February 4, 2021
Genesis 45:3-7
 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!  And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.  For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping.  But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

New International Version (NIV)
How are you coming with forgiveness this week?  I am not a prophet nor am I the son of a prophet, but I know that someone, somewhere would love to hear you say, “I forgive you.”  Until it happens, you will not fully experience the forgiveness God offers (Matthew 6:14-15).  We have waited a week at Tallowood to partake of the Lord’s supper so that we could put Jesus’ words into practice.  How are we doing?

Favoritism and jealousy go hand in hand.  Favoritism ran in the Abraham family.  Thankfully, so did forgiveness.  After Joseph tested his brothers, keeping Simeon and asking them to bring Benjamin on their return, he wept and told them who he was.  After he asked about his father, he drew them close to himself. 

Hundreds of years before Paul wrote to the Romans, “And we know that God works all things together for good . . .” Joseph already understood.  Without excusing his brothers’ malicious intent, he pointed to the benevolent purpose of God.  God used their envy and jealousy to put Joseph in the place to save thousands of lives including their own.  God sent Joseph to save lives.

Some of the Old Testament characters point us clearly to Christ.  Our Father who sent his Son and his Spirit is the sending God.  Why has God sent you here?  We may lose sight of his work if we choose to bemoan our mistreatment by others.  But God’s Spirit brings clarity as we choose to forgive.  Richard Halverson put it this way:  “Wherever you go, God is sending you. Wherever you are, God has put you there. God has a purpose in your being there. Christ lives in you and has something he wants to do through you where you are. Believe this and go in the grace and love and power of Jesus Christ.” 
Pray with me:         
Father, thank you for sending your Son to provide for our forgiveness.  Thank you for sending your Spirit to empower us to accomplish your purpose.  Thank you for sending us into your world today.  Help us, like Joseph, to see everything that happens in the clear light of your perfect purpose for our lives.  Here we are, Lord.  Send us.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.  
Scripture memorization for this week:    
Romans 8:28-30
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Ephesians 3:20-21
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably 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.
New International Version (NIV)
Our 2021 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations Bible reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy here:
We would love for you to join us as we read through the Bible in one year, while still having the flexibility of reading 5 days per week.  In addition, I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  We will also memorize 2 scriptures each week.  As we journal together this year,  Robby Gallaty’s H.E.A.R. plan is a good resource: Highlight a verse that stands out to you, Explain what it means, Apply that truth to your life and Respond to what you’ve read with an action or prayer.

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