January 28

Exodus 5:22-7:25;Matthew 18:21-19:12;Psalm 23:1-6;Proverbs 5:22-23

Many people say that forgiveness is hard. But is it really? Today we read a story about a man who owed a creditor a lot of money. Faced with losing everything and having his entire family sold into slavery, this man pleads with his creditor to have mercy on him.

In a surprising act, the creditor forgives the debt. This man whose debt has been forgiven senses the relief of debt cancellation and starting with a clean slate. Not too long after his debt is forgiven, this man sees someone who owes him a little bit of money. Rather than extending debt forgiveness or at a minimum patience, this man, whose debts were forgiven, gives the harshest treatment possible to his debtor.

When the original creditor hears of this, he is incensed because of the hypocrisy and double standard of this man. He has him arrested and tortured until his debt is paid in full. Why was this man whose debt had been cancelled, so unforgiving?

Simple: he forgot what it felt like to be forgiven! Forgiveness is not hard when you recall how much God has forgiven you. Take a moment and remember how you rebelled against God. Think about the times you were disobedient to God. How many times did you ignore God’s leading? For all these things, you were forgiven! If God can forgive you, shouldn’t you muster the courage to forgive others?

The one who has been forgiven much will forgive much!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Exodus 8:1-9:35; Matthew 19:13-30; Psalm 24:1-10; Proverbs 6:1-5

January 27

Exodus 4:1-5:21; Matthew 18:1-20; Psalm 22:19-31; Proverbs 5:15-21

Ever felt like you could not accomplish what God has given you to do. One thing is for certain, when it is an assignment from God it is always above and beyond what our regular abilities can accomplish!

Here is a simple truth: when a task is from God it will always appear impossible for you! So, don’t be surprised when there is a big vision in your heart! Only the devil gives small vision! God’s vision is big.

Yesterday, we heard God’s conversation with Moses. God speaks about how He has heard his people’s cries. God tells Moses that He is going to do something about it. And, before you know it, God says, “Moses, I’m sending you!” Huh?

Moses offered a litany of excuses as to why someone else would be better— as if God would ever accept our excuses. In such a loving way, God responds to every objection with a solution. When God finally tells Moses to go back and get started, Moses’ objections were answered and he leaves full of faith!

If God did that for Moses, won’t He do it for you? Whatever the big dream is that God has given you, trust Him to do it through you! All you have to do is be obedient! God will never tell you to do anything that He won’t help you to do!

For those who have questions about Exodus 4:24-26: Click here.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Exodus 5:22-7:25; Matthew 18:21-19:12; Psalm 23:1-6; Proverbs 5:22-23

January 26

Exodus 2:11-3:22; Matthew 17:10-27; Psalm 22:1-18; Proverbs 5:7-14

“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help?” (Psalm 22:1) Have you ever felt this way? I’m sure you have.

What do you do when it seems like your prayers to God are being ignored? How do you respond when you call on God and there is silence? David, in the psalms, cried out desperately to God but felt abandoned. “Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief.” (Psalm 22:2)

Whenever you feel that God has abandoned you, know that it is not true! Whenever you feel like heaven is silent, it’s not! God has an unconditional commitment to His children. A loving parent always knows the cries of his children. So does God!

Israel cried out to God because of their mistreatment. For years it seemed like their prayers were ignored. But, they weren’t. God was preparing the answer to their prayers. It was Moses. Before Moses was born Israel was mistreated. He sent Moses with a divine purpose to deliver His people from Egypt. Even when He was born, God protected His life and positioned Moses to be a great deliverer for Israel.

This is also why you must be careful when new people cross your path. They may be sent from God with the answer for which you were praying! God will answer your prayers through people! You should live a life of obedience and pray for others to obey because they may be the one who God has sent to get you out of your situation.

Don’t take Heaven’s silence for indifference. When you cry out to God, He most certainly hears you! He is putting the pieces together to bring to you a great deliverance—one that only He can get the glory from. You just hold on and stay in a position to receive. So, when your deliverance arrives, you are ready! When you cry, God hears and He answers!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Exodus 4:1-5:21; Matthew 18:1-20; Psalm 22:19-31; Proverbs 5:15-21

January 25

Genesis 50:1 – Exodus 2:10; Matthew 16:13-17:9; Psalm 21:1-13; Proverbs 5:1-6

It is undeniable that we go through challenging situations in life. Bad things do happen to good people. More often than not, when these bad things happen, or problems arise, we blame God for them as if he desires to bring trouble into our lives.

How do you handle the betrayals of life? How do you keep going when your heart has been broken? I want to introduce a simple principle today: The Law of New Meaning! While you cannot control the problems that arise in your life, you can control how you respond to them.

