4/26/2021 A Final Word on Prophetic Destinies, Pt. 24

Jacob has adopted sons and given Joseph his mountain. He is ready to die. Genesis 49 recounts his last words to his boys and addresses each of them, prophesying the character of their tribes and setting his house in order. Jacob has not forgotten the wrongs they committed against him or the family when doing so. Reuben is reprimanded and lost his place as firstborn because he slept with his father’s concubine. Simeon and Levi, sons two and three, lost their right to lead the tribes because of their anger – they’re the ones who murdered the men of Shechem, the mountain Jacob just bequeathed to Joseph. Then there is Judah.

Remember when Leah named her children? With the first three children, it was about her desire to be loved and noticed; however, with Judah, she worshipped the Lord. Interestingly, Jacob buried Leah with Abraham and Isaac, and it is with them that Jacob requests to be buried, not with his beloved Rachel. Whether in deference to her as the first wife, we don’t know. However, her son, Judah, is granted the scepter of rule for Israel. Even though he messed up with his daughter-in-law, Tamar, he recognized he did not act righteously and repented (Gen. 38). When Joseph’s cup was found in Benjamin’s bag, Judah interceded and asked to take Benjamin’s place so that Benjamin could return to their father (Gen. 44). In the end, Judah, “praise,” would usher in Messiah.

I don’t want to focus too much on the individual characteristics of Jacob’s prophetic words over the nation his clan has become. If you enjoy archaeological evidence as I do, I encourage you to look at a unique seal that some believe could be the nation’s seal for commerce at 12 Tribes of Israel on a Seal From Egypt? – Patterns of Evidence: The Moses Controversy. I have included the picture for you to match with the individual tribes.

What I want to point out to you is Genesis 49:28, which states, “These are the tribes of Israel, twelve in all.” There seems to be nothing of importance at first glance, but look at verse thirty-three, where we are told, “When Jacob had finished instructing his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and died.” This is vital. It was the sons of Israel that formed a nation. The prophetic lived on; the flesh died. It has to; the flesh has no choice. The prophetic initiated the exponential growth into God’s multigenerational vision to redeem the nations. It is this same thing that we want to occur in our lives – that our flesh will die and the prophetic manifest so that God’s plans and purposes will carry on beyond our lives.

Remember Israel’s inheritance for Joseph to give him the mountain? Joseph will live to the ripe age of 110. After Jacob’s death, the other brothers become fearful but true to his nature, Joseph offers forgiveness and provides for his brothers. Joseph will live to see three more generations in his own family, and at his death, he charges the Israelites, “When God comes to your aid, you are to carry my bones up from here” (Gen. 50:25). The prophetic always seeks its rest in the promise. Jacob’s death initiated the beginning of a nation; Joseph’s death reminded them that the promise would come to pass and that when it happened, he wanted even his bones to be a part of it. For the next four centuries, as the children of Israel were more oppressed, Joseph’s final words would be a lifeline and a reminder to the nation of God’s promise.

This is why stepping into your prophetic destiny is so crucial to the coming generations. You can’t afford to focus on yourself. As God moves, so we must move to establish a place for His remnant and hope for them when the world seeks to silence them. Jacob and Joseph were gathered to their fathers. We have a great cloud of witnesses. Why do we need to walk boldly into everything God has called us to do? As the Apostle Paul so eloquently put it,

“Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

You are the continuation of the promise to Abraham! Heaven is cheering you on to victory. Every moment of our lives has the potential to shake the heavenlies and establish God’s purposes in the earth. If you read this series hoping for a “how to” manual, I’m sorry to disappoint. We cannot see what the coming generations will experience because of our obedience or lack thereof. However, we do know that God allows us the extraordinary privilege of partnering with Him to bring the message of His redeeming power to the world. There is a great joy set before us, and we must choose to persevere for the sake of those who come behind.

Let’s Pray:

Father, how magnificent You are. Your ways are so much higher than mine. May my life reflect the glory of You. May it be said of me that I was able to set aside sin and the hindering influences of the enemy to see Your plans accomplished in the earth. May I always be cognizant of what You are not just doing in me, but in the generations coming behind me and in the nations of the world. Thank You that You are now preparing me and instilling in me all that I need to run the race You have set before me. May You be glorified! Amen.

4/23/2021 God’s Mountain For You, Prophetic Destinies, Pt. 23

In the seventeen years Jacob has lived in Egypt, he has acquired land, the clan has expanded, and they have become wealthy. God has indeed blessed Jacob, and before he dies, he makes one request of Joseph – that he be buried in Canaan with his fathers. His resting place is not to be where he ended up but is home in the promised land (Gen. 47:27-31).

As Jacob contemplates his coming death, Joseph brings his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, to see Jacob. During their visit, Jacob recounts for the boys God’s blessing and how He appeared to Jacob at Luz. Notice, Jacob refers to Bethel (his name for it) as Luz, indicating that this is a multigenerational promise originally given to Abraham. This should teach us the importance of passing down the stories of God’s faithfulness to the next generation, reminding them of the sacred bond between God and our household. This is in direct opposition to what we see in today’s culture, where every person is for themselves and where we have made truth relative to the individual instead of teaching the objective truth of Scripture. While we do have to make a personal decision to live for Christ, our faith is elevated by the constant recounting to our children of God’s work in our lives.

