Christian Devotional – November 14, 2018

Go above and beyond. Joseph was brought to Pharaoh’s presence because God interprets dreams through Joseph. But Joseph didn’t stop there. Read Genesis 41:17-36

Now let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.
Genesis 41:33 NASB

Pharaoh told Joseph his dreams, and then Joseph interpreted them. But he didn’t stop there. Joseph had some advice and he dared to go agead and share that too. It’s crazy, if you think about it. The prisoner/ slave daring to tell the Pharaoh advice on what to do. Joseph was bold. He had thoughts and a plan and he shared them.

Do we take bold moves and steps when we know that God is leading us to do so? Are we willing to step out in faith when we know what God wants to have happen and are we willing to do it when faced with the choice? If we have not been prepared and focused on what God has for us, then we will not act in that moment when we need to and He brings about the opportunity.

Christian Devotional – November 13, 2018

The pressure is on, so how will you answer the difficult questions? Joseph has been hurried from the prison, told to get presentable and led before Pharaoh himself. Pharaoh tells Joseph why he has been sent for and Joseph has that moment to decide how to respond. Read Genesis 41:14-16

Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”
Genesis 41:16 NASB

Even with all the glory and splendor of Pharaoh’s court and the excitement of being out of prison, Joseph continues to give glory to God for being the true one who gives answers. Just like he has done throughout his life.

Some people think that if they just had their big break or some other grand opportunity, then they would give some amazing testimony for God. The truth is that in that moment, you will give the same answer you have given in all the small opportunities leading up to that one.

How you answer questions about God and His involvement and influence in your life today will ultimately show how you answer the question later when the pressure is really on. Do you give God credit for the things that God does in your life today? If you can’t do it today, don’t kid yourself into thinking you would do it when the stage is bigger. Start by praising and acknowledging Him where you are today.

Christian Devotional – November 12, 2018

God works behind the scenes. Sometimes we tend to think that we should know everything that God is doing, but his plan is so far reaching and vast that we can’t see exactly what God is doing. It all comes together for Joseph in Genesis 41:1-13 and Joseph doesn’t even know it.

Then the chief cupbearer spoke to Pharaoh, saying, “I would make mention today of my own offenses.
Genesis 41:9 NASB

Pharaoh had a dream. He called all his magicians and wise men to help tell him what the dream meant, but nothing worked. Then, the very last person that Pharaoh would have expected ended up having words of advice for Pharaoh: the cup bearer. Pharaoh’s faithful cup bearer finally speaks up and tells Pharaoh about his experience in jail 2 years ago meeting this amazing man who interpreted his dream.

But remember, the cup bearer would have never met Joseph if Joseph had not been thrown into jail. Joseph would have never been thrown into jail in Egypt if he had not first been sold into slavery by his brothers. Joseph would have never been sold into slavery if he had not interpreted and told his brother the dreams that God had given him. Everything that had happened in Joseph’s life had led him to be exactly where he needed to be at exactly the right moment to impact exactly the right lives so that they could share when they needed to and God could get his message to Pharaoh, king of Egypt.

What an incredible master plan! God knew exactly what he was doing and there was purpose through it all. Joseph continued to trust in God and to be faithful to him even though he didn’t understand why God had him where he had him. Even now, in these scriptures, Joseph has no idea what has just happened, but God uses it to change not only joseph’s life, but the entire nation of Egypt and the people of Israel.

Are we willing to wait on God and trust that he has exactly the right plan for us and he is moving situations around even when we don’t know anything about it to bring us to exactly the right place at exactly the right time so that we can fulfill the purpose that he has for us? It’s never easy. But, we can trust that God has exactly the right plan in place to move at exactly the right time.

Christian Devotional – November 11, 2018

How long do you expect to wait on God? A day, a week? We have such short timelines and expectations of when we think God should act. What was a timeframe for Joseph? See Genesis 41:1

Now it happened at the end of two full years that Pharaoh had a dream, and behold, he was standing by the Nile.
Genesis 41:1 NASB

Joseph had gotten his hopes up that the cupbearer would plead his case to Pharaoh. He was probably thinking every morning, “Today might be the day that the cupbearer’s story will result in me getting out of here.” Nothing. A week, a month, several months go by and nothing. Talk about disappointment!

