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Posts Tagged ‘Joseph’

David is one of those characters that I can relate to well. He reminds me of me. David is a strong willed guy who can be pretty self-sufficient. On numerous occasions, David took control of his summit hike. It did not bode so well for him, but he learned a ton of character a long the way.

David was the youngest in his family. He was not so admired by his siblings. This part of the story sounds similar to Joseph’s story. David spent his days as a shepherd in the field, as well as a song writer. He was often excluded from family discussions, or anything that was going on with family business.

One day Samuel comes to visit David’s father, Jesse. I picture the scene playing out similar to that of Cinderella. Samuel is looking to anoint someone to be the next king. He asks Jesse for all of his sons to join him in the house. Like the wicked step-mom, Jesse presents his finest sons. Samuel asks if he has any others, Jesse says, “oh yea there’s my youngest David.”

In my mind the next scene goes something like this: David walks into the house, probably singing a song out loud that he made up. He dances his way into the kitchen where everyone is standing. I can picture David popping a date in his mouth from off the counter top while playing his air harp. His voice fades as he realizes that he walked in on something. Samuel presents David with the glass slipper that fits perfectly and anoints him to be the next king.

Wait what!? If I were David, I would be like, “what just happened?” It’s not like he was then ushered off to the palace and given a ring and robe. Nope. David returned to the field for shepherding and song writing. So how does the dream of being king even happen?

Cue David’s road of wonder.

After some time, maybe even when the dream of king had almost been lost, the tides change. David is sent with a picnic for his warrior brothers. It is on the battlefield that David is presented with an opportunity that makes him one step closer to his summit. David takes on a huge obstacle named Goliath and brings victory to the nation. With this win, David is then ushered to the palace where he is given fame and the one of the kings daughters to marry.

This is the first glimpse we get to David’s dream of being king. Before David ever stepped foot in the palace, God did some character work on him in the fields. God cultivated the character trait of faith in a bigger God. God taught David how to not rely on his own strength. This is a big character lesson for self-sufficient people. It was in the “simple” sheep fields that he learned to care about responsibility, protect the innocent, rise above his fear, and grow in intimacy with his God.

After Goliath, it might have seemed like David “arrived.” He was in the palace, and now son-in-law to the king. Break out the champagne! Sound the alarm for the party, King David had made it to the palace!

But was he king?

David might have been in the palace, but he was far from being king. After a triumphant entry into his new life, he then spent his days playing his harp for the king. David went through more time of waiting for his dream. He could see his dream, but he was playing the harp. Maybe God let David know that even though he was in the palace, he was not too good to play his harp and serve the king. God cultivated his character.

David went through a seasons of taking the reigns of his path, but God cultivated his character every step of the way. At the time David was given the throne, he was ready. Just because he was given the dream years before the actual throne did not mean he was ready for the dream.

How do you take control of your path?

How is God cultivating your character?

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Joseph is a man who’s life bleeds character. Joseph’s story is one of abandonment, heartache, injustice, steadfastness, faith, and redemption.

You see, Joseph had a dream. Joseph was given a dream by God. He had no idea what it meant or how it would even come to fruition, but he had it. Joseph was also a punk kid who didn’t have very many hardships in the beginning of his life. He was the favorite child among his brothers. He was given much freedom and favor from his father. This made for some bitter brothers.

Joseph’s family had a different dream for him. It was not one of success or even joy.

Let me give you the big picture of Joseph’s life.

  • Assaulted by his brothers and abandoned for dead
  • Sold into slavery by those same family members
  • Framed for committing adultery with the wife of his boss, Potipher
  • Thrown into prison
  • Served as prison admin.
  • Forgotten by a man who could have freed him from his prison days.
  • Stayed in prison life for two full years after that hope
  • Went from prison administrator to right hand of pharaoh
  • Saved a nation from famine
  • Reconciled the broken relationships with the same family members who assaulted, abandoned, and sold him into slavery.

That is a ton of bumps in the road for Joseph. He knew deep grief and hurt. Joseph had times of believing in the false summit. Potipher was high up in the kings army, maybe that could be his way to the top? A cup bearer being reinstated to a job even closer to the king, could that be his way out?

God gave Joseph a dream. There was something just for him to do. Nothing about the road that got him to his dream was easy. Joseph never treated God like an easy-button God either. He never asked for an easier situation of circumstance. I am sure he might’ve had unrecorded words with God, but he never took control of his path. Joseph believed in the real summit. Joseph held strong to his dream. Not only did he hold strong to his dream, he held strong to the dream giver.

Everything Joseph did along his path cultivated his character. Everything he was in charge of equipped him for the greater dream.

