Summary: This is the fifth and final message in a series looking at the life of Joseph and how dreams come true. This message deals with the finishing touches on a life that is lived in God’s perfect plan.
How Dreams Come True
Pt 5 ¡V Finish Well
Genesis 37:4-8 The Dream
Genesis 41:46-54 The Climax
Genesis 42:6 The Fulfillment
Genesis 45:1-8 The Finish
As we have progressed through this series over the last month ¡V let me take just a moment to recap 4 take home points with you before we finish the series.
„Y God has a plan (dream) for your life.
„Y You will never reach that dream without overcoming many obstacles in your life.
„Y Never give up, your salvation might be just out of sight. Never give in because God will never lead you to glory through the gutter.
„Y No one can stop God¡¦s dream for your life ¡V but you!
How many of you watched last months Olympic Games? One event that you probably didn¡¦t watch was in sharpshooting. American Matt Emmons went into the final shot of that competition only needing to hit the target anywhere near the bullseye to win a Gold Medal. He lined up his shot squeezed the trigger and watched as he hit the target near the bullseye. His elation was short lived however when he realized that he shot at the wrong target ¡V hitting the target in the lane next to his. Because he missed his target completely ¡V he was dropped out of the medals and finished in 8th place.
I tell you that story to remind you that when we are pursuing our dreams ¡V it¡¦s about finishing well. Joseph has spent his life overcoming obstacles and others ¡V from pits to prisons ¡V but God¡¦s plan remains the same and he continues on track to be all that God wants him to be. In these last verses that we are going to consider together Joseph shows us how to finish well. Here are just a couple of suggestions from the life of Joseph.
1) Remember the Journey is Part of the Dream ¡V For Joseph the dream started 13 years earlier when he was only 17 years old. He has a dream ¡V he tells his family about his dream ¡V and his dysfunctional family erupts. His brothers throw him in a pit then sell him into slavery. Once in Egypt ¡V he is thrown into jail for a crime he didn¡¦t commit and is forgotten by the one person who could help him. Joseph could have turned into a bitter angry person. In fact I would say that today we have a lot of bitter angry people who have much less cause than Joseph. But look with me at Joseph when he comes out of prison who is he? He seems to be the same positive forward looking man that started out 13 years earlier. Look at this pasasage in 41:46 ¡V Joseph names his children
„Y The first Manasseh ¡V it means Making to forget ¡V he says he names him this because God has made me forget all my trouble in my father¡¦s household. Joseph finds healing from God for his misfortunes in life. We have choices ¡V we can stay anchored in the past ¡V this was done to me ¡V that was done to me ¡V I hurt ¡V It¡¦s not fair ¡V on and on ¡V or we can seek the healing of God that helps us forget and move on.
„Y The second is Ephraim ¡V it means fruitfulness ¡V He says God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction. Even in hardship God has blessed me.
Here is the truth for you ¡V The difficulties, obstacles, and even the betrayals of life are part of the journey to the dream. Listen to me folks ¡V everyone has a story. Every one has problems, everyone has difficulties, everyone has heartaches ¡V you might not know it because most people will never tell you their stories ¡V but your not the only one who ever had to deal with difficulty. Some people surrender to the pain and are simply content to wallow in self-pity. Others seem empowered by misfortune and use it to excuse their sinful behavior as if somehow they deserve to be let off the hook because of their past. Well folks if you are one of these realize that the only person who is destroying your dream is you. We have the choice to overcome by the power of God.
2) Extend the Grace Card Frequently ¡V 45:4-5 ¡V You say what¡¦s a grace card? Actually I have to give credit where credit is due ¡V this idea came from Mark Basinger as we had a discussion recently. I knew I had to preach about it I just didn¡¦t know when. A grace card is a spiritual get out of jail free card. It says ¡V I¡¦m giving someone a free pass today. Maybe they hurt my feelings, maybe they did me wrong, maybe they missed a meeting, maybe they did something stupid or blew their top ¡V I don¡¦t know there are a million reasons whey we may need a grace card on any given day. Joseph¡¦s brothers needed a grace card if ever anyone did. Joseph had all the power ¡V he could have had their heads for what they had done. But Joseph extends his hand and offers them a grace card. Here are a couple of insights on this