Monthly Archives: March 2018

24. Can God trust you?

Last time we saw how Joseph met his brothers again. They were clearly remorseful and tormented by what they had done to Joseph. They have lived with the guilt for more than 20 years and it still plagued them. But they were truly sorry and God used what they did for good and later on He also used them as the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel, His beloved nation. God can use us as well, no matter what we have done in the past. We must simply turn to Him for forgiveness, make amends with those that we have hurt and continue with Him into our future, knowing that He is mightily with us.

As we saw last week, Joseph overheard his brothers when they were saying how sorry they were for what they had done to him. He was overcome with emotion and wept. It must have been very emotional for him. He must have hoped that they will be remorseful, but he never knew until that moment. Yet, still he wanted to test them and make sure that it was not only lip service, but that they had truly changed. He secretly returned their money into their sacks of grain, as he wanted to see how they handled that:

"Then Joseph gave a command to fill their sacks with grain, to restore every man's money to his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. Thus he did for them." Genesis 42:25

His brothers turned out to be honorable men. For instead of being joyful when they found that their money had been returned, they were dismayed:

"But as one of them opened his sack to give his donkey feed at the encampment, he saw his money; and there it was, in the mouth of his sack. So he said to his brothers, "My money has been restored, and there it is, in my sack!" Then their hearts failed them and they were afraid, saying to one another, "What is this that God has done to us?" Genesis 42:27, 28

They weren't glad that their money was returned, they were honorable and wanted to pay for it. Later on we will see that when they returned, they offered to Joseph this money as well as extra for the new food that they wanted to acquire. They wanted to pay their dues. They aced that test.

Sometimes God will also test us. He will never allow things to come on us that we will not be able to handle. God wants us to live a life of excellence. He wants us to stand out from others, so that we can do the honorable thing. When we live a life of excellence, God will start to entrust us with more and more in HIs Kingdom. He wants to see if we can do the small things well, and then He will progress to entrust us with the bigger things. God has started to do that to me and I must say it hasn't been easy. The small things can be very difficult to do, especially if you are in a hurry. For example when you have tried on clothes in the shop, go back and place it where it belongs. When your hands are full in the shops and you accidently let products fall from the rack, do you pick it up? Do you go and replace the trolley after you have placed the groceries in your car? Do you make sure that the public toilet is nice and clean after you have used it? Are you honest with your taxes and what you earn? Do you make way for other cars to come into your lane? Do you truly listen to your children or your spouse? Do you go on holiday even if the government has closed the borders? And so I can go on and on. God cannot use us for bigger things if we cannot get the small things right. He wants to see that we are living a life of excellence in all areas  of our lives. He wants to entrust us with so much. We need to walk the walk, and not just be a Christian in our speech. He wants us to influence the world, but first He needs to make sure that He can trust us with the small things in life. At the end of the day, they show our character and what we are truly made of.

Father we want to honor You in everything. We want to lift up Your Name and bring glory to You. We want to live a life of excellence, help us with it and give us the strength to follow through. We want to be used by You. Amen

23. God has a bright future for you

God exalted Joseph to second in command in all of Egypt. Joseph didn't have the credentials, the education or the experience for that position, but yet God ordained it to be so. And because Joseph was willing and keen to do his best and to listen to God, everything worked out great. Joseph was successful in all that he did and his plan of collecting enough food for everybody to use during the time of famine worked out quite well. We therefore learn that when God places us in certain situations we shouldn't be worried; He will look out for us and help us through it. He will give us the wisdom to handle the situations and to excel in His plan for our lives.

