2014 in my rearview mirror

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to putting a fresh calendar on my wall. This past twelve months came with more challenges than I planned for.

I survived the extremely cold winter with flashbacks that reminded me why I moved away from Michigan.

I had an extremely rude, unexpected visitor on March 3rd who smashed my back door in at 11:00 PM. Fortunately I was able to scared both of them off before they helped themselves to any of my stuff.

The remainder of March was filled with an upper respiratory infection that I’m sure was brought on by my loud-enough-to-wake-the-neighbors yells to ward off the potential crooks.

I had an encouraging double request for proposals from the same publisher in May at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. I sent both of them as soon as I could get them ready. I haven’t heard even cricket chirps about either one of them thus far.

My 14-year-old van, Clifford, barely got me back to Texas from North Carolina. The mechanic said that differential wasn’t going to go much farther. They had to re-do it when it continued to scream at me from the first attempt to fix it. Clifford seems much happier now, especially after the new alternator I installed on my way home from work a few weeks ago. Teenagers can be so insufferable.

During the summer I had a trailer drop off the tractor I was driving because I didn’t secure it properly–a few of the older trailers are a challenge. It fell in the driveway of Con-way’s yard. Another foot farther and I would have been looking for a new employer.

In August I hit an emotional wall of sorts. The two minor accidents will attest to the fact I wasn’t all there mentally. I did pull out of it in September.

My prolonged sleep deprivation did lead to an actual time of unemployment in December. There was a ten day wait to discover my appeal of the termination was upheld. As I type this I’ve applied at a former employer and am awaiting test results and Con-way’s input as to my trustworthiness as a driver. I may be switching careers sooner than I thought I would.

Now you know why I’m looking forward to a new year with blank pages. I hope it doesn’t get any worse than this.

Before I leave you with the impression 2014 was a total disaster, I’ll tell you about the exciting writing development that transpired.

This summer Children’s Book Insider held a webinar with Karen Robertson about making apps out of children’s stories. The more I learned about apps the more excited I became about the poem I wrote based on the story of Noah’s Ark.

I pursued this course of action by setting up a personal online session with Karen who encouraged me to develop this. So far all the doors have opened wide for this endeavor.

I prayed for an illustrator who would catch a vision for this work. God sent someone who always wanted to work on the Noah’s Ark story because that was the Bible story that first introduced her to God in a real way as a girl. Dyann Joyce is a joy to work with and her art is inspiring in itself.

Just because the doors have opened for this app doesn’t mean it’s been smooth sailing making it.

The circumstances around my unemployment still have me shaking my head about how it all happened. Clifford’s alternator went out as I was pulling up to a red light and started to call Dyann on my way home from work.

Dyann and her husband have each taken a boy to get stitches since we started this project. She’s been to two funerals of close friends, and her computer fried the other day to the point of needing an advance on our next app to replace her tower.

Yeah, that’s the other good news. Apple is beginning 2015 with no apps in the Bible story category. The new category will have at least two by this summer if all goes as planned.

If these apps do anywhere near as well as I think they will we’ll see if the publishing crickets are silent by this time next year.

The bright spot of this blight on my work history is the timing couldn’t be better. I didn’t have to ask my employer for Christmas week off to drive back to Michigan to visit my ailing mom. I also swung through Kentucky to visit my illustrator.

Keep smiling.   Wade

24 MONTHS

“Joseph, will you come here? Please.”

The jail keeper’s voice shook Joseph out of his thoughts. He ran to the front office. Two men slumped over by the front door.

The jail keeper straightened the papers in front of him. “Here are our two newest residents. The alcohol took over and they disturbed Pharaoh’s party. See them to an empty cell. I suggest you wait until tomorrow until you find out what they’re good at.”

Joseph looked from the jail keeper to the men, then out the window at Pharaoh’s officers walking away. He let out a deep breath. “Very well.” He held the door open. “Come along fellas. I can get someone bigger than me to drag you in here if you prefer.”

The men staggered across the room. One of them vomited when he reached the doorway.

The jail keeper jumped back. Joseph looked at him. “I’ll get someone to clean that up right away, Sir.”

