Your Slave-owner’s Dream FIRST…Then Yours!

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In reading the accounts of Joseph’s captivity in the book of Genesis, it occurred to me that all 3 of his owners benefited financially from his involvement in their BUSINESSES in the marketplace; long before his own dream was realized!

Takin Care of Business…

Potiphar was the first one that Joseph blessed in Egypt after his brothers sold him into slavery.

The story recounts that the “blessing of the Lord was on all that Potiphar had in his house and field for Joseph sake.”

Joseph’s owner put him in charge of everything… to the extent that he didn’t have to make a decision about anything except what he would eat! AMAZING!!

There is no indication that any of that visibly helped Joseph realize his dream one bit. In fact, despite Joseph being such a benefit to him, Potiphar had no hesitation throwing him into prison over one false accusation by his wife!?

Fish in the Jailhouse…

A similar thing happened while Joseph was in prison. The warden put Joseph in charge of everything! Joseph did so much in the daily administration of the prison that the warden didn’t have to pay attention to anything; and the entire operation succeeded! Can you imagine getting paid and you aren’t doing anything to earn your salary?!

Again, did Joseph realize his dream? No.

Throw in a Chief Baker and Chief of Butlers…

While in prison Joseph had a chance to exercise one of his spiritual gifts. Two of the Pharaoh’s most trusted staff were in prison. Both of them had a dream they didn’t understand.

Joseph saw that they were troubled by something so he asked them about it. No one could interpret the dreams they had. Joseph told them that God can interpret dreams and asked to hear about them.

So after hearing each dream, Joseph told them what the dreams meant. When they were released from prison both experienced exactly what Joseph told them. Yet the didn’t tell Pharaoh about Joseph being falsely imprisoned.

And again, he didn’t realize his own dream.

Pharaoh has a dream…

Two years pass and Pharaoh has a vivid and disturbing dream which none of his advisors, soothsayers or magicians could interpret. But the Chief of the Butlers remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh about his ability to accurately interpret dreams. So Joseph was called before Pharaoh.

Joseph’s interpretation impressed the Pharaoh so much, that he put Joseph as second in command over the entire nation of Egypt. He also single-handedly saved the nation from famine and increased the wealth of Pharaoh to the point that he owned everything and everyone in his domain!

And that’s when Joseph realized his own dream! He was reunited with his family, he saved the Hebrew people from starvation and brought them to Egypt to be treated as a guest of royalty-a guest of Joseph!

Joseph’s experiences and the use of his gifts were progressive; from a single proprietorship, to a prison, to a nation.

The preparation to be able to experience his own dream took years and years of development; humility, ability, maturity, and wisdom.

There’s a chance that you, like Joseph, may have to make your boss look like a genius… before you realize your own dreams, goals and aspirations.

And, like Joseph, it may not look very spiritual doing things in the marketplace; especially if it means making an ungodly person or organization successful. It sure won’t look like you are successful!

But it’s ALL God honoring!

Your preparation is just as anointed as the fruition of your dream; no matter what it looks like!

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If you aren’t familiar with the story, here are some of the details:

Single Proprietorship…

“Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field. So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate. Genesis‬ ‭39:1-6‬ ‭

Next the Warden Gets His Dream Fulfilled…

“And Joseph’s master [Potiphar] took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.” Genesis‬ ‭39:20-23‬

Joseph Interprets Two Prisoner’s Dreams…

“Some time after this, the cupbearer of the king of Egypt and his baker committed an offense against their lord the king of Egypt. And Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard appointed Joseph to be with them, and he attended them. They continued for some time in custody. And one night they both dreamed—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison—each his own dream, and each dream with its own interpretation. When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, “Why are your faces downcast today?” They said to him, “We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” And Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.” So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph and said to him, “In my dream there was a vine before me, and on the vine there were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms shot forth, and the clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.” Then Joseph said to him, “This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days. In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office, and you shall place Pharaoh’s cup in his hand as formerly, when you were his cupbearer. Only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house. For I was indeed stolen out of the land of the Hebrews, and here also I have done nothing that they should put me into the pit.” When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favorable, he said to Joseph, “I also had a dream: there were three cake baskets on my head, and in the uppermost basket there were all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating it out of the basket on my head.”

