Short Memory of My Sin


You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, and your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. There I will provide for you. Genesis 45:10-11

            What a promise. Family members that acted out against Joseph were forgiven to such an extent that promises of provision and protection were made for the rest of their lives. How easily would it have been for the brothers to distrust Joseph’s promises? Joseph could change his mind as he remembered their sins against him. They acted like his enemies after all.

            I was once God’s enemy. My acts against him were punishable by death. Yet, because of what Jesus did, God made me right with Him and called me His friend. Like Joseph, He has made sweeping promises of love, care, and protection toward me for the rest of my life and throughout eternity. How can I trust Him? I remember my sins, often walk in the shame of them, and shyness overtakes me. Confidence with God can be shaken on a daily basis.

            Humanly speaking, I’m nervous to claim God’s proclamations of love. I’m skittish to own the promises He’s made. Standing in faith is impossible if I am unsure of what God’s forgiveness really means. If I believe that God forgives like people forgive, I will be waiting for the other shoe to drop. I will have a short memory of my sin and believe that God does too. Continue reading

Prayer of Preparation for Battle

Please read this prayer out loud!  Satan cannot read thoughts.  Since any warfare prayer is the equivalent of serving the enemy legal papers, it is critical that these kinds of prayers are spoken rather than silently internalized.  The enemy begins to tremble when the Word is on our tongue, when we speak it rather than think it.  This is an affirmation of faith and the strength it imparts can be instantly felt.

Warrior, fight on.  The battle is the Lord’s and victory can be yours.



Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  Eph. 6:10-11

You are such a kind Father. You do not send children to the front lines to be annihilated by an enemy who is too strong for any child. You’ve given me everything I need to be victorious over any tactic, scheme, strategy, or plan of the enemy.  While he may be cunning and know me well,  (for he knows where and when to strike), Your weapons are mighty and promise a way of escape.  At the end of the day, I will stand on my feet like David, assessing Goliath, who lay in defeat though he came fully armed except for a stone-sized piece of exposed forehead.  I anticipate victory today because my weaponry is fashioned by You.

So, make me a soldier. If I have been defeated, it’s because I did not anticipate the battle, did not make use of Your armor, and did not prepare ahead of time to fight.  Today, I put on the pieces of armor You have provided for me.  It is the armor of Light.  It is me, putting on You, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I put on the helmet of salvation.  Protect my thoughts.  Bind my mind to Yours.  Conform all my thoughts to Your thoughts.

I put on the breastplate of righteousness.  Protect my heart, my most vital organ.  Conform my desires to Your desires.  I long to love what You love and hate what You hate today.

I put on the belt of truth.  No matter what comes at me, I make a vow to stand in Truth.  Expose deception quickly so that I can plant my feet in the foundation of what is safe and secure, Your very Words.

I put on the shoes of peace.  The terrain of my life can be slippery and hard to maneuver.  I often don’t know how to be a righteous peacemaker.  Don’t let me love peace more than truth, Lord.  Show me today when peace is needed and when truth is more important than peace.

I take up the shield of faith.  I am adjusting my mindset to believe You today even when it seems ludicrous.  I believe You even though You may look guilty.  No matter what, no matter whom, I choose to believe You;  I’ll believe who You say I am, who You say You are, and how life works in the kingdom.

I take up the sword of the Spirit.  Oh God, make me a marksman with the Word.  I anticipate, now, the areas where I will be tempted today.  Give me two scriptures that target my temptations.  I am writing them out, Lord, and will have them ready for that hour.  When your enemy comes and the compulsion to sin is in front of my face, I will open my mouth and read Your Words out loud – and will do this until the enemy flees.  I know he will persevere, increase the effort, but I will take up the sword and have Your Word on my tongue each time he assaults.  Arm me with Your strategic arrows on my tongue.  Let me sense, even hear, the snarl of a defeated foe as he retreats.  Give me victory where I’ve had none.

I repent now of any sin that would separate us today and dull my spiritual senses.  Cleanse me of all unrighteousness.  Deliver me of all lingering effects of evil.  Send me, Your holy child, into battle ready and alert.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Son of God, I pray these things.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Son of God, I stand.  Amen

Who Benefits From My Redemption?


So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Genesis 45:8

         In my opinion, this is an overlooked part of Joseph’s story. Because I’m self-focused, I get caught up with how Joseph felt on the other side of imprisonment. I imagine him being reunited with his brothers, and mostly, with his father. I never think about how Pharaoh benefitted from crossing paths with Joseph, that Joseph’s influence over Pharaoh was fatherly.

         To be a father is to be in a position to advise, to take care of or administrate. The day Joseph was dragged into Pharaoh’s court, Pharaoh gained a confidant; someone without an agenda. This was a priceless gift for a ruler. Never knowing who to trust and never allowing one too close, kings and pharaohs lived lonely lives. Consider what Pharaoh witnessed as he became acquainted with someone who walked with God.