John Maxwell described Joseph’s process as one “who paid the price of preparation.” He also stated that, “every time Joseph faced adversity, he used it to develop his character. Joseph was able to follow each setback with a comeback.

Joseph spent thirteen years cultivating his character before he was appointed right hand man to pharaoh. By that time his character showed that Joseph was not bitter about any of us unfortunate turns in the road and mistreatment’s. Joseph did not right his wrongs.

One important aspect about Joseph’s story for me is that when Joseph entered into his dream, he did not “arrive.” Joseph still depended on God. He still spent time cultivating his character. In the world’s eyes, Joseph obtained the top job. He made it. But it is in those moments where God will always point upward and say, “keep going, you’re not there yet.

Does your path resemble an unknown way that is cultivating your character?

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Waiting is a huge theme in the bible. Every Great had to go through many seasons of waiting.

I wonder what waiting was like 2000 years ago. They had no electronics to take up space to time. They waited for crops to grow, and hard working hand cultivated family life.

Our culture does not wait. We move so fast. Our addiction to instant gratification leaves no room for waiting, breathing, thinking, or developing.

We have lost the value of developing.

I’ve been stuck on song remixed by Jesus Culture called Oh Lord You’re Beautiful. It is a song rich in simplicity and tenderness. I have been stuck on the bridge of the song that says,

“I want to take your word and shine it all it around.

First help me just to live it Lord.

And when I’m doing well,

help me never to seek a crown

for my reward is giving glory to you.”

I read these words and see sober richness. Our lives take development. We can’t do anything a part from this process.

Look at just the human body. We hold our heads up, crawl, and than walk. We grow in height, weight, and body mass (not a fan of that part..) Then our moods kick in, puberty hits and all hell breaks loose on development.

This process is no different when it comes to our character and dreams. God has wired us all with gifts and talents. He has something uniquely designed for our lives. It takes development. We first need His help to live out and understand the basics of who He is before what’s next.

When David was anointed to be King, He was not ushered immediately from the pasture to the throne. God took David through many years of development before He was ever ready to be King.

Joseph was a man of unjust hardship, but God never lost sight of using every circumstance to develop him. There is a reason why Joseph was given the same types of tasks no matter where he was. When the time came for Joseph to be Prime Minister, he was ready.

God even spent 30 years developing His own son, Jesus before any ministry or miracles ever happened. “Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man.

We need to learn how to live it first before we can do anything else. Waiting is a process and season of development – one too valuable to speed through or miss. Don’t rush your development. He surely will wait on us to go through it.

Wait well.

Slow down.

Develop.

Learn to live it out.

What’s being developed in you?

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I drop my head between my hands, tears well in the corners of my eyes, heart, and sighs.

Everything in me wants to fight, to scream, to defend, and to show that I am more than who people think they know.

When my voice feels silenced and my life unseen- I push, I pull, I fight in the tug of war of wanting so much more. I chase and pursue every opportunity that comes into view; Frustrated, wondering what else am I supposed to do!?

Only He is the defender of the weak, father to the fatherless, home to the lonely, lifter of my head, and one who knows my name.

He fights for those who are still. So I sit, still, in quiet desperation. Still is my posture when waiting is all I have.

The illusion of control is surrendered. Knees are buckled, and the bruises of this reed are bowed.

Self-sufficient strength is exhausted, leaving the only option of faith. And I sit in the dark night of quiet desperation.

God, do you hear, do you see? Where is the exhale, the reprieve? When will it be my turn to do the thing I yearn most to glorify you?

Quiet desperation

It’s the deep place below the surface where the waves rise and the water is stirred.

Quiet desperation speaks of the heart’s tension between wrestling and waiting on what only He can do.

Choosing faith in the midst of waiting ignites the heart of quiet desperation.

It sits and waits through the longing and the ache. It chooses joy and celebration even when it feels fake.

Quiet desperation happens within the places only He can reach. We have wounds only He can speak..truth into the lies only He can reach. And dreams which only His steps can make.

Quiet desperation waits in humility and obedience in the hope that the other side of “someday” will be proved true.

So my hope for me and you, is that we see the face and the hands of the one who is making all things new.

Quiet desperation is not forever.

Maybe you’re wondering about the how of what to do with “right now.”

Be still and know that He is God.

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Joseph is one of those character’s in the bible who I wish I could have coffee with. I have so many questions for how he got through so many hard seasons- and with unwavering faith.

My current season of life and Joseph’s story are finding more and more collisions. So many times during the day I wonder how Joseph handled his situations. I wonder if he had break downs, question matches with God, or even just days where the deep sadness was felt through silence.

