So, What Do You Have?

Every one of us can be caught in a shortfall mentality. When we have undisciplined thoughts, we can free-wheel into the squalor of despair. 

The ancient story of Moses, his beginning and bargaining with God, speaks directly to, and parallels, our wallowing. In particular, the passage captured in the writings of Exodus 4:1-5 is my focus.

With a lifetime of coming up short, Moses has an encounter with God. He is eighty years old by this time. All he has left in the world is a shepherd’s staff, and God asks for that. The very last thing that Moses could lean on is asked for, “What is that in your hand?” (Vs. 2)

What captured my thoughts are not all the things that Moses didn’t have. Moses’ life had been virtually stripped bare. But, the question addressed the one thing he did have left, his shepherd’s staff.

We can commiserate all day over the things that we don’t have, the opportunities we should have received, how we came up short, the unfair, the slanted away-from-us world.  

But God asked Moses, ‘what do you have?”

This encounter with God kept Moses, who wanted to go down the ‘woe is me’ trail, focused on what he had, not what he didn’t.

Author, songwriter, performer, and completely blind Ken Madema captured this moment in a stellar 8:46 sec performance. (Link below)

The story of Moses, in its entirety, is a fantastic account of how God involved himself with the Jewish nation. So much so that some want to disregard it with regards to historical accuracy.

The Jewish nation, however, was meticulous with regards to their writings. The fabrication factor just isn’t there. It was written and preserved just as it happened. The Jewish nation regarded Moses as their greatest prophet. They had good reason.

Back to the point, the greatest prophet before he entered the palace to stand before the Pharaoh had to be there entirely in the strength that God provided.

So today, right at this moment, “What do you have in your hands?” What is the last thing you are leaning on for your identity, your worth, and your significance?

I wonder what miracle would happen if you were to give it to God?

https://ca.video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=crmas&ei=UTF-8&p=ken+madema+moses#id=1&vid=ed7ddb39fd5a7e8a84fd55e74631721f&action=click

Joseph Series: You Cannot Move Forward Until…

Owning your stuff, finding forgiveness, and trusting in the one who can make a difference, is the new normal; it was for Joseph’s brothers.
The brother’s lives depended on it, and they couldn’t move ahead without it.
Joseph had his brothers, his father, and their entire families move to prime real estate, the best Egypt had to offer. They moved from absolute need to unbelievable provision all because of who they trusted. They once despised him, but now they trusted Joseph with their entire lives and future.
Joseph’s brothers could not have been saved from their dilemma without this trust.
Joseph was a picture of God’s provision to his siblings and all of their families. He was deliverance from their dilemma, healing from their past, hope for their future, and their new way of life.
History shows; the Bible shows; even Broadway shows that they made the right choice and they trusted the right person. It took them a while, it took incredible hardship, but they finally got it right.
Joseph was left for dead, despised, rejected, and unjustly suffered alone. He was raised to a position second only to Pharaoh himself. Joseph used the new position of ‘fortunate’ to provide for everyone else, especially his brothers.
Anyone else in Egypt couldn’t have and wouldn’t have provided for the brothers. Only Joseph had the answer and the help for their deepest needs; it could be argued that this was unfair to others, narrow and extremely exclusive or it could be accepted that this provision was uniquely designed for their personal lives.
Your future life, your new purpose, your hope for what is yet to be are found here; just as Joseph foreshadowed his family’s future hope and provision, so Christ foreshadows yours.
Now, it is your story, your new normal.
Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has its foundation in a true story, which when applied, will change your life.

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: 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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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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You Don’t Have To Live; You Get To!