Tag Archives: Joseph

When discouraged, keep doing right things

when discouraged

The bane of most is to succumb to discouragement, to compromise your values, to lower your sights, to throw out your dreams in search of pleasure instead of goals.

Keep believing in higher goals, even when others don’t believe in you, when others ridicule your dreams and scoff at your possibilities. Keep doing right things in the midst of overwhelming discouragement.

This is the trademark of Joseph, who, sold into slavery, kept serving his God with enthusiasm, who, next incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit, continued in the straight and narrow. When his day came, he became vice president of Egypt and saved the very people who nearly killed him.

This is the trademark of Daniel, who was ripped from his homeland and taken captive to a foreign land. With no discernible future, he steadfastly served God and wound up distinguishing himself from all those who settled for less.

This is the trademark of David, who, shunned by his own brothers and fathers, believed it important to practice his aim and took on bears in lions in defense of lambs. He thought one day his skills would be useful for taking down giants. And God gave him big things.

Let this be our trademark.

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Erosion in the church


erosion in the church

There are two kinds of erosion: breaking and smoothing. The first happens when water flows into cracks and then freezes. It makes jagged edges and rough surfaces. The second when water or wind slowly wears down and rounds.

When people disappoint you in church, it’s wearing. It can erode your spirit. But what is left is up to you. Does it become beautiful, as if molded by God, or does it show the painful barb of breakage?

Let us, as Joseph, see the hand of God ultimately in the pain other “Christians” inflict.

Shaming as revenge

joseph, husband to mary

Joseph the jilted decided to NOT humiliate Mary after she obviously cheated — she was pregnant, and he knew it wasn’t him.

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily — Matt 1:9.

BEFORE an angel had told him to go ahead and marry Mary, EVEN BEFORE a miraculous vision assured him this was an act of God and not his fiance fooling around, BEFORE ANY OF THESE ASSURANCES Joseph, BEING A JUST MAN, opted to not shame her.

The revenge people do through social media these days makes me cringe. Nothing good comes of it.

If you’re facing criticism

facing criticismdon’t despair. You’re probably doing something right.

Consider Joseph. For having a call of God on his life, he was reviled by his brothers and rebuked by his parents. Eventually the brothers sold him into slavery, after very nearly killing him.

And in the end, God raised up Joseph to great leadership in Egypt. He was the catalyst for enlarging Israel in the incubator of Egypt. He was the man for the plan, but the plan was unrecognizably from God. How did Joseph not spiral in depression from such rejection from his loved ones?

Don’t despair over problems

problems God's way something betterProblems are God’s way of leading you to something better.

If you are in God’s kingdom, He leads you. Sometimes His leading is through painful circumstances. We don’t like it, but we’ll like the place where He brought us. Adversity is a path to bliss.

Job first suffered, then he was blessed. Joseph was a slave and then in jail, then he was blessed. Daniel was exiled from his homeland and forced into the king’s service, then he was blessed. Before he became king, David was a fugitive in the desert.

Don’t be caught off guard (as I have). Feel God’s peace in midst of the turmoil.

It took decades…

patienceIt took decades for Abraham… to finally have a child. He was 100. Sarah was 90.

It took decades for Moses… to deliver the Israelites. He was 40 when he flopped. He didn´t want to have anything to do with it when God came around and offered him the job again when he was 80.

It took decades for Joseph to get out slavery/jail and realize God’s promised destiny.

It took decades for the Temple to be built, decades for the Israelites to be freed from captivity, decades for the Messiah to come, decades for Christianity to come out of persecution.

God never is in a hurry.

I guess I can still wait on His timing.

Setback? Step forward!

Why do they call it a “setback” if in reality is a necessary step to move forward?

The king of setback is of course Joseph. He dreams of greatness and leadership. Instead, he narrowly escapes death and winds up a slave. If that weren’t bad enough, he then is thrown into prison. He spends some 20 years in forced labor and then as a convict.

But the dude never stops dreaming. In fact, he interprets dreams. Overnight, he’s freed from jail and set upon a throne second only to Pharoah. He orchestrates a seven year famine survival for nations and brings the fledgling nation of Israel down the the Egyptian incubator. Four hundreds years later, they’re a few million, ready to take possession of the Promised Land.

Every step was necessary. Any one of them could have caused moaning. Discouragement could have overpowered the poor kid’s heart. But Joseph maintained perspective! They shackled his hands but never his heart.

Don’t despair with today’s setbacks. In reality, they are steps towards tomorrow’s successes.

When they screw with your mind…

from the movie

After defeating every apparent enemy in the video game, Ender faces a mirror and sees his brother’s face. He shrieks with horror. The message is clear: Ender, you’re as cruel, ruthless, cold, calculating and power-hungry as Peter.

The video game is not the only thing to screw with his mind in Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. At every turn, Col. Graff stacks the odds against the child genius in his attempts to prepare a general to fight the alien buggers. He is deprived of friends, allowed to be bullied, given the disadvantage in the battle room. Inevitably, he wins in the sci-fi story set to be a 2013 movie, but he chafes under the mind games.

It seems to me that God screws with our minds at times. Such is

Ender

the story of Job, who is deprived of knowing chapters 1 -3 of the book written about him that explains the bigger picture. It could have provided some solace. Such was the story of Joseph — and a host of other biblical heroes. All things work

Petra

together for the good… but when you’re going through the trial, it’s a mind game just to not explode.

So how does a child not turn to drugs when caught between parents in an acrimonious divorce? How do you keep outreaching zealously for God when your wife leaves you for no reason? How do you forgive when power-hungry church members accuse you falsely?

There is no easy answer. I personally like prayer. But what must be said is that an answer must be found. You must not burst

the book’s author

under pressure. Grace must remain intact through the furnace trial.

I was a literature major. I have never read a book that addresses this theme. It made me think profoundly. It brought comfort. (Spoiler alert) In the end, the mind games prepared Ender to defeat the enemy.

Heights of slavery

Nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter your educational level, the economic level of your city, how supportive your spouse is, what side of the railroads tracks your on, or even what color of pajamas you wear at sleepy time. God can prosper you irregardless.

The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master — Gen. 39:2 NIV. Joseph prospered in SLAVERY. (I doubt your circumstances are so bad.) The key was God, not all the accouterments that we commonly attribute to success.

Since God is no respecter of persons, anyone can have Him. You just need knees. In other words, bend your knee to cry out to God in prayer. God can prosper you anywhere, anytime, anyhow, anyway, any whatever. If it hasn’t happened yet, just keep praying. It will.

If a slave could fly high, so can you! God can bring lushness to the most unlikely of places!

Discipline: Unleash your potential

There are two kinds of discipline: 1) self imposed, 2) imposed by others. The second is virtually useless. The teacher, coach, parent, judge punishes the infractor, who supposedly repents and redirects his life. Instead, he resents and seethes.

But the first is the maker of every greatness: athletes, inventors, successful people, ministry leaders. We may be saved by grace through no self work, but we become heroes through much work. We advance God’s kingdom through much work.

Don’t wait for God to discipline you. It will be unpleasant. Discipline yourself. Salvation is free and easy. But doing good and getting blessings from are the product of effort. Without self-discipline incalculable potential is only wasted. Unleash your dynamism today. People will marvel at your impact. You’re destined for greatness but it remains unseen because of lack of discipline.

Discipline yourself to pray. Discipline yourself to Bible study, to church attendance, to fellowship.

Without discipline, Joseph’s dreams would have remained only dreams. Without discipline, Elijah’s vision for apostate Israel never would have sparked revival. I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. — 1 Cor. 9:27 NIV.