Joseph did so well in offering food to the Egyptians, people from other countries heard about the food as well. It spread as far as Canaan to Joseph's family. His father, Jacob heard about the grain in Egypt:

"And he said, "Indeed I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down to that place and buy for us there, that we might live and not die." Genesis 42:2

So Joseph's ten brothers set off to Egypt to collect grain. Little did they know that they would encounter their brother Joseph. He immediately recognized them even though they didn't recognize him. He spoke to them and learned that he had a brother that he didn't even know of, Benjamin. He wanted to meet him and in the same breath test his brothers to see if they have changed. He took one of them, Simeon and placed him in jail. The rest he sent back to go and fetch Benjamin, as well as to take food back to their families. Just before they went, they said the following:

"We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear; therefore this distress has come upon us." And Reuben answered them, saying, "Did I not speak to you, saying, "Do not sin against the boy": and you would not listen? Therefore behold, his blood is now required of us." Genesis 42:21, 22

They felt terribly guilty for what they had done to Joseph. They sold him when he was seventeen years old and he was probably now between 38 and 40 years old. So for more than twenty years they carried this guilt around with them. Nothing in this situation suggested that this happened to them because of what they did to Joseph and yet that is the first conclusion that they jumped to. What they did to Joseph must have tormented them for years and years. It was terrible what they did and yet God used it for good. God used it to save His people from famine through Joseph.

They were truly sorry for what they had done, they were remorseful. And at the end God used them to become the twelve tribes of Israel, His beloved nation.

We might also have done terrible things in the past. We might also be remorseful about things we have said and done to other people. Do not carry this guilt around with you for one single day more. Lay it down at the feet of Jesus. Ask Him for forgiveness, He gives freely to all. Then go and make amends with the person that you have harmed. If it is not possible to do that, do that in the Spirit and be set free. Then move on with your life and be free from all guilt and condemnation. Jesus came to set us free. He wants to use us in mighty ways, we must just be pliable and willing to repent and move where He wants us to move. Our future is bright, no matter what we have done in the past. God can work with that and bring beauty from ashes.

Father, we are so sorry for things that we have done in the past. We were spiritually immature and didn't realize what we were doing. We are so sorry about it. Thank you for forgiving us, we praise You and look forward to our future with You. Amen

22. Ask wisdom from God

Last time we saw how God lifted Joseph up from the lowest of low in prison to the second highest position in all of Egypt, the most civilized country of the ancient world. He lifted him up within minutes. But it took thirteen years of preparation for Joseph before this moment arrived. He could have become despondent and could have forsaken God during that time, but he didn't. He continued following God and doing the best he could, doing good to others in the process. God honored that and lifted him high at precisely the right moment. And we learned that this could be true of us as well, we should never lose heart, but we should continue with our responsibilities as well as doing good to others and fellowshipping with God on a daily basis. Our turn will come, when God will use us in the best possible way, honoring His Name and His Kingdom.

Joseph was now second in command in Egypt. As exciting as this was, this must have been a very daunting task. After all he didn't have the proper training for the task up ahead. He didn't go to a 'university' to study what to do in a situation like this. He didn't have the experience of running a country. He didn't know how Pharaoh's palace was run etc. etc. He was literally thrown into the deep end. But He had God. And that made all the difference. He did his best and God did the rest:

"So Joseph gathered up all the food of the seven years which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities; he laid up in every city the food of the fields which surrounded them. Joseph gathered very much grain, as the sand of the sea, until he stopped counting, for it is immeasurable." Genesis 41:48, 49

God gave Joseph wisdom and knowledge to gather the food for the seven years of famine. He helped him in all the details and Joseph blossomed. He became powerful in the eyes of the people and Pharaoh sent all the people to Joseph to deal with:

"So when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Then Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, "Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you, do." Genesis 41:55

Joseph did such a good job, that Pharaoh trusted him totally. He had total confidence in him and that says a lot.

When God appoints you to do a certain job, He will equip you to be able to do the job as well. You might feel afraid and inadequate, but God will equip and lead you. He will not abandon you, but help you throughout the process. He will never place you in a certain position without being confident that you would be able to do it.

