"Rejoice with those who rejoice…" (Romans 12:15, NKJV)
When a friend or family member succeeds, gets promoted, or experiences an unexpected break in life, how do you respond?
Some people wonder, “What about me?” Others criticize or say, “It won’t last long.” But really, the way you respond to other’s success will determine the level of your own success. Whether you respond in a negative or positive way, you are sowing seeds for your future.
That’s why Scripture tells us simply to “rejoice with those who rejoice.” God wants you to be successful. His commands are for your good. He doesn’t want jealousy or strife to enter your life or rob you of His blessing.
Today, make it a point to find someone who is celebrating and celebrate with them. Congratulate them on their success no matter how small it seems in the natural. Rejoice with those who rejoice, sow seeds of blessing, and open the door for victory in your own life in return!
A Prayer for Today
"Father, thank You for Your hand of blessing not only on my life but on the lives of the people around me. I choose to rejoice in You, and I choose to rejoice over Your victory everywhere I go in Jesus’ name! Amen!"
Penitential Prayer of St. Ambrose of Milan
O Lord, who hast mercy upon all, take away from me my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of thy Holy Spirit. Take away from me the heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore Thee, a heart to delight in Thee, to follow and enjoy Thee, for Christ’s sake,
SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY: Mark 1:1-15
** The Good News **
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’”
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
Hiding in the Right Place
"For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock." (Psalm 27:5, NIV)
Have you ever watched children play hide and seek? They look for the best place to hide in the house or yard and wait quietly for their friend to try and find them. It’s a fun game for kids, but even as adults, we need a good place to hide from time to time.
Sometimes we need a place of refuge, we need a place of safety, and we need a place to rest when we feel overwhelmed by the circumstances of life—a place where the enemy of our soul can never find us.
The good news is that God has the perfect hiding place for you! You don’t have to hide in your job. You don’t have to hide in relationships. You don’t have to hide in food or addictions because God Himself promises to hide you! He freely offers you shelter from the storms of life any time you call upon His name.
Remember, there’s only one place the enemy cannot find you. There’s only one place where opposition cannot steal from you. There’s only one true place of safety and rest for your soul, and that is in the arms of Jesus. Know that He loves you, and He is ready to receive you when you call upon His name!
A Prayer for Today
"Father, today I come humbly before You giving You all that I am. Thank You for hiding me in Your shelter and keeping me safe from the storms of life. My soul finds rest in You as I seek You and praise Your holy name in Jesus’ name. Amen."
Prayer to Know the Presence of God
My God, as I read your words delivered to me across so many centuries, I know that you are speaking directly to me; for two-thousand years are no more than the blink of an eye, to you. Help me, Lord, not to look on your Word as something to be considered, interpreted, mulled over, accepted in part when my meager brain agrees with it. Rather, let me hear the voice of my Master, all-wise and all-loving, who has a pure motive of saving my life in eternity, and helping me to find my way through an evil and seductive world. For your Word is truth beyond my understanding.
Make your home with me, Holy Spirit of God; let me feel your holy presence in everything that I think or do. For your Word and your Spirit are holy and eternal. In the name of my Savior Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen.
SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY: Genesis 32:1-21
So Jacob and his household started on again. And the angels of God came to meet him. When he saw them he exclaimed, “God lives here!” So he named the place Mahanaim, “God’s territory!”
Jacob now sent messengers to his brother, Esau, in Edom, in the land of Seir, with this message: “Hello from Jacob! I have been living with Uncle Laban until recently, and now I own oxen, donkeys, sheep, goats, and many servants, both men and women. I have sent these messengers to inform you of my coming, hoping that you will be friendly to us.”
The messengers returned with the news that Esau was on the way to meet Jacob—with an army of 400 men! Jacob was frantic with fear. He divided his household, along with the flocks and herds and camels, into two groups; for he said, “If Esau attacks one group, perhaps the other can escape.”
Then Jacob prayed, “O God of Abraham my grandfather, and of my father Isaac—O Jehovah who told me to return to the land of my relatives, and said that you would do me good—I am not worthy of the least of all your loving-kindnesses shown me again and again just as you promised me. For when I left home I owned nothing except a walking stick! And now I am two armies! O Lord, please deliver me from destruction at the hand of my brother Esau, for I am frightened—terribly afraid that he is coming to kill me and these mothers and my children. But you promised to do me good, and to multiply my descendants until they become as the sands along the shores—too many to count.”
