Fresh Mercies

The sun came bursting through the atmosphere this morning dispelling darkness, fog, and metaphoric depression. It’s Easter. A new day, fresh dawn, with new mercies, the old gone and the new has come.

Their lives, the ones who were cowering in an undisclosed location, changed and transformed; not because of a new mindset, not because of a bible verse, but because their leader predicted his rising up from being dead, then, first thing on the third morning, he pulled it off. He did it; he came alive after being dead for over 30 plus hours.

His eleven men, his inner circle, his disciples saw first hand his coming back from the dead, not as a zombie, not as a convalescing recovering patient, but as the conqueror of death, hell, and the grave. Plus, a growing total of over 500 people saw his resurrected, transformed, new-life body.

That would change your life; needless to say, it changed their lives forever. Appropriately their fear and remorse vanished. They weren’t even afraid of torture or death. Back-room panic and protection broke into shameless declaration. In an instant, fear was dissolved and gone. Gone. Gone!

History shifted that morning. The Son broke through the atmosphere and dispelled the metaphoric darkness, fog, and depression. He changed every life he contacted. He still does.

He is alive!

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: 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: 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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Joseph Series: Think Outside The …

The circumstances you find yourself in

The pain that is in your heart

The broken relationship that you can’t fix

The disease that will not quit

The home that has been broken and shattered

 

The great plans you have for your year

The retirement that for which you can hardly wait

The new House

The new Car

The new Job

 

The new sweetheart you have on the side

The plans of discarding all that is right and true

The one night stand

Think

Think outside the box that you find yourself in.

Joseph had to. He had to look for more than childhood dreams. They just weren’t working out how he had envisioned them. The prison box that he was held captive in did not house the dream that was in his heart.

All he had left were hopes and dreams, and you know? They were probably too small.

What box, what pressure cooker are you living in? Perhaps, the very thing creating all the pressure is forming you, for the better, the best.

Think.

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Joseph Series: Dressed for Success

Joseph was robbed of his identity as the favoured son; they stole his coat to show it.

Joseph refused to be identified as a traitor and an adulterer; he abandoned his cloak to prove it.

Joseph became the ruler of the land; the garments of royalty declared it.

It took thirteen years and three coats for Joseph to discover his identity.

It would be easy for someone in his sandals to lose heart, to be forced to accept the overwhelming circumstances, to be compelled to give up, but the clothes of authority that he needed to wear demanded success; the leader that he was called to be required no less.

Identity is no easy assignment; it seems to bring with it the very struggle that could derail it. Joseph could have quit, and we would never have known. Conversely we also never would be taking courage from this story of the Amazing.

God was at work in Joseph’s life; growing up he saw his dad struggle with God, and he must have learned it well.

“Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.” (Acts 7:9-10, NIV)

We are instructed in the scriptures that God does not show favouritism. That means that what he does for one he will do for others. That means:

God is at work in your life!

He calls you son, and he calls you daughter he identifies you as his.

What clothes do you need to put on?

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Joseph Series: Mess to Message

In a day of High-Speed Internet, anything short of instant is too long! To think that I used to think my 486 was fast compared to my XT, I just dated myself.

Wouldn’t you just like to wake up to success tomorrow morning? I would. I would love to take the mess of my life, my over-the-top struggle and just watch it vanish in Disney moment. Who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, that is not how gown-up life works.

It sure did not work that way for Joseph. He had to process his life, as do we; we really don’t advance, indeed grow and change, until we do.

Throughout the narrative, Joseph was referred to several times as successful in all that he did. That wouldn’t have been my version of success, I could easily come up with several other words, but from God’s vantage and perspective he was growing and changing even though, from mine, his life seemed to get worse. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem to make sense to me, but God isn’t waiting for me to catch up or for my permission to get or give understanding.

We might even concede to handling the ‘Process,’ but make it happen now. Don’t make me wait until growth happens or seasoning takes place.

There is a little-concealed phrase in the great biblical ‘Hall of Faith’ that is easily missed. It says, “…whose weakness was turned to strength;” (Hebrews 11:34, NIV) the quote is an operational key for life. God uses weakness. Did you hear that? I know you read it, but did you hear it? God uses weakness, then, now, in your life and mine. Stop for a moment; read that last sentence out loud so you can hear yourself saying it; grabbing this concept is so crucial for your equilibrium and wellbeing. It means that the mess, the screw-ups don’t’ have to remain that way. It means that just as Joseph came through and out, you can too.

You can experience a transformation from mess to message. You can leverage your past for success in your future, but even better than that, you can leverage your past for someone else’s future.

Just because it isn’t instant doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Your life can be an incredible message.

Stay in the game!

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You Don’t Have To Live; You Get To!