31 Days of Reinventing Our Hope in God


31 Days of Reinventing our Hope in God – in 5 minutes a day
Welcome to 31 Days of Hope in October – not the hope you have grown up with or grown accustomed to, but a hope that is transformed in the very presence of God.
Scroll down to catch a glimpse of what this hope just might look like. This page will be the directory for you to come back to for easily finding posts within this series.
Click to read the other days, I’ll be adding a link to each day once it goes live.
I pray this is a blessing to you and that it will be a refreshing to your soul, even if it is only 5 minutes. Thank you for coming and exploring hope with me!

Day 1: Salvation is Here
Day 2: Not in Kansas Anymore
Day 3: Where Was God?
Day 4: The Grief Process: Finding Our Way & Thriving in the Desert
Day 5: Vision From the Pit: Purpose in Crisis
Day 6: Revelation in the Darkness -Who Was the Thief?
Day 7: Facing Depression
Day 8: Facing Disillusionment
Day 9: Facing Fear
Day 10:Facing Judgment
Day 11: Facing the Sin Within
Day 12: Facing Memories Through a Biblical Lens
Day 13: Facing the Enemy
Day 14: Facing and Embracing Reality – The New Normal
Day 15: Facing the Future
Day 16: Understanding Sin & The Sovereignty of God
Day 17: The Christian Culture
Day 18: Telling Ourselves the Truth – exposing Our Unbelief
Day 19: Fairy Tales Remixed
Day 20: Uncovering the Goodness of God When Life Hurts
Day 21: Hope’s Debtor: Gratitude & Humility
Day 22: Hope in Sorrows & Affliction
Day 23: Exploring Hope: Making Sense in a Fallen World
Day 24: Superficial Hope
Day 25: The Promise of Hope
Day 26: The Foundation of Hope
Day 27: The Formation of Hope
Day 28: The Fruition of Hope
Day 29: Hope Discovered
Day 30: Hope Reinvented
Day 31: 31 Days…How Was It?

We were all children once, dreaming of a fairytale life and happy ending. The thing is, we fail to see that fairy tales are often fraught with suffering before the main character gets to a place of peace and blessing. So it is with life. For the Christian, there is hope in suffering, but there can also be disillusionment. This series on hope is not going to give you false hope. It is not about living the American Dream and it is not dependent upon our worldly circumstances, but this hope we have is real and it belongs to those who are in Christ Jesus.

Sometimes hope is hidden from our eyes and seems impossible to reach. I pray this series will help you to find your hope again, but this time it will look different. This month our expectations and desires will have passed through God’s sovereignty and purposes and redefined our understanding of what hope really looks like.

It might hurt. It might feel like death at times to explore our concept of hope and the loss of what we thought we wanted, but when our eyes are opened to see the fullness of this living hope, unlike any this earth offers, we are set free. Set free from the trap of a superficial hope and awakened to a new sense of purpose toward the hope God has for us – and His plans for us are not just good – they are the best!

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Truthful Tuesday: Conditional Praise

It is God's long-suffering and mercy that withhold disaster and it is also His mercy and lovingkindness that allows it.

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

It is God’s long-suffering and mercy that withhold disaster and it is also His mercy and lovingkindness that allows it.

Scripture of the Day:

Jeremiah 44:16-23

16 “We will not listen to what you claim the LORD has spoken to us! 17 Instead we will do everything we vowed we would do. We will sacrifice and pour out drink offerings to the goddess called the Queen of Heaven just as we and our ancestors, our kings, and our leaders previously did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and had no troubles. 18 But ever since we stopped sacrificing and pouring out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven, we have been in great need. Our people have died in wars or of starvation. 19 The women added, “We did indeed sacrifice and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven. But it was with the full knowledge and approval of our husbands that we made cakes in her image and poured out drink offerings to her.” 20 Then Jeremiah replied to all the people, both men and women, who responded to him in this way. 21 “The LORD did indeed remember and call to mind what you did! He remembered the sacrifices you and your ancestors, your kings, your leaders, and all the rest of the people of the land offered to other gods in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. 22 Finally the LORD could no longer endure your wicked deeds and the disgusting things you did. That is why your land has become the desolate, uninhabited ruin that it is today. That is why it has become a proverbial example used in curses. 23 You have sacrificed to other gods! You have sinned against the LORD! You have not obeyed the LORD! You have not followed his laws, his statutes, and his decrees! That is why this disaster that is evident to this day has happened to you.”