I look at Joseph’s story and think how did he stay strong? I wish I could know what was between the lines of his heart. I look at a man who had an incredible dream, one that lit his heart on fire with amazement and awe.

Joesph had a God given dream and found himself enslaved, wrongly accused, and imprisoned. Each step seemed to knock him further and further from what he thought God had showed him.

I wonder in every step did Joseph say, “Okay, maybe it’s this circumstance.” I wonder if he thought that working for Potifer was the step before his dream only to then find himself in prison.

How does a dream come to fruition from prison?

In a way, my season has collided with what seems to be my knock down into a place of “prison.” In my daily rounds with God, I ask, “what does this have to do with the dream you showed me!?

Life seems to have knocked me in a way that only seems to have created distance between me and the dream. The dream seems less and less in focus and in reach.

I mean did Joseph look around at his dirt floor and barred walls and get pissed!? Did he yell at God? Did he look at his daily monotonous job duties and scream!? Did he feel humiliated?

What does prison have to do with a dream!?

The bittersweet part about knowing the end of Joseph’s story is that prison had everything to do with his dream. Prison was the closest, not furthest, step away from his dream. For when the season of prison was over for Joseph, he stepped directly into the dream God had showed him.

Joseph remained honestly faithful. I say honestly, because it is very much okay to express our honest feelings of hardship while remaining faithful in where He has us.

Trying to see the gift of prison. 

What is a time in your life where your circumstance turned out to be just the right thing?

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My GPS messes with my head sometimes. I have been known to question my GPS out loud. I mean have you ever caught yourself questioning the direction choice of your GPS!? It is maddening when the GPS turns out to be right.

DANG IT!

It takes the choice of faith to follow the direction of our GPS. For the most part I trust that the machine will get me where it is plugged in to go.

Trusting to follow the GPS is a small example of making the choice in faith.

Faith is a choice.

I think we can get wrapped up in the tension between choosing our own heart’s fearful voice verses what God is doing or saying. I know I struggle with this tension in me often.

The thing about choosing faith in God is that we forfeit our right to know best. In all honesty I really don’t know what’s best most times.

The other thing about making the choice for faith is that it forfeits our understanding.

More often than not what we think should happen does not look anything like what actually does happen. Making the decision to respond in faith surrenders our understanding of the logic in situations and outcomes.

The story of Joseph confronts my tension between choosing my logic and choosing faith.

Joseph led a life that looked nothing like he imagined it to be. Joseph had huge dreams for himself, but how he got to those dreams is shocking.

Joseph had multiple dreams about his life meaning big things for many people. However, he spent many years prior to that dream serving as a slave, as well as being falsely accused, which landed him in prison. In each situation Joseph clearly chose faith.

Nothing about the path of “success” that Joseph experienced made any logical sense. In the end, Joseph’s dream came true; he became the most important man in many people’s lives.

Joseph chose faith. Joseph forfeited is right to be in control and to know what was best for him. Joseph surrendered his understanding, and he followed.

I am in a season where I feel like steps are being taken back. It is not fun. I am realizing more and more that what I see as a step back may just be bigger steps forward then I can ever imagine or understand. I have to make the choice of faith.

I am choosing to lean not on my own understanding, but surrender to the one who knows the destination for me.

In what ways can you choose faith? 

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(Genesis 40:20-41:1) 20 Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand, 22 but he hanged [a] the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation. 23 The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him. (Genesis 41) 1 When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile.

When it came to life, Joseph always seemed to get the short end of the stick. He was forcefully sold into slavery by his own brothers; he was wrongly accused of sleeping with the wife of his master, and now finds himself an innocent man in prison. God gave Joseph a dream early on in his life. In this dream Joseph would one day be appointed over the people. Now how he went from having the dream to actually being appointed to be over the people was a long road he never anticipated.

While Joseph was in prison he met a man who was the cup bearer for the king. Joseph interpreted a dream in favor of this man. Joseph asked this man not to forget him when he returns to the king. Maybe Joseph finally had some hope of getting out of prison. Maybe Joseph started to dream again, thinking this was it, he was on his way. Scripture states that “two full years had passed” since his conversation with the cup bearer. This must have been so discouraging to Joseph. Joseph had a dream and a plan, but he realized he had to submit to God’s timing for his dream. By the time Joseph was appointed over the people, God had taught him and prepared him to be the person he wanted him to be.

How many times have you had hope and dreams for something different to happen in your life? How many times have you found yourself waiting longer than you anticipated? How many times have had to ask yourself, “how long Lord?” Will you submit your faith to his time and his process?

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