A Word about Life

Life is a gift, A gift is our life

But to live a life, that is ours to do.

Our gift is to be shared, Our life shared with others

To encourage, to laugh, to cry, to celebrate, to mourn

Life is complex, glorious, fragile and all to fleeting.

As we move through time and space together, I ask

What of myself, or any of us, would be the greatest value

I could ever offer to another?

For others to know that I love them, that they truly know.

May be the greatest gift I have to offer.

 

Life Lesson Series – Choose to Love

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I wonder how many people woke up this morning and decided that today would be a day to hate other people. To purposefully seek out opportunities where they might have the opportunity to hurt others; either by word or action. My hope would be that no one would intentionally start their day in this manner but unfortunately we live in a world where this type of thing happens far too often.

Conversely, how many of us woke up this morning and as we were drinking our coffee, decided that today would be a day where we consciously seek out opportunities to love others; either by deeds or simply sharing an encouraging word with others. Or were we already running frantic and simply didn’t have time to contemplate anything other than getting out the door to start our day.

My point is that we have to be purposeful in choosing what our attitudes will be during the course of any given day. My fear is that more times than not, we simply go through the motions of living life with the single purpose of just getting through the day. I must admit that even for myself, this tends to happen far more than I would like to think. How different would my and your days look if we simply chose to love.

If Christ is truly within us, then shouldn’t our lives be a testament of the Love that He has for us? Jesus is a seeker of opportunities to share His love with everyone. Should that not be our desire as well? Here is what we forget. For some, their view of Jesus will be directly influenced by our actions; in both word and deed. When we choose not to love others, we are choosing to sin against God.

When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment – His response was this – Matthew 22:37 – 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

So what will we choose to do this day. Will we choose to love others as Christ loves us (and them) or maybe we’re undecided, have too much going on to think about it, so we choose not to choose. Here’s the thing as I see it – if we choose not to choose, we are still deciding not to love!!

My prayer is that each day, the Lord will make fresh in my heart a desire to love others. That through me, others would see the love that Christ has for them. Or to say it another way, this song is perfect – please give it a listen.

by Shawn McDonald – All I Need

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Life Lesson Series – Listening

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I originally posted this back in December but thought it was worth a re-post for this series. 

This is one life lesson that is very much a learned skill and discipline. Ask yourself, How often do you truly listen to the world around you? When in conversation how often do you truly engage the person and listen to what they are telling you? More times than not, I catch myself thinking of my response more than I am actually listening to what is being said.

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say”. Bryant H. McGill

I love the quote above and think it’s absolutely true. It’s amazing how much more we get out of a conversation when we truly listen to what is being said instead of just hearing them speak. Another aspect of listening and respect is to have eye contact with the person you are conversing with instead of looking at our phones or fidgeting with this or that.

As a kid I had to go to speech therapy 2 times a week for a couple of years so that I could learn how to speak properly. Being born with a cleft pallet caused this process to take longer for me than it did other kids but looking back on it now I realize what a blessing that was, as it taught me how to listen. Time after time, my therapist would say a word or a sentence and then I would have to repeat it back to her. Another benefit of this is that with time I learned how to read lips proficiently. This ability has proven very beneficial over the years.

One of the things I had to overcome and still struggle with to this day is that I have a tendency to look at people’s lips when talking with them instead of making eye contact. As I said earlier, eye contact, is another key component of showing someone respect and something that I made sure to teach my children how to do. When you keep eye contact with someone as their speaking to you, you will also notice that it allows you to see more. Maybe not into their souls but it allows you to see more deeply into the person.

The life lesson of listening is one that is typically overlooked but over the years, at least for me, as become one of the most critical for me. Listening is one discipline I am constantly having to work at, as it is easy for me to be distracted but is also one of the most needed. Another component of listening, especially to God, is to simply be still. In  Psalm 46:10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

In order to truly hear God, we must learn to be still and allow Him the opportunity to speak to us. To often I find myself going through the motions with God – my prayers become one-sided and I don’t take time to pause and let Him speak to me or during my study time, I may find myself trying to understand a particular passage of scripture and I simply breeze through it without actually taking the time to study or meditate on it, giving Him the opportunity to speak to me.

