Reading the Bible in Three Years

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 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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Genesis 29 (January 29)

                                                                Walking

            “Then Jacob went on his journey...”

            First, Jacob was a man on the run; he was running for his life when he met God at Bethel.  After his encounter with God, and seeing the angelic vision, Jacob became a new man.  Now he wasn’t running anymore; he was walking with the Lord.

            I believe this was the moment of conversion for Jacob.  He had heard many stories about God from his father Isaac and probably from Abraham too; but then at Bethel (which incidentally means “House of God”), he heard God telling him:

            “I am with you.”

            For this reason we can wake up each morning and continue with this daily struggle some people call “life.”  Knowing that Jesus is leading the way, is more than enough to instill the confidence necessary to keep on living and walking with God.

            My old pastor Eugenio Gonzalez used to say that the Christian life is not hard...it’s impossible.  The way is narrow, our strength is limited and trials and temptations abound.  Nevertheless the Holy Spirit empowers us and the Bible’s promises encourage us to never give up.

            We can walk with the Lord today, because the Lord walks with us every day. He walks ahead of us, trailblazing the path that we must follow and He walks in us, for he lives in us; in fact, one can say that we are his feet. The church is the body of Christ and wherever the Head (which is Christ) goes, the feet must follow in obedience to Jesus.

            Let us live, love and walk in Christ and Christ will live in us, love through us and walk with us in this world and forever.

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Genesis 30 (January 30)

                                                            Two Evil Sisters

            “Rachel...envied her sister...”

            Envy is very similar to a termite.  Both work in the dark, and both eat from the inside out until they provoke complete destruction.  The termite causes havoc in wood, while envy kills the love between brothers and sisters.

            Envy is very prevalent in our schools, in our jobs, in our homes and even in our churches. People envy each other for a host of reasons; from the way they look and the possessions they have, to their talents and successes.

             Leah envied Rachel.  Rachel was younger, prettier and she captured Jacob’s heart. Rachel envied Leah.  Even though Leah was older and perhaps a bit ugly, she had been blessed by God with the ability to be “fruitful and multiply.”

            When a brother or sister is fruitful in the ministry, this should be an occasion for true rejoicing, not a motive for envy.  To envy someone, is a sign of immaturity and pride.  We must battle daily against our own flesh, in order to be able to recognize that we are not the best in everything.

            Other Christians have better talents than us.  Some preach better, others sing louder and still other teach or serve better.  If they do, then we need to learn to say:  “Hallelujah” and praise God for them.

            Do not worry if others are doing more or less than you.  Instead occupy your time and effort in doing your best for the Lord.  Those who serve God in this manner do not have the time or energy to focus on others.

            Put envy to rest and give to God your very best.

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Genesis 28 (January 28)

                                                               More than a Mother

            “If God will be with me...”

            I have not met with a child yet who says no to candy.  They may refuse cookies or chocolates, but candies, no way!  In the same manner, I haven’t seen a Christian that does not desire God’s blessings upon his life.  Jacob, running for his life, was in need of God’s protection and provision.  We need God as much or more than Jacob.

            “Know that I am with you...”

            This is the divine answer for all of our needs.  Even before we ask God to help us, He is already with us like a tender shepherd. In fact, he is the Good Shepherd that leads, feeds and protects us. Jesus promised:  “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

            Jesus is with us; in fact he will never leave us.  In our trials and tribulations, he is there; in the days of gladness and joy, he is there; and when the storms brings sorrow and dark clouds cover our sunny skies, Jesus will be there.  His presence will comfort us and his love will give us new strength to carry on.

            “I will not leave you...”

            Jesus is with us and in us forever.  His presence is permanent; he is faithful to the end.  His name is “Immanuel”, which means that God is always with us. (Matthew 1:23). Everyone may forget about us, even our own mothers, but Jesus will never abandon us, not even for a second.  If today you are feeling that nobody (even God), cares about you, remember that this is just a feeling, not the reality.  It is possible to be forgotten and rejected even by the people of God, but to say that God will leave us, it’s just impossible.

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