The Transformation | Secret Room 05

The secret place within us is where we hide things in order to protect ourselves, however, it really becomes a prison. A place of fear. We live out of shame. We fear it will be discovered. When we become vulnerable and allow God to take residence in our sceret place He transforms it from a place of fear to a place of freedom. From the place you are scared will be discovered to the place you know there is true healing, mercy, and protection. Suddenly the place we are so ashamed of, the place we retreat to becomes our source of strength, the place we live out of.

I was just talking with Yvonne, our worship pastor, this week about how God wants to make his home in our secret place, where we want to hide everything and I said, ”God wants to live in our mess and transform us.” She said something along the lines of, “Yes, if we’re willing to sit still and let Him.”

I immediately had an image in my head of sitting perfectly still, in a time of prayer, resting in His presence. Inside the secret place within, Jesus was walking around inside the hidden room with all my junk and it was all packed in boxes, the stuff I don’t even want to deal with, the stuff I don’t want to unpack. As I sat in His presence. He slowly opened one of the boxes and began to take out its contents and He asked, “What about this?”

Of course, it’s Jesus and His words are so full of love that tears fill my eyes. It was almost as if He was wondering why it was hidden? I feel like this maybe this is an image of what it looks like to let Jesus take the things we’re ashamed of and give it a new purpose. That’s what He does. When we try to deal with our own junk, we want to hide it, throw it away, pack it in boxes, while Jesus wants to transform it from something to hide into something that has value. 

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. Has there been a time in your life where God has used your weakness or flaws?
  2. How about a time when God has used the flaws of others to speak to you?

PRAY: Lord, transform my shame into strength. Demonstrate Your strength in my weakness.

SCRIPTURE READING:

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NLT) To keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Revelation 3:18-20 (NLT) So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. 19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.

20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.

Psalm 119:1-16 (NLT)

Joyful are people of integrity,
    who follow the instructions of the Lord.
Joyful are those who obey his laws
    and search for him with all their hearts.
They do not compromise with evil,
    and they walk only in his paths.
You have charged us
    to keep your commandments carefully.
Oh, that my actions would consistently
    reflect your decrees!
Then I will not be ashamed
    when I compare my life with your commands.
As I learn your righteous regulations,
    I will thank you by living as I should!
I will obey your decrees.
    Please don’t give up on me!

How can a young person stay pure?
    By obeying your word.
10 I have tried hard to find you—
    don’t let me wander from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.
12 I praise you, O Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
13 I have recited aloud
    all the regulations you have given us.
14 I have rejoiced in your laws
    as much as in riches.
15 I will study your commandments
    and reflect on your ways.
16 I will delight in your decrees
    and not forget your word.

 

The Invitation | Secret Room 04

By this point, most of us have a few things written down that we hide in our hidden room. Maybe we are ready to deal with it, but that brings us to the ever-important question of how? There is a reason we hide this stuff, right? If I let people in they would judge me, hate me, make fun of me. They might. I believe it is important to let people in, but it’s equally important to let the RIGHT PEOPLE in. When we come to our parents, pastors, leaders, and Christian friends more often than not we don’t receive condemnation but encouragement, love, and the help we need.

Then, of course, there is God. We know that He already knows everything, but our minds still play the game. What if God found out? He would judge me, and sentence me to hell for sure. However, when we pause a realize He already knows we can acknowledge that at this point, He hasn’t done any of that. He is patiently waiting, giving us the chance to make things right, to humbly come to Him and offer Him our lives. When we let God into our hidden room we don’t find Judgement. We find that He loves us, forgives us, cleanses us, heals us, strengthens us, and encourages us, 

Growing up, so often I would think of the “secret place” as something I had to create. ‘Secret place” is a term sometimes used to describe the place where we meet God. I figured I had to obtain it, or get to it. Now, I’m realizing we all have a secret place within us, where we hide everything. My goal isn’t to journey to where God is, but to invite Him into my secret place and allow Him to make His home right here among my mess. When I invite God into my hidden room, He can forgive our sins, heal our hurts and give purpose to our past. In the secret place, He shapes us, teaches us and leads us.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. Why do you think it is so hard to turn everything over to God?
  2. Think of one to three people you can trust, write their names down.
  3. Make plans to talk with one person about some of the stuff you hide.

PRAY: Lord, I invite You into my hidden room. Make Your home in me and carry the weight I cannot bear alone.

