Life Lesson Series – Time Management

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Time is an illusion, there is always time and then there is no time at all. It is here and gone in the same instant.

On the 28th this month I will turn 48 and for the most part, there is very little I regret  about my life. One of those is that I did not spend enough time with my kids as they were growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I was fortunate to be able to spend an incredible amount of time with them over the years but now that they have moved on to new chapters of their lives, and I selfishly wish I had even more memories to draw from.

Time management is a discipline that needs to be developed and takes a lot of work to do it effectively. First of all, I would recommend that you take inventory of your life. What in your life is most important to you? Go ahead, write them down, study them, make sure to include everything that is important to you. Now once you have your list down – rank them in order of importance. For some, this exercise will be difficult as you begin to rank them because, if your honest, you may realize some things are more important than you thought.

Now, for some, the next step will the hardest. Beside each of the things you listed, record the amount of time you spend on each of those things daily. If you don’t do this honestly, than you are just wasting time (pun intended!). I really think this exercise can be a catalyst in resetting your life. Helping you to refocus your efforts, to ensure that you have time to devote to those things you say is important.

An exercise I went through several years ago also affected the way I spend my time and honestly, still have to remind myself to do it on occasion. Usually, when I’m feeling overwhelmed that I don’t have time to complete everything on my list. So what is the exercise you ask? Purpose. What is the purpose of me spending time doing X? If I can define why something is important to me, it helps me to prioritize. A part of defining is to understand it’s purpose. I know it may seem a little trivial or kind of out there, but it worked for me.

Time is a gift from God and should never be taken for granted, especially by followers of Christ. I could do a whole other post on this topic  alone. And even if you don’t believe in God, you should never waste your time. All of us at some point, will die, at least physically. It’s funny how my mindset has changed over the years and continues to do so as I advance in age. At 18, I didn’t give time a second thought. I had my whole life in front of me with plenty of time to spare.

At 25, I started to realize I only had a certain amount of time to make “real” money and provide for my wife and kids.  Priorities changed and my life took a whole new direction. At 40, I started looking at what was really important in my life, what things did I need to concentrate on to ensure that my kids would be ready to leave their mother and I. Also, at 40, I took an honest assessment of what my testimony looked like to those around me. In other words, was I truly walking the walk of being a Christ follower or was it just talk?

So, on the cusp of being 48, I have begun looking ahead, at what my legacy might be in 30 or 40 years. Plenty of time to create, develop and implement a strategy of accomplishing the goals I have set. But, here’s the thing. I’m not promised tomorrow but I do have today!! So really, for me, that’s become my daily question. What will I do today?

Really had no idea this post was going to go in this direction and I’ve thought of scraping it and starting over. But, it is what it is so…..

Last point on time. For me, I have come to realize the most valuable commodity I have in life are the relationships I have with others. So when, I’m faced with a decision on where to spend my time or deciding what’s more important, the decision is usually based on potential impact my decision will have on my relationship with X. That’s why I think it’s critical to know what is TRULY important to you, so that you choose wisely where to spend your time.

Time is not given, you have to take it. Today I just want to encourage you to take time and do the things that are important to you. I have been blessed to have had time to spend with my wife and kids but I know that I am not promised tomorrow. My prayers haven’t changed, I pray that God will give me wisdom to help the kids find their own path and that each day I would grow closer to Him through my relationship with Christ.

May God multiply your time. Blessings to you all. Peace!!

Life Lessons – Learning is the Key

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One of the truly great gifts we are given in life is the ability to learn. I wish I had realized this earlier. I don’t have many regrets in my life but this is definitely one of them. It has only been in the last 20 years or so, that I have developed a passion for learning. Oh, if only I could return to my youth, how very different my pursuit of learning would be. And while I can’t go back, going forward, I can make sure that I learn something new every day.

“Learning is the only thing that the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets”. – Leonardo Da Vinci

During our lifetime, we naturally grow in our knowledge by simply living our life but how much greater could that be if we truly pursued learning as a life long pursuit. In the last 10 years, with the internet explosion, there is literally no end of resources available for anyone who is willing to learn more. I’m old enough to remember the Dewey Decimal System and how frustrating it was when the local library didn’t have that one book I needed to finish a report.

