Day 26: What Are You Waiting For?

Opening Prayer:Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Daily Scripture Reading:

  • Genesis 40: 23-41:1
  • Psalms 27:13-14
  • Lamentations 3:25-26
  • Micah 7:7
  • 1 Corinthians 15:58

The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him. When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream…

We read “when two full years had passed,” in a breath, but for Joseph 730 days slowly crept by in that short verse. It seemed like he was betrayed again by someone else he had served well. The cupbearer forgot him, another broken dream. But in reality, Joseph wasn’t waiting on the cupbearer to remember him or Pharaoh to lift him up and release him. Joseph was waiting on God’s perfect timing. The delay and the detours did not mean the dream was not real. They just meant the dream was not yet.

When David was a teenager, he was anointed as the next king of Israel by the prophet Samuel. At the time, David, the youngest of 7 brothers (sound familiar?), was merely a shepherd boy- an unlikely choice, especially considering King Saul was still alive and well with an heir of his own. It was nearly 15 years from the time David was anointed to the time he began his rule. For 15 years he had that dream in his heart, he held that promise, though his circumstances did not match up. And what did David do during those 15 years? He faced Goliath, he lived on the run from a jealous Saul, he led a group of “mighty men,” he fought countless battles, and forged faithful friendship and community. David continually pressed into God, crying out to him in his waiting, crying out to him in the testing. See, God knew that David was not ready to lead a nation fresh out of the sheep pasture. He molded David through waiting and testing into the man who would steward that dream well. God was creating a king out of the one He had already anointed as king.

It was nearly 14 years from the time Joseph received the dreams of his brothers and parents bowing down to him, to the time he was released from prison and became Pharaoh’s second in command. 14 years. During that time, he lived a life of high integrity, he rose to leadership in every circumstance he found himself in, he served those above and below him, and he steward every opportunity well. The New Living Translation of Psalms 105:19 reads, “Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character.” God was creating a leader that would save a nation from an arrogant young dreamer through waiting and testing.

I believe God still does this today. He loves us too much to fulfill a dream we are unprepared for. Zechariah 4:10 tells us “Do not despise these small beginnings.” And do not waste the waiting. Remain faithful and pursue the preparation for the dream that God gave you. Be a good steward of your current situation. Work on your character. Press into community. Cry out to God and deepen your dependence on him. Augustine said, “Without God, we cannot, and without us, He will not.” We may not be able to bypass the testing or quicken God’s timing, but we can be ready when He lifts us up to fulfill His dream for our lives.

Today’s Big Questions: Is there a dream you are still waiting for God to fulfill? Do you honestly believe you were completely prepared to steward that dream well when God placed it in your heart? Do you believe you are prepared now for its fulfillment? Can you identify places you believe God has tested your character in the waiting? How are you doing?

Prayer Response: Pray Zechariah 4:10 over yourself and your dream today. Ask the Lord to help you not despise the small beginnings or waste the waiting. Ask Him to give you the power to strengthen your character and to find you faithful when the time comes.

Optional Action Step: List 3 small steps you can take today toward a dream God has put in your heart, and then plan to do them. Pursue preparation in the waiting and do your part.

Closing Prayer: “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Day 25: A Shared Story

Opening Prayer: “Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.”

Daily Scripture Reading:

  • Genesis 40:20-22
  • Romans 12:12
  • 1 Timothy 2:1
  • 1 Timothy 4:10
  • James 5:16

If your dream only includes you, it’s too small” -Ava DuVernay (American film maker)

Today we see the interpretations Joseph gave to the cupbearer and baker come to pass, exactly as he had said they would in the exact time frame. I wonder how that felt for Joseph. Though we aren’t let in on his reactions or emotions to the release of the cupbearer and the death of the baker, I think we can exact an important principle by putting ourselves in his position. First of all I’m sure Joseph was disappointed he wasn’t the one being released from prison (though glad he wasn’t the one impaled at the feast). But, I wonder if he didn’t feel encouraged that God had come through just as He had told Joseph He would through the interpretations. I wonder if Jospeh’s faith and hope was built as He watched God do just what He said He would. If God could do it once, He could do it again.

If Joseph hadn’t been brought into the cupbearer and baker’s dreams, their fates would have meant very little to him. He would not have had the benefit getting to see God be faithful to His word in their lives. When we invite others into our story and our dreams, we are giving them a gift. When we ask for help, prayer, and the hard truths we are expanding the faith and hope of others. A shared story means shared miracles and shared answered prayer. Likewise when we invest in the dreams and stories of others, we get the blessing of a shared victory!