SCRIPTURE READING:

Matthew 6:1-13 (NLT) Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, [into your inner room, or closet] shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!Pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,
    may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
    as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,[a]
12 and forgive us our sins,
    as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,[b]
    but rescue us from the evil one.[c]

Psalm 91:1-2 (NKJV) He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

 

The Things We Hide | Secret Room 03

When is the last time you took some time to really look within and ask what’s there? Today I want you to take a look at what may be hidden away. Some things are obvious and come to mind immediately, but some things may be a bit more subtle and take a little more soul searching. I will list a few things that come to my mind, this is not an exhaustive list, but maybe enough to get your mind working to help you get started.

Sin. When we have sin in our lives, we certainly don’t want anyone to see it! We cover it up, sometimes lying and manipulating situations in order to make sure our sin is never found out. However, the sin in our lives will always come out. Maybe not directly and not right away, but it will always affect those around us, damage ourselves and put barriers between us and God.

Hurt. We want to be seen as strong and we certainly don’t want anyone to know when we are hurt, especially not the person who hurt us. We’re not weak, so we put on a brave face and hide it all. However, it is still chipping away at our strength, fueling fear that it will happen again.

Depression. Certainly can’t have anyone knowing what we really feel, or don’t feel. Walking around in a fog, as if you aren’t even there, you wonder where you are. You put on your best impression of yourself and no one ever has to know.

Anxiety. No matter what your mind won’t shut off. Sleep seems far away and eventually, your mood plummets and your friendships begin to become affected by your attitude. We want to hide it for protection, not realizing that the strongest thing we can do is seek help.

Insecurities & Insufficiencies. The certainty that we aren’t enough, that everyone is looking at the pimple on our face. We aren’t smart enough, cool enough, talented enough, but we’ll never show it. We’ll try to show everyone how capable we are, even though we feel completely worthless.

Our past. Some of us have terrible things from months or years ago hidden in our room, locked tight. We don’t even go in there. It’s better to forget. However, even when we are not conscious of it our minds never forget and it’s still burrowing under the surface, affecting our lives.

Our dreams. For some God has planted great dreams within us, we want to accomplish something, but we are afraid if anyone knows they will take it away, tell us we could never do it, or that our dreams are just dumb.

Maybe what is hidden in your room is something I haven’t said, but it’s on your mind right now. I believe that is not a coincidence, but God bringing it to the surface so you can deal with it, even though so often that’s exactly what we don’t want to do.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. Did todays reading bring anything else to mind that you try and hide?
  2. Are you going to keep hiding them or are you ready to move toward healing and freedom?

PRAY: God, You are bigger than the things I hide. Nothing surprises You. Remind me that You love me and give me the courage to stop hiding and to surrender these things to You so I may walk in freedom and healing.

SCRIPTURE READING:

Ephesians 5:1-14 (NLT) Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us[a] and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.

Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    rise up from the dead,
    and Christ will give you light.”

Psalm 34 (NLT)

I will praise the Lord at all times.
    I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the Lord;
    let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
    let us exalt his name together.

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
    He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
    no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
    he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
    he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
    Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
    for those who fear him will have all they need.
10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
    but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

11 Come, my children, and listen to me,
    and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
12 Does anyone want to live a life
    that is long and prosperous?
13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
    and your lips from telling lies!
14 Turn away from evil and do good.
    Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
    his ears are open to their cries for help.
16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
    he will erase their memory from the earth.
17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
    He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
    he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

19 The righteous person faces many troubles,
    but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
    not one of them is broken!

21 Calamity will surely destroy the wicked,
    and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
    No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

 

The Room Inside | Secret Room 02

We’ve all done it. We have company coming over and our room is a mess. We can’t let people see how we really live so make an effort to clean up all the strewn clothes and random junk that normally lies all over our floors and dressers. To clean it properly would take way too long, so we gather everything up in pile and place it in the closet and close the door. Spotless. Couldn’t be cleaner to the casual observer, but if you go a little deeper it’s still a mess.

All the things you had hidden away that you didn’t want people to see are still sitting there, in the heart of your room. That’s exactly what we do with all the things we don’t want anyone else to see in our lives. We hide it all in the hidden room in our heart. In this secret place, we put hurts, sins, fears, shame, doubt, weakness. Then we try to forget about them, but they’re still there, pulsing in the center of our souls, seeping into our lives in ways we could never anticipate. We live in fear of our secret room being discovered so when one of its residents tries to escape, we push it down farther.

