DIVINE DREAMS

Pharaoh leaned forward in his throne. “In my dream I was standing by the Nile. All of a sudden seven cows walked out of the river. They each looked like they were carrying twins they were so fat. They were grazing in a lush meadow. Then, seven of the scrawniest cows I’d ever seen walked out of the Nile. They were just hide stretched over skeletons. The seven skinny cows ate the fat cows, but they didn’t get any fatter than when they started. Then I woke up and drifted back to sleep.

“A corn stalk grew up while I watched it. Then seven of the best ears of corn I’ve ever seen appeared. My mouth started watering at the sight of them. But, then seven pathetic looking ears grew next to them and ate the much bigger ears without any impact on their size. I told this to my magicians but they don’t know what they mean. Can you help me make sense of these dreams?”

Joseph smiled. “My God has told Pharaoh what He’s about to do. The seven fat cows and the seven good ears both represent seven years. They’re the same thing. The seven skinny cows and seven small ears are also seven years of famine. God has revealed to you that the next seven years will be times of great plenty throughout all of Egypt. Those years are going to be followed by seven years of such extreme drought that the plenty will be forgotten.

“I suggest you appoint a very shrewd and wise man to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land for the next seven years so we’ll have enough stored away to survive the seven years of famine. He’ll need to select officers to make sure everyone abides by the collection process. Otherwise the dreams are wasted on Pharaoh and his people.”

Pharaoh sat back in his throne. Then he looked around at every person in the room. Everyone was staring at Joseph. “Can we find anyone as wise as this man Joseph? Indeed he is filled with the spirit of God.”

********

Joseph had one last test before God anointed his appointment. Did you catch what it was here?

You didn’t see it because it’s found in what he didn’t do that made him pass the test.

I’ve heard some of the top radio preachers say that Joseph was declaring his candidacy for the position he described here. I don’t think he had that in mind at all. That’s conjecture based on familiarity with this Bible story.

Joseph had no way of knowing how this was going to play out. All he was doing is telling Pharaoh what his dreams meant and how he should proceed from this point onward. That’s all anyone expected from him here, so that’s what he gave them.

His gift of administration rose up to supply a method of accomplishing the best course of action for the Egyptian government. I think Joseph thought Pharaoh had someone skilled enough in the government already to take the lead from Joseph. All Joseph wanted was a chance to state his case for not being in prison to begin with.

Now do you see the test Joseph passed? He met the need Pharaoh placed before him before he sought to get his own desire met.

The old adage played out even back then: Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.

While Joseph was simply looking for a way to get back home God had bigger things in store for him.

The same holds true for you and me today. When we do our best to help others succeed God is watching and waiting to bless us right back.

That may not mean a promotion at work, or it may. You may be passed over for the promotion since you made the other person look so good. God is testing your attitude in this. Will you do the same thing for the next person in that position?

Are you willing to stand out to the point people recognize the Spirit of the Living God resides in you?

Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek when we’re struck on one of them. How much more should we help someone succeed before we look out for our own interests?

No, that’s not what the world is teaching anybody, but Jesus doesn’t call us to live like the world we live in. He wants us living for the world we belong to; His Kingdom.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

This is the verse that the whole Sermon on the Mount swung on. Before this Jesus taught about worrying about having our needs met. After this He taught about dealing with others and getting to Heaven. It’s all about the Kingdom, or it should be, my friends.

Whose needs are you looking out for now?

If you’re still worrying about your own then I hope you do a double take about your priorities.

[Tweet “Are you willing to stand out to the point people recognize the Spirit of the Living God resides in you?”]

Joseph had no clue Pharaoh was about to hand him the Egyptian signet ring along with all the power that entailed. He didn’t know Potiphar–along with all the other Egyptians–would soon have to answer to him. He didn’t know he was about to be married and become a father. His desire was to go back to what was familiar.

God not only gave him a position far above all that he could ever imagine, He also placed him in a position to save his entire family and bring them to a place to become a completely separate nation.

