Favour at House of Fraser…. This week I was randomly shopping at House of Fraser when a pair of brown leather boots reduced from £200 to £99.95 screamed my name – in fact they had my name written all over them! When I could resist their cries no longer I made my way to pay. Chatting with the assistant she suddenly shrieked, “Oh my, I don’t believe it, they’ve been reduced by half again to £47.00”! I responded, laughingly, “I love it when heaven smiles on me”! She looked at me and said “I know, it doesn’t happen often, does it?” Well, she asked the wrong person to side with her and I wasn’t about to holdback the truth, “Oh but heaven does, I expect heaven’s smile all the while for I have a good Heavenly Father who is always looking for opportunities to lavish on his children, and He wants you to experience heaven’s smile all the while too”!
So many of us have the wrong mindset and therefore expectation from God. He is not an angry judge, standing by waiting for your next mistake to rub your face in it but a loving Father waiting to pick you up, clean you up and set you up to succeed every time. You have not been targeted to fail but targeted for favour and success.
One of my favourite real life stories is found in the Bible and must be about the earliest account of human trafficking recorded. After his disappearance, Joseph was believed by his father to be dead whilst his eleven brothers had to live with the truth and guilt of their dirty secret. They had thrown Joseph into a pit to kill him but then decided instead to sell their second from youngest brother, as a slave. I love the fact that for all the horrors, rejection, lies and misunderstanding Joseph endured, God was with Him bringing him out on top every time. He went from the pit his brothers threw him in, to the palace in Egypt where he was soon promoted to second in command. He was later wrongly accused and cast into the dungeon before achieving his ultimate dream, ending up as Prime Minister of the land! Our lives too will often follow a similar character building cycle of ups and downs – I call it from the pit to the palace, from the dungeon to the dream – the dream being the reaching of your God given destiny in every situation and arena of life.
Wherever Joseph found himself God was there to help and bless him. Wherever you or I find ourselves, whether managing multiple children at home, negotiating a tricky business deal, on a sick bed, facing a negative report or navigating any number of real, everyday life scenarios & mundane moments, even shopping at House of Fraser; you can, like me, expect heaven’s smile, not heaven’s frown to be shining down on you.
As we enter the story in Genesis 43 we find Joseph ruling and reigning in Egypt. He’s now at the top of his game, all of his pain has led him to the highest position with only the King above him. During a period of severe famine in the world his wise actions had people in his Nation and neighbouring lands bowing before him to beg and buy rations and supplies. It was the famine, need and lack in the lives of Joseph’s brothers living in Canaan that moved them towards the forgiveness, blessings, favour and promotion that God had stored up for them through Joseph, the brother they had so badly wronged. The truth is we have all ‘wronged God’ but because of all Jesus accomplished for us, His love compels us through our challenges, difficulties and lack to come to Him and receive heaven’s supply – God’s forgiveness, blessings, favour and promotion for our lives. As a child of God, you are promoted to the highest position. He is the King of kings. Through Jesus He has made you and I His sons and daughters which means just like Joseph, we are called to rule and reign in this life over our circumstances.
The famine left Joseph’s Father and brothers in dire straits. In the seasons when it seems like life has left you on empty it is so God can fill you up with his plenty. I believe God would say He’s making way – making room for the next new thing He is ready to do and season He will bring you into. Trust Him! Joseph’s brothers feared the worst and thought they were finished but a new and better chapter was just beginning.
Joseph’s brothers had been jealous of him, resented him, rejected him, hurt him and misunderstood him but they were the very best thing that could have happened to him. The pit and prison their actions placed Joseph in prepared his heart for the palace. What ‘brother’s’ jealousy, resentment, hurt and misunderstanding in your life should you be thanking and praising God for – they are a stepping stone to your success. They place a demand on your destiny!
As you will see from Joseph and his brothers, when life throws bricks at you intended to take you out, remember each brick has purpose – use them to build a house! Maybe this comes from the Property girl/property Developer in me but I’ve proved it to be true and you can too!
As a new Momma again I love feeding my gorgeous baby, Judah. His suck places a demand on my milk – there have been times when that suck has been painful to me but it is necessary for the milk to flow. Sometimes life sucks – it’s painful – it will suck the life of God and every last ounce of faith right out of you if you let it. Don’t let it! Hold on, keep strong, the suck is placing a demand on heaven’s supply and God’s blessing for your life will never run dry! I can’t bear to hear my baby cry – I will run to give him whatever he needs. Heaven will never turn a deaf ear to your cry – your faith cry places a demand on heaven’s supply.
The time soon came for the brothers to stand before Joseph. They did not recognise him, so great was the transformation, but Joseph recognised them immediately. He set them what they believed to be an impossible challenge, to return to their Father’s house and bring their younger brother, Benjamin, they had left behind, back with them. They were devastated – these same brothers who sold Joseph into slavery, whose bad actions God turned into good and used to make Joseph ruler of Egypt, feared the worst. They thought this must be God’s punishment for their sin and wrong doing to their brother Joseph all those years before. They knew their Father would never let their youngest brother go with them which meant they would ultimately starve. What looked like Joseph setting them up for trouble and failure was in reality their set up for forgiveness and favour. The times in life when you’re tempted to believe God is setting you up for failure; what looks like a demotion, a stripping away, a pulling back and a loss of some kind in the natural, will be God propelling you forward in the spiritual and setting you up to prosper. Trust God through the pain to propel you towards God’s ultimate gain for your life!