Joseph had immense power and could have wielded it to harm his brothers (after all they sure deserved it some would say). But, he was able to give new meaning to the trauma he endured. He acknowledged to his brothers that their intent was evil. But, thank God, their intent does not have the final word!

His brothers thought they could extinguish his dream. They didn’t realize that a God-given dream cannot die! Joseph reviewed the pain in light of the end of the story. Even though they meant to harm him, Joseph knew God was working out something far greater than he could have ever imagined. He gave his suffering new meaning.

What have you gone through? I know when you were going through it, you felt like the world was ending. But, now, you are on the other side of it: stronger, more mature in faith, have a greater commitment to the things of God, and still ready to see God’s dream for your life come to pass. They may have meant to harm you but through God’s love and His power, He turned it out for your good!

I am reminded of that old Gospel chorus, “If I never had a problem, I wouldn’t know that God could solve them. I wouldn’t know what faith in God could do.” Your problems are just opportunities for God to show you how powerful He is. Know that God is working your tragedies into triumphs!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Exodus 2:11-3:22; Matthew 17:10-27; Psalm 22:1-18; Proverbs 5:7-14

January 24

Genesis 48:1-49:33; Matthew 15:29-16:12; Psalm 20:1-9; Proverbs 4:20-27

How are you preparing to leave a legacy on earth? It’s never too soon to answer this question. When we read the Bible, we are reading about real people who lived real lives of faith. Jacob was Abraham’s grandson. Can you imagine what it was like to have Abraham as your granddaddy? 

Today, I want you to take a long view of history. Look beyond you to those who will come after you. Jacob took the time to bless his children and grandchildren. He was following in the long line of fathers who did this. What you do today and how you live your life today will affect those who come after you. You may not have had a blessing passed on to you but you should not allow that to stop you. 

Speak life to future generations even if their current behaviors are not in line with what they have been taught. Your words of blessing over their lives will hunt them down! There is no place that any of your children or grandchildren go that your prayers cannot find them! 

The bloodline that Jacob blessed is still around today! Take some time today to think about the legacy you will leave and what will be passed on to the next generations. Then spend the rest of your life living it out! Even after you are gone, your legacy will keep on going through those who come behind you. 

Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 50:1 – Exodus 2:10; Matthew 16:13-17:9; Psalm 21:1-13; Proverbs 5:1-6

January 23

Genesis 46:1-47:31; Matthew 15:1-28; Psalm 19:1-14; Proverbs 4:14-19

One day Jesus was approached by a Gentile woman. This woman’s daughter was possessed and tormented! Obviously, she must have heard about Jesus and what He was able to do. She approached Jesus and pleaded with Him to heal her daughter. She pleads so loudly that she became disruptive. The Disciples insisted that Jesus send the woman away. 

He wouldn’t do that! Jesus tells her that His focus right now is on the lost sheep of Israel not Gentiles who have not acknowledged God. She would not stop! She kept pleading and worshipping! Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs” (Matthew 15:26). Now, that’s a strong statement. 

Jesus was saying to the woman, in essence, giving you healing and you not respecting the God who gives the healing is like wasting food. She agrees but doesn’t give up. She says but even dogs get crumbs!! This woman impressed Jesus with her faith. He called her faith great! Why? 

Because she would not be denied her miracle, even if she were not the ideal candidate. Have you short-circuited your faith by thinking you were unworthy? Have you felt disqualified for God’s blessings because of your past? Learn from this woman! Jesus will not turn you away if you trust Him as your only source!  That woman left Jesus with a miracle and so will you!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 48:1-49:33; Matthew 15:29-16:12; Psalm 20:1-9; Proverbs 4:20-27

January 22

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

How do you respond when you have been wronged? Not those accidental offenses that could be reinterpreted and overlooked. When you know that a person has stabbed you in the back and you saw them do it? When someone with careless and reckless resolve attacks you and means to do you harm, how do you handle it?

Well, Joseph found himself in this very same predicament. His brothers mistreated him thoroughly. Then, to make matters worse, he ends up in prison. Joseph had every right, in the natural, to become resentful and even plot ways to exact revenge. But, you know what Joseph did?

He forgave those who hurt him! What a big person it takes to forgive people who intentionally hurt you!! In order for Joseph to walk in his future, he had to forgive those who hurt him. If not, he would have used the power that God gave him to harm those who hurt him. If he did this, it would have negated his dream (purpose).

Are there people who have hurt you? Are you still holding a grudge against them? Are you unable to move forward with your life because of the actions of another? If so, you are holding back your dream from becoming a reality.

Do like Joseph did: redefine your suffering as something that positioned you for God to use you at a higher level. Joseph said, “God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.” (Gen 45:7-8)

God will use the roadblocks that others put in your way as stepping-stones for your future!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 46:1-47:31; Matthew 15:1-28; Psalm 19:1-14; Proverbs 4:14-19

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