While it’s true that learning simple facts or researching specific topics is as easy as a Google search or asking Siri if she knows the answer, there’s more to learning than just knowing stuff. I submit to you, that while the informational highway has become an Autobahn for quick learning, we are becoming a society that is forgetting how to live and learn life with and from each other. Anyway, I guess the point I’m trying to make is this – learning math, languages, science, history, geography, etc. etc are vital in anyone’s development of knowledge but I hope that we never forget the art of learning from each other.

I’m an avid reader, always have been. I will read just about anything and appreciate anyone who has the discipline to start and finish writing a book. I love blogs and can spend hours on the internet reading various posts from people all over the world. I admit one of my favorite sites is Pinterest. Say what you want but it’s one of the greatest resources available to us today. You can learn how to do just about anything or at least gather new ideas to pursue further.

I love autobiography’s, to be able to delve into the minds of people as they were in the process of living their lives is just so cool to me. I also enjoy personal blogs where people share their thought processes. I love those moments while reading when it’s like – wow, I never thought of looking at that like this. I guess for me, reading represents my second favorite way to learn. It seems to challenge my imagination, my concepts of what I think I know more easily than anything else.

So my favorite way to learn, you ask? From others! I love being able to sit across from someone has they begin to unravel the truths they have learned while living their lives. To be able to see their facial expressions, see into their eyes as they talk, provides a connection that you simply can not gain any other way. As I said earlier, I hope we don’t become a society that forgets the art of learning through personal interaction.

Learning from each other is one of the ways we can “Share the Journey” with others. And I am so thankful for those men and women who have graciously given of their time to pour their knowledge into me!! My hope is that I may also  be found to be as gracious and giving of my time, that others may learn from me.

Peace and thanks for reading!!

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!

Living and Leaving a Legacy

I recently had the honor of speaking at a funeral to celebrate the life of one of the greatest men I have ever known. Below is a copy of my preparation draft leading up to that day. I decided to post it as a blog post because, outside of my father, no other person apart from Christ has had a greater influence on me becoming the man I am today. Although most of you won’t have a chance to meet him this side of heaven, this will give you a glimpse as to what this man meant to me and countless others in his lifetime. As you read this, keep in mind, the impact, the potential each of us has to impact the world around us.

Living and Leaving a Legacy

A “Great” man stepped off of the pavement of this life onto streets of gold in eternity last Saturday morning. A truly great man, who devoted much of his adult life to teach kids the game of baseball and for some of that time, basketball as well. Any of us who ever had the opportunity to play for him, whether baseball or basketball always improved as a player because of his coaching. He has forgotten more about the game of baseball than most of us will ever learn about it.

But is that why we are all here today? to honor a great coach? Maybe in some respect, that’s true but it’s more than that – I think, for most of us, we are here because of a bond that we have with this man that goes well beyond anything we could ever learn from just playing a sport!! The lessons we learned from this man have carried on within us to this very day. His influence has not just been in regards to those he coached, no……, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles have all been influenced by him.

Coach used the game of baseball to teach us about how to live our lives. Over the past week, as I have talked to several of you and read various posts, articles and such. I thought it was interesting how many times someone would say or write something like, “I didn’t realize it at the time but I learned this or that from Mr. Hilton.” Yes, we learned how to become better ballplayers from coach but more importantly we learned life lessons about – trust, respect, honor, loyalty, hard work, integrity, to just do the right thing and most of all LOVE. To pursue excellence is not only what he taught but how he lived.

Heritage by definition means “an inherited or established way of thinking, feeling, or doing”. All of us who are gathered here today are here because of the heritage established and handed down to us by Coach Hilton. Mark, I’m not sure but I maybe the only person here that can say – I played for your dad, coached baseball and basketball with him and also played for you. And as I think about your dad, and all the lessons he ever taught us….they really all revolved around one basic concept. To simply do the right thing. No shortcuts. Just do whatever it is that you need to do.

