Demonstrate Dependence on God

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Your Appointed Time
While some specifics of God’s will for your life may feel uncertain or unpredictable, some aspects of his will are made very clear for all believers throughout Scripture. For instance, it is God's will that you repent of your sins. It is also God’s will that you pray about everything in your life and that you give him thanks for all things. Scripture tells us consistently that being obedient in baptism is part of God's will for your life. In Acts 2:38, we read, "Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'" It's God's will that you be a part of a church family. It's God's will that you forgive others as you have been forgiven. It's his will that you receive the gift of salvation through Jesus, because, before you know it, your appointed time will come.  The concept of “appointed time” makes many of us nervous or gives us anxiety since we don't know when it's coming and we want all our ducks in a row, but it’s a reality that we all have to take seriously each day as Christ’s followers. After all, you are closer to home than you ever have been in your life, and each moment is a step taken towards that point in time. Every breath is a page turned; each day is a mile marked. Before you know it, your appointed time will come, so we are to be devoted to what really matters. Don't be distracted by the things of this world or by the idea that all these challenges around you are the most important things that need to be taken care of today. Eternity is what matters most, and it's God's will that you live with that in mind. Reflection/Discussion Question: What comes to mind when you think of your appointed time: fear, anxiety, joy, hopefulness?
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Intentionally Focusing on the Future
Focusing on a vision for the future takes courage and conviction, in addition to devotion. We can define devotion as a diligent awareness of challenges we are facing or will face. Many of us have a vision that we feel like God has given us for our lives, but we can encounter lots of discouragement along the way that can be exhausting. So much dedication is required to keep a hold of that vision when you feel alone in it, and it can feel very overwhelming. To see the vision for you or your family come to life usually requires you to give of yourself humbly and faithfully and by sacrificing your immediate wants or desires because of the vision of what God wants for your future. Even though it feels like the odds are against you sometimes, you have to just keep depending on your Heavenly Father. What you do matters. Don't give up. Don't grow weary. The Bible says in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Joseph had this type of vision for his future, and he didn't let go of it, even through all the roadblocks and uncertainties that he faced. Despite all he experienced, he was intentionally focused on this vision that God had given him, and he was determined to hold onto it no matter what obstacles came into his path because he knew how important it was.  Reflection/Discussion Question: What steps can you take to intentionally focus on God's will for your life?
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Revelation and Dedication
Following God’s will after it has been revealed is only part of the journey. The other part is dedication to that particular will or calling that God has revealed to you. Often times, dedication is where we struggle the most though. For Joseph, the will of God in his life had been revealed to him many years ago in his youth through a dream. Genesis 37:5-7 says, “Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, ‘Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.’” At the time that this was revealed to Joseph, he likely would have never anticipated the trials and struggles that he would endure before this dream became a reality in his life. Even after being sold into slavery by his brothers and being imprisoned for a false accusation, Joseph is dedicated to the revelation of God’s will that has been given to him. After God uses him to decipher Pharoah’s dream about the upcoming famine that will strike Egypt, Joseph is put in a position of power, but he does not relent on his dedication and take it easy. Genesis 41:47-49 tells us, “During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.” Joseph was diligent to address the challenges that Egypt was facing and also was honest about the upcoming challenges so everyone could be adequately prepared, which ended up saving countless lives from starvation. Dedication requires a level of diligence that is demanding - where you look around and you are honest about the reality and the challenges you are facing.  Reflection/Discussion Question: How have you shown dedication to God's will that has been revealed to you?
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Not Knowing the "When"
Joseph was being raised by a mother, Rachel, who had learned to wait on God. Joseph was being brought up by a mom who discovered that God's will doesn't always unfold our way. She learned it. She knew it. He's growing up with a mom who every time she called his name is declaring a testimony that God is the one who gives gifts. Every time she speaks his name, she's saying, “My confidence is in God. God is the one who gives. Don't give up on God. God is the one who gives.” This had a profound impact on Joseph, so when he, at age 17, is sold into slavery, when he's thrown into prison, the impact that his mom would've had in those early years as she taught him God gifts and what dependence looked like as she taught him to count on God, made a difference. Don't underestimate that. Rachel had shown Joseph what dependence and dedication to God looked like, despite God moving on a different timetable than what Rachel had wanted or expected. This demonstration of faith would come into his life play far more than Joseph probably realized at the time. When Joseph was able to interpret the dream of the cupbearer in prison but then was forgotten, Joseph had to be wondering about the timetable that God was working on. After all, he was in prison for an additional two full years before he would be remembered by the cupbearer and brought to Pharoah, which would be a major turning point in his life. Oftentimes, the periods of waiting on God’s will to unfold and become clear are the most difficult.  Reflection/Discussion Question: When is a time in your life when the timeline of God's will was more difficult to understand than the "why"?