During this conversation, Jacob adopts Ephraim and Manasseh, Joseph’s two sons, as his own. Jacob knew of the animosity that Joseph’s brothers had carried toward him, and Jacob did not want that directed toward Joseph’s two boys. After all, having been born in Egypt, the brothers could reject Joseph’s sons at his death as Egyptians rather than Israelites. By adopting the two young men, Jacob ensures that Joseph’s descendants will be part of what God is doing in his family. It also ensured that the two boys, though reared in Egypt, would not forget that they were a part of the promise. Isn’t that what God has done for us? Adopted us into His family so that we could become recipients of the blessings of Abraham? (Gal. 3:29)

Notice that when Jacob blesses Ephraim and Manasseh, he blesses Ephraim first. Most rabbis agree that the reason for his doing so was because of the original contention between Jacob and Esau and which had continued between Jacob’s twelve sons. By putting Ephraim first, Jacob was declaring that there would be no rivalry or deception between these two boys but unity regarding God’s plan for the family unit. Whereas the previous generations had bickered and fought, the next generation would usher in peace because there had been no partiality between grandfather/father/sons. This is one of our mandates before the Lord: to speak peace to the next generations by resolving issues. That’s why we must deal with problems, whether personal or political. Generations after us need to walk in peace with one another so that they, too, can establish a place for the remnant of God.

I want you to reflect that Jacob has blessed the grandsons, but it is Israel that is passing on a separate blessing to Joseph. Aren’t they the same person? Physically, yes, but whenever Israel speaks, it has a prophetic connotation to it. In Genesis 48:22, Israel states,

“Over and above what I am giving your brothers, I am giving you the one mountain slope that I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and bow.”

This is crucial. For centuries scholars and rabbis have contemplated this particular passage coming up with many theories. I will present one of those options because it reflects a principle we repeatedly see throughout Scripture.[1] In Genesis 33, Jacob purchased a field near the land of Shechem, which was his investment in God’s promise to give him the land. However, immediately after in Genesis 34, Dinah is defiled, and her brothers conquer the entire city, enslaving the women and children. Several scholars believe that Jacob first purchased and then, because it was his sons who conquered despite the shame it brought upon him, the victory was attributed to Jacob as head of the household. This seems consistent with Genesis 35:5 that when Jacob set out from Shechem, a “terror from God came over the cities around them.”

Jacob first invested in the land. He put his assets into what God has promised. However, he had to war with the world around him to protect his children. This is what we do in spiritual warfare; we invest in prayer and then fight principalities and powers that surround our promised land. When we seek to establish a place for the remnant, we must both invest and war. Jacob may not have stayed in the place where he warred, but he certainly had not forgotten it belonged to him. He gave Joseph the victories of his warfare!

What about you? Are there victories that you want to pass onto your children or maybe obtain from your parents? I certainly desire my parents to bless me with their successes and the ground they have taken from the enemy because I can pass it down to my children and their children. We see this when the children of Israel leave Egypt. One of their first stops is Shechem (Joshua 24:34), where they bury Joseph, and the tribe of Ephraim inherits it. It was near the place God originally covenanted with Abraham in Genesis 12:1-7, and it is the place Jacob sent Joseph to check on his brothers when they sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:12-14). Interestingly Israel blessed Joseph with the very land in which he was enslaved. It is also thought that Shechem is the ancient name of the city where Jacob’s well is located.

If this is the case, this is the very place where Jesus encountered the woman at the well and revealed His identity as Messiah in John 4. Joseph, a shadow of Christ, was bequeathed the land on which our Savior would reveal Himself as the Living Water! He went to the very place Jacob purchased and then conquered to declare His intention of purchasing our salvation with His blood and His purpose of putting to the sword all that would come against His children. How beautiful and stunning! Only God could organize and bring about circumstances so that every jot would be fulfilled, and He is doing so in your life and the lives of your family, as well!

Let’s Pray:

Father, You are remarkable! Your plans are multigenerational, and I thank You that every promise You gave to Abraham is to my children and me. Thank You that You have given me the mountain of Your victory in Calvary and that as I share in Your suffering, I also share in Your resurrection power! Help me to war successfully to maintain that which you purchased and to establish peace between generations in my time for Your glory. Amen.

 

[1] Jacob the Conqueror of Shechem – TheTorah.com

4/22/2021 The Most Important Thing, Prophetic Destinies, Pt. 22

We see in Genesis 43-44 the many times Joseph tested his brothers while remaining incognito. This is simple but crucial. As you continue your journey in Christ, there will be times when you are tested, but also times when you will need to test. We see this as part of our duty in the New Testament. We are to first and foremost test ourselves (2 Cor. 13:5), test the spirits (I Jn. 4:1), and, indeed, test all things (I Thes. 5:21), so we can hold firmly to what is good. In the context of I Thessalonians five, if we are not to quench the Spirit, we must be able to discern Him from other spirits. If we shouldn’t despise prophecies, then we need to test what is of God and what is not. To “test” in this passage is to scrutinize for genuineness. We want to cling to what is true and shun what is false, so we must be prepared to examine everything closely, whether words or people.

Following Joseph’s final test, he decides he can now reveal himself to his brothers. Genesis 45:7-8, 11a states,

“God sent me ahead of you to establish you as a remnant within the land and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household, and ruler over all the land of Egypt…There I will sustain you.”

Here is the most essential aspect you can ever learn about prophetic destinies in God: when God fulfills a dream, it is to establish and set up a place for the next generation and sustain God’s people on the earth. IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU! IT IS ABOUT THE NATIONS! Why is humility so necessary? Because everything that God calls us to do, every dream, vision, plan, and purpose, is ultimately for the end goal of restoring people to right relationship with God through the blood of Christ. You see, not only had God positioned Joseph to serve Jacob and his family during the famine, God placed him where he could feed the other nations, as well. He put Joseph in place to determine where the Israelite children would live safely during their time of enslavement to Egypt.

You are where you are today because God is equipping you to establish a place for a remnant. What that remnant is, how many are in it, only God knows. But even now, you are being trained and positioned to be a part of God’s great deliverance. Maybe it is on a school board, in a doctor’s office. Perhaps in a church or your home. Maybe God has put you in place to father a Pharaoh. No matter where you are, the promise God gave you is for the ultimate purpose of redeeming the nations. No position is too small! You have been sent divinely ahead of someone, even many people, to put in place and establish a place for God’s people. This requires character and hard work. What you do today in Christ has the potential to sustain a remnant of God in some capacity or another. You are not here by accident! God has every reason to see the dreams He has placed in your heart come to pass. The nations are waiting. All of creation is waiting for the revealing of the sons of God (Rom. 8:19)!

