Week 52: God Who Is Always Coming for Us

I can’t believe this is our last week of the year! Thank YOU for journeying with me through His word and allowing me to share from my heart. I pray He continues to draw you to Himself and into His word in 2022. He truly is our treasure, friends! 

Just in case you missed it, I will not be continuing the devotional into 2022! I will be busy writing my next book (ahh!) and am so excited for the opportunity to trust God, again, to make much out of my little. I am also praying I can make this devotional available in print down the road and will keep you posted. 

Let’s stay in touch in 2022, ok? I’ll have email updates from time to time, and also have some fun things planned for social media.  

Grace and peace to you and yours,

Katie 

Monday: Exodus 3

Tuesday: Luke 9

Wednesday: Psalm 27-29

Thursday: Ephesians 2

Friday: Exodus 3, Luke 9, Psalm 27-29, Ephesians 2

Monday, Exodus 3

“Here I am,” said Moses, and could we? Maybe we don’t get to see a burning bush but if we open our eyes to really look, if we open our ears and our hearts to really listen, we will hear the God who calls our name out to us – “Beloved, Beloved!”

Could we say, “Here I am Lord”? Could we believe all of this life, this precious life that God has given us here and now, is holy ground? God has seen all of our suffering and our sorrow, and He has promised to bring us home to Himself, to the promised land of Heaven where all will be made new and right. He is the great I AM and He is always with us until He brings us Home.

How would your perception of your mundane days change if you truly believed they were holy ground from God?

Where might He be calling your name, beckoning you to answer, “Here I am Lord”?

Tuesday, Luke 9

I wonder as I read if Jesus sent them out with nothing so they would know first-hand that He alone is enough. I wonder if Jesus asked the disciples what to do (knowing full well all along what He was going to do) so they had the opportunity to bring their little, their lack, an amount of food that certainly couldn’t feed the crowd, as a sign that they believed He could take their little and make a feast. 

He satisfies. 

And when we know this deep in our bones, we can die daily to ourselves, taking up any cross to follow Him, and count it our joy. “Whoever loses His life for my sake will find it,” Jesus says, and I can add nothing but my testimony. These words have been true in my own life, and will certainly be true in yours.

What is He calling you to let go?

What is He calling you to step into?

How might you practically lay down your own life to take up more of His?

Wednesday, Psalm 27-29

There is no better news than this: The Lord is my Light and my Salvation. No matter what comes against us in this life, no matter what storms rage, no matter what darkness comes, we will gaze upon the beauty of the Lord. We will look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Take heart, dear one, the Light is here. Salvation is yours in Jesus.

Spend time this week memorizing Psalm 27, 28 or 29. Enter into the new year assured of God’s goodness and mercy toward us!

Thursday, Ephesians 2

This is the Gospel. All of the Bible summed up right here – God, rich in mercy, full of love, didn’t just give us a better life, He made us alive when we were dead. And this had absolutely nothing to do with anything that we would ever do or achieve or give back to Him. He resurrected us to life so that He could reveal Himself to us and show us the immeasurable riches of His grace and kindness to us. Can you even believe it? He created us and chose us so that He could show us His love and kindness?

Can you rest in His kindness and mercy today?

Spend some time in adoration and worship of the God who made you so that He could love you.

Friday Reflections

On the Saturday after Good Friday, we boarded a plane to fly halfway across the world. It felt sacred to watch the sun peak through the clouds from the tiny airplane window on Easter morning as we raced toward a loved one who was suffering and in need of her family. In the middle of the bleakest unknown, God filled my heart with hope and anticipation that He who raised Jesus from the depths of the tomb would also bring about restoration and healing in our darkest situations.

On Christmas Eve we boarded a plane once again, full of expectation for loved ones we have missed so dearly, full of expectation that a babe born humbly in a manger has come to be our conquering King. And as the plane hit the runway on Christmas night and I breathed deep the warm air of home, I felt it deep in my bones:

            His love is always coming for us.

            For us who are lost.

            For us who are broken.

            For us who have tried and failed and tried again.

            For us who aren’t really sure where home even is right now.

Here’s the thing: if there hadn’t been a cross and a tomb, there couldn’t have been a resurrection. And so often, to have a front row seat to redemption, we have to dive headfirst into the hard, into the dark.

We may not get a burning bush, but our God is still calling us, into the hard, into the beauty, closer and closer to His heart until the glorious day when He brings us into eternity with Him. He can take our meager loaves and a couple fish and fill baskets and then some. He can take our willingness and make it into abundant life.

