Monday: Genesis 8
Tuesday: Matthew 8
Wednesday: Ezra 8
Thursday: Acts 8
Friday: Genesis 8, Matthew 8, Ezra 8, Acts 8
Monday, Genesis 8: That first line – “God remembered Noah.” He remembers us! He sees us, He knows us. No storm, no flood will last forever, but even in the midst of the struggle we are not forgotten by God. I think of how patiently Noah waited – years of building the ark, months of rain, months of waiting on the earth to dry up. Did he ever wonder if the rain might never stop? Did he ever question if God would truly bring him safely to the end of the flood? God does! He dries up the earth and He calls them out! Noah praises the Lord for His faithfulness and God’s love and mercy is clear.
Think of a “storm” you have endured in your life and praise God for the ways He remembered you and brought you through it.
Now look at a storm you are currently facing or may face in the near future. You are never forgotten by God! Can you praise Him, even now, knowing that He will bring you safely through?
Tuesday, Matthew 8: Jesus is willing to heal us. Willing to heal the leper, willing to go with the centurion, willing to restore the demon possessed man, willing to heal Peter’s mother and all who are brought to Him, willing to save the disciples from the storm.
I can fall into the trap of feeling like Jesus is unwilling to give me what I want, even unwilling to answer me, but this passage clearly shows us that this is not true of His character. In areas of our lives where the Lord seems unwilling, I believe instead He is giving us something better, teaching us something, and drawing us to Himself. When He withholds the things we want, it is not due to an unwillingness, but rather for a better purpose!
Is there anything you are asking God for that He seems “unwilling” to give? Knowing that is not true, what could He instead be trying to teach you?
Wednesday, Ezra 8: I love reading through these lists of names and being reminded that God sees, knows, remembers and protects each of these people individually. I love the example here as the people humble themselves before the Lord, not looking to soldiers or the king to protect them, but asking that the hand of God Himself would be their protection. Good, faithful and merciful God guides and guards them on their journey and delivers them to safety. The people of Israel are remembered by Almighty God!
Have you ever felt forgotten by God? Is this something you are currently feeling? Take a moment to meditate on these truths:
- Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and courageous. Do not fear, for it is the Lord your God who does with you. He will never leave or forsake you.
- Psalm 55:22 – Cast all your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.
- Romans 8:28 – And We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
- Psalm 73:23 & 26 – Yet, I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand… My flesh and my heart may fail bit God is the strength of my heart and my protion forever.
Thursday, Acts 8: I love the way Phillip hears from the Lord, and I love that God is so intentional to give Phillip instructions regarding just one man. It is so important to God that this Ethiopian man hears the true Gospel that He gives Phillip very specific instructions to get them together. I think there are two very important truths in this passage that we can apply to ourselves.
First of all, we can hear from God, through the Holy Spirit living inside us, when we take the time to listen. He gave Phillip very specific instructions to lead him to the Ethiopian man, and Phillip was quick to obey.
I also think of the lengths God went to in order to get to this one man. Our loving Fathers cares so intentionally and so personally for each of His children. You are included in that. I pray that causes you to feel seen, known and cherished today.
Take some time to just be quiet today. Stop scrolling, set down your phone, quiet your heart. Listen for the still small voice of God telling you that He loves you.
Is there a decision that you need to make, or something that you need to do? You can hear from God. Ask God how you can love Him today, how you can love your children or your neighbor or your co-worker today, how you can share His Gospel today. Allow the Spirit to speak from within you, and don’t discredit what comes to mind. He will lead you to the next right thing.
When we are very familiar with the stories in the Bible, it is easy to skim over them without fully imagining the details. But as I take time to read this week and try to see these stories with fresh eyes, I am astounded by just how difficult the situations we are reading about must have been. Let’s take a minute and imagine ourselves in each of the passages we are reading.
It is almost laughable to imagine being Noah or a member of his family in the ark packed with all those animals. But there are realities in this story that the children’s editions skip over. Besides the few family members that you are with, everyone else is gone. Any other relatives or friends these people had have died in the flood. They have watched the earth be utterly destroyed, or, worse, if they couldn’t see out, they have only heard the rain beating against the ark, the waves slamming against it’s sides. 150 days is a long time to be alone with your thoughts, in the dark, in the rain. I can hardly conceive the relief they all must have felt when Noah removed the covering of the ark and laid eyes on dry ground. They have a long way to go, a whole life to rebuild on this destroyed and desolate earth, but for the moment, one feeling prevails: He remembered us.
And they offer their praise and worship to the Lord.
Now imagine being a first century Christian in Acts, in the months and years after Jesus died. First, they killed our Lord and Savior. Now, they have violently killed our bold and gentle friend Steven. If we keep sharing the Gospel, keep living as Christians, it is likely that they will kill us, too. Our friends are scattered and it is nearly impossible to know if they are safe from the persecution or not. Saul is brutally destroying the church, everything we have worked for. This Gospel, this love, it is costly, it is uncomfortable, and it requires tremendous amounts of courage. And yet, God remembers us. Miracles are still happening and the Gospel is spreading. The things the enemy intends to use to destroy – even death! – God is using to spread the Gospel to the nations.
Picture being the Ethiopian eunuch alone on the desert road, desiring to understand the Scripture but still utterly confused. And God sends Phillip to him to tell him the good news about Jesus. After Phillip disappears, the desert road is still long and life as a eunuch would have still been immeasurably challenging, but as he goes on his way he rejoices at this one thought: God remembers me.
As you read through the Scriptures today, I invite you to imagine yourself as a Levite in the book of Ezra, making the long, dangerous journey from Babylon to Jerusalem. Imagine yourself as the leper, cast our from society and scorned by all, as the centurion desperate to help his suffering servant, as the disciples terrified to be drowned in the storm. Imagine their thrill, their surprise, their delight that God sees and remembers them, delivers them to safety and heals them or their loved ones.
It is hard for me to imagine living in any one of these scenarios, as I feel like the weight of it all – the fear, the uncertainly, the worry, the devastation – would take me under. But if I could see the bigger picture, the way I see it now, thousands of years later reading about the events, I would clearly see that God is using all of these difficult situations to write His story of redemption. When He feels far away, when we feel long forgotten or overlooked, we serve a God who will never leave or forsake us, and we rejoice in this promise: God remembers me.
The difficulties you are passing through today may never be recorded on pages for people to read about in thousands of years, but that doesn’t change the fact that God is using them to write a bigger story, a story of redemption and love, a story in which He remembers you, His beloved child.