January 21

Genesis 42:18-43:34; Matthew 13:47-14:12; Psalm 18:16-36; Proverbs 4:7-10

Jesus went to His hometown and He was prepared to show the power of His Father. But as much as He desired to see all the people healed, He was limited. How could this be? Jesus could heal sick people, raise people from the dead, multiply food and cast out devils. How could Jesus have all this power and yet He could not do any miracles?

One thing that keeps the power of God from flowing into our lives is: our unbelief! As much as God wants to heal, bless, restore, deliver and provide for us, He can’t without our permission and participation.

With all the power that Jesus has, He can do nothing for someone who does not believe. When we believe, we give God permission to operate in our lives. This means we submit to His power! We also have to cooperate with His way of doing things. When we read the stories of people Jesus healed, sometimes He gave them instructions: to the lepers, He said go show yourself to the priests. To the man beside the pool, He said, “Take up your bed and walk.” To the blind man, He said, “Go wash your eyes in the pool.” They had to follow what Jesus told them to do.

I want you to search your heart this week and ask yourself, “Am I hindering the miracles that God wants to do in my life because of unbelief?” Are you truly submitted to God in the area where you need a miracle? Are you doing the things that God has instructed you to do? If your answer is, “Yes!” Then get ready, because your miracle is on the way! 

Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 44:1-45:28; Matthew 14:13-36; Psalm 18:37-50; Proverbs 4:11-13

January 20

Genesis 41:17-42:17; Matthew 13:24-46; Psalm 18:1-15; Proverbs 4:1-6

Because God knows the future, He knows the ups and downs that lay around the corner. Have you ever thought that there are some things for which God is trying to prepare you?

Pharaoh had a series of dreams and Joseph was asked to interpret them. Joseph boldly told Pharaoh that God had a plan. He wanted the Egyptians to use the 7 years of plenty to prepare for 7 years of famine. And, they were to manage things so well that the abundance of the 7 years of plenty would sustain them for the 7 years of famine. Just as God said, Joseph did and Egypt became the storehouse for the entire region.

God knows what lies ahead and He is always trying to get us prepared to face the challenges that come. Are you bold enough to not only hear what God says but act on it so that you can be prepared when things happen. You may have received a little nudge concerning something. Sensing that God is leading you in a new direction but never acting on it is dangerous for your future.

God knew the financial calamities of the past several years were on the way. He was trying to warn us so that we would be ready. Some heard and prepared. Others did not. Repent for not listening and God will still help you. But, make a commitment that you will not miss another cue from God.

God is a Good Shepherd and He wants to guide us even in the difficult times by preparing us ahead of time.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 42:18-43:34; Matthew 13:47-14:12; Psalm 18:16-36; Proverbs 4:7-10

January 19

Genesis 39:1-41:16; Matthew 12:46-13:23; Psalm 17:1-15; Proverbs 3:33-35

When we left Joseph, it appeared that he was moving away from his purpose/dream as he journeyed to Egypt as a slave. But, what we quickly saw today was that even in the most unlikely circumstances, Joseph was advancing.

What was Joseph’s secret to success when his dreams were on the line? He acted like God was with him! In everything Joseph did, he knew that God was seeing. He had a moral compass that would not allow him to be tempted to do evil (Potiphar’s wife). He lived a life of integrity so that wherever he went, he was trustworthy.

Did you notice how Joseph would not take credit for the things that God did through him? When Pharaoh gives him credit for interpreting dreams, Joseph immediately says that is God’s ability. He said the same thing to the Baker and the Cup-bearer.

Joseph also got along with others! Even though Joseph had every reason to be angry at the world because of his unfortunate circumstances, the Bible never records anger, resentment or even frustration. All of this positioned him to steadily move towards his purpose/dream.

When you live a life recognizing that God is with you all the time and you demonstrate dependence on him, integrity, morality (holiness) and character, God will propel you forward even from difficult situations!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 41:17-42:17; Matthew 13:24-46; Psalm 18:1-15; Proverbs 4:1-6

January 18

Genesis 37:1-38:30; Matthew 12:22-45; Psalm 16:1-11; Proverbs 3:27-32

Everyone can’t handle your dreams! As you start a new year and begin to dream big dreams and pursue your purpose with passion, there are people who will not accept, affirm or assist you with them. This is a part of life but it should not deter you from dreaming anyway!! When you read the word “dream” think “purpose”!

God gave Joseph a dream for his life just like He gave you a dream (purpose) for your life. God revealed His dream to Joseph. God wants to reveal His dream for your life too. In his haste and excitement, Joseph shared his dream with people close to him and they rejected his dream. Has this ever happened to you?