Here comes the new year, dear one. Here it comes with all it’s promise, with all it’s unknown. And we can dive in with the sure confidence that our God is always coming for us, always here with us, always calling us home.

Week 51: God Who Calls Us to Arise

Monday: Exodus 2

Tuesday: Luke 8

Wednesday: Psalm 24-26

Thursday: Ephesians 1

Friday: Exodus 2, Luke 8, Psalm 24-26, Ephesians 1

Monday, Exodus 2

God rescues Moses through the faith of his parents and events that only He could have orchestrated. Not only would Moses be saved and later raised by the Pharaoh’s daughter, but his very own mother would be allowed to keep him for the formative years of his childhood. Not only would Moses be one of the few male babies of his day that was not killed, but he would become a leader among his people. And God would use Moses mightily in His redemption plan for His people. Even when things look bleakest, dear one, God is holding you, protecting you, carrying you to safety. He has mighty plans for redemption.

Can you think of a time in your life that can only be explained as God’s providence and sovereignty?

Is there a situation in your life that looks bleak right now? Spend some time today surrendering this situation to the God who uses all things and who always carries us through.

Tuesday, Luke 8

The true Gospel profoundly affects and changes the lives and hearts of those who truly receive it. I long to be good soil, to allow the Gospel to sink deeply into my heart and have its way and yield its fruit. This good fruit looks like the faith of the sick woman who risked being ostracized by the crown to touch Jesus’s robe – and was healed. This good fruit looks like the faith of the father who came desperate for Jesus to heal His daughter and watched his own child resurrected from the dead. Gospel faith believes the impossible.

In what way can you let your light shine this week? Who can you share the love of Christ with?

Is the fruit of your faith visible in your life? Can you take a risk on someone this week? Can you pray a prayer that is “too big” of an ask, believing boldly that God can answer?

Wednesday, Psalm 24-26

The one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame – what a promise for those of us who put our trust in the Lord! Let’s make this our prayer this week:

Make known to me your ways, O Lord;

Teach me your paths.

Lead me in your truth and teach me,

for you are the God of my salvation;

for you I wait all the day long.

Lord, may it be!

Thursday, Ephesians 1

Let it sink in deep – you were chosen. You aren’t just one of a bunch of people God made, you are intentionally, specifically made and fashioned by the God of the universe who wanted you. Not just people, specifically you. Why? For His glory. The God who created the universe, who made the stars in the night sky and the colorful sunset over the horizon to display His beauty to all creation also formed and fashioned you specifically to show His glory and goodness to the world. You are his dazzling masterpiece.

How does it feel to know that you were intentionally created by God for this time and place to bring Him glory?

How would you live differently if you deeply believed that and carried it throughout your days?       

Friday Reflections

I keep thinking of the demon-possessed man… so far gone, utterly dehumanized, naked, filthy, cut-up from breaking out of his shackles. This is who I am left in my sin, apart from Jesus.

And Jesus says, What is your name?

I imagine this man healed and restored, clothed and cleansed, sitting at the feel of Jesus. Because when we realize how far He has brought us, what else is there to do?

Jesus, who looks into our eyes, Jesus who calls us by our names, Jesus who cleanses us from all sin, Jesus who utterly turns our lives around… Surely, He is worthy of all of our worship.

And I keep thinking of the woman with the issue of blood, worn out and beaten down, searching for answers until her resources and her very soul are exhausted. She’s chasing after Jesus, reaching out to Jesus, in a crowd that she isn’t even allowed to be a part of due to her “uncleanliness.” Her desperation has driven her into the world that would say she is a hopeless outcast, to the feet of Jesus because she believes that He has what she needs, and He does.

And I, too, apart from Jesus, am just like the woman with the issue of blood, except I am the woman with the issue of sin, hopeless and desperately in need of a Savior to wash me clean.

I am chasing after Him, reaching toward Him, longing just to touch the hem of His robe. And He is not far off. He turns toward me the way He turned toward her, the way He turned toward the demon possessed man. He kneels down, cups my chin in His hand.

“Daughter,” He says.

Can you hear Him?

And His words to us are the same as they were to the woman. 

“Your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

Hallelujah! He has made us well and He has given us peace! We are healed from our depravity, our iniquity, our wickedness. We are given peace from our struggling, our striving, our hurt. He loves us like that.

I keep thinking of the sick little girl, her daddy, frantic, falling at Jesus’s feet and imploring Him to come, knowing that He alone might be able to save His daughter. I imagine the overwhelming sorrow and incredulity as the servant delivers the message that the father shouldn’t trouble Jesus any longer because his beloved daughter is now dead.