This reminds me of a saying - "Do it afraid." If God wants you to do something, do it even if you feel afraid. It might be that He wants you to forgive someone, or that He wants you to correct someone, or He wants you to be more assertive and stand up for yourself or maybe He wants you to expose wrong doing, or maybe He has led you to a new place or a new job and He wants you to reach out to others or to change systems etc. Whatever the case may be, He will lead and guide you. He will. Just ask wisdom from Him, He promises to give it to you:

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." James 1:5

Father thank you that we can ask wisdom from You. You led Joseph and he did a sterling job, please lead us too. Help us to know what is the best thing to do and give us the courage to do it. We want to honor You and be the best we can be. Amen

21. At the right time God will lift you up

Last week we learned that God's Spirit flowed so greatly through Joseph that even Pharaoh noticed it and commented on it. Joseph was so close to God that he immediately knew what Pharaoh's dreams meant and he also knew what to do about the dreams. He didn't hesitate or waver; he knew instantly what needed to be done because God was mightily with him. And the same could be true of us. When we live really close to God, we can also move more easily in His Spirit and know what God wants us to do and say to other people. Wouldn't that be wonderful? How amazing would that be to know what to say to other people and knowing that it is God speaking through you! It is possible; you just need to spend the time with God. Then breakthroughs will come.

Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dream and told him what to do about the revelation too. Pharaoh could see God moving through Joseph and without a moment's notice:

"Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne I will be greater than you." And Pharaoh said to Joseph, "See I have set you over all the land of Egypt." Then Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph's hand; and he clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. And he had him ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried out before him, "Bow the knee!" So he set him over all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh also said to Joseph, "I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man may lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt." Genesis 41:39-44

I have read the life of Joseph many times before, but when I read these verses again I realized the impact of what just happened here. It is truly phenomenal and God inspired. Where have you ever heard of a foreigner in jail rising to second in command of the most civilized country in the world within minutes? How on earth is that possible? He is taken out of jail and given all the riches of Egypt, ruler over all except for Pharaoh. No one can even lift a hand or foot without Joseph's consent. That is unheard of, especially for a foreigner. In an instant his whole life changed. He rose from the lowest of low to the highest of high in a matter of minutes. Did he do something in the physical realm to deserve it? No, not really if you look at him through the eyes of the Egyptians. BUT GOD. It is so amazing to see how God's will always come to pass. Joseph did his part, and then God did the impossible. Joseph's part was to do the best he can in the circumstances, to do good to others and to stay close to God. And then God took over and exalted him within minutes, after Joseph's obedience of 13 years!

Today the same can be said of us. We need to do our part, namely to do the best you can where you are at, to do good to others and to stay close to God. It is as simple as that. Then God will step in for us at precisely the right moment and exalt us to where we need to be. The problem with us is that instead of casting our care on God, we keep the care, but we cast the responsibility unto Him. We moan and complain and we do not want to do our part. We become selfish and stagnate. We blame God for things happening in our lives and we don't believe that He will come through for us. And that is a recipe for disaster. We cannot throw away our responsibility. Joseph would never have been exalted if he had committed adultery with Potiphar's wife, or even if he didn't, if he didn't have a good attitude in jail and didn't help the chief butler with his dream he would never have been exalted either. Joseph did his best where he was and helped where he could and stayed close to God and he received his reward. And notice he didn't receive it after one year or even two years of being faithful, but after thirteen years of doing the best he could! Remember that when you get tired of waiting or tired of doing good. Keep on going, God sees what you are doing and will reward you when the time is right. He knows what is best for you and will always do that.

In the meantime, be patient, be kind, do good and keep your responsibility. God will bless you.

Father thank you that our lives are within Your hands. You are faithful and true and we love You for that. Thank you that we can rest assured that You know best. In all situations and in all things. Amen

20. Overflow with God's Spirit

Last time we learned that God's timing is the best. At exactly the right time He would lead us and help us through situations. He would open doors when it needs to be opened and close doors when it needs to be closed. He sees the bigger picture and knows what is best for us, when we try to force things to happen earlier than it should, we make trouble for ourselves. We should never do that, but rather wait on God for His perfect timing.

