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It was so cold in the house when I woke up that bitter winter morning. The thermometer announced to me it was like 40-some degrees in the house! Oh, my kids had some good laughs and they had some rare comments when they saw me praying that morning in front of an open stove in the kitchen. Come on, it was the only warm place in the house! Well, Mr. Furnace came over, and he checked things out and informed us that we needed a new thermostat. As soon as our thermostat was working, the thermometer had better news for us; the house was warming up again! It's amazing what a difference a functioning thermostat can make!
Now, in your family, or in your church, where you work, with your friends you're either a thermostat or a thermometer. A thermometer simply reflects the temperature around them. A thermostat sets the temperature. Too often, we're thermometers, aren't we? If it's hot around us, we get hot. If people are cold, we're cold. If things are stressed, we're stressed. If things are dark, we're discouraged. If things are tough, we're defeated.
But with the God of the universe living inside of you, you have the power; you have the responsibility to be the thermostat in your situation. God has given us a wonderful picture of what thermostatic living looks like in our word for today from the Word of God in Genesis 39 beginning with verse 2. Joseph has been attacked by his jealous brothers and sold into slavery in Egypt. He becomes a slave in the home of one of Egypt's top military leaders, Potiphar.
The Bible says, "When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes...Potiphar put him in charge of his household and he entrusted to his care everything he owned." Now, Joseph's great situation here suddenly turns ugly when Potiphar's wife tries to seduce him and he refuses her. She accuses him of what he had refused to do, and Potiphar has him thrown into prison. So the Bible says, "While Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him...and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there."
Now that's amazing! You put Joseph in a great situation and he's the trusted person, the one who says yes to responsibility. Put him in a terrible situation, he is the same man; making things better, changing his environment, setting a positive climate. That is a thermostat. And, that's what the people around you need you to be. Grownup people, godly people, make a difference people respond to situations, not from the environment around them or the feelings that they're feeling, but from the character inside them - the Lord who's inside them!
Why don't you try being yourself what you want others to be? Don't wait for them to be that way. Set the temperature; treat the people around you as you want to be treated and as you want them to treat others. Keep your commitments, carry your load, spread joy and hope and gentleness and encouragement no matter what everyone else is spreading.
The Lord was with Joseph in the great place and in the awful place. Just like He is with you, which means that you can be the stabilizer, the thermostat, the climate-setter wherever you are, and you will set the temperature where God wants it to be!
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