If you thought that your prophetic destiny was all about you, I’m sorry to disappoint. Scripture doesn’t indicate that anywhere. Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Daniel, and Esther were all positioned and uniquely gifted to serve the nations. Even Christ came for the nations. Are there incredible benefits? Absolutely. It would be foolish not to admit that Joseph preferred the palace to the prison. Was there greater responsibility and accountability as a royal court member than there was as a servant in prison? In my opinion, not before God. Were you shocked by that answer? It is a question of character. Will you serve in the prison as you would in a palace with integrity and humility? Will you act in a palace like you would in prison, putting others’ dreams before your own?

Oh, and it’s not just a remnant made up of future generations. Several verses down, we read, “But when they told Jacob all that Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to transport him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived” (vs. 27). Yes, part of God positioning you is to facilitate the transfer of those who have gone before to a place of security and provision. God is a multigenerational God who cares about all ages, and if your dream doesn’t include your elders, God can’t bless it. Part of pursuing the promise is the pursuit of giving honor where honor is due. Entitlement has no place in the Kingdom of God. We are entitled to nothing but have been given all things in Christ. When God positions us, it is also to revive the spirits of those who have trod this path before us, proving that, as Paul stated, “I have delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen…” (I Cor. 15:3). We stand on the shoulders of the giants who trained us. Seeing their spirits revived can only benefit the nations and our personal lives. God wants generations that can relate to one another to birth the prophetic.

This, my friend, is not to downplay your importance to the Lord. After all, nations are made up of people just like you. No, God is intimately aware of who and where you are. He loves you with everlasting love. So much so that He invites you to partner with Him in the adventure of a lifetime. He has equipped you to touch someone. In a world where physical contact is limited, where we mask our faces and emotions and are encouraged to remain in fear, God has called the righteous to boldly step out, vulnerable and powerful, to love others as He has loved us and thereby reach the nations.

Let’s Pray:

Father! I cannot comprehend the magnitude of what you have entrusted to my care. You have called me to establish a place for a remnant and to revive the heart of a generation. WOW! Please show me how to do this for your glory. Holy Spirit, guide me in the way in which I should go. Keep me humble before You, realizing that my dream is just one of many that You are supernaturally weaving together to see the redemption of the nations. When I grow discouraged, help me to see Your eternal purpose. Teach me to test all things so that the tactics of the enemy will not catch me off guard. Today, I commit myself to Your vision for the redemption of the nations through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.

4/21/2021 Learning to Release the Past to Embrace the Future

Pharaoh’s prophetic dream has come to pass. For seven years, Joseph worked diligently to save grain, and now the famine has come, and not just to Egypt. Canaan is also feeling the effects, and as it so happens, Jacob hears there is grain down south. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to send the boys to purchase food for the family? All of them except Benjamin that is. With the loss of Joseph, Jacob has been extra careful with Benjamin, not willing to risk him. Jacob feels he’s lost enough, but if he can hold on to what he has left in Benjamin, maybe he can make it through. No, let the other boys go. Benjamin he can’t part with, not even in a time of famine.
 
Is there anything or anyone like that in your life? Do you feel beaten down by life’s challenges and cling so hard to what you have left, you just can’t let go? Maybe you refuse to let it go, all the while fear is growing in your heart at the mere idea of another potential loss, and the bitterness that took root years ago over something traumatic has such a firm grasp on you that you find it difficult to breathe. It’s a dangerous place to be, and for Benjamin, who is now a grown man with children of his own, it must have been suffocating being the child dad just couldn’t let go and always seemingly left behind to calm dad’s fears.
 
So ten men arrive in Egypt and bow before Joseph, Governor of Egypt and keeper of the grain, humbly asking for food for the family, substantial in size now, exceeding seventy people. They don’t recognize the little brother they abandoned and enslaved, but he certainly recognizes them. You see, it doesn’t matter how much time has passed, how much water has flowed beneath the bridge when you’ve been hurt and reencounter the perpetrators. Even if God has blessed you, it’s like an arrow through the heart. Seeing them again must have taken him by surprise. Fortunately, not only does Joseph have the power of a great leader, he has developed a godly character to wield that authority well. Rather than lashing out, Joseph tests them.
 
He’s not mean; he’s just protecting himself. Maybe God has been working a heart change in his brothers the past two decades. Joseph’s willing to wait but not willing to reveal himself just yet. Why would he expose his own young family to others that would selfishly sell them out as they had previously done to him? Joseph has more than just his own heart to consider, and while he’s doing so, he makes his brothers sit in prison for three days. They talk freely, and Joseph considers the best way to test their hearts, deciding to use Benjamin as the bait. One brother, Simeon, would stay behind while the others returned to Jacob, sacks filled with food, not to mention their money, with a direct order to return with little brother, Benjamin.
 
However, the return of the boys now minus one does not encourage Jacob’s heart. Instead, his fear increases, and he refuses to release the one he’s holding onto for the sake of another. Meanwhile, God is patiently waiting for Jacob to get on board with His plans so that, in His goodness, He can bring restoration and healing to the family, and if Jacob doesn’t immediately give in, he will eventually. Food is meant to be consumed. Once it’s depleted, Jacob is forced into a position where he will watch his family starve or finally let go in faith to see them saved.
 
That’s often the case with us, as well. When we’ve held onto something or someone for so long, it takes extreme circumstances for us to let it/them go and trust the Lord. It has been my experience that God is not interested in prying out of our hands that which we hold so tightly. No, God waits patiently for us to relinquish it, and He will make use of life’s circumstances to encourage our hearts to do so. It has also been my experience that whenever I release something God has asked of me, He has something waiting in the wings.
 