And what a better example than Joseph. Okay, fair enough, he was forced to wait for his moment to come because he was in jail. BUT he had a good attitude while waiting. He did his best in jail and worked there as a supervisor. And as we saw, the moment that he came out of jail, he gave God the glory for interpreting the dreams. He didn't squirm away from God and pretend that he could do it all by himself, no, he gave all glory to God, even though he knew that Pharaoh was seen as a 'god' himself. And what was also amazing to see is that after Pharaoh told Joseph his dreams, Joseph didn't ask for time to receive the interpretation from God. He didn't go away on his own and consult God first. He lived so close to Him and had His Spirit guiding him, so he didn't need to do that, God's Spirit just flowed mightily and he could give the interpretation as well as the solution instantly. God flowed so greatly through him, that even Pharaoh saw that God was with Joseph:

"And Pharaoh said to his servants, "Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?" Genesis 41:38

I don't think we realize what a huge compliment this was. Especially coming from Pharaoh who himself was considered to be a god. He saw God in Joseph and I do not think there is a bigger compliment that anyone can give to someone.

We should also live so close to God that people can see Him in us. This doesn't just happen. Just like exercising our physical muscles, we must exercise our spiritual muscles. And just as we cannot expect to pick up several kilograms of weights in our first week of training, we cannot expect to just flow with God's Spirit like Joseph did after spending two mornings in a row with God. It just doesn't work that way. We need to be consistent and develop our relationship with God. We need to get to know Him and His heart for us as well as for others. The closer we get to Him, the more we will flow in His principles and spread that to other people.

God wants us so close to Him, that we can give advice to others in a moment's notice, and it would be God inspired advice. That is God's plan and will for all of us. He wants us to be true representatives of Him, speaking to others what He would have spoken to them. We should follow Joseph's example. Even though he went through some very tough times, he stuck close to God and it paid off. People could SEE God in him and that has made all the difference. And it would make all the difference in your life too.

I know we are all busy and do not have the time to spend God. But as Joyce Meyer said the other day, we always find time for what is important to us. If our bodies are important to us we find time to exercise, if our children are important to us we find time to spend with them, if our friends are important to us we make sure we keep in contact, if our sports are important to us we make time to watch it. So, is spending time with God important to you? Is it important to you to be filled with His Spirit to overflowing? If it is, you WILL make the time. It is your choice. Everyone gets 24 hours a day, what are you going to do with it?

Father we want to overflow with Your Spirit just like Joseph did. We want people to see You in our lives. We want to be filled with more and more of You. Thank you for always making time for us. We love You. Amen

115. Easter 2022

This Easter I would like to share something out of my book "The Four Horses". When I prayed over this year's Easter message this is what came up for me:

God ordained that Israel camp in a specific formation in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. The Tabernacle of God was in the middle of the camp. To the east of the Tabernacle camped Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun-in total they were 186,400 (Numbers 2:9). To the south camped Reuben, Simeon, and Gad-in total they were 151,450 (Numbers 2:16). To the west camped Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin-in total they were 108,100 (Numbers 2:24). To the north camped Dan, Asher, and Naphtali-in total they were 157,600 (Numbers 2:31). Now, what is very interesting to note is that if we were to draw these numbers according to scale, the way they camped formed a cross! Isn't it amazing! To the east were many more people than to the west, and the north and the south were almost equal, actually forming a cross with the longest ax towards the east. And when they camped all the people looked inward towards the Tabernacle, which is a picture of Jesus and what He came to do for us at the cross.

So, Israel was in fact already living in the reality of Jesus being sacrificed for them, and therefore they were protected. And not only that, Jesus's heart of love for them was in the center in the form of the Tabernacle. He was encamped with them, and therefore no evil could befall them! Did you know that Israel was never attacked and beaten while they camped this way in the wilderness? It is certainly something to ponder and to learn from. While God was in the center of them as a nation, they were unbeatable.