And again, Jesus looks into the hurting, desperate man’s eyes. Do not fear.

And I am the father, frantic, troubled, longing for the Lord’s good in my life and the lives of my children and loved ones, often incredulous when I cannot see it. Wondering what He is up to and why He has “delayed.” Do not fear, He assures me. All will be well.

And the sick little girl, now the dead little girl, is taken by the hand. 

“Arise,” Jesus says, and her life is restored and it’s true of us, too – He calls us to arise, breathing new life into us and taking us from death in our sin to life in Him.

Jesus’s power is showcased in His compassion. Jesus sees us in our sin, our sickness, our mess, and He is relentlessly calling us out of it, healing, restoring, and breathing life into our tired and weary souls.

Can you feel His loving gaze on you, dear one? The way He reaches to you with tenderness? You who are dead in your sin, you who feel trapped or stuck, you who long for a different story, you who feel desperate?

Can you hear His gentle voice calling your name? Singing over you, Do not be afraid, my beloved. Your faith has healed you. Go in peace.

Week 50: God Who Is Near

Monday: Exodus 1

Tuesday: Luke 7

Wednesday: Psalm 22-23

Thursday: Galatians 6

Friday: Exodus 1, Luke 7, Psalm 22-23, Galatians 6

Monday, Exodus 1

We will barely scratch the surface of Exodus this year, but it’s just too good not to start. This beautiful redemption story, foreshadowing our rescue in Christ, gives us great hope, and I pray that you would continue to dive in long after this year is over.

No matter how difficult the situation in Egypt became, God’s favor, blessing, and protection remained with His chosen ones. Though we are often tempted to ask where God is in all of our suffering, He stays with us, His chosen people. God was kind to the midwives who honored Him and He is kind to us now as we continue to put our faith in Him.

In what ways have you seen the favor and provision of the Lord stay with you, even in the most difficult seasons?

Reflect on God’s kindness to you. Allow this to spur you on to trust in and believe for His future kindness to you.

Tuesday, Luke 7

The centurion believes Jesus is capable of anything. He doesn’t have to come into the house and touch the servant, He can simply say the word and the servant will be healed. Do we have this kind of faith in Jesus? Do we believe He can simply say the word and heal, restore, redeem anything? As we cry out to Him with the deepest prayers of our hearts, do we truly believe He is more than capable of answering these prayers?

The sinful woman at Simon’s house shows the same hope in Jesus. Because of the immense debt that she has been forgiven, she adores Jesus and pours out her life, her tears, and her worship before Him. Do we worship Jesus with this same kind of trust and adoration?

Wednesday, Psalm 22-23

I remember memorizing Psalm 23 when I was 13 years old, mulling the words over in my mind and imagining myself like a sheep in the hands of my tender shepherd. Now, more than ever, I find myself in need of this assurance that God cares for all my needs, that He tenderly leads me down carefully chosen paths and that He promises to walk with me down them.

As the world spins loud and chaotic, Our God desires to give us rest, refreshment, and restoration. He intends to stay with us through the deepest darkest valleys and on the highest mountaintops. Just as His favor remained with the Israelites through all manner of hardship, His hand remains on us, protecting us, upholding us, pouring out His goodness and mercy.

Let’s take some time out of the business of this season to memorize Psalm 23. Let the words sink deep into your soul. He is for you.      

Thursday, Galatians 6

Let us not grow weary. In this season where we sing the words, “the weary world rejoices,” it is still easy to feel bone-tired. The only way to not grow weary is to lean on the one who is Immanuel, God with us. He is the good shepherd, tenderly leading His sheep. He is the committed Father, leading His wayward people even through suffering. He is the Savior who welcomes and forgives sinners. We can lean on Him and know with certainty the harvest is coming, He is coming, and He will keep us safe in Him until He comes.

Where are you feeling weary?

How does the certain hope of Jesus’s coming empower you to continue to do good and bear the burdens of your loved ones and community?

Friday Reflections

The sick are healed, the dead are raised, the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Jesus’s works and ministry are on full display, and still, even John – who has proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God from the very beginning – has his moments of doubt. Where is this questioning and uncertainty coming from? Did John perhaps wonder why his personal circumstances weren’t changing as he sat in prison? Had Jesus failed to meet John’s expectations for what the Messiah might do for the current political situation in Israel? Why is He asking if Jesus is “the One who is to come?”

