Wednesday, January 12, 2011



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Monday, December 27, 2010



Lk 2:8-20 - “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”

So why shepherds? Why did God choose simple shepherds to herald the coming of His only begotten Son, the Savior of all humankind? Let’s look at why shepherds were NOT the obvious choice:
  • v. 8 - shepherds lived in fields, away from the general population. How could they spread the word, and for that matter, who would listen?
  • v. 9 - they were wimps! terrified of the angels that brought them news.
So why shepherds? Maybe God chose the only people on earth who’d grown accustomed to staring at the stars. Perhaps God could trust them to hear the full message...ALL the details:
  • v. 10 - the news was for all people.
  • v. 11 - this baby was the promised Christ, the long-awaited Messiah.
  • v. 12 - seriously, would anyone but herdsmen be willing to look in a feeding trough for a baby?
  • v. 13-14 - and who but shepherds were most familiar with the peace and glory of a starry night, though surely it’s just a glimpse of what’s promised by Heaven’s Hosts?
So why shepherds? Perhaps God chose them not just because of what they were but also because of who they were. They were not just shepherds, they were curious and diligent men.
  • v. 15 - curiosity may have killed the cat, but it also helped discover the Savior. The angels never commanded the shepherds to go to Bethlehem. They simply announced Jesus’ birth and let the shepherds holy curiosity do the rest.
  • v. 16 - these men “hurried off” to discover if the angel’s words were true.
  • v. 17 - and when they discovered the truth, they were diligent to share the news as the angels said.
So why shepherds? As Mary pondered these events in her heart (vs. 19-20), I wonder how often she remembered these smelly shepherds throughout Jesus’ lifetime.
  • Shepherds are the guardians of their flocks, protecting the sheep - Did Mary think the shepherds visit might have foreshadowed the protection they needed from Herod’s murderous plot to kill Jesus, when the wise men asked where the new king had been born? (Mt. 2:13 - “When [the Magi] had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’”)
  • Shepherds cared for sheep and lambs - Did Mary remember the shepherds visit when John the Baptist referred to Jesus as the Lamb of God? (Jn. 1:29 - “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’”)
So why shepherds? Because God, in His infinite wisdom and glory, knew of the perfect role they’d play in this eternal plan. The real question is: Why me? And the only answer is: Glory to God in the highest. Emmanuel. God with us. Amen.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I'm loving the lights of Christmas this year. I suppose the lights have always been my favorite part of holiday decorations - the twinkly ones in the windows, the tree lights, the candles, etc. I love lights...especially in this season when the sun goes down at 4:30pm!

Our youth pastor gave the first sermon of advent today, and he talked about Jesus as the Light of the world. Not new information. Nor was it news when he reminded us of how God led the Israelites through the wilderness for 40 years with the light of His presence in a pillar of fire. The new part was my re-commitment to move with God's light - not running ahead or lagging behind.

If I run ahead, I end up in the dark. If I lag behind, guess what...I end up in the dark. And in the dark, I make an easy target for all kinds of spiritual, emotional and physical attacks from the ruler of this dark world.

During one of Christianity's two most precious celebrations, I've already allowed myself to become a little weighed down with deadlines and to-do lists. I have a fabulous support network of family and friends that are willing and able to help if I simply ask. So, whether it's shopping time or chopping onions, I encourage you to do what I've been doing. Ask. Ask for help. And most importantly, join me in asking the Light of the world to shine His Light so all can see - in us, on us and through us.

Blessings on you, friends, as you move in the Light!

Monday, November 22, 2010


Monday 10am PST:

From Phil's wife...

Thanks to all your Prayer Warriors for praying for Phil. The prayer support has been overwhelming - from around the world. I've gotten a few emails from Phil since they arrived at the motel on Saturday afternoon; he's now at Sosua, DR. The motel room includes 3 meals a day; and he says the food is great; sounded like he enjoyed a hot shower, too! They're doing some work project in the DR today and then will fly back to Miami on Tues.

You may want to go to "Kerry Gibson" on facebook; it's public. He's been putting some pictures on and stories; very interesting.

From a team member...

