Message: Hopeful Faithfulness in Prison
Preacher: Tim Gillespie*
Reflection: Sam Millen
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Ame Fowler
Live Beyond: Chelsea Mensink
Live Purpose: Emily Ellis
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
*The guest speaker at Boulder Church on Sabbath, July 13, is choosing to preach on a different topic. If you would like to engage with a sermon that corresponds to the Daily Walk, you may watch Tim Gillespie preach about Joseph online.
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Genesis 41:41-49 in the New International Version (NIV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Even unpleasant circumstances can provide a sense of comfort when they become familiar. The drastic change in Joseph’s status from prisoner to ruler was surely exhilarating, but his comfort level was never part of the equation. Joseph didn’t end up in charge of an empire by seeking the “path of least resistance.” A startling question was posed to me while I struggled with anxiety and depression: Did I truly want freedom? I thought the answer was obvious. Of course I did. I was miserable. Who wouldn’t want to be free? But then it dawned on me. Anxiety and depression, as undesirable as they were (they typically feed off each other), had surprising hidden rewards. I was using them, albeit mainly on a subconscious level, to avoid being in a position with nothing preventing me from achieving my full potential. They provided a convenient justification rapidly brought to light by a simple question: “What would I do if I didn’t have anxiety and depression?”
Joseph never used his slavery and imprisonment to justify mediocrity. He had the perfect excuse for not doing anything productive, but he wasn’t interested in making excuses. His focus was on achieving his maximum potential in God’s service. Obviously we can’t all be in leadership positions over world empires, or church committees for that matter, but ask yourself what would you do for God’s kingdom if there was absolutely nothing hampering you?
In an article titled “Why Fear of Success Is Holding You Back More Than Fear of Failure,” we read the following:
“If you try something and fail, you go back to what you knew. You may not be happy about it, but you go back to your comfort zone.”
“If you try something and succeed, you head into uncharted territory. Things are different. Things change.”
“It could be a bigger role where more people depend on you. It could be that more people care what you do and say, and that your opinions are further reaching.”
“It often prompts questions about whether you can live up to people’s new expectations of you or if you even want to have to do that.”
Joseph didn’t fear either failure or success because he somehow understood God could use both equally for His glory.
Recalibrate: Most people fear failure, but many subconsciously also fear success. What would make success undesirable?
Respond: Listen to this song when feeling anxious.
Research: Here is an article addressing the fear of success.
Remember: “So the king said to Joseph, ‘God has shown you all this. There is no one as wise and understanding as you are’” (Genesis 41:39, ICB).
Sam Millen is the pastor at Anacortes Adventist Fellowship in Washington State. After living in five countries on three continents (and five states), he feels at home on Orcas Island with his wife and three kids.
Make a new screen saver with your little one for your device. Show your little one that when your phone is first opened, the picture is the first thing you see. Then show that when you are finished with what you are doing on your device, the screen goes back to the picture that you saved. Let love be what you begin and end with. As you pray over your little one at night be thankful that our Heavenly Father holds us in love.
When Joseph became the second most powerful person in Egypt, people thought he was young. He had been in Egypt 13 years. That’s a long time to wait for your dream to come true. God used that time to prepare him to lead. Read Job 32:9: “It is not just older people who are wise. Older people are not the only ones who understand what is right.” How old are you? Even though you are young, you can use good judgement and know what is right. You can start now helping with offering or handing out bulletins in your church. You don’t have to be old or a teenager or a grandparent to show people Jesus’ love or do a big thing for Him. You can do it now.
Have you ever been part of a group project? They can be fun but also tricky because you have to trust everyone in the group to do their part. When I was in college, I had to be part of a group project and it did not go well. The very first thing we had to do was pick a leader. And there were two boys who wanted to be in charge and they would not back down. Well, the weeks went by and we couldn’t do our work because the boys couldn’t agree on who was the leader. We ended up getting a C on our group project and it lowered my grade in class. I was so mad!
Most people in life want to be leaders. They want to make the decisions and have people listen to them and follow them. If you’re not convinced, watch a group of small children try to play Follow the Leader and see how they argue about who gets to be leader. But what a lot of people don’t understand is that leadership requires humility. Really good leaders listen to others! And although Joseph was the leader of all of Egypt, he was still humble and listened to God and others. What kind of leader are you? The kind that bosses people around? Or the kind that listens to those around you?
The more I grow in Christ, the more I realize how his timing is completely different from my timing. Often when I pray to God for something, I don’t receive an answer right away. I’ve had prayers that have taken years to be answered! And I even bet that there are some prayers that I have prayed over people that won’t be answered in my lifetime. I reflect over God’s promise to Abram in Genesis 12, that his offspring would be a blessing to all the nations. It isn’t until Genesis 41, almost two generations later, that this promise is finally fulfilled through his great grandson, Joseph. When God doesn’t fulfill His promises right away, it doesn’t mean that He has given up on you. In fact, we don’t fully understand why He won’t answer in that single moment! I will not attempt to give a well thought out explanation for that, but the only thing I know is that God’s thoughts are higher than my thoughts. His ways are higher than my ways. So if you are praying over something right now and God isn’t answering you, don’t give up praying.
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Ame Fowler has fifteen years of youth and children’s ministry experience and has served as a leader with TOP kids. She and her husband enjoy ministry through coffee, and live in Chattanooga, TN.
Chelsea Mensink serves as the family ministries director at Crosswalk Church in Redlands, California. She is a delightful and talented children’s pastor who just oozes fun and love like a squished Twinkie.
Emily Ellis is a junior studying theology at Walla Walla University and interning at the Eastgate Seventh-day Adventist Church.