Monday: Genesis 29
Tuesday: Mark 2
Wednesday: Esther 6
Thursday: Romans 1
Friday: Genesis 29, Mark 2, Esther 6, Romans 1
Monday, Genesis 29
Even through trials, even in spite of his own sin, Jacob is brought by God to exactly the right place at exactly the right time – where God wants him to be. It would seem like finding a needle in a haystack, to head off to a foreign land and hope to find some long lost relative, and here Jacob finds himself welcomed, brought in, part of the family. God sees Jacob. God hears Jacob. God provides for Jacob.
Then we see God’s tender care for Leah, the less loved of the sisters. Leah names her children exactly what her life, Jacob’s life, your life and my life testify – God sees. God hears. God comforts. God is worthy of our praise.
Where do you feel unseen or unheard by God?
Spend some time looking through scripture and throughout your day for evidence that God does see you. When we are looking for God, we will always see God.
Praise Him for all the ways that He sees, hears and comforts us. Our God never fails!
Tuesday, Mark 2
Jesus has just told the leprous man that He is willing to heal him. This willingness extends to us – He is willing to heal our sins just as He heals the sins of the paralyzed man being carried on the mat. His willingness went even further to healing the man’s legs and causing him to walk for the sake of the doubting onlookers to believe in the Son of Man. God will go to great lengths to ensure that His people know who He is. He is willing to call Levi, the tax collector. He is willing to stop and teach the crowds. He is willing to call not the righteous but the sinners to Himself. What mercy!
Are there things you are holding back from Jesus today? Are you unwilling to ask because you are sure that He won’t? Unwilling to approach Him for fear that He will not answer? I’ve been there.
Allow me to look you in the eyes for a moment and say this – our God will not fail. He will not fail you now. Take courage from this group of men carrying their paralyzed friend (probably quite awkwardly), lowering him through the roof to Jesus. Take courage from this motley crew of sinners gathered around a table, following Jesus with all that they have because they are “sick” enough to recognize they have no other hope. Now ask Jesus boldly for the healing you need, the help that you need. His answer may not come in the exact way that you want it, or in your own timing, but it will come. Our God is willing. Our God wants to heal our hearts, to save our souls. He came not for the righteous, but for us.
Wednesday, Esther 6
We all want the honor that we think we are due. At least I do. The older I get, the more I know, without Jesus my heart is utterly wicked and I am much more selfish than I care at all to admit. And yet we read it all over the Psalms, we see it all over the Scriptures, God will exalt the one who trusts in Him, and the ways of the wicked will perish. Oh, praise Him for redeeming my sinful heart!
When we are in the middle of being slandered, when we are in the midst of persecution or hardship, it can be so hard to believe this. David laments it in Psalm 73 when he says, “I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” Does this resonate? It sure has for me in different seasons of life. And yet, God alone justifies us, vindicates us, redeems us. He promises that even if we don’t see it for a long time, even if we don’t see it in this life at all, we will be exalted and blessed eternally by a God who saw it all, knew the truth, and brought us into glory with Him through His son. It is true for Mordecai and Haman in this almost comical story – the righteous and faithful are honored and the wicked fail. One day, it will be true for us as well.
Spend time today in Psalm 73. I love how David begins in lament, but by the end is singing the praises of His God who he calls his strength, his portion, his refuge. I pray that it would be true of us, too. That we would sing and shout, “But as for me, it is good to be near God.”
Thursday, Romans 1
Paul writes his letter to the Romans from Corinth. He hasn’t traveled to Rome yet, but he has heard of the faith of the believers there and longs to encourage them, and be encouraged by them. Paul writes to strengthen “God’s beloved,” even those he has never met.
The words of this text don’t need any explanation from me. How glorious, how unimaginable, that God looked on us while we were still sinners and deemed to die for us. We are going to dive into some deep theology and some beautiful truths together in Romans.
But as I sit here and think about Paul writing to a people he didn’t know, might never know, I just keep thinking of you. Unless you are Tamara (love you!) I probably don’t know you. I might never know you. And as I sit here behind my screen my heart is overcome with love for you as God’s beloved, as a co-laborer in Christ, wherever you are. You are not alone. I am praying for you right now, today, you who are loved by God and called to be His holy people. All grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Live loved and seen and known by Him today, Beloved. Amen.
The world may call it coincidence, the way the king wakes up at night and just so happens to look through the book of chronicles and just so happens to stumble upon Mordecai’s name there the night before his planned murder. The world may call it coincidence the way Rachel stumbles up to the well at the exact time that Jacob happens to be there, that she just happened to be watering her sheep when it was not time for the sheep to be gathered.
We know better. Or at least, we should.
So often I am tempted to think that my current circumstance is a product of chance, that my struggle is only because of an unfair and broken world, or my victory is only because of my own hard work or maybe even happenstance. But when I sit alone in the quiet I can look back on my whole life, my failures, my victories, my struggles, my disasters and my joys and I can know that God was at work. He was at work all along.
After trying to take things into his own hands for far too long, Jacob acknowledges God at Bethel and God directs him to the exact well, at the exact time where he meets his future wife and furthers God’s promise to his father and grandfather. Esther asks her people to fast and pray and by doing so entrusts herself, her people, her husband, her king to God, and when she does God stirs the heart of her husband and king and moves in ways that Esther never could have orchestrated herself. Paul, having never visited or even met the Romans, writes boldly to them what he believes God wants him to say, acknowledging and trusting God who will later ask him to go testify in Rome where he will meet the people that his letter encouraged.
Dear one, lean in close.
Nothing is coincidence.
Nothing is happenstance.
Nothing is wasted.
God is going to use all of it.
I found a picture of myself the other day. I was 20 years old in a baggy t-shirt and braided pigtails. There was so, so much that I didn’t know. I had just become a mom. I had just started a ministry. I was basically just a little girl. And usually, I am so so hard on that little girl, shaking my head at all the mistakes that I made, wishing I had done better, wondering what may have happened if I had done better. But as I looked at the sparkle in that young woman’s eyes, a thought dropped into my mind, “I liked being her.”
Yea, she was naïve. Yea, she made some mistakes. But man, she loved Jesus and she loved His Word and she loved her kids and you know what? He used it all. Even the ugly parts. Definitely the beautiful parts.
And if I hadn’t been so bright-eyed and naïve and if I hadn’t made mistakes and if there hadn’t just happened to be all the ugly and all the beautiful and all the struggles and all the joys, if there hadn’t just happened to be all the right people in all the right places and all the unfairness and brokenness of the world and all the coincidences? Well, then I wouldn’t be where I am today. And I wouldn’t get to be this girl. And I like being her, too.
Because when I look back at her sparkly eyes and the roads that she walked with Jesus, when I remember the seas that He parted, when I remember the battles He won on behalf of my family and the little miracles that made us who we are today, I know –
Nothing was coincidence.
Nothing was happenstance.
Nothing was wasted.
Oh, friend. He used all of it.
Like Jacob, God chose to use my life even as I continued to doubt. Like Levi, God continued to call me to Himself while I was still a sinner. Like the paralyzed man, He put people around me who pushed me toward Jesus when I couldn’t even drag myself there. Like Xerxes, God whispered to me in the darkest hour of the night. Like Paul, He gave me the courage to obey today, without knowing what that might yield in the future.
I never could have imagined all the things that we would face. And I never could have imagined how good God would be to us through it all. And if that was true then, it will be true again. We can count on it.