This is one of those passages in scripture where I want to push the pause button and help Jeremiah out. (As if I could add to the revelation God already spoke through Him). Ok, I would have nothing to offer, but I would so desperately want to persuade them to see what they are doing.

But deception is a difficult thing to break through. When we let our flesh rise in influence, we begin to protect it and its decisions. Comfort begins to be the popular god of the day and we are no longer spirit led, but just led according to what “seems good”. Hmm. This philosophy sounds familiar.

Although the thought of making cakes in the form of a queen and worshiping them seems ridiculous to me, I have certainly fashioned things in my own mind and life as being temporarily more important than serving and obeying God. It just felt better – for the moment.

But what sticks out to me this time, other than just the standard rebellion/punishment/repentance cycle is that God’s people were making their praise of God conditional on God blessing them. They failed to see that their present circumstances were their own doing.

Poor Jeremiah. He must have just been like, “Really?” You wanna play patty-cake and worship a false “god-queen” and go back to Egypt – the very place God delivered you from? How ironic. But sometimes the familiar has a pull on us that is hard to break. Sometimes we forget the pain of that pull, too, and just want to do whatever seems easiest.

We, too, can make our praise conditional on God blessing us, and not recognize that our suffering is a result of our own unfaithfulness. I know that sounds harsh, but ultimately there is such liberty in understanding that we deserve nothing from God, for we were His enemies. Choices we made in the past might still be reaping consequences, or perhaps just being in a fallen world alone creates enough havoc in our lives. But even at that place of sobering reality, there is grace.

It is God’s long-suffering and mercy that withhold disaster and it is also His mercy and lovingkindness that allows it. Let that truth sink in. That’s right – even the nitty gritty ugly stuff that we see no good purpose in our lives – even that detestable moment or season that we wish we could just wipe out of our minds – was meant for our good and His glory.

Oh that we would always see clearly and understand that we were made for something more – Someone more – higher than any endeavor or achievement this world offers. We are called to live for One.

Lord, help us to live for You alone. Give us eyes to see, ears to hear and a mind to understand how very great You are and how worthy our lives are when they are spent pursuing You, no matter what this life brings.

Mundane Monday: Mission Possible

Mission-Possible-logo

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

It is when I praise God in the fire that gratitude fills my heart and displaces all the other attitudes that were threatening to steal my joy.

Scripture of the Day:

1 Peter 4:12

“Dear friends, do not be astonished that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as though something strange were happening to you.”

A sterile doctor’s office and an unexpected diagnosis. A sudden tragic circumstance. Broken hearts and hopes crushed. What do all these have in common? An opportunity to go on mission with God.

I know, I know. A little skeptical on such an optimistic perspective, right? But sometimes it is in the moments of the unexpected when we are stretched far outside of our comfort zone and are able to see our circumstances are not just about getting to the other side, but about choosing to be on mission in the midst.

Fear, pain, anguish, despair, anxiety and discouragement are all valid feelings and to feel them is part of being human. We do not have to stay there, though. These feelings can be a catalyst to draw us nearer to God and help us to see what we are blind to in the land of comfort.

Somehow in the suffering we see our Savior and are no longer repulsed at having to walk the same path, but instead are grateful that He is in the valley with us, asking us if we will accept the mission at hand.

Each bump in the road is a challenge. The main question to consider is whether we believe God is Who He says He is. If we trust His character, then we can resist the urge to complain and accuse God or others for the hardship we are in and choose an alternate route instead that makes the enemy flee – praise.

As a worship leader, it is when I praise God in the fire that gratitude fills my heart and displaces all the other attitudes that were threatening to steal my joy.

Seeing unpleasant or harsh burdens as an opportunity to serve God has rocked my world and changed my viewpoint radically. It does not mean I do not feel or long to be delivered by my great God, but it means I choose to accept what He has allowed into this life He has given and choose to let Him use me in every situation.

Instead of the default pity party, God gives grace to us so we can ask what He wants us to do in our new assignment. Instead of fear, there is an astonishment that God will somehow supply sufficient grace for anything we face.

To walk in His steps means to embrace every part of life that comes our way. Truly living is to feel pain and joy in life and be grateful for it all, and God uses it all for greater purposes. But more than that, when we walk through the deep waters, Jesus longs to be our Comforter and to use that thorn in our flesh for a greater goal – death to self and alive in Christ.

Lord, You are sovereign and good all the time. Help us to trust You when things seem uncertain, and to rely on You in every situation.

