January 22 – Forgiving is Not an Option

“Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!  I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.  And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’  And in anger his master delivered him to t he jailers, until he should pay all his debt.  So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” 

Matthew 18:32-35

January 22

Dear E&N,

We continue to meditate on Matthew 18, as Jesus talks about forgiveness.  Peter is wondering how many times he should forgive someone, before he doesn’t have to forgive any more.  Jesus replies with a number that indicates unlimited forgiveness, and then follows by telling the parable of the unforgiving servant.  In the story, a king forgives a servant of a huge debt he could never hope to repay.  In return, the servant demands a small sum owed to him from one of his fellow servants, and shows no mercy.

David shows his understanding of his sins:

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment. 

Psalm 51:3-5

Although our sins impact our own lives as well as those around us, it is against God that we sin.  If God had not made the rules, there would be no rules to break – no standards, no moral code.  (And thus conscience, a knowledge of good and evil, speaks to the existence of God).  God tells us that the wages of sin is death.  We can be forgiven this debt we owe, this burden of sin, through the gift of God – eternal life, through Jesus Christ.

Just as God forgives us a debt we could never possibly hope to repay, we are to forgive our fellow humans when they sin against us.  Their sins may impact us greatly, but they are not the same weight as the lifetime of sins we have been forgiven by God.  Jesus will fairly judge all things at the end of the age.  There are those who will have all their debts forgiven and enter life, and there are those who will pay for their debts and enter the lake of fire.

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”  To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21

God’s command for us to forgive others, it turns out, is very sound psychological advice.  When we hold onto bitterness, it is US who pays the price emotionally, not the other person.  When we seek revenge, it is US who get in trouble or escalate the situation.  It is far better for ourselves if we leave the judgement in God’s capable hands.

Love,

Mom

Today’s Prayer:

Dear Jesus, please help me to forgive those who hurt me.  Let me release all anger and bitterness to You and place judgement in Your hands.  Thank you for forgiving me when I sin against You.  Please help me to extend this same mercy to others.  Amen

___________________________________

Today’s Suggested Bible Reading:

Exodus 8, 9, 10 – Plague 2 – Frogs; Plague 3 – Gnats; Plague 4 – Flies; Plague 5 – Livestock Death; Plague 6 – Boils; Plague 7 – Hail; Plague 8 – Locusts; Plague 9 – Darkness.

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January 21 – Sin is a Big Deal to Jesus

“And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.  It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire.  And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.  It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.”

Matthew 18:8-9

January 21

Dear E&N,

God hates sin.  Just exactly how much God hates sin we see woven throughout the Old Testament, as there are instances of His divine judgement on human sinfulness (worldwide flood; tower of Babel; Sodom & Gomorrah…).  Sins are pictured as filling up a cup, and when the cup is full, God metes out His wrath.

What about the New Testament?  Jesus, the visible face of God, hates sin just as much as ever.  He tells us to deal with it swiftly and mercilessly in our own lives.  In order to enter life (eternal life), as opposed to entering the hell of fire (eternal death), Jesus tells us to chop off that which tempts us to sin.  Jesus, being God, hates sin just as much as Father God does.

We all have different struggles.  Some struggle with alcohol, sex, or overeating; gossip, lying or fighting; coveting, stealing, or shopping; video games, sports, or entertainment.  When we allow anything to control us, it becomes an idol to us.  What can we not live without?  What pulls our heartstrings?  Where do we spend our time, our money, our talents, our energy?  What are our habits?  If we follow this trail, does it lead to things that honor God and make us good ambassadors for His kingdom?

This life is a constant struggle of doing what we don’t want to do – battling the sin nature in us.   God is full of grace and mercy, and if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  We aren’t to let down our guards and use God’s grace as an excuse, though.  “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,  but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.” Hebrews 10:26-27  If we happily can continue in willful sin after salvation, we are to search our hearts and question if we are actually saved.  Sin is a Big Deal to God.  Search for its  influence in your life and chop off its temptations – look for entry points of weakness.  This may mean a new career, this may mean different friends, this may mean different hobbies or pastimes.  Seek out accountability in areas with which you struggle.  Pray.  In this way, you can keep the devil from gaining a foothold and reduce the power of sin over you.

Love,

Mom

Today’s Prayer:

Dear Jesus, help me to hate sin as much as You do.  Please help me to spot it in my own life.  Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil.  Amen

__________________________________________

Today’s Suggested Bible Reading:

Exodus 5, 6, 7 – Moses & Aaron approach Pharaoh, who will not let the Israelites leave.  The Israelites are forced to work harder.  Moses & Aaron again approach Pharaoh, who refuses their request, and God sends the first plague – turning water into blood (or red like blood).  The magicians duplicate this with the black arts.