Team Haiti will fly back to the US tomorrow. Some will stay overnight and some will go on home. All of us will be thankful to be home. All of us are thankful for all of the prayers from around the world. But most of all we are thankful that God allowed us to experience Him in such a dramatic way. To the best of my knowledge we are all grateful that God considered us worthy to experience this.

Thanks to everyone for your faithful prayers! Our motorcycle missionaries are soon to be safely returned!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Now that I live near a mountain, my life is a series of mole hills. During the first forty-four years of my life, my life seemed to progress from one emotional mountaintop to a bottomless valley to the next mountain, and then valley, etc. Perhaps it's age, perhaps it's faith—perhaps it's sheer exhaustion—but over the past few years, the emotional mountains and valleys of life have seemed to level-off. The internal mountains have become mole hills and the death valleys more like divots on a golf course, just gouges in the grass to be repaired and replaced. But level living can be tricky. Void of ecstasy or despair, one can become numb, calloused, anesthetized to emotion altogether. So how do we spare ourselves the manic, unhealthy highs and lows of unchecked emotion, yet experience the glorious life Jesus promised His followers? I think Joseph got it right…

Gen. 41:41-45 – "So Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.' Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph‘s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and men shouted before him, 'Make way!' Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.' Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt." (emphasis added)

  • Empowered by Pharaoh as second-in-command; hailed by the Egyptians; given an important-sounding name and an influential wife. How did Joseph keep all this praise from going to his head? #1 – He had been refined in the fires of adversity BEFORE he was blessed. #2 – He stayed connected with people. He could have wielded his new power from the palace; instead, he traveled among those he served. Humility is key to level living.
Gen. 41:46-49 – "Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh's presence and traveled throughout Egypt. During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure." (emphasis added)

  • Days of abundance, yeah! But when grain begins to multiply too quickly, and meticulous Joseph can no longer keep accurate records, does he plunge into a valley of administrative despair? No. He stops keeping records and praises the Lord for the abundance. Sometimes a blessing becomes a curse, when control becomes an issue. For those of us who cry when things aren't done a certain way—let's cheer for Joseph's flexibility, when his control slips away.
Gen. 41:50-52 –"Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, 'It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father's household.' The second son he named Ephraim and said, 'It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.'" (emphasis added)

  • Can I just say that if you name your child something about forgetting your dad's household, you haven't really forgotten your dad's household. Just sayin'. Perhaps his point is that he's chosen to let go, or disregard, the trouble of his father's household. And with Ephraim's birth, I'm noticing a pattern. Joseph attaches positive emotions from a joyous occasion to replace his negative feelings from past pain. He feels deeply the joy of his sons' birth, and he allows that sincere joy to root out the deep pain of his past.
Gen. 41:53-57 – "The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food. When all Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, 'Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.' When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. And all the countries came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the world." (emphasis added)

  • This situation is the perfect formula for overload: overwhelming need + underwhelming boss = overload for Joseph, right? Nope! Why? Because Joseph had already been practicing level living. Pharaoh and the Egyptians saw that the abundance and drought had occurred just as Joseph said, but Joseph knew it happened just as GOD said. A growing faith assigns responsibility and praise to God and creates ever-increasing level living.
Lord, when others around me panic, remind me I can trust in You…because of the ways You've been faithful in my past. Teach me to uncover past wounds and apply the healing balm of present joy and blessing. Show me the benefits of level living, and guide me into Your abundant life.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Friday, 11:15am PST

Greetings, ya'll!
Good news this morning! I've just received an e-mail from Phil's wife that our CMA group of missionaries are at the border and safe. They should be crossing the border tomorrow and on their way home soon. The following reports have come in during the last 24 hours:

From John Ogden, Sr., CEO/Chairman of the Board for CMA:

Thank you for all of your prayers for the CMA team in Haiti and also the other teams we have around the world at this time. I visited with Kerry this morning and his team is at the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic and no longer in danger. They are being well taken care of and said the lodging and food are great. Everyone's spirits are high. They will soon be back in the Dominican Republic and in the hands of Missionary Ventures where they will continue to be well cared for. This has been a trying time for them as well as our CMA families, but we believe the hand of God was upon them and that things far greater than we could comprehend were being accomplished in CMA, as well as with our ministry partners, for the Kingdom of God.