You see, sometimes letting go enables God to place something even more beautiful in our hands. Jacob had spent his life in deception, had it returned in covenant with God, and then the very child Jacob loved most was ripped from him, causing him to go into mourning. In his distress, he developed an unhealthy attachment to another out of fear, refusing to trust God, while the entire time, God just wanted Jacob to let go so that He could restore what the enemy had taken.
 
Dear one, if you can relate to this part of Jacob’s story, I’m so sorry for the trauma and disappointment you have experienced in your life. It’s time to let go of the pain, stop holding onto the unhealthy attachments, and open your hand to the Lord. He’ll take it. He won’t abandon you. Just as He promised to be with Jacob, He will be with you. Not only that, He is a God of restoration. His plans for you did not cease at the point of trauma. No, just as He has walked beside you in pain, He wants to deliver you out of it and restore what the enemy robbed from you. You were not meant to camp in the desert. You were meant to step into the Promised Land.
 
Let’s Pray:
 
Father, I admit that I have held onto people and things too closely in my fear and grief. It hasn’t been healthy for me spiritually or physically. Lord, I want to trust You. Please, Holy Spirit, help me let go of all that I have so fervently clung to as support. Forgive me for holding onto others and things instead of onto You. Thank You for being so patient with me. I choose to move forward into what You have for me, knowing that You always have my best interests at heart. Thank You that You are working to restore what the enemy has stolen in my life. Thank You that I am becoming Your fearless child, as bold as a lion, ready to walk, no, run, into all You have for me. In Jesus’ Name.

4/20/2021 The Art of Waiting

It’s been two years since Pharaoh’s cupbearer was restored to his position. Joseph is still in prison, still serving, still hoping. Little does he know that God is speaking to Pharaoh. Think about that for a moment. Joseph is in bed, maybe wondering why God isn’t saying anything, but God is – just not to him, yet for him. While Joseph is sleeping, God speaks to the most powerful man in Egypt, Pharaoh, about a coming catastrophe through a dream. He can’t interpret it, and interestingly, neither could his magicians. At this moment, the cupbearer remembers Joseph, and in sharing his story, the cupbearer opens a door of opportunity (Gen. 41:1-13).

 

And there’s a principle here that we can learn about our destinies. We may be sitting at home complaining, “I’m not hearing anything from God,” however, it may be that you’re not the one who needs to be hearing at this critical moment. It may be that God is speaking to another in such a way that will propel you into His plans and purposes for you. It may be that God is bringing you to someone’s mind. Faith doesn’t complain; it trusts. It waits. It perseveres because God is faithful – and that’s what Joseph is doing. After all, he doesn’t have anything else to do but serve God where he is. Do you?

 

When Pharaoh orders Joseph to attend him, Pharaoh has Joseph bathed, shaved, and clothed to look like an Egyptian. Little does Pharaoh realize that Joseph has spent years having his character refined by a living God for a purpose beyond either of their wildest dreams. We see this clearly when Pharaoh tells Joseph that there’s a rumor he could interpret the dreams. Instead of saying, “Absolutely! Of course I can! No problem,” we see Joseph honestly declaring that it is not within his power to do so, but God alone. From the beginning, Joseph proclaiming his reliance upon God.

 

There are two things I want to mention. First, God can use the ungodly to make way for you. Proverbs 21:1 states, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.” Don’t turn down opportunities made available to you based on a person’s salvation. It may be that God is positioning you in the world for a much larger plan than you anticipated. Secondly, though Joseph was made to look like others in his environment, his heart was right before the Lord, and he gave God all the glory. When you look like everyone else in the world, the simple act of glorifying God will differentiate you. Don’t walk in fear; run forward in faith! If the Lord opened the door, a man can’t shut it!

 

Once Joseph has interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, he doesn’t strut around. Instead, he gives Pharaoh advice to find a wise ruler to deal with the coming crisis, precisely explaining what needs to be done. He doesn’t put himself forward, but in dealing honestly, Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge of the national task force, making Joseph answerable only to the throne. Pharaoh hands over his signet ring, his symbol of authority, and puts it on Joseph’s hand! Years of waiting, and in one day, Joseph moves from the prison to the palace. He didn’t try to escape his circumstances but waited on God, and Joseph experiences a “suddenly” moment in which his entire life changed. It can happen for you, too, if you will wait on God.

 

And therein lies the problem for most of us. Patience is not our virtue. We try to write our blueprints for success, escape routes from the prison, worry, and bite our nails while at the same time declaring our trust in God. Our flesh has not yet died, and we are so concerned with the here and now that we don’t realize that the Lord has something bigger in mind that will be a blessing to more people than we could have dared hope to reach. God spent years preparing Joseph to lead during the seven years of plenty and another seven of famine. He spent just as many years (approximately thirteen) cultivating a spirit of excellence and humility so that when God reconciled Joseph to those who enslaved him, Joseph would respond with forgiveness. Remember Aesop’s fable of the tortoise and the hare? The cupbearer was released sooner to his former position as cupbearer. Joseph was released to a position of power!

 

Dear one, we have no idea what God’s purposes are for us. It may be that we are called to be cupbearers that bring others into the spotlight. Perhaps you’re a mother called to cultivate the character of your children, whom God will use in monumental ways. What would Charles Wesley have been without his mom, Susannah? Maybe you are preparing even now to enter the political arena and are discouraged because you’ve failed to be elected. Don’t give up! God’s plans are transgenerational! Every part is just as essential as another. The main thing is that we work in tandem with the Holy Spirit to see God’s plans and purposes accomplished.

 

Take a step back, take a deep breath, and determine to wait. Wait in prison, if that’s where you’re at, but wait. God hasn’t forgotten you. He is developing you and preparing the hearts of others to receive you. I know. Patience is a character trait that is hard to establish in your life. I confess I’m not known for it. My husband, Walter, has it in spades. However, if any of us are to walk into all that the Lord has for us, we must learn to wait on God. It’s His dream, His plans, His purposes. We are just called to complete surrender.

