Day 10 – God Intends for Good

If ever there was a life that didn’t go according to plan, it was Joseph’s. Joseph as a young man was sold into slavery by his brothers, taken to a foreign country and ignored the advances of his owner’s wife, which led to him sitting in prison for years. Many years later, after it had been forgotten that he was even around, Joseph was called upon to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams and eventually became second-in-command of all of Egypt!

The story comes full circle when during a great famine (which was what Pharaoh was dreaming about) Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to ask for food. Thanks to Joseph there was plenty! I’m sure if we could sit down with a 17 year old Joseph and asked what his plans were for life they wouldn’t involve slavery, foreign countries, and sitting in prison for years. Did he have a right to be mad at his brothers? We would certainly think so, but he said to them, “But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives” (Gen 45:5). Joseph knew that even when the worst things were happening, it was all part of God’s plan. When his brothers offered themselves to him as slaves for repayment, “Joseph replied, ‘Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. 21 No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.’ So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.” Pray that when life is going poorly and people seem “out to get you” that you remember God has a plan for your life. Ask God for life to NOT JUST be marked by your circumstances, but to be a beatuiful story of God working THROUGH your circumstances. “You intended to harm me, BUT GOD intended it for good.”

Genesis 50:14-21

14 After burying Jacob, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had accompanied him to his father’s burial. 15 But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said.

16 So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us 17 to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. 18 Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said.

19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. 21 No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.

Day 9 – The Kingdom of Heaven

Jesus spent a lot of his time talking about the “Kingdom of Heaven” and what that looked like here on Earth (as it is in Heaven. Right? Get it!?). Jesus addresses the kingdom of this world after two disciples (and their mother!) made a request to have power and authority in this new Kingdom he kept talking about. “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.” We’re all familiar with a middle manager who lets a title go to his head. Your parents, bosses, teachers, mall cops, board members, pastors and elected officials all have authority. You’ve seen them wield that power poorly over their little kingdoms. Now before you get your “Down with Unjust Authorities” Facebook campaign together, keep reading what Jesus said. “But among YOU, it will be different.” YOU are the problem, not “them”. In the Kingdom of Heaven, YOU are going to do things differently. You are not here to be served, but to serve. And if you want to be a leader, Jesus says to be a servant. If you want to be first, he says to be a slave. Ask God to change your mindset to be of the Kingdom of Heaven to put others first. Pray that you can be different than the rulers who “lord it over their people” by becoming a servant instead.

Matthew 20:20-28

20 Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. 21 “What is your request?” he asked.

She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”

22 But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?”

“Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!”

23 Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.”

24 When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. 25 But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. 28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Day 8 – On Earth as it is in Heaven

Have you ever had one of those really bad days? You wake up late, miss breakfast, get stuck in slow traffic, and the rest of the day follows suit? When this happens I quickly find myself stuck in a rut of having a negative attitude towards everyone and everything. I’m not certain, but from what I’ve seen of life so far one of the main regrets is that we as humans don’t appreciate the good things we have while we have them. We get bogged down with the daily annoyances and frustrations, and our focus is completely used up on those things. As we discovered in last month’s series Rewind, we are looking forward to an eternal life with Christ where things run smoothly and the sin that gets our lives so messed up is nonexistent. It will seem silly to us that we spent a whole day being angry that we got stuck behind a school bus on the way to work, or that we wasted a week obsessing over a hurtful comment. Let’s pray for God to give us His Heavenly perspective, that we can see our daily trials as “light and momentary”. Pray that you wake up every day and determine to not to waste so much of your time worrying about the frustrations of today, but that you are living for something much bigger than yourself.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Day 7 – YOUR will be done

On Sunday, Michele explained how important it is to stop praying that God does OUR will. We can waste countless hours thinking and worrying through different scenarios in our heads. We’re determined that we can find and achieve OUR perfect outcome. We mistakenly think that it wouldn’t just make us happy, but everyone around us as well. When we take it upon ourselves to ‘fix’ things the way we want them we make more of a mess than there was already! Giving up control of our lives, and the lives of the people around us, to God is a VERY scary thing to do. If we could just make decisions for everyone else around us wouldn’t they all just be happier!? Nope. Time and time again God has proven to me that His will is not only good, it’s the best. He has been faithful in bringing me through the ‘storms of life’, and even manages to do the same for everyone else in my life. He is much more successful at it than I am too! Today you can pray for the strength to stop trying to force God to do your will. Pray that you can start trusting God’s plan by saying a simple “YOUR will be done”. Pray that you learn to value God’s peace and comfort rather than trying to control all situations that come along.

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Day 6 – Be Too Busy Loving

Your will be done. What an easy thing to add to the end of a prayer, but how hard it is for us to sincerely mean it! I spent too many years worrying about God’s will for my life. I thought the definition of God’s will was that I pick the right career, right spouse, right area to live, right church to worship at, start a family at the right age, and live by the phrase ‘modest is hottest’. If I did these things I would successfully stay on the narrow path that is God’s will for my life and in turn, lead a happy life in which everything flowed smoothly. This mindset led to a life full of worry with tons of anxiety as big life decisions kept coming my way. What a relief when I realized that God doesn’t ask us to complete His will for Him! Over and over again He tells us that our job (His will for our lives) is to love Him and love others. What a concept! When we pray for God’s will to be done our responsibility is to go about our lives loving those we come into contact with and loving God by seeking Him for comfort and guidance in every situation.

Jesus made it clear how huge this is in Matthew 22:37-40, “37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Sincerely pray that God’s will be done in your life. When decisions and trials come, pray that you are so busy loving God by growing your relationship with Him, loving the people that you work with, live with, and even simply pass on the street, that you don’t spend time worrying about your own life. Pray that you start believing that God’s joy will shine through your life more and more by following these two commands.

John 15:1-17

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.


12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant[b] does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.