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4 Life Lessons from Joseph’s Journey with God

All of us are treading a journey. Some are just beginning one and others are almost done. Many are at a point of success while some are still recovering from a life that was in shambles. Some are pretty sure of the direction they are heading while some are facing a crossroad. Some may be like me–at a point of relearning to follow God’s direction because life is simply full of the unknown.

Our journey will be totally pointless if we are not sure of our purpose in whatever route we are taking.

For our journey to be significant, we need an understanding of two key things–our purpose for living and an understanding of God Himself.

We can learn about God best from His inspired written word–the Bible.

At the beginning of year 2018, I started following a different Bible reading plan. That is, the chronological one. Whether I follow the traditional or the chronological one, nothing has changed. God speaks to me through His word.

In the book of Genesis chapters 37 and 39-50, I read of the detailed account of Joseph’s journey with God. I assume that you all know that Joseph (a.k.a. Joseph the Dreamer) received a colorful coat from his father because he was his father’s favorite. Once, he told of his dreams implying that his brothers will be under his authority someday. This resulted in the anger and jealousy of his brothers and him being sold by his brothers to Midianite traders. Lo and behold, Joseph found himself in Egypt serving Pharaoh.

God impressed upon my heart a few life lessons worth-remembering from Joseph’s journey with Him.

  1. Intimacy with God leads to earthly success.
    “The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man…His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands.” Genesis 39:3

    If you were to read the account of Joseph’s life in Genesis 39, the first few verses describe Joseph’s notable success in Egypt all because “the Lord was with Him.” It is an implication that Joseph had an intimate relationship with God. The result? Effective execution of his tasks and a visible success in the eyes of men. In light of that, we realize that whatever career we are pursuing or whatever calling we are fulfilling, people will notice when God’s blessing is upon us. God’s blessing is evident upon a person who keeps an intimate relationship with Him

  2. Intimacy with God leads to spiritual success.
    “And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, ‘Lie with me.’ But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?’… But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, she caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me.’ But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house.” Genesis 39:7-9

    Immorality is an abomination in the sight of God. Definitely, Joseph understands that principle and the holiness of God. In Joseph’s reverential fear of God, he ran away from the situation that tested his morality and chose to honor God and his earthly master even in his absence! Unless we fear the holy God, we cannot flee from temptation and achieve victory in our spiritual battles.

  3. Intimacy with God doesn’t exempt us from life’s tests. We read of the integrity of Joseph and yet he was falsely accused by the wife of Pharaoh (Genesis 39:13-18). Imagine Joseph’s stabbing pain in his heart caused by her false accusation and an unjust verdict from Pharaoh who once trusted him. Undeterred, Joseph kept his steadfast faith in God. We don’t see any record of Joseph’s complaints to God. You might be facing a trial you feel like you don’t deserve. It may seem to be beyond your understanding. Take a look at the example of Joseph and remain steadfast in believing that God knows what He is doing.
  4. Intimacy with God gains people’s favor.
    “So Joseph found favor in his [the Pharaoh’s] sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had….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 39:4, 21-23 (emphasis added)

    Teachers, classmates, bosses and colleagues are not blind to God’s blessing upon His children who are walking closely with Him. In fact, they are confident that whatever task they give to faithful followers of God will be accomplished successfully.In the case of Joseph, Pharaoh was pleased with Joseph’s attitude toward work and so was the keeper of the prison.

The bottom line is intimacy with God brings both blessings and testings but we need to remain steadfast in clinging to our God whether we are on a mountaintop or valley on our journey. Let’s remember the life lessons from the life of Joseph.