Again – Listening, to me, is one of those skills that we can never master but by being diligent to try, we can greatly improve the relationships around us.

Would love to hear your thoughts! Really, I would love hear your thoughts. Honestly, ………….I will listen.

Peace and thanks for reading!!

All about Me

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An incredible game took place Monday night between the Auburn Tigers and Florida State Seminoles has they battled for the BCS National Championship. By and large, last night’s game was a perfect picture of everything that is right with college football and why we as a nation, love it so much. Yet, even in the midst of this spectacular game, I was struck by how often, certain players took the opportunity to say “hey, look at me, yes, I am all that!!”.  I won’t call the individuals out by name but there were several of them.

I understand that in the heat of the moment or in the exuberance of making a play, a player will be excited, jump to his feet and pound his chest a couple of times and then celebrate with his team. Today’s athletes however, seem more likely to run to the cameras (they know exactly where they are), and make Madonna proud by striking a pose or turning their backs to the camera and pointing to their name on the back of the jersey. as Vernon Davis illustrates above. At one point last night, one individual thought so highly of himself that he took it upon himself to taunt the entire opposing team.

There are some players who still understand that it’s about the team first, individual accomplishments second and oh how refreshing it is to here an athlete these days, being genuinely humble. Obviously, it’s football season and especially with all the bowl games, we have been witness to an overwhelming amount of grandstanding these past two weeks. Lest you think this only takes place in football, I will remind you that 80% of the truly great grand standers play in a local NBA arena near you. It’s rare these days that you will ever catch me watching an NBA game for that reason.

I know some out there are probably going to try and make the argument that these kids/young men are just having fun and some have suggested that it is just the culture these days or it’s just this generation. Label it, justify it, excuse it all you want but it is nothing more than being selfish. And shame on my generation for allowing this to become acceptable behavior in sports and really, across all venues of our lives today.

My generation has done nothing to address the trend of – “it’s all about me” and truth be told, we have helped perpetuate the antics of these individual. I know there have been plenty that came before him – Reggie Jackson, Rickey Henderson, Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson, O.J. Simpson, Joe DiMaggio, Dizzy Dean, Satchel Paige and Babe Ruth just to name a few but Deion Sanders was the first that I can remember that truly understood and developed his own brand – Prime Time. In my opinion, he was and still is the most talented athlete to ever play the game and although you may disagree with that I believe you would be hard pressed to find anybody that was better than he was at promoting himself!!

I bring Sanders up because I used to be the guy that would excuse some of his antics by saying he was just a showman that happened to play football, or that he was simply being entertaining and that was true. He was all of those things and I had no problem with it….until he moved on from the Falcons and Braves. I was there when he picked off the pass and danced all the way down the sidelines in front of the Falcons bench. In that instance, he disrespected the Falcons, his team and the game of football. He made himself bigger than the game.

Unfortunately, he was just helping to refine the art of self-promotion that we see is so rampant in today’s sports and society. As I watched last night I realized that I and we need to own up to the fact that we have helped create this “it’s all about me” culture and unless we start addressing it now, it’s only going to get worse and truth is, it may already be too late.

There is a word that is associated with everything I have written and I have referred to it a couple of times already but I will clarify it now. This generation has very little respect for others and I’m not just talking about sports now but rather our entire culture. Anytime an individual places themselves above, in front of  and at the expense of others or without regard to others, that is called selfishness.

*NOTE – there are additional reasons as to why we have this culture today and perhaps I will try and address those in a later post.

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Life Lesson 3 – Listening

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This is one life lesson that is very much a learned skill and discipline. Ask yourself, How often do you truly listen to the world around you? When in conversation how often do you truly engage the person and listen to what they are telling you? More times than not, I catch myself thinking of my response more than I am actually listening to what is being said.

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say”. Bryant H. McGill

I love the quote above and think it’s absolutely true. It’s amazing how much more we get out of a conversation when we truly listen to what is being said instead of just hearing them speak. Another aspect of listening and respect is to have eye contact with the person you are conversing with instead of looking at our phones or fidgeting with this or that.

