Monday: Genesis 31
Tuesday: Mark 4
Wednesday: Esther 8
Thursday: Romans 3
Friday: Genesis 31, Mark 4, Esther 8, Romans 3
Monday, Genesis 31
When Jacob left Canaan and his family 20 years earlier, God appeared to him and promised that He would one day bring him back again. Now 2 decades, 2 wives, 12 children and countless flocks later, God instructs Jacob to return. False accusations and envy are building against Jacob, but instead of protesting in self-defense, Jacob recounts the faithfulness of God through much hardship and struggle.
And yet, just after Jacob has encouraged his wives of God’s past faithfulness to them, we read that Jacob tricks Laban by leaving hurriedly without telling him. Is he afraid? Rachel seems to agree with Jacob’s testimony of God’s faithfulness, and yet she grabs her father’s household gods to bring along. Is she worried now that God won’t protect them as they go? I can be fickle, too, trusting God one minute and overcome with fear and worry the next. But God remains faithful, to Jacob, to Rachel, to us.
What are you afraid of today?
Like Jacob, or Rachel, are you making a back-up plan just in case God doesn’t come through?
Meditate on His faithfulness to you today. Think of times that He has come through for you before. Rest assured that He will be faithful again.
Tuesday, Mark 4
Jesus calms the raging sea with just one word – Peace. I know so truly that this is what my heart needs. This peace is available to me, to you, because the same God who calmed the sea, who has power over all of nature, has that same divine power over our hearts. I hear Him asking me today the same question He asked the disciples – “My Child, why are you so afraid? Why do you fret and worry? Don’t you know Who I am? Peace, be still.”
I don’t know about you, but my heart needs to rest in these words today. So often I feel like I, too, am sinking, the storm and the waves of every-day life and its struggles crashing all around me. And the truth that I need to grab ahold of is that Jesus is not far off. He is in the boat, in the middle of the storm, right next to His disciples. And He is here with me as well.
What are you currently worrying about? What is causing you to be anxious?
Take heart, Beloved. Jesus is in the boat with you. He will not let the storm overtake you. Sit with Him in the quiet and hear Him whisper to your heart. Peace, be still.
Wednesday, Esther 8
God, always faithful, uses the bravery of Esther and the obedience of Mordecai to save His people. He keeps His promises, just as He always does. God can change the hearts of kings, of government leaders, of enemies. God can use seemingly insignificant people to further His plans. God always triumphs over evil and He always saves His own. He uses the most unlikely to achieve His purposes, He lifts up His faithful servants, and He restores joy to those who mourn. These are His promises to us throughout all generations!
Which promises of Scripture does God use to encourage you?
Spend some time today thanking God that He uses our bravery and obedience to further His mission. Spend time thanking Him that He always keeps His promises. He is a good and faithful God and worthy of our praise and worship!
Thursday, Romans 3
I am so grateful that my unfaithfulness cannot nullify the faithfulness of God. What grace! Not one of us is righteous and not one of us has not sinned, and yet though we fall short, time and time again, God in His faithfulness continues to use us and bring about our good and His glory. We cannot do good without Him. We cannot know peace without Him.
The laws and guidelines of God serve to make us aware of our sin, aware of our desperate need for a Savior. But only the love and kindness of God can save us. Only Christ’s death and resurrection could justify us before the Throne of Holy God. He has indeed given us grace upon grace upon grace.
Are there areas of your life where you might be striving to prove yourself to God, to earn your own salvation?
Out of love and awe, we strive to follow God’s guidelines but this can never earn us His favor. In His grace and His faithfulness, He has already poured out His favor on all who are in Christ! We rejoice at His goodness and mercy!
Is there someone in your life who needs to hear this message, who needs to be encouraged that they can cease their striving to be “good enough” and rest in the arms of the Father who knows their sin-struggles and chooses to impart the righteousness of His Son? Reach out to them! Let’s run into this broken world to share the message of this great grace.
In Genesis Chapter 31, Jacob’s faith that God will be with them is certain, even amidst unfair treatment and false accusation from Laban’s family. Oh, how I long for a faith like this! God promises to go with Jacob even in times of fear and uncertainty, and He promises the same to us today. And even in dreams, God who spoke to Jacob before now speaks to Jacob again. His faithfulness is clear. His provision is clear. Jacob and his family obey.
And yet, just moments later, Rachel tucks her pagan gods in her pocket, “just in case.” Was her trust in God and Jacob in the last paragraph genuine? Was she just pretending to trust, all the while having a back-up plan? Or did she just grab the household gods in a moment of fear and weakness?
Jacob sneaks out of Haran without telling Laban. Is he worried that Laban might not let him go? Does He not believe that God who has kept him, protected him, and used him thus far, will do so again?
Haven’t we all been there? My head knows God will always be faithful, always be with me, always provide. And yet my flesh wants to make an alternate plan, “just in case.” My mind races ahead with anxiety over things that haven’t even happened yet, trying to come up with solutions to problems that may not even present themselves.
Like the parable of the seeds, we know we are called to be those who allow the Word to grow up in us, to have hearts that are consistently attentive to God and accepting of Him, to bear fruit for His glory. But in order to do so we must fight the temptations to believe Satan’s lies, to run when persecution and trial arise, to let the cares of the world, deceitfulness, and desire choke out our passion for God and His glory.
Jacob testifies of God’s faithfulness to him as Laban stands to falsely accuse him and I realize, this is what I must do. This is how I move God’s faithfulness from knowledge of a truth in my head to internalizing a truth in my heart and living out this truth in my days. God who spoke to Jacob at Bethel appears to him now in his struggle. Jesus who sits with His disciples in the middle of the storm speaks peace and calms the wind and the waves. And God who has whispered to me in the quiet before, God who has been faithful to me and my family before and carried us through all manner of storms and hardship, well, certainly He will whisper to us again, be faithful to us again, carry us through again.
Jacob testifies that if His God had not been on his side, he would never be where he is today. That is true of me and I hope you can see it is true of you, too. God who was faithful to you that one time? He is going to be faithful to you now. God who carried you through that long struggle? He is going to carry you through any struggle you face now and any struggle you will face in the future. God who provided for you in your moment of desperate need? Oh, yes, dear friend, He has already thought of how He will provide everything you will need for all that you will face.
We can stop making back-up plans. We can stop letting our imaginations run wild with worry and planning solutions for what is not-yet, coming up with all the “just in case” fixes. Because as I examine my own heart, I ask myself, “just in case what?” And the painful answer that I can barely choke out is the reality of the lie I am striving to fight, “just in case God doesn’t come through.” And isn’t this what the enemy wants us to believe? That God might forget us? That maybe Jesus will stay asleep through this one? That maybe somehow all our carefully crafted plans and answers and resolutions will protect us and keep us? That we, left to our own devices, might be able to somehow control the narrative and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe?
Peace. Be still.
I need a Jacob faith to counteract my Rachel nature. And I know only one way to find it – in God Himself. We read God’s promises in our times of fear and uncertainty and are reminded that He is the same God today who will keep these promises to us. We listen for His whisper in times when the lies get loud and know that God who called out to us before will speak to our hearts again. We testify of what He has done for us, reminding our hearts and our spirits that God who was faithful before will always be faithful, even in the unknown, even in the struggle, even in the hard.
Jacob will fear for the future again. The disciples will find themselves in another boat, facing another wind, and they will again panic. So will you, so will I. But Jacob and the disciples will cry out to the God and Savior who helped them before, who never let them down, and who kept all His promises. And we can, too.
“Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23