Monday: Genesis 38
Tuesday: Mark 10
Wednesday: Psalm 5
Thursday: Romans 9
Friday: Genesis 38, Mark 10, Psalm 5, Romans 9
Monday, Genesis 38
There is nothing, nothing, that our God will not forgive, nothing that he cannot use for good. Even in Judah’s atrocious sin, God has planned to bring the lineage of Jesus through him. This doesn’t excuse Judah’s sin but rather reminds us that no one, not one of us, is too far gone for God to use us. In Matthew 1:3, Tamar is listed in the genealogy of Jesus. This is our God – He can take even the worst of sinners, even the most terrible sin, and turn it around, even using it for His own glory. Nothing is outside of His reach.
It’s easy for me, even after I have repented of my sin, to believe that I have made such a mess of things, that I have messed everything up, that God could never use or fix or redeem this. Do you ever feel this way? But when I believe this, I am limiting who God is, limiting His power and sovereignty and ability to use anything. God can, and does, use anything He chooses to, even our very worst mess ups. Our God takes the very worst sinners and says, “You are mine. I can use even you.”
Where have you messed up recently?
Is there a certain sin or mistake that haunts you, that causes you to feel like a failure?
Spend some time asking the Lord’s forgiveness for that and then leave it with Him. You are not too far gone for forgiveness. You are not too far gone for redemption. You cannot mess everything up because we serve a God who can use even our mistakes. Rest in that.
Tuesday, Mark 10
In thinking through our passage yesterday and God’s ability to use anyone, even people who have messed up tremendously, verse 27 jumped right out at me – “With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.” Remember that when you feel like you may have fallen too far.
There is so much in this chapter – an encouragement to receive the Kingdom with childlike faith – looking for God to provide everything we need without doubt the way a toddler looks to a loving parent.
And then, my favorite part, verse 21 – “Jesus looked at him and loved him.”
Jesus looks at us and loves us.
Jesus knew this man was going to walk away. He knows when and how we are going to make mistakes. But He looks at us and He loves us!
Yes, it can feel impossible to throw off the things of the world, to lay down our lives for the sake of the Gospel, but Jesus can make it possible. We can trust with childlike faith that He gives us all we need. And all we lose, anything we give up to follow Him, will be restored to us in eternity. What an amazing promise! Look closely – persecutions are part of this promise. Persecutions in the midst of a list of good rewards? Yes, because even our suffering and hardship can be used by a good God to draw us to Himself. Again, what is impossible in this world, maybe even impossible for us to comprehend, is possible for God.
Like blind Bartimaeus, we need Jesus to give us eyes to see!
What feels impossible to you right now?
Spend some time in prayer, believing that what is impossible with man is possible for God. Spend some time telling God that you believe He will give you all you need (sometimes I have to say it until I believe it).
Let’s ask God to give us eyes to see His impossible work, here on earth as it is in Heaven.
Wednesday, Psalm 5
We can rest deeply knowing the King of the universe hears our voices. We can wait expectantly because He will always answer. He is our shield and our refuge. Hallelujah!
Commit verses 11 and 12 to memory this week and repeat them to yourself when you are in need of encouragement. Let all those who love His name rejoice!
Thursday, Romans 9
It’s not as though the word of God has failed. This passage is so full of the Gospel and God’s mercy. When we feel weak and defeated, we can rest in knowing God holds us, forgives us, saves us, and nothing can separate us from His love.
While it is completely opposite of the way anything works in this world, God’s grace and our salvation isn’t something we can earn, isn’t something we can be good enough for. It’s uncomfortable to say, but I know that if left to my own devices, I would not choose God or the things of God. It is a humbling realization, but it is also one that moves me to praise Him for His completely undeserved and unmerited favor. This is great news for all of us who fall short, who mess up again and again. God’s love for us isn’t dependent on us. His mercy and grace are who He is regardless of who we are.
It’s not as if the Word of God has failed. How often do I approach my day, my life, or my current situation as if God’s word may not hold up, may not be enough, may not be true. And how would I live differently if I truly believed His Word hasn’t failed and will never fail? He is always trustworthy, always gracious, always good. We can rest in His kindness and grace.
A familiar worship song plays in an unfamiliar church and I let the tears fall. I may not know anyone here yet, but I know all the words and for a few minutes, though we are all different, we are united in singing the same words to the same God. The same words that I sing in my kitchen in Uganda. The same words I sing along on the way to drop off kids at school. The same words I repeat over and over to myself in the middle of the night when my anxious thoughts won’t allow me to sleep.
The Pastor is reading from Romans and I know the words. God’s Word. Words I have memorized for years and prayed to Him in agony and in rejoicing.
And when everything around me is so different, I take great comfort in the realization that My Father is exactly the same. I may not know much about how things work around here and I may not know many people, but I know Him and He hasn’t changed one bit. He never will.
I find myself often longing for a “normal” day, to settle into some sort of familiar rhythm that feels easy and predictable. But if I am honest, I am not just missing our normal rhythm because we have been traveling. As I look back over the last year and a half I am astounded at just how many times our rhythm has been disrupted – whether it be COVID quarantine or online school or hybrid school, a medical emergency or friends moving away or trying to redirect ministry while still keeping everyone safe in a pandemic. “Normal” days have eluded me for quite some time, and I think it is safe to say that I am not alone in this.
The whole world has experienced some amount of upheaval in the recent season. Most of us, probably even all of us, are staring out at an unpredictable future wondering what might come next, how we will have to pivot and change directions. I don’t know about you, but I can get so stuck feeling anxious about everything that is changing that I forget that we have a constant, the best constant, our unchanging Father.
And even when I can’t see it, He can. And even when I don’t know what is next, He does. Even as everything is changing, He isn’t.
We watch as He holds Judah, even as he makes a terrible mess of things. We watch as He teaches His disciples, warning them of suffering even when they don’t fully understand. It’s easy for me to remember as I read that God has their best in mind, that He will keep them safe. Maybe because I have read it before and I already know the ending.
Maybe you need to hear it as much as I do, so let me pull you in close and speak it over you –
He holds you and will carry you through whatever comes next. Even when you don’t know what’s next. Especially when you don’t know what’s next. He holds you, even when you have made a terrible mess of things. He can use even our mistakes, He can put us back on the right path. He looks at us and loves us. He holds you, even as you face suffering and hardship. Even when you don’t understand. Especially when you don’t understand.
I don’t have many answers. I don’t know when life might go back to “normal” or even if it will. But I know our unchanging God who is my constant even now. I pray in the midst of uncertainty, when you cannot see what is next, you would know His constant, unchanging love and feel Him holding you close.