February 6, 2023:
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Blessings and love,
January 23, 2033:
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God is in the details!
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March 21, 2022:
and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
and its people as a delight.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
or the cry of distress.
20 No more shall there be in it
an infant that lives but a few days,
or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
21 They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labor in vain,
or bear children for calamity;[a]
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord—
and their descendants as well.
24 Before they call I will answer,
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
but the serpent—its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain,
says the Lord.
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While Joseph was there in prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes if the prison warden…. The LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. Genesis 39:20-21, 23
Injustice, unfairness, betrayal, cruelty, sabotage, blackmail – acts like these sow seeds of bitterness. What starts as anger and doesn’t give way to forgiveness results in a bitter, hardened heart. Joseph certainly had reason to be angry and bitter. He had been framed by Potiphar’s wife for something he hadn’t done (details in Genesis 39). Then he had been thrown into prison by Potiphar, who believed his wife’s account instead of his servant’s. But while Joseph was in prison, it was deja vu all over again: God blessed him.
Jesus explained what Joseph experienced: “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). Doing what is right doesn’t often earn us a standing ovation from the world around us. In fact, doing what God calls us to do can result in trouble. But even when right action leads to hard times, you can know the reward of God using those hard times to further capture your heart and shape your life.
What is the biggest price you have paid for living God’s way instead of the world’s? What resulting good made the act worth the cost?
Treading Lightly for Lent: Read and reflect on Psalm 8.
40Acts: Get post it notes and put words of encouragement around your house, text encouragements to people in your circle or grab some chalk and head to the streets create an encouraging work of art.
March 12 2022: Saturday
Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” Genesis 41:15-16
Do you remember your dreams? Or are you not even sure you do dream because you never remember any? Joseph knew about dreams. Two dreams he’d had back home had been key to alienating his brothers – all eleven of them (Genesis 37). Now, in prison, he helped two prisoners understand their disturbing dreams (Genesis 40). One of them was freed from prison and he remembered Joseph when, two years later, Pharaoh had some troubling dreams that the wise men of Egypt did not understand. Yes, Joseph knew about dreams, and he knew that the source of his ability to interpret dreams was Almighty God. Joseph gave credit where credit was due, yielded himself to God’s power, and made himself available to serve Pharaoh, leader of all Egypt.
Say, “Here am I, LORD” as you ask His guidance for where to use the abilities He has given you.
Treading Lightly for Lent: Understand the environmental and social impacts of what you are buying. Do research on products you commonly use and find information on more creation friendly products at www.ethicalconsumer.org.
40Acts: Show Love today to one person, taking into consideration their way of being loved.
March 13 2022: Sunday
Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders.” Genesis 41:39-40
Often in the job market, it’s not what you know but who you know that seems to matter. Maybe because of someone you know, you were in the right place at the right time to meet your spouse, land a job, or learn the home was for sale. Being in jail hardly seemed like the right place for Joseph. Getting to know the royal cupbearer and baker probably didn’t seem significant. But Joseph knew Someone who would make all these things matter for Joseph, for Egypt, for people in Israel.
Joseph knew God, so when Pharaoh went on about cows and grain, God told Joseph that those dreams meant: “Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, but seven years of famine will follow them” (Genesis 41:29-30). Who better to put in charge of saving grain during the seven good years and rationing out the grain during the seven bad years than Joseph himself? The path had been circuitous, but Joseph knew that God had gotten him to exactly where he needed to be.
No experience, pain, or hardship is wasted in God’s economy.
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Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love – Isaac – and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Genesis 22:2