32 Life Lessons I Have Learnt So Far

The original title of this post was “31 Life Lessons I Have Learnt So Far.” Obviously, this has been in my drafts for more than a year. I was just inspired by a younger sister in Christ to finally post this because of her article I read here.  Is it too late to share with you the gems of life lessons I found in my borrowed 32 years on earth? Here you go:

  1. Drinking warm water on an empty stomach does wonders.
  2. Unhealthy food makes me feel lousy and healthy ones boost my energy.
  3. The purest joy I have ever known in life is having a personal relationship with God through Christ.
  4. I am a summary of how well or how poorly I use my time.
  5. My choices of words and actions reflect my view of God and the condition of my heart.
  6. Making decisions? Going ahead of God will hurt my soul.
  7. People come and go. Getting so emotionally attached to anyone is not healthy and wise. Jesus is the best friend I can ever have.
  8. Sin prevents me from enjoying an intimate relationship with God.
  9. Happiness doesn’t depend on my surroundings, but rather on the condition of my heart.
  10.  Primarily, God uses His word to give me an understanding of His character. He tests my knowledge of Him in the form of prosperity or adversity.
  11. My Heavenly Father wins me back to Him either through His lovingkindness or chastisement.
  12. Keeping a journal aids me in processing my emotions and helps me choose the right response to my situations.
  13. I have the ability to forgive others because God had forgiven me of my own sins.
  14. God hears my simplest prayers.
  15. Giving God the first part of my day enables me to complete my tasks at hand. Skipping my devotions is the best recipe for a bad day.
  16. “I can never outgive God.”
  17.  Colossians 3:23 is a great verse to live by. “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as unto the Lord and not unto men.”
  18. It is never healthy to surround myself with negative people so I should choose my friends wisely.
  19. I can turn my worry list into my prayer list.
  20. When I have free time, I should read books or do something that will draw me closer to my life goals.
  21. The cure to pride is remembering that God is good to all. That’s the same antidote to jealousy. God being good to all means He is good to me! (Psalm 145:9)
  22. The way I live, dress up, speak, and behave says much about whether I care about the unsaved souls around me.
  23. It’s never worth anything to run away from God’s will. Peace only comes from complete obedience to God.
  24. By helping others without expecting anything in return, I give God the opportunity to show Himself faithful in providing my needs in a special way.
  25. Increasing my financial literacy includes learning the right stewardship of the money God entrusts me. Grow in giving, saving and investing.
  26. Being treated negatively by mean people doesn’t entitle me to be mean as well. Gotta pay evil with good.
  27. Minimalism spares me from a lot of stress. Speak less, spend less. As the cliché goes, “Less is more.”
  28. Disappointments are meant to make me better, not bitter.
  29. The real blessed (happy) people are the ones who suffer a lot for righteousness’ sake.
  30. When God sends trials, He always has His glory in mind and the betterment of my relationship with Him.
  31. My failures give me a great privilege to try again next time. Giving up is never an option.
  32. I don’t deserve anything from God so I should stay grateful to Him for all the undeserved blessings He gives me.

Indeed, life is the greatest learning platform. As long as we are breathing, we have the opportunity to grow personally, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Isn’t it an exciting thought that every moment is a learning opportunity?

What are the lessons you have been learning on your personal journey? Share them with me in the comments below.

Leaning on Jesus, (1)

 

5 Time-Tested Tips on Wedding Planning

While preparing for my own wedding, I had two dreadful dreams.

First, our wedding day finally came. All our guests were so excited to witness our most awaited day but to our surprise, there were no flowers in our wedding venue. In my next dream, my groom and I had finally exchanged our vows but when it was time for us to exchange tokens of love (i.e. wedding bands), our officiant informed us that the rings somehow are missing!

What horrible dreams they were!

Thank God the opposite happened on our wedding day. Of course, there were elegant multi-hued flowers and setting that day. Needless to say, we had our wedding rings secured in the right place!

Now, how many more days or months do you have before you tie the knot with the man you want to grow old with?

Yes, it’s fast approaching and it is but natural to feel some tension as you look at your calendar and budget. I would like to share with you some consoling and unwonted wedding planning tips I personally learned in my own journey of wedding planning.

I also earnestly hope you’ll read until the end because there’s a special surprise for you over there. But for now, let’s start with these ones:

1. Pray for God to bless and anoint every detail of your wedding. 

The best stress buster is prayer.

There are things that you may overlook but as you entrust everything to God, He will help you remember things that need to be done.

“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3

2. Focus on what’s important.

Why are you getting married?