I’m reminded of a story. A time that Coach made me wear a catcher’s mask while playing second base.  I had just gotten braces and that same afternoon at practice, I took a shot to the mouth as we were taking infield practice. There was blood everywhere it seemed. After the bleeding had stopped, Coach had me grab my glove and head on out to second. He knew I needed to get back on that horse so to speak. As he hit ground ball after ground ball, I kept turning my head or looking up at the last instant. This is not what he taught. Finally, after several minutes he walked over to the catching gear and brought out a mask to me. One way or another, I was going to learn to keep my head down and watch that ball all the way into my glove.

Coach didn’t mind physical errors, that’s part of the game but mental errors, not giving the effort, that was unacceptable. And everyone here knows what you heard from coach whenever one of these lapses occurred. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I heard the phrase – “knock em bout”. (this phrase was our cue to take a lap)

And I do want to pause here and say that there are two things Mr. Hilton taught me by example: to respect everyone! You don’t have to like everyone or get along with them but you can always respect them. And the other was to just be honest – with yourself, and others alike.

I received a phone call from coach…I guess it was 7 or 8 years ago now…., he was calling to let me know that he was getting baptized and just wanted me to know. I asked him when it was and as soon as I hung up the phone, the date was marked in our family calendar. This was one baptism I wasn’t going to miss.  I tell you, outside of my own families baptisms, that was by far one of my favorite memories to date. Why? Knowing that he had accepted Christ and that I was able to see him publicly  professing his faith was just an incredible experience for me. Even now as we are here celebrating the life he lived here, i know that there is a day coming where once again, I will be able to sit and visit with coach. To reminisce and share stories once more.

It’s rare that you find anyone who exemplifies a Christ-like life but they themselves have not accepted Christ as their savior. And I can’t explain why Mr. Hilton didn’t come to accept Christ sooner than he did but there is not  a doubt in my mind, as I know, God used Mr. Hilton – Coach, to instill in all of us, biblical values, that if we incorporated and lived by, would help us to be successful in living out our own lives.

If Coach had the opportunity to step back one last time and impart one last lesson on us all, it would be this – Don’t miss heaven! One of my favorite verses in all of scripture is Philippians 4:8-9. The apostle Paul has written the church in Philipi to remind them of Christ’s love for them and to encourage and challenge them. Like Paul, Mr. Hilton had a desire, a love for people, especially kids and if he was here, I think he would use very similar words found in Philippians 4: 8-9; Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Today, we may mourn the physical loss of someone we loved very much but the life – the heritage – the legacy of this man will continue on for generations to come.

2 Weeks and Counting

Wow, 2 weeks from today, I will be leaving for 10 days for what, is for me, the longest trip I have ever taken and what I am expecting to be, the most exciting. In preparation for the trip, I have been reading everything I can on Cape Town and the people that make up it’s population and in particular, the area we will be working, which is, The Cape Flats.

Cape Town is South Africa’s oldest city and the second largest city, behind only Johannesburg in terms of population at nearly 4 million people. The Cape Flats make up the majority of the total population of Cape Town. Apartheid (racial segregation)was instituted in 1948 and shortly led to the Group Areas Act, which classified all areas according to race. As a result, formerly multi-racial suburbs of Cape Town were either purged of unlawful residents or demolished. In 1965, one entire area of 60,000 homes was destroyed and most of it’s people moved to the area now known as the Cape Flats.

Due to Apartheid, South Africa was sent reeling into economic depression and racial dissension. Only in the last 10 to 15 years as the Cape Town area began it’s ascension back and unfortunately, it will take decades for this region to recover. But there is hope as tourism as helped the Country to start rebuilding it’s economy. Poverty, poor healthcare and education remain the most overwhelming obstacles to overcome for this region.

Bridge4Hope is working to help in all of these areas as their Mission is: We exist to equip African individuals to be the catalyst of change in their society and to build sustainable communities together. We aim to bring transformative solutions to poverty, suffering, and injustice through holistic community development by the means of education, healthcare, small business development, and church planting. We seek to change the world, one community at a time.