January 20 – Faith Like a Child

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 18:3-4

January 20

Dear E&N,

Having children is one of the most illuminating experiences in life.  All of a sudden, things your parents said and did start to make sense.  Your own life comes into clearer focus – both the beautiful and the ugly.  Even the Bible springs to life in new ways.  Today’s chapter in Matthew 18 is one of those passages.

Jesus’ disciples wanted to know who would be greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Perhaps we can understand Jesus’ response better if we look at who is greatest in kingdoms of the earth – generally, those with some combination of wealth, power/dominance, royal genes, war strategy, fame, beauty, or intelligence.  In contrast, Jesus teaches that the greatest in heaven will be humble like a child – and not only that, but unless we turn and become like children we will never even enter heaven.   He even prays this, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children”  Matthew 11:25.

In Jesus’ day, and for most of human history, children were not given the elevated importance that they sometimes are today.  The thought of becoming child-like to be great was probably puzzling, if not repulsive, to the disciples.  Remember, they tried to keep children away from Jesus so they wouldn’t “waste His time”.  – “Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.””  Matthew 19:13-14

One of the pleasures of having you in my life is in teaching you about God.  Far from having to convince you of God’s existence and reality, you both accepted this as true and perfectly reasonable from the time you could talk.  As you have grown, and I have tried to explain humanity’s rationalizations to ignore God, you find them bizarre and strange.  Truly, even in trying to explain these things to you it becomes apparent how humans willfully participate in blinding themselves to truth.  “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  2 Corinthians 4:4

People don’t want to see God as truth because then they feel convicted by and accountable to Him.  In human pride and sinfulness, we don’t want to obey God – we want to pursue our own pleasures.  So people close their eyes, stick out their tongues,  plug their ears and say to God – “I can’t see you!  Nyah nyah nyah!”  Of course, this does not change reality, and does not change that some day they will face Him in all His glory.  What a fearful day that will be.

The gospel is simple to grasp, even for a young child.  We do bad things, which separates us from our Father.  This separation feels horrible.  In pride, we try to ease our guilt and shame through anger or distraction.  But what we really want deep down is restored relationship.  If we just let go of our pride, and run to our Father, He has provided a way to restore relationship.  We don’t want to keep chasing things that don’t satisfy.  Through Jesus, we can ask for and receive forgiveness.  Through Jesus, we can receive power over the things of this world which ensnare us.  Through Jesus, we can have restored relationship with the Father and live with Him eternally.

Children know they are dependents.  When we lay aside our pride and self-reliance, we turn and become like children – dependent on our Father for His guidance, provision, and protection.  In child-like faith, we trust in His promises.  We trust that God will take care of us, and has our best interests at heart, just as our earthly parents should.

Love,

Mom

Today’s Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for the simplicity of the gospel.  Thank you for taking care of me as a Father.  I need Your guidance.  I need Your provision.  I need Your protection.  Thank you that You will never fail to keep Your promises.  Amen

_____________________________________

Today’s Suggested Bible Reading:

Exodus 3, 4 – God appears to Moses in the burning bush and calls him to lead Israel; Moses comes up with a multitude of excuses;  God gives Moses 3 signs to perform; God calls Moses to account for his end of following the covenant; Moses eventually agrees to lead Israel with his brother Aaron’s assistance.

Matthew 18 – Greatest in heaven; Temptation to sin; Parable of the Lost Sheep; Forgiveness

January 19 – Seed Sized Faith

“For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 17:20

January 19

Dear E&N,

Faith like a mustard seed is not very big at all.  God does not mean for us to literally move mountains; however, He is certainly willing to do the seemingly impossible for us (the miraculous) if it is in His good and perfect will.

This verse is so simple, yet infinitely challenging.  Jesus clearly tells the disciples that the miraculous will occur with even the smallest amount of faith.  And yet, I have encountered people with a mighty amount of faith whose mountains have not moved.  Or at least, not in the way they were asking them to move.  While God does sometimes directly answer faith with miracles, far more often He does not.  Far more often He works through the mundane and the ordinary.  He leads us to doctors and medicine, He leads us to counselors and therapists.  Sometimes people live, and sometimes people die.

God is often more glorified in our weaknesses, which cause us to rely on Him and walk in humility.  His answers often are not immediate, as we would prefer in a society groomed on instant gratification, but bloom like a flower.  When the process is complete, we can see the beauty.   Does that make it any less miraculous?

