Welcome to Daily Steps!
A weekly devotional message with daily scripture readings and prayer prompts to help you spend time with, and draw closer to Jesus.
Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” (NLT)
Riding the Waves of Life on Hope
Oswald Chambers, author of the classic, beloved devotional My Utmost For His Highest once said, “The surf that distresses the ordinary swimmer, produces in the surf-rider the super joy of going clean through it.” Take a moment before you read any further to stop and think about that statement. Read it again, slowly. As a follower of Jesus with His indwelling Spirit, you have everything it takes to avoid being an ordinary swimmer in the ocean of life. The problem for most of us is that when the waves of discomfort swell and the winds of fear howl we suddenly forget who we are and what we have within us to become surf-riders rather than weary, distressed swimmers trying to fight the currents, winds, and waves out of our own strength.
While there are times when God may lead you to fight valiantly during a difficult circumstance, it is far more common for Him to use the difficult seasons and challenges in our lives as a way of teaching us to embrace what’s happening and expectantly wait with hope for Him to redeem every struggle for His glory. He calls us to simply be still and let the current carry us. Rather than resisting and worrying about our situation, His Spirit whispers to us, “To rest... to let go... and roll with the waves.” He gently encourages us, “You will grow through this experience if you stop fighting them and instead learn to ride upon them, harnessing their energy and letting them take you to where I want you to go. Stop resisting what is making you so uneasy, and instead, open your heart and mind to learning what I want to teach you. Stop trying to control the storm. You can’t do it anyway. Rather, I want you to stand upon the solid surfboard of hope and ride this out with Me. Instead of listening to the voice of fear in your head, focus on Me and marvel at the storm’s ferocity, knowing that I am in control and there is nothing I won’t eventually redeem for good. With your feet firmly planted on the hope that you can find only in Me, you are assured of being beautifully transformed by the storm, not beaten down by it.”
Of the many characters in the Bible, Joseph offers us one of the best examples of riding the waves versus fighting them. When he was just a teenager, the first wave engulfed him, erased the highly favored and comfortable life he had, and carried him away into slavery. Overnight he went from being a privileged son to a lowly servant. Then just as things were getting better, another huge wave passed through his life sending him to prison for something he didn’t do. For decades Joseph endured hardship after hardship, but he rode out the storm solidly trusting upon the hope of his God, whom He knew to be faithful, whether he was sitting on the cushions of wealth or the cold, hard stone of a prison floor. In the end, God orchestrated it all to save the Israelites from starvation and train Joseph to assume a position of leadership with wisdom, humility, mercy, and love — the mirror image of God’s own character. In Genesis 50 we find Joseph extending forgiveness to the very brothers who betrayed him into slavery. The ones who caused him decades of pain received meritless mercy and grace in the same way Jesus forgives us. In verse 20 Joseph says to the instigators of all his suffering, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”
Joseph is not only a model example of God’s unfailing promise to transform His children into His likeness, but also a remarkable foreshadowing of Jesus Himself. Joseph was a conqueror over every difficult circumstance in his life because he placed his hope in God and trusted Him, regardless of what terrible circumstances swirled around him or swept over him. Centuries after God engineered Joseph’s trying circumstances to save His people from earthly extinction, He sent His own Son into the worst circumstances possible to save us from eternal separation. This is why Paul declared with all joy and confidence in Romans 8:37-39, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is the kind of hope you can stand on in any storm.
This week as you reflect on the Scripture readings, begin each day by asking God to help you answer this question: Which circumstances, obstacles, and struggles does God want me to stop resisting, fighting, and worrying about so that my eyes can be opened to the good that He will bring out of them? In what ways does He want me to ride the waves buoyed by Biblical hope?
Daily Bible Readings with Prayer Prompts
As you contemplate these passages throughout the week, make time to pray before you read them and then again, afterward. In each reading, ask God to show you what the verses mean specifically to you. God’s Word is alive, so even if you’re familiar with these Scriptures, approach them with an expectant heart and an open mind. God wants to spend time with you.
Monday - Read Matthew 8:23-27 and then close your eyes and picture yourself in the boat with Jesus — a tiny wooden fishing boat that’s a mere 26.5 feet long being tossed about on the Sea of Galilee. Think about the magnitude of Him being able to sleep through the storm while 12 other men panicked around Him as the water crested the bow and coursed into the boat over and over. Now imagine that you are the one who goes to Jesus to wake Him up. When you approach Him, you are not only stunned to find Him sleeping so peacefully but that He also has a knowing smile on His face as He lies there. As you enter a time of prayer, ask Jesus why He chose to sleep in that situation and what He wants you to learn from that passage of Scripture.
Tuesday - Read Exodus 14:14. Take some time to think about the hope that this verse promises you. Which trial, fear, or doubt is weighing on your heart and mind right now that you are spending time and energy fighting versus being still? Spend time in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to fill you with supernatural peace and assure you that He can use everything in your life to make you more like Joseph.
Wednesday - Read 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 and spend time praising God for the hope of His abiding presence and the comfort it brings into any situation. Ask Him to refresh your soul and renew your mind to see His provision in your life, especially in trying circumstances.
Thursday - Read Romans 8:18-38. Sometimes waiting is the hardest part of living and we “groan inwardly” while we endure seasons of the unknown. Yet Paul encourages us to hope confidently in the promises that we cannot see, hear, or touch. Write down whichever phrases or words stand out to you the most in this Scripture passage. Pray them back to God, asking His Spirit to search your heart for anything that stands in the way of these incredible promises from being a reality in your life.
Friday - Read Matthew 11:28-30 in The Message version. God doesn’t want us to panic over the storms of life. They aren’t even for us to earn accolades for by weathering them well. They are for us to journey to a deeper level than we could’ve ever imagined — to learn something new about Jesus and how much He loves us. He wants you right next to Him — as close to Him as you can get — in the boat of life. And sometimes that means He has to rock it a bit to get you to fall back next to Him, right where you belong. Spend time asking Jesus what you need to let go of to be as close to Him and as dependent on Him as possible.
TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP
Grow closer to Jesus each day and explore what it means to experience Biblical hope.
Want to Go Even Further?
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SERMON STUDY GUIDE - ANCHORED - WEEK 4
Watch CF Beyond Sunday this Monday!
After each sermon, our pastors and various church leaders sit down for about 20 minutes to have a lively discussion about the weekend's topic. It will be posted on YouTube and the church website on Monday night, July 27!