It’s an interesting thing to consider when you look at what you are doing for others. When you are doing it, is it to glorify God or is it to pump yourself up? When you do something good for someone else, do you need to tell others about it or are you ok with it just being between the two of you? (you and God) Do you need to let others know what you are up to? Do you need to have others in the know? Are you able to do great things and not tell anyone or let anyone really know? Are you able to do things that leave the only way to point for such a blessing to God? Are you ok if nobody knows it was you? Are you ok if nobody knows the giving you do, the people you serve, the sacrifices you make? Will you allow God to reward you rather than needing fan fare?
Today’s reading comes from:
- Matthew 6:1-15
- Acts 8:26-40
- Psalm 14
- Genesis 32
- Genesis 33
Do you have private time with God? Do you spend quality time with Him so that you can build a relationship with Him? Are you building up your trust in Him? Are you building up your character with Him? Are you transforming because of your relationship with Him? Do you have quiet time away from everyone so that you can focus on the main thing, keeping first things first? Intimacy isn’t something you go and do out in public, so to have an intimate relationship with God, we need to make time alone with Him. Praying isn’t a routine, it’s conversation with God. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn out event. God knows what we need even before we ask. He gives us a simple pattern that we can use for our prayer:
9… ‘Our Father in heaven: May your holy name be honored;
10may your Kingdom come; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today the food we need.
12Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.
13Do not bring us to hard testing, but keep us safe from the Evil One.’
– from Matthew 6 (GNT)
It’s always interesting for me to read God’s Word through the different translations as it puts an angle on it that is different from other versions, it has a filter that gives me a slightly different perspective and deepens the understanding and grows my hope, trust, and faith.
Forgiveness is the key! Forgiveness is the power! Forgiveness is the plan!
14 “If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done.
– from Matthew 6 (GNT)
Forgiveness is what Jesus bought on the cross! Forgiveness is what prevents a bitter root from grabbing a foothold in your life. Forgiveness opens the door to true freedom! Forgiveness opens the door to fullness of joy! Forgiveness keeps us from bottling up a bunch of poising and junk inside that will eat us up from the inside out! We need to be obedient to God’s will and forgive and allow God to do the work in them. We need to be obedient to God and not limit the number of times. (7×70) So today make sure to get rid of that stuff so that you can live to the fullness God has planned for you.
When we are ready and in a place where God can use us at any moment, the doors of opportunity to speak, truth, hope, and love into the lives around is will appear. The opportunity to share the love of God with others will materialize. Just as we see when we find Philip…
Philip and the Ethiopian Official
26An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get ready and go south to the road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This road is not used nowadays.)27-28So Philip got ready and went. Now an Ethiopian eunuch, who was an important official in charge of the treasury of the queen of Ethiopia, was on his way home. He had been to Jerusalem to worship God and was going back home in his carriage. As he rode along, he was reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah. 29The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to that carriage and stay close to it.” 30Philip ran over and heard him reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah. He asked him, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
31The official replied, “How can I understand unless someone explains it to me?” And he invited Philip to climb up and sit in the carriage with him. 32 The passage of scripture which he was reading was this:
“He was like a sheep that is taken to be slaughtered,
like a lamb that makes no sound when its wool is cut off.
He did not say a word.
33He was humiliated, and justice was denied him.
No one will be able to tell about his descendants,
because his life on earth has come to an end.”
34The official asked Philip, “Tell me, of whom is the prophet saying this? Of himself or of someone else?” 35Then Philip began to speak; starting from this passage of scripture, he told him the Good News about Jesus. 36As they traveled down the road, they came to a place where there was some water, and the official said, “Here is some water. What is to keep me from being baptized?”#
8.36: Some manuscripts add verse 37: Philip said to him, “You may be baptized if you believe with all your heart.” “I do,” he answered; “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
38The official ordered the carriage to stop, and both Philip and the official went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away. The official did not see him again, but continued on his way, full of joy. 40Philip found himself in Azotus; he went on to Caesarea, and on the way he preached the Good News in every town.
– from Acts 8
Are you ready? Are you prepared? Are you yielded to what God would have you do today? Get rid of anything that will keep you from accomplishing God’s will. Get ready to be used by God. Be obedient to the prompting of God’s Spirit and see how He will use you for the glory of His kingdom!
There is so much evil taking place around the world. There truly is good and evil. Today’s Psalm says:
1 Fools say to themselves,“There is no God!” They are all corrupt, and they have done terrible things; there is no one who does what is right.
2The Lord looks down from heaven at us humans to see if there are any who are wise, any who worship him.
3But they have all gone wrong; they are all equally bad. Not one of them does what is right, not a single one.
4“Don’t they know?” asks the Lord. “Are all these evildoers ignorant? They live by robbing my people, and they never pray to me.”
5But then they will be terrified, for God is with those who obey him.
6Evildoers frustrate the plans of the humble, but the Lord is their protection.
7How I pray that victory will come to Israel from Zion. How happy the people of Israel will be when the Lord makes them prosperous again!
– from Psalm 14
It’s not easy to be received after some of the things we have done to others. It’s not easy to receive someone who has manipulated you. It is only by the grace of God that we can and will get to it and get through it. We read about Jacob and Esau’s experience today.