One of their courses – EPIC – recently kicked off a new session with 12 new students. You can read up on this here: http://b4hope.wordpress.com/category/epic-leadership-discipleship-school/ . When we are there in 2 weeks, we will have the opportunity to work with these young folks one on one and in group sessions. It’s very humbling to think that God would allow me the opportunity to travel half-way across the world and take part in helping young people there grow in their relationship with Christ!

My prayer today is this: that over the next 2 weeks, I would be diligent in studying God’s word and preparing myself in such a way, that I may be used by Him in whatever way required during my time in Cape Town!!

I anxiously await to meet the people of Cape Town and submerge myself into their culture and prayerfully hope that through Christ, our team, is able to assist these young people in strengthening their relationship with Christ, their families, and their community.

Peace and thanks for reading!!

A Study of Joseph – Steadfast and Strong

As the scene shifts to Egypt, things look extremely bleak for Joseph. Sold into slavery and now being taken into a foreign land, Joseph’s future isn’t looking to bright. I would encourage you to read Genesis 39 and as you do, notice that in every trial that comes to Joseph, he stays steadfast and strong to the Lord. And more importantly, notice that God IS ALWAYS with Joseph!! This post will focus on Genesis 39:1-6a.

Again I will bring up the fact that all that is unfolding in Joseph’s life is part of God’s master plan. In the beginning of this chapter we see that an Egyptian (and not just any Egyptian) named Potiphar purchases Joseph. Potiphar just happens to be an officer of Pharoah and is his captain of the guard. I dwell on this because I don’t think we truly understand just how much God does for us. Sure we say things like “God is in control” but do we truly believe that or approach life like He is in control. Think about every person you know, all the places you have lived, events that have taken place and experiences, you just can’t explain. Do you think that there are people that you know, places you have lived or events and experience you’ve had that has caught God off guard. NO, He is with us ALWAYS!!

Our lives are a living testimony and how we lead and live our lives is noticed by others and in Joseph’s case, it became apparent to Potiphar that the Lord was with Joseph. The Lord made sure that Joseph was successful in everything he did and this was attractive to Potiphar. So much so, that Potiphar made Joseph his personal attendant and put everything under his household in Joseph’s charge. In doing so, Potiphar’s house and all that he owned was blessed because of Joseph. Potiphar had it so good that the only thing he worried about everyday was the food he would eat.

No doubt Joseph had to grow up in a hurry. Obviously on his own now, he had no one to lean on but God. And obviously he didn’t sulk or just do the minimum that was required of him. The Bible makes a point to say in verse 2 – The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, serving in the household of his Egyptian master. I don’t know of anyone who was successful that achieved it by being sullen, lazy or apathetic. No, Joseph not only did what was asked of him but did it in such way that Potiphar noticed that the LORD was with him”. When was the last time somebody noticed that the Lord was with you?

Now play along with me here a second….tomorrow, you are going to be taken prisoner, bound in chains, shipped off to another country and be enslaved to whomever is willing to buy you. You have nothing and no one to call your own – save one….God. Would God still be your Lord? I get disgruntled when I don’t get to have coffee in the morning or maybe I have to work late. I would like to think that I could be like Joseph and keep my focus on God and continue to have my life be a living testimony of how great and wonderful God is? Better question maybe? Am I like Joseph now in my current state of life? Is my life a living testimony of how great and wonderful God is and do I reflect the light of Jesus, that others may see Him through me? I will end this post there……I have to go and pray now!

A Study of Joseph – Joseph/Jesus Parallels

I thought it might be good to look at a couple of parallels between the lives of Jesus and Joseph.  Joseph’s life is a foreshadowing of the one true Messiah that was to come later. Joseph was a servant of God, maybe not by his choice, but a servant none the less.  Jesus was the perfect picture of servant. Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Joseph was despised and hated by those you would think would love him most. Jesus, likewise, was despised and hated by those you would think would love him most. For Joseph, it was is brothers that despised and hated him, even to the point that they considered killing him. For Jesus, he was rejected by the nation of people who were chosen by God and knew from the scrolls, that a Saviour was to come. And Jesus was also discarded by those closest to Him, even His own brothers. John 7:5For even his own brothers did not believe in him. 