Two years. Two years go by before we see something else happen that will impact Joseph’s life. All the while he’s in prison waiting and wondering what happened.

The waiting place is a difficult place to be in. Are you waiting for God to move in a specific area and situation? Are you desperately wanting to see Him move, knowing that He can move, but not understanding the timing. Joseph has been there, and survived it. He knows that God is still as faithful whether you’ve been waiting 2 minutes or two years.

Are we focused on God’s faithfulness, even in the midst of the waiting? God has not forgotten us.

Christian Devotional – November 10, 2018

Have you ever felt forgotten?  With everything that goes on in life and in the world, it’s easy to get caught up with all the daily stuff and wonder if people remember us. Joseph knew what it felt like to be forgotten. Read Genesis 40:20-23.

Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.
Genesis 40:23 NASB

Joseph had done something amazing. These two prisoners had told him their dreams and Joseph, through the power of God, had interpreted those dreams. And then everything came about exactly as Joseph had told them it would. That wouldn’t be something you would forget right away, right? Unfortunately, that’s exactly what scripture says happened. The cup bearer was restored to his position at Pharaoh’s right hand and at Pharaoh’s table, and he completely forgot about mentioning Joseph.

As one of over 7 billion people on the planet, it can be very easy sometimes to feel like God has forgotten us, too. When we pray and don’t see responses to our prayers right away, we question and wonder does God hear us? When we see bad things happen to good people it can cause us to question where God is in everything.

God is exactly where he’s always been, which is right in the middle of control of everything that happens. God does not forget us, even when other people do. God sees our need. God sees our circumstances. And most importantly, God knows exactly what we need in the midst of everything we go through. God is constantly working to bring about his glory in and through our lives. We just may not understand how he’s doing that or why he’s allowing circumstances he is. But rest assured, even though other people may forget us come God has never forgotten us and never will. God had not forgotten Joseph and he hasn’t forgotten us. We can always trust in him.

Christian Devotional – November 9, 2018

It’s hard to deliver bad news. No one just really loves telling people difficult things, but sometimes we make the mistake of not giving feedback when we should simply because it’s not what the person wants to hear. Read Genesis 40:16-19.

within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head from you and will hang you on a tree, and the birds will eat your flesh off you.”
Genesis 40:19 NASB

Pharaoh’s chief Baker had a dream too. He shared his dream with Joseph, especially after having been encouraged by hearing such a favorable interpretation of the chief cupbearer’s dream. However, Joseph did not have nearly as good of a message for the Baker. The Baker was going to be killed in 3 days. Yet, even with that difficult news, Joseph didn’t shy away from telling the truth of what God had revealed to him and what God wanted to reveal to the Baker.

We will never know why this was God’s plan for this man. However, God wanted him to know that he had 3 day to make right whatever he could in his life. I wonder what follow up conversations the Baker had with Joseph. Did he ask Joseph about his God who is able to interpret dreams? Did Joseph have an opportunity to witness to this man?  At the end of the day we don’t know. But, we know that even though it was a hard message, Joseph still shared the truth with this man.

Do we have courage and boldness to speak the truth when necessary? The message God gives us may not always be popular, but we are to speak the truth in love just like it discusses in 1 Corinthians 13. We are not responsible for how people react to the message we share. We are responsible for sharing it in the most loving and concerned way we possibly can. What do we need to share today?

Christian Devotional – November 6, 2018

“If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you.” Have you ever heard that phrase, or said that phrase? People often spend time assuming that others are doing nothing else besides thinking about what “I” need. I guarantee you, people think about us much less than we give them credit for. They are too busy wondering what you’re thinking about them. So, if we want something, we need to ask. Read Genesis 40:8-15.

Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house.
Genesis 40:14 NASB

The chief cupbearer shares his dream and Joseph, with the help of God, tells the cupbearer what it means. Freedom and pardon are coming! He’s going to be restored and returned to serving Pharaoh. Joseph wastes no time and jumps right in and asks for what he would like.

“Please remember me.” It seems like a strange request considering the fact that if I was in the cupbearer’s shoes, I’m not likely to forget the person who interpreted my dream, especially when it comes true.

Do we ask for what God has laid on our hearts? Do others know and pray with you regarding the desires of your heart? God knows and sometimes it’s enough to spend time asking Him about our desires. Other times we need to be bold and ask others because they can’t read our minds.