Yes, it’s because you want to mark this as a memorial when you commit your relationship to God before the presence of the people you love.

I hope you also have God’s glory in mind, first and foremost.

Pray that God would draw people’s attention to Him as you and your groom honor each other with your vows.

3. Trust that God will provide all your needs.

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:25-33

Deciding to marry your best friend is a leap of faith. You may not have all the exact money you need but as you pray for God’s provision, He will use people. 

My husband and I were in awe of God’s tremendous blessings upon our wedding preparation. Since our friends were excited to see us finally walk down the aisle and be pronounced as husband and wife, they offered help which we did not expect. I am persuaded that God was the One who burdened them to help us in their special ways.

Please remember to give them thank you notes later. 

4. Do things part by part.  Now that you have committed all your plans to God, it’s time to implement them. Try to sit down, take a deep breath and make a check list. Make sure you have the list of the following:

  • Legal Documents–Secure your documents (e.g. Birth Certificate, Certificate of No Marriage [CENOMAR] in the Phils.) and check them off as soon as you finish. 😉 This might help you if you are a Filipino and this one if you’re in the USA. Since my husband and I are from two different countries, he had to ask his parents to send him a notarized CENOMAR from Bangladesh. We had to ask them to send it by mail.

The point is wherever you are from, take some time to visit websites that will help you get your documents ready so you can apply for your marriage certificates.

  • Entourage–Involve your close friends and family members. One of the tips I learned from my married sisters in Christ is to ask your friends and family members to be a part of your entourage by approaching them personally and handing them a note so it can serve as their reminder if you think that they are pretty busy.

You may also ask them to be in-charge of their dress’ cost and let them know that you would count it as their early wedding gift. 😉

  • Guests–This is one of the most challenging decisions to make–choosing whom you should invite. Everyone wants to see your wedding and you also want everyone to witness your special day of exchanging vows with your husband to be. In our case, we asked at least two members of our friends’ and relatives’ families to come.

Take advantage of this ceremony to preach the gospel to your loved ones who are not sure of heaven. Ask your pastor to include the gospel in the ceremony. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone would tell you later that your wedding day became the day of his/her salvation?

  • Delegation–You might be good at multitasking but you don’t have to do everything by yourself. Welcome help and ask your friends and family members to aid you if they are willing and available. In our case, we had our delegates fully in charge of music, flowers, food and event planning.

Our wedding coordinator was kind enough to take care of looking for a good reception venue and we got it a reasonable price of Php 5,000 (around $113)! Learn to communicate with the people whom you have delegated to undertake certain responsibilities and it will contribute a lot to what you have been waiting for! 😉

  • Wedding Program–Borrow a few people’s wedding program copies and try to revise the order of the ceremony according to your preference. You may ask your pastor or someone trustworthy to do this for you as well.
  • Suppliers–I assure you that God would lead you to the suppliers you need. Ask your flower suppliers if he collaborates with a credible catering service. More often than not, they will give unsolicited (in a positive sense) suggestions on how you can avail of different wedding services at reasonable prices!

Don’t forget to take a break and give attention to all the other people around you. 😉 Spend time with them and talk about stuff other than weddings.

5. Expect the unexpected.

Yes, you read it right. On your wedding day proper, there are a few details that won’t work as planned but take it as part of your wedding story. Let it go and relax. Enjoy your day and make your guests feel welcomed to your wedding party.

I know, there may be things I forgot to list down but I do hope that the aforementioned reminders would calm your soul. 🙂

Now, here’s the surprise I told you about. I asked a few of my married friends and fellow bloggers to share their stupendous wedding pieces of advice with you and here they are:

“List every detail, even to the simplest one. After everything is planned, everything is listed, BE FLEXIBLE, RELAX 🙂 Expect disaster or any tiny error. Things will not really go as planned sometimes. A realistic expectation is better than a super perfect wedding but with a bride who can easily go insane with just one tiny detail or delay in the schedule.” -Mrs. Daisy Mae Aguinaldo Eugenio