Jacob stayed where he was for the night, and prepared a present for his brother Esau: 200 female goats, 20 male goats, 200 ewes, 20 rams, 30 milk camels, with their colts, 40 cows, 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys, 10 male donkeys.
He instructed his servants to drive them on ahead, each group of animals by itself, separated by a distance between. He told the men driving the first group that when they met Esau and he asked, “Where are you going? Whose servants are you? Whose animals are these?”, they should reply: “These belong to your servant Jacob. They are a present for his master Esau! He is coming right behind us!”
Jacob gave the same instructions to each driver, with the same message. Jacob’s strategy was to appease Esau with the presents before meeting him face-to-face! “Perhaps,” Jacob hoped, “he will be friendly to us.” So the presents were sent on ahead, and Jacob spent that night in the camp.
How Do You Honor God?
"Remind people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready and willing to do good." (Titus 3:1, AMP)
What do you do to honor God? A lot of times people think, “I go to church to honor God. I read my Bible to honor God. I sing and clap in worship to honor God.”
And yes, those are ways to honor God, but did you know that you honor God just as much when you get to work on time? You honor God when you are productive each day and honor the people in authority over you. You honor God when you excel in your career.
Actions speak louder than words. When you give your very best in the workplace, your whole life is giving praise to God. Showing up with a good attitude, being friendly, organized, just being your best—people will notice there’s something different about you. They’ll want what you have.
As believers, we should set the standard in all areas of life. People should see the depth of your character and your spirit of excellence and know that you are a child of the Most High God. Make the decision to honor Him in all that you do because You are His representative in the earth today!
A Prayer for Today
"Father in heaven, I choose to honor You in all that I do. I choose to set the standard and do my very best. Thank You for the privilege to be Your representative. Help me to show Your love and excellence in everything I do. I love You and bless You in Jesus’ name. Amen."
May the grace of Christ our Savior, and the Father’s boundless love, with the Holy Spirit’s favor, rest upon me, and all of us, from above. Thus may we abide in union, with each other and the Lord, and possess, in sweet communion, joys which earth cannot afford.
SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY: Genesis 32:22-32
** Jacob Wrestles with the Angel **
But during the night he got up and wakened his two wives and his two concubines and eleven sons, and sent them across the Jordan River at the Jabbok ford with all his possessions, then returned again to the camp and was there alone; and a Man wrestled with him until dawn. And when the Man saw that he couldn’t win the match, he struck Jacob’s hip and knocked it out of joint at the socket.
Then the Man said, “Let me go, for it is dawn.”
But Jacob panted, “I will not let you go until you bless me.”
“What is your name?” the Man asked. “Jacob,” was the reply.
“It isn’t anymore!” the Man told him. “It is Israel—one who has power with God. Because you have been strong with God, you shall prevail with men.”
“What is your name?” Jacob asked him.
“No, you mustn’t ask,” the Man told him. And he blessed him there.
Jacob named the place “Peniel” (“The Face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is spared.” The sun rose as he started on, and he was limping because of his hip. (That is why even today the people of Israel don’t eat meat from near the hip, in memory of what happened that night.)
Connect to Your Deliverer
"Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!" (Habakkuk 3:17-18, NLT)
Habakkuk knew what to do when things seemed completely hopeless. His world was literally falling apart around him. There was destruction everywhere he looked. But Habakkuk knew that God was greater than what he was facing. So what did he do? He invited God into his circumstances by rejoicing and praising Him.
Are you facing a situation that seems dark or hopeless? Many in the most parts of the world are. No matter how difficult things may seem, God has a plan to bring you out into a place of victory. Your praise is the bridge that will carry you through because your praise connects you to your Deliverer.
Remember, God inhabits the praises of His people. Praise catches His attention. When God shows up, miracles happen. No matter how things may seem in the natural, you can find peace in knowing that God is working behind the scenes on your behalf!
A Prayer for Today
"Father, I come to You trusting that You are my Deliverer. No matter what is going on around me, today I choose to bless and praise Your name. I choose to connect to You, knowing that You are the source of my strength, hope and peace in Jesus’ name. Amen."