As a kid I had to go to speech therapy 2 times a week for a couple of years so that I could learn how to speak properly. Being born with a cleft pallet caused this process to take longer for me than it did other kids but looking back on it now I realize what a blessing that was, as it taught me how to listen. Time after time, my therapist would say a word or a sentence and then I would have to repeat it back to her. Another benefit of this is that with time I learned how to read lips proficiently. This ability has proven very beneficial over the years.

One of the things I had to overcome and still struggle with to this day is that I have a tendency to look at people’s lips when talking with them instead of making eye contact. Eye contact to me is another key component of showing someone respect and something that I made sure to teach my children how to do. When you keep eye contact with someone as their speaking to you, you will also notice that it allows you to see more. Maybe not into their souls but it allows you to see more deeply into the person.

I think this life lesson is one that is typically overlooked but over the years, at least for me, as become one of the most critical for me. Listening is one discipline I am constantly having to work at, as it is easy for me to be distracted but is also one of the most needed. Another component of listening, especially to God, is to simply be still. In  Psalm 46:10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

In order to truly hear God, we must learn to be still and allow Him the opportunity to speak to us. To often I find myself going through the motions with God – my prayers become one-sided and I don’t take time to pause and let Him speak to me or during my study time, I may find myself trying to understand a particular passage of scripture and I simply breeze through it without actually taking the time to study or meditate on it, giving Him the opportunity to speak to me.

Again – Listening, to me, is one of those skills that we can never master but by being diligent to try, we can greatly improve the relationships around us.

Would love to hear your thoughts! Really, I would love hear your thoughts. Honestly, ………….I will listen.

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Life Lesson 1 – Share the Journey

Life Lesson 2 – Serving

A Look at Truth

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This past Tuesday I had the opportunity to travel down to Pine Mountain, GA and sit in on a morning session at IMPACT360. Impact is a one-year gap program designed to give young men and women the opportunity to establish a strong, Biblical world view before heading off to college, missions or wherever their next step is to take them. My son, Ben is a student there and has had an incredible time in his time there this year.

In addition to catching up with Ben, I was looking forward to listening to Dr. Del Tackett, author and creator of the Truth Project. My wife and I have gone through the Truth Project a couple of times now and appreciate the depth of the study and all the “truths” uncovered during the course of the series. Dr. Tackett, like many others, will come to IMPACT and teach the students over a three day time period. I went that morning expecting to hear from God through whatever Dr. Tackett’s lesson would be for the day. I had no idea as I sat down that morning of the deep, lasting impact the next three hours would have on me. Even now, a week later, I am just now really starting to process all the things uncovered for me last Tuesday morning.

There is no way to adequately cover everything that Dr. Tackett spoke of but hopefully, something I share of my own journey will be helpful to you, the readers, in some way.

As the session began, Dr. Tackett began with a review of the previous day’s discussion. In the opening, he said – “the nature of God is always truth”. This was so profound to me, of course it is, but wow, how simple was that statement. In a day and time where truth seems so scarce, there it is; there it’s always been since God spoke the earth and heavens into existence and created man – TRUTH, has been there all along.

So anytime, we are in the presence of God, studying His word, praying or worshiping Him through music, it means we are faced with Truth. Truth, God’s nature, exposes us and the culture around us. When we are exposed to truth, it calls us to action. We must decide to either ignore the truth as it’s revealed to us or to take action and do something with that which is revealed to us. Make no mistake, to ignore it (truth), is an action as it represents a conscience choice.

Just as I was beginning to wrap my head around this, the good doctor was getting into the next phase of the discussion. That we, through Christ are Equipped, Empowered and Set free to Flourish – Physically, Vocationally and Spiritually. In Genesis 1:22, we read – 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” So there’s the physical call to flourish and in Psalm 128:2 we find – You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. And finally, in Mark 4:20 – 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

As he was sharing this I was processing the thought of flourishing spiritually and asking myself how well I was doing in this department. As I was pondering this Mr. Del said the following – “We tend to look inward at people instead of looking at the fruit they bear.” I looked at Mark 4:20 again: hear the word, accept it and produce a crop. I looked at it again and remembering the earlier talking point about truth – HEAR THE WORD (truth), ACCEPT IT (truth) and produce a crop (ACTION). In other words, it is not simply enough to know the truth, we are called to take action with the truth. The devil himself knows the truth and takes every action he can in preventing the truth from being told, shared with others.