Joseph’s Father and brothers eventually had no choice but to fulfil Joseph’s request and return with Benjamin in tow so they could collect much needed food and provisions. We see how Joseph targeted the youngest brother. As the brothers were about to leave, Joseph had his men plant stolen goods from his palace in and amongst Benjamin’s supplies. Benjamin was then caught and the brothers were devastated. The penalty was death and destruction. There have been times I have felt like a target for evil, harm, alarm and I have feared the worst. The ‘dream stealer’ whispered in my ear that I was finished. Have you ever been there? For Benjamin things were not as they appeared. Benjamin was targeted with lies and called a thief. The lies of the enemy target every child of God but the truth is you will, like Benjamin, come out on top. In the end Benjamin received five times more clothing than his brothers along with other goodies! It looked like he had been set up to fail but he was actually set up to succeed! When you’re under fire; be a moving target – don’t quit, don’t stop short of heavens best and the protection promised to you but move on with faith – in the end you will suffer no disgrace, only victory as a son or daughter of God’s grace! I love what Judah, one of the brothers had to say when Benjamin was targeted for the prison and certain death. He offered himself in exchange – in that moment Joseph knew his brothers had changed. Judah said in Genesis 44:30:
“And now my Lord I cannot go back to my Father without the boy. Our Fathers life is bound up in the boy’s life.”
Wow, there is amazing truth to be unlocked from those words. Because of Jesus the life of our Heavenly Father flows in and through every child of God. He has bound and committed Himself, His love, His provision and His Kingdom to me and you. There is nothing He won’t do to bring you through. As soon as Joseph heard this, he knew Judah who once betrayed him was ready and could be trusted with receiving the goodness stored up for him. Not judgement or punishment but forgiveness, repositioning and blessing! The Father and brothers were reunited with Joseph and given the best place to live in the land. Can you be trusted with the prosperity and favour God desires to bring you into? If so, get ready – I speak to your famine “it’s beginning to rain God’s blessings and goodness again…”
There have been times in my life when I have been tempted, just like Joseph’s brothers, to believe the lie that my sins were causing my challenges and difficulties. That thought entered my mind following a miscarriage a year and a half ago – what a cruel, painful lie. I remember whilst internally haemorrhaging, battling for my life and at the same time having to win the battle in my mind, the dirty devil whispering in my ear the cruel words that I will never forget, “This is God’s punishment and sword drawn against you because of sin in your life”. Thank God I didn’t entertain that wicked lie for long, my life depended on the truth and the truth was what set me free. I responded quickly; “Because of the blood of Jesus poured out for me I no longer see a sword – I see the cross where Jesus took my punishment, my sin and my place – I see amazing love and grace!”
In the same way Joseph had already forgiven his brothers, Jesus has already forgiven you and me at the cross. As a child of God you operate from a position of forgiveness which releases favour. You do not operate from a position of sin producing punishment and trouble. I believe right now this is helping someone and changing their mindset. Joseph’s brothers were sure their troubles and hardships were because of the sin and wrong they had done to Joseph yet Joseph had already forgiven them. The hardships they encountered purely prepared their characters and set them up to handle the prosperity and blessing Joseph was waiting to lavish on them. You’re hardships are setting your character up to handle your biggest win!
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him”. 1 Corinthians 2:9
As Joseph revealed who He was to His brothers they expected to be targeted for their failures, instead they were targets for favour. God has not set you up as a target for disaster and destruction but you, child of God, are a target for success! Faith says things are never as they appear. Faith looks beyond the natural circumstances and sees God working behind the scenes, working in the unseen, even in the difficulties and challenges you face. Faith sees that soon God’s explosive favour, blessing and breakthrough will be revealed before the eyes of your watching world.
Despite their sin and wrongdoing, Joseph longed for His Brothers. Jesus longs for you. Joseph said to his brothers in Genesis 45 words with meaning too beautiful for words:
“I am Joseph…”
“Please come closer…”!
He didn’t reject them, he wasn’t angry with them, he didn’t treat them the way their sin deserved. What a precious picture of Jesus. He doesn’t treat you or I the way our sins deserve. He lavishes his love on us by accepting us just the way we are, forgiving us and treating us the way we don’t deserve. My baby Judah can scream all night, be sick all over me, produce the most potent nappies but whatever his state – my heart aches for him, I cuddle him in as close as possible – even skin to skin – you see he is mine. I clean up the mess every time and give him only my very best – he owns all that I have.
As I nursed my baby I found myself whispering “all I have is yours, there is nothing good I will withhold from you.” I sensed heaven and our loving Father echo the same words back over you and me. I held my baby a little closer, closed my eyes and thanked heaven for the amazing love and goodness that holds us so tenderly. God says today: “you are loved immeasurably!”
Can you hear His voice inviting you, saying:
“I am Jesus…”
“Please come closer…”
Only a fool would keep away! Come close, child of God today.
Lord Jesus I come to you. I receive your love, forgiveness, acceptance and favour. I thank you in every situation I am a target for success and you only ever set me up to win. Please change my mindset and let me look at you, life and my circumstances the right way. Help me live my life to give you praise. In your precious name. Amen.