God’s ways are not always our ways. His plans are often so astonishing we wouldn’t believe them if we knew them ahead of time.

That’s probably why He doesn’t reveal them to us.

Go ahead. Live life according to God’s ways.

Then stand back a prepare to be amazed. That’s what I plan on doing.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Stop this blogging train. I need to get off!

Have you ever felt the need to take stock in your life because the bottom has totally fallen out?

I’m not talking about a bad day here or there. I mean something much worse than a hang-nail and a paper-cut on the same finger. I’ve dealt with those days with a yawn.

No, my life has been hit. Hit hard, and hit frequently. About the time I stand back up another freight train barrels down on me from behind.

I’ve gone into many of the details here before so I won’t repeat them again.

It came to a head on Friday. After accepting a work assignment that was supposed to last five days I was told on Thursday the orders were slacking off and they wouldn’t need me to come back on Friday. So I called in my availability for another assignment for Friday.

On Friday, when I called back in to see if my temporary boss reported he wouldn’t need me, the phones I call in on were out of service. I had to call the recruiting line to talk to an assignment person. Long story short, because the phones were out they didn’t have anything for me.

But, they did line up an interview for me on Monday. I’ll talk to someone from the Dallas Morning News about hiring on with them in Plano through the temp agency. That could be a good thing even if it only gets me some stability back in my life.

Even with everything that’s made up my harried life of late I thought I still had things under some semblance of control. I was sure I was ahead of schedule with my blog. I was able to write a few posts and schedule them out so I wouldn’t have to worry about that aspect of my life during the Christmas travel time I enjoyed.

On Friday I was so convinced I was still scheduled out another week that I never checked to make sure. I easily could have written the post that was supposed to go out that evening. Instead, I buried my head into an ebook I’ve been wanting to finish.

Reality struck me when I checked my emails before I went to bed. Fully expecting to see that night’s blog post listed I was shocked to see nothing of the sort.

That’s when I realized something has to change. My life is so chaotic right now I have some decisions to make so I can focus on what’s most important right now.

The first thing that entailed was deciding what’s most important. I have two new writing gigs vying for my attention. I fully planned on concentrating on getting some prayer ebooks made to get my name out there as a Christian writer just after I returned home from Christmas travels. Then “POW!!” My wife dropped the D-bomb on me.

We’ve been separated for two years and she sent me an email that she’s preparing for a divorce. I know this next sentence won’t make sense, but this may be the only way to salvage my marriage. She says she feels trapped in the marriage and a divorce may make it so we can be friends again. All I’ve been asking for is a chance to win her heart back. If this is what it takes I’ll walk through that door with anticipation and hope. Your prayers are definitely needed for God to receive the glory in this.

About the time I get my feet back under me from that I get sicker than I’ve been in several years. Now that I’m recovered from that I don’t know what ‘s next.

In the interim I feel like the door has closed on the prayer ebooks at this time because of the other writing project that needs my immediate attention. The children’s storybook app has to be my main focus at this time.

I’ve had my hand on that doorknob for so long I know I have to walk into that all out now. I wish I could stop driving long enough to focus on this app, but I don’t think my creditors would appreciate this starving artist doing that.

In order for me to give the app my best effort I’ve decided to stop posting on this blog. As much as I love writing these posts the time drain is too much for me right now. I was only planning on blogging about Joseph until he was promoted to his position of power anyway. So, I will post about that this Friday, since that was supposed to be last Friday’s post. After that don’t expect anything on either Monday or Friday until further notice.

I’ll do my best to send out a monthly newsletter around Feb 1. If the Spirit leads I may post a poem or humor piece, but don’t count on it.

I don’t know where I’ll go with the devotional posts when I come back. I may continue to follow Joseph’s life, or I may go back to David’s life and discover what important lessons he was taught that made him such a great leader. If you have a preference let me know in the comments.

Prayers are very much needed and appreciated. As you can see when you’re fighting on the front lines the attacks come fast and furious. I know I’m on the winning side so I’ll keep on keeping on.