Prayer for Help With Finances
I surrender my financial affairs and concerns about money to your Divine care and love.
I ask that you remove my worries, anxieties, and fears about money, and replace them with faith.
I know and trust that my debts will be paid and money will flow into my life.
I have only to look to nature to see proof of the abundance you provide.
I release all negative thoughts about money, and know that prosperity is my true state.
I commit to being grateful for all that I now have in my life.
I learn to manage my finances wisely, seeking help where needed.
And finally, I ask you to help me understand my purpose in life and to act on that purpose with courage and strength. I know that prosperity will come, in part, by doing work I love. Please help me use my skills and knowledge to be of service in the world.
Thank you, God.
Prayer for Each of Us in Our Work
Almighty God, heavenly Father, who makes it possible for me to work and who gives every creature its food, declaring your glory and showing your handiwork in the heavens and in the earth; Deliver me, I pray, in my work, from coveting material goods, from falling into the temptation of serving mammon and putting money in the forefront of my life.
Help me to perform the work which you have put at my hand, in truth, in beauty, and in righteousness, with singleness of heart as your servant, and to the benefit of my fellow men as well as myself; for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lived and died only to serve us.
SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY: 1 Peter 4:12-14
** Suffering as a Christian **
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8, NASB)
If I stopped by your house and brought you a beautifully wrapped gift and set it in your living room, that gift would be yours. It’s in your home; I gave it to you. There’s nothing you could do to make it “more” yours or “less” yours. Now, you could see that present and be so excited. You could call your friends and tell them about it. You could even write me a thank you note; however, you really can’t enjoy the gift until you open it. It wouldn’t do you any good until you put it to use. In other words, you have to receive that gift before it affects your life.
Friend, it’s the same way with spiritual gifts. God has a package of grace, favor, mercy, forgiveness, blessing, joy, peace and so much more available to you. But, you have to receive it by faith in order for it to affect your life. You can’t earn it. You can’t pay for it. You simply have to receive it by faith.
Today, if you’ve never received the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, that’s the first gift to receive. Then once you become a child of His, you can partake of His glorious inheritance. You can receive every spiritual gift and blessing He has in store for you!
A Prayer for Today
"Father God, I bless You today. Thank You for Your goodness and faithfulness in my life. I receive, by faith, every gift You have for me. Open the eyes of my heart that I may see all the good things You have in store for me in Jesus’ name. Amen."
Prayer for the Morning
Blessed are you, Lord God of my salvation, to you be praise and glory forever. As once you ransomed your people from Egypt and led them to freedom in the promised land, so now you have delivered me from the dominion of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of your risen Son.
May I, the fruit of your new creation, rejoice in this new day you have made, and praise you for your mighty acts. Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY: Genesis 33
** Jacob Meets Esau **
Then, far in the distance, Jacob saw Esau coming with his 400 men. Jacob now arranged his family into a column, with his two concubines and their children at the head, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. Then Jacob went on ahead. As he approached his brother he bowed low seven times before him. And then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him affectionately and kissed him; and both of them were in tears!
* * *
“And what were all the flocks and herds I met as I came?” Esau asked. And Jacob replied, “They are my gifts, to curry your favor!”
* * *
So Esau started back to Seir that same day. Meanwhile Jacob and his household went as far as Succoth. There he built himself a camp, with pens for his flocks and herds. (That is why the place is called Succoth, meaning “huts.”) Then they arrived safely at Shechem, in Canaan, and camped outside the city. (He bought the land he camped on from the family of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for 100 pieces of silver. And there he erected an altar and called it “El-Elohe-Israel,” “The Altar to the God of Israel.”)
Press Towards The Promise
"...imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised." (Hebrews 6:12, NIV)
Are you facing a challenge today that seems overwhelming? Through faith and patience, you will see God’s promises come to pass in your life. Understand that the enemy always fights the hardest when he knows you are closest to your breakthrough. He’d leave you alone if he thought you were going to live in mediocrity.
If you keep pressing on toward your promise, through faith and patience, you will get there. Don’t be like the Israelites in the Old Testament who were right next to the Promised Land when they talked themselves out of it.
They said, “There are giants in the land. It’s too difficult.”