****

 One year later Joseph was deep in thought about the cup bearer’s dream, again.

“Joseph, I need you here.”

The jail keeper’s voice sounded urgent so Joseph jumped up and jogged to the office.

The jail keeper pointed toward the door. “I believe you already know what these two are good at.”

Joseph glanced at the two men and resisted the urge to run after Pharaoh’s officers outside. Joseph stared at the drunks. “Will you two never learn. You guys deserve to be in here. Maybe this time they’ll leave you here.”

****

As Joseph walked his morning rounds on the next date of Pharaoh’s birthday his mind still relived the dreams he interpreted. He slumped into his desk chair.

“Joseph, you’re being summoned.” The jail keeper’s voice was its usual demanding tone.

Joseph walked into the front office. “Don’t tell me those two are drunk already.”

His mouth dropped open when he saw an entourage of Pharaoh’s officers staring at him.

“Are you the Hebrew who interprets dreams?”

Joseph swallowed hard.

********

Waiting, if it’s so unpopular why are so many people doing it?

The reason so many people are waiting is because it’s the single most important lesson we need to learn from God. His timetable is eternal while ours is temporary. Jesus was never rushed.

Sure, I admit, we each only have one life to live and in which to get as much done as we can. Those of us who gave our life to Christ have even more reason to give as much as we can to further His kingdom.

That in no way gives us a free pass from waiting. If anything we’ll have to wait even longer to accomplish something.

Why?

Before I answer that let’s look at Joseph’s life here. He finally sees a light at the end of his prison-induced tunnel when he sent the cup bearer back to Pharaoh. Then he languishes for twenty four whole months with nothing to show for his efforts.

That’s two years of his life he never got back. What was God teaching this future leader during those agonizing days, weeks and months?

  • Diligence; Joseph had to keep taking his life one step at a time not knowing what God was doing behind the scenes.
  • Determination; Joseph’s desire to please God no matter what was pushed to the extreme during this time.
  • Dependence; Joseph would learn through this that God was working to make everything work together for his good.

He’s teaching the same lessons for you and me today.

Our trust in Him should grow with each test of patience we pass.

Our faith in God’s sovereign purpose should increase each time we evidence a waiting quiz.

Our love for God will improve as we witness His desire to make us more like Jesus with each lesson learned by waiting.

[Tweet “Waiting, if it’s so unpopular why are so many people doing it?”]

As I’m typing this I can quickly think of at least four major things in my life that I’m waiting for something outside of my control for. There are even more minor events I’d like to see occur.

Each of these events involves other people. I’ve done as much as I can, which sometimes is very little, to influence them. The rest I must trust God to work as He promises in scripture.

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases. Proverbs 21:1

In place of “The king’s” put the name of the person you’re waiting on for your test from heaven. Say it out loud. It’s very freeing.

God is directing that person’s heart as much as He does any king. He’s still in control of every event in your life. Trust Him.

I don’t know about you but I like looking at maps. Maybe that’s why I enjoy driving a truck for a living. Pull out a map of one of the states that has the Mississippi River as a boundary. Look closely at the islands and areas along that river.

An astute observer will notice places that appear out of place. Over time that mighty river has moved certain state boundaries while the governing authorities seem oblivious to God’s leading.

If there are people living on these patches of land I guess they have to drive several miles to cross a bridge in order to vote for their state representatives.

If God can change the course of a river as huge as the Mississippi River He can change that person’s heart you’re waiting on, my friend.

And if He doesn’t, then allow Him to change yours.

Yes, there are times we must move on. Only you and God can determine when that time comes.

Allow God to have His way in your heart, too.

Joseph never planned on being the second-in-command of the mightiest nation in his world, He merely lived his life one day at a time. God had his life all mapped out according to His sovereign plan.

Lay your burdens at His feet. He’ll take care of them.

That’s His Fatherly duty.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

God So Small

God So Small

One day Jesus, by a will that was His own,

stood up, then stepped down from His eternal throne.

He compressed Himself into a virgin’s egg.

Holy Spirit came into the human race.

That egg did grow to become an embryo.

