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January 14

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“I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family” (Genesis 31:13 NKJV).

From: January 14, 2020


Jacob had arrived in Haran empty-handed, but now he had wives, many children and flocks of sheep, goats and camels. The Lord had made him wealthy. Yet, he was fearful for his life, for his father-in-law and his sons were jealous of Jacob and were beginning to accuse him of being a thief. He was worried.
That night as he slept the Lord spoke to him in a dream and reminded him of a previous time years ago when Jacob was apprehensive about traveling to Haran to get a wife. He had no riches to offer in payment, only his body to work for it and his heritage as a grandson of Abraham and Sarah to win a wife from his own tribe.
At that time, Jacob had become tired on the way and lay down to sleep with his head on a rock as his pillow, when he had a vision of a ladder between heaven and earth with angels ascending and descending upon it (See Gen. 28:10-22). There the Lord spoke to Him, promising to keep him and bring him back to that very place. When Jacob arose, he set that rock up as a pillar to the Lord and called the place “Bethel,” which means “house of God.”
Now years later, the Lord reminded Jacob of that night, referring to Himself as the “God of Bethel.” In this way, Jacob was once again encouraged in the midst of his anxiety about the future.
The Lord often has us look back to a time when we clearly heard from Him in order to remind us of His faithfulness and to encourage us to move into the future trusting in Him fully. When you look back, do you see those places and times when you were afraid, yet God brought you through? Think back. The God of Bethel who was with you then, is still with you now. Remember the pillar moments you’ve had with God.
PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You that on those dark nights when we feel all alone, You are with us. Help us to remember Your faithfulness in the past and not forget. Strengthen us to move into the future with confident faith in Your presence and provision. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“The Lord replies, “I have seen violence done to the helpless, and I have heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rise up to rescue them, as they have longed for me to do” (Psalm 12:5 NLT).

From: January 14, 2019


We tend to turn our eyes away from the helpless, fearing they may ask us for help. We cover our ears to the groans of the poor, hoping they will knock on someone else’s door. Yet, the Lord sees and hears them. He does not turn away His eyes, nor cover His ears. He is ready to rise up to rescue them.
Following the Lord we begin to look for the helpless and listen to the poor. We no longer turn away. Looking and listening with the Lord’s eyes, we sense Him calling us to rise up and participate in their rescue. When the disciples saw that the crowds were hungry, the Lord said, “You feed them” (Mark 6:37). And like the disciples we worry that we don’t have the resources. But the resources are the Lord’s. Ours is the looking, listening and the rising up to join the Lord in His work. Doing so, He multiplies our resources.
PRAYER: Lord, help us to see the helpless and hear the poor with Your eyes and ears. You are the Head and we are Your body. Help us to trust the means of rescue to You. Yet, we desire to rise up to join You in the work. Thank You Lord for your provision and calling. In Jesus name, Amen.

‘Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your father and grandfather and to your relatives there, and I will be with you.”’ (Genesis 31:3 NLT).

From: January 14, 2018

Jacob already wanted to return to the land of his birth, but when the Lord instructed him to go, he began to make preparations. He told his wives what the Lord had said to him and they immediately were supportive, saying, “Go ahead and do whatever God has told you” (Gen. 31:16). It is a powerful thing when a husband hears and obeys the word of the Lord, and a wife is unified with him.
On a side note, I found it interesting in today’s reading that most of Jacob’s twelve sons were introduced by name in the OT reading and then the twelve disciples of Jesus were introduced by name in the NT reading.

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16 NKJV).

From: January 14, 2017

It was Jesus who sent out the disciples. The Greek for “I send” is emphatic. It is Christ Himself who is sending them out. It is by His authority and command. In this sending, Jesus used the attributes of four animals to describe the way He was sending them:
1) “As sheep” – Meek and without apparent physical defense.
2) “Amidst wolves” – Wolves harm sheep. They represent those who will persecute and kill the disciples.
3) “As serpents” – Serpents were seen to move with wisdom and subtlety. Move like serpents, but strike as…
4) “As doves” – “Harmless.” Be wise like serpents, but don’t strike as they do. Be harmless as doves.
Jesus is still sending out His disciples with the same authority and in the same manner.

“When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes” (Matthew 10:23 ESV)

From: January 14, 2016

The spreading of the gospel is the high calling for all Christians. If we are persecuted in one town, so that the gospel opportunity is limited or closed, then go to the next town. The corollary would be that if a place is welcoming to the gospel, then stay there. How do we know the timing of when to go and when to stay? The answer is that we are to be led by the Spirit. Sometimes He calls us to stay and suffer, so that hard soil is broken up and a resistant place is softened by our suffering for Christ. Yet, other times He calls us to escape persecution, so that He can have us carry the gospel to a place already prepared to hear it. That the “Son of Man comes” before all the towns of Israel have been visited has a much debated meaning. Some say Christ was referring to His plan to rejoin them after sending out His disciples. Others believe He was speaking of His resurrection, when His true nature would be revealed. Still others believe He was speaking of the fact that many Jewish towns would be resistant to the gospel until the end times before Christ’s second coming. For myself, I believe it was the latter meaning. And that we are to be busy spreading the gospel to every town on planet earth until His soon return.

“…do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you” (Matthew 10:19-20 NKJV)

From: January 14, 2015

When Jesus sent His disciples out as witnesses, He gave them detailed instructions. He even prepared them for times when they would be persecuted or questioned concerning their faith. He instructed them not to “worry” about defending their faith because God’s Spirit would give them the words to say in the “hour” it was needed. This promise that the Spirit will give us the words to say assumes that we will go out as witnesses. If we do not go out, then the Spirit’s help is hardly needed. We will miss out on this wonderful supply of grace. But if we obey Jesus and go out as witnesses, then this provision of spiritual wisdom will be experienced. So, stop saying, “I’m afraid to share my faith because I don’t know how or because I’m afraid they’ll ask something I don’t know the answer to.” Instead, go out in obedience and let the Spirit speak in and through you.

“The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over” (Psalm 12:6)

From: January 14, 2014

We make promises that we don’t always keep. We may mean well, but circumstances may change that prevent us from keeping our word. But God is not a man. His Word is more powerful than any challenge. His promises are like pure “silver.” No circumstance can hinder His Word. His promises are true. Where do you put your trust?

“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold” (Proverbs 3:13-14)

From: January 14, 2013

This wisdom is best understood as a full and growing knowledge of God’s Word combined with the understanding of how to rightly apply it to life’s circumstances. There is a way of thinking that the world calls wise, but it is foolishness to God and leads to death. The wisdom of God leads to blessing and eternal life.

“Don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time” (Matthew 10:19)

From: January 14, 2012

What Jesus told His disciples about fear of witnessing. Our part is to go and to share. It is the Holy Spirit that abides within us who will speak through us, if we are obedient to go. No fear.

“Help, LORD, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men” (Psalm 12:1)

From: January 14, 2011

Have you ever felt like the Psalmist? Observing the news, media and politics of our land, do you despair? Don’t. Elijah thought he was the only one faithful in his generation, but God always has a remnant. Perhaps He is calling you to pray and call fire down from heaven.