No, don’t look at the obstacles in your life today; lift up your eyes because you serve Almighty God. Follow the example of Caleb who kept his focus on God and said, “Moses, we are well able to defeat these people. Let us go up at once and take the land!"
Stand in faith and keep believing because God will take you places that you never dreamed. As you press toward the promise, you will see God’s hand of blessing in your life and He will lead you into your promised land!
A Prayer for Today
"Father, I come to You today choosing to believe Your promises. I lift up my eyes to You, ready to receive Your strength. Fill me with Your faith and patience as I press toward Your promises in Jesus’ name! Amen."
Prayer for Confidence
My God, I am filled with fear, fear of the power of the world, fear of other men, fear of death; even though I profess confidence in my forgiveness and the eternal life you have promised to all who confess the name of Christ Jesus, I fear.
Forgive me for my imperfect faith, I pray; by the power of the One who had perfect faith, forgive me. And strengthen me, O Holy Spirit of God, strengthen me by the truth of your Word and the power of conviction, that I may fear only the power of God and walk through this day in perfect peace. Amen.
SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY: Genesis 34
** The Rape of Dinah **
One day Dinah, Leah’s daughter, went out to visit some of the neighborhood girls, but when Shechem, son of King Hamor the Hivite, saw her, he took her and raped her. He fell deeply in love with her, and tried to win her affection. Then he spoke to his father about it. “Get this girl for me,” he demanded. “I want to marry her.”
* * *
Then Shechem addressed Dinah’s father and brothers. “Please be kind to me and let me have her as my wife,” he begged. “I will give whatever you require. No matter what dowry or gift you demand, I will pay it—only give me the girl as my wife.”
Her brothers then lied to Shechem and Hamor, acting dishonorably because of what Shechem had done to their sister. They said, “We couldn’t possibly. For you are not circumcised. It would be a disgrace for her to marry such a man.
* * *
So all the men . . . were circumcised. But three days later, when their wounds were sore and sensitive to every move they made, two of Dinah’s brothers, Simeon and Levi, took their swords, entered the city without opposition, and slaughtered every man there, including Hamor and Shechem. They rescued Dinah from Shechem’s house and returned to their camp again. Then all of Jacob’s sons went over and plundered the city because their sister had been dishonored there. They confiscated all the flocks and herds and donkeys—everything they could lay their hands on, both inside the city and outside in the fields, and took all the women and children, and wealth of every kind.
Then Jacob said to Levi and Simeon, “You have made me stink among all the people of this land—all the Canaanites and Perizzites. We are so few that they will come and crush us, and we will all be killed.” “Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?” they retorted.
Speaking the Blessing
“The tongue has the power of life and death...” (Proverbs 18:21, NIV)
Have you thought about how the people in your life need your blessing? They need your approval. They need to hear you say, “I’m proud of you. You’re going to do great things.”
That’s speaking the blessing. When you say to the people you love, “I’m so glad you’re in my life. You mean the world to me,” you just gave them the blessing. When you tell one of your employees, coworkers or a student, “You amaze me with your ability. You have such a bright future,” those are not just nice compliments.
When you speak the blessing, you’re releasing God’s wisdom, protection, favor and abundance into their hearts. You can literally help shape their destiny. One word of encouragement, one word of approval can be what helps someone step up to who God created them to be.
Today, choose to speak the blessing. Sow good seeds into the lives of the people you love. Remember, what you make happen for others, God will make happen for you. Sow blessing and reap blessing and experience His favor all the days of your life!
A Prayer for Today
“Jesus, thank You for empowering me with Your love, grace and favor today. Show me ways that I can be a blessing and speak the blessing over the people I encounter today. Use me for Your glory in everything I do in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Prayer for Perseverance Today
If things get tough today, Lord — and in all hard times — let me stay motivated and calm. Let me look at how far I have come rather than how far I still have to go. Let me continue counting my blessings, not what I’ve been missing. May every day bring new chances to grow, new beautiful things to see, new plans to do, and new goals to pursue, as every new day is Your miracle day.
SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY:
1 Peter 4:15-19
But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And
“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
What God Calls You
"...The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]." (James 5:16, AMPC)
God loves it when you come boldly to Him! When we pray with an attitude of faith and expectancy, it shows that we believe God and His Word, and that opens the door for Him to move on our behalf.