We don’t anyone to see what’s hidden there. Not our family, our friends, certainly not God. We don’t even venture a peek, easier to forget it’s even there. However, these things don’t disappear and we can’t ignore them. We have to take a look inside our secret room and see what’s there.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. Look at the list you made yesterday. How have the things you try to hide still managed to affect your life?
  2. Why do you think we would rather hide things than seek help?

PRAY: Lord, show me how the things I hide don’t stay hidden. Give me the courage to seek help and give me wisdom for where to seek it from.

SCRIPTURE READING:

Proverbs 4:23 (NLT) Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

1 Peter 3:3-4 (MSG) What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.

Jeremiah 29:12-13 (MSG) “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.”

Psalm 51:10 (NLT) Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.

Matthew 12:34b (TPT) How can your words be good and trustworthy if you are rotten within? For what has been stored up in your hearts will be heard in the overflow of your words!

 

The Cover Up | Secret Room 01

The fight was over quickly. Was it a fight? What do you call one guy pummeling another guy face with his fists? It doesn’t matter since fighting is what it said on the signed confession he carried home from school. He had to get a parent signature. Or does he? The idea grew in his mind until it overcame him. The forgery looked like the real thing and the teacher never knew the difference. Well, until a week later when the teacher discovered a scrap sheet of paper he had been practicing on. Rookie mistake, leaving evidence behind like that. If only he hadn’t tried to hide the fight from his parents.

We know hiding things to try to get out of trouble rarely works, but we still try it! It started in the beginning with the first man and the first woman. They ate the forbidden fruit and then tried to hide from God. As if God wouldn’t notice the only two people on the planet were missing. Nice try guys.

We are still doing that though, we instinctively try to hide whatever it is we’re ashamed of. We want to cover up our sin, our hurts, our doubt. We pretend to be braver than we are, we hide our fear. We pretend to have it all together, cause everyone else seems to have it all together, but really we’re falling apart. We don’t want to show our faults and weaknesses so we hide them. We think we’re finding protection, but really we’re finding imprisonment. By hiding our faults, wrongs or hurts we are ensuring that they will stick around, poisoning our lives and locking us in a prison of fear we will be found out.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. What are some of the things you try to hide outside of the eyes of your friends, family or God?
  2. Have you ever tried to cover something up and then been caught? What do you think would have happened if you just came clean?

PRAY: Lord, reveal the things I hide and give me the courage to not run from them, but to face them.

SCRIPTURE READING:

Proverbs 28:13 (TPT) If you cover up your sin you’ll never do well.
But if you confess your sins and forsake them,
you will be kissed by mercy.

1 John 1:5-10 (NLT) This is the message we heard from Jesus[c] and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

1 John 2:1-6 (NLT) My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

 

I’m Not Qualified | ONE 15

Have you ever felt like you weren’t qualified to do anything worthwhile for God? I know I have. I imagine if God required references at the point of salvation, I would be in trouble. However, God doesn’t look for the most qualified. Just look at the people He chose to be His apostles. They were a collection of fishermen, tax collectors and thieves. At one point during the beginning of the church, some of them were giving an account of what Jesus had done to some Jewish religious leaders. As they finished the leaders were astounded, “Who are these men who speak with such boldness and authority? They are ordinary and clearly have no special training.” Jesus didn’t pick the most qualified, yet look at what they were able to accomplish!

Would you like another example of not being qualified for Christian service? The apostle Paul. He was an amazing missionary, planting churches all over the region. He wrote a large portion of the new testament, yet before He began serving Jesus he had a different mission. He was a religious leader with a passion to honor God– by doing all he could to stop the followers of Jesus. He had them arrested, thrown in jail and even killed. Not my first pick to be given an important mission from Jesus. He didn’t even make my top 100. Yet, God looked at him and said, “I can use that one.”

The demoniac certainly wasn’t qualified, yet Jesus chose him too. It isn’t how we start, but what we allow God to do within us that matters. As we surrender and allow Him to lead us there is no telling what we can do.

So where are you at on this journey? Do you often feel like you don’t feel like you matter? Do you feel like you’re insignificant? Have people have treated you as irrelevant? Perhaps you don’t feel good enough, you don’t feel qualified. I want you to know that just like Jesus crossed the lake for that one man who didn’t matter, Jesus crossed into humanity for you and for me, even though we never did anything right. Even though we were sinners, He died for us. He says you have purpose.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. Why do you think God often uses people who are unqualified?
  2. What is God looking for in the people He uses?
  3. What keeps you from walking in God’s purpose for your life? Write down and surrender them today. Set aside every priority that would keep you from giving everything to Jesus.

