Monday: Genesis 2
Tuesday: Matthew 2
Wednesday: Ezra 2
Thursday: Acts 2
Friday: Genesis 2, Matthew 2, Ezra 2, Acts 2
Monday, Genesis 2: God’s finished work in the garden is good. His finished work on the cross is good, and His finished work in eternity is good. If things aren’t good now, we can rest assured that that’s because God is not yet finished. The picture of the idyllic garden in Eden where God places the man and the woman is strikingly similar to a passage I read often in Revelation 22, but one phrase is added – “The leaves of the trees were for the healing of the nations.” Naked and unashamed before God, Adam and Eve needed no healing. But this side of Eden we cry out for it, and we rest assured that God will provide it. In the restored Eden, there will be no curse and there will be no night. God who formed us of dust and breathed life into us so desires us to be with Him that we will one day look upon His face forever. And His finished work will be good far beyond what we can imagine.
What areas of your life need His healing and restoration?
God is not finished with His healing work in your life, even in the areas where you cannot see it. Trust Him today that He is working for your good and restoration in His own perfect timing.
Tuesday, Matthew 2: I am struck that it is God’s delight to reveal Himself to His people. He gives His star as a sign to the magi, the appears to them in a dream, He appears to Joseph through an angel and in dreams, He protects His Son and thus His people and His plan to redeem them. Whether through dreams or angels, or, more often through quiet whispers of the Spirit within us, it is His desire to reveal Himself to us too. How beautiful to love a God who desires us to know Him!
In what areas of your life is God clearly revealing Himself to you?
In what areas of your life are you longing for God to reveal Himself to you?
Trust these areas to God, believing that it is His delight to speak to His people.
Wednesday, Ezra 2: Where again we may be temped to skip over what could appear to be a tedious list of names, I am reminded that this is a group of people who has just come out of 70 years of captivity. That’s a long time to wonder if you have been forgotten by God. But our loving, intentional Father knows and numbers His people, not one is forgotten by Him! They are seen, known, prepared for, and provided for – so are we!
Is there someone in your life who may need to be reminded that God sees and knows them, that He has not forgotten them? Reach out and remind them of this truth today.
Thursday, Acts 2: God, who provides everything that we need, sends His Holy Spirit on His people. There is so much lavish provision in this chapter – first, the lavish provision of God as He sends His Holy Spirit, then the astounding provision that all those gathered could hear of His mighty works in their very own languages. He provides Peter, who just days ago was adamantly denying that he even knew Jesus, the courage and strength to share the Gospel with the crowds surrounding him. And out of this abundant provision, God gives the fellowship of believers the grace to provide for one another, so that no one had lack and the body of believers grew.
Stand in awe of His provision in your life today.
Who can you bless today by meeting a physical or emotional need? Do you know someone in need of fellowship, in need of a financial provision, a meal or even just an encouraging phone call?
It continually blows me away that God would desire to reveal Himself to us. In Genesis, God looks at all that He has made and it is good. All that He does, all that He makes, is pleasing to Him, but most of all His children, created in His image. God’s trustworthiness began even before the garden existed. As He tenderly planted it, as He breathed His life into Adam and Eve, He affectionately thought of us, of you and me and His faithful plan to bring us into glory with Him. He planned to be faithful and kind and merciful even then, even before we existed.
I read the first chapters of Genesis and I imagine God preparing all of creation for the beloved children He is about to speak into life. I remember preparing for the birth of our first son, setting up the crib and arranging things just right. Washing and folding tiny onesies and arranging miniscule diapers with such great anticipation of who this little life kicking inside of me would be. And here in the beginning, our loving Father, creating every tree and plant, every bird and beast, the perfect home to bring His children into, the perfect way to point them back to His glory time and time again.
By the time God finally created man and woman in His own image, and blessed them and instructed them, He had already given them everything they would need for life with Him in the garden. Earth and sky and waters teeming with fish, fruits and plants in abundance, light to make the seasons and the days, to warm their skin and light their paths. Abundant provision in clear in just these few verses, and as He abundantly provides the tangible things that His creation needs, God already plans to provide the mercy they will soon need even more.
Imagine the great satisfaction of God, when He saw all the beauty He created and declared it so good. I imagine Him gazing on His very favorite part – His children.
Benji and I often put our kids to bed, only to sit in our own bed and tell stories of all the darling things they’ve done throughout the day, frequently pulling out photos and videos we have taken on our phones to show one another. “She is just so precious,” we will say and, “I can’t believe how fast he is learning!” We have spent the whole day with them and we have only just sent them to their own rooms so that we can be alone together and yet we sit and dote, amazed by these humans that we get to shepherd and shape. Sure, they are far from perfect, but I doubt you’d know it if you heard our late-night conversations or saw the delight in our eyes as we watched the video of the baby saying “bye-bye” for the hundredth time.
In this way I imagine God sits back and declares His creation good, His children beloved, His delight fully in them and theirs in Him. There they stand, naked and unashamed in front of their loving Father, just as He created them to be. Fully designed for relationship with Him, and fully designed for His glory.
This is the same tenderness with which God looks on his people as they come out of captivity from Babylon. He knows each one of them. Each one of them was hand selected by Him to be part of the remnant of His people brought out of captivity and back to Jerusalem to worship Him, to know Him and be known by Him. The same is true of the magi in Matthew and the crowds in Acts and they receive Peter’s testimony. We are seen and known by the Almighty God! We are precious, prepared for and provided for.
Back in the garden, Adam and Eve stood naked and they were not ashamed. Do we believe that we can come to our Heavenly Father like this? Do we believe that He looks on us tenderly, as individuals precious to Him, with a love for us and a desire to provide for us and protect us? We are His precious children and it is His delight to reveal Himself to us!
– It is often difficult for me to believe that God adores me unconditionally, regardless of my performance, my struggles and my sin. In what areas of your life are you having trouble believing that God adores you?
-What do you need to bring to God, “naked and unashamed”? Whether it is a dream or plan, a sin, a struggle, a past mistake, imagine laying it down at His feet. Imagine His eyes on you, still loving you, His precious son or daughter.