 

Let’s Pray:

 

Lord, patience is not my virtue. I feel as though I have been waiting for a long time. Today, I surrender my timetable to You. I release all, knowing that as I wait on You, Your purposes for my life will unfold to bring glory to You. I lay my life before You in complete surrender. Let Your dreams be made manifest in my life, I pray, all for You and the expansion of Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

4/19/2021 Serving the Dreams of Others

Joseph was destined for more. He knew it! Hadn’t he been confident that his dreams were from God? Yet, as he sat in prison, working for the captain of the guard, it must have seemed further away than ever. After all, it doesn’t matter how kind people are to you; you still can’t up and leave your chains behind, especially when God allows it.

 

Perhaps you feel that way. Maybe you feel chained to a job you hate and don’t think God sees you anymore. Perhaps you are in “survival mode,” hoping and praying to maintain a measure of character and integrity in a difficult situation. What was Joseph’s response? He served, and didn’t Christ do that when He emptied Himself, humbly taking on the form of man to save us, even to the point of the cross (Phil. 2:6-7)?

 

We find in Genesis 40 that Joseph is entrusted with the care of two new inmates – the cupbearer and the baker. We know that they were there for some time, and Joseph had the time to build a relationship with these men (Gen. 40:4). Throughout their stay, each has a dream that needs interpreting, and who is on hand to assist them? Joseph. The cupbearer will be restored, and the baker executed.

 

That’s not where I want to go today. My point is that in prison, Joseph had to lay aside his dream to help interpret and facilitate the dreams of others. He helped the prison warden, the captain of the guard, these two servants of Pharoah. It may seem like moving backward, but when you don’t see God moving you forward in the dream He has given you, pause what you’re doing, stop, and serve someone else. It is important to remember that before the dream was yours, it was God’s to give, and His timing is always perfect. You may disagree with it, but consider this a time of emptying.

 

Like Christ would be, Joseph had to be emptied of all that he thought he was and had to lay his dreams aside. He had to be placed in a position where he could serve others’ vision and plans and do so to the glory of God, not his own (Gen. 40:8). Like countless people throughout history, Joseph had to learn to follow well before leading well. So do you, particularly if it is a dream God has given you. Are you at home? Serve your spouse and children. In the marketplace? Serve your boss and co-workers. In the church? Serve your pastor and fellow laypeople. Learn the art of setting yourself aside to focus on what God has placed in front of you today. What does He want you to learn right now? Who does He want you to serve right now? Today is your ministry opportunity, not years down the road when God gives you your pulpit.

 

Remember that cupbearer? Joseph asked that the man remember him to Pharaoh (Gen. 40:14). Guess what? The cupbearer forgot (Gen. 40:23). That, I’m sure, was a hard pill for Joseph to swallow, and it is for us, as well. For some time, Joseph had served this man, encouraged this man, been the conduit through which God would give the cupbearer a word of release that would enable him to step back into his position, and…nothing! Not a word of thanks or even a reference. This a time when our character is tested. What will our attitude be when we are forgotten by those we have diligently sought to serve? It’s easy to say that we do it “for the Lord,” but when you feel taken advantage of, and your gifts have been used to propel someone else forward, it can be difficult not to grow bitter, and that is the one thing we must guard against. Sometimes we will be victorious; sometimes, we will fail (at least, I have). No matter what, we must always be positioned at the foot of the cross, ready to serve those whom God brings into our path. Joseph was forgotten for two years. While we’re not explicitly told what he was doing and who he was serving during that time, it was from the confines of prison. That’s important to note. You can be confined physically in prison and yet free before God. It’s all in how you choose to see it. Leadership is honed in the least likely of places, and God will always start with our character. Without a doubt, God refined Joseph’s character during this time. God wants to sharpen ours, too.

 

While Joseph is sitting in prison, Pharaoh is on the throne, and the cupbearer is serving him. Pharaoh doesn’t know what will be transpiring in the next couple of decades, but God is about to intervene spectacularly. We’ll discuss that tomorrow.

 

Let’s Pray:

 

Father, I can’t help but feel like my dream is being held captive. However, I know that You’re the One who gave it to me in the first place, and so I lay it back down at Your feet. Holy Spirit, help me serve where I am and do so with an excellent spirit. I know my attitude hasn’t always been right before You, Lord. Please help me to change that. Transform me into someone who can serve the dreams of others and not grow jealous or bitter. I lay all of it at Your feet today, and I determine to follow Your example as a servant of all, that You may be glorified. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

4/16/2021 When Compromise Comes Calling, Prophetic Destinies, Pt. 18

Jacob believed Joseph was dead, but he wasn’t. He was enslaved to a man named Potiphar in Egypt (Genesis 39). Yet, even in Egypt, God was with Joseph, teaching him life lessons, beginning with humility. How is that for the boy who dreamed everyone was bowing to him? To get Joseph in the palace, God needed first to address his pride; otherwise, his stay in the court could be cut short and cause problems later. Isn’t that just like God? He gives us dreams bigger than ourselves and then proceeds to deal with the root issues in our lives in a manner that will bring us to our knees yet prepare us for the palace! Joseph is no longer the favored son; he is the favored servant.

Yet even as God teaches Joseph humility in his position, God is pouring out favor upon him. So much that Potiphar puts Joseph in charge of his whole household. All Potiphar owned was under Joseph’s authority. Even as Joseph’s character expanded, God taught him how to lead in his master’s house. Because of Joseph’s presence, God blesses Potiphar’s house (Gen. 39:1-6). However, when God starts to bless you where you’re at, beware because lurking nearby is someone/something ready to seduce you away from God’s plan for your life. For Joseph, that person was Potiphar’s wife.

