He Lets Me See So I Can Act


Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land and take one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven plentiful years. 35 And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. Genesis 41:34-35

         Joseph didn’t just interpret Pharaoh’s two dreams. Because Joseph possessed an administrative gift, he offered a plan to counteract the dismal prediction of famine. Joseph was a seer but also one whom God chose to implement a righteous plan.

         God never gives divine insight just for mere intrigue. He discloses His thoughts to someone who is then responsible to find out why they were given such information. Are they to pray? Are they to step forward with information? Are they to expose? Are they to encourage? Seeing is proactive.

         The gift of divine sight is built on the culmination of thousands of life experiences. Spiritual understanding is not something bred overnight. God shapes His servant through years of practice runs. The gift is sharpened through suffering. If you are a prophet, one who can prayerfully discern the mind and heart of God about a person or situation, that gift has been personally expensive. But know this too ~ the gift of divine eyesight is usually paired with another strong gift.

  • God revealed the dream so that Joseph could step up with a wise plan.
  • God reveals danger so that His child can pray.
  • God reveals the root of a problem so that truth can be proclaimed and unrighteousness exposed.
  • God reveals the broken heart of another so that they may be strengthened by compassionate words and actions
  • God reveals where people perish for lack of knowledge in order for a teacher to arise.

         What has God been showing you about a person or a situation? Perhaps that revelation has been painful, arrested you in place, and you feel helpless. Assess your giftings and ask God to show you how you are to channel what He has revealed. God, in your story, has prepared you for such a time as this.

I have been tormented by what I see. Give me Your action plan. Amen

Shouldn’t This Be Normal?


And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. Genesis 41:38-39

         It’s one thing for pagans to ask the question, ‘Can we find a man in whom is the Spirit of God?’ It’s quite another to realize that in the extended church, the hunt for such a man or woman can be as difficult. If each of us is a container for the Spirit of God to live His life, why is He not recognizable?

         I’m convinced that life is one long series of choices where I choose whether or not to quench the Spirit. He speaks; I turn my ear toward more enticing voices. He suggests; I ignore His suggestion and pick something that promises instant gratification. He begs obedience; I procrastinate and then live in perpetual guilt. He woos me to behold Him in all His glory; I am oblivious by the lights and glitter of Babylon.

         The only time I am more than willing to drown out everything that competes with the Spirit is when I suffer. My need of Him is stronger than my need for things that are of little consolation. Stripped of everything that used to matter, Jesus is in full view. His voice is clear and merciful. “I’m here!”His invitation is gracious though I don’t deserve this prodigal’s homecoming. As I sink into waves of mercy, He proceeds to say what He has said across the ages to repentant sinners. “Go and sin no more.” Of course. How could I think of it after such a lifesaving encounter!

         The Spirit of God is prominent in me only when my need of Him has exposed how precious He is. He is on full display He is my treasure. May others see that I am obsessed and possessed.

         Joseph’s betrayal, imprisonment, and isolation proved to be three great friends – for these lifesaving wounds led him to cling to his God. No wonder Pharaoh saw the Spirit in so short an encounter.

Lord, the greatest lesson of my lifetime is to learn to embrace suffering and not fight it. Each trial has led me to You. Amen

A Relationship In Trouble


They have forsaken Yahweh, spurned the Holy One of Israel, and turned themselves back into foreigners.  Isaiah 1:4

         A big blowup in a relationship is not usually what kills it.  People argue.  Some fight passionately.  But if both are committed to the each other and also committed to truth, there is understanding and restoration.  What is deadly to any relationship, however, is a gradual deadening of the heart.  A slow death is much more difficult to turn around.

You’ve heard the phrase, “I feel like I don’t know you anymore.”  A ‘foreigner’ is a good description.  It is saying, ‘You are acting so strangely that I don’t even recognize you.  You may as well have come from a foreign land.’

Amazing that what can be intimate can grow so deeply estranged.  Continue reading “A Relationship In Trouble”

Am I Really Hearing God’s Voice?


Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. Genesis 41:25

         God gave Pharaoh two dreams that meant the same thing. Why did He do that? I suspect so that Pharaoh wouldn’t miss the message.

