Joseph Series: A Great Combo

 

A lot can happen in twenty-two years. A lot of dreams and vision can happen; conversely, a lot of dream and vision death can also occur.

Processing takes time. I’ve said it before, but it needs repeating. Processing takes time.

It took me many months for me to forgive an individual who hurt me deeply, and that was after I was trying and working to do so. Years later with plenty of new opportunities, I think I’m doing better. Forgiveness flows much easier. There are a lot of personal checks and balances that get applied along the way. It takes more than a weekend meeting or Saturday training course. Application or processing takes time.

When you are hurt, and it goes deep, you think and dream of what it will look like to be vindicated, but as time grinds on, you begin to lose your fleshly inertia; it gets processed out of you if you so desire.

We don’t know how often Joseph thought of his dreams, or of his vindication, if at all. We just know he was vindicated and could have bitterly judged.

There was no bitterness. No malice. No ill will.

Joseph authenticated what and who was before him, he revealed, he healed, and he restored.

The brothers, self-examined, repented and humbly accepted their new normal.

What a great combination.

Restoration, true to the heart, relational restoration, can only happen when both parties own their own stuff and, not until they do.

Great combos are waiting to flourish.

Are you ready to do your part?

That’s all that matters.

Joseph Series: Serious Vetting

Joseph was number two in all of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. It was his job to make sure that the country’s wealth was secure and properly accessed. He was well within his job description to ‘make sure.’
His brothers were on the other end of this process of scrutiny with no clue, but they were rocked by the uncanny, accurate, deserved and pointed treatment.
Was Joseph just going to an extreme? Like really, didn’t he take it too far?
Thirteen years, no, that was just until he entered Pharaoh’s service, then there were seven years of abundance where he collected the supply for the coming lack. Then, the famine started. Another two years into the famine once every other option had been used, financed, leveraged, Joseph’s ten brothers showed up in Egypt and immediately bowed to the man in charge. How could they have known? Twenty-two years about to be vetted and cross-examined. It wasn’t the brother’s intention to move to Egypt. They were just looking for food.
When I moved to the city I now live in, I heard the story multiple times, “I came for two weeks for the summer, and I ended up staying for twenty-five years.” My story isn’t quite that extreme, but I was on a ten-year plan in my mind. I’ve lived in Fort McMurray now for fifteen years.
That’s what happens when you come to a place of abundance. It shows how desperately your former life needs change.
Joseph was the saviour for his family, but they didn’t know it yet.
But, saviours aren’t effective until the need is abundantly clear.
Joseph knew what he had to offer, but he didn’t know that he could, thus the vetting. It wasn’t just a selfish motivation on Joseph’s part to grandstand over his brothers, but He knew what could be theirs. They had to have it presented in the context of their great need.
Do you have enough context yet? Is it time for you to need a saviour?
Joseph knows, he says, “Yes!”

Joseph Series: Family Games

Joseph knew his family’s dysfunction, his brother’s propensity to lie and deceive. He knew that they only lived for their agenda. He didn’t know that it had changed.

Families play games.

My wife and I do, but we do it on purpose, with our kids now adults, and with delightful intent. We’ve done it their whole lives. For the most part, they loved it! How do I know? I told them so. Ha.

It’s the family games that everyone denies that has me greatly concerned. In fact, they aren’t games at all; they could more accurately be called deceptions, family code, and elephants in the room.

You know what I’m talking about. It’s the demand that you fit into your role when you are with the family, the way that you act when your buttons get pushed; and no one can push your buttons like your parents and siblings. It’s the stuff no one will talk about, but everyone knows it’s there. And, you and your family do it every time!

Enter Joseph. Joseph was thirteen plus years removed from the family dysfunction, game, code, and he had to know if the code was still in play. He went to quite some length to make sure things had changed. Joseph tested his brother’s in their most vulnerable spot. He for lack of a better term pushed their buttons. Any future with them, had they not changed, would not have been pretty.

Joseph was satisfied to the depth of his emotions that change had come. What a delightful moment.

Thirteen years had taken its toll on the brothers, on Jacob, their father, as well as on Joseph. The brothers had come to realize that their shameful behavior had cost their family deeply.

They came forward and owned their stuff.

This action gives us an awesome picture of repentance. It was almost that the brothers were getting in line to say, “If there is any blame here it is to fall on me, I’m the one.”

Whether they grew into this or got forced into this through circumstances, they owned it.

In absolute humility they prepared for their fate, they couldn’t expect anything else.

This moment overwhelmed Joseph. I don’t think he could have hoped for such a spectacular outcome. Spectacular happens when such depth and hurt get healed.

So in this story, we see a beautiful picture of repentance and forgiveness. One is not complete without the other.

So this begs the questions?

What do you have to own?

What do you have to forgive?

Joseph Series: Dream Killers Become Dream Makers

They were all there, all the dream crushers, dream killers, dream stealers all bowed in the form of Joseph’s older brothers, just like the distant dream.

Oh, you’ve met them. You’ve had them stalk your present with your past. Some of them are sitting right now in the swirl of your mind. They are once again saying, “Impossible, you’ll never amount to anything, you’re too small, too big, too dumb, too poor, too…” Fill in the blanks with your own DK’s.