We don’t know anything about her, but she was left on her own too often by her husband. This woman saw Joseph. We’re told he was “well-built and handsome” (vs. 6), and this bored housewife wanted him in every sense of the word. This is what the enemy wants – all of you! He doesn’t care if you’re a mere servant honoring the Lord with your work. If you are in any way bringing glory to the King, the enemy’s desire is to seduce you away from God’s purposes to his own.

Joseph, on the other hand, wasn’t having any of it. When the seductress spoke, he ignored and declined. When he fled, she kept hold of his garment. That’s the key. Joseph, when faced with compromise, fled, leaving his cloak, and so should we. Your integrity is worth more than anything that gets left behind. God wants us to be people that reflect His character and nature, and if that requires our leaving a great position behind, so be it. God’s plans for you are so much greater!

Unfortunately, Joseph’s act of integrity isn’t honored by his master. Notice that Potiphar’s wife set aside Joseph’s garment until Joseph’s master came home. Whenever you act with uprightness in the world, realize that whatever you leave behind may be used to condemn you. You need to be aware of this and realize this is ok. When Joseph’s master was told the lie, the enemy used Joseph’s garments to reinforce it. Now a lot could be said about how we judge people, particularly ones we don’t know. Just remember, you don’t want to be judged on what you left behind, so don’t rush to judge others based on what they’ve forsaken. You may find it is just a smokescreen for the enemy’s work. In Joseph’s case, forsaking his garment landed him in prison.

We’ve all been there – accused of something we didn’t do, and nothing we say will convince people otherwise. In Joseph’s case of he said, she said, she was the wife, he the slave. Of course, she won the round. The promise of God to us is that all things will “work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Joseph loved God and was called by God. So are you, and when your back is up against a wall, God will make a way.

We find that even in prison, God “extended kindness” to Joseph, giving him favor with the prison overseer (vs. 21). Once more, though imprisoned, Joseph is entrusted with authority to the point the warden didn’t even bother with anything he placed under Joseph’s care because God was with him. What a testimony!

You see, it doesn’t matter if you hate where you’re at right now. I’m sure Joseph didn’t love the prison. What matters is your attitude before the Lord and others. Are you teachable? Will God be able to pour out favor on you, or will you bring dishonor to Him? The choice is yours. You may find yourself an innocent victim, but how you react to the situation you’re thrown into will determine how successful you are while you’re waiting to get out of it. Joseph was successful. What about you?

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, I have to be honest. I don’t like the position I find myself in. I have tried to honor you and act with integrity, and it has been thrown back in my face. Help me to preserve my integrity and maintain an attitude that reflects Your character and nature. Help me to be a blessing to those that imprison me that they may know that You are with me. Help me to trust You to get me out of this situation in Your time and in a manner that brings You glory. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

4/15/2021 When Your Child’s in the Pit: Prophetic Destinies, Pt. 17

Genesis 37 reveals that Jacob “lived in the land where his father had stayed” (vs. 1). In other words, he refused to go into cultural demise but clung to what he knew to be true. Jacob didn’t deviate from what He had been taught, but in contrast, after doing things on his own, he returned to it. It is here in Canaan that Jacob’s preference for Joseph becomes apparent to his brothers. So, let’s examine Joseph’s life regarding his prophetic destiny.

We are told that Joseph’s brothers hated him for the favor Jacob bestowed on him. So much so that they couldn’t even speak civilly to him (vs. 4). You see, Joseph was a dreamer, but his problem was he always felt the need to share them with everyone else. Even his father, Jacob, would question him, even while keeping the matter “in mind” (vs. 10-11). Jacob holding Joseph’s dreams in his mind sounds similar to what we are told of Mary, that she kept the circumstances of Jesus’ birth in her heart and pondered them (Luke 2:19). As parents, we are caretakers of our child’s dreams. We dare not despise them, for who knows, but God placed them there. As wise stewards, we need to hold them close to our hearts and train our children in the way in which they should go (Prov. 22:6).

As life unfolds in Jacob’s household, he sends Joseph to check in on his brothers. We are told that as soon as they saw him coming, they had plotted to kill him, saying, “Here comes that dreamer!” Now, as you release your children (something Walter and I are doing even as I write), know for a fact that the enemy will use any and all resources to stand against what the Lord placed in their hearts from the foundation of the universe (vs. 18-19). In this case, it was Joseph’s brothers. The enemy desires to sabotage and hijack their destinies, even if it means taking them out. This is why we experience such a cultural battle for our kids regarding identity – gender and otherwise. If the enemy can keep them confused about what is so apparent biologically, he can prevent them from stepping into their God-given destiny. Parents, it’s time to wake up and go to battle!

It is at this moment that we see Joseph’s life dramatically alter. He goes from a favored son clothed in the rainbow’s colors to a pit both barren and dry. He is alone. And isn’t that how most predators work, separating the prey from the herd? Why are there so many “causes” that young people feel their parents don’t understand; so many cults that bring them out of the protective covering of a godly home; so many life circumstances cause them to walk away from biblical teaching? The enemy is separating his prey. We can question whether it was wisdom for Jacob to send Joseph into this situation to begin with, knowing that his brothers hated him so, but it happened, and now the consequences must be dealt with, even as we become aware of our ignorance and culpability in where our children are today.

Joseph’s brothers, though, have a change of heart. Rather than murdering him outright, they decide to use him for their gain. This is traditionally the mistake the enemy makes. He always wants more for himself. That’s what self always wants – more. So rather than kill him, they sell him to Ishmaelites, distant cousins, for their gain, and we see Joseph transition from a rocky place of isolation to an idolatrous place in Egypt. When people have emotionally beaten us up, people we should trust, and are in isolation, we can swiftly end up in an idolatrous position. Now, I know God had a plan for Joseph in Egypt, but the principle is the same. Isolation can lead us down a slippery slope to idolatry because we don’t know how to get ourselves out of a situation others maliciously placed us. Friends, we must be so careful when we are put into such holes. God is always able to make a way for us. He is a God who specializes in pit removal! When you feel that you or a family member has been buried alive by the enemy, trust God! The enemy is powerless against the God of the Universe. Pray, seek godly counsel, pray some more!