Watch my back. I’ll be back.   Wade

Sunday was just one of those days for me

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

Sunday was just one of those days for me. It actually started last week and came to a head on Sunday.

The good news is that I’m back to work. The bad news I picked up the co-worker creeping crud during my first week on the job.

My first assignment from the temp driving agency had me retrieving new trucks from dealerships. The trucks had a cab and a frame. That’s it. The company I was driving for puts whatever the customer who bought the truck wants on the frame to make it functional.

That means I was in a minivan for half the day with another driver. It’s not like I can’t get along with someone else for that period of time. We actually got along quite well since we’re both quiet.

On Tuesday Dennis coughed a few times and mentioned that his son had a bad cough and wouldn’t take anything for it. On Wednesday he complained about his chest hurting when he sneezed. Fortunately Thursday was a short day or he probably wouldn’t have made it through it.

I developed a cough on Friday while at my next assignment. On Saturday’s assignment I didn’t feel well, but I got through it. I stopped and picked up an assortment of cough syrups and various lozenges to prepare for the inevitable.

I was so chilled when I went to bed I stayed in multiple layers and set my electric blanket to 8. I woke up a half hour later drenched in sweat. I took one layer off and moved the control to 3. I spent twelve hours in bed.

The cough commenced when I stood up. I poured myself a bowl of cereal and ate half of it. Next thing I knew I was stretched across the couch taking a nap. At one in the afternoon I finished the bowl of cereal that was still on the table.

Most of the day I fluctuated between chills and sweat. I must have chosen the best syrup for this cough because it didn’t get as bad as Dennis’s cough.

I watched the Cowboys lose the game on a controversial call (Dez had control of that catch). Then went through another round of sweating profusely. No, not because of the game. I don’t think it was from that. Anyway.

I finally began to feel human again after I ate a bowl of soup for supper. I also had a piece of chocolate. Yeah, I know I’m really sick when I don’t even want to eat chocolate.

Next week’s assignment has me driving for a company called Shuttle X. I just hope I don’t get stuck shuttling with another sicky. Unemployment is beginning to sound a lot better all the time.

Jesus was right when He told us each day would have enough trouble of its own. Why does it seem some days have more than their fair share?

I’m supposed to record the narration for my storybook app. I hope this doesn’t turn into a full-blown cold. I think people will feel cheated when they hear, “Hab you heard ob da herd dat cabe to da awk? Day fowd it witout noing whewe Noah had pawked.”

Yes, your prayers are very much appreciated and encouraged, Hint Hint.

Keep smiling in spite of your troubles.   Wade

BEFORE THE KING

The water dumped on Joseph’s head cooled the burning sensation from the shave. As the last of the water rinsed the soap off he felt renewed–like he was no longer a prisoner. The clean robe they placed on him was almost as colorful as Abba’s robe had been.

The man in charge clapped his hands twice. “Come now. We must not keep Pharaoh waiting.”

The morning sun blinded Joseph when he exited the jail. He closed them as he followed the footsteps in front of him. His squint finally gave way to a view of his surroundings. The men were walking too fast for Joseph to dare look back.

He tried to gather his thoughts. Am I leaving the jail for good? Or shall I return in a few minutes? Will I finally get a chance to plead my case and get released? Will I be allowed to return home, or will I have to go back to Potiphar’s house?

Joseph had never seen a door as large as the one entering Pharaoh’s palace. A short corridor led to a shorter, wider door. The room it led to was long. A throne was at the far end.

Pharaoh stopped his pacing and sat in the throne when he saw the group enter. His hands gripped the armrests.

Joseph mimicked the bow of the other men, then looked at the sweat on Pharaoh’s brow.

Pharaoh leaned forward. “I had a dream last night. Nobody in my court can tell me what it means. I’ve heard it said of you that you can interpret dreams. Is that right?”

Joseph cleared his throat and did his best to maintain eye contact. “God is the One who gives dreams. He may choose to use me to tell you what they mean. He is in control of everything.”

********

There’s nothing like a good baptism to get a person ready to lead a new life. The washing and new set of clothes must have been a pleasant feeling for the bedraggled Hebrew, Joseph.