From Kerry Gibson, the missionary team leader:

Under cover of darkness the UN loaded our baggage into one APC and positioned us into 2 others. We gathered up and did a practice run about an hour before the scheduled 02:40 load time. After the practice drill the lights were killed to avoid detection by the Haitians and to give the appearance of "all quiet." and then we waited.

At 02:40, on the nose, the leader came in and gave the command "vaminos."

We loaded our respective vehicles quietly and in the darkness our convoy slipped out of the gates and into the Haitian streets. From that point on there wasn't anything covert about it. It was fast and loud. Once out in the city streets our convoy separated, possibly to make it more difficult for anyone who may be interested, to focus on the Blancos. (Whites) The entire run took about a half hour and we arrived at the much larger, more secure, Chileian army base outside of town to wait on the next leg of our journey out.

Praise Jesus for His protection and power! Please keep these eleven team members in your prayers as they make the final leg of their journey home!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I just received word this morning that one of our friends from home was one of the group of 11 Christian Motorcyclist Missionaries that went to Haiti to distribute motorcycles to pastors. Angry Haitians attacked their group yesterday, when they tried to leave the city.

Thursday, 8:45am PST - Moments ago, I received word from our friend's wife that her husband is safe and well. The following is a message she received from a representative of their mission organization:
"We're down here entertaining the UN forces--today it's Chilean and Uruguayan. Tomorrow, who knows? We're well fed, cared for, and have so much to praise God for. Some great stories of adventure, of protection and provision."
Plans for evacuation have been established by not reported publicly. Please continue to keep these missionaries in your prayers as well as the unrest in Haiti spurred by the cholera outbreak. For more on the story, you can visit:

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Same question, different objects: Which came first, big risk-takers or big faith? Did they have the faith that enabled them to take the risk? Or did taking the risk (and seeing God‘s faithfulness) build their faith? Well, my answer is the same for the chicken and the faith hero. Dunno. I have a friend in the insurance business. I don't mean she sells insurance or checks out the dings in your car after an accident. I mean she's one of those brainiacs that works the math to determine risk probability and cash reserves, etc. I've never asked her how – or if – the risk assessment of her job affects the risk assessment of her faith. That might be a good question. I can tell you that I'm one of those people that likes insurance. I think we should have a whole bunch of it – just in case. My husband, on the other hand, thinks we should get by with as little as legally possible – but he humors me, and we end up somewhere in between. I'm thinking a little less insurance means a little more risk…and maybe a little more faith.

Gen. 41:1-7 – "When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up. He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream." (emphasis added)
  • I hate nightmares, and after one so vivid, I wouldn't have been so quick to go back to sleep. Pharaoh took the risk of falling asleep again, and in so doing aloud God to speak a second time. Sometimes putting ourselves in a position to hear God is risky business.
Gen. 41:8-13 – "In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him. Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, 'Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard. Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was hanged.'" (emphasis added)
  • The cupbearer took several risks here: 1) to confess his shortcoming to a Pharaoh prone to whims, 2) to remind the same king that he was once angry with the cupbearer, and 3) to recommend Joseph, when he wasn't certain Joseph would give a favorable dream interpretation. Why did Pharaoh's cupbearer risk telling Pharaoh these things? Did he base his faith on God, on Pharaoh, on Joseph? We can only guess, but I believe Pharaoh was so distraught by the magicians' inability to interpret, perhaps the cupbearer felt he had no choice but to offer the Hebrew prisoner's help…and the hope of his God.
Gen. 41:14-16 – "So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.'
'I cannot do it,' Joseph replied to Pharaoh, 'but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.'"
  • Joseph takes a risk in contradicting Pharaoh, but it would have been a greater risk to steal God's glory.
Gen. 41:17-24 – "Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows came up—scrawny and very ugly and lean. I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt. The lean, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first. But even after they ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; they looked just as ugly as before. Then I woke up. In my dreams I also saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads sprouted—withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none could explain it to me.'" (emphasis added)
  • Pharaoh has told an unknown number of magicians, and now he must retell his dreams to a Hebrew prisoner. Can you hear the pleading in his last sentence? I'm guessing mighty Pharaoh is not used to expressing his vulnerability, but evidently his fear is genuine and strong enough to risk a little humility.
Gen. 41:25-32 – "Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, 'The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine. It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon."
  • As was the case when God gave him the interpretation for the baker and cupbearer, Joseph needed no time in prayer to interpret the dream. Was it a risk to speak without prayerful consideration? Not if your faith keeps you in close and constant contact with the Source of dreams.
Gen. 41:33-36 – [Joseph continued,] ―"And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.'"
  • Joseph takes a risk by going beyond interpreting to ADVISING! He uses the experiences God has allowed into his life (difficult circumstances, unfair, unpleasant) and creates an opportunity for God's blessing. Pharaoh could have punished him or applauded him…but Joseph believed God could do more.
Gen. 41:37-40 – "The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. So Pharaoh asked them, 'Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?' Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.'"
  • Pharaoh took a risk, when he endowed Joseph – a young, Yahweh-worshipping foreigner – with so much authority. But why not? Joseph had already proven to be humble (in giving God credit) yet confident (offering unrequested advice) and capable (in interpreting the dream). It seems Pharaoh weighed the risks and made a wise faith decision. He would have made a good actuary.
Lord, increase my faith to take the risks that will increase my faith. Show me ways in which You've already worked, and then give me more opportunities to risk and believe. I want our relationship to be alive and growing, an adventure of constantly stepping out on air and providing the grace place to walk. Ummm, but not too exciting Lord…