Denise Pass Promo PicDenise Pass | Worship Leader |Author |Speaker|Artist

http://www.seeingdeep.com | www.denisepass.com

Mundane Monday: Our “Identifying” God

Our Identifying God.png

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Our God is a Compassionate God. The God Who saves us is also the One Who hurts when we hurt, too.

Scripture of the Day:

Isaiah 63:9

“Through all that they suffered, he suffered too. The messenger sent from his very presence delivered them. In his love and mercy he protected them; he lifted them up and carried them through ancient times.”

Suffering is a bummer. Our flesh does not want an ounce of it and when it comes our way, complaining can often rise within our spirit as well as disillusionment or discouragement. Our tendency can be to judge the character of God when uncomfortable or painful circumstances are allowed into our lives. That is until we consider that He chose His suffering. Blaming God – the Creator of the universe – Who willingly offered His life in place of mine kind of brings my trials into perspective.

Our sorrows are not minimized – they are understood. In the context of a fallen world, we can have hope because even though for a little while we may suffer, our God gives us grace when we cry out and He has overcome the world.

This has been one of the biggest revelations for me in my walk with God – that the very suffering I despise He joyfully endured – for me. When I was broken and wondered why God would allow me and my children to hurt so much, it was in that moment that I wept because I was thinking of my comfort and not thinking of God and His glory.

Our culture daily churns out the message of the need for people to be able to “identify” with whatever it is they think will make them happy. Sad thing is, being fake and pretending you are something you are not will never help someone feel complete on the inside.

Jesus chose to “identify” with sinful mankind. He chose to die, be rejected, spat upon, and judged by His beloved Father even though He was completely innocent. Wow. I have to pause and worship Him here.

What a gracious and loving God. Loving and merciful, noticing our pain and giving us strength in the midst of trials. Setting an example of how to walk through our troubles. He is not a God far off, but a God nearby Who is able to have compassion by what He suffered.

Thank You, Lord, for choosing to be counted among us, even though You were God. You are worthy, oh God. Thank You for opening our eyes to see how wonderful Your salvation is.

A Season of Thankfulness: Day 8 – God of Mercy

Hebrews 8:12

“For I will be merciful toward their evil deeds, and their sins I will remember no longer.”

Micah 7:18

“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.”

Isaiah 43:25

“”I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

Guilty, yet pronounced innocent.  Unearned, undeserved, unworthy.  Why extend mercy to people such as these?  Because that is His nature.  He is good.  He is kind.  He is loving and He is merciful.

We deserved wrath and He would have been righteous to give us His judgment, but instead He wanted to demonstrate His forgiveness and compassion toward us.

A prisoner who is set free cannot contain the joy and gratitude over a punishment being rescinded; so it should be with us. If each day His mercies are new, may we recognize all of the mercies around us.  Are we able to think, speak, walk, breathe?  Basic components of living, but God allowed us to have those abilities another day.

Sometimes we can equate mercy with comfort – “if God is merciful He won’t allow suffering”.  However it is often in God’s mercy that He permits afflictions to visit us, for otherwise we would not be cognizant of all the blessings He has brought into our lives.

This God of mercy extends grace to those who are willing to humble themselves and ask for it.  To see our need of Christ’s amazing forgiveness is yet another sign of His mercy in opening our eyes at all.

Lord, thank You that You delight to show us mercy.  So Holy and righteous are You!  Help us to extend the same grace that you have given to us, ever mindful of your gift.

Worshipful Wednesday: The Context of God’s Purposes

Abundantblessings

Abundantblessings

Jeremiah 29:10 – 14

10 “For the LORD says, ‘Only when the seventy years of Babylonian rule are over will I again take up consideration for you. Then I will fulfill my gracious promise to you and restore you to your homeland. 11 For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the LORD. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. 12 When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers. 13 When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, 14 I will make myself available to you,’ says the LORD. ‘Then I will reverse your plight and will regather you from all the nations and all the places where I have exiled you,’ says the LORD. ‘I will bring you back to the place from which I exiled you.’