The men who were sent to bring him before their leader would do their best to make sure the stench of the prison didn’t follow Joseph into the palace.

Do you remember your baptism, if you had one? Were you too young to realize the full significance of it?

Baptisms are a grand public display of our decision to leave our old lifestyle behind us as we enter into our new relationship with God at the center of it.

Have you ever thought about why Jesus was baptized? He didn’t need to repent of any sin like the rest of the Jews of His day were told to do.

Jesus’ baptism was His public declaration the He was washing off the sawdust of the carpenter shop in Nazareth to begin His earthly ministry Father God had set out for Him to do. A forty day fasting solitude immediately  followed.

Joseph didn’t know his washing would be the last he’d see of the prison, but it was a type of baptism for him. His days of confinement were soon to become a lifetime of freedom and leadership.

God didn’t let Joseph know his times of testing and preparation were nearly completed. Joseph simply followed the men who came to retrieve him. His faithful obedience was soon to be rewarded.

Two more tests awaited Joseph before he ascended to the throne. One came quickly. The other one we’ll look at next time.

The first question Pharaoh asked tested Joseph’s allegiance. “Are you the one who interprets dreams?”

Joseph could have listed all the dreams he had and the ones he interpreted as an impressive resume. He could have simply said yes as a short answer to alleviate Pharaoh’s concerns.

Both of those options would have put Joseph at the center of the equation. That’s not the caliber of man we’re dealing with here.

Pharaoh’s heart may have sunk when Joseph shook his head and said, “it’s not me.”

Fortunately Joseph was quick to point to the real source of the dreams and their meanings. “God is the giver of dreams and their interpretations.”

[Tweet “Without God’s intervention in our life we’re useless. With Him we’re unstoppable.”]

How quick are you to take the credit for something God blessed you with?

Do you think about all those long hours you practiced a musical instrument and put your trust in that for your reason you’re so good at it? As grand as that is in the equation God still gave you your innate love of that tool to worship Him.

Have you basked in the limelight at work because of your seemingly easy way of reading people that lets you home in on their problem while others are still trying to remember their name. God blessed you with that ability.

Are you like the woodpecker who was on the tree that was struck by lightning? After he picked himself off the forest floor and witnessed the devastation he stuck out his charred breast feathers and exclaimed, “Wow! I didn’t know I had that in me.”

Everybody else knew he didn’t do that work. It came from an outside source.

Are you more like the gloves I bought many years ago? Every fall I’d invest in a good pair of leather gloves to withstand the harsh Michigan winters on the farm. Once when I was trying them on after I got home my dad walked in the room and asked what I had.

I said, “the tag says their work gloves.”

“Do they work?”

“I don’t know. Let’s see.” I plopped the empty gloves on the table.

After about thirty seconds my dad spoke up. “Looks like you better get your money back.”

Those gloves needed a hand in them to accomplish any work.

It’s the same for you and me. Without God’s intervention in our life we’re useless. With Him we’re unstoppable.

Often when I read something I just wrote I feel like I get the distinct privilege of being the first person to read it.

I’m a glove.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Are you as tired of Christians who live by a double standard as I am?

Here’s my monthly humor video. This time I got as much mileage out of the grey beard that grew in this fall as I possibly could. Now I have a new appearance (that’s actually my old appearance) for the new year with its new attitude and hope fully a much better outcome over last year.

I’m pointing out the shortcomings of Christians who live by a double standard on Sunday morning opposed to the rest of their week.

This ones short, but it packs a punch. You’re warned.

 

 

Keep smiling.   Wade

ROYAL PREPARATIONS

When Joseph finished 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 held its usual demanding tone.

Joseph walked to 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.

The man closest to him nodded once. “Are you the Hebrew who interprets dreams?”

Joseph swallowed hard.

A second man stepped forward. “Did you tell the cup bearer he’d get his job back three days before it happened.”

Joseph grabbed the door post to steady his knees.