So how do we share the “truth”, take action if you will. John 15:5 – “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. I have camped out in John 15 over the last week, reading it over and over again. In verse 5 Jesus calls us to action by abiding in Him, and He will abide in us. In doing so, we will bear much fruit! Choosing not to abide in Him means we choose to do nothing. My prayer is that all of you who read this will take a moment and read this chapter for yourselves, with fresh eyes and an open heart.

In Thursday’s post I will share with you my thoughts as Dr. Tackett transitioned into the “Great Question”. What is God’s will for my life?

Thanks for reading! Peace!

Behind the Glasses (cover up)

So, my Monday started out less than stellar this morning as I awoke to my left eyelid swollen so bad that I couldn’t open my eye. It started swelling yesterday and consensus of those not in the medical field is that I have a sty. I am now patiently waiting on my eye appointment which is at 3:30 this afternoon.

As I was leaving the house this morning I decided to check the mirror one more time just to see how bad my eye really looked. It looks really bad, as it is really red, puffy and looks a lot like I went 3 rounds with Sugar Ray Leonard. I grabbed my sunglasses and put them on and presto, problem was solved, as with my glasses on, no one can tell that anything is amiss with my eye. It really is amazing at the difference the sunglasses make in my appearance. As long as I keep my glasses on no one will know how bad my eye really is.

As I was looking in the mirror, sliding the glasses up and down on my nose the thought hit me of how often we go through this life trying to find the “right sunglasses” to cover up our imperfections. All of us have things in our lives that we try and hide from others. It’s one thing for us to know where our shortfalls are but we don’t need to let everyone else know about them, so we work hard to cover them up…so that no one will really know how bad our imperfections really are.

Here’s the thing and what I have been thinking about this morning. All of us have our own inadequacies, whether it’s in our appearance, our attitudes or our sins. And we seem to spend an awful lot of time in trying to cover, hide, disguise, ignore, pretend, or deflect these from others and more importantly from ourselves. The truth is this: God knows all our inadequacies whether we admit to them or not. It’s easy to look at someone else and see all of their faults, recognize their shortcomings and unfortunately Christians, seem to be the best at doing this.

It’s time each of us addressed our own inadequacies as they are and seek God’s direction in how best to go about correcting them. And then, as we look upon others, wearing the glasses, we might show a little more compassion and mercy toward them…….and simply love them as Christ loves us!!

Peace and thanks for reading!!

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A Study of Joseph – Rebuilding Trust

Have you ever been hurt by someone you trusted? That maybe the hardest hurt to overcome for any of us. It was no different for Joseph. Although he had forgiven his brothers, he still needed to know if he could ever, fully trust them again. So he had decided to hold onto Simeon and send the other brothers back to Canaan to face their father once again with one less brother. Oh the irony that they were now faced with! They would be telling Jacob the truth but how in the world could they ever explain what has now happened to Simeon.

And especially, after telling Jacob what had happened, they empty their sacks where it is revealed to all of them that the money they had been given to pay for the grain was still in their possession. So they are now telling Jacob the truth but he will not have any of it. Genesis 42:36 – Their father Jacob said to them, “You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!” Don’t you kind of feel for Jacob here? He has no one to trust and is adamant that Benjamin will not make the trip to Egypt. And this after Reuben offers up his two sons has ransom if he doesn’t return with Benjamin. For now, Jacob is done with all of it.

As time passes though and they use up all of the grain, they are faced once again with the prospect of not having food. This time however, Judah, makes the plea to return to Egypt with Benjamin to get the grain that they will need. Interesting comparison here between Reuben’s initial plea and that made by Judah. Reuben did not put himself on the line with his plea but rather, his two sons. Judah puts himself on the line; Genesis 43:9 – 9 I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. It is now cemented for sure that Judah is the true leader among the brothers.