PRAY: Lord, thank You for saving me and giving me purpose.

SCRIPTURE READING:

Acts 4:7-13 (NLT) They brought in the two disciples and demanded, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?”

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? 10 Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene,[a] the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. 11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,

‘The stone that you builders rejected
    has now become the cornerstone.’[b]

12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.

Acts 22:3-16 (NLT) Then Paul said, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, and I was brought up and educated here in Jerusalem under Gamaliel. As his student, I was carefully trained in our Jewish laws and customs. I became very zealous to honor God in everything I did, just like all of you today. And I persecuted the followers of the Way, hounding some to death, arresting both men and women and throwing them in prison. The high priest and the whole council of elders can testify that this is so. For I received letters from them to our Jewish brothers in Damascus, authorizing me to bring the followers of the Way from there to Jerusalem, in chains, to be punished.

“As I was on the road, approaching Damascus about noon, a very bright light from heaven suddenly shone down around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’

“‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked.

“And the voice replied, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene,[b] the one you are persecuting.’The people with me saw the light but didn’t understand the voice speaking to me.

10 “I asked, ‘What should I do, Lord?’

“And the Lord told me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told everything you are to do.’

11 “I was blinded by the intense light and had to be led by the hand to Damascus by my companions. 12 A man named Ananias lived there. He was a godly man, deeply devoted to the law, and well regarded by all the Jews of Damascus. 13 He came and stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, regain your sight.’ And that very moment I could see him!

14 “Then he told me, ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and hear him speak. 15 For you are to be his witness, telling everyone what you have seen and heard. 16 What are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized. Have your sins washed away by calling on the name of the Lord.’

Romans 5:6-8 (MSG) Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

 

New Purpose | ONE 14

Don’t depend upon other people to find your value. There may be times people will encourage you, but often people will discourage you. You may have people in your life who tell you that you don’t matter, or you’re not good enough to do anything of significance, but remember that Jesus loves to use those who don’t matter. Just like the man in the story from the past two days. Homeless, possessed by demons, cutting himself with stones, no one was about to give him a mission of importance. Except for Jesus, who crossed a stormy sea just to speak to this man, free him from his legion and fill his life with purpose.

Jesus wants to do the same for you. He can heal the part of you that is broken. Jesus can take the part of you that you’re ashamed of and give it value, purpose, and use it to bring Himself glory. Jesus instructed the man to tell everyone what he had experienced. “Tell everyone that you had been controlled by demons and how I set you free.” I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I’d sign up for that assignment. I’m not sure I would want everyone to know about my demon-filled passed, however, it is in our honesty, vulnerability, and humility that God begins to use us. Don’t be ashamed of your past, but instead let God redeem it.

The Bible is full of stories about people who “didn’t matter”, yet God selected them to do great things. I think of Gideon. His people were under siege and they were pretty much hiding in the hills, hoping for someone to rescue them. Gideon was hiding right there with them when an angel showed up and said, “God has chosen you to save everyone.”

Gideon disagrees, “I’m from the smallest tribe in the nation, my family is the most insignificant, and I’m the loser of my family. You’re mistaken”. Yet, it was no mistake. God used Gideon to rescue the nation.

I think of Joseph. He was a man of vision and dreams. He believed God had a future for him and told everyone about it. His brothers were jealous and offended so they set out to make sure this would never happen. They sold him as a slave to a foreign nation. While in that nation he ended up spending years in prison. However, it was from prison that God positioned him to lead that nation and rescue the whole region from starvation during a particularly rough famine.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

  1. Why do you think God chooses to use people who don’t seem to have it all together?
  2. What might God have planned for you today?

PRAY: Father, give me faith to believe You have something planned for me today and the courage to obey You.

SCRIPTURE READING:

Judges 6:12-16 (NLT) The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!”

13 “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.”

14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”

15 “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”

16 The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”

Genesis 45:1-8 (NLT) Joseph could stand it no longer. There were many people in the room, and he said to his attendants, “Out, all of you!” So he was alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. Then he broke down and wept. He wept so loudly the Egyptians could hear him, and word of it quickly carried to Pharaoh’s palace.

“I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them. “Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt.But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors.[a] So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser[b] to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.

Genesis 50:19-20 (NLT) But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you?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.