Suffering can be utterly confusing. It’s easy to believe Jesus is the Messiah when we can see the sick healed, the broken relationship restored, the outward circumstance changing to our benefit. But when we, like John, are stuck in our difficult situation without much indication that it will get better, when we pray and we don’t see healing or we don’t see restoration, it can be easy to wonder… Are You who You say You are?

And maybe there is another question underlying the one John sends his disciples to ask. “If you are the Messiah, why don’t you do more?”

If I am honest, it’s a question that sneaks itself into my thoughts more often than I would like. I want to be grateful. I am grateful. I praise God for all He has healed and redeemed and provided for me and my loved ones. But there are still the prayers that remain unanswered. There are still the hurts and illnesses that haven’t healed, there are still the relationships that seem too far gone to mend, the situations that appear almost hopeless. There is still suffering in this world that just doesn’t make any sense to me.

“Are you the Coming One?” John asks, almost as if he is asking, “Do you see us here suffering, Jesus? And are you going to do anything about it?”

Jesus heals the centurion’s servant and He raises the widow’s son from the dead. But He doesn’t release John from prison or keep him from later being beheaded. He doesn’t completely release Israel from their current bondage to the Romans. He does something even better – He releases those who, like the centurion, are willing to put their complete trust in Him from their bondage to sin, guaranteeing their eternity with God the Father. Yes, He can heal the sick and raise the dead, but this isn’t the sole reason He came. He came to be Immanuel, God with us. He came to restore us back to our loving Father, to forgive our sins and bring us into relationship with Him, forever.

And while John might wonder why Jesus isn’t doing “more”, the sinful woman at Simon’s house is grateful just to be in His presence. She isn’t looking for Jesus to perform or put on a show, she just wants to be near Him.

When we, like this woman, realize the depth of our sin and depravity, being forgiven is the miracle. Being free to sit at the feet of Jesus, to be loved and cherished by Him no matter how far we have fallen, no matter our past sins or future mistakes, is miraculous enough to cause us to weep, and to put our complete trust in Jesus’s compassion toward us. He is our Good Shepherd, the one who will lay down His life for His sheep.

While the world said this woman should not have even considered herself worthy to be in the presence of Jesus, she threw herself at His feet. And the reality hits deep, I shouldn’t even be able to approach God because of my sin. I am just like this woman, completely unworthy and yet completely forgiven and adored by Jesus. This is miraculous, the greatest restoration and release from bondage of all time. The woman’s hope and belief that Jesus will not condemn her but embrace her is beautiful and trusting, and this is the miracle that the world needs, more than healings or freedom from prison – a love that takes away our sin and brings us into right relationship with the God of the Universe.

The miracle is that we can find our home in Him, we can rest eternally accepted, secure and loved by Him, with Jesus looking straight into our eyes and our hearts and promising peace.

Rather than asking, “Why?” Let’s find ourselves at His feet today. We may pour out tears or we may pour out praise or maybe a bit of both, and Jesus who cups our faces in His hands wants every bit. His arms stretched out to you are safe, His gaze toward you is loving and His deep desire is that you would know Him and be known by Him, God with us.

Week 49: God Who Knows What He is Doing

Monday: Genesis 50

Tuesday: Luke 6

Wednesday: Psalm 20-21

Thursday: Galatians 5

Friday: Genesis 50, Luke 6, Psalm 20-21, Galatians 5

Monday, Genesis 50

These famous last words of Joseph are the words of God straight to all of His people – all that the enemy intends for evil God can and will use for good. On the surface, it may look like Joseph’s brothers are the ones who sent him to Egypt but Joseph knows the truth – only God can send you anywhere, allow you to go anywhere, bring about anything. What Joseph’s brothers meant for harm, it hurt, yes, but it couldn’t hurt deeper than God could heal, and it couldn’t derail the plans of a good and Sovereign God who can use all for good, even the biggest messes and the deepest fallouts.

I don’t know about you, but there is some stuff happening in my life and in the world right now that doesn’t look good, and I can’t even imagine how it could be used for good. But I long to trust God like Joseph did and believe it will be used for His purposes because this is what He has promised us.

Take a moment to reflect on some of the hard things in your life this season.

Can you believe, no matter what, God desires to use this for your good and His glory?

Spend some time in prayer today surrendering these hard things to the Lord and asking Him to help you believe, even in the hardest times, that He has your good in mind.

Tuesday, Luke 6

Jesus is always most concerned with love. And His love is always astonishing, always better than anything we could imagine. This love asks us to live counter-culturally: to rejoice in difficulties, to bless our enemies, to reach into suffering instead of running away from it.