Jeremiah 30:11, 15-17, 24

11 “For I, the LORD, affirm that I will be with you and will rescue you. I will completely destroy all the nations where I scattered you. But I will not completely destroy you. I will indeed discipline you, but only in due measure. I will not allow you to go entirely unpunished. 15 Why do you complain about your injuries, that your pain is incurable? I have done all this to you because your wickedness is so great and your sin is so much 16 But all who destroyed you will be destroyed. All your enemies will go into exile. Those who plundered you will be plundered. I will cause those who pillaged you to be pillaged. 17 Yes, I will restore you to health. I will heal your wounds. I, the LORD, affirm it! For you have been called an outcast, Zion, whom no one cares for. 24 The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has fully carried out his intended purposes. In days to come you will come to understand this.”

 

Possibly one of the most well-known promises of God is found in Jeremiah 29:11.  This promise is perhaps popular because we want to believe that our good is God’s goal.  But there is a higher purpose than our comfort and blessing.  God’s glory and a right relationship with Him far exceeds the value of our lives being perfect on this earth.

Rarely have I heard this precious promise considered in the context in which it was made.  It was a promise of restoration and healing in the midst of impending doom being spoken to Jeremiah for God’s people.  God was preparing to discipline His children in captivity to Babylon for seventy years, but gave them hope that He was going to use that captivity to ultimately set them free.   God’s purposes are always good, but the processes we go through in those purposes are not often valued in the eyes of man.

If relief from suffering is our goal, we miss the jewel in the midst of suffering and what it can produce.  From a place of suffering some of the most sincere worship is found.  It is in the dark places that we finally cease to rely on self and cry out to our heavenly Father.  Our eyes are opened to our need for God’s cleansing in our lives and suddenly our focus becomes clearer.  We see Him as our life; nothing in this life could ever satisfy us more than Himself.

We are easily deceived during times of blessing and of trial.  Blessing lulls us into a state of being lukewarm and God loves us enough to wake us up and show us what really matters.  The enemy uses hardship as an opportunity to create doubt in our hearts about God’s character.  

Within our Christian culture there can be lies of prosperity being all that God has planned for His people.  But we do not want to be guilty of what the false prophets were in Jeremiah’s day.  They counseled rebellion against the LORD by insisting that the hardship Jeremiah prophesied was not from God.  If we ascribe to the philosophy of only blessings for God’s people, we become spoiled children only wanting what we perceive as good gifts from our God. 

Accepting hardship as discipline from our loving God and praising Him in the midst is where our greatest gift really lies.  His purposes truly are only good, all the time.  How truly marvelous that our God would go to such lengths to convey His plan and hope to us.  In His mercy, God exposes our hearts and reveals that we have worshiped at the god of comfort and of self.  We are set free when we trust God in all seasons and worship Him in the fire as well as in the times off peace.

Even though it can be difficult to understand why God allows suffering in, God promises we will understand His purposes when we seek Him with all our heart.  His purposes are often hidden deep within our circumstances, a gift to be discovered by those who are willing to lay down their own agenda and seek His will.  It is in our fervent worship that we begin to see His purposes far surpass our understanding.  It is in laying down our desire for a problem-free life and yielding to His plan rather than fighting it or merely surviving that we begin to see through the eyes of eternity.

What a good God to inject hope when His people were under siege.  God knows we are fragile and tend to see only what is right in front of us.  His promises are amazing, but not meant to be our joy – He is our ultimate joy and satisfaction in this life.

Lord, help us to find our real purpose and joy in this life – You.  Help us to worship You through every purpose and plan You have for this life.

Thoughtful Thursday: Enigmatic Justice

Job 40:8

“Would you indeed annul my justice?  Would you declare me guilty so that you might be right?”

Proverbs 19:3

“A person’s folly subverts his way, and his heart rages against the LORD.”

Job 1:22

“Through all this Job did not sin or blame God for doing anything wrong.”

“It’s not fair!” is the cry of many today who believe they deserve more than their current lot or did not deserve a particular circumstance.  Innate within each of us is a sense of justice and equality, right and wrong.  When we try to explain what is seemingly unjust to our hurting souls, seared consciences can form in the chasm of bitterness.

We expect that we would receive the upper hand in life, especially if we have chosen to walk uprightly.  That seems just in our eyes.  Likewise, we all tend to side with God when someone has purposefully sinned and reaped the results of those choices.  There is also a sense of injustice that rises up in all of us when we believe we have witnessed something biased or unfair.

This longing is eternal – it is aching for true justice and righteousness.  God placed that longing within each of us and the imperfection around us is a catalyst to long for him.  If this world were perfect, it would be Heaven.  The promises of God are our hope when justice is not our reality.

