  The place of submission is a safe and secure place for a child of God.

Joseph is my friend with whom I sit down and talk when things are going hard.  He was concerned about how to be fruitful.  Many parents are concerned how to fit their children for this world but it is far better to fit them in a godly way.  It wasn't easy for Joseph to live in his home, though he had godly parents.  We can have the right attitude toward others in spite of what theirs is toward us.  There was envy because of his coat -- we could lose what others have given us.  Joseph had a coat he had woven that no one could take from him.  Joseph had the fruit of the spirit in his life.  Don't just accept the will of God; but love it.

Psalms 105:17, Eli's sons had a place of responsibility without any sense of responsibility.  Virtue is not human.  It is doing the right thing at the right time in the right spirit.  It is good to have the faith to leave with God that which is not ours to do.  Venom of self-pity destroys our spirit and soul.  Forget about ourselves.  Patience is the quality we need when we run out of it.  Joseph wasn't trying to push things along; making arrangements for himself -- he waited for God to open the way for him.  He didn't destroy one bit of blessing from the experience.  "Is this thy son's coat?"  They hadn't treated their brother as a brother, so they couldn't speak to their father of their brother.  If the relationship with our brother isn't right, it will affect our relationship with our Father.  Joseph treated his brothers as God would have treated them.  Do unto others what God has done unto us (I love as He has loved, etc.).

Temperance:  self-dominion in Spanish.  Joseph had a lot of power in Egypt; which is easy to abuse and that's where self-dominion comes in. Joseph only used power when it was in the interests of others.  "I am Joseph, your brother."  Brotherly love.  He didn't say, "I am Joseph, the governor of Egypt."  That love was able to leave the past in the past, and promoted unity and peace in the family.  Love that can overlook and forgive. 

Genesis 42, Jacob felt it was all against him but Joseph said, "If it must be, let it be."  If there is no self-denial in our lives, we cannot be His disciple. "It is not in me; God will give an answer of peace."  We must get the "I" and "we" out of the will of God.  The garment Joseph wove, death couldn't take from him. 

Genesis 46:34, Egypt hated shepherds because they hated being shepherded.  That is the spirit of the world.   A lamb loves to be led as does a child.  It is not the experiences of life that destroy us, but our own pride, disobedience, etc.