Here is the difference: Joseph did not let their rejection stop him. Here is a great thought I’d like you to take with you from today’s reading. What he could do, He did do and God did the rest!

Joseph was obedient to his Dad. He went to see his brothers. His brothers threw him in a pit and sold him into slavery. Joseph never let go of his dream! So, what can you do with the dreams that you shelved or put on the back burner? Dust them off and bring them to the front burner!!

Just do that and watch what God does; step-by-step God will bring your dreams to pass. Joseph’s dream looked impossible to fulfill from the pit he was thrown into. But, God did it. Over the next couple of days, we are going to look at the things Joseph did intentionally to live out His purpose!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 39:1-41:16; Matthew 12:46-13:23; Psalm 17:1-15; Proverbs 3:33-35

January 17

Genesis 35:1-36:43; Matthew 12:1-21; Psalm 15:1-5; Proverbs 3:21-26

Have you ever done spring cleaning where you opened up every closet and cleaned your house from top to bottom. You would be surprised the things you uncover in that process. God calls us periodically to perform a spiritual cleaning.

What are the things that keep you from clearly hearing Gods voice? What barriers have you erected that block you from pursuing God’s will for your life?

Jacob was settling into his hometown and right in the middle of his unpacking, God said to “Get ready and move to Bethel and settle there.” God took his life full circle; he went back to the place where he made his vow to God.

On the way to Bethel, God prompts Jacob to perform spring cleaning. Jacob tells everyone to get rid of their pagan gods and idols so that they could get ready to meet God. God is asking us to do the same. Are you carrying things that are hindering the full move of God’s Spirit in your life? When you are unsettled about the future and full of worry, it usually means that you are carrying things on our journey that are blocking God’s presence. It’s time for some “spring cleaning.”

You can perform spring cleaning really easily. Read 1 John 1:9. Confess it and forsake it (give it up). Here was David’s prayer. “Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.” Before spring gets here, let’s purpose in our hearts to clean out so we can have more room for God!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 37:1-38:30; Matthew 12:22-45; Psalm 16:1-11; Proverbs 3:27-32

January 16

Genesis 32:13-34:31; Matthew 11:7-30; Psalm 14:1-7; Proverbs 3:19-20

There really are things that money cannot buy! Jacob, while returning home, encounters Esau. Because he is unsure how Esau will receive him, Jacob devises a plan to shower Esau with gifts in the hopes of buying his acceptance and forgiveness. He arranges his possessions and people so that if Esau attacked part of his family and wealth, the other part could get away.

How mistaken he was! Jacob fretted all night over what would happen when he saw Esau. God sent a messenger to Jacob and Jacob refused to let the angel go until he blessed him. Jacob wrestled until morning and received the blessing. The interesting thing is that Jacob already had the blessing on his life. Jacob saw first hand God’s empowerment to succeed against all odds. But, Jacob could not see how God would heal his relationship with his brother.

Are you trusting God completely in one area and then struggling to trust God in another? You might be facing different issues in your life but the same God who has worked on your behalf before, will work again for you!

Jacob had a great track record with God. You should too. Stop trying to work out situations on your own. Stop trying to use things to buy people. Let God show you that He can do for you what money cannot buy!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 35:1-36:43; Matthew 12:1-21; Psalm 15:1-5; Proverbs 3:21-26

January 15

Genesis 31:17-32:12;Matthew 10:24-11:6;Psalm 13:1-6; Proverbs 3:16-18

What do you do when all you have is a promise? Jacob was told by God to head home. He endured all of Laban’s trickery and was now headed to the land of his father, Isaac and grandfather, Abraham.

On his journey home, Laban shows up once again to harass him. Jacob stands firm in his conviction to leave and return home; and then sends word to his estranged brother that he is heading back home. When his servants return, they bring unwelcome news: Esau is on his way with 400 troops!

In Jacob’s mind, Esau was ready to take his revenge and settle the score. How could this be? God told him to come home, now his brother is advancing with an army. Surely, Jacob was second-guessing God’s instruction.

Are you committed to holding your course once you have heard from God? It is important to understand that hearing from God and acting on it is only the first step. Your resolve will be tested.

The presence of opposition or hindrances does not mean you misheard God. In fact, the opposite is true. Resistance means you are on the right track. When all you have is a promise, that’s all you need. Trust the promises that God has given you. He will make them happen in your life!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 32:13-34:31; Matthew 11:7-30; Psalm 14:1-7; Proverbs 3:19-20

January 14

Genesis 30:1-31:16; Matthew 10:1-23; Psalm 12:1-8; Proverbs 3:13-15

We often hear people talk about the blessing of God but do we really know what it means? If you look closely at the life of Jacob you see the clear picture of what the Blessing of God is and how it works.