We also see that Jacob’s sons have now deceptively robbed their father of a beloved son, sending Jacob into mourning that the men had not previously anticipated. And while his father is weeping, Joseph is being enslaved by a new master, and neither Jacob nor Joseph realizing God is setting the stage not only for a beautiful reunion but a spectacular deliverance!

Dear one, if your child is enslaved to sin or entrapped by the enemy, be confident that God is at work. You may be unaware. You may feel sick with grief over what the enemy has stolen in both your relationship with your child and their destiny. In this time, you need to access all the things you held in your heart from the time they were children and start reviewing them before the Lord. It’s time to speak prophetically into your children’s lives the plans and purposes of God for them. Don’t allow the enemy to rob you of your voice, as well. Speak, and refuse to remain silent until the gates of hell tremble and quake at the sound of your voice echoing the heart of Father God, and release them, recognizing this is a battle it can’t win! God has not abandoned your child, and He has not left you!

Let’s Pray:

Father, today I lift my child(ren) before You. Somehow, Lord, the enemy found a foothold and is using it to his greatest advantage. However, I trust You. I trust that You see and know and have my child’s best interest at heart and that You are at work to bring about a mighty deliverance and reunion first with You and then with me. Give me Your wisdom as I pray and speak with them. Sometimes it seems impossible. Forgive me for the times I’ve doubted You and tried to take Your place and “fix” it. Let my life reflect Your joy and peace to them so that they will be provoked to jealousy and return to You, Lord. Help me lay them on the altar and leave them there, knowing You are a God of resurrection and restoration. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Now Declare:

My child is loved by the Lord and seen by Him. I decree that every jot and tittle of the plans and purposes God has ordained for __________________ will come to pass. Every day my child is being wooed closer and closer to the Lord by the Holy Spirit of God to bring ________________ to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God is moving, creating divine appointments that will restore them to a relationship with their heavenly Father. I refuse to compromise my witness for the Lord but stand a shining light before my child for the glory of God!

4/14/21 Becoming a Drink Offering: Stepping into Your Prophetic Destiny

Yesterday, we discussed the importance of prioritizing family when seeking God to release us into our prophetic destinies. We explored how Jacob immensely failed in this area regarding Dinah. However, we serve a God of redemption, and today, I want to look at what God and Jacob did to restore proper balance in Genesis 35.

It appears Jacob finally gets the brilliant idea to consult God on the entire issue, and while Scripture does not record his prayer, we do find God’s response. Remember Bethel? Where Jacob first encountered God? Where angels descended and ascended to heaven? God tells Jacob to return to that place and settle there (Gen. 35:1). The idea is that God is telling Jacob to return to the site where he entered into covenant with God, where he first obtained the promise, and dwell or “sit down.” God is putting Jacob in what I term a “Divine Time-Out.” It’s during this time that Jacob begins to take charge of his family.

In Genesis 35:2b-3, Jacob states,

“Get rid of your foreign gods that are among you.

Purify yourselves and change your clothes. We must get up and go to Bethel. I will build an altar there to the God who answered me in my day of distress. He has been with me everywhere I have gone.”

So, when we screw up, we see a pattern we can emulate in Jacob.

  1. Rid ourselves of any idolatry, including any misconceptions we may have of our own importance.
  2. Consecrate ourselves to God, reminding ourselves that when we repent, we become clothed in the righteousness of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).
  3. We enter into covenantal worship.

When Jacob’s household followed his instructions, the fear of God came upon the surrounding people that no one pursued them, despite his sons’ actions.

Please notice that he returned to Luz, where the promise was made to Abraham and later with Jacob. Returning is a powerful thing in Scripture. Whenever we forsake the world and return to God, we are realigning ourselves with God’s plans and purposes for our life, as well as our family. Notice, too, that Jacob didn’t change the name; instead, he retained it, knowing that revelation knowledge comes out of covenant relationship (Gen. 35:7). Once more, God appears to Jacob, and His appearance is lovely, teaching us something of God’s character and nature.

In this moment, where Jacob is undoubtedly feeling shame and remorse, God appears and reemphasizes that He still calls Jacob by his new name – Israel. Praise God; He doesn’t abandon us at our lowest point! Rather, God reiterates who He is in Him. Not only that, God reiterates that the calling is for the entirety of the family. Yes, even those hard-hearted boys who were out for blood! God repeats His promise of land to Jacob. You see, repentance isn’t a punishment. It is a gift. It is a gift of reconciliation to God Almighty, who then, instead of giving us what we so justly deserve, reinforces our new identity in Him. The key is always repentance.

In this context, Jacob once again sets up a marker, pours out a drink offering, and anoints it with oil. We repent, God comes near, and we come to a significant realization that God alone is worthy. Like the Apostle Paul, we must be poured out like a drink offering, and our names become of little or no significance, no matter what our prophetic destiny holds. Like streams in a desert absorbed by the sand, so too, our lives must be poured out in faith, no matter the sacrifice, trusting that God will take it and use it all for His glory (2 Tim. 4:6).

Jacob learned his lesson well, because immediately following this encounter with God, his beloved Rachel dies in childbirth. Rather than leaving her son with the name Ben-oni, Son of My Sorrow, Jacob refuses to allow his son to be identified with the situation surrounding his birth as Jacob had been. Jacob renames his son, Benjamin, meaning Son of the Right Hand. At this moment, Jacob truly begins to step into his prophetic destiny as Israel – when he acts towards his son in the same manner God has worked in him by providing Benjamin with a new name. What a beautiful picture of the redemptive power of a parent’s love! You, as a parent, can redefine what is transpiring in your home by acting towards your spouse and children as God has acted towards you. And notice it didn’t stop there. Afterward, Jacob returns to his father, Isaac, again prioritizing family and comes together with Esau to bury him. Jacob has come full circle, and God has made true on His promise to return Jacob home, making a place for him (Gen. 36:6-8).