I believe the disciples lived in a specific transition time period, and were given special authority for that time period.  Miracles performed by Jesus and in His Name while He walked on earth were always immediate and complete.  They also occurred every time except for several demonic possessions.  Jesus makes the mustard seed statement to the disciples specifically in response to their inability to cast out a particular demon from a boy.

I believe that God still does miracles today, and that our faith and prayers play a part in that.  However, I also believe that if God does not choose to do a miracle or answer a prayer with an immediate “yes”, it is not necessarily because of our lack of faith.  That places God’s action as dependent on our works, not His will.

There are those who would shame others for not being able to call up the tiniest amount of faith if their prayers are not answered.  For if our mountain doesn’t move, our faith must be smaller than a mustard seed, right?  I don’t believe that thinking honors God.  Even Jesus prayed for the cup of His suffering and death to be taken from Him if at all possible, but in the end prayed that not His will, but the Father’s be done.  Paul had a “thorn” in his side given to him by God which was not healed, and Jacob (Israel)’s hip was permanently injured by wrestling with God.

It is good to ask God for things we know He supports.  It is best if we ask Him first, and He encourages us to be persistent in our requests.  But always we need to surrender to His will above our own.

Love,

Mom

Today’s Prayer:

Dear Jesus, I ask you for the gift of faith that can move mountains.  I ask for faith in Your plans and purposes for my life and for the lives of those around me.  Please help me to know and love Your will.  Amen

_____________________________________

Today’s Suggested Bible Reading:

Exodus 1, 2 – Israelites in Egypt made slaves; Moses is born and grows up; Moses murders a man and flees.  Israel cries out to God for relief from their slavery.  (God sees our pain, but sometimes waits to act until we cry out to Him to rescue us)

Matthew 17 – Jesus’ transfiguration; Jesus heals a boy with a demon; Jesus foretells his death & resurrection; Paying taxes

January 18 – The Incomparable Treasure of Eternity

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”

Matthew 16:24-26

January 18

Dear E&N,

What does it mean to follow Jesus?

In Matthew 16 Jesus warns against the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees, which were the two major Jewish religious sects of the day.  Remember that Jesus came first for the lost house of Israel – the gospel spread to the gentiles (us) AFTER Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah, AFTER His death and resurrection.  If the Jewish religious elite had managed to turn relationship with the LORD (Father God) into an empty religion, which Jesus so harshly criticized, I wonder if the gentiles repeated this pattern?

Today, there are hundreds of denominations which call themselves Christian.  Many of these denominations disagree on teachings even as basic as salvation.  How can this be, when Jesus is the only way – the truth? (John 14:6; John 8:32)  Jesus warned that there would be many false teachers and that people would reject his commands to follow the traditions of men.  People would even prefer imitation over the truth, and religion over relationship with Him, because it would allow them to feel good about themselves even if they continued in sin.  (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46; 2 Timothy 4:3-4).  This is so prevalent today, that it surely is a sign we are near the end of the age.

Jesus didn’t mince words – he wasn’t all rainbows of love and bubbles of happiness.  “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”  The cross was a torture device, fit for the worst of criminals – humiliating and cruel. Jesus hadn’t died yet when He spoke these words – there was no hope yet in the symbol of the cross.  Take up a cross to follow Him?  Deny himself?  Lose his life for Jesus?  We are to lay down (put to death) our own desires and passions, and take up Jesus’ cause – to make disciples of all nations.  We are to obey Jesus and be faithful to His commands even to the point of death.  For if we had everything this world offers – unlimited money, power, fame, and beauty – it would come to nothing when this life ended.  The rich and the poor alike end up in Hades, forfeiting their eternal souls, unless they choose to follow Jesus.  There is NOTHING in this world that is worth the incomparable treasure of eternity with God.

People take bits and pieces of the Bible and weave it into a tapestry of man-made traditions.  Don’t be misled – always search the Bible to see if these things are so.  Even if you stand alone, choose God’s Word over man’s.  Let God be true and every man a liar. (Romans 3:4)

Love,

Mom

Today’s Prayer:

Dear Jesus, help me to know Your Word.  Show me Your ways, oh Lord, teach me Your paths.  Lead me in Your truth, and teach me.  For You are the God of my salvation. Amen

_________________

Today’s Suggested Bible Reading:

Genesis 48, 49, 50 – Jacob blesses Joseph’s sons; Jacob’s last words and blessings; Jacob dies;  Joseph dies.

Matthew 16 – Jesus warns about the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees (man’s religious traditions); Peter calls Jesus the Messiah; Jesus predicts His death & resurrection; Take up your cross to follow Him.