The Blessing of God is an empowerment to succeed against all odds. The Blessing of God makes us unstoppable! Jacob had worked for his uncle and had his wages changed 10 times. He worked for 7 years in order to marry the girl of his dreams. After his wedding night, he learned that he married the wrong woman. So, he worked another 7 years for his true love! That’s 14 years!!!

When Jacob is ready to return to his homeland, he makes a deal with Laban: Give me all the spotted, specked and striped members of the flock as my pay. Right after he makes the deal, Laban has his sons remove the spotted, speckled and striped animals from the flock and take them far away so Jacob cannot find them. Do you know what happened?

God still blessed Jacob! The solid flocks still gave birth to spotted, speckled and striped offspring. This was a miracle that only the Blessing of God could produce. ” As a result (of the Blessing working in his life), Jacob became very wealthy, with large flocks of sheep and goats, female and male servants, and many camels and donkeys.” (Genesis 30:43, parentheses is mine)

The very thing that Laban sought to withhold from Jacob came to him anyway. Who have you allowed to limit your progress? Whose actions have you allowed to squash your dreams? Whose opposition has caused you to pull back from your goals? The answer should be: “No One! Because I have the Blessing of God working in my life.”

When you became a Christian, God conferred The Blessing on you! “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3).

You are empowered to succeed against all odds. Now, Go out and let God prove it to you!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 31:17-32:12;Matthew 10:24-11:6;Psalm 13:1-6; Proverbs 3:16-18

January 13

Genesis 28:1-29:35; Matthew 9:18-38; Psalm 11:1-7; Proverbs 3:11-12

Where do you meet God? Do you have a regular place where you pray or read the Word? In the Bible, the place where a person met God was called an altar. It was a place dedicated to God’s glory. It became a milestone where one would retreat to hear from God.

Jacob was at a critical juncture in his life. He was looking for a wife and running from his brother, Esau. With his life on the line and his future in question, Jacob did a good thing: he stopped to rest. Here is a real spiritual truth: when you are worn down and tired it is difficult to hear from and experience God.

Once Jacob closes his eyes, God has an appointment with him. He sees angels ascending and descending on a ladder. He also sees God at the top of the ladder. God reiterates the promises that He made to Abraham. He let Jacob know: regardless of the problems you are facing, your future is still assured.

Jacob had every reason to question if God were going to give him the land. But God let him know that he was not disqualified. God promised him property, provisions, protection and His presence. When Jacob awoke, he built an altar there to memorialize the promises that God had made. And, all these years later, God has kept His Word!

Why not establish a place where you can regularly meet with God? In this place, expect God to speak to you and reveal His Word to you. Then establish a regular meeting time with Him where you can commune with God. If we build God an altar, He will come!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 30:1-31:16; Matthew 10:1-23; Psalm 12:1-8; Proverbs 3:13-15

January 12

Genesis 26:17-27:46; Matthew 9:1-17; Psalm 10:16-18; Proverbs 3:9-10

Isaac led a privileged life and was not used to resistance. Now that he had his own family, he set out to Gerar. He dug a well and there was a dispute over the well. In a move of great maturity, he abandoned the well by calling it “argument”. Later, his men dug another well so that they could get fresh water and the inhabitants of the land claimed ownership again. This time he named it “Hostility” and moved on.

Not willing to be deterred, they went and dug another well. On this occasion, no one contested the well’s ownership so Isaac named it, “Open Space.” The Hebrew Word for “Open Space” is Rehoboth! In other words, God has made room for him.

As you are pursuing the goals God has given you, resistance may arise. How will you handle it? Will you stay and try to battle or will you keep moving forward? As people attempt to attack you or your character, will you play games of retaliation? It’s not worth it.

Isaac shows us a great example. You just keep moving forward. Do not let your detractors pull you into a battle. Just rise above it and keep moving forward. Isaac did it and not only found that God made room for him, but he also lived long enough to see those who tried to steal from him, come and ask for his help.

Be encouraged today as you know that God has prepared a table before you even in the presence of your enemies. Those who resist you are helping you get to the place that God has reserved for you. And that place, no one can take from you! Rehoboth!

Tomorrow’s Readings: Genesis 28:1-29:35; Matthew 9:18-38; Psalm 11:1-7; Proverbs 3:11-12