Also, it is worthy to note that the long bar of the cross (or where Jesus's feet would be) faced east. Why? Well, the Lord wanted them to focus on where the sun was rising; symbolizing that He is the Light of the world. He was the One who would bring light in their darkness. He wanted them to renew their commitment to Him every day as the sun rose to bring in a new day. For in His light, they could see light (Psalm 36:9); in other words, they could see the path laid out for them, the way to go. It was also prophetic of what was to come. The Temple of God, later built by Solomon, also faced eastward (Ezekiel 11:1), and when God later departed from the Temple due to the nation's disobedience, He departed from the threshold, thus in an easterly direction (Ezekiel 10:18). The glory of the Lord therefore left the city on the east side (Ezekiel 11:23). But when Jesus comes back again, His feet will land on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east (Zechariah 14:4). Thus, He will come back again from the east! This is also stated in Ezekiel 43:1-5. So, Jesus's feet at the cross symbolically faced east, and when He comes back again, His feet will touch on the east side of Jerusalem. Isn't God's Word just accurate? Also interesting to note, Judah was camped at the east side, and Jesus came from the tribe of Judah.

Okay, so now we know that they camped in the form of a cross, three tribes on each side of the cross. Now, of each group of tribes there was a "leader" tribe of the three. On the east it was Judah, on the south it was Reuben, on the west it was Ephraim, and on the north it was Dan. Each tribe also had their own banner/symbol presented on their flag.

The flag of Judah had the symbol of a lion. The lion was given to them because Jacob compared Judah to a "lion's whelp" when he prophesied over him before he died (Genesis 49:9).

The flag of Reuben had the symbol of a man's face. The man's face was associated with Reuben because he was the firstborn, the head of the family.

The flag of Ephraim had the symbol of an ox. The ox was used because it was through the vision of the calves/oxen that Joseph predicted the famine and provided for them all in Egypt through God's grace. Also, when Moses prophesied over Joseph (in effect his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh), he said:

"His glory is like a firstborn bull, and his horns like the horns of the wild ox" (Deuteronomy 33:17).

Therefore, an ox was used as the symbol.

The flag of Dan had the symbol of an eagle. The eagle was used because when Jacob prophesied about Dan he said:

"Dan shall be a serpent by the way, a viper by the path" (Genesis 49:17).

Jacob compared Dan to a serpent. But according to rabbinical tradition, Dan didn't want a snake as his symbol, so they substituted the snake with an eagle, the destroyer of serpents.

Now for Easter 2022, I would like us to see Jesus through these four symbols and experience Him through it. These four symbols truly depict Jesus' character. I do not have time to explain it here, it is in my book, but in short.

First of all, Jesus is the Lion of Judah. He is the conqueror, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. We should see Him as that in our lives. We should not be afraid or worried about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication give all our wants over to Him. He is mighty and will be able to handle all situations for us. He is the One we can truly trust and give over to.  (Jesus is depicted as King in the Gospel of Matthew.)

Secondly He is a man. He came to earth as a man just like us, flesh and blood. He felt and experienced all the heartache and pain that we do. In fact He experienced a lot more with His gruesome death. So He truly understands our trials and tribulations. He understands what we are going through and we can therefore come to Him with reassurance that He will give us the best advice and that He will comfort and care for us. (Jesus is depicted as the Son of man in the Gospel of Luke.)

Thirdly He is an ox. Hard-working, always serving everyone, always having time for everyone. He is tender and soft, and yet tough like an ox, no pushover as the Pharisees realized. We can therefore be rest-assured that He is our Advocate at the right hand of God, always working on our behalf and looking out for us. He never sleeps and slumbers and we can always call out to Him for help. We must also follow His example and be a servant for Him here on earth. (Jesus is depicted as a hard-working Servant in the Gospel of Mark)

And fourthly He is an eagle. He is the Son of God, flying high above it all, with a bird's eye view of everything that is going on in our lives. He is Divine and He knows best. We can therefore trust His guidance and help and ask Him for it on a regular basis. He can see far ahead and we can therefore follow His Voice and know that it will be the best pathway for our lives. (Jesus is depicted as the Son of God in the Gospel of John.)

Ponder these four 'faces' of Jesus, I am sure Holy Spirit will show you even more this Easter. May you rest in His love and be at peace knowing that the King of kings, the Servant of all, the Divine Son of God, the man who understands is with you every step of the way.

