Those wonderful words, “The offer has been excepted.” came through in an e.mail this week. We have a home to go to. It is not the house I would have chosen but I am sure that it is the right one.
Mentally I am furnishing rooms,adding up how much bills may come to and sorting out ways to earn an income. Furnishing was to be a problem as I have no furniture. Well, I didn’t but pieces keep arriving, and beautiful pieces too. God is good! It does look, as jobs at my age are far and few between,that I may have to claim benefits for a while. I do have a plan about employment though but I won’t put it here yet, as some of my plans, have the door closed quite firmly on them. “I know the plans I have for you…” ,says God,” and they are not as harebrained as yours!…” (italics mine )
My lovely “Little -friend -Susan”,(from “Milly Molly Mandy” by Joyce Lankester Brisley, you must have read it?) and her husband have driven me miles over the area and we can describe the interiors of most of the houses on the market under £165,000. Most not that inspiring and in need of the “DIY SOS” team. Funnily enough I also have friends called Mollie and Mandy who are also very supportive. I know a Milly too but Billy Blunt eludes me.
I have joined “Broken Rites”, an organisation formed initially in the Church of England for Divorced,Separated or Widowed spouses of clergy. They have been very helpful ,sending me a pack of information ,most of which I vaguely knew, but seeing it in black and white helped me get my actions in order. Under stress, my power of logical thought seems to have gone to mush.I also received a lovely phone call from a member and look forward to meeting others in October. If you find yourself in my position and live in the U.K I do recommend them to you. (Google it)
The one person a Ministers wife does not have is a Minister. I am in the very fortunate position of now having three! ( I won’t put that joke in about waiting for a bus!)The one that married my husband and I, is as he says “having tied the knot, now helping me to unravel it.” mostly by listening, a very rare gift. Another from a legal background has ensured that I get the correct advice and yet another has given pastoral support. I am grateful to them all, and to God for giving them to me. I have just thought of a forth and fifth both of whom who have offered help through the internet.Jehovah Jireh my provider!
Knowing that a move and change of lifestyle is in the future is a little perturbing and I have tried to be quite philosophical, but as the moving date comes closer, butterflies with hobnailed boots have begun to fly. I need to take my own advice. I am not in church this morning because I find it hard to listen to my husband,but when my situation is less rural I have a new church in mind .
I have been reading Genesis 41:33-57
Bruce Goettsche says “ Without a plan, the most noble words are virtually meaningless. You can dream all you want but if you don’t have any direction for making dreams come true you are just dreaming the impossible dream.
In the story of Joseph, Pharaoh is told by Joseph that seven years of prosperity are going to be followed by seven years of famine. Joseph tells Pharaoh that he needs to prepare for the coming famine during the years of abundance. Well, that’s good advice. In fact It is to state the obvious insight. But, how do you do this? Joseph has an answer. His proposal is simple. Have everyone give 20% of their harvest to the government in the prosperous years so a surplus can be ready for the lean years.
It was this kind of specific plan that let to Joseph being appointed as the second most powerful man in Egypt. As we look at this account this morning there are two things I’d like us to learn from this account. First, notice that Joseph had a plan for the future. And second, notice that God helped Joseph implement his plan by giving him peace with his past.
JOSEPH HAD A PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
Joseph had a plan for preparing for the coming famine. I think the plan was probably something that God revealed to him . . . but we aren’t told this. The wisdom of this plan is great. The government would appoint someone to collect 20% of the year’s produce. They needed someone in charge because human nature is such that in the times of prosperity we don’t save more . . . . we spend more!
We may resist planning because it doesn’t sound very exciting but,
- if you don’t plan your course schedule you will not graduate on time
- if you don’t save your money you will never be able to buy a home
- if you don’t put money away early you won’t be able to afford your child’s education
- if you don’t plan your route to a new location you may get lost
- if you don’t plan what you are going to say, or write for a paper or speech, you will ramble on incoherently.
- If you don’t set up a realistic budget you will not have the money to pay your bills
If you want to get ahead in life, you can’t live “by the seat of your pants”. You must plan. We understand this when it comes to money, education, and schooling. But we often fail to plan for things far more important”
But before we can plan adequately we need to have a realistic view of the obstacles. Joseph knew that in seven years famine would strike. He knew what his deadline was. He knew the enemy. In a similar way, we need to identify the obstacles we face. And believe me, there are several,
- there is our own nature.
- there is the devil. We know that Satan will use anything he can to turn us from any plan for spiritual development. We know he will use discouragement and will seek to overwhelm us with the task.
- there is our contemporary culture. Not only are we facing a time when Christianity (not religion in general) is resisted by our society, we also face a media that constantly seeks to marginalize faith.
- there is our contemporary lifestyle. This is one of the things that I find most difficult to battle. We are so busy. We spend our lives running on the treadmill of life and we begin to feel that any time spent in quiet reflection or fervent study is “Wasted time”.
So, we need to be clear on what the barriers to success are. But second, we need to develop specific strategies. And one of the best ways to do this is to use what is called the S.A.M. method. We should set goals that are specific, attainable, and measurable.
Let me define the terms:
Specific. Joseph didn’t just say, “we need to store some grain.” Joseph had a specific plan: 20% each year for seven years.
Attainable. It was a realistic plan. Joseph could have suggested 30, 40 or 50% put you have to be realistic. Joseph knew that 20% was an amount people would be willing to sacrifice. Any more than that may have been an unreasonable burden and led to a revolt among the people.
Measurable. This was a plan that could be evaluated. Since it was specific and it was for a certain period of time . . . you could evaluate how the plan was going.”
It doesn’t matter what difficulty we are facing, we need to be pro-active. Solutions will not fall into our laps. We have been given a brain to use. BUT we are not alone. When we step out in faith, God is there with all the help we can ever even begin to think that we need.
Thanks everyone for your continuing support, we are off on an exciting adventure!