Monday: Genesis 50
Tuesday: Luke 6
Wednesday: Psalm 20-21
Thursday: Galatians 5
Friday: Genesis 50, Luke 6, Psalm 20-21, Galatians 5
Monday, Genesis 50
These famous last words of Joseph are the words of God straight to all of His people – all that the enemy intends for evil God can and will use for good. On the surface, it may look like Joseph’s brothers are the ones who sent him to Egypt but Joseph knows the truth – only God can send you anywhere, allow you to go anywhere, bring about anything. What Joseph’s brothers meant for harm, it hurt, yes, but it couldn’t hurt deeper than God could heal, and it couldn’t derail the plans of a good and Sovereign God who can use all for good, even the biggest messes and the deepest fallouts.
I don’t know about you, but there is some stuff happening in my life and in the world right now that doesn’t look good, and I can’t even imagine how it could be used for good. But I long to trust God like Joseph did and believe it will be used for His purposes because this is what He has promised us.
Take a moment to reflect on some of the hard things in your life this season.
Can you believe, no matter what, God desires to use this for your good and His glory?
Spend some time in prayer today surrendering these hard things to the Lord and asking Him to help you believe, even in the hardest times, that He has your good in mind.
Tuesday, Luke 6
Jesus is always most concerned with love. And His love is always astonishing, always better than anything we could imagine. This love asks us to live counter-culturally: to rejoice in difficulties, to bless our enemies, to reach into suffering instead of running away from it.
The Kingdom of God seems a little bit upside down sometimes, totally counter-intuitive and countercultural. But we can trust that God knows what He is doing. His desire is to make us like Him, to transform us more and more into His likeness so that we can share His love with a watching world. As we love the unlovely and as we rejoice in trial, we are modeling God’s own character, the character we see here in Jesus.
Are you living in such a way that the outside world can look at your life and see the love of Christ?
Who can you love with Christ’s love this week?
Wednesday, Psalm 20-21
He will always answer us. We trust in the name of the Lord! In Psalm 20 the psalmist offers up a prayer to the Lord, and in Psalm 21 he praises God for answering!
Spend some time today thanking God for answered prayers. If there are cries of your heart that remain unanswered, you can trust that God will answer in His perfect timing.
Thursday, Galatians 5
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. And these things we are called to: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, we can’t just muster them up; they have to be given and empowered by the Holy Spirit. There it is again – that upside-down Kingdom of Christ’s love – not something we can achieve or earn, but a gift freely given to us who believe.
I often find when I feel weary or overwhelmed, if I examine my heart closely, part of my exhaustion is coming from trying to do everything and be good enough in my own strength, essentially striving to conjure up this fruit of the Spirit on my own and add it to my faith in Christ. Paul teaches, and we know, that we cannot add anything to the grace of Christ. Obedience, good works, and good fruit will all be the overflow of our faith in Jesus when we fully surrender our hearts and lives to Him.
Are you feeling weary? Could it be you are striving after being good enough or righteous enough in your own power instead of surrendering these things to the Holy Spirit?
Spend some time in prayer today giving all your striving to the Lord. Ask Him to empower you and fill you with His Spirit to live like Him today. He will!
What does it mean to you to live liberated by Gospel grace?
I glance over at the front seat of the car and notice my teenager is following our route to the store on the maps app on her phone. A few feet away, my maps app is on the dashboard showing me where to go.
“Do you always watch the map to where we are going even if I am driving?” I ask, thinking she probably just knows how prone I am to getting lost in this new place (or in any place really).
“It just makes me feel better to know exactly where we are going,” she says. “I like knowing we are going the right way, and how long it is going to take to get there.”
This strikes a much deeper chord with me than she means it to, and I ponder her words as we continue following the little blue line on my screen that is sure to lead us safely to the store.
I want to know that we are going the right way, and exactly how long it is going to take to get there, too. Even more, I want to know exactly what will happen when we do get there. I feel better when I know exactly where I am going.
And yet, most of the time I don’t. And on the rare occasion that I do think I know exactly where I am going, I’m really just kidding myself. There are always twists and turns and surprises – both marvelous and terrible – that I could have never seen coming. While we have a certain destination – Heaven – the path this life will take us on to get there isn’t something we can follow on a screen.
But Joseph seems to know exactly where he is going, and even where his family is going.
“God will visit you and bring you up out of this land,” Joseph tells his brothers. How does He know? Because He knows who God is – a God who is always good and always using all for our good, a God who always keeps His promises. How does He know? Because God has been faithful before. God has kept promises before. God has used the darkness for good before.
Faith in God looks to the past to be reminded of our hope for the future. Faithful He has been, faithful He will be.
Joseph might not get to see the map laid out with the blue line leading the way to a certain end. But he doesn’t have to see the full plan to know: God will do what He promised. God is always coming for us, always bringing us to eternity with Him, even when we can’t see the path ahead clearly.
All evil the enemy intends will in fact be used by God for our good. Even when it doesn’t look good. Even when it doesn’t feel good. Even when it is dark and confusing and we can’t see the way through. All things, even the terrible actions of godless men, the hard and the hurt of a fallen world, are seen by a kind and gracious God who intends to bring about the good of His people.
Maybe you can’t see the path right now? Maybe you are like me, in the dead zones common where we now live, and the map has become a spinning circle, loading, loading and now you feel lost, no idea which way to turn? Maybe you are like my daughter in the front seat and you are saying that you trust the driver but you want to have your own map pulled up… just in case?
Yea, I understand. But take a peek in the rear view mirror for just a minute. God who brought you this far is here with you now, leading you into good on His good and gracious path. Joseph has evidence in the past faithfulness of God. We have evidence in the past faithfulness of God, in the promises of God.
When we trust God’s promises and God’s character, we have something much better than a map. We have a certain Hope.