You see, it doesn’t have to be an answer to MY prayer for MY circumstances to build MY faith and hope in God. When I walk with a friend through dark days and intercede for them with as much fervent prayer as I would for pray for myself, not only is the burden shared, but the blessing is as well. When I see God come through for you, I know He can for me too. But the only way we will see His hand in each other’s lives is if we share our stories. Then the ordinary, unnoticed moments of life become testimonies. The end of a story only matters when you knew the beginning. A pregnancy announcement becomes a miracle when you have walked the path of infertility with a friend. A child sitting with their parents at church becomes a celebration when you have prayed for that wayward son for years. A redeemed marriage builds hope for your own struggling relationship when you know where they have been. The graduation of a child who barely made it, the success of a business that was a huge leap of faith, the smile on a face that used to be clouded by depression. When we know each other’s stories, we can know more of God’s faithfulness. When we multiply our investment in each other, we multiply our ability to see God move. And one day, we will get to remind each other of His faithfulness when we are tempted to forget. We will have witnesses to miracles because we had intercessors along the way. Share your story. Invite someone into your dream. Be a faithful friend and prayer warrior for others so you can watch God’s hand move in their lives as well!

Today’s Big Questions: How well do you invite others into your story? How willing are you to be vulnerable and ask for prayer? Do you view including others in your struggles as a burden to them or a gift? When others share their stories with you, are you expectant for your faith to grow as you intercede for them or is your hope only inwardly focused?

Prayer Response: Today, write the names of three friends or family members who you know need prayer for something. Spend your time in prayer interceding for them and ask God to constantly grow your faith and expand your hope in Him through His movement in other’s lives.

Optional Action Step: Call or text those three people and tell them you prayed for their situation today and ask them where they see God’s hand. If you haven’t been brought into someone else’s story, make the time to invest in someone today and ask them how you can pray for them.

Closing Prayer: “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Day 24: When the Truth Hurts

Opening Prayer:Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.”

Daily Scripture Reading:

  • Genesis 40:16-22
  • Proverbs 27:5-6
  • Acts 20:20
  • Ephesians 4:14-16

Hard words, if they be true, are better than soft words, if they be false.” -Charles Spurgeon

After the baker saw that Joesph’s interpretation of the cupbearer’s dream was “favorable” he stepped right up, expecting to hear the good news of his own imminent release. Unfortunately, that’s not what he got. Instead, Jospeh was faithful to speak the truth, rather than tell him what he wanted to hear. Obviously, this is an extreme example. Most of us will not be called to reveal forthcoming death by impalement, but we are called to speak the truth in love to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We are living in a moment in history that says love is singularly defined as agreeing with and affirming every lifestyle choice, emotion, and behavior of another. We are lied to by culture and told if you love someone you will simply support whatever they want to do. The problem is that this view doesn’t line up with Scripture or with reality. You don’t have to look very hard to see a world that is dying of their own indulgences and desperate for a better way. The Bible calls us to something different.

None of us would discover a drowning friend and not do everything in our power to save them. We would risk life and limb to pull them out of danger, even if they struggled against us and claimed the water was fine. But do we fight as hard when a friend says they want a divorce, continues in a destructive addiction, turns their back on godly community, speaks death over their children? Are we brave enough to offend? Are we willing to swim upstream in these cultural waters to reclaim Truth as love and courageous enough to not affirm and agree with sin?

On the flip side, are we the kind of Christ followers who can view the Truth as love in our own lives? Are we willing to humble ourselves and listen when a brother or sister comes to pull us out of our own murky waters? Do we trust others with our blindspots or are we only after “favorable” affirmations? Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted.” Are you a brave enough to wound a friend when it is needed? Are you humble enough to trust the wounds of a friend when you are drowning? The most important part you can play in someone else’s dream may be reminding them not to sabotage it!

Today’s Big Questions: Has there ever been a time when you knew you were supposed to speak the Truth in love to someone even though they only wanted you to affirm their sin? Were you brave enough to do it or did you shrink back? How did that feel? Can you think of a time when someone else was brave enough to call you out of your sin? How did you react?

Prayer Response: Today, pray Paul’s words from Acts 20:20; “Lord, I ask that you would find me a faithful friend and give me the power not to hesitate to speak the Truth that would be helpful to others.” Ask the Holy Spirit if there is any situation He is calling you to be courageous and speak hard words into.

Optional Action Step: If someone else has ever bravely spoken difficult Truth into your life and helped to pull you out of sin, take a moment today to write them a letter, send them a text, or call them to say thank you. If you have ever spoken Truth to a friend and they received it and redirected their ways, reach out to them to say that you recognize the changes they have made and that they are on the right track.

Closing Prayer:Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.