Will we be bold and ask God for what is on our hearts? Will we take the step to be bold and vulnerable and ask others for help, too?

Christian Devotional – November 4, 2018

Know where your strengths come from. Yesterday we saw how Joseph’s compassion and empathy drove him to reach out to his fellow prisoners who were upset. Now, we look at the fact that since he reached out, they have told him what’s wrong. Joseph has such compassion that he wants to help. And, he has the distinct advantage of knowing where that help comes from. Read Genesis 40:8-15.

Then they said to him, “We have had a dream and there is no one to interpret it.” Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please.”
Genesis 40:8 NASB

Joseph knows all about dreams. He had a couple of them once himself. Interestingly, Joseph telling interpretations of dreams before did not work out so well with the people that he told. It’s been several years since then, and we’ve not really seen Joseph say much of anything in scripture since that time. But now, we see the most words that Joseph has said in several chapters.

The cup bearer tells him his dream and Joseph gives him the interpretation, but we’ll get into that in the coming days. Today, let’s look at the fact that Joseph gives us insight into how and why he is able to do what he does. Even before he’s done anything, Joseph gives all the glory and credit and praise to God. Joseph knows that it is not by his strength that he is able to interpret the dreams. Only God can do that because God is the one who gave the dream in the first place. But, Joseph had stayed close to God and continue to trust God and be following God’s principals to feel confident that God could use him in this situation to share the message that God wanted shared to these two men.

Do we recognize where our strengths come from the? So often we want to take credit for the things that we feel like we do well, when in reality, the only reason we do them well is because God has allowed us to. Do we give credit where credit is due? Or do we take credit for ourselves?

Know your strengths. Don’t be afraid to use your strengths. But always remember who gave you your strengths in the first place and give credit to God in all that you do.

Christian Devotional – November 3, 2018

Compassion and empathy. These are two of the most powerful acts we can demonstrate toward our fellow man. And they are completely free and can be done by anyone, even someone in jail, like Joseph. Read Genesis 40:1-8

He asked Pharaoh’s officials who were with him in confinement in his master’s house, “Why are your faces so sad today?”
Genesis 40:7 NASB

God brings two new people into Joseph’s life. Some time afterward, probably years afterward, while Joseph has been in jail, frustration has been happening in Pharaoh’s house. Two of his key officials make Pharaoh mad and he sends them to jail. No telling how long they had been there, but Joseph had gotten to know them. He knew them so well that he recognized when something was different one morning. Not only did he recognize it, he asked them about it and genuinely wanted to help.

Do we get to know the people we are around? Do we recognize when something is wrong in their lives? Are we willing to get involved and try to help? Joseph had compassion and empathy and he tried to help those he was around. Who can we show compassion to today?

Christian Devotional – November 2, 2018

Joseph in jail. Probably not exactly the place he thought he’d end up back so many years ago when he was dreaming about stacks of wheat and stars all bowing before him. Yet here he is, falsely accused, stuck in an Egyptian prison. Read Genesis 39:21-23.

But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.
Genesis 39:21 NASB

Joseph could have gotten angry and bitter. He could have lashed out at his guards and his jailers. Joseph could have rejected God as a result of all that he is going through. But he didn’t do any of that. He just got busy acting out God’s principles and as God blessed him, the jailer took notice and promoted him to number 1 prisoner.

Still, it’s interesting that in verse 21, it indicates that God is the one who is extending kindness to Joseph. It never says that the jailer extends kindness. The jailer extends responsibility, but it is God who extends the kindness.

Most of us would think the kindest thing would have been to remove Joseph from jail. How could it actually be kindness to keep him there? God knew the whole plan and knew that he actually had Joseph exactly where He wanted him to be. When we are following Christ, the kindest, most loving thing that God can do is place us exactly where we can impact the most people for His glory. It wasn’t the easiest thing, but it was the right thing and God showed His kindness by doing it. God gave Joseph the strength to help him go through the situation, but He didn’t remove it.

Are we exactly where God wants us to be? Do we rest in Him knowing that even prison is the best place for us if that is what God’s plan is? The kindest thing God can do for us is keep us exactly in His will, even if that means prison.