“It’s been three months since our wedding day and we don’t regret that a big part of our wedding budget went to the photo and video expenses. As many people would say these are the only things that will really stay with you when the wedding is over. Once in a while my husband and I browse our beautiful pictures or watch our heart tugging wedding video and it never fails to bring us back to that very special day. It still gives us chills in a good way. These memories can also be passed down through generations. So I advice to hire good and professional photographer and videographer that’s within your budget.” -Mrs. KC Suk De Guzman

“Leave it to your wedding planner. Focus on your husband to be. The color of your flowers don’t matter so much as your love for each other.” – Mrs. Abra Marie Carnahan of Cafe Mom

“Don’t get lost in the little details so much that it takes your mind off the big picture. In the end the marriage is what matters most, not the wedding details.” -Mrs. Kay Cee Groves of Moral Morsels.

“You will need a small purse the day of the wedding. Be sure to fill it with make-up for touch-ups, gum, a small mirror, safety pins, bobby pins and a small perfume. I thought I had everything planned, but had forgotten this majorly important item! I figured my mom would have everything I needed, but I failed to realize she wouldn’t be with me at all times.” -Mrs. Jessa Nowak of In Wealth and Health.

“Number the RSVP cards and save the names and numbers in a spreadsheet. People constantly forget to RSVP with their name and we got blank cards back.” – Mrs. Abra Marie Carnahan of Mere Breath

“Be prepared for the worst but expect for the best. You are to begin a life together. You will have bitter-sweet experiences. Yes, you will see flaws and faults along the way but you must also believe and trust God’s work in both you and your partner. Both of you are work in progress so be willing to let God work. God will be the One to mold your husband, not you. So there’s assurance that He will be better. And remember to allow God to work in you first before you expect your partner to be better. Most of the time God wants to change us first before we expect the change in our partners. He wants us to be fully dependent on Him as we allow Him to deal with every area in the relationship.” -Mrs. Cath Quizon

“Just be yourself. While it’s great to look at wedding blogs to get inspired, sometimes you end up copying, or trying to make your wedding like someone else’s. Take a step back. Remember that, aside from the fact that the primary goal of a wedding should be to picture Christ and His bride, this day is about you and the man you love. Celebrate what makes you unique… don’t try to impress others or think that you have to make your wedding fit into a certain mold.” -Mrs. Julia Potts Valle

“One of my friend’s advice? “Open your legs.” I hope I’m not shocking you, but it was so funny. Especially with her strong Dominican accent. You don’t have to use that – just thought I would add a touch of humour here.” -Mrs. Jennie Lawlis Goutet of A Lady in France

Think carefully about what you want your wedding to say about you and your future husband. Even though this is “your” day, you want everything that is done to glorify your Lord. In addition, your wedding should reflect who you are – music that you have chosen, colors and styles that you prefer, vows that mean something to you, traditions (even new ones) that reflect your personality. Your wedding says something about you – it can be a testimony of God’s grace in your life, and a meaningful event that speaks of who you and your groom are as individuals about to become one. Mrs. Ruth Bachorik

“Ask around at your church to see if anyone does cakes, photos, or other services. We were blessed with our church family’s talents. Look online for deals (80% of our wedding supplies came from online for much less than we would have spent on it finding it in stores).Take time to savor every moment of the special day, it flies by fast. Don’t forget, your wonderful groom to be will not ever be enough to fill your God-shaped hole. That’s my top advice, you can use any or none of it….Don’t lock your knees…people pass out in ceremonies all the time when they lock their knees while standing….” -Mrs. Robbi Bittle of About a Chick.

Eat a full meal before you put on the dress! Even if you have a dinner afterwards you will either A) be too nervous that you will make a mess on your uber expensive dress or B) like Samantha Ford-Godette said, be too busy to eat at all! My wedding day I got a handful of almonds, one bite of cake, and a bag of jalapeno chips.” -Mrs. Amy Dickerson of Accidental Happy Baker

Please get these words of wisdom “with all thy getting.”

Before I forget, congratulations on your wedding! May God bless you and your husband-to-be!

Please keep in mind these consoling and unwonted tips on wedding planning. I hope they indeed helped you! ❤

Written with lots of love,
Nance 😉