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July 29, 2020

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Devotion for Wednesday, July 29 from Sue Zwyghuizen

Hello….Sue Zwyghuizen here.  Today is day #138 since the world as we know it was turned upside down.  In many ways, it feels like it has been forever and yet it is only a blip in God’s timing.  I hope that all of you have been able to find some peace during this time.  I have found that reading God’s word daily is the only way to stay grounded.  I have been amazed at how many of the Bible stories look different than when I have read them in the past.  My perspective has changed in the current environment and so does my understanding of what God is trying to communicate to me.  How awesome is it that God’s word is so solid that it is our guide no matter WHAT circumstance we find ourselves in?  Let me say it again…….what an awesome God we serve!

One of the familiar stories is the story of Joseph.  When Joseph was despised by his brothers, thrown into a pit, sold by his brothers, sold into Potiphar’s house, falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, thrown into prison, forgotten about by the Butler, He kept his eyes on Jesus. His faith didn't waver. That was not the end of Joseph because God had other plans for him. Joseph could have felt 'targeted', bitter and blame God or those around him for what was happening to him.  But instead, he kept moving forward and forgiving those who had wronged him because it was part of God’s plan.

Genesis 45 Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.
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.[a]
“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. 
Be encouraged today and every day by holding on to God when things don't make sense. Whatever your beliefs about the current situation you will likely encounter cynicism and mockery at some point!  As Christians, we need to work hard not to be those people who are saying hurtful things to others no matter the differences of opinion. God is for you and has incredible plans for you. Look to Him, trust Him, read his word, and keep the faith as we all walk this strange path in this season.

Devotion for Thursday, July 30 from Merrin Bethel

Purpose and Anointing

Hi! This is Merrin with your devotional for Thursday! This year has been full of questions for me. What should I be doing? What is my role at church? And a question I think a lot of young people ask: What is my place in the world? I have so many interests and I so love to learn that it can be hard to discern what it is God has called me to do. I could do a lot of things, my mama raised me to read books and work hard, but what fits with God’s anointing on my life? Where is the intersection of my nature and my vocation?

I know that God is a detailed being. The sheer number and variety of plants and animals on this planet is astounding, not to mention the complexities and abilities of the human body and the infinite permutations of personalities and physical appearances present in the human race. Throughout Scripture and today, God speaks to individuals in ways that are meant for them alone, and which flow from the depth of detailed understanding and vastness of love that only the Lord can display. God has made you, specifically, in a way that is not replicated anywhere else. He has given you innate interests, abilities, and a nature that is unique to you and in His mercy, He has brought you along a path (for me - in spite of my poor stewardship of free will) that is full of unique purpose. I think that, at the place where passion and ability meet, there is a well of joy. I feel passionate about caring for people and assisting in their development, my gifts lie in being a help and encouragement, and my skills are in music, education, and academics. At least that's what God has made me aware of at this stage in my life. When I combine any of those things, I feel the joy of existence and the presence of the Holy Spirit more acutely, and I feel energized. God gives good gifts tailored for his children to enjoy and to bless others with. Whether that intersection of passion and skill is found in your free time or at your workplace, I encourage you this week to consider the ways that God has made you purposefully unique.

I leave you with this beautiful and comforting Hebrew poem from Psalm 139:
For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

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