Friday, April 29, 2011

Genesis 29:30-32, 35

"So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her much more than Leah. … When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive. So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, 'The LORD has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.' … Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah, for she said, 'Now I will praise the LORD!' And then she stopped having children."
God saw Leah's situation, and he cared. Out of his compassion and justice, he gave her children to comfort her. God always sees and cares, and is willing and able to bless us despite what other people do. We don't need to be a victim of other people's bad choices, for the Lord can always bring comfort and good out of every situation. Leah's children were equal with Rachel's as God's plan unfolded. In fact, it was through Leah's line, not Rachel's, that the Savior of the world would be born. Jesus was a descendant of Judah, Leah's fourth son.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Matthew 9:19-22

"So Jesus and his disciples got up and went with him. Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, for she thought, 'If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.'
"Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, 'Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.' And the woman was healed at that moment."
The woman with the chronic hemorrhage had great faith in Jesus' power. She believed that if she just touched his robe, she would be healed. But Jesus wanted to do more for her than solve her problem. He wanted to connect with her, encourage her. Jesus always wants to do more than simply solve our problems. He wants to meet our deepest needs, which are always spiritual. He wants to have a real relationship with us. Seek him as a person, not as a genie who will solve your problem. Never settle for less than what Jesus wants to give you.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Genesis 28:20-22

"Then Jacob made this vow: 'If God will indeed be with me and protect me on this journey, and if he will provide me with food and clothing, and if I return safely to my father's home, then the LORD will certainly be my God. And this memorial pillar I have set up will become a place for worshiping God, and I will present to God a tenth of everything he gives me.'"
Notice that giving a tithe is connected to worship. It is an acknowledgment that God is the source of everything we have. The tithe always seems to be an expression of true worship of God. Are you giving back at least a tenth of all God gives you, not as a legalistic rule, but as an expression of your gratitude and trust?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Psalm 11:1–4

"I trust in the LORD for protection.
So why do you say to me,
  'Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety!
The wicked are stringing their bows
  and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings.
They shoot from the shadows
  at those whose hearts are right.
The foundations of law and order have collapsed.
  What can the righteous do?'
"But the LORD is in his holy Temple;
  the LORD still rules from heaven.
He watches everyone closely,
  examining every person on earth."
When things seem to fall apart in the world—when other people tell you to protect yourself, find some way to make it through—remember: God still rules from heaven. He watches everything. Trust in him. Look to the unseen, which is more real than what is seen. God watches everything, and is looking for your faith as he examines every person on earth. Faith in his rule will keep you at peace.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Matthew 9:11-13

"But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, 'Why does your teacher eat with such scum?'
"When Jesus heard this, he said, 'Healthy people don't need a doctor—sick people do.' Then he added, 'Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: "I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices." For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.'"
Is it a comfort that Jesus came to call sinners, the "scum" of the earth? Next time you feel you must try to be "good enough" for God, remember Jesus' words here. His purpose on earth was to call people who know they needed healing. Those who do not think they need help won't get it. So don't be afraid to call on God in your weakness and sin. He came for healing! It's healing that goes to the core of all issues—sin. What Jesus does best is save sinners.