This new life began without sperm, don’t you know.

The boy child sure did grow inside Mary’s womb.

Her belly did expand to give ample room.

The birth process did squeeze His skull once again.

His small cry would clear the fluids from His lungs.

His tiny tears would moisten chubby cheeks.

His hunger cries would be heard for many weeks.

This infant boy, I Am, fit on a forearm.

At each meal tiny God would keep Mary warm.

The shepherds awed when they came in from watching sheep.

Infant God came to make their jobs obsolete.

With angel voices still echoed in their heads,

a deep love of God replace both fear and dread.

The thought that must have crossed the mind of them all:

“How in the world did God fit in one so small?”

GODLY INTERPRETATIONS

Joseph stopped in his tracks as he walked through the jail. Ahmed and Rashad were sitting in their cell.

Joseph backed up. “Shouldn’t you two be in the kitchen fixing breakfast?”

Then he saw them both staring at the floor. “What happened to you guys? You both look like you just lost your best friend.”

Rashad kept staring at the floor. “We each had a dream last night.”

Ahmed glanced at Joseph. “They were so real, but we don’t know what they mean.”

Joseph came in the cell and sat on the edge of Ahmed’s bed. “My God can speak to people through dreams. He gave me some dreams in my youth I’m still scratching my head over. Tell me your dreams. Perhaps He’ll tell me their interpretations.”

Ahmed sat up. “In my dream I stood in a vineyard. And in front of me I saw three distinct branches on one vine. Then, as I watched, flowers appeared, then grapes took their place and grew into fine clusters. I saw Pharaoh standing to my left handing me a cup. I took the cup and squeezed juice into it. I handed it back to my lord. He drank it and smiled at me.”

Joseph nodded. “The three branches in your dream are three days. In three days you’ll be restored to your former position as Pharaoh’s cup-bearer.”

Then Joseph grabbed Ahmed’s arm and looked in his eyes. “Remember me when you stand before Pharaoh. My brothers had no right to sell me as a slave. I did nothing to deserve being sent here. Plead my case or allow me to plead it to him. Please, help get me out of here.”

Rashad came over and sat next to Joseph. “In my dream I had three white baskets on my head. The top basket had all sorts of breads in it. The birds came and ate the bread out of it. I could do nothing to stop them.”

Joseph placed a hand on Rashad’s knee. “The baskets in your dream are three days, too. In three days you will be removed from the jail, but you will be hanged so the birds will eat your flesh.”

Rashad’s face turned white.

****

Three days later Joseph led two finely-dressed men to the cell and unlocked the door. “The two of you are being summoned to appear at Pharaoh’s birthday party.”

Ahmed and Rashad looked at each other, then at Joseph.

One of Pharaoh’s men stood in the doorway. “Somebody designed a new game for today. One of you will get your job back. The other one will wish you had stayed here. Come now, we must not keep Pharaoh waiting.” He clapped his hands twice.

Joseph placed a hand on Ahmed’s shoulder as he passed. “Remember me.”

********

God gave Joseph his dreams at 17. He was now twenty eight.

God would have caused Joseph to recall his dreams by having him interpret these men’s dreams. The flickering light of hope would be re-ignited if it had gone out.

Three days isn’t long to wait to see if God is truly working. The next two years would have crawled by for the forgotten Joseph. Or, should I say, the seemingly forgotten Joseph?

You see, the cup-bearer did remember Joseph. He just didn’t do it as quickly as Joseph thought it would happen. We’ll look at that next time.

The God of dreams was still near to His son. Joseph must have thought about his own dreams in his solitude after interpreting these dreams.

Did he recall the details of his dreams to see if there were any time stamps? It had been eleven years since his night-time visions. Why would those brothers who hated him ever bow to a guy running inmates’ lives? These must have been a sampling of questions that swirled in Joseph’s mind in days to come.

[Tweet “Whatever God has called you to do you won’t be able to put it away.”]

Has God given you glimmers of hope to propel you onward to your aspirations for Him?

Did someone take the time to comment on a blog post how your writing inspired them and/or gave them hope?