As they present themselves again to Joseph, we now see that he knows they are at least being honest with him as they have indeed, returned with Benjamin. Notice how he greets them; he first asks about their well being but then gets right to the point and ask them about their father. Is he still alive? Then he turns his attention to Benjamin and blesses him. Joseph then excuses himself and leaves their company to regain his composure. Upon returning they all sit down to take part in a meal that Joseph had prepared for them.

Joseph still had one more test for the brothers. He needed to know if the brothers had truly changed or not by finding out what was truly important to them. At this point, I would challenge you to read the whole chapter of Genesis 44. Joseph had arranged it so that Benjamin would be forced to stay with him while the brothers would have to return back to Jacob, once again, without their brother. And throughout the chapter we see that the heart of these 10 brothers have been truly changed. And especially, where Judah is concerned, as he makes a desperate plea to Joseph to keep him instead and let Benjamin return to his father.

Truly Judah’s main concern is that of protecting both his brother and his father’s well being. Offering up himself in order to save his brother from slavery and therefore avoiding sure heartache for his father. Joseph finally knew that he could trust his brothers!

Trust is something that I think all of us can sometimes take for granted. And we shouldn’t! Our word, integrity is something we should guard and protect at all costs!! If we ever lose it, there is no guarantee that we will ever recover it. Notice, that at no time through all of this, has Joseph pointed out to his brothers their faults, misjudgements, lying and deceitful acts. They realize for themselves all that they have done and our forced to deal with it. The fact that it was Judah who makes the final plea to Joseph is fitting since he was the one who initiated the idea of selling Joseph into slavery some 22 years earlier.

One more segment of our study to go and that is the Reunion between Jacob and Joseph. Additionally, I will have one last look at the parallels between Jesus and Joseph.

Peace and thanks for reading.

A Study of Joseph – Pride Avoided

Finally, after 13 years Joseph is released from prison and not only that, he now finds himself as the 2nd in command of the whole nation of Egypt! As we pick up the story in Genesis 41:41-44, we see that Pharaoh announces Joseph’s rise to power in a big, big, way. After declaring that Joseph will be over all the land of Egypt, Pharaoh removes his signet ring from his own hand and places the ring on Joseph’s hand. And then gives Joseph a brand new wardrobe of fine linen garments to wear and lastly, he then places a gold chain around Joseph’s neck!.

After the makeover his complete, Pharaoh then has Joseph ride in his second chariot and while Joseph is touring the country, servants go before him calling out “Make Way”. Joseph has arrived, he has been delivered from the depths of prison and given a new life to lead. As part of this new beginning, he receives a new name from Pharaoh and also given a new bride, whose name is Asenath. Can you imagine if that happened in our day? The media would just explode with all kinds of coverage about the new kid. Where did he come from? What’s his background? Any skeletons in the closet? and on and on.

I imagine the people of Egypt during this time were also wondering some of the same things. And it had to seem to them, that this had just happened overnight. They had no idea that this new kid had been being groomed for this role over 13 years. They would have no way of knowing what Joseph had to endure during his life to get to this point. Sold into slavery, a servant for years, falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit and then sentenced to serve his life in prison.

NO CHARGE FOR THE FOLLOWING AS IT IS JUST THOUGHTS AS I AM PREPARING THIS:

What about us today? How often do we look at others and before we really know anything about them or the life they have had to live; pass judgement and decide what our response to them will be – sometimes even before we talk to them. Let me say this another way. How many Joseph’s do we know? Those people that we see, that seemingly have it all figured out and/or at least seem to not have the struggles we do. Do we take the time to get to know them, find out their story or do we simply hold to our initial judgement and leave it up to them to change our opinion?

I think the opposite is true as well. I think there are times when we see those people, that by worldly standards appear to be down and out, undesirable, uneducated, unworthy, etc. and we again, make judgments based on preconceived bias’ we have. Do we condemn them to never having the opportunity to gain our friendship simply because of their appearance. If so, shame on us!!

Ok, back to the study. Joseph answered his calling and did exactly what he had proposed to Pharaoh by going throughout the land of Egypt collecting all the excess grain and storing it in the different cities around the country. Genesis 41:47-49. There was so much excess in fact, that Joseph quit measuring the grains that were collected. For Joseph, the land wasn’t the only thing producing in abundance, as we read about he and his wife welcoming two sons into their family in Genesis 41:50.