Thank you Father for Your amazing grace and mercy. We love the wonderful nuggets of truth that You reveal in Your Word for us to enjoy. Thank you for teaching us about Jesus and unveiling more and more of Him to us. Therein lies all the secrets of this life. We love You and we rejoice in all that Jesus has done for us. We would have been lost without Him. Thank you Jesus, we glorify You Father and we walk this life with You Holy Spirit. Amen

19. God knows best

Last week we learned that God still speaks through dreams with us. He speaks to us in various ways, but dreams are one of the ways that He does. Once you dream something that you vividly remember in detail, spend some time with God and ask Him for the interpretation or to send someone who can interpret the dream for you.

God sent Joseph to interpret Pharaoh's dream. And He sent Joseph right on time, so that the Egyptians can start making the right preparations for what lies ahead:

"And the dream was repeated to Pharaoh twice because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass." Genesis 41:32

These seven years of prosperity, followed by seven years of famine was established by God and was about to unfold. God sent Joseph at just the right time and He gave him the wisdom and knowhow to handle these coming events.

The same is true of us today. God will send the right thing at the right time in our lives and when He establishes it, He will lead us and help us through it. Many times we wait years for certain things to happen. God has given promises to me that hasn't come to pass, and it has been years, but I know that I know, once the timing is right and God establishes it to be so, nothing and no one will stand in His way.

The problem is the waiting part. It is so difficult for us to wait for something, and in our fast foods era it becomes increasingly difficult. We want things to happen and we want it to happen now. Unfortunately for us, God doesn't work that way. He knows the perfect timing and He knows when everything will work out perfectly for us. Not a day before. It is very difficult, I know, but one thing that I have learned throughout the years as well as by studying the Bible, if you try and force something to happen before the appointed time, you saddle yourself up with a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Things won't work out as you would want it to, everything will be a struggle and difficult to do. You will also encounter a lot of heartache and pain that was better left behind. People, who force things to happen out of its timing, are usually so frustrated and angry with themselves that they did. They realize too late that the waiting room actually looked very attractive to them now. Do not make the same mistake.

Wait patiently for God's perfect timing. He knows what is best for you and exactly when it is best for you and not only you, but those around you. Remember always, it is not only about you, but about all the people in His Kingdom. God views everything in a totally different light than we do, He looks at the bigger picture and He has a plan for all and He knows where everything will slot in. All glory to Him!! We simply need to trust and believe. We must pray, do what we can do, and leave the rest to Him. We must do our responsibility and what God has placed on our plates for the day and then we must give over and wait for Him to lead us. He knows best! The wait will be worth it, over and over again. For then things will work out as it should and you will definitely reap the benefits.

Just to end off - A Whatsapp image of a friend of mine:

Everything comes to you in the right moment, be patient, be grateful.

Thank you Father that our lives are within Your hands. We trust You with it. Help us to wait with a good attitude. You know best. Amen

18. God speaks through dreams

Last week Joseph showed us how close his walk was with God. He walked so close to God that he was not only confident that God will interpret Pharaoh's dream, but that He will also give a favorable answer to Pharaoh. Joseph didn't hesitate in declaring his faith in his Almighty God. He didn't care what Pharaoh thought or did, he was focused on God and on declaring His power in revealing the answers to Pharaoh's dreams. It truly is amazing to witness how bold Joseph was. Despite being in the presence of royalty after being in prison for years, Joseph spoke with a wonderful boldness and with confidence.

Pharaoh then started to tell Joseph what his dreams were. Firstly he dreamt of seven ugly cows that came out of the river and ate up seven beautifully fat cows. Then he dreamt of seven thin and blighted wheat heads that came up and devoured seven full and good wheat heads. These two dreams upset Pharaoh greatly. Pharaoh instinctively knew that these two dreams were important and that it must be interpreted. I am certain that Pharaoh must have had dreams before, but these two rocked him to his core.

