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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Joseph Series: Forget About It.

To my knowledge, there were no counsellors or emotional support groups when Joseph needed them most.

And yet, Joseph managed to process his stuff and come through in an emotional healthy condition.

Remember:

Rejected

Beaten

Stripped of identity

Discarded

Sold

Purchased like a commodity

Given a break (of sorts) ‘Minor’ success, perspective

Lured trapped and accused

Left identity once again

Stripped again of identity

Plunged deeper

Prisoner

Dream Catcher

Dream interpreter

2nd in command

Joseph did something in his day that clearly spoke to his mental health and showed that he properly and thoroughly processed.

He had two sons and spoke of his life through their names.

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

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

He had this figured out still years before he met his family again.

I find this story amazing and an abundant source of hope.

How about you?

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You Don’t Have To Live; You Get To!

Joseph Series: Potential

“Joseph you’ve got potential.”

Character and potential are two great words when you haven’t lived under them for years.

My kids grew tired of the phrase, “It’s building character.”

‘For once let me live without character,’ they would say, apparently expressing fatigue.

Truth be told, there was a time when I despised the word potential. On the one hand, I was thrilled that people saw hope in me for future but on the other, I wanted to be able to show them a completed product.

Sometimes the process and processing just suck, it doesn’t lend to a positive attitude and often feels long and hard.

We do get tired and don’t want to make the exchange, but we do want to have the life where character and potential are finally realized.

Joseph was in a potential building and character-revealing phase of his life for over thirteen years.

Did it pay off? With dividends to spare!

Will it pay off for you? As long as there are Egypt’s to manage, and as long as there are futures to be had, I think there is a payoff for the one who stays at it.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9, NIV)

I can see; You have potential.

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Joseph Series: More Than a Dream

The word dream can have a different meaning to different people.

“I have a dream” by Martin Luther King was vastly different than my waking up moments this morning.

I woke up feeling like I had been on a movie set of scripts and roles all night. It was delightfully exhausting. Idea after idea rolled out scene after scene unfolded, but I don’t remember a single one now that I’m awake.

For Joseph’s dream to leave the script of an idea and join the real world, many players many physical realities had to be moved and altered. That meant time; that meant energy; that meant processing for everyone involved. It had to go from what is now to what will be. That meant things had to change, and change is very problematic for the routine.

You probably don’t like change any more than I do, but I want my dreams fulfilled. Not the pleasant dreams I can’t remember from last night, but the ones that are shaping my life and ‘firing my jets.’ The dreams of change, distinction, meaning and significance, those dreams that if uttered might bring risk, challenge, and embarrassment because how dare I? How dare you?

What dreams are making room for you? What secret space of incredible is waiting for you and your “more than all we ask or imagine?” “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” (Ephesians 3:20, NIV)

 

Remember, change takes time.

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Joseph Series: Breakthrough

“Get changed! Get shaved. The king wants to see you now!”
You waited and waited, and then you waited some more, now things are moving so fast you hardly know you are involved.
This was Joseph’s breakthrough moment, well; this was the moment when all things changed.
Joseph’s breakthrough moment happened earlier. I wasn’t there, neither were you. Joseph in the privacy of his privacy had his wrestle with God and with no one else. He wrestled with the same God that changed his dad and the way he walked. How do we know? Joseph held his values. They came out his mouth every time there was an opportunity. It used to be he had a dream and was going to be… Now, God is the interpreter of dreams.
There still was a common thread, dreams. Joseph never gave up on his dream. I’m sure that the dream became very refined, but Joseph knew that God had given it, and he knew that God would now interpret it. He just didn’t know when.
Finally, we get to see the breakthrough.
The king’s dream must have been very compelling and convincing. He moved the entire responsibility of the Egyptian economy into Joseph’s care before a single crisis ensued.
We now read the story within a fifteen to twenty minute sitting and if we are not careful will miss the magnitude of what God did in, to, and for Joseph. We will miss what God did in, to, and for Pharaoh. We will miss what God did in, to, and for Jacob. Oh yes and remember those boys? We might miss what God did in, to, and for them.

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Joseph Series: Finally A Chance

Somewhere around year eleven Joseph finally got his break, or so he thought.

He, once again, was successful in the prison that confined him. On this particular day, two more guests (his perspective) came into the jail. From their perspective, it would have been the roughest day of each of their lives. The king was ticked at them, and they were thrown away, just like Joseph.

After they had been there a while each of them separately dreamed, but both on the same night. They didn’t know, but they were in the presence of a dreamer just like themselves. Joseph saw them in disarray and offered help. “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.” (Genesis 40:8, NIV)

Joseph had learned something. He was no longer the interpreter of his dream or the dreams of others.

It’s hard not to attach your own spin on things. Most of the time I find that I try to interpret my life, but Joseph realized that after eleven years he was not the interpreter of dreams. He could have them, as can I, as can you, but God was and is the interpreter.

It went well for the first guest the cupbearer, and it went terribly wrong for the second, the baker. After three days the interpretations came true, the Baker died, the Cupbearer was restored, and Joseph was once again forgotten.

Interpretations do belong to God, but so does timing and we don’t like that. We feel forgotten, lost, alone and frustrated. If we could fast forward the calendar five years and we could ask Joseph if he was okay with the timing, he probably would be, but not that day.

What are you waiting on? What is the long-standing dream of yours that is on hold? What prayer or plea appears to have ‘No’ as the answer?

What if there is a perfect moment coming?

You may want to wait.

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You Don’t Have To Live; You Get To!