Today’s verse tells us that when we pray earnestly and continually that it makes tremendous power available. Think about a little child asking his mother for something he really wants. That child doesn’t just ask once. Or twice. He asks continually! He doesn’t just walk away if he doesn’t get an answer right away. That child builds his case and gives every reason he should get what he is asking for!
Scripture tells us to come to God with the faith of a child. It’s not that we have to beg Him, but our determination is an expression of our faith in His goodness. When we build our case with the Word of God, we are setting ourselves up to partake of His divine blessing.
Today, whatever you need, make your requests known to God. Come to Him with the faith of a child. Pray earnestly and continually and watch His power work on your behalf!
A Prayer for Today
"Father, today I come boldly thanking You for Your goodness and faithfulness in my life. I lift up my heart in faith to You knowing that my earnest prayers open the door for Your power to move on my behalf in Jesus’ name! Amen."
Call to Sunday Worship
O Lord, I beseech you mercifully to hear my prayers, and the prayers of all your people who call upon you; and grant that we may both perceive and know what things we ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill them; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY: Isaiah 42:1-9
** This is my servant **
This is my servant, who I support, and my chosen, in whom my soul delights: I have put my Spirit upon him, and he will bring justice to the Gentiles.
He will not cry out, nor raise his voice, nor make it heard in the street.
He will not break the weakest reed nor quench a dimly burning candle: he will bring justice through truth.
He will not fail or be discouraged, until he has set justice on the earth: and the islands will wait for his law to come.
Thus said Jehovah, God that created the heavens, and spread them far; he that made the earth and all that comes out of it; he that gives breath to the people upon it, and spirit to those that walk therein:
“I, Jehovah, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and make a contract with your people, as a light for the Gentiles; to open blind eyes, to free the prisoners from the dungeon, and those that sit in darkness out of their jail.
I am Jehovah, that is my name; I will not give my glory to another, nor praise for my works to graven images.
See now, that the former things have happened, and that I tell you what is to come, before it occurs.”
Fix Your Eyes
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…" (Hebrews 12:2, NIV 1984)
Are your eyes fixed on Jesus today? It’s so easy to let the distractions of the world and the cares of everyday life change your focus. Whatever you fix your eyes on, you open your spirit to. You can choose to fix your eyes on Jesus no matter what distractions of life are going on around you.
You see, when you fix your eyes on Jesus, you are opening yourself to the Healer. You are opening yourself to the Deliverer. You are opening yourself to the Prince of Peace, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Provider, the Redeemer, the Strong Tower of refuge.
What do you need in your life today? Peace? Fix your eyes on Jesus. Do you need healing? Fix your eyes on Jesus. Do you need a safe retreat? Fix your eyes on Jesus.
Now you may have to turn off other things that you’ve been watching so that you can fix your eyes on Him. But remember, He is your source of life and the Author and Perfecter of your faith. Fix your eyes on Him and allow Him to work in your life so that you can experience the victory He has in store for you!
A Prayer for Today
"Heavenly Father, today I choose to tune out the negative voices of the world so that I can fix my eyes on You. I acknowledge that You are my source and strength for every good thing in life. I open myself to You today in Jesus’ name. Amen."
Prayer of Resolve
Blessed Jesus, my Savior and Master, model of all perfection, I resolve — and will try this day with my full heart — to imitate Your example, to be like You: mild, humble, chaste, zealous, charitable, and kind. I will redouble my efforts to see Your image in all those I meet and deal with this day — not only people I like — and to be as helpful to them as I would be to You. I resolve to avoid this day all those sins which I have committed heretofore and which I now sincerely desire to give up forever.
SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY: Genesis 35
** The Story of Jacob - Benjamin and Bethlehem **
Move on to Bethel now, and settle there,” God said to Jacob, “and build an altar to worship me—the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.”
So Jacob instructed all those in his household to destroy the idols they had brought with them, and to wash themselves and to put on fresh clothing. “For we are going to Bethel,” he told them, “and I will build an altar there to the God who answered my prayers in the day of my distress, and was with me on my journey.”
