Reading the Bible in Three Years

Genesis 35 (February 4)

                                                              Room for One

            “Put away the foreign gods...”

            Imagine with me the following scene:  It’s Sunday morning, in your own church, and the pastor is preaching a long sermon.  Let’s “hear” what some of your brothers and sisters are probably thinking:

John--”I just want to know when the pastor is going to finish. I want to watch my football game!”

Maritza--”I still don’t’ have a job!  I don’t have money, and I do not know how I am going to pay the mortgage.”

Carlos-- “Man, I’ve got to buy that Corvette!”

Lucille--”What a beautiful dress Susan brought today!”

Elizabeth-- “Oh my poor baby! He is home sick, my house is a mess and I am here wasting my time.”

            Scenes like these are repeated every Sunday in a church near you.  Our bodies might be in the building, but our hearts and minds are somewhere else.  These thoughts that crowd our minds must be expelled at once!  If we let them roam around, they will become idols, foreign gods that will attempt to control our beings.

            The Bible clearly says that we must, “…take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

            God is our only Lord and Master.  Put away all the idols all the time.  When you are worshipping in your church, make sure that in your heart and mind there is only one thought, one desire and one king: Jesus Christ.

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Genesis 34 (February 3)

                                                                   From Deceit to Death

            “The sons of Jacob answered...deceitfully...”

            The sons of Jacob (now also called Israel) followed the bad example of their father.  Just as Jacob had lied to Isaac and Esau, his children now practiced deceit.  The only difference was that their lie was mixed with hatred, and this led to the brutal murder of many in the city of Shechem.

            Sin has a way of multiplying itself in subsequent generations if left unchecked, especially if children see through their parents’ hypocrisy. It is very important then, for us parents to give the best example we can to our children.

            Beware of deceitful words.  Many false prophets use them to blind and bind multitudes.  If we are not grounded in the Word, we can also be carried along by the winds of false doctrines.

            The only sure remedy against deceit is to know the truth.  To find the truth is not easy, but it can be done, if we dedicate ourselves to a daily search in the Sacred Scriptures.  The Bible is the light that illuminates our way amid the deep darkness.  The believer that studies God’s word with love and reverence will never be deceived (unless we deceive ourselves).

            Are you faithfully reading God’s word?  Let the Word be your guide, and the Holy Spirit your teacher.  He can instruct, correct and build you up, if you are submissive to his divine influence.

            Never again lend your ear to deceitful words or temptations, for they will make you fall into the enemy’s trap.  Deceit always leads to sin, and sin to death (Jas 1:14-16).

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Genesis 32 (February 1)

                                                            A Complete Prayer

            Jacob, distressed and afraid by the possibility of “danger”, uttered one of the most beautiful prayers in the Bible.  Here are some of the features of his exemplary prayer:

Biblical “O Lord who said to me...”

            Jacob based his prayer in God’s sweet promises.  When we pray, we can hang on to the promises in the Bible, because God will always keep his word.

Grateful I am not worthy of...steadfast love and...faithfulness...”

            Jacob remembered all of God’s blessings.  He also remembered that all f God’s blessings upon our lives are totally undeserved. Our prayers must be bathed with tears of joy and gratitude.

SincereDeliver me...for I am afraid...”

            God sees our hearts.  He knows our doubts and fears.  Why then, should we hide anything from God in our prayers? Let’s come to him with “naked hearts;” let us be honest with God and with ourselves.

PrivateJacob was left alone...”

            We should pray to God in our solitude, when no one is watching (Matt 6:6).  In private, the communion with God is sweeter and his presence is more real.

Persistent...wrestled with him...I will not let you go...”

            “Pray without ceasing.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  This must be the goal of every Christian.  Prayer is not a lazy activity, it is a battle.  When we pray, we must do so with all our strength, hanging onto God’s throne until we receive an answer.

            Brethren, wrestle with God in prayer and He will wrestle with all your problems.

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Genesis 33 (February 2)

                                                                           Crystal Clear

            “...to see your face is like seeing the face of God.”

            Child of God, the world needs to see the face of God reflected upon your countenance.  The light of Christ must shine on our faces so the lost can really see that Christ lives in us.

            Does this mean that the children of God are “gods” or equal to God?

            By no means!  Even though we are “blood” relatives, because we are redeemed by the precious blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and his Holy Spirit abides in our hearts, we are not divine.  God stands alone in essence, power and authority.  He alone is God.

            In spite of this obvious limitation, our lives can be transparent in such a way, that everyone would be able to see God in us.  Our testimony must be “crystal clear” in order to show the world that Jesus is the Lord.

            How can we accomplish this? Simply, by living a holy life filled with the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22, 23).  If your life glorifies Christ in words, thoughts and deeds; and if you are in the center of God’s will, then the world will know that God lives in you.

            God will not reveal himself personally, as with an audible voice from heaven; neither will he employ angelic messengers.  We have been redeemed for the sole purpose of declaring and revealing God to the world.

            Let us then be clear vases to show God’s glory in us and through us. A clear vase is a genuine Christian and a holy believer. Even though we are not perfect our lives can be like clean windows where the people of this world can peer inside and see Jesus.

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Genesis 31 (January 31)

                                                  Looking Up

            “Look up and see...”

            One day, while visiting his family in the country, a man observed the animals, especially during feeding time.  The ones that impressed him the most were the sheep and the pig.  The sheep came to him and ate from his hand.  There was a wonderful connection between them.

            The pig on the other hand did not even come near him.  When he attempted to touch him, he ran away and when he fed him, he just buried his face in the trough and didn’t show any type of gratitude.

            God is telling us today:  “Look up.”  In Colossians 3:2, the apostle Paul exhorted the believers to:  “Set your minds on things that are above...,” Or as Hebrews 12:2 puts it, “...looking to Jesus the Author and perfecter of our faith...”

            Are you sad or depressed? Look up.

            When we look up, we can walk among the burning flames; sleep among hungry lions and even walk on an angry, tempestuous sea. When we look up, we can see the sun and the stars shinning (depending on the time of the day) and give thanks to the Creator that made them, and us. When we look up, we are looking at our real home and the things of this earth suddenly lose their value, and our problems seem to disappear.

            When is a good time to look up? The time is NOW.  We can lift our faces and gaze into the God of infinite grace.  Now is the time to stop acting like “pigs.”  Remember that we are the “sheep of his pasture” (Psalm 100:3) and as sheep we must follow and serve our Good Shepherd.

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