  • He met a man who was willing to tell the truth and put himself at risk when he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream.
  • He met a man who came out of a prison environment with a gentle spirit.
  • He met a man who had no trace of anger or revenge-seeking.
  • He met a man who possessed wisdom so unique that his ideas could only be attributed to his God.
  • He met a man who was not power hungry.

         Continue reading

The Stumbling Block of God’s Sovereignty


            So it was not you who sent me here, but God. Genesis 45:8

         Really? Joseph believes that God sent him to Egypt? I thought it was the sins of his brothers that sent him there and God just made good out of it. No. Joseph dared to tell the ones who hurt him, “You didn’t do this to me, God did!”  Such is the stumbling block of God’s sovereignty.

         One of the most disturbing messages I heard when I was wrestling with the sovereignty of God was from John Piper.  He said, “Who crucified Jesus? God did!” Admittedly, it took a good year for me to make peace with a God who gives free will, knows ahead of time the choices of sinful humanity, and weaves a glorious plan of pain and redemption into the life of every child.

         But here’s the thing. If I’ve never trusted God with my story and pressed in close over time to see redemption, the truth of His sovereignty will be a stumbling block to me. This sad reality characterizes most of the church. We are deeply angry with God for what He did not prevent. Continue reading

God’s Wisdom ~ Nearer Than You Know

Nearer Than You Know 

He found them in a desert land, in an empty, howling wasteland. He surrounded them and watched over them; he guarded them as he would guard his own eyes. Like an eagle that rouses her chicks and hovers over her young, so he spread his wings to take them up and carried them safely on his pinions. Deuteronomy 32:10-11

I am hovering over you as a mother hovers over her young.  Seek me.  You need only close your eyes in prayer to discern my face.  The outline of my countenance is near you and the breath of my Spirit can be felt upon your cheek.  Do not look for me to be man-sized, for I fill the sky above you.  Enlarge your vision of me so that you will not miss my portrait, poised in the glories over your head.  If you saw the armies of heaven I’ve dispatched, you’d never be afraid of anything.

But, how often have you feared that I’ve forgotten you?  How frequently your anxiety robs you of peace in the night.  I am a hovering Father.  I know the promises that I have made.  I am true to every single one.  You are safely in the palms of my hand, inscribed there in eternal remembrance.

God’s Wisdom ~ On The Other Side Of The Red Sea


Give thanks to him who parted the Red Sea. His faithful love endures forever.  Psalm 136:13

I have allowed you to walk in dark places over much of your life.  It was your ‘Red Sea’.  There was no deliverance unless you turned to me to cry out in faith.  The wind was howling and you tasted the salty air.  You heard the Egyptians roaring in their chariots, bearing down on you.  Your precarious position dictated your certain doom.  Every bit of personal strength vanished in that moment.

Ah, but then You turned to me.  You took hold of me as I commanded you and then I came.  What appeared to be impassable began to open up before you.

Never has your testimony been more powerful.  You speak with conviction and cause many who hear you to tremble with spiritual hunger.  No message is more powerful than, “I have seen the power of the Lord and He is glorious!”

When Will All Things Work Together For Good?


And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. Genesis 45:5

         Under what conditions could I say to the one who betrayed me, “Don’t be upset with yourself because you hurt me. God’s wonderful plan eclipses all of it.” Oftentimes, I can see some good that God has brought out of betrayal but I still want the one who inflicted harm to remember and live in regret! What kind of mercy wants offenders to know joy after remorse? (And I take into account that Joseph first tested them to know if remorse was present.)

         Perhaps I don’t really understand what it means when God promises that all things will work together for my good. My good is synonymous with His good. I have been called according to His purpose. Joseph wasn’t brought to power to compensate for the pain he suffered. The story wasn’t about Joseph but about God’s plan to save His people. Joseph was privileged to play a part in God’s redemptive story. Joseph’s goal was not to receive validation from old family biases.

         I am considering the largest wounds of my life. I can think of two. Has God worked things together for good? Yes. But have I interpreted Romans 8:28 to include my own vindication? Or, do I see that the wounds I sustained were for God to bring about a larger plan of redemption? Am I to strengthen the church? Am I to bring wisdom to the next generations in my family so they can secure their spiritual calling? The possibilities are limitless for what ‘called according to His purpose’ can mean.

        I must love God more than myself. I must realize that I’m not the point of my own story. I will wait forever to see things work together for good if I think God is going to reward me for what I’ve suffered, if I believe that God is going let me see justice now for the evil done against me, and if I feel entitled to vindication. Today, yet again, I offer Him my story for the expansion of the kingdom.

        The miracle of Joseph’s story was not that he was promoted to power in Egypt. It was the stunning work of grace, humility, and wisdom brought about he waited for redemption. Not visible to human eyes, Joseph and God dialogued, wrestled, communed, and birthed a faith that not only forgave a family of wrongdoing but also made it possible for them to live in the joy of God’s extravagant mercy.

In whatever ways my perspective needs more truth, bind my mind to Yours, Lord. Amen