In the military, business, and in the Kingdom of God we really don’t have problems only solutions we have yet to discover and especially in the Kingdom our problems become opportunities for the Lord to move, as our problems only cause us to grow, to understand his heart better and to become more like him.

Our world can become so small when we make excuses for our problems or run to the world for solutions. As a child of God, He wants us to learn to work the problem with Him. Trusting that if we have a problem, he already knows about it and has the wisdom, strength, understanding and plan to work it with us, get us through it not just barely but with victory.

When God’s hand is on you, and you know you are the one he loves the most!

We have battles in a several different ways. Jesus gave us this story to help us understand the battle

Luke 8:4-8

And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: 5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. 8 But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Then He explained it this way so we might understand what we really battle… Luke 8: 11-15

Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. (The devil) 13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. (The Flesh)14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. (The world system) 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

But we win and overcome if we receive God’s word, trust it, and live it even when it is difficult to do!

Jesus’ parable is about overcoming our chief enemies, the devil, our own flesh (which includes relying on our own strength and understanding), this world system (the way the world shows us to handle our problems rather than the way God shows us to handle our problems)

Part of our challenge is hearing from God, when we don’t build that relationship with Him we don’t understand his heart, we can’t see the solution to our problems his way and we learn to trust in world systems rather than God.

Please don’t take this to extreme. I know some who have said medical field is the world system “if God is going to heal me then he will do it His way” or “I don’t need to work, God will just supply for me.” Well if you are fully confident in hearing those things from God, then we will all see in the fruit of that belief….but our decisions, if based on fear, arrogance, pride, laziness or other such things are not God. But God can speak to us, and say, trust me, I will lead and guide you each step of the way….if you get a bad diagnosis, go to God first, financial struggles go to God first, relationship issues, go to God first. Work the problem with Him, first then do as he tells you to do….we are always to look at the fruit of any decisions we make.

That is the warm up, now to the meat of the next couple of weeks

Genesis 37:2

This is the account of Jacob and his family. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his father’s flocks. He worked for his half-brothers, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things his brothers were doing.

We pick up the story of a 17 year-old boy who was placed over his older brothers to oversee them. The phraseology for his “tending the flocks” in Hebrew means he was in charge not his four older brothers Gad, Asher, Dan and Naphtali. We don’t know if this was because he was Jacob’s favorite or if he had a better skill set at being a shepherd regardless, we see conflict brewing.

We are not told what these “bad things” were but how do we work the problems we see in the lives of others or at work.

I am not talking about a life threatening or personal or corporate damage situation here those are more severe problems that need worked another way but if people seem to you, to be in failure, sin,  or they are simply creating a conflict with you or others, here is the way the Bible outlines working the problem.

Our nation is strongly divided on so many fronts and merely arguing your points may win an argument but we must learn to win hearts. That happens but reaching out in love

With social media people are not very kind, not caring about the other people and that may have been Joseph’s problem here. Hopefully with the wisdom of God we can lead by working these problems to return some civility to our world. As our nation changes we see conflict brewing there are distinctive sides it is rare that we win someone through debate but what can we do reach them through love…

What Joseph probably should have done

1) First deal with your own heart – we must search our own hearts for our own failures and sin and deal with them so we are able to lovingly confront as we know our hearts are pure. If it is a battle of opinions, why do we hold the opinion we have. Self-righteousness is not honoring to God, your friend or co-worker.  It is often easier to see the problems in others rather than our own lives but God does give us discerning hearts to lift others up and help them walk in freedom. Can we have conflict, disagreements and still love? Of course, there are always going to be differing opinions on things that are not essentials

1 John 4:11

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.

We love by examining our own hearts first then helping our friends to see where they may be blowing it…

Matthew 7:3-5

And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

It’s not that we don’t deal with the speck, if we love we will, but it is checking our own hearts first

2) Bring truth with love – we are coming into a pretty contentious season where disagreement will be aplenty and people will be wrong, keep love first. Paul boldly stood against sin and always brought correction and he did so in love…in both 1 and 2nd Corinthians he had to bring correction to some situations of pride, arrogance and attacks just simply missing God’s mark he states his correction this way 2 Corinthians 2:4

I wrote that letter in great anguish, with a troubled heart and many tears. I didn’t want to grieve you, but I wanted to let you know how much love I have for you.

How would it feel if you are confronting or arguing with someone and you have this heart or see this heart in them. Our heart should be not just to argue our points but to understand why someone else has the opinion they have, then help them to see why you take the stand you do. It is always easier to deal with conflict when it is done in love

3) Confront with facts and God’s word – hopefully most of the opinions you have are because of your faith. Your personal opinion matters in matters of non-essentials but elections come and go and eternity is forever, conflict is all around us but you always want to keep the main thing the main thing but allowing your confrontations and discussion to be ultimately focused on drawing people closer to Christ..Ezekiel 36:26

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.

2 Timothy 3:16,17

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

If we keep the word the focus, we can stay on track with God’s heart, keeping our hearts soft in the midst of every argument.

Because Joseph was missing this heart, rather then helping his brothers walk in truth all he did was offend them more. We know the story so we know ultimately God used it but what if we can begin to change the hearts and minds of those who so adamantly oppose our way of thinking, as well as the Gospel.

Genesis 37: 5-11

One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever. 6 “Listen to this dream,” he said. 7 “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!”

8 His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.

9 Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it. “Listen, I have had another dream,” he said. “The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!”

10 This time he told the dream to his father as well as to his brothers, but his father scolded him. “What kind of dream is that?” he asked. “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?” 11 But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father wondered what the dreams meant.

As men and women of God we have various dreams that the Lord has given us and one that is universal; everyone we know would come to know the Lord the way we know him.

Our dream, like Joseph’s dream is a dream of deliverance, rescue, and preservation. When we share our dream, the world might not understand it or our hearts in delivering the truth, but that is why when confronting during this intense season we have to remember eternity.

A little side note, everything that begins in Genesis ends in revelation….Jacob interprets the dream for us and it is revealed to us further in Revelation 12:1

Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant, and she cried out because of her labor pains and the agony of giving birth.

As you read this chapter it further reveals the nation of Israel’s role in the end times.

Joseph’s dream was explaining how God would rescue all of the children of Israel during a great famine that was coming that no one knew about.

It is the same now, the world does not understand why they need Jesus, they don’t understand eternity is coming and heaven and hell are real places. That our dream is really what they need.

Through love we can help them through their selfishness to find the one who loves them the most. There is a very real problem in our world. People are going about their business ignoring God doing what is right in their own eyes. Demanding that everyone accept sin as the norm, the evil is good and good is evil….we must be wise, we must work the problem with love…keeping eternity in mind