February 2, 2021
Genesis 41:50-52
Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On.  Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”
New International Version (NIV)
              Joseph was in the right place at the right time.  Wait.  How? The roller coaster of his life is a clinic in the providence of God.  When the world needed someone to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, Joseph was sitting in a prison nearby.  Finally, the cupbearer whom he had helped remembered him and mentioned him to Pharaoh.  In an instant Joseph’s whole life changed.  All of the pain caused by his brothers and the machinations of Potiphar’s wife left him in a place to be used greatly by God.

              What are we to make of this?  Was it good that his brothers sold him into slavery to Midianite traders and told his dad he was dead?  Did they do the right thing by placing his life in jeopardy?  No.  No way.  (So our view of God’s sovereignty must never alleviate us of responsibility for our actions which hurt others.)  But what they intended for evil, God ultimately superintended for good.  Since all of us have made bad choices along the way, this gives us hope.  As the words of a recent worship song speak to God, “Even when I don’t see it, You’re working.  You never stop.  You never stop working.”

              When God brings us out of the valley what do we do?  Joseph had risen from a dungeon to the Prime Minister for the Pharaoh, the second most powerful man in Egypt and, perhaps, in the world.  Joseph remembered the God who had remembered him.  His wife gave birth to his two sons.  Their names reflected Joseph’s faith:  Manasseh means, “God has made me forget” and Ephraim means, “God has made me fruitful.”

              My prayer today is that in God’s providence we will be both forgetful and fruitful.  May we forget the pain that others have caused us.  Nothing good comes from dwelling on the pain of the past.  If we are not careful a root of bitterness settles into our souls.  Also, may God bear beautiful fruit in us.  Mountaintop experiences offer us a great view.  But the fruit always grows in the valley.  Joseph was not only fruitful as a father but also as a leader in Egypt.  In the place where Joseph endured great suffering as a slave and a prisoner, God enabled him to alleviate the suffering of others.  Here is perspective.  There is no use in saying, “If I suffered so should everyone else.”  Those who have learned from pain want to protect others from it. 

              I am grateful to Cheryl Richardson for making me aware of a Scott Hubbard article about providence today.  He writes, “You are who you are, what you are, where you are, because of the all-pervasive providence of God.  He has given you whatever talents you have, in his wisdom, for such a time as this – so that you would add a stroke to the canvas in front of you, chisel away at the statue you see, speak and act in the drama you’re in, so that this world looks a little more like the work of art God is redeeming it to be.”  Joseph acted out of that knowledge. Will we, today?
Pray with me:         
Father, thank you for the place you have placed us.  Where we are, there we are.  There is no sense spending all of life wishing we were somewhere else.  Like Joseph, plant us in the soil of your sovereignty today that we may put down deep roots into your amazing grace.  Change our outlook by helping our “uplook.”  Make us forget the pain others have caused.  Help us to bloom where we are planted to bear fruit for you and your Kingdom.  We pray 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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