In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head—from you!—and hang you on a tree. And the birds will eat the flesh from you.” On the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, he made a feast for all his servants and lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand. But he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.” Genesis‬ ‭40:1-17, 19-23‬

Pharaoh’s Dream…

“After two whole years, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile, and behold, there came up out of the Nile seven cows, attractive and plump, and they fed in the reed grass. And behold, seven other cows, ugly and thin, came up out of the Nile after them, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile. And the ugly, thin cows ate up the seven attractive, plump cows. And Pharaoh awoke. And he fell asleep and dreamed a second time. And behold, seven ears of grain, plump and good, were growing on one stalk. And behold, after them sprouted seven ears, thin and blighted by the east wind. And the thin ears swallowed up the seven plump, full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. So in the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none who could interpret them to Pharaoh. Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “I remember my offenses today. When Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me and the chief baker in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, we dreamed on the same night, he and I, each having a dream with its own interpretation. A young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. When we told him, he interpreted our dreams to us, giving an interpretation to each man according to his dream. And as he interpreted to us, so it came about. I was restored to my office, and the baker was hanged.” Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they quickly brought him out of the pit. And when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Behold, in my dream I was standing on the banks of the Nile. Seven cows, plump and attractive, came up out of the Nile and fed in the reed grass. Seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ugly and thin, such as I had never seen in all the land of Egypt. And the thin, ugly cows ate up the first seven plump cows, but when they had eaten them no one would have known that they had eaten them, for they were still as ugly as at the beginning. Then I awoke. I also saw in my dream seven ears growing on one stalk, full and good. Seven ears, withered, thin, and blighted by the east wind, sprouted after them, and the thin ears swallowed up the seven good ears. And I told it to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me.” Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one. The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears blighted by the east wind are also seven years of famine. It is as I told Pharaoh; God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of the famine that will follow, for it will be very severe. And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about. Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land and take one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven plentiful years. And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.” This proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.”

Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath-paneah. And he gave him in marriage Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On. So Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭41:1-40,

Theres’s more!  See Genesis chapters 42-50

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Paperback Edition of One Language is Now Available!

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What if… The “4-wall” Church leaders, MarketPlace leaders and Missionary/Church-planting leaders all worked TOGETHER!

There’s an entire generation of young people (and a large part of the current church) who need to hear the good news of the Kingdom of God, understand the spiritual power they possess because of their faith in Jesus Christ, and the need for them to impact the world around them, especially in the market place, with their gifts, talents and passion for the glory of God!

Imagine a world in which every Christian is experiencing the whole gospel, pursuing a common God-given goal in unity , each doing their part to complete God’s stunning vision of reclaimed and redeemed cultures , where we live, doing something you love!

It’s time for One Language!

The paperback edition of my book, One Language, is now AVAILABLE for purchase! Please consider purchasing it from the link below (my CreateSpace eStore).

If you would like the eBook, it’s only $9.99, and I can process it through PayPal if you e-mail your request: richardkroll@me.com

While the book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble…and the eBook will be on Kindle soon…purchasing it as stated above will provide me with the greatest financial support!

Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and support!

Click link below to my CreateSpace eStore:

One Language Paperback Edition

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Seeing the awesomeness of God is the beginning of wisdom…

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When was the last time you were “awestruck”… you saw something or experienced something that could only be described as AWESOME?!?

I remember looking at the night sky near the Equator in Kenya for the first time… I could literally see galaxies! It’s as if Someone had smeared the pitch black sky with stardust; there were more stars than black space! I stared at it for hours… It was AWESOME!

Growing up in Michigan I always loved seeing mountains in other parts of the country and world. I called them “eye candy.” But nothing prepared me for my first visit to the Grand Canyon.

I almost didn’t go because in my mind, “Who wants to go and stare at a hole in the earth?” But I went.

It was overwhelming! My mind couldn’t comprehend the vastness of what my eyes saw. Then there was the raw beauty of colors, shapes, shadows and depth. It was AWESOME!