It strikes me as I read about all of this that Joseph doesn’t become boastful are prideful. I think it would be easy for him to puff up and say “look, I knew I could do this, I just needed the chance. Look at how great I am managing all this”. No, what we see is the opposite as we look at Genesis 41:51-52 – 51 Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh[a] and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” 52 The second son he named Ephraim[b] and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

Joseph recognized and understood that it was by God’s grace and mercy that he was enjoying the life he was now leading. The trials and tribulations that Joseph had endured for those 13 years helped position him to have a grateful attitude and not one of pride. How are we doing with pride today? Do we recognize and honor God regardless of our circumstances or do we boast about what WE have done or if facing trials of our own, do we hold true and steadfast, giving thanks to God despite our plights?

If you take a moment and finish reading the rest of Genesis 41 , you will see that in fact, famine does come, not only to Egypt but the whole world. And as famine spreads across the country, people from everywhere make their way to see Joseph and buy grains in order to keep their families fed.

Next, we will look at restoration and the word that has to happen before that takes place….forgiveness!

Peace and thanks for reading!

A Study of Joseph – Life Repeats Itself

In the last post I mentioned two gentlemen that would play a significant role in Joseph’s life. Both men served in Pharaoh’s court, as one served as his cupbearer and the other his baker. These two men probably had no idea how they would help impact the world for years and years to come but God used both of them to help shape the events that would lead to Joseph becoming the 2nd most powerful man in ALL of Egypt! But first….

Joseph had been put into the same prison where the King’s prisoners were kept by Potiphar. And once again God let’s Joseph know that He is with him by granting Joseph favor in the eyes of the Prison Warden. So much so, that the warden is compelled to not only put all of the prisoners under Joseph’s direction but for everything that was done there! Obviously, this all sounds familiar as once again Joseph finds success in all that he does, for the Lord is with him.

Sometime after Joseph has built up his reputation with the warden we read that Pharaoh was offended by the cupbearer and baker and puts them into the custody of the warden where Joseph was. And Joseph is assigned to be their personal attendant. We are also told at the end  Genesis 40:4 that they were in custody for some time. And then beginning in Genesis 40:5 we see how dreams, once again, begin to play a significant role in Joseph’s life. I would encourage you at this point to read Genesis 40:5-23

Would it have surprised you if Joseph had told these guys to forget about their dreams, that in his experience, nothing good ever came from dreams. At this point, we can deduct that Joseph is around the age of 28 and has been enslaved for 9 years or so. And since the time of his dreams at age 17, he has had to endure a pretty hard life. Yes, God has been with him the whole time but according to worldly standards, prison is surely not the place you want to be making your way in this world.

Deliverance for Joseph is another 2 years away as we will see later and I would imagine at this point, Joseph is not praying for patience but patience IS what he is learning. Obviously he knows that God has blessed him and continues to do so by granting him favor in men’s eyes and making it possible for him to find continual success in all that he does. Even so, I think it’s incredible we don’t see any evidence that Joseph is bitter or angry with his position in life.

If we are honest with ourselves, we probably feel like we can relate to Joseph, I admit I do. Am I slave to someone or a prisoner…no but at times I do feel enslaved to this life and that sometimes, just as I feel like things are going great and I am feeling really great about life, circumstances change and I find myself asking “why me, Lord”? And like Joseph, when I take time to lose the bitterness or anger and look for the blessings in my life, I am overwhelmed by the Grace, Mercy and Love that God showers me with! And the blessings so greatly outnumber any hardships, trials and tribulations I may have experienced.

In this life, it sometimes seems that life repeats itself time and time again as I experience some of the same ups and downs over and over again. As I look at it now though, I see that in each instance, there were different lessons or experiences that have helped shaped me to who I am today. And maybe not for you, but for me, the toughest lesson for me to learn is patience. To know that in all circumstances of my life, God is with me, and through all things, God is wanting to not only reveal Himself to me, but grow me through it that I will be in a better position to serve Him and His purpose!!

Peace and thanks for reading!