Have you made the revisions an editor or agent suggested you make to improve the chances of your manuscript being picked up?

Did you follow up on that offer to guess post on that other blog?

You see, God won’t leave you hanging if He’s still planning on using you for His purpose. That doesn’t mean He won’t make you wait for a time to test your determination to be used by Him.

Keep posting those blogs, even when nobody comments or subscribes. You never know who is reading it in silence and growing.

Keep revising that manuscript to make it more appealing to read. These are lessons that will make the next story come together quicker.

Stretch yourself to write something different, or to a different audience. That exposure will build you into a more interesting writer.

Whatever God has called you to do you won’t be able to put it away. You can try, but He’ll give you glimpses of hope and insight.

Joseph had no clue what God had in store for him at his point in the narrative. He only had his cockamamie dreams to guide him, and an invisible God working behind the scenes. He kept giving his best, so should you.

A true test of a great leader is someone who relies on God to lead his life and his decisions. Joseph was learning that lesson big time here.

Trust God to work things out in His time. You can’t see the whole plan He has devised.

Do what He has called you to do now. Trust Him to use you as He wills.

He gave you the personality and desire to please Him.

Take your life one day at a time like Joseph had to do.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

What’s a guy to do when he’s between careers?

Have you ever had a time in your life when you’re in between careers? I don’t mean in between jobs, those are too frequent, I’m talking a foot in two different fields practically unrelated.

I can tell you from personal experience that it ain’t pretty. It’s draining. It’s mind numbing. It’s sleep depriving. And if I didn’t know I was on the winning side I’d probably explode.

There have been occasions when I’ve delivered books to stores or warehouses, so the two careers do temporarily coincide. But, since I’m not delivering MY books they don’t really join forces in a way I need them to–or, should I say, how I’d like to see them do.

I would have been disappointed if the lives of me and my illustrator didn’t get hectic and/or chaotic by now. The app we’re working on is going to introduce so many people to Jesus in such a fun way lives are going to be changed for eternity. So, spiritual warfare is inevitable.

I can’t go into detail, but through a strange series of events I’m currently unemployed with a strong chance of getting my job back this week. Sometimes working for a large company just makes me shake my head, and laugh, and cry, at the same time.

From about a thousand miles away I broke Dyann’s computer. I’m pretty sure I warned her I have that influence on electrical thinking machines. If I didn’t she knows now.

Apparently the paintings she’s working on for this are so high-resolution they’re eating up a lot of computer space. She emailed me Saturday in a panic because she needs a new tower to handle the overload on her old computer.

The good news is I now have her locked in on our next app. Yeah, I already have the follow-up app written. I realized that since there’s no Bible story category for apps at this point I would have a better chance of getting it made if I convince Apple I have more than one ready.

About a month ago the words came to me for Jesus Christ was a Man Who Also is God. It took a few days writing between deliveries to complete it, but I like the way it came out. There isn’t as much humor in it as Noah’s story with animals, but there is some.

I had to re-order my microphones from the river people. I never got a notice in my mailbox they came this time. I checked on a hunch at the office Saturday afternoon. There was my package with everything I ordered. Now I’m wondering if I got the first box I ordered or the second one. Time will tell.

I’ve never watched a movie three times in one day before Sunday. One of my friends from church thought I’d like to watch Miss Potter. It’s the story of Beatrix Potter–think Peter Rabbit and other such books. He obviously was right. Thanks Howard.

Beatrix was quite the woman. Oh yeah, I got choked up when they showed her seeing her first book on display in a bookstore window, all three times. My writing friends will understand why.

There’s a glimpse of my upside-down life. If I pulled the curtain all the way back you’d explode. So I’ll let you get back to your boring life while I attempt to put mine back together and right-side up with a lot of Spiritual assistance.

Keep smiling.   Wade

 

A NEW OPPORTUNITY

“Potiphar, I wasn’t expecting you..are we having a surprise inspection this evening?” The jail keeper straightened the papers on his desk.

Potiphar held his left hand in front of him. His right hand grasped Joseph’s upper arm band. “Don’t worry. I wish this was an inspection. I have your newest inmate. This is Joseph.”