Today I also believe that God can speak to us through dreams. There are a number of examples of how God spoke to people through dreams in the Bible. And I believe that it is true of us today as well. After all God said:

"And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophecy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams." Acts 2:17

We are certainly living in the last days and I truly believe that God speaks through dreams and visions today more than ever. However we should be careful. Not ALL dreams are from God. Dreams can come from many sources. It is our subconscious talking to us and processing things of the day, or things that we have been thinking about a lot. So not all dreams should be taken as if it is from God. But when it is from God, you will simply KNOW! Either the dream will be repeated (this has happened to me before), or the dream is so vivid you cannot get it out of your head, or you truly KNOW that this is a dream from God. It will be a deep knowing, as it was with Pharaoh.

Now the 'difficult' part comes. What does this dream mean? How do I really know what God is saying to me? Well, I bought a book - Hearing God: Dream Dictionary by Martin van der Merwe. This book will tell you if you dream for instance of a lion - this is what it possibly could mean. If you dream of a rainbow, it could possibly mean this. It is helpful and gives guidance, but it doesn't interpret the dream. What you need to do is to sit still with God and present the dream to Him. He will help you to interpret it. He certainly will. This has happened to me before that I get anxious about a dream and do not know what it means even after consulting the Dream Dictionary book, and then I go and sit with God. And before long God gives me the interpretation in my heart and I instantly know what it means. He will help you understand. You must just make the time; His Spirit will reveal all things to you. He won't give you a dream without the interpretation. He simply wants you to make the time to come to Him and show Him reference that you truly want to have His interpretation. God loves to speak to His children. Simply make the time.

Next time when you have a dream that you know is from God, then go and spend time with Him. He would welcome you in and share with you His deep secrets. He wants to and longs for special time spent with you.

Father, thank you for speaking to us. Either through dreams, visions, Your Word, through other people, through Your Spirit etc. We love hearing from You. Please speak clearly so that we can hear exactly what You have on Your heart for us. We ask it in Jesus' Name. Amen

17. Walk close to God

Last week we discussed how brave Joseph was. He was summoned out of prison to come and interpret Pharaoh's dream. This was his chance to be free and to make a good impression. Pharaoh had the power to send him back to prison or to even execute him if he didn't please him. So Joseph was put on the spot. And even though he knew that the Egyptians worshipped a lot of gods, his first words to Pharaoh gave glory to Elohim, the Creator God:

"It is not in me; Elohim will give Pharaoh an answer of peace." Genesis 41:16.

Pharaoh could easily have been offended by Joseph giving honor to Elohim, the true Creator God. He could have had Joseph removed from his sight. But because Joseph was faithful to God, God gave him favor with Pharaoh.

Now just one other interesting thing to note is that Joseph didn't say to Pharaoh: "I will ask God and hear what He says about your dream." Or "Hopefully God will help me to interpret the dream." No, he was confident that God would show him. He knew God's heart and he knew that He would help him. And another thing that he knew about God is that God would give Pharaoh a good answer. He knew God is a good God and gives dreams to help.

Joseph was so confident he told Pharaoh not only will God tell him what his dream meant, it will also be an answer of peace. Peace here is the Hebrew word 'Shalom'. Shalom has many meanings. Other than peace, it also means safety, soundness, welfare, health, prosperity and contentment. The New American Standard Bible translates it as:

"It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer."

A favorable answer. In other words Joseph was in fact telling Pharaoh: "Don't worry, my God will interpret your dream and it will be favorable to you."

This is just wow to me, as it shows Joseph's absolute trust in God. Despite being innocently in jail for years on end, this shows that he wasn't angry with God and that he still trusted Him to help him and to give Pharaoh a favorable answer. It also shows that he had such a close relationship with God that he could say with confidence what God wanted to reveal to Pharaoh. At this stage Holy Spirit hasn't been poured out on all flesh, so it is astounding to me how Joseph simply knew what God wanted to say to Pharaoh. He must have been truly close to God.

May we all live a relationship with God like that. May we walk so close to Him, spend so much time with Him, that when someone asks us advice, then we can confidently say what God wants to do in their lives. We and God must be so close, that our voices will be as one. That we only speak His will over people's lives. We shouldn't even hesitate but be confident that we are walking the walk with Him.