The Hebrew word we translate as “awe” is yirah, which also means “respect, reverence, and worship.” Yirah also means “fear.” For a long time I thought to “fear the Lord” meant to be afraid of Him, but as I thought about this facet of the word “yirah,” with those earthly images in my mind, the first thoughts of how it applied to God were not fearful. I felt awe and reverence. I felt awestruck by Him!

Having the type of awe and reverence for God that motivates us to do His will is the beginning of wisdom. Do you yirah the Lord today?

“The ‘yirah’ of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭

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Like Saving a Drowning Man

Drowning BusinessmanMany times making disciples is like trying to save a drowning person…they call for you. They ask for your help; sometimes begging. They seem willing to do anything to change their current situation. But once you get involved… get close to them, they scratch and claw and attack you. Many times trying to drown you to save themselves.

Like saving a drowning person, it’s a thankless job. You risk more than they do and most times they either take it for granted or attack you for caring enough to help.

But if we have one clear cut mandate from Jesus, it’s to make disciples. It doesn’t matter if it’s appreciated. It doesn’t matter what the cost. We are to use our time, gifts and talents to lovingly make disciples.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” Matthew‬ ‭28:19-20‬

The most important law of ecology is this: Learning ≥ Change.

For an organism to survive, the rate of learning must be equal to or greater than the rate of change happening around them. With the rate of change escalating, we must learn faster, learn better, and learn more.

The word disciple comes from the Greek word mathétés. The root word means “the mental effort needed to think something through.” So by definition, a disciple is someone who never stops learning.

Are you?

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Communitas in a Zombie Nation

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Have you ever wondered  how people could live together again like they did in the second chapter of the Book of Acts in the Bible?

Not only were they aware of each other’s needs, no one claimed that any of their possessions were their own, but they shared everything they had. People were even selling their homes and property to make sure that OTHERS had what they needed!?

People living like that aren’t a simple community, that’s a group of people living in “communitas.”

Like sports teams that endure long difficult seasons, or soldiers who share a foxhole, communitas refers to that bond that comes from being in a place where you have no choice but to depend on those around you. A place where people have your back and you have theirs!

A zombie movie might seem like a strange place to find communitas, yet it is there for everyone to plainly see EVERY TIME!

If you’re not familiar with the genre, let me tell you what happens in EVERY zombie movie. (For the record, I’m not a big zombie movie fan. But I have gotten hooked watching a few zombie television programs- The Walking Dead and Z Nation. Although I have to be in the right mood.) Inevitably, most of the human race is wiped out by a catastrophic event and only a small group of people survive and are pitted against an overwhelming number of flesh eating zombies who have nothing to do but try to eat you, the living. (if you get bit by a zombie, you become one, sometimes if you die naturally, you become one too!)

Again, like clockwork, a small group of people of varying backgrounds are thrown together for a common mission- to stay alive and find a safe place to live (there is usually an ultimate location to get to where other living are successfully surviving).

Not only are these people fighting for their lives against the zombies, but there are internal conflicts within the surviving group. Some are criminals. Others are cowards. There is greed and selfishness. Betrayal. Lust. And murder. But despite these obstacles a core group of people begin to coexist-many times against their will ON A MISSION…TOGETHER.

It isn’t long before food and water supplies dwindle, yet they find it and SHARE it.

When the zombie hoards overwhelm their current safe haven, they FIGHT TOGETHER to escape.

On the road they encounter more life threatening situations which DRAW THEM TOGETHER once again to stay on mission.

On and on it goes…day after day… they pull together, one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. Oops! That is EXACTLY what Acts 2:32 says!?!  At least in the New International Version. Your Bible might say it a bit differently, but the idea is the same.

It seems to me that the early church was aware of a catastrophic event that left a small group of people on a mission together and who are now pitted against an overwhelming number of “enemies.”

The analogy actually doesn’t break down from there…it actually strengthens! The main difference is that we can LOVE our “enemies” back to Life!

The Message Version of the Bible does a good job of describing how that battle is fought:

“The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.”    2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:3-6‬ ‭MSG‬‬

So, how is communitas created? The simple answer is to have a group of people dedicated to working together in a seemingly impossible mission against an overwhelming enemy.

