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The hidden secret of Joseph's success

     If a picture is worth a thousand words, and one word from heaven can change your life forever, what is a picture, a dream God gives worth to you?

     "Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more. So he said to them, Please hear this dream which I have dreamed. There were binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright, and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf...Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers and said, Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me." Genesis 37:5-7, 9

     Joseph received two dreams from God--picture visions with words--and these dreams held Joseph steady and kept him faithful. He negotiated the choppy waters of life and persevered through seemingly impossible circumstances, and maintained his integrity under pressure and false accusation. He rose above it all.

     Many might have looked at Joseph's life when he arrived in the Pharaoh's place and assumed him to be a man given all the breaks in life. An uninformed observer might think, "Why, here's a man who has endured no hard labor in life. This is a man of ease, fine apparel, tender delicacies, luxury and raised in aristrocracy. Anyone with all these advantages should do well."

     But the truth of the matter is that Joseph was schooled and groomed into prominence through his perseverance over hardships and even through the afflictions imposed on him by others. The term "significant" described his life not because he was put in charge of a nation, but because he faced the things designed to take him out "head on" and broke through every obstacle that sought to make him average at best, mediocre and obsolete at worst. Life's roadblocks were present to cause his demise, but instead of persishing, he rose up. How did he do it?

     For one, he never let go of the proven benefit that God was with him through it all. Did God do this to him? I'll leave that point for others to argue, but I don't believe God afflicted Joseph with the circumstances he faced. Whatever the source of his troubles, I do know this: God was with him through every day of his ordeal. God never left or forsook Joseph through any of his adversity. God upheld and helped him through every day of hard labor, false accusation, betrayal, worry and fear.

     And through it all, somehow Joseph kept the right perspective and the right attitude.

     As much as anything else, Joseph's approach to life in difficult times caused him to forge ahead, learn valuable lessons of organization, administration, authority, faithfulness, hardwork and diligence in the face of every opposition that was designed to defeat him and take him out. In his trouble, Joseph searched for and embraced the responsibilities set before him as a slave and a prisoner. When he could have blamed his brothers, God, Potiphar or Potiphar's wife, he held fast to his peace and this act helped him to see and cling to his dream with an insistent clarity and conviction.

     Joseph's heart stayed at peace with God through potential "wars" with man. This is one of the characteristics of Joseph. In fact, this is one of the great hidden secrets of Joseph's success. He learned the value and power of mastering his own heart. In betrayal, in false accusation and unjust imprisonment, in the midst of rejection and disrespect, Joseph took no violence into his heart.

     Even though his brothers strove against Joseph, his dreams and his words, Joseph didn't rail and retaliate against God, and reached a place of peace in his heart toward those who betrayed and warred against him. He didn't let the envy, jealousy, disregard and insecurity of others deter him from his appointed course.

     Whatever betrayal you've ever gone through, whatever the accusations falsely heaped against you, no matter the hardships you've faced, you can rest assured that your outcome can rival Joseph's. If you follow his secret of keeping your heart intact and free of warring entanglements, the place of exoneration will be found and victory won in life.

     Sometimes the greatest wars are fought within. Win the war within by keeping your heart at peace. It will not only impact your life, but it will preserve your family and those close to you.  Who knows?  It might even be the secret to you writing history and changing the destiny of a nation.


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