Jacob Prepares to Meet Esau
1As Jacob went on his way, some angels met him. 2When he saw them, he said, “This is God’s camp”; so he named the place Mahanaim. 3Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the country of Edom. 4He instructed them to say: “I, Jacob, your obedient servant, report to my master Esau that I have been staying with Laban and that I have delayed my return until now. 5I own cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats, and slaves. I am sending you word, sir, in the hope of gaining your favor.”
6When the messengers came back to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau, and he is already on his way to meet you. He has four hundred men with him.” 7Jacob was frightened and worried. He divided into two groups the people who were with him, and also his sheep, goats, cattle, and camels. 8He thought, “If Esau comes and attacks the first group, the other may be able to escape.”
9Then Jacob prayed, “God of my grandfather Abraham and God of my father Isaac, hear me! You told me, Lord, to go back to my land and to my relatives, and you would make everything go well for me. 10I am not worth all the kindness and faithfulness that you have shown me, your servant. I crossed the Jordan with nothing but a walking stick, and now I have come back with these two groups. 11Save me, I pray, from my brother Esau. I am afraid—afraid that he is coming to attack us and destroy us all, even the women and children. 12 Remember that you promised to make everything go well for me and to give me more descendants than anyone could count, as many as the grains of sand along the seashore.”
13-15After spending the night there, Jacob chose from his livestock as a present for his brother Esau: 200 female goats and 20 males, 200 female sheep and 20 males, 30 milk camels with their young, 40 cows and 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys and 10 males. 16He divided them into herds and put one of his servants in charge of each herd. He said to them, “Go ahead of me, and leave a space between each herd and the one behind it.” 17He ordered the first servant, “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘Who is your master? Where are you going? Who owns these animals in front of you?’ 18you must answer, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. He sends them as a present to his master Esau. Jacob himself is right behind us.’” 19He gave the same order to the second, the third, and to all the others who were in charge of the herds: “This is what you must say to Esau when you meet him. 20You must say, ‘Yes, your servant Jacob is right behind us.’” Jacob was thinking, “I will win him over with the gifts, and when I meet him, perhaps he will forgive me.” 21He sent the gifts on ahead of him and spent that night in camp.
Jacob Wrestles at Peniel
22That same night Jacob got up, took his two wives, his two concubines, and his eleven children, and crossed the Jabbok River. 23 After he had sent them across, he also sent across all that he owned, 24 but he stayed behind, alone.
Then a man came and wrestled with him until just before daybreak. 25When the man saw that he was not winning the struggle, he hit Jacob on the hip, and it was thrown out of joint. 26The man said, “Let me go; daylight is coming.”
“I won’t, unless you bless me,” Jacob answered.
27“What is your name?” the man asked.
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have struggled with God and with men, and you have won; so your name will be Israel.”#
32.28: Israel: This name sounds like the Hebrew for “he struggles with God” or “God struggles.”
29 Jacob said, “Now tell me your name.”
But he answered, “Why do you want to know my name?” Then he blessed Jacob.
30Jacob said, “I have seen God face-to-face, and I am still alive”; so he named the place Peniel. 31The sun rose as Jacob was leaving Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32Even today the descendants of Israel do not eat the muscle which is on the hip joint, because it was on this muscle that Jacob was hit.
– from Genesis 32
Jacob Meets Esau
1Jacob saw Esau coming with his four hundred men, so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two concubines. 2He put the concubines and their children first, then Leah and her children, and finally Rachel and Joseph at the rear. 3Jacob went ahead of them and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother. 4But Esau ran to meet him, threw his arms around him, and kissed him. They were both crying. 5When Esau looked around and saw the women and the children, he asked, “Who are these people with you?”
“These, sir, are the children whom God has been good enough to give me,” Jacob answered. 6Then the concubines came up with their children and bowed down; 7then Leah and her children came, and last of all Joseph and Rachel came and bowed down.
8Esau asked, “What about that other group I met? What did that mean?”
Jacob answered, “It was to gain your favor.”
9But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have.”
10Jacob said, “No, please, if I have gained your favor, accept my gift. To see your face is for me like seeing the face of God, now that you have been so friendly to me. 11Please accept this gift which I have brought for you; God has been kind to me and given me everything I need.” Jacob kept on urging him until he accepted.
12Esau said, “Let’s get ready and leave. I will go ahead of you.”
13Jacob answered, “You know that the children are weak, and I must think of the sheep and livestock with their young. If they are driven hard for even one day, the whole herd will die. 14Please go on ahead of me, and I will follow slowly, going as fast as I can with the livestock and the children until I catch up with you in Edom.”
15Esau said, “Then let me leave some of my men with you.”
But Jacob answered, “There is no need for that for I only want to gain your favor.” 16So that day Esau started on his way back to Edom. 17But Jacob went to Sukkoth, where he built a house for himself and shelters for his livestock. That is why the place was named Sukkoth. 18On his return from Mesopotamia Jacob arrived safely at the city of Shechem in the land of Canaan and set up his camp in a field near the city. 19 He bought that part of the field from the descendants of Hamor father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of silver. 20He put up an altar there and named it for El, the God of Israel.
– from Genesis 33