Stopping the Disease in the Family Tree

If you look at the life of Joseph in the Old Testament, you may wonder how Joseph got past his family history, especially his brothers’ hatred of him and selling him into slavery. Joseph turned to God who taught him how to rise from the heavy load of his family’s past and how to forgive those who wronged him. Melissa Spoelstra in her book, Joseph, the Journey to Forgiveness, said “We miss the blessings of today when we are stuck in resentment for things that happened yesterday.”


Damaged Yarn

Seventeen-year-old Joseph helped his older half-brothers herd their father’s flocks. Here are two more things you need to know. “Joseph brought his father bad reports on them. Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons.” Genesis 37:2-3 (MSG) It’s easy to understand why the brothers wanted to do away with Joseph. The events that followed were complicated to say the least. Thankfully, God has a way of using life’s complicated events to produce positive results. Although we don’t like complications, they are easier to face when we understand God can use them to make us who He wants us to be.


The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Hatred may start out slow, but it can gain speed quickly. Its power grows and the damage it can cause expands. Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him and that spirit brought hatred.   The brothers plotted against Joseph. They planned to make his death appear as if “a ferocious animal devoured him.” (Genesis 37:20) The plan took another turn when the brothers decided to sell him instead.   When the hatred and jealousy came to an end, it did not yield a sweet victory; rather it ended in bitterness and disappointment. His brothers’ plots and hatred ended in crushing sadness and grief for their father.


Pit Life

The popular Three Dog Night song says, “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do…. No is the saddest experience you’ll ever know.”   Throughout this life there are times when we will either be alone or feel a measure of loneliness. Some of these times are of our own making. But, there are also times where circumstances and others’ decisions leave us all by ourselves.   Loneliness is a state of mind causing people to feel empty, isolated and unwanted. The truth is we are never alone. God is always present, desiring to be with us. He can comfort us and provide the companionship we crave.


The Waiting Room

In Genesis 41:41-42:23 we read about Joseph and how, after many years of imprisonment, he was given power and authority over Egypt. If we think about Joseph’s story, we see an amazing example of patience on his part. We can only imagine what he may have been thinking during this time of his life, but we see his faith in God did not waver.   We may have times where we feel God is challenging us or teaching us patience. Let Joseph’s story be a reminder to persevere and believe God will do great things in our lives.


Resetting the Bar

Jesus made it clear that we are to obey God. “Then he said to them all, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23 NIV)   When we obey God, these critical life decisions have far-reaching consequences on our lives as well as on the lives of our children, grandchildren, and other descendants. Often, following God’s plan could mean we are to step out in faith and take a risk. If God calls us to another location or another job, we must go where He leads despite the risks.