Also we should learn from Joseph and not become bitter with God. One can easily become bitter. Joseph spent several years in jail for something he didn't do. He could have been so angry with God, especially for leaving him so long in jail. And yet, the first thing he did when he came out was to glorify God. We should also be like that and trust God's timing. We shouldn't become bitter towards Him and blame Him for certain situations in our lives. It is so easy to do. But we must realize that God will never allow anything in our lives that is not necessary for our growth. He will always assist us and help us and exalt us at exactly the right time. All glory to Him!

Father we give You glory and honor! You are our God and King. We want to walk this earthly life close with You. Speak clearly to us so that we can help others and lead them closer to You. Amen

16. Always give God all the glory

Last week we saw how Joseph helped the chief butler and the chief baker of Pharaoh to interpret their dreams. The interpretation was spot on and happened exactly the way that Joseph predicted that it would. Joseph kindly asked the chief butler to remember him when he is restored to his position and that he would help him. But this didn't happen. Once the chief butler was restored to his position, he forgot all about Joseph. This must have been a hard pill to swallow for Joseph. He must have hoped that the chief butler would remember his kindness to him and help him out of prison.

Two years later his wish came to pass. This time the Pharaoh had a dream which no one could interpret. It was then that the chief butler remembered Joseph:

"I remember my faults this day. When Pharaoh was angry with his servants, and put me in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, both me and the chief baker, we each had a dream one night, he and I. Each of us dreamed according to the interpretation of his own dream. Now there was a young Hebrew man with us there, a servant of the captain of the guard. And we told him, and he interpreted our dreams for us; to each man he interpreted according to his own dream. And it came to pass, just as he interpreted for us, so it happened. He restored me to my office and he hanged him." Genesis 41:9-13

Fortunately for Joseph the chief butler finally spoke up and admitted his fault of not telling the Pharaoh about Joseph sooner. Pharaoh didn't waste any time in summoning Joseph. Joseph was brought quickly out of the dungeon, they shaved him and gave him a change of clothing and presented him to the Pharaoh.

Can you just imagine how Joseph must have felt? He was in prison for years and in an instant he was brought from the lowest of low to meet the most powerful man in all the land, arguably the most powerful man in the world. He was used to little sunlight, trying to survive in a dungeon, and suddenly he was brought into the palace surrounded by riches and glory. And once again, when he was presented to Pharaoh he gave all glory to God.

"And Joseph answered  Pharaoh, saying: "It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace." Genesis 41:16

Isn't it a beautiful answer? By that time Joseph knew that the Egyptians served many gods and they also viewed Pharaoh as a god himself. So it took a lot of guts for Joseph to say that his God, not the god of the Egyptians is the only One able to give an interpretation. He referred to God as Elohim. Elohim is the Name of God used when He created the Heavens and the earth. Joseph therefore said in fact that the Creator of the Universe will give the interpretation to Pharaoh. He had a lot of guts to say that, because the Egyptians believed in many gods, like Ra, the sun god, and Sobek, the Egyptian crocodile god of the Nile river etc. So Joseph was bypassing them all and saying that the true Creator God will give the interpretation.

Now Joseph had been waiting for years to come out of prison. And one wrong word could send him back or even have him executed. He had to tread very carefully, especially in the presence of Pharaoh. So it wasn't easy for him to say what he said, but he did. And his courage showed us just how amazing person he was. He stood up for God even if it could have cost him his life. His first words when he was out of prison, was words of glory to God.

We should learn from him and give honor to God even if it might be the unpopular thing to do. We must always give glory and honor to God in all circumstances. We should never take the honor for ourselves, for then it will be the only reward that we will ever get. We must rather walk in sync with God and say only what He wants us to say. We should never be afraid of what others might think or do to us. They do not determine our future, God does. All glory to Him!

Father help us, give us the courage to always and in all circumstances speak up for You. Help us to stand up for You and be strong no matter what. You deserve all the honor and praise! We are nothing without You, all that we are is because of You. We love You. Amen