Betrayal for Sale: Judah pitches the idea of selling his brother into slavery which they agree to do and Joseph is sold for 20 pieces of silver. Then in Matthew 26:14-16, we see that Jesus is betrayed for 30 silver pieces by Judas Iscariot. And if you notice the names of the men who led the betrayal’s, we see Judah and Judas. Judah translated from the Hebrew name “Yehuda” can also be translated to Judas. For Joseph, it is through this betrayal that we see God exalt him to a position where he becomes a savior to both Gentiles (Egyptians) and Jews (Joseph’s family) and I wonder how much of this Joseph knew was his ultimate calling ahead of time. For Jesus, the betrayal begins the final chapter of Jesus’ earthly ministry by sacrificing himself to be the Savior of all people – Jews and Gentiles alike.

I will post some other parallels in the lives of Jesus and Joseph a little later on.

Peace and thanks for reading!

A Study of Joseph – Meant for Evil

As we finish up Genesis 37, we get into the events that will set the course for a most remarkable journey for Joseph. And as we do so, I want to draw attention to the fact, that just like today, they also had to deal with evil in Joseph’s day as well.  Looking at this passage we will see different types evil, along with character flaws, shortcomings, and although men conspired to do evil, God used it to fulfill His purpose and protected Joseph.

Genesis 37:12-26. The brothers had taken the flocks to Shechem to graze when Israel (Jacob) decides to send Joseph to find out what’s going on with the brothers. Why he wants to do this, who knows but here we have a reinforcement of favoritism being displayed to the brothers. So, whatever the reason,  he decided to send Joseph to Shechem to find his brothers, And in verse 15 is the following: A man found him there, wandering in the field, and asked him, “What are you looking for?” I make note of this verse because what if the man hadn’t of been there? Joseph possibly would have returned back home not knowing where his brothers were and if so, would have never ended up being sold into slavery.

How often in our lives have we had a “man” or “something show up” out of the blue that we were able to look back on and think wow, how fortunate we were that they were there? So, tragedy was avoided and Joseph was able to continue on with God’s plan and made his way to Dothan after being directed there by the man. Now in verse, 18, evil is in full bloom with the brothers – “They saw him in the distance, and before he had reached them, they plotted to kill him.” They didn’t want to just mess with him a little bit, maybe beat him up to teach him a lesson. They wanted to KILL him!

Luckily for Joseph, his big brother was there to rescue him and keep him safe. His proposal to his brothers was to put Joseph in the pit without doing the whole killing thing! At first glance, it seems that Reuben is a hero by standing up to them but really – no, not even close. He proved to be a weak leader by not standing up fully against his brothers wishes. He was more concerned about keeping peace among his brothers than simply doing the right thing! Joseph was sparred and was put into the pit alive. Pretty sure that at this point, I would probably begin questioning my whole faith thing.

In verse 26, a new leader is established among the brothers as we see Judah step forward – v.26 Then Judah said to his brothers, what do we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay a hand on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” His brothers agreed. A couple of points. Although mentioned by Reuben earlier, the question of whether or not to kill Joseph is not really answered until this passage when Judah makes his plea. I love how Judah justifies that it is ok to sell Joseph into slavery over just killing him. So in addition to jealousy and anger, we now are introduced to the evil of greed.

As we end this post, I want to make special note of the fact that Joseph, at this point, has absolutely no control over his situation. He has fallen victim to the evil plans of others, family who have essentially cut ties with him forever (or so they thought) and I can only imagine how dark this day for Joseph truly was. And for us today, we would do well to remember that no matter our circumstance or overwhelming the plight we find ourselves may seem, God is in control and we should remember Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.


Peace and thanks for reading

A Study of Joseph – The Dreamer

When you were a kid, what dreams did you have? For me, I had 3 dreams that I wanted to see come true. One was to be a Navy pilot but due to medical reasons, that was short lived. The second one was to dance on broadway. Yes, I typed Broadway. I always loved watching Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and the Nicholas brothers do their dance numbers in the various movies that they were in and always thought it would be so cool to perform those types of dances on the Broadway stage.  Lastly, I wanted to be a Wide Receiver for the Atlanta Falcons. But alas, outside of Wes Welker, there is not too much demand for 5’9″ wideouts in the NFL.