         Has God been trying to speak to you about something? You’re stuck in inertia because you fear you’re reading into things. Perhaps it was a dream and it was so allegorical that you lack the confidence to act upon it. Perhaps it was a word in prayer but you wonder now it if was just your own inner voice. Maybe it was a set of ‘coincidences’ that seemed too incredible not to be divine. All of these scenarios lead us to ask, “Did I really hear God’s voice?” Until we know for sure, we dare not embrace the message as truth and we certainly dare not endeavor on something risky.

         What I’ve come to realize is that God is for me, not against me. He wants me to get it even more than I do. If I suspect He is speaking to me (and in a way that is outside my box), I ask Him for confirmation. I confess again that I am small and blind, unable to perceive spiritual things well. I ask Him to have mercy on my spiritual condition. I ask Him to treat me as He treated Moses. He made it His will so plain ~ When the cloud moves, move. When the cloud stops, stop.

         I must say that I experience a Father who confirms and confirms. More than just twice; sometimes three and four times. And each in a different way. Just as God gave Pharaoh two dreams, each dream different but bearing the same message, how much more will God lead a child whose heart is bent to covet His voice and respond with obedience!

I pray for each one this morning who is discounting what You’ve spoken to them. They are afraid. Repeat Your message, Lord, and confirm it in a way that is unmistakable to their tentative faith. Amen

How To Handle a Compliment


And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” Genesis 41:15-16

         False modesty plagues the church. So does insecurity. These appear God-honoring when, in fact, they rob God of opportunities to showcase His glory.

         When Pharaoh told Joseph that he had heard of his ability to interpret dreams, Joseph didn’t say that he wasn’t worthy of such attention. He stepped up to the plate and put God at the center of his answer. He made it clear that it would be God, working through him, to interpret the dreams.

         One of the biggest pitfalls of any platform person is succumbing to pride. Standing ovations, fan letters, and whispers of your name as you pass a group, all swell your sense of worth. I am sure that God gives major thorns in the flesh to visible leaders to counteract this. He makes sure that ministries are not ruined by inflated egos.

         Compliments are very hard to know how to handle.

“You’re such a great teacher.”

“You are one gifted manager.”

“No one can organize an event quite like you!”

         To simply say, ‘thank you’ can appear to mean, “I agree with you. I am this great.” Shouldn’t any child of God shun any kind of praise? But here’s another question, shouldn’t any child of God realize that what people often praise are the anointed giftings that are straight from God’s own hand? If I keep telling people that their observations about me are inflated or untrue, I’m missing the opportunity to tell them how great God is. When I say, “It’s not me, it’s God,” that’s not true either. I am part of the equation. I have embraced the gift, developed it by His grace, and dedicated it to the glory of God. It is God – in and through me.

         So what is a good alternative? Let’s say that you teach a small group. It is being blessed and people are growing. One night after the meeting ends, someone comes to you and says, “You are such an anointed facilitator. I’ve never understood this much about Jesus before.” You answer by saying this. “I’m so encouraged to hear this. Thank you for telling me. Please pray for me that I would always depend on Jesus in my teaching. He is so gracious to give me this opportunity.”

         No matter where we excel, people should know that ‘we know’ the gift came from God. The grace to do it well is because of His faithfulness.

         One final thing. You and I should know and acknowledge where we are gifted. If we fail to know, how can we be effective? Is it possible to name 3 things you can do well and still be humble when giving God the glory for it? Absolutely.

I am confident today because of Your anointing. I’ve lived without it and there was no spiritual power. You are at the center of all I am and I am nothing without you. Amen

What Works Itself Out


“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.  The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”  Romans 3:13

Paul spends much of Romans describing how men turn away from God, how they reject God’s presence in the revelation of nature.  He’s plentiful with his own descriptive language but in this particular scripture, he uses this opportunity to reach back into the Psalms to quote three difference passages.  He does not explain what causes men to go astray, he uses Old Testament quotes to paint a picture of how men act when they go astray.

Any man or woman who rejects God creates an inward reality that eventually works its way out.  Heart breeds behavior.  Thoughts breed speech.  If anyone spurns Christ, how will anything they do or say resemble the Christ they have spurned?  How will an unbeliever talk like Christ, bless others as Christ would bless them?  It won’t happen. Continue reading “What Works Itself Out”