Monday: Genesis 5
Tuesday: Matthew 5
Wednesday: Ezra 5
Thursday: Acts 5
Friday: Genesis 5, Matthew 5, Ezra 5, Acts 5
Monday, Genesis 5: God will not let sin and suffering be the end of His people. All that God does is intentional, purposeful. He numbers the days and years of each of His people, always intending to bring about His good purpose. God sends Noah, his name meaning comfort and rest. The family line begins again, over and over, God continuing to create a people for Himself.
How can you take comfort and rest in Him today?
Tuesday, Matthew 5: These are some of the more famous words of Jesus, words I have had memorized since I was little, words that I teach my children to memorize as well. But even as I read them again this morning, they seem so contrary to the teaching of the world. Blessed are the meek? Blessed are those who mourn? Blessed are those who make peace instead of fighting and arguing? Yes, if we are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, we have to live contrary to the world around us. This isn’t easy. To truly love my enemies, to not retaliate when someone hurts me, to not nurse anger, envy or unforgiveness – this is next to impossible without God’s Spirit working powerfully in my heart. And yet, this is exactly what we are called to, and this is how God’s Kingdom will come on earth, as it is in heaven.
Which of these instructions of Jesus is most difficult for you?
In Him, we are given everything we need for life and Godliness. He will enable us to live contrary to the world, building and upholding His Kingdom!
Wednesday, Ezra 5: After a long pause, the Jews begin again to build the house of God. And again, they face opposition. But did you catch that? When asked who they were, they replied, “We are the servants of the God of Heaven and earth and we are rebuilding…” Yes! Couldn’t that be our answer, too? We are rebuilders, always rebuilding His great Kingdom, made in the image of the Great rebuilder who is always renewing and rebuilding us.
In a world full of idols, the Jews do not hesitate to proclaim that they are serving the God of the Universe and not a local deity. Are we this quick to proclaim our faith in Jesus?
Thursday, Acts 5: As Peter and the other first believers continue preaching the Kingdom of God, they are persecuted and even imprisoned, but rather than despair, they go on teaching and preaching. Even after being beaten they rejoiced! And they didn’t just rejoice in spite of their suffering, they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer because of His name! And they did not stop preaching but instead continued all the more, their joy not tied at all to their circumstance but to the good work He had called them to.
Is there a circumstance of suffering that is preventing you from rejoicing? Even when our circumstance is not good, our GOD is. We can always rejoice in Him!
Testify today, to others or even just to yourself, what He has done for you – His salvation alone is reason to rejoice!
Standing at the top of this hill, there is rarely a time when tears don’t fill my eyes. It is impossible to stand here, a place that was once only grass, and not be overwhelmed with His goodness and faithfulness. As I look down from the edge of our property, I remember when it was just a field, filled with children each Saturday as we laughed and played and worshiped God under a lone mango tree. Later came the chapel as we outgrew the shade of the tree, and then a playground and sports fields, houses for the staff and a kitchen to accommodate the growing number of children that ate lunch with us each week.
Today I see all of this and all the classrooms of the primary school, where children will come not just to learn to read, but to learn their preciousness in the sight of a God who loves them unconditionally.
As I let the tears of gratitude fall, I know deep in my soul that He didn’t just grow His Kingdom here, in this village and on this land. But here in this village and on this land, He grew His Kingdom in my heart.
Here, He taught me what it truly meant to persevere through people who faced immense hardships with unshakeable faith and joy. Here he taught me what it meant to give with abandon and really never expect anything in return. Here in this place He was my only companion during seasons of intense loneliness, and my true guide and teacher when I had nowhere else to learn. He taught me the joy of mercy, the beauty of meekness and humility, the treasure of having nothing and yet having everything in Him.
Many have come to know the Lord here in this place – bright-eyed and eager children, old and weary grandparents, those struggling with insurmountable poverty and terrible illness, those with plenty and those with nothing, those with incredible hopes and dreams, and those too tired to even hope for tomorrow.
Our ministry tagline at Amazima speaks of transformed lives, and yes, they have been – but I know the truth, the life and heart that He has most transformed is mine.
I think of the Scriptures we have read this week. Over and over, He blesses us. Over and over He is good. He is the God of new beginnings, the God who is always building His Kingdom everywhere, but most importantly in our hearts
Again, in Genesis, we are reminded that humankind is made in the likeness of God. He created them and He blessed them, and they continued to bear children in the likeness of God, over and over again God choosing to create life and breath out of nothing. God choosing His people as His vessels. In Ezra, the building of the wall begins again after a 15-year-long pause. They begin again. Aren’t we always beginning again?
Again they face opposition, but it says the eye of their God was watching over them. Oh! How attentive He is to us. How merciful to keep choosing a sinful and broken people. And Ezra and His people? When asked who they are? They answer that they are servants of the most high God. We are rebuilding, they say. And aren’t we always?
The longer I live, the more I know my need for it, His grace to begin again. To rebuild. To start over. And each time I am astounded that God would choose me to grow His Kingdom here on Earth as it is in Heaven, both through me and in me.
- What do you need to “start over”? Receive His grace, the God who grows His Kingdom in us!
- Take some time today to praise God for His attentive and careful eye, always watching over us.
- In what ways is God using you to grow His Kingdom? In what ways is He growing His Kingdom in you?