So they gave Jacob all their idols and their earrings, and he buried them beneath the oak tree near Shechem. Then they started on again. And the terror of God was upon all the cities they journeyed through, so that they were not attacked. Finally they arrived at Luz (also called Bethel), in Canaan. And Jacob erected an altar there and named it “the altar to the God who met me here at Bethel” because it was there at Bethel that God appeared to him when he was fleeing from Esau. . . .
Upon Jacob’s arrival at Bethel, en route from Paddan-aram, God appeared to him once again and blessed him. And God said to him, “You shall no longer be called Jacob (‘Grabber’), but Israel (‘One who prevails with God’). I am God Almighty,” the Lord said to him, “and I will cause you to be fertile and to multiply and to become a great nation, yes, many nations; many kings shall be among your descendants. And I will pass on to you the land I gave to Abraham and Isaac. Yes, I will give it to you and to your descendants.”
Afterwards Jacob built a stone pillar at the place where God had appeared to him; and he poured wine over it as an offering to God and then anointed the pillar with olive oil. Jacob named the spot Bethel (“House of God”), because God had spoken to him there.
Leaving Bethel, he and his household traveled on toward Ephrath (Bethlehem). But Rachel’s pains of childbirth began while they were still a long way away. After a very hard delivery, the midwife finally exclaimed, “Wonderful -- another boy!” And with Rachel’s last breath (for she died) she named him “Ben-oni” (“Son of my sorrow”); but his father called him “Benjamin” (“Son of my right hand”).
So Rachel died, and was buried near the road to Ephrath (also called Bethlehem). And Jacob set up a monument of stones upon her grave, and it is there to this day.
Then Israel journeyed on and camped beyond the Tower of Eder. It was while he was there that Reuben slept with Bilhah, his father’s concubine, and someone told Israel about it.
Here are the names of the twelve sons of Jacob:
The sons of Leah: Reuben, Jacob’s oldest child, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun.
The sons of Rachel: Joseph, Benjamin.
The sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s servant girl: Dan, Naphtali.
The sons of Zilpah, Leah’s servant girl: Gad, Asher.
All these were born to him at Paddan-aram.
So Jacob came at last to Isaac his father at Mamre in Kiriath-arba (now called Hebron), where Abraham too had lived. Isaac died soon afterwards, at the ripe old age of 180. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
The Seed of the Word
“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” (Luke 8:15, NIV)
Sometimes in the natural, we don’t see how God’s promises are going to come to pass. It may seem like there are so many obstacles to overcome. But God’s Word is like a seed. When it’s planted in our hearts and we water it by thinking the right thoughts and expecting good things, that little seed begins to grow into something much, much greater.
Jesus told a parable in Mark, chapter four. He said that God’s Word is like a tiny mustard seed. When it is sown, it is less than all the other seeds, one of the smallest. But when it grows up, it becomes greater than all. Notice it goes from being less than all to being greater than all.
Are you in an overwhelming situation today, maybe in your health, finances or relationships? Does God’s promise seem small compared to what you’re facing?
Don’t sit back and think, “Man, it’s never going to get any better. It’s never going to change.” Instead, sow the Word by speaking it every single day. Water that seed by staying in faith because the seed of the Word has supernatural power in it. It will grow and flourish, and you will see God’s promises come to pass all the days of your life!
A Prayer for Today
“Father God, today I choose to sow the Word of God! Thank You that it will not return void, but it will accomplish what it was sent forth to do! Thank You for giving every good and perfect gift to Your children. I bless Your holy name today and always. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
Prayer for the Morning
Father, as I face this new day, let me be aware of the work you have done for me as I slept. I praise you that your loving care never slumbers, but has been with me while I was least aware of it; and that you renew me and the whole world, fresh every day, preparing your plans for me.
I pray that I may seek your will this day, your plan for my life, and carry out your plan in my every action. I lay my hopes and fears on an altar before you, that your Holy Spirit may guide my hopes toward the light of your holiness, and may quiet my fears with the knowledge of your infinite peace, in total confidence that your grace will save me from the evils of this world. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY: Genesis 36 (excerpts)
** Esau and the Edomites **
These are the generations of Esau (that is, Edom). . . .
Esau took his wives, his sons, his daughters, and all the members of his household, his livestock, all his beasts, and all his property that he had acquired in the land of Canaan. He went into a land away from his brother Jacob. For their possessions were too great for them to dwell together. The land of their sojournings could not support them because of their livestock. So Esau settled in the hill country of Seir. (Esau is Edom.)
