Thoughts about Jacob
Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Genesis 32:26
Jacob got off to a bad start in life. When it came to business practices, he had more angles than a pyramid! First he cheated his older brother, Esau, then his father-in-law, Laban. Then, one night, the Angel of the Lord showed up in his tent and Jacob wrestled with Him until daybreak. As the sun rose, the Angel said to him, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ At that point the Angel told him he would no longer be called by his old name, Jacob, which means ‘deceiver’, but by his new name, Israel, which means ‘a prince with God’. Up until this time Jacob thought making money would make him happy, but it didn’t; it almost cost him his family. Sound familiar? But after wrestling with God he received a new name, a new nature, a new walk and a new future. Isn’t that what you want too? Well, the good news is—you can have it! The Bible says, ‘If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Jacob was a self-made man. The problem was he wasn’t enjoying the life he’d made for himself. He didn’t know he’d been born for a purpose greater than merely acquiring ‘stuff’, and it was only in God’s presence that he discovered this. His story in a nutshell is this: Jacob was who he was. He wanted to be like Esau, but, Israel, a prince with God, was who God made him. And God can do the same for you if you let Him.
Heavenly Father, I can’t wrestle with You and win – I give up – Change me! In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Release Yourself from Bitterness – Part 2
See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:15
Releasing yourself from bitterness calls for: 1) Choosing to forgive. ‘Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you’ (Ephesians 4:32). Whether or not the person who hurt you apologizes, is dead or alive, or is still hurting you, your only option is forgiveness. By forgiving, you set yourself free to enjoy life. 2) Releasing the wrongdoer from all expectations. By changing your expectations, you reclaim your peace of mind. Whether or not the other person changes is his or her business—move on! Requiring a certain response keeps you bound to them. Paul says, ‘Christ has set us free to live a free life…Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you’ (Galatians 5:1). 3) Transferring to God all expectations for your needs. His Word says, ‘God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:19). Note the word ‘all’. God can supply the people, resources and opportunities you need to live a joyful life. 4) Asking God to bless your offender. Yes, it’s difficult, but Jesus said, ‘Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!’ (Matthew 5:44). That kind of prayer puts you in the driver’s seat of your life. 5) Doing something nice for your offender. Ask God how you can bless them. ‘If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will…conquer evil by doing good’ (Romans 12:20-21). You defeat anger and bitterness by believing and acting on God’s Word.
Heavenly Father, I forgive and release myself to follow Your will and reflect You in all that I do. Thank You – in Jesus’ Name, Amen
The post Release Yourself from Bitterness – Part 2 – August 29, 2015 appeared first on LCC Daily Devotions.Read more...
Release Yourself from Bitterness – Part 1
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:31
Anger is often the product of frustrated expectations. We expect something, and when we don’t get it we end up disappointed and angry. And our anger leads to a dysfunctional personal, spiritual and relational lifestyle. Frustrated expectations are often rooted in early experiences with our parents, siblings and authority figures. Perhaps our needs for love, acceptance, security and significance were never met; then later we experienced broken commitments in marriage, business and friendships. Ultimately, smoldering anger becomes a weapon in our arsenal, threatening to hurt everything and everybody we care about. We become bitter people—avoided, excluded and lonely. God instructs us to ‘get rid of all bitterness’, so that ‘no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many’ (Hebrews 12:15). How do we obey His command? 1) By accepting and acting on His Word. Without a Scriptural foundation, old emotions will repeatedly undermine your efforts to overcome them. ‘Get rid of all bitterness’ is an order that implies the promise of success when you obey it. 2) By choosing to be released from bitterness. Choice isn’t an emotion, and it doesn’t require an emotional response. God won’t control your emotions, but neither will He let them influence Him. Believing God’s Word and making the choice to obey it always results in success. So start strengthening your will and your faith. How? By choosing to obey God in spite of your feelings! Practice this every day until it becomes a lifestyle. Then instead of being mastered by your moods, you’ll find yourself ‘reigning in life’ (Romans 5:17), no longer controlled by your negative emotions.
Heavenly Father, help me be controlled by positive emotions that help others and myself and help me let go of all anger of all kinds. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
The post Release Yourself from Bitterness – Part 1 – August 28, 2015 appeared first on LCC Daily Devotions.Read more...
When the Answer Isn’t What You Want
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 2 Corinthians 12:7
Paul isn’t referring to the kind of ‘thorn’ you find on rosebushes, but a sharp, pointed stake that inflicts pain. And the word ‘buffet’ means ‘to render blow after blow after blow’. This makes his next statement all the more amazing: ‘I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in…touch with my limitations…I…begged God to remove it. Three times…then He told me, “My grace is…all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” Once I heard that…I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift…Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer…I just let Christ take over!’ (vv. 7-10). Paul responded to his thorny situations by doing six things: 1) Admitting he needed God’s strength. 2) Asking, even begging, for God’s help. 3) Accepting the answer when God said, ‘No.’ 4) Appreciating it as ‘a gift’. 5) Acting with confidence and continuing to fulfil his mission. 6) Acknowledging that the problem allowed God to work through him. When the driving force within Paul had been redirected by God, he wrote: ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me’ (Galatians 2:20). Paul’s will had been taken to the cross and crucified. Now he operated in the will of God and no longer questioned the path or the price. That’s the place God wants to bring you to!
Thank you Heavenly Father for the “thorn” that you have given me – that I can use to be humbled and thankful as I serve You and do Your will. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
The post When the Answer Isn’t What You Want – August 27, 2015 appeared first on LCC Daily Devotions.Read more...
Your Answer Is—God!
If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling! Job 23:3
Job’s troubles lasted almost a year. In that year he lost his children, his money, and his health. That’s when he prayed, ‘Oh, that I knew where I might find Him.’ Notice, Job didn’t pray, ‘Oh, that I knew how to get back my children, my money, and my health.’ He focused on none of those things. He realized that when you are in right standing with God, all the rest will fall into place. Here’s a truth you learn when you lose what you love: when you’ve nothing left but God, you discover that God is enough! Much of the book of Job is about him arguing with God and complaining about his lot in life. Are you doing that? If you are, don’t worry. God can handle it. As long as your eyes are on Him, He can correct you, teach you, help you, and cause you to grow stronger in faith. Job wasn’t privy to what had gone on behind the scenes. He didn’t know that a discussion had taken place between God and Satan in which Satan said, ‘If You strip Job of all he has, he will curse You’ (Job 1:11). But God knew differently, so He allowed Satan to attack Job for a season. When it was over, God hadn’t changed His mind about Job and Job hadn’t changed his mind about God. The only one who had changed his mind was Satan! If you’re wondering how the story ends: ‘The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning’ (Job 42:12). So if you’re in trouble today, your answer is—God. Keep trusting Him and He will bring you through victorious!
Heavenly Father, help me to really know that no matter what happens or what is taken away from me, You are always there! Thank You – In Jesus’ Name, Amen