These are the haunting voices that daily narrate our lives from a place of obscurity. No, we’re not actually listening to voices, just thoughts, shadowed, unbridled, invasive, hostile, and uninvited thoughts. These thoughts were placed into our world at delicate, vulnerable, unprotected, and unsuspecting moments.

There, Joseph stood before his unaware brothers with his chance for retribution. He could have had their heads, their lives, their future and they wouldn’t have even known what hit them. Instead? Joseph’s forgiveness flowed.

He did process them through checks and balances; he had to know that he was facing the real reformed deal, but forgiveness had already been granted.

Somewhere between cistern and prison, Joseph forgave his brothers. We know he did, we just don’t know when he did because of this moment when he could have paid them back.

It was all the crap that Joseph’s brothers threw at Joseph that set him up for his present position and authority.

Sounds almost Messianic!

Maybe even a foreshadowing?

Joseph Series: Expecting, Anticipating Heart

Even though he was detoured, waylaid, some would say stopped, Joseph kept looking for his dream. His dream lived in him.

From what I can gather Joseph didn’t have much, any, support from the immediate world around him. Potiphar and Pharaoh were not interested in Joseph’s dreams as much as Joseph was interested in his own, not even close. In fact, in that culture, slaves do not matter at all. So what if you have a dream?

Pharaoh’s dramatic dream now interpreted and in play had Joseph doing his job, what he was appointed to do. That was all that mattered to Pharaoh but not to Joseph. We know because he named his kids from out of the dream-pool that he had in his heart. His dream leaked out of his life.

1) Manasseh – first son – and means forget – “It is because God has made me forget            all my trouble and all my father’s household.” (Genesis 41:51, NIV)

2) Ephraim – second son – and means twice fruitful – “It is because God has made me       fruitful in the land of my suffering.” (Genesis 41:52, NIV)

I’m about 60; no make that 70% entrepreneurial. I see more potential than I ever could take advantage of, or in actuality that my wife would let me take advantage of. That means that I often live with an expectant anticipating heart.

I tend to be the guy that wants to move on the dream taking what is current and moving toward what I can see in my mind’s eye. I want what I perceive to best, and I keep looking for it around every corner.

From my narrow slant on the world I understand dreams, I understand heartbreak, and I know the fulfillment of dreams that were thought to be dead. I also understand expectations that fall short of what’s real.

Joseph’s dreams became a reality. Maybe mine will also.

Maybe yours can too.

Joseph Series: Invent Your Future

So many times I get caught in maintenance mode. I wake up to realize that I have been just plugging the system of …whatever.

The other morning a blog by Seth Godin caught me completely by surprise. He talked about people are trying to predict the future, trying to be in the right place at the right time. He then went on to say, “A far more successful and reliable approach is to invent the future. Not all of it, just a little part. But enough to make a difference.” (May 27, 2017, “Seth Godin’s Blog on marketing, tribes and respect.”)

That caused me to do a double take.

Precisely that is what happens every time someone believes in himself or herself, God, a promise, or future, and then they step out and invent that part of their future.

Joseph did that. I’m reasonably convinced that he didn’t sit there in prison and say that he was inventing his future, he just hoped in, believed in, and acted when he had the opportunity. Joseph believed that God was for him.

How about it?

Joseph did, now it’s time for you to invent.

Me too!

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Joseph Series: Skin In The Game

The moment arrived at lightning speed, and yet the storm took so long to get there.

Joseph waited and dreamed of a day that he wouldn’t be in slavery, he dreamed of having position or prominence, or was that just a faint, old, childish fantasy?

He did all the hard work of introspection and retrospection. He busted his chops to maintain and gain a good attitude. The Bible calls that success.

In a moment, in a whirlwind of, “Pharaoh wants to see you now.” Joseph was standing before the great! In a moment he was in a situation that could cost him his life or promote him to his destiny. He had seen it before. The stakes were incredibly high, the passion was immeasurable, and the ‘skin in the game’ was all Joseph’s.

Years ago I asked an RCMP officer how he liked his job. He said that it was 98% boredom and 2% sheer terror.

This moment for Joseph was framed exactly like that.

It’s improbable that Joseph was thinking that morning, “Next week this time I will be second in command for all of Egypt.” Now here he stood in a breath-held moment totally unsure of what his next step would be.

I find it hard to believe that this played out exactly the way that he dreamed. My experience is life just doesn’t work that way but here very naturally and in sequence Joseph experienced the ‘super’ natural. I believe that his heart held to something more, something that he knew had ‘greater’ attached, but like the rest of us, the clarity was yet to manifest. A supernatural God who, loved and cared passionately for Joseph orchestrated his life, and so he is yours.

Don’t get confused by the supernatural part. My confusion ended when I began to see God as super natural. He’s more natural than I am and more than likely he is going to work through very natural circumstances to see my life where he wants it to be.

And Hey. Since He doesn’t respect one person more than another, He’s doing it for you.

All you need is ‘skin in the game.’

Trust.

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