These are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir. These are the names of Esau's sons: Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau . . . . [Long list of names omitted.]
These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom, before any king reigned over the Israelites. Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom, the name of his city being Dinhabah. . . . [Long list of names omitted.] These are the chiefs of Edom (that is, Esau, the father of Edom), according to their dwelling places in the land of their possession.
Help Others Win
“...he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him…But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him...” (Acts 9:26–27, NIV)
In scripture, the apostle Paul would have never had the impact he did without a man named Barnabas. Barnabas was one of the disciples. He was in Jesus’ inner circle. But Paul, at the time, hated believers and was having them thrown in jail. God touched his life, and he wanted to go to Jerusalem and join the other disciples, but they were afraid of him because of his reputation. Barnabas stood up for Paul and used his influence to open a door with the other disciples. Paul went on to write over half of the New Testament.
We don’t hear a lot about Barnabas. Paul greatly overshadowed him. But if you were to ask Paul, he would say, “I won because Barnabas helped me win. I succeeded because Barnabas took a risk and opened a door that I could not open on my own. Barnabas believed in me when nobody else did.”
Friend, there is no greater legacy than to help someone else win. Today, look for ways to use your influence. Help others rise up higher. Sow good seeds because they will come back to you. When you help others win, God will make sure you are surrounded by people who will help you win in return.
A Prayer for Today
“Father, thank You for Your truth which sets me free. It is my delight to do Your will and help others succeed. Show me ways to be a blessing and help others. Let everything I do bring glory to You in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Prayer of Dedication
Oh Heavenly Father, in whom I live and move and have my being, I humbly pray you so to guide and govern me by your Holy Spirit, that in all the joys, occupations, and cares of this day I may never forget you, but remember that I am ever walking in your sight. In Christ’s name, I pray, Amen.
SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY: 1 Peter 5:1-5
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.
And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
New Every Morning
"Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning…" (Lamentations 3:22–23, NKJV)
You may have made a lot of mistakes, but the good news is, you don't have to carry that around with you. That's part of what the Scripture means when it says that God's mercies are new every morning.
God's mercy and forgiveness are available to you every day. His compassions never fail. He makes a fresh new batch every single morning. Do you know why? Because He knew you were going to use up all that He made yesterday! That means that as soon as you call on Him and repent and change your ways, God pours out His compassion and forgiveness. Simply open your heart and receive it.
Do you feel like there's something between you and God right now? Take a moment and call on His faithfulness. Call on His mercy. Ask for His forgiveness. Don’t carry around yesterday’s mistakes any longer. Let Him refresh and restore your soul right now. Praise Him and thank Him for the work He is doing in your life and enjoy a fresh, new beginning today!
A Prayer for Today
"Heavenly Father, thank You for Your justice in my life. Thank You for working behind the scenes on my behalf. I choose to trust You today. I choose to release every person who has wronged me. Help me to forgive so that I can open the door for You to work in my life today. In Jesus' Name, Amen."
Prayer to Walk in the Spirit Today
Holy God, in the daily journey from sunrise to sunset, remind me always of your holy presence hovering near, both within me to guide me, and surrounding me to protect me. Free me from shame and self-doubt; and help me, and all of my fellow believers, to see the myriad opportunities to walk our path in the courage, honesty, and wisdom inspired by your Holy Spirit.
SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY: Genesis 37:1-2
JAcob lived in the land of his father's sojournings, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob.
Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father's wives.
"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19, NKJV)
When the people of Israel were in the desert on the way to the Promised Land, God gave them manna to eat. That was good. It sustained them for a while, but it wasn’t permanent provision. Eventually, the manna stopped coming. The people had to move forward, and then God gave them quail. They were so excited. That fed them for a while, but it was also temporary.
See, God gave the Israelites temporary provision on the way to the Promised Land where they would have permanent provision. The fact that God had something much greater in store for their future is what kept them moving forward. God could have sustained them with manna or quail, but God is a god of increase. He works in seasons, and He always has something better in store.
Don’t get stuck in a rut and think that one way is going to last forever. Instead, stay open and be willing to change, make adjustments, make corrections or try something new. If the “manna” stops coming, don’t get upset. Just keep moving forward and be on the lookout for the new provision God has in store for you!
