Monday: Genesis 40
Tuesday: Mark 12
Wednesday: Psalm 7
Thursday: Romans 11
Friday: Genesis 40, Mark 12, Psalm 7, Romans 11
Monday, Genesis 40
Joseph’s total confidence in hearing from the Lord to interpret the dreams of the cupbearer and the baker can indicate one thing for sure – through years of waiting, terrible trials and hardships, persecution and false accusation, Joseph has remained in communication with His Father. He knows exactly where interpretations come from – God – and he is certain that God will give him the interpretations.
His hardship and waiting have not diminished His trust in God, but increased it.
Do hardships, trials and waiting cause you to press further into God and seek Him more, or do they tempt you to doubt God’s goodness and love for you?
How can you remain steadfast in your trust of God even in the midst of life’s hard seasons?
(Hint: stay in His Word. Stay in communication with Him. Remember His promises. He is trustworthy! And He wants all of you, even in the difficult, in-between seasons.)
Tuesday, Mark 12
True significance doesn’t lie in what we can give to God, what we can do for Him, but in how we come to Him. He doesn’t need our pretense, our showy works or our lengthy monologues. He wants our hearts. He wants what He received from the widow, everything she had.
What would it look like to truly give Jesus everything you have this week?
Wednesday, Psalm 7
David’s song to the Lord as he is persecuted might help us answer the question we asked ourselves on Monday. In the midst of great hurt, great confusion, and long waiting for salvation, David cries out to God, His refuge.
And after he tells God how he honestly feels, after he laments all the things that seem to be coming against him, he gives thanks. Due to his circumstances? Nope. Due to God’s righteousness.
Couldn’t you just rest there a while?
No matter the trial, no matter the suffering, no matter the waiting, His righteousness doesn’t change. When things go as planned and when they really, really don’t, His righteousness doesn’t change.
And remembering His righteousness, David sings praise to the Lord Most High. Can we?
Commit this to memory this week:
“I will give the Lord thanks due to His righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.” Psalm 7:17
Rejoice in the Lord, our refuge!
Thursday, Romans 11
I was reading Revelation this week and marveling at all that I imagine Heaven will be (and of course, it will be far better than anything I can possibly imagine). Every kind of people, every color of people, every language, every culture, all mixed up together with none of the angst or awkwardness that sometimes comes from interacting cross culturally. I can’t wait.
How gracious of Jesus to graft us in, to add to His family those who were outside it. God’s word has not failed and He has not rejected His people. He is kind and merciful and working all things for good, even when this doesn’t appear to be immediately true. We can trust in His good plans and His good promises.
In celebration of being grafted into God’s family, is there someone you can invite into your home or your life this week?
“How did Joseph know what the dreams meant?” asked our youngest daughter over her plate heaped with spaghetti. “That’s so cool.”
I waited on Benji to answer, and he wisely went back to the text. “Well, let’s look at what it says.”
“Do not interpretations belong to God?” Joseph says, “Tell me your dreams.”
Joseph is so confident in his connection to the Father, so confident in his communication with God, that he knows God will reveal to him what the dreams mean. I long for this kind of connection with God. To most of us, the interpretation of dreams sounds so foreign, almost magical, but Joseph is so connected to His Father that it comes almost second nature. Yes, this is a gift that God has specifically given to Joseph, but it stems from Joseph’s communication and closeness with God.
I long for this, but as I examine my own life, I am convicted that even as I pray for God to speak to me, I am often not making space for Him to do so. We are so distracted. Probably the most distracted generation of all time. We wake up in the morning and reach for our phones. We pause at a stoplight and check just in case. We mindlessly scroll through other people’s lives as a way to escape from our own.
We are letting the world speak to us far more than we are letting God speak to us.
I know I am. Holy God who created us and adores us wants to speak with us like He spoke to Joseph. He wants to reveal Himself to us the way He did to Paul. He wants to give us wisdom for these crazy days, whisper encouragement to calm our anxious hearts, rejoice over us, His beloved. He wants to give us words of love and life to share with the hurting world around us.
Are we giving Him our ears, our attention, long enough that He can?
I saw myself so clearly in the widow who offered her two small coins. These last years have been hard on my family, and the world as a hole. We have been taught by our culture to isolate, to build up walls, to become angry any time we disagree. We are tired. We are anxious. So often I come to the Lord feeling that I have nothing left to give, nothing to offer. That’s the thing though – God doesn’t need me to show up with anything to offer other than myself. He doesn’t want my performance or my stuff as much as He just wants me.
The widow put in everything she had.
I might not have much to offer Him today, but I can offer myself, I can offer my time. Instead of reaching for my phone, I can reach for His word. Instead of fixing my eyes on everything I don’t have, daily brought to me by television and my Instagram feed, I can fix my eyes on Jesus, I can steady my heart on Him. I can whisper to Him about the longings of my heart.
In a season of weariness, we have all sorts of options for reprieve – we have screens and distractions, things to do and people to call. We want God to speak to us, to reveal His plans to us, to give us words of encouragement for our hurting neighbors. But are we making space for Him to do so?
What if my offering is a mere two minutes of whispered prayer as I wait for the pasta water to boil, what if my offering is a few minutes of sitting in the quiet to listen for His voice in the carpool line, what if my offering is to reach for His Word and remind myself of His opinion instead of reaching for my phone and the opinion of a loud world.
We can hear from God like Joseph did. We can speak the things of God to others. We can be so confident in our relationship with Him, our communication with Him, that we can share truth to this often dark and hurting world. But first, we have to come like the widow. We have to bring Him our minutes. Our whispered cries for help in the pauses of our day, our laments for the things that hurt, our desires for control over the things that make us anxious, our rejoicing when we succeed.
The tiny, quiet prayer, the call for help, the scripture you repeat to yourself in the middle of the night. These may feel insignificant, as trivial as two copper coins. But these are the things that shift our hearts toward a Father who is singing over us in love. These are the things that tune our hearts to hear from Him even as the world around us seems increasingly chaotic.
I feel I can say this with certainty – it isn’t going to get any easier. The distractions are increasing, not decreasing. We have to make space for Him now. We have to make it our habit to cry out to Him, to look for Him in the pauses of the day, to hear Him in the still, quiet moments.
We want to fill the silence throughout our days with distractions. What if instead, we make the silence our offering to Him? An offering of prayer, of worship, of listening, of seeking.
What if we filled up all our middle minutes with seeking Him, talking to Him, listening to Him that we started to look more like Him? That we could be so confident in our ability to hear from Him that we could reach out and encourage and speak life over those around us? This is what the world needs. This is what our hearts need. Jesus came for us because He wants all of us.
My challenge to you is my challenge to myself this week – what if we practice giving God our best, not our leftovers? What if we praise Him for His righteousness (not our circumstances) in the middle minutes of our days? What if each time we reach for the phone to scroll or the remote to check on world events, we spend a few minutes talking to Him instead? It might sound negligible on paper, but I believe it has the power to change our hearts.