January 30, Saturday

mei lanEditor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals for today are provided by Mei Lan Thallman.  Mei Lan Thallman is originally from Taiwan and a graduate of Asbury College and Asbury Theological Seminary (M.A.) in Kentucky.  She is the wife of Pastor Kirt, who serves at Grace Covenant Church (Philadelphia).  They have two children, Nate (13) and Naomi (11).

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Genesis 37:2-11

These are the generations of Jacob.  Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors.  4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him. 5 Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: 7 Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. 9 Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” 11 And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.

30Several years ago, while we were serving in South Carolina, we took the kids on a family vacation to Disney World in Florida.  We thought we were making Nathan and Naomi’s childhood dreams become a reality—they would remember Disney as the magical place.  But we were shocked to hear Naomi make the declaration upon arriving home, “It’s so good to be home; I love my home better than Disney.”  In our sincere effort to give them a magical experience, we had pushed ourselves over the limit by doing too much with too little time.

After Joseph received two prophetic dreams from God during his teen years, life took on a series of dramatic downturn for 13 long years.  And when things couldn’t seem to get any worse, they dipped deeper into the bottomless spiral: Young Joseph first survived an attempted murder; then he was sold into slavery by his jealous half-brothers; next, he was sexually harassed and falsely accused by his master’s seductive and manipulative wife, which led him into imprisonment.  Finally, he saw a flicker of hope of overturning his case of injustice through a returned favor for helping the cupbearer; instead, after waiting for two years, he was forced to face the reality that the grateful cupbearer had completely forgotten about him.

Yet, through it all, Joseph refused to compromise his hope and faith in God and his integrity to become a bitter victim of life’s cruel punches. Even when the people in his life turned their backs against him, Yahweh was with him and caused him to prosper through the worst of circumstances (Gen 39:2, 21).

His difficult, outward circumstances only solidified his inward identity, over time, as a beloved child of God.  That identity was so powerful and real that wherever he went, unbelievers could not help but notice and be drawn to Joseph because of God’s strong and undeniable presence in his life.

If you are currently facing life’s overwhelming, contradicting circumstances and you are wondering, This is not at all what I expected from life, take heart and be of courage, because God’s eyes are on you and His presence is with you.  Just as He was with Joseph, He is now with you.

He will not only see you through this challenging time, but He will use it to prepare you for His glorious plan. God used Joseph’s adversities to prove His faithfulness and redemptive plan, and used him to be a channel of blessing that extended into the whole world.

Prayer:  Lord, we thank You that Christ in us is the hope of glory.  This indwelling hope is greater and stronger than he that is in the world.  Though in this world all of us will face life’s difficulties, thank You that we are never alone; and Your presence in our lives empowers us to become “overcomers” instead of “victims”!

Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 26-27

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