“Joseph…Is this the young man you’ve been bragging up to everybody. What did he do to deserve being imprisoned?”

“I can’t trust him with my wife. She claims he came on to her too strongly. He says it was the other way around. I was afraid something like this might happen. All I know is I need to separate them if I’m to have any semblance of a home life. As much as my fortunes have increased since I bought him I hate to see him go. He’s good with people. You’d be wise to put him an administrative capacity if you can.”

The jail keeper was filling out the paperwork. “What shall I put down for the charge against him?”

Potiphar shrugged. “Do we have something that covers attempted rape?”

“Attempted…are you sure there wasn’t more to it than that? I can’t put him in here for something that didn’t happen.”

“All I know is the laundress saw him run out of the house naked and my wife had his robe. She’s furious enough to set the house on fire with her look. I can’t keep them together. Make something up if you have to. He’s not coming home with me. That’s that.”

“If he was in control of the situation why wouldn’t he take his clothes with him?”

Potiphar stared at the jail keeper.

“Insubordination will work for a charge for someone from your level in government.”

****

“Joseph, I need you to come here. We have two more inmates for you.” The jail keeper was finalizing the paperwork in front of him.

Joseph strode into the office. “Yes, sir. Who do we have today?”

“Ahmed was Pharaoh’s cup-bearer until this morning. Rashad was the chief baker.”

Joseph nodded. “You two can train guys in the kitchen. We could definitely use some help there. They’ll have skills they can use when they’re released.”

Joseph led them to a shared cell and walked in with them. He gave them a few minutes to adjust to their surroundings. “So, what happened to bring you two here?”

The cup-bearer slumped on the edge of his bed. “It was my responsibility to drink Pharaoh’s cup to ensure it wasn’t poisoned. As I brought the wine to him the base of the chalice bumped the arm of his throne. It spilled into his lap.”

The baker came over and sat next to Ahmed. “Pharaoh likes his bread warm from the oven. The fire was too hot today. The crust burnt while the dough was under-cooked. It was the first time it ever happened.”

Joseph sat on the other bed. “I, too, am a prisoner here. I’m here on an accusation alone. When you serve one in power you don’t have far to fall, apparently.”

********

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8

Who would have guessed the scorn from Potiphar’s wife would lead to a promotion of sorts for Joseph? I’m sure Joseph didn’t see it that way. All he saw was his life spinning terribly out of control.

Looking back now it’s quite clear. He advanced from being in charge of a household of slaves to a low-level government position in a jail heading up other prisoners. I don’t mean that to sound humorous in any way.

God’s techniques are extremely unlikely to be taught at any schools of higher education.

What impresses me the most about Joseph is his relentless desire to give his best no matter what predicament he finds himself in. Whether he wore the family firstborn coat, ran Potiphar’s house, or scheduled prisoners’ activities he gave it his all.

There’s no sign of him moping in self-pity because of his predicament.

He knew he did nothing to deserve being sold by his brothers. At least they didn’t kill him.

He knew he didn’t do anything to deserve being thrown into prison, he did his best to avoid anything deserving of it. At least Potiphar didn’t have him executed. If he was a military leader he could have.

There was no sense of entitlement from this man, only a servant’s heart. The result: “the LORD was with him and made all he did to prosper” is repeated in this account.

[Tweet “God’s techniques are extremely unlikely to be taught at any schools of higher education.”]

You may feel like a slave or prisoner in your job, but you’re not. Not like Joseph was.

You possibly feel like you had to settle for the job you have because of the economy or some other situation.

Sure, your boss may be pushing you to do more and more with less and less.

You probably feel like you’re trapped with the people you work with. If they’d do more to help with the workload things would sure go smoother.

Don’t let those feelings overwhelm your sense of purpose to please God with whatever He calls you to do.

Yeah, He chose for you to be in that job at this time. Otherwise you wouldn’t be there. So, give it your all to please Him.

Naturally your co-workers will let you pick up the slack they’re causing. If it brings a spiritual smile from above give it all you’ve got.

The reason you’re in the position you’re in is to be God’s ambassador there. Jesus needs to be lived out so people see the ingredient they’re missing.