The third man came to Joseph and stared in his eyes. “How did you know the baker would get hanged? I came up with the idea for that game for Pharaoh the morning of his birthday. Was it truly from his dream?”

Joseph stood straight. “It’s not me, actually. My God gives dreams. I guess He uses me to interpret them.”

The man standing closest to Joseph grabbed his arm. “It doesn’t matter where you insist it comes from. Pharaoh is disturbed by some dreams he had last night. He’s requesting you to come tell him what they mean.”

The man looked at his arm when he felt something strange. He brushed the flea off as he stepped back.

Joseph squashed the flea with his sandal. “I can’t go before Pharaoh like this. Look, shave my head. It’s the only way to insure I don’t carry any parasites in with me. And I should wash and get a new set of clothes. Pharaoh’s dreams aren’t going anywhere.”

The first man pushed the second man toward the door. “He’s your size. Bring something nice for him to wear.”

The second man rushed to the door. “Right.”

The first man looked at Joseph. “Do you have a razor here?”

The jail keeper pulled a drawer open and picked one up from the back corner. “I can shave him. I used to shave Pharaoh’s father. I’ll do anything to help the king.”

The next thing Joseph knew he was seated in the jail keeper’s chair. He felt the jail keeper’s breath on his scalp as large locks of hair fell to the floor.

Two buckets of water were brought in. They yanked Joseph’s clothes off him and washed him from head to toe. A beautiful robe was placed on him.

The first man clapped his hands twice. “Come, we must not keep Pharaoh waiting.”

********

 Have you ever thought about there being a practical reason why Joseph shaved before he entered Pharaoh’s presence?

Think about it. He’s been living in a prison for over two years. It’s referred to as a dungeon. It’s not much of a stretch to picture rats and mice scurrying about. Fleas and lice would be carried in.

Who’d want to be known as the guy who gave Pharaoh lice?

He wouldn’t have been in jail so long that he would have forgotten that civilized people wash and smell nice. We can only imagine how long it had been since he had a real bath.

First impressions are important. Especially when you want to get on the good side of someone who has the power to get you out of jail.

[Tweet “God loves messy People! That’s why He gave His life for us.”]

Unfortunately too many people treat God the same way. They think they need to clean up their life before they can come to Him.

They see most church people being upstanding citizens and think they were that way when they came to God to begin with, that’s why He accepts them.

Nothing could be further from the truth. If most Christ-followers are honest they’ll tell you they were a wreck when they came to God.

Think back to the crucifixion. Jesus told the dying thief next to Him he’d be in Paradise with Jesus. That thief didn’t have time to change anything about his life. Jesus took him in just as he was and He continues to do the same thing today.

I love the fact Jesus was born in a stable on the outskirts of town. When the angels told the shepherds about the child who was born to make their jobs obsolete they didn’t wash up before they came to God in human flesh. They rushed as quickly as they could to see the Messiah born that night.

God worked those details together to show how He came so humbly to forgive sinful humanity.

I know your life is a mess. You wouldn’t be human if it was any other way. My life is a mess and I’ve been following Jesus since I was  boy.

God loves messy People! That’s why He gave His life for us.

When you accept Jesus as your savior you’re adopted into God’s spiritual family. That’s why we call Him Father.

He activates his Holy Spirit in each of His children to help them improve their lives. The goal of every true Christ-follower is to become more like Jesus every day.

Before you come into God’s family your desire is for your own interests. Your happiness is your top priority. Christians who deepen their relationship with God through Jesus turn that priority upside-down to please Father.

God knew you’d never be able to be good enough to be in His perfect presence. That’s why He came down to earth as Jesus. That baby grew into the only man who never messed His life up.

Jesus’ perfect life made Him the only person who could come to God because He was good enough. But, He knew we needed someone to build a bridge in the gap that separates us from the perfect Father.

That’s what Easter is all about. Jesus didn’t deserve to die because of His sinless life. His death was done in our place so we can come to Father in our messy condition.

The proof of Jesus’ conquest over death is His resurrection.

Give your messy life to Him today.

I’ll see you later.   Wade