pearceForgive the football story for a moment but Stuart Pearce earned the nation’s respect in Euro 96 when he stepped up to take a penalty in the quarter final shoot-out with Spain.  Why?  Because he’d missed one in a world cup semi-final shoot-out six years previously.  The courage that it took to step up to the mark was immense and his celebration said it all.  You can see more of his story at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0OCRrvMBpA if you want the hairs on the back of your neck to tingle.  So far as I know, the other England player to miss in Italy never voluntarily took a penalty again.

Failure, mistakes or disappointments can make or break us.  They can define us.  They didn’t define Stuart Pearce.  He is defined by his response six years afterwards.  Amazing.

And when Joseph hears that the cup-bearer and baker for the king of Egypt have had some strange dreams his response is immediate.  “Do not interpretations belong to God?  Please tell them to me,” 40:8.  You see, Joseph is not shaped by disappointment over delay in the fulfilment of his own dreams.  Step up Joseph, let’s tuck this penalty away.

And when he hears the dreams, Joseph knows their meaning.  God speaks to him.  The narrator doesn’t make much of it, we’re not told about God speaking to Joseph, we’re not told about his faith and patience and times of prayer but make no mistake.  Joseph is a man of faith who is walking with God.  So when he steps up to the mark, God is with him and he gives a clear explanation of the meaning.  And he’s right.  Great penalty Joseph – low in the bottom corner.  That’s how you’ll be remembered.  Respect.

How will you be remembered and what will define you?  Every time you pray, speak to someone, prophesy, preach, sing out, share a vision or speak in tongues you are taking a risk.  Things in the past may not have worked out how you hoped, you may have been hurt.  Will you try again?  Will you take the risk?  It’s a shoot-out.  What will you do?

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