But what happens when A plus B does not equal C?  Is it truly unjust when we sow righteousness and reap harm?  What is justice?  Our definition of justice is pure when we remove concern for self.  A righteous God would be just to destroy us all, for we transgressed against His law and were enemies of His.  That is justice.  But once we have received blessings in this life, we begin to feel entitled and forget what we really deserve.

Job was an amazing man of God.  Sure, he had flaws like we all do, but he did not blame God for the traumatic events that unfolded in one day.  Stripped of his children and suffering physically, he did not understand, but in the end He knew that God was Holy and when He caught a glimpse of how awesome God was, he was overcome.

I confess that when I have endured severe suffering I have wondered if God has forgotten me.  Until I looked into His perfect word and saw the character of God, then I understood.  God loves us so deeply and difficulties in this world do not take away from that unconditional love one bit.  While we do not value or esteem pain, we do not see our need of it, either.  God uses the injustices of this world for good, to reveal and remove sin.

The most insidious injustice today – people slaughtered for believing in God – is the hardest for me to understand.  I want God to come and rescue each one, to defend and show Himself strong.  I want the enemy vanquished.  That seems just. But God is long suffering that none would perish eternally.  Though it seems God is silent, in the end, all evil will be judged.

The free will which God has given man does not mean God is an absentee deity.  He longs to be gracious to us and be our Healer.  We want to be with God, removed from all suffering, but He wants to use us to bring His grace and salvation to those around us.

When this world’s injustice threatens to steal our joy, we can turn to God’s promises and run to Him.  We, the vile, can enter into the presence of our Holy God – not justice at all.  When things do not make sense to us, God is able to give us a glimpse of His glory and suddenly what concerned us is lost in the greatness of our God.  Suddenly wanting to be favored before, we are changed to servants to be used how He sees fit.

Lord, thank You so much for covering our sins and not giving us what we really deserve.  Help us to grant mercy to others, as well, and seek Your glory in the midst of injustice and in times of undeserved favor.

Good Friday?

John 19:17-24

17 and carrying his own cross he went out to the place called “The Place ofthe Skull(called in Aramaic Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him along with two othersone on each side, with Jesus in the middle. 19 Pilate also had a notice written and fastened to the crosswhich read: “Jesus the Nazarene, the king of the Jews.” 20 Thus many of the Jewish residents of Jerusalem read this notice, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the notice was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. 21 Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The king of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am king of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

23 Now when the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and made four shares, one for each soldierand the tunic remained. (Now the tunic was seamless, woven from top to bottom as a single piece.24 So the soldiers said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but throw dice to see who will get it.” This took place to fulfill the scripture that says,They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they threw dice.”  So the soldiers did these things.

Responsibility.  The aim of teens who long to be “free”, and also avoided by most.  Sure, we want responsibility that we perceive as helping us gain preferences in life, but taking on responsibility for others is not seen as something to be desired.

Seldom would we find someone willing to bear the responsibility for everyone else when he was innocent Himself.  Even children sense the injustice and want people to know when they are blameless.  For Christ to willingly permit sinful man to torture Him when He was guiltless and had all the power in the world at His disposal is beyond words or understanding. This is wrong that an innocent man should die – how could it be called “good”?

The God of the universe allowed man to kill God.  And not just a quick death, either.  Painful and humiliating.  Why did it have to be that way?  When I contemplate Christ’s suffering on my behalf, I wish it did not have to be so graphic, so hard. But God knew fully what was to happen long before it ever was.  He could have changed the circumstances and He did not.

The timing and the manner of His death were in His will.  Our sins were destroying us – vile and condemning our souls to Hell – He took that suffering for us; the perfect, spotless Lamb bore all of our sins.  The weight of the world was upon Him and He bore it with humility and love.

How can this day be called “Good”?  Logically we know that the redemption of man is the best news ever, but the term “good” makes me think of how Holy He is.  Holy and yet nailed to a tree.  It is a day of solemn reflection that One so Righteous was cruelly crucified.

When a soldier sacrifices his own life and lays it down for another, there is gratitude for the precious gift given, but no rejoicing in the lost life.  Our celebration of His resurrection is coming, but for now, I want to bow before my King of Kings with overflowing thankfulness that He would die for me.  What a Good, Holy, Perfect God, who would suffer for our sins willingly and do this with joy in His heart.

Lord, thank you for coming to save us from our sins so we could know You!  Help us to never take such a sacrifice for granted and to walk in obedience with You all our days.