Chasing or pursuing dreams can be tough but why is it that some people achieve their dreams while so many others fall short. For me, it was matter of dedication. I simply wasn’t dedicated to do the things necessary to give my dreams the opportunity to be fulfilled. Sure, I wanted these things but I wasn’t willing to do what was needed to achieve them. When faced with obstacles, difficulties and circumstances on my path, I lost my focus and willingness to overcome them. And I have no doubt that I would have needed a couple of breaks along the way as well. Somebody being willing to take a chance on me or maybe, just a matter of being in the right place at the right time type of thing. Regardless, I fell short on those dreams but I am thankful today that I have new dreams to pursue and unlike the ones mentioned above, I am dedicated to do what it takes to achieve them. Now let’s look at a couple of dreams of another kid.

Beginning in Genesis 37:5-11, we are introduced to the dreams of Joseph. My first thought about these dreams is how, for this family, they seemed like such big dreams for this kid to have. To think that this kid would someday be in a position that his father, mother and siblings would one day bow before him was a bit much for everyone to take. And there is no way that they could have had any idea exactly how this would come about …but God did!! Here a young man of 17 has 2 dreams, which are significant in this family but God’s plan was designed for multiple nations of people and countries.

If nothing else comes from this post, keep this in mind, and think of Joseph and his dreams. A young man had a dream of being the greatest among his family. God’s dream for Joseph was so much bigger than any thing Joseph could imagine or “dream” of and God has a dream (plan) for us too. Now that plan may not be for you to become the 2nd most powerful person in a kingdom….but then again….it might!?

Now the dreams of Joseph are obviously from God and may not be what Joseph aspired to accomplish for himself but they were His dreams. Joseph had no idea what events and circumstances would shortly begin to happen in his life that would take him on a remarkable journey, where in the end, not only would his dreams be realized but that the impact of his life would affect millions of people over thousands of years. As we continue this study in the days ahead, remember that no matter the circumstance, or obstacle that was laid before him, Joseph was able to keep his focus and dedication on what was truly important. What circumstances or obstacles seem to be impeding your way today. Are they too much for you to overcome? Are they too much for God to overcome?

Jeremiah 29:11-12 – 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

Peace and thanks for reading!

A Study of Joseph – History Repeated

Joseph becomes the main character of Genesis beginning in Chapter 37:2This is the account of Jacob’s family line. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. At this point, we know Joseph is 17 and is the 2nd youngest of 12 brothers. And at the end of the verse listed above we see that he has no problem with letting his father, Jacob, know what is going on with his brothers.

In the next verses we see how the history of favoritism is carried on to yet another generation of Abraham’s family. Genesis 37:3-4 – 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate[a] robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to himObviously we now have some serious conflict going on within this family. Imagine hating someone to the point that you couldn’t even talk to them peaceably and then imagine living in the same house with that person, day after day, year after year.

Thinking back on when I was a young parent I don’t remember anybody talking about or warning Lisa and I to be careful about showing favoritism where our children were concerned. It is something that we talked about and were always careful to guard against. I do however, think this is something we need to talk about, especially with young parents. Nothing can disrupt or cause animosity quicker within a family than favoritism.

My simple advise is this, your kids are individuals, each created with unique gifts, skills, quirks and personalities. Learn your kids and celebrate their individuality while working with them to overcome any obstacles they have in their character. Additionally, I would also say that I think some parents do a disservice to their children when they try and treat all of their kids the same way – equally. Instead, I would say you should treat your kids justly according to who they are.

An example of this would be: one of my daughters absolutely hated the idea of getting a spanking, to the point that she would cry a bucket of tears before the actual punishment was ever administered. My other daughter thought, ha, that’s no big deal, lasts for a minute and it’s over. With the one, we would give spankings and with the other, we found that taking things or privileges away from her would make a much stronger point. Was that fair? Would they say they were treated equally?  With both, we tried to be just and as a result, we didn’t have to spank a lot nor did we take away a lot of things.

Next Chapter will look at the dreamer and start looking at some parallels between lives of Joseph and Jesus.

Peace and Thanks for Reading