Every foundational element you need for stepping into your prophetic destiny is not found outside but inside the four walls of your home. It takes character and determination coupled with the presence of God to lead a family. It is the first proving ground of all that God wants to release through you. In Deuteronomy 11:18-21, we are admonished,

“Therefore you shall lay these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.”

God doesn’t just care about what you do but about who you are at the most basic level, which is seen most clearly in familial relationships. Family matters. God’s desire is that you not only be blessed but that the blessing is multiplied exponentially with each generation. Remember, God’s plans and purposes transcend our lifetime, and it is our primary duty to see that covenantal relationship with the Lord is passed down by training and equipping our homes in the ways of God. If things are difficult in your home right now, remember, God doesn’t give up, neither should you. Jacob’s family survived murder and rape to walk out God’s plans and purposes for them. Yours can survive and thrive, too.

Let’s Pray:

Father, I come before you today, purified by the blood of Jesus, to consecrate myself to You. Lord, I want to partner with you to see generations transformed by the cross’s saving power and renewed covenant relationship with You. I will begin with where I am, here at home. Give me the grace and wisdom to lead my family into covenant with You so that every new generation has a revelation of Your plans and purposes not only for them but for the world. I want our entire family to be known as world-changers. God, I pour out myself as a drink offering to Your service and what You desire. Please help me to learn this lesson well. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

4/13/21 Family Matters: Stepping into Your Prophetic Destiny, Pt. 15

If there’s proof that the flesh refuses to quietly go when we step into God’s call on our life, it is Jacob’s reaction to what I have termed the “Dinah Debacle,” in Genesis 34. Putting it bluntly, Shechem, son of Hamor, rapes Jacob’s daughter, Dinah. Today, we do not find rapists falling over themselves to marry their victims, but that’s precisely what Shechem does, even getting his father’s assistance.

Now there are no words to describe what happened next. We are told in verse five that Jacob justified staying silent about Dinah’s rape because his sons were out in the field. Perhaps had he refused to remain quiet, things would have gone differently. However, when the boys return home, it states that they were “grieved and angry,” an emotion not attributed to Jacob, and his sons, like their father before them, deal deceitfully with Hamor and Shechem. The boys trick the city’s men into circumcision and then murder them and plunder the entire town.

What is incredibly sad in this story is that Jacob refuses, once again, to take responsibility. He attempts to circumnavigate the issue by involving his other children. He doesn’t even think to take the matter before the Lord with whom he has entered into covenant. No, Jacob is silent – at least until the damage has been done.

One of the most critical aspects of stepping into your prophetic destiny is learning how to lead your family during the good times and bad. Jacob spectacularly dropped this ball, and his daughter was the victim not only of Shechem but of her own father’s unwillingness to confront the issue. If you do not deal with your character flaws, you may end up facing them in your children, which is precisely what Jacob’s sons’ duplicity was – a reflection of their father. Problems in the home reflect its leadership – ouch! I know what that is for me and, I’m guessing, for you, as well. Self-indictment.

God requires us to take personal responsibility for those things that He places into our care, and first and foremost, that is our family. What’s the Scriptural basis for this? Genesis 18:17-19 records,

“And the LORD said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him.”

God knew that Abraham had the basics down; God could trust Abraham’s family to him. He was going to lead them first and foremost. They were Abraham’s priority. When you get things out of order by putting God’s promise of your destiny before God’s desires for your family hinders that promise from coming to pass. God could only bring His purposes for Abraham to pass because Abraham was trustworthy regarding his family. We see this emphasized by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians when he first addresses their relationship to God, then their spouse, followed by their children, and then trailed by relationship to their employer. God will not bless anything when we have gotten it out of order, whether it’s putting our children before God or our work before family relationships.

And that is one of the most horrifying things about Jacob’s reaction. His daughter is raped, and he does nothing. When the deed is done, he blames his sons, claiming, “You have brought trouble on me, making me odious to the inhabitants” (vs.30). He has made it all about him and his reputation. Meanwhile, Dinah’s defiled and hurting, and his sons are justifying their actions, “Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute!” (Vs. 31). The problem wasn’t with Jacob’s children; it was with himself and his inability or, shall we say, unwillingness to rule his household.

Look, Jacob is back in the land of promise, and Hamor discusses with him the prospect of intermarrying and Jacob owning land IF Jacob will give his daughter up to Shechem. Jacob may have been thinking that God allowed this so that he could obtain the land God promised. Remember, several lessons ago, I mentioned that God is calling your entire family, not just you. But make no mistake, God never does anything out of order, and God would never allow Jacob to receive the promise at Dinah’s expense.

Today, the enemy is seeking to sway us from the covenant promises of God for our homes and nation at the expense of our children. We, as people of God, cannot allow that to happen. Our homes and the family altar are our first lines of defense. We must have things in order if we are to step into all that God has destined for us. God abhors child sacrifice in all forms, particularly when it’s done in His Name. Let’s be a people of integrity who are willing to confront the rape of our children at the Word of the Lord and to do so with boldness! How we do that is tomorrow’s topic.

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, forgive me for getting things out of whack and putting my calling ahead of those that matter – my family. I have sought Your prophetic blessing, all while abandoning my primary calling to be a leader of integrity within my family. Today, I repent. Today, I determine to keep things in their proper place. I will keep You first, prioritize my relationship with my spouse and children, and then work, knowing that I can trust You to provide. Teach me how to balance every relationship You’ve entrusted to my care Your way. When I get things out of order, remind me and bring my life back into divine order. I want to honor You, Lord. I want my family to glorify You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.