Hmmmm….sounds eerily familiar!

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Our daily bread…challenged my thinking!

I recently posted a meme that said, “If you want to see the truth you must be brave enough to look.” The quote I was originally looking for said, “If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind.” Both quotes came together today and challenged me!

In my book, One Language, I take a great deal of time discussing the concept of the Lord’s prayer that deals with “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” And while it is connected to what I was challenged about today, more specifically it’s when Jesus tells us to pray for our “daily bread.”

I was raised in the Roman Catholic tradition. And I have probably said the Lord’s Prayer more times than I can count. But I just said it as a religious exercise; never really understanding what I was saying or taking the time to think it through. It would be many years before I would do that.

To be totally transparent, as a kid I did try to understand what it meant, but the deeper meaning simply alluded me.

For those of you who are not familiar with the “Lord’s Prayer” as it is referred to by many, here it is:

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

He said to them, “When you pray, say:

‘Father, hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 

Give us each day our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. 

And lead us not into temptation.”

 There is a lot in there, especially when you are asking God to bring His kingdom down here on earth and have His will done like it is done in heaven. But today, my “ah-ha” moment was with the “daily bread” part.

 I don’t know why, but when I pray for my daily bread, I am pretty much thinking of having enough for the day kind of thing- you know…one loaf, maybe two; don’t want to be greedy! But WHY? 

 Why do I think and pray like that? Is that what Jesus is telling us to do?

 Perhaps it was my upbringing that ingrained in me that we shouldn’t ask too much from God- you don’t want to upset Him…or bother Him. Maybe it was that time in my life when I was taught that poverty was more holy than being wealthy. It could be a combination, right?

 But today I was reminded of the way that Jesus looks at “daily bread.” And I wonder if His disciples thought back on this when they started to think about how Jesus was teaching them to pray.

 There was a time when Jesus was faced with thousands and thousands of people who had come out to hear Him teach and there was no way for them to get food. Seeing them hungry moved Him to do something- feed all of them. Just one problem… they only had a couple fish and five loaves of bread.

 That’s when Jesus prayed for “daily bread.”

 “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

“Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

It’s possible that the few fish and loaves of bread could have feed Jesus and His disciples, but Jesus needed much more than that for what He intended to do. He needed more than His daily bread; He needed enough bread for Him, his disciples, 5,000 men, and the women and children with them. That’s a LOT of “daily bread!”

And as miraculous as it was for Jesus to multiply that little bit of food to feed all of those people, there was an additional lesson to be learned- there were 12 baskets full of leftovers!

The way that Jesus views “daily bread” is to have enough for everything that you are doing in cooperation with God plus more to spare!

So where did I get the idea that God wanted to supply only MY daily needs and then just the bare minimum?!?

To be honest… I don’t care! I’m not praying like that anymore.

I’m going to look at what God is asking me to do. Assess what I need to accomplish that task. And to ask Him for the provision (daily bread) to accomplish that task at hand, with some to spare!

Are you going to pray differently now too?

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One of a Kind Creation!

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“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.” ~Film Director, Robert Bresson

Your fingerprints are UNIQUE! Not a single person in the world has a set like yours. Your DNA is like NO OTHER in the world. The same is true for the retinal patterns in your eyes- as is your iris. Did you know that your ears have unique curves and ridges not found in anyone else. Even the way you walk, your gait, is UNIQUE to you alone!

Starting to feel special? You should be…you are a ONE OF A KIND creation!

And if you have physical attributes that only you possess, why wouldn’t there be other things that are UNIQUE TO YOU?

Think about the unique mix of your personality, gifts, talents, and passions-coupled with your nearly limitless imagination… Can you see how YOU might have a UNIQUE CONTRIBUTION to make in the world?!

It’s vitally important for each and everyone of us to SLOW DOWN to UNDERSTAND what unique things we bring to the banquet table of life. To truly grasp the importance of doing something with our unique blend of gifts, talents, and abilities. And to begin to pursue our PASSION as well as we do our obligations!

What “invisible thing” is going to be seen that ONLY YOU can create or do?

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