Archive for October, 2010

It appears that Joseph stole God’s dreams and The Almighty had a burglar alarm.

For those not familiar with Joseph, read about him in Genesis 37.
The essence of the story is that God put some tremendous literal and figurative dreams into the head and heart of a 17 year-old.
Joseph “took” what was not his and claimed it as his own. Call it stealing or borrowing, whatever. 
Since I’m a fairly honest guy, I’ll tell you something. I’ve done the same thing.
When we receive inspiration, dreams, visions, and plans, we really think they are “ours” and we may keep them to ourselves or make the mistake that Joseph did by broadcasting it to people who live in a smaller world and may even be prone to jealousy. That exacerbates the problem. But the result of dream “sharing” (can we call it “subtle bragging”?) is just a means which God will use to bring humility into our lives so that we can live the dream without owning it.
It all boils down to whose dream are we going to live in? Joseph eventually lived the American dream: a beautiful wife, a couple of kids, a great job and you know the rest. But he didn’t live it until he returned something that wasn’t his. Any alarms go off for you?

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Where was God at Auschwitz?

Probably the same place He was when the ground soaked up Abel’s blood. Probably the same place when Joseph screamed out from the pit, when Tamar sobbed from her bed, when the scoundrels set Naboth up to be stoned in a field, when Jeremiah the patriot became Jeremiah the traitor, when Jesus faced Judas in the garden and when Stephen gazed above a frenzied mob.
We don’t see God as an impotent deity handcuffed by the whims of the wicked. But a loving God has “allowed” horrors that make men question His, well, “allowances.” I choose to believe that He is patiently allowing the plodding of history to reveal His perfect motives through the redemption of man.
One such piece of evidence to this line of thinking was the “Night To Stand With Israel,” an event where Christians speak up unequivocally for the right of the nation of Israel to exist and prosper.
Hatred and envy remain toward Jews. Can’t God do something about it? My take-away from the night was to stop passing the buck to God what was meant for me. God is doing something about the unfair things in life. He’s created me, yes me, with a conscience and talents. He’s expecting me to be the answer from God that will help stop such “allowances.”
Christians have rightly hung their heads in guilt over our sell-out of our Jewish brothers over the centuries and the Night To Stand With Israel is a great historical stride.  But hatred seems to run far deeper than just ethnic and racial lines. It runs in the heart; sometimes closer than we dare to look.
At one point during the evening, when the question was raised, ” Where were Christians during the Holocaust?”, a Jewish brother behind me echoed with a, “Where were some of the Jews during the Holocaust?” At a recent tour of the slave castle in Ghana, an African tour guide told me that slave trade would have been severely hampered or halted except that some greedy Africans had been benefitting so nicely from the project.
Is it true that we would “stand by” instead of “stand with” even our own flesh and blood? Perhaps we should ask Cane instead of God?

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Recently, I had to pause and think about my mother. It was the anniversary of God calling her home.

Decades pass and memories fade, despite our best efforts to keep them alive.
But the Good Lord allowed me to retrieve a memory I should not have had through a photograph that I’d be too young to remember. Yet, the most startling thing about it was the physical beauty of my mother. Her face was striking.
I grew up with a “rounder” mom whose tummy had served as a B&B for seven kids. I used to love her long black hair and her eyes. But physically, she was nothing like the woman in the photo! Wow, no wonder my dad fell in love.
It was telling of how life has a propensity for wearing us down…just look at the presidents after 8 years in office.
Looking back, I think I used to adore my mother. That “apron countenance” of service and love to all of us and all of our friends was more glowing than if she had somehow kept that slimmer figure. However, I’m glad I have the photo of this beautiful lady with head erect and her hands proudly on the shoulders of the clan she so dearly loved and impacted.
Yes, time has passed and the slimmer and rounder versions of mom blend together to form an image of an eternal memory. So, if you ever ask me what my mother looked like, maybe you’ll understand when I simply reply, “She was a beautiful woman.”
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward person is perishing, yet the inward person is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

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