Your attitude will be the turning point in their life when you least expect it.

If you’re looking for a pat on the back now you can learn various techniques for that.

If you’re looking for a “Well done. Good and faithful servant.” when you enter God’s presence the lessons are much tougher.

Trust God. He knows what He’s doing.

Give Him your best in all you do.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Are you “over-Christmas-ed” yet?

Okay, a show of hands, who feels overwhelmed by all that’s involved with Christmas in the 21st century already?

Last year I took advantage of some discount incentives that were sent to me voluntarily from the store across the street from my apartment. I walked over shortly after they opened on Thanksgiving day and found two coats I donated to the local radio station’s holiday drive. I patiently waited in line for over 1.5 hours to pay my discounted purchase with a weary smile.

Apparently it showed that I don’t particularly enjoy experiences such as that. I merely do it every five to ten years to remind myself why I don’t do it very often. They didn’t even bother sending me an incentive to walk in their door this year. Like I said, it must have shown.

This year I decided to do my shopping online. That’s a big step for this red-neck country bumpkin. I don’t have much of a list for others, but I decided to advance my recording capabilities. Yeah, my videos will sound much better…if my shipment ever finds me.

I went to the humongous online retailer named after the largest river to buy some microphones and accessories. They kindly sent me emails tracking my precious shipment. It supposedly arrived at my apartment complex office on Thursday.

I took the slip of paper that was left in my mailbox to the office to retrieve my equipment that’s supposed to catapult my recording career. It isn’t there, not even one of the four pieces that supposedly shipped on Monday.

I’ve come up with a few theoretical scenarios that might have happened, maybe. I think.

  1. My mailman–who is actually a female woman–what can I say, I’m old-school–delivered my parcel to the office and somebody else picked it up. In which case one of my neighbors is either contemplating who they can re-gift these pieces to, or they’re enjoying some personal in-home karaoke time. Perhaps their new career is what I invested in. Perhaps.
  2. My mailman, um…I mean that female woman who delivers my mail…left my package in her vehicle when she toted the rest of her parcels into my office…I mean my apartment complex’s office. She thought she was being kind by leaving me the note saying she completed her mission to deliver my package without realizing she still had my equipment in her possession. I shall attempt a few relaxation techniques before going to my local post office to see if they may perhaps have my career advancement purchase in their possession. Please pray I don’t go postal while I’m there.
  3. Those river people have my stuff and my cash. Now you know why I prefer to carry my purchase out the door with me after I pay my hard-earned money. Like I said earlier, I’m a red-neck old-school country bumpkin. At least that’s what I keep reminding God of every time He stretches me like this.

I know, I know, all things are working together for my good to make me more like Christ. I just want to know why frustration is such a valuable lesson that God keeps repeatedly using it on me all the time.

Sure, Jesus had to deal with His disciples–many of whom were red-neck fishermen, and the religious leaders of that day–who were sure they had all the answers, and the Romans–who thought they were in charge. But, He never had to deal with a government-backed establishment initialed USPS or a .com conglomerate of river people. Just sayin’.

Keep smiling and Merry Christmas.   Wade

A TEMPTING TEST

“Oh, Joseph…”

The hairs on Joseph’s neck stood erect. He glanced up from the notes laid out in front of him. Potiphar’s wife, Nephry is the name she preferred, stood in the doorway. The sheer gown she wore exposed more than Joseph planned on seeing. He looked at the gardener who was working details with him.

The gardener’s mouth hung open as he continued to stare at Nephry.

Joseph looked back at Nephry, but stared at her eyes. “Do you really want your gardener looking at you like that?”

Her gaze never left Joseph. “If you don’t like the attention he’s showing me you can come with me and take this thing off.”

Joseph stood and gathered his notes. “Look, we’ve had this conversation before. You’re off limits to me. If you won’t allow me to get my job done here we’ll go elsewhere.”

Nephry raised an elbow and leaned against the far doorpost. “All you do is work, Joseph. You need a break. A few minutes with me and you’ll be much more relaxed so you can get more work done.”