Monday, November 08, 2010


Women, if you love your husbands, please don't ask this question: "Does this outfit make me look fat?" Seriously, gals. Give him a break. There is no right answer to that question. If he says, "No," that could mean you are fat, but the outfit still looks good. If he says, "Yes…" well, Lord help him. A smart husband might survive with an answer like, "You look beautiful in anything you wear." But every woman knows that's code for, "You could stand to lose a pound or two." Phraseology isn't just about the words we say; it's about how we say the words. The way we emphasize (em-pha-SIZE) certain syllables (SYL-la-bles) is important because if you put the em-PHA-sis on the wrong syl-LA-ble, it really messes with your head. Speaking of messing with your head, some authors think readers can't remember certain things, so they repeat a detail often – like messing with your head – so the reader doesn't forget a concept, like messing with your head...

Gen. 40:1-5 – "Some time later, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he attended them. After they had been in custody for some time, each of the two men—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were being held in prison—had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own." (emphasis added)
  • I think it's safe to say that the author of Genesis wanted us to know who Joseph ministered to in Pharaoh's prison. Hmmm? Repetition has always been an effective teacher. Intellectually, we repeat things in order to memorize. Physically, we use repetition to strengthen and create muscle-memory (an almost reflexive motion). Spiritual, repetition creates a unique mixture of living in continual conscious communion with our power Source and meditating on the Scriptures we rely on for strength and wisdom.
Gen. 40:6-8 – "When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. So he asked Pharaoh's officials who were in custody with him in his master‘s house, 'Why are your faces so sad today?' 'We both had dreams,' they answered, 'but there is no one to interpret them.' Then Joseph said to them, 'Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.'"
  • Notice, Joseph did NOT say that HE could interpret the dreams. He was careful to phrase his answer in a way that gave God all the credit. It seemed Joseph had learned a thing or two since boasting to his brothers about dreams and their messages. Was it age or hardship that taught Joseph humility?
Gen. 40:9-15 – "So the chief cupbearer told Joseph his dream. He said to him, 'In my dream I saw a vine in front of me, and on the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh's cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh‘s cup and put the cup in his hand.'
'This is what it means,' Joseph said to him. 'The three branches are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position, and you will put Pharaoh's cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. For I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.'"
  • Joseph did NOT say, "I'll pray about it and get back to you." He was ready for the moment when God used him. He prepared BEFORE the opportunity, and because of that disciplined daily relationship, he knew what to say and how to say it when the opportunity arose.
Gen. 40:16-19 – "When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given a favorable interpretation, he said to Joseph, 'I too had a dream: On my head were three baskets of bread. In the top basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.'
'This is what it means,' Joseph said. 'The three baskets are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and hang you on a tree. And the birds will eat away your flesh.'"
  • What if the baker hadn't mentioned the birds? Would Joseph's interpretation have been different? I suppose that's a silly question because he did mention the birds, and God interpreted truthfully through Joseph. But consider this: God's TRUTH remains the same, no matter how we PHRASE things. Whether the baker mentioned birds or Joseph interpreted them, God's hand presided over Joseph's circumstances and his words – as He will over ours.
Gen. 40:20-23 – "Now the third day was Pharaoh's birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh's hand, but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation. The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him."
  • Seriously? A guy predicts your release from prison, and you forget to mention it to anyone? Again, I have to believe that not only is God sovereign over the things we DO say, but He also works through the things we DON'T say.
Lord, words are the most important form of communication I have with You and others – but sometimes they fail me…or I fail to use them correctly. It's at times like those that I'm thankful for Your grace and Your power to work beyond my weakness. Thanks for loving me in spite of my phraseology and for seeing beyond the words – into the intentions of my heart.