The Kingdom of God seems a little bit upside down sometimes, totally counter-intuitive and countercultural. But we can trust that God knows what He is doing. His desire is to make us like Him, to transform us more and more into His likeness so that we can share His love with a watching world. As we love the unlovely and as we rejoice in trial, we are modeling God’s own character, the character we see here in Jesus.

Are you living in such a way that the outside world can look at your life and see the love of Christ?

Who can you love with Christ’s love this week?

Wednesday, Psalm 20-21

He will always answer us. We trust in the name of the Lord! In Psalm 20 the psalmist offers up a prayer to the Lord, and in Psalm 21 he praises God for answering!

Spend some time today thanking God for answered prayers. If there are cries of your heart that remain unanswered, you can trust that God will answer in His perfect timing.

Thursday, Galatians 5

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. And these things we are called to: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, we can’t just muster them up; they have to be given and empowered by the Holy Spirit. There it is again – that upside-down Kingdom of Christ’s love – not something we can achieve or earn, but a gift freely given to us who believe.

I often find when I feel weary or overwhelmed, if I examine my heart closely, part of my exhaustion is coming from trying to do everything and be good enough in my own strength, essentially striving to conjure up this fruit of the Spirit on my own and add it to my faith in Christ. Paul teaches, and we know, that we cannot add anything to the grace of Christ. Obedience, good works, and good fruit will all be the overflow of our faith in Jesus when we fully surrender our hearts and lives to Him.

Are you feeling weary? Could it be you are striving after being good enough or righteous enough in your own power instead of surrendering these things to the Holy Spirit?

Spend some time in prayer today giving all your striving to the Lord. Ask Him to empower you and fill you with His Spirit to live like Him today. He will!

What does it mean to you to live liberated by Gospel grace?

Friday Reflections

I glance over at the front seat of the car and notice my teenager is following our route to the store on the maps app on her phone. A few feet away, my maps app is on the dashboard showing me where to go.

“Do you always watch the map to where we are going even if I am driving?” I ask, thinking she probably just knows how prone I am to getting lost in this new place (or in any place really).

“It just makes me feel better to know exactly where we are going,” she says. “I like knowing we are going the right way, and how long it is going to take to get there.”

This strikes a much deeper chord with me than she means it to, and I ponder her words as we continue following the little blue line on my screen that is sure to lead us safely to the store.

I want to know that we are going the right way, and exactly how long it is going to take to get there, too. Even more, I want to know exactly what will happen when we do get there. I feel better when I know exactly where I am going.

And yet, most of the time I don’t. And on the rare occasion that I do think I know exactly where I am going, I’m really just kidding myself. There are always twists and turns and surprises – both marvelous and terrible – that I could have never seen coming. While we have a certain destination – Heaven – the path this life will take us on to get there isn’t something we can follow on a screen.

But Joseph seems to know exactly where he is going, and even where his family is going.

“God will visit you and bring you up out of this land,” Joseph tells his brothers. How does He know? Because He knows who God is – a God who is always good and always using all for our good, a God who always keeps His promises. How does He know? Because God has been faithful before. God has kept promises before. God has used the darkness for good before.

Faith in God looks to the past to be reminded of our hope for the future. Faithful He has been, faithful He will be.

Joseph might not get to see the map laid out with the blue line leading the way to a certain end. But he doesn’t have to see the full plan to know: God will do what He promised. God is always coming for us, always bringing us to eternity with Him, even when we can’t see the path ahead clearly.

All evil the enemy intends will in fact be used by God for our good. Even when it doesn’t look good. Even when it doesn’t feel good. Even when it is dark and confusing and we can’t see the way through. All things, even the terrible actions of godless men, the hard and the hurt of a fallen world, are seen by a kind and gracious God who intends to bring about the good of His people.

Maybe you can’t see the path right now? Maybe you are like me, in the dead zones common where we now live, and the map has become a spinning circle, loading, loading and now you feel lost, no idea which way to turn? Maybe you are like my daughter in the front seat and you are saying that you trust the driver but you want to have your own map pulled up… just in case?

Yea, I understand. But take a peek in the rear view mirror for just a minute. God who brought you this far is here with you now, leading you into good on His good and gracious path. Joseph has evidence in the past faithfulness of God. We have evidence in the past faithfulness of God, in the promises of God.

When we trust God’s promises and God’s character, we have something much better than a map. We have a certain Hope.