January 17 – God Works All Things For His Purposes

“And now don’t be worried or angry with yourselves for selling me here, because God sent me ahead of you to preserve life…  God sent me ahead of you to establish you as a remnant within the land and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Therefore it was not you who sent me here, but God.”

Genesis 45:5, 7, 8

January 17

Dear E&N,

One beautiful part about the story of Joseph, is that he continues to acknowledge God’s sovereignty in the workings of man.  He tells his brothers,  “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20   He recognizes that nothing happens outside of God’s knowledge and sovereign control.  Even though people have free will, God can shape the course of history even through our individual stories and choices.  And He does this for the good of His people.

In Romans 8:28 we are reminded that “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Sometimes we can’t see the good as clearly as God can, because we see a very small piece of the puzzle.  But God has the puzzle box – He can see the Big Picture.  Sometimes the path to the good is treacherous – I can’t imagine that Joseph thought that being sold into slavery or tossed into jail was for his good – but we trust that God will work everything out, as He has in the lives of those who have gone before us.  And at the very end of this age, God will make all things new.  So even things that are so painful in the here and now will be remembered no more… And there will be no more sadness, no more pain, no more death.

Love,

Mom

Today’s Prayer:

Dear Jesus, please help me to put my trust in You, even when it appears that everything around me is falling apart.  Thank you for working for the good for those who love You.  Amen

________________________________

Today’s Suggested Bible Reading:

Genesis 44, 45, 46, 47 – Joseph tests his brothers; Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers and sends for his father.  Jacob moves to Egypt with all his family.  The famine continues, and all money and land goes to Pharaoh – the Egyptian people are made slaves.  Note that the Egyptian priests continue in their religion and own their land and get provisions from Pharaoh, and Joseph oversees this.

January 16 – Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

They said to him,“We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” And Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.”

Genesis 40:8

January 16

Dear E&N,

We have been following the establishment of Israel as God’s chosen people, and now we zoom in on Joseph.  We have seen that in contrast to his brothers, Joseph remains steadfast in his obedience to God.   What a yo-yo of ups and downs – from a simple life as a nomadic shepherd, to a slave in a palace, to head of palace servants, to prison for a crime he didn’t commit, to leader of the land only under Pharaoh himself.  It’s a 15 year rollercoaster… Meanwhile, he serves God faithfully wherever God places him – whether raised up or down low.  This reminds me of what Paul says in Philippians 4:11-13: “I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.  I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  Despite being the only Hebrew around, amidst all this sadness and hardship, Joseph does not become bitter.  He remains true to God in a sea of unbelief.

God had previously given a few prophetic dreams to Joseph himself; now we see God give several prophetic dreams to those around Joseph.  God gives Joseph the interpretations and Joseph rightly attributes the interpretations to God.

God mainly speaks to us through the Holy Spirit, through reading His Word and in our conscience/heart.  As we grow closer to Jesus, it is easier for Him to lead us.  Although I do not find His leading obvious, it is probably safe to say that the only good in me is because of Him.  So whenever we encourage others, whenever we are lifted up, if we have a gifting – remember that every good and perfect gift comes from our Father.  Let’s remember to give Him credit and glory and honor, instead of taking it for ourselves.

I find it interesting as we watch Joseph, and before him, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  There is no mention of them trying to convert others to follow their God; although they are quick to give God the credit and glory for His miraculous deeds.  Sometimes I feel like I should be doing so much more to spread God’s Word, but most of the examples in the Bible (apart from the 12 disciples) are of people living lives of quiet obedience.  Isaiah 30:15 says, “For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In repentance and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.””  Our actions speak louder than our words.  A light on a hill is certainly bright, but it’s not necessarily loud.

Love,

Mom

Today’s Prayer:

Dear Jesus, please help me to remember that the good in me comes from You.  You have gifted me with talents and abilities, please help me to honor You with them, even as you further refine me into Your image.  Amen

_________________________________

Today’s Suggested Bible Reading:

Genesis 40, 41, 42, 43 – Joseph interprets 2 prisoners’ dreams; Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams; Joseph rises to power; Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt to buy food; Joseph’s brothers return to Egypt with Benjamin

January 15 – The Steadfast Love of the Lord Never Ceases

But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love… And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.

Genesis 39:21, 23

January 15

Dear E&N,

We’ve been following the establishment of the 12 tribes of Israel in Genesis.  Abraham has a few major blunders, but shows himself to be a great man of faith – following God to the point of even offering up his son of promise.  His son, Isaac, does fairly well in following God and believing in His promises.  Isaac’s children don’t fare so well.  Esau, the firstborn, gives away his birthright to his twin Jacob over a bowl of stew.  Jacob takes the birthright, but also the blessing of the Promise through deceit.  Jacob, despite his questionable morality (deceit; showing favoritism; taking 2 wives and 2 partial wives), does indeed receive the blessing of God and fathers 12 sons who will become the heads of the 12 tribes of Israel (Jacob’s new name, given to him by God).

