Scripture Readings: Matthew 9:18-26, 2 Corinthians 5:6-10, Philippians 4:4-7, Hebrews 10:19-25
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)
Monday April 9 — Ruth 1:16-19
Ruth is one of the heroes of the Biblical story. Her faithfulness to Naomi, poetically described in verses 16-17 have been used to inspire relationships of all kinds for thousands of years. Her decision to remain with Naomi was wrought with uncertainty and risk. As Christians, we believe that Easter hope gives us courage to do the right thing, no matter the cost. Easter hope overcomes our fear and our doubt. How might you follow Ruth’s example and do the right thing this week?
• Prayer: God of Easter Hope, inspire in me a desire to do the right thing, no matter the consequences. Grant me courage and fill me with resurrection power. Amen.
Tuesday April 10 — Esther 4:9-17
Esther, like Ruth, also makes a decision to do the right thing, no matter the consequences. The words of Mordecai’s challenge to Esther as she struggles with her future are timeless and speak loudly and clearly to our lives today. Who knows, perhaps we have been called for just such a time as this (paraphrase of Esther 4:14). The world desperately needs to see and hear the message of Jesus. Will you answer God’s call and live boldly as one of Jesus’ disciples this week?
• Prayer: Eternal God, thank you for calling me to be one of Jesus’ disciples. Teach me your ways so that my life will be a witness to the world-changing power of Easter. Amen.
Wednesday April 11 — Luke 1:26-38
It is difficult for us to imagine what Mary would have been thinking and feeling as she heard Gabriel’s message. A young girl, not yet married, was asked to be the mother of the Son of God. What would she tell her family and friends? Who would believe her? Did she really want to say “no” to God? We don’t know what she thought, but we do know what she said: “let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). What would it take for you to have the same response when the risen Christ calls and sends you to be his witness?
- Prayer: Loving God, I have heard your call to follow Jesus and your commission to witness to all I have seen and heard. Let it be with me according to your word.
Thursday April 12 — Luke 10:38-42
Martha and Mary are important characters in the story of Jesus’ life. It is likely that Jesus spent considerable time in their home; they were his friends. When their brother Lazarus died, Jesus wept. When they were angry at Jesus, he consoled and comforted them and reminded them of the Good News of resurrection. (See John 11:1-44). In Luke 10, we read how Jesus commended Mary for her discipleship. It’s not that Martha’s concern for hospitality was not important, but that our relationship with Jesus is always our highest priority. How might you follow Mary’s example today?
• Prayer: Faithful God, help me set aside time today to sit at Jesus’ feet so that I can listen and learn. Help me grow closer to Jesus. Help me follow Mary’s example. Amen.
Friday April 13 — John 4:7-26
Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well would have been controversial for many reasons: men and women did not have these kinds of conversations; she was a Samaritan (an enemy of the Jews); and she had a troubled past. But Jesus did something nobody else seemed to do, not even his own disciples. He saw her not by her labels (Samaritan, woman, troubled past); he saw her as a child of God. And as a result, she bore witness to Jesus and “many from that city believed in [Jesus] because of the women’s testimony” (John 4:39). How has your relationship with God transformed your life? What testimony will you offer today?
• Prayer: Merciful God, thank you for seeing me as one of your children, and not by the labels I wear. Transform my self-image so that I can bear witness to your love. Amen.
Saturday April 14 — Acts 18:24-28
Apollos was a coworker of the apostle Paul and a leader in the first-century church (see 1 Corinthians 3:5-9). But he didn’t become a powerful instrument for God’s Kingdom on his own. Despite his many gifts, he needed the teaching of Priscilla and Aquila to help him learn and grow. Like Apollos, we need the help of others to grow in our faith and serve the living Christ effectively. Who is God using to help you grow in faith? How is God using you to help others learn and grow?
• Prayer: God of Love, I am thankful for all the people you have sent into my life to help me grow in my faith. I am willing to be used by you to help others grow in their faith. Amen.