then he commanded the steward of his house, “fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack, and put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, with his money for the grain.” and he did as joseph told him. [genesis 44:1-2]


joseph was testing his brothers.


had they changed? would they change? could they change?

did they care for anyone besides themselves? would they treat benjamin like joseph (brothers of dad’s favorite wife)? would they leave him as a slave and save themselves?

joseph wanted to see benjamin, his sole fully blood brother by the same mother and father. but, he also wanted to see if his brothers hearts had changed or were changing?


question for you and i – how are you changing, being transformed by the work of Christ and the power of the Spirit?


take a moment and celebrate the areas God has changed in your heart over this last year.

what has he done to increase your heart and hunger for him?

what has he done to give victory over a sin that was reigning?

what he he done to embolden your heart to share his love and truth?


take a moment and acknowledge your struggle(s).

what is the biggest place of struggle of right now in your heart?

where are you hiding and running from sin?

where is bitterness, unforgiveness, or grumbling found a home in your heart?


finally, use this passage as a prayer to let God test your heart. take a moment, pray, and ask him to examine your heart.

23  search me, o God, and know my heart! 

try me and know my thoughts! 

24  and see if there be any grievous way in me, 

and lead me in the way everlasting! 

[psalm 139:23-24]


~ john ryan