Promoting Justice in an Unjust World

Isaiah 56:1

This is what the LORD says, “Promote justice! Do what is right! For I am ready to deliver you; I am ready to vindicate you openly.

Isaiah 1:17

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

Isaiah 33:5

The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness.

Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

We live in an unjust world, filled with people proclaiming their right to sin, no matter who it impacts.  What is justice? Defined by the latest trend or political whim, justice is relativistic to a godless society.  Oh, if we ever needed Him, it is now.

God is just – how can he permit such wicked oppression on this earth?  Man sure likes to blame God for the mess we have created.  We want our way – free will – but then we do not want to blame ourselves for the fruit of the choices made with our choices.  He is asking us to choose to defend justice – to love mercy, to be His agents on this earth.  What does this look like in America?  God help us to be obedient.

How do we help people, suffering on the other side of the world from the tyrannical evil of those who force their own brand of justice on their victims?  Do we only care when it is on our soil?  If we are called to promote justice and told that He requires us to act justly, we cannot sit idly by while injustice is filling our world, but what are we to do?

Whatever position we are in, we must use for God’s glory and to help others.  Praying for the persecuted is something we all can do, but how can we defend them?  I admit that I have felt that I am not in a position that can impact the evil playing out on the world stage.  But can I?  If prayers of those in Christ are effectual, we must step up our prayers for those in positions of power to act in accordance with God’s will.  On a local level, what injustices are transpiring?  Abortions? Children in need of care?  Are there organizations we can contribute to, who are able to act where we cannot?

Sometimes we might not want to ask God to open our eyes, because our hands will get dirty.  We will be inconvenienced.  It is not an easy thing to get involved.  But we cannot keep our eyes closed any longer.  We need to believe that God will grant us the grace and strength to do His will, especially when it seems too difficult for us.  When I chose to adopt my son, Samuel, it was very challenging – a hardship in many ways.  The challenges of developmental delay and being cheated while trying to help one child were seemingly insurmountable.  But I will never ever regret that choice.

God has treated us better than we deserve.  We have been given mercy when truly His justice would have required our judgement.  May this grace that has been given to us serve as an impetus for us to extend similar grace to others who desperately need it.

God, please help us to see the needs all around us and to act.  Show us where we can serve You and promote Your love and forgiveness to others.

The Surprising Favor of God

Photo Credits fasting4breakthrough.blogspot.com

Photo Credits
fasting4breakthrough.blogspot.com

Genesis 39:21

“But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him kindness. He granted him favor in the sight of the prison warden.”

Genesis 40:8

“They told him, “We both had dreams, but there is no one to interpret them.” Joseph responded, “Don’t interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me.””

Genesis 40:23

“But the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph–he forgot him.”

Genesis 41:16

“Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “It is not within my power, but God will speak concerning the welfare of Pharaoh.”” 

Psalm 5:12

“For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.”

God’s favor is often undetectable, given the surroundings.  Being thrown into prison probably did not seem like the favor of God.  Perhaps that is because we tend to think of favor as having no barbs attached to it.

We can fail to recognize the favor of God when he gives it, or doubt that His grace will be supplied in the future we might be fearing – until we step outside the feelings and circumstances and look for the hand of God.  It is then that we recognize He is always at work and our faith becomes tangible; no longer dependent on blessings or good vibes as a sign of favor.

I imagine that when Joseph’s fellow inmates forgot him, Joseph could have wondered if God did, too.  But the temporary suffering produced a humility and reliance on God that ended up bringing about bountiful blessings.  God’s favor was with Joseph when he was blessed materially and positionally and when he was not.  The favor of God was not dependent upon man’s definition of favor then or now.

Joseph knew where his help came from.  He knew he did not have the wisdom to help others, but he cared enough to seek God’s face on their behalf – right in the middle of his own suffering.  Joseph’s faith was tested when his earlier prophecies seemed contrived, but confidence in God’s ability to supply the answers and fulfill His promises is never misplaced.

Sometimes no matter how much positive spin we can try to give things, we have to admit that at times life is painful. Joesph was ultimately elevated and honored, everything restored to him beyond what he had before, but he was such an example of steadfastly walking with God and being content in whatever his condition.  It is the favor of God to understand the harsh realities of life and still hold onto our faith.  It is the favor of God to know that all things He will work together for the good of those who love Him – even when we do not see it.

Lord, help us to not be shallow in our devotion to You.  Help us to not focus on the distractions of life and to turn our hearts completely to you, trusting you when the chips are down and when they are up.