Monday, November 01, 2010


I don't like being ignored. As a general rule, it's just downright rude to ignore someone, right? When I go to a restaurant, I'd like to be greeted by a hostess or waiter—even if they can't serve us right away. When I come home, I'd like for someone in the house to at least acknowledge my arrival—even if it's just the dog (my precious Bouzer always welcomes me home). But can you think of times when it's actually good to go unnoticed? My husband says a good football official is one you don't notice. If they're doing their jobs correctly, the game runs smoothly and you can enjoy the competition rather than having the flow broken by faulty officiating. (Can you tell he was a coach in his early years?) Roy and I were invisible for almost two years. Not like the Houdini-kind-of-invisible, but the kind of invisible one needs after fourteen years of pastoral ministry. We disappeared in a mega-church—sitting in the back, only attending Sunday worship services. In fact, we were so invisible that we never even met the pastor or a single staff member in the two years we attended. Lest you think we were heathen sinners, fallen from the grace-earning ranks of Christendom, let me assure you that Roy still ministered through mentoring students on campus, and I continued ministering through my computer screen. It was lovely…for a little while, and we have since found a wonderful smaller church, where we can become a part of the visible body again. Being invisible can be a blessing—or a curse. It was both for Joseph.

Gen. 39:6 – "So [Potiphar] left in Joseph's care everything he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome…"
  • Potiphar ignored Joseph with mixed motives. Indeed, he trusted his blessed slave; however, it seems the trust was mixed apathy and busyness on the part of Pharaoh's Captain of the Guard. No matter Potiphar's motives, Joseph was determined to respond honorably.
Gen. 39:7-10 – "…and after a while his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, 'Come to bed with me!' But he refused. 'With me in charge,' he told her, 'my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?' And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her."
  • Invisible chatter is unadvisable. A quick, "No," would have sufficed and kept Joseph invisible. Granted, Potiphar's wife proves to be a persistent woman; however, as a rule the more we explain and clarify and communicate and, and, and…the further "exposed" we become. When dealing with temptation, oftentimes less is more, and explanations lead to danger.
Gen. 39:11-18 – "One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, 'Come to bed with me!' But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, she called her household servants. 'Look,' she said to them, 'this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.' She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. Then she told him this story: 'That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.'" (emphasis added)
  • The trusted servant Potiphar once "ignored" becomes a foreigner and then an intruder. How could Potiphar be so easily convinced that his trustworthy servant was guilty of such evil? For the same reason many quiet folks with somewhat "invisible" personalities are mistaken for snobbish, unintelligent or some other socially less-than trait. Joseph fell prey to the peril of many introverts—misjudgment by misunderstanding.
Gen. 39:19-23 – "When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, 'This is how your slave treated me,' he burned with anger. Joseph's master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did." (emphasis added)
  • Can you imagine how Joseph must have felt? Sold into slavery by his brothers. Boo. Success in Potiphar's house. Hooray. Unjustly accused and wrongly imprisoned. Boo. Success in prison and favored by the warden. Hooray? Let's face it. No one wants to be noticed in prison. Invisible was the best Joseph could hope for, right? But not JUST invisible. Blessed invisible. Joseph felt God's presence and reaped God's blessing no matter what his circumstance. Why? Because no one is invisible to God.
Lord, whether I receive the attention of others or not, I always have Your undivided attention and favor. You never look away, never blink, never miss a single heartbeat. You have numbered every hair on my head, and I am precious to You. Let this knowledge cradle me during those difficult moments when others look through me, or when others notice me in hurtful ways. In You, I can hide and become blessedly invisible.