So now we see these 12 sons.  Through Jacob’s overt favoritism towards Joseph (and also Benjamin, the two sons by his favorite wife Rachel), there is expected jealously amongst the other sons.  They capture him, intend to kill him, but instead sell him into slavery.  We follow one son, Judah, into moral depravity which carries through to his own children.  Contrasted to this, we follow Joseph.  He has been sold by his brothers, and taken from all that he has known and loved.  But Joseph acts morally, flees from evil, and follows God.

What is the point of all this?  God is faithful, humans are often not.  God shows His steadfast love to those who fear Him, who trust in His promises, and walk in His precepts.  Even when they stumble and fall.  We see God working through very real, definitely sinful, people to work out His plans and purposes for good.  Not just in one person’s life, but throughout the course of humanity.

Love,

Mom

Today’s Prayer:

Dear Jesus, please help me to walk in Your ways and trust in Your promises.  Thank you for your faithfulness to me.  Amen

The Steadfast Love of the Lord Never Ceases

__________________________________________________

Today’s Suggested Bible Reading:

Genesis 37, 38, 39 – Joseph’s dreams; Joseph sold by his brothers and bought by Potiphar; Judah strays from God and his family; Joseph resists Potiphar’s wife and is thrown in prison.

January 14 – Giving Lip Service to God

“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”

Matthew 15:8-9 (Isaiah 29:13)

January 14

Dear E&N,

People love traditions and customs.  They are a comfortable part of our culture.

The Pharisees in Jesus’ day had added many rules onto God’s rules in order to create traditions.  Traditions they felt safe and comfortable in.  Jesus revealed to them that many of their traditions were in vain – they were “whitewashed tombs” that looked great from the outside but were full of death on the inside.  They didn’t take these revelations well.  Human pride wants Me and What I Do and Believe to be Always Right.  Only God is always right.

The Pharisees followed religion.   It was in their traditions, rules, and customs that they put their faith.  They were focused on Their actions, not God’s.  Similarly, today we can be very involved in religion.  Religion is “a cultural system of behaviors and practices, world views, sacred texts, holy places, ethics, and societal organisation that relate humanity to what an anthropologist has called ‘an order of existence'” (wikipedia).  Note that the definition of religion is completely devoid of relationship.

God is not interested in “religion”.  God is a person, who desires authentic relationship with us.  He desires us to worship Him with our hearts – our whole being – not just our lips.  It’s definitely possible to go through the motions – saying and doing all the right things – fooling others and maybe even ourselves, but we definitely never fool God.   Not all traditions honor God.  Let us critically examine what we participate in, to see if it aligns with God’s heart.

Love,

Mom

Today’s Prayer:

Dear Jesus, please help me to be transparent and authentic in my relationship with You.  Please help me to honor you with my heart.  Please show me where the traditions and customs of religion don’t please You, and help me choose to follow You over the culture of man.  Amen

_______________________________________________

Today’s Suggested Bible Reading:

Genesis 35, 36 – God blesses Jacob; Rachel dies in childbirth (the 12th son is born and completes the 12 tribes of Israel); Isaac dies.  Esau’s descendants.

Matthew 15 – Traditions of men; what is in the heart; the faith of a Canaanite woman; Jesus heals many and feeds 4000+.

January 13 – Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:31

January 13

Dear E&N,

There will be times in your lives when you will step out boldly, in faith.  It may be a little thing, or it may be a big thing.  It takes a lot of faith to make a change in our lives, or reach out to others, or to follow where we believe God is leading.   Each step gives us courage for the next.

Sometimes we will be like Peter and step out passionately.  And sometimes, like Peter, we will come to our senses halfway there.  If we are going the wrong way, it is good to turn back.  But if we are going towards Jesus, we can’t let our minds get distracted by the wind and the waves.  It is when we take our eyes off Jesus that we fall.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Keep your eyes on Jesus, He will see you through.

Love,

Mom

Today’s Prayer:

Dear Jesus, please help me to have faith and not doubt.  Lead me, and help me to follow.  Amen

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

___________________________________________________

Today’s Suggested Bible Reading:

Genesis 32, 33, 34 – Jacob wrestles with  God; Jacob heads back home and meets his brother Esau.  Jacob’s daughter Dinah is raped and her brothers plot and kill all the males in the city because of it.

Matthew 14 – John the Baptist is beheaded; Jesus feeds the 5000+; Jesus walks on the water.