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

January 11

Genesis 24:52-26:16; Matthew 8:18-34; Psalm 10:1-15; Proverbs 3:7-8

We have heard it said that everyone has a price. If this is true, then we can attach some level of value to every aspect of our lives. How about your birthright? Does it have a price? Not your earthly birthright but your spiritual birthright.

In the Bible, the first-born son was given a birthright which meant that he would get an extra portion of the father’s wealth. So, if a father had two sons, upon his death, his estate would be divided into 3 parts. Each child would get a part and then whoever had the birthright would get an additional part of the estate (in this case 2/3rd of the inheritance).

Esau sold his first-child status and his entitlement to 2/3rd of his father’s wealth for a pot of stew! Isaac was a very wealthy man and Esau would have enjoyed 2/3rds of his estate. What caused Esau to give up something so precious for something so worthless?

He devalued his birthright. He did not comprehend its real wealth. He misjudged that the blessing could be attained with the birthright! “He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.”

So, how about you? Have you surrendered your birthright as a child of God for something far less important? From the moment that Esau made his decision to give up his birthright, he put the blessing in jeopardy. Ultimately, Esau lost it all.

As a Believer, you have a right to healing, salvation, joy, property, unconditional love and so much more. Could it be that when you gave up your spiritual birthright, you forfeited the blessing from God? The birthright gets you your father’s possession. The blessing gets you what money cannot buy. If you have neglected your birthright, repent and ask God to forgive you for taking his blessings for granted. Once you’ve reclaimed it, then expect God’s blessings to overshadow you each and every day!!!

Don’t sell yourself cheap! Know your birthright and protect it at all costs.  You are a child of God.

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

January 10

Genesis 23:1-24:51; Matthew 8:1-17; Psalm 9:13-20; Proverbs 3:1-6

We see a whole new Abraham today. From the man who doubted God’s protection to a man who confidently sends his messenger out to find a wife for his son. In some ways, Abraham was a slow learner because it really took him a great deal of time to learn how to truly trust God for the end results (He really is no different than us). Here is a phrase that speaks volumes: “He will send his angel ahead of you….”

When Abraham’s servant went forth to find a wife for Isaac, he expressed doubts that a woman would desire to travel back so far from home. With confidence, Abraham says in essence, “God’s already worked it out.”

What gave Abraham his confidence? Once you have experienced a faith victory, you can never go back to relying upon human reasoning and possibilities only. He witnessed first hand how God kept His Word and gave him a son. Why wouldn’t God also find that son a wife? You see God never starts something without completing it.

It would have been an incomplete miracle to have a son who could not get the right wife. Is there an area where you have seen God work and now you are worried about what the next step will be? God will always complete what he starts! If God can get you the job, he will show you how to prosper on the job. If God opens the door, He will give you everything you need to walk through the door. Believe today that what God starts He is well able to complete!

“I don’t believe he brought you this far to leave you” because the miracle would be incomplete and God does not believe in incomplete miracles! Believe it!

 

Tomorrow’s Readings: Genesis 24:52-26:16; Matthew 8:18-34; Psalm 10:1-15; Proverbs 3:7-8

January 9

Genesis 20:1-22:24; Matthew 7:15-29; Psalm 9:1-12; Proverbs 2:16-22

Just when you thought Abraham’s saga was settling down, it heats up. This time, Abraham is in a foreign land and just like in Egypt, he crafts the story about Sarah being his sister. When the dust settles, Abraham prays for King Abimelech and his wife’s barrenness is removed.

Abraham had waited a long time for God’s promise to manifest. To make matters worse, Abraham has to pray for someone to have children. Do you ever wonder if God has a bad sense of humor? The very thing that Abraham longed for was going to happen for someone else. And, it is because of Abraham’s prayers.

As we are standing in faith for God to work in our lives, we tend to ignore the prayer requests of others. When our prayer list gets long, we neglect the needs of others. There is a powerful lesson to gain today: put someone else at the top of your prayer list. Can you rejoice with someone who received his answer before you received yours? Can you smile while someone else is enjoying the same thing that you have been praying, fasting, and believing for?

If the answer is, “No” then maybe you are not ready for your prayer to be answered. I love the way Chapter 21 opens, “The Lord kept his word….” After Abraham had obeyed God and prayed for Abimelech’s wife to have children, God answered His prayer for a son. These are selfless prayers when we can put the needs of others before our own. Isn’t that what the New Testament teaches us? “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” (Philippians 2:3-4) This is a key to answered prayer.