A Prayer for Today
"Father God, You alone are the just and faithful God! Thank You for always providing for me. Thank You for leading and guiding me. I trust that You have good things in store for my future and choose to keep my eyes on You in Jesus’ name. Amen."
Prayer of Thanks and Blessings
Father, Thank You for each and every day You have blessed us here on earth.
Thank You for Your tender mercies.
Thank You for giving us friends and family to share joys and sorrows with.
I ask You to bless my friends, relatives, brothers and sisters in Christ and
those I care deeply for, and especially those who are praying with me right now.
Where there is joy, give them continued joy.
Where there is pain or sorrow, give them your peace and mercy.
Where there is self-doubt, release a renewed confidence.
Where there is need, fulfill their needs.
Bless their homes, families, finances, their goings and their comings.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY: Genesis 37:2-11
** Joseph’s Dreams **
Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father.
Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.
Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?”
And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.
Brighter Days Ahead
“The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.” (Proverbs 4:18, NLT)
Are you facing a situation that seems dark today? As a believer, God promises that your path will shine brighter and brighter as you seek His truth and righteousness in every situation.
What is righteousness? Righteousness is simply being in right standing with God. Being in right standing with God happens when you surrender every area of your life to Him. It’s about obeying His commands and seeking His plan for your life on a daily basis.
No matter what you may be facing today, take time to ask the Lord to shine His light on you. Ask Him to confirm His plan for you. As you continue pursuing His truth and righteousness, as you continue to make His Word a priority, you will experience more of Him and His blessings. You’ll see those brighter days as you move forward in the good plan He has in store for you!
A Prayer for Today
“Father, I know that You have a wonderful plan and purpose for me. I desire to be in right standing with You. Show me Your ways and teach me to walk righteously before You. Shine Your light in my heart and give me strength to pursue the path You have in store for me in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
A Puritan Prayer
Almighty God, as I cross the threshold of this day I commit myself, soul, body, affairs, friends, to Your care. Watch over, keep, guide, direct, sanctify, bless me. Incline my heart to Your ways. Mold me completely into the image of Jesus, as a potter forms clay.
May my lips be a well-tuned harp to sound Your praise. Let those around see me living by Your Spirit, trampling the world underfoot, unconformed to lying vanities, transformed by a renewed mind, clothed in the entire armour of God, shining as a never-dimmed light, showing holiness in all my doings. Let no evil this day soil my thoughts, words, and hands.
May I travel swampy paths with a life pure from spot or stain. In every transaction let my affection be in heaven, and my love soar upwards in flames of fire, my gaze fixed on unseen things, my eyes open to the emptiness, fragility, mockery of earth and its vanities. May I view all things in the mirror of eternity, waiting for the coming of my Lord, listening for the last trumpet call, hastening unto the new heaven and earth.
Order this day all my communications according to Your wisdom, and to the gain of mutual good. Forbid that I should not be profited or made profitable. May I speak each word as if my last word, and walk each step as my final one. If my life should end today, let this be my best day. This I pray in the name of Christ, my Lord and Savior,
From a Massachusetts manuscript @ 1705, author unknown.
The Reward of Diligence
"The soul of the sluggard craves, and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied." (Proverbs 13:4, RSV)
God longs to pour out His favor and blessing on you. He has rewards, victory and promotion for you, but these things don’t happen automatically. You have to do your part. You have to be diligent.
First of all, you have to be diligent to seek His ways and follow His commands. Then you also have to be diligent with what you have in your hand—your time, abilities and resources.
In Matthew, Jesus tells a parable about three men whose employer entrusted them with some money. Two of the men were diligent and invested the money and received a great return. The third man was afraid and buried what he was given. The first two men were rewarded and praised for their diligence while the third man was basically fired.
Today, follow the example of the first two men and look for ways to be diligent with what you have in your hand. Whatever you do, do it with excellence! Be the best you can be. Go the extra mile even when you think it goes unnoticed because God notices and promises to richly supply the soul of the diligent!
A Prayer for Today
"Heavenly Father, thank You for Your favor and blessing on my life. Today I choose to be diligent. I choose to live in excellence and do everything to the best of my ability. I give You all the glory and thank You for Your faithfulness in Jesus’ name. Amen."