Friday, May 6, 2011

Matthew 10:9-10

"'Don't take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins. Don't carry a traveler's bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don't hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed.'"
Jesus' call is to radical dependence on him and his people. The disciples were sent out to preach and heal. As they did so, they were not to take care of themselves but to trust God and depend on others. This is how we are to operate also: trusting God, giving what he has given us, in deep interdependence on other believers. How countercultural is this?! Yet it is what he still calls us to do.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Matthew 10:8

"'Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!'"
Jesus tells his disciples to do the same incredible works he has done. He gives them the power. It does not come from them, it comes from Jesus. They are to let his power flow through them freely to bless and heal others. You too have been given Jesus' power to bless and heal. The trick is to tune in to it, to be aware of what he's giving you so that you may give to others. You don't try, in your own strength, to do something good. You freely receive from Jesus, then pass it on.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Genesis 31:11-13

"'Then in my dream, the angel of God said to me, "Jacob!" And I replied, "Yes, here I am."' "'The angel said, "Look up, and you will see that only the streaked, speckled, and spotted males are mating with the females of your flock. For I have seen how Laban has treated you. I am the God who appeared to you at Bethel, the place where you anointed the pillar of stone and made your vow to me. Now get ready and leave this country and return to the land of your birth."'"
God appeared to Jacob in a dream, then interpreted what was happening in light of God's character (God is just). He also reminds Jacob of who he is—the God Jacob had already met, the God whom Jacob had vowed to serve. And he gave Jacob clear guidance as to what to do. When God shows up in your life, he will help you interpret your experience in his light, he will reveal more of his character, and he will guide your next steps. He is not hindered by the sins or injustice of other people (in this case, Laban's), either!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Genesis 30:16-18

"So that evening, as Jacob was coming home from the fields, Leah went out to meet him. 'You must come and sleep with me tonight!' she said. 'I have paid for you with some mandrakes that my son found.' So that night he slept with Leah. And God answered Leah's prayers. She became pregnant again and gave birth to a fifth son for Jacob. She named him Issachar, for she said, 'God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband as a wife.'"
This is a snapshot of a much larger picture of how God built the nation of Israel through Jacob's sons. Some came from Rachel, some from Leah, and some from each of their servants. The sons of Jacob were born out of familial strife, jealousy, and resentment. But God sent blessing anyway. We could question Leah's interpretation of events, but at least she gave God the credit. If you're ever discouraged about your family or other situation that would seem to thwart God's blessing, take heart! God will accomplish his good purposes, despite all our sins and failures

Monday, May 2, 2011

Matthew 9:36–38

"When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, 'The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.'"
Here Jesus reminds us who the Lord of the harvest is. The harvest does not depend on us; it is God's work, yet we each have a part. It may be planting, watering, fertilizing, getting rid of weeds, or perhaps harvesting. All are necessary. Do not only think that harvesting (seeing people make a commitment to Christ) is the only valid spiritual "farm work." Watering, fertilizing, and keeping out weeds are at least as important. Ask God on any given day, at any given moment, what your "gardening" task is to be.