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Summary: “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” (Romans 8:28).

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Purpose

Vol. 1 Issue 14

November 4 2007

The weekly newsletter of True Potential Publishing

Week 2: Your History - Past, Present and Future

“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” (Romans 8:28).

Most of us know that verse. It usually pops up when something bad has just happened. It’s kind of a Christian, “keep your chin up!” But there’s another time the verse pops up. It’s when you look back at something in your life that seemed not-so-good at the time, which you realize now was for the best.

Have you ever regretted something that’s happened to you or something you’ve done? We all have. How about a certain part of your life when you wish you could take a do-over? Think you’ve lost a couple of months or years on the road to your real purpose in life? Days of your life you’ll never get back? Like I said, we all have.

How about right now? Wondering if your life is kind of stuck in rut mode? You’re hung in the hum-drum. Your day is a repeat of yesterday. Wake up, climb on the hamster wheel, run like the dickens until it’s time to fall back in bed again. Tomorrow? Same stuff – different day.

How do you think God feels about your present existence? Do you ever wonder if He still sees you, loves you, and has a wonderful plan for your life? And if He does have a wonderful plan for your life, is this it? Is this the plan? From down here the plan doesn’t look so hot most days.

Do you feel like what you’re doing doesn’t really count for much in light of eternity? Kind of hoping for something more? A little higher purpose than the hamster wheel? Wish you could do something important with your life?

Most of us have been there. A lot of us are still there. We had high hopes early on that there was something really special waiting for us in life. The idealism of youth kind of fades away as the realities of adulthood take over.

There are certain guys in the Bible I really like. Whose lives I can look at and see a parallel and hope for my own situation when I’m feeling a little adrift. That’s where Joseph comes in.

*****

You already know the story of Joseph. If you don’t, pick up a Bible and read Genesis chapters thirty-seven and thirty-nine through forty-seven. Here’s Joseph’s life in bullets.

• Second from the youngest of twelve boys. Dad’s favorite

• Good looking, well built and smart; but clueless on sibling politics.

• Has dreams about his brothers and parents bowing down before him. Family not thrilled.

• Dodges assassination attempt by the brothers and is sold as a slave to Midianite traders.

• Traders sell him to Egyptian bureaucrat and he gets promoted to head of household staff.

• Bureaucrat’s wife gets the hots, gets rebuffed and gets even. Joseph goes to jail.

• Gets another promotion and becomes the de-facto jail administrator.

• Interprets dreams and seals the fate of Pharaoh’s baker and cup bearer. Cup bearer immediately forgets his emancipator and Joseph’s stuck in jail another two years.

• Pharaoh has a dream, cupbearer remembers an overdue debt, Joseph meets Pharaoh.

• Joseph interprets dream, becomes prime-minister, rescues family from the famine, and becomes the catalyst by which the family of Jacob becomes the nation of Israel.

*****

Looking at the big picture, it’s obvious to us that Joseph lived a life of eternal destiny. If God hadn’t brought him to Egypt and then brought him to power, if there hadn’t been a severe famine in the land, his family would have never moved to Goshen; a piece of prime real estate where they would survive and thrive and eventually grow from a family into a nation. You can see God’s hand in Joseph’s life with every twist of fate.

But I wonder if Joseph felt that way at the time? At seventeen, he was ripped from his home and family and sold as a slave. He spent thirteen years in a foreign country, either as a slave or in prison. God was watching over him and he enjoyed a certain level of success, but he was still a slave and a prisoner in a foreign land.

I’ll bet there were times in those thirteen years that Joseph wondered what had gone wrong with his life. What great divine plan had separated him from his home and family and had put him in servitude and in prison? He remembered the promise God had made to his father Jacob. He remembered his dreams that one day his family would bow before him. Where were the promise and the dreams now? The way his life was shaping up, he was sure that he would never see his family or homeland again.

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