 

Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 23:1-24:51; Matthew 8:1-17; Psalm 9:13-20; Proverbs 3:1-6

January 8

Genesis 18:16-19:38; Matthew 6:25-7:14; Psalm 8:1-9; Proverbs 2:6-15

There is a power in righteousness. It means to be in good standing with God. In the Old Testament, they had to earn this status through their works (actions). Abraham had a proven track record with God and when his nephew, Lot, was in Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham had enough good standing with God that he could plead for Lot’s life.

In our society, righteousness is downplayed as unnecessary. In fact, people seem to be praised for their ruthlessness and utter ungodliness. Those types of people may wield great earthly power but they do not wield any supernatural power.

Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we no longer have to earn righteousness. It is conferred upon us the moment that we accept Jesus as our Savior (Romans 10:9-10). There are great privileges to being in God’s family (being in good standing with God).

You have the assurance of answered prayers. You have God’s protection and favor on your family. You can intercede on another’s behalf and God will honor those prayers. You also get provision of your needs and so many more. These are great benefits but they do come with responsibility.

Jesus said that those who are righteous should have only one priority: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33). God expects us to put Him first in all we do. Not as an afterthought but a priority–as the actual center of our lives!

Don’t neglect your righteous benefits. It is your advantage in a world that is full of unrighteousness!

Tomorrow’s Reading:  Genesis 20:1-22:24; Matthew 7:15-29; Psalm 9:1-12; Proverbs 2:16-22

January 7

Genesis 16:1-18:15; Matthew 6:1-24; Psalm 7:1-17; Proverbs 2:1-5

Have you ever resisted a miracle that God wanted to perform? Most of us would say, “No!” But, if we were to delve deeper into how we react to the big promises that God gives us, we may have a different response.

Abram and Sarai (later known as Abraham and Sarah) were told by God that they would have their own child– even though they were old. This was a big promise. Abram and Sarai had many encounters with God where He proved that He was awesome and had no limitations. When Lot was taken, Abram and a small band of men rescued him from 5 kings. When they were in a famine, God provided for them. When Lot needed to be delivered from Sodom, God sent a personal, angelic escort. God had a great track record of keeping His Word!

Yet, when God reminds them of His promise to give them a child of their own, they can’t believe it. So, they tried to help God out by creating a substitute. Sarai gives her servant, Hagar, to her husband and she gets pregnant. But, this substitute is not what God promised. Then, God changes their names to reflect their new status. Abram becomes Abraham — which means father of many. Sarai becomes Sarah, which means princess. Even with their name change, they were reluctant to believe God could keep his promise to them.

Later, God sent an angel to give them the specific season when the child would be born. Sarah in disbelief, laughs! We know how their story ends. God keeps His Word and they give birth to their own son.

What miracle have you resisted? Is there a promise you have cherished in your heart that you thought was impossible because it was beyond your abilities?  If God made you a promise, He can and will perform it. Dust the promise off. Get it off the back shelf. Let God show you His power as He keeps His promise to you against all the odds. Don’t resist God’s promises this year. Rely upon them because they will surely come to pass!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 18:16-19:38; Matthew 6:25-7:14; Psalm 8:1-9; Proverbs 2:6-15

January 6

Genesis 13:5-15:21; Matthew 5:27-48; Psalm 6:1-10; Proverbs 1:29-33

The grass is not always greener on the other side!! Lot learned this the hard way! Abram’s men and Lot’s servants were not getting along. They needed to separate. Abram graciously let Lot choose which land he wanted. Lot, after seeing how green and plush the land of Jordan looked,  chose the best for himself.

Abram stayed where he was in the land of Canaan. Even though it appeared that Abram had been taken advantage of, the opposite was true. Abram ended up being in the land that flourished and Lot ended up in a place called Sodom! You see the truth here is that when there is a blessing on you, it really does not matter where you are. The blessing will manifest where you are.

Most people would have criticized Abram because as the elder person, he should have chosen first. He deferred to Lot and seemingly got the “short end of the stick.” In actuality, when you defer to others and esteem others more than yourself, you position yourself for God to bless you even more. Isn’t that what Jesus was teaching in Matthew 5? We should demonstrate our love to neighbors and enemies because we cannot lose. People may feel because you let them have their way that they have gotten the best of you but they can’t. The green grass that they chose may end up being Sodom.

Years ago, I noticed a patch of grass in our yard was greener than all the rest of the grass. Week after week, it grew greener and greener than the rest of the lawn. After weeks of wondering, I went to examine why. You know what I found? We had a problem with our septic system! Everything that looks green may not be better!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 16:1-18:15; Matthew 6:1-24; Psalm 7:1-17; Proverbs 2:1-5