Joseph picked his notes up. The back of his hand slapped the shoulder of the gardener who was still staring ahead. “We’re leaving now.”

The two men walked out the back door of the house.

****

The next day Joseph was finishing his lunch when Nephry approached. The fact he could see her sternum didn’t surprise him at all.

She leaned over the table and glanced at his plate. “It looks like you’re done with your meal. How would you like some dessert now? I could place some honey in a few places so we both enjoy it.”

Joseph stared in her eyes. “You know I can’t do that, Nephry.”

She sat in the chair across from him and kept leaning forward. “Don’t tell me you wouldn’t like it.”

Joseph swallowed. “Look, I know your marriage was arranged. I also know how much younger than Potiphar you are, but you are his wife, not mine. He’s left me in charge of everything around here. I can’t have sex with you and that’s that.”

She slid her chair back so her breasts were pressed against the table. “Can’t…or won’t?”

As Joseph’s eyes moved downward he closed them. “From where I sit they’re the same thing.  It would be a sin against God.”

Nephry reached across and stroked the back of Joseph’s hand with her finger. “Ra won’t mind. He’ll simply wink at us. That’s all.”

Joseph jerked his hand off the table and stared in her eyes again. “I’m not talking about your god. Your god is the sun. My God is the One who made the sun. We’re made in His image not like animals. We can’t have sex with the next one in our species just because we want to.”

Joseph slid his chair back and marched out of the room.

****

The next morning Joseph entered the house and briefly noted an eerie quiet. He quickly dismissed it because of the Egyptian holiday being observed. His mind went to the big meal he was planning for Potiphar. A few important ingredients were still missing. He walked to the kitchen.

When he passed the master bedroom a pair of arms wrapped around him from behind. “Come to me now, Joseph. There’s nothing to stop us.” Nephry’s hands were untying his sash.

When Joseph’s arm was forced behind him his hand stroked soft flesh. “NO!” He ran as fast as he could.

Nephry grabbed his robe as he fled. “JOSEPH…!”

When Joseph reached the back door he heard her last sentence.

“If I can’t have you, nobody will.”

********

Now you have a better grasp of what Joseph had to put up with in Potiphar’s house. I don’t think I handled the issue too lightly, either. It could have been a lot worse.

Many people want to set Joseph on a pedestal here and say he never even thought about having sex with the boss’s wife. I don’t believe that for a second.

Being a red-blooded man I’m sure images of her flashed in his mind when he least expected it. When they hit during a weak moment while in the security of his own lonely home he would have entertained the thought. Probably more than once.

What set Joseph apart from many men is the fact he set in his mind to never follow through with those thoughts.

Pornography is a trap too many men don’t avoid. It’s getting more difficult by the day to avoid it, too.

Billboards hold pictures of young women as we drive. Computer screens flash poses of provocative women when we least expect it. TV commercials exploit girls to sell us everything. Even the shows we’re entertained by use sex in a humorous way. Movies don’t hold anything back.

Since God wired men’s minds to be turned on visually it’s natural to want to follow those urges and get sucked into the seduction.

Since the social mores have lightened up to the point of being nil most men think, “why not?’

If Joseph was an exception in his day how much more would he be one today?

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There’s a line in Genesis 39:11 that leads me to believe Joseph was wise enough to establish some safeguards from the woman of the house. When Potiphar’s wife made her move it was when none of the men of the house was inside. 

For some reason he let his guard down on that day and got hit hard. She probably sent the men out for some purpose and knew this was her opportune time to make her move. Joseph’s mind must have been sidetracked on something.

But, he still didn’t give in to her. Instead he lived 2 Timothy 2:22 out before it was written. Flee youthful lusts.

So many men would be wise to tattoo that to the inside of their eyelids.

We’ll never know what would have happened if Joseph had given in because it never happened.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Oh Come All Ye Stressed Out

I hope you’re not one of those people too caught up in the frenzy of shopping just to please others. If you are I hope my tongue-in-cheek version of an old carol will let you see the futility of trying to find happiness in the wrong thing.

Join me in this adventure to find the true meaning of the season.

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Keep smiling and Merry Christmas.   Wade