January 27, 2021
Genesis 32:24-28
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.  When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.  Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”  But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”  The man asked him, “What is your name?”   “Jacob,” he answered.  Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
New International Version (NIV)
                Jacob found himself between a rock and a hard place.  To be fair, without help from others he wedged himself in between the rock and the hard place.  On the one hand he was running for his life from Laban his father-in-law.   Their tumultuous relationship ended in divorce.  So Jacob took off with his wives and his kids.  Laban chased him and caught him.  They put up a stack of rocks as a reminder that God was a witness between them.  Wheww!  Jacob managed to extricate his family from the powerful web of Laban’s control.  Before he could breathe a sigh of relief, he remembered that he was headed to his brother’s house.  They had not left each other on good terms.  Jacob ran from one tornado to another. 

                Esau had threatened to kill Jacob.  So Jacob split up his family and sent them on ahead of himself for the sake of safety.  Just when Jacob thought he was alone with his thoughts, he found he was not alone at all.  By the river Jabbok, Jacob grappled with someone through the night.  Jacob’s opponent wrenched Jacob’s hip, but Jacob would not let him go.  “I will not let you go unless you bless me,” said Jacob with white knuckles, holding on. 

                Jacob’s opponent blessed him and changed him forever.  Since before birth, Jacob had been a “grasper.”  He had always found a way by hook or by crook to take what he wanted.  But that night in the darkness Jacob finally met his match.  Was he wrestling with an angel or with God?  Jacob wanted to know his opponent’s name.  He even renamed the place, “Peniel” meaning “I saw God face to face.”  More importantly, Jacob received a new name.  From that night on, he was Israel, one who had prevailed with God.

                Just when we think we are all alone, we discover we are not.  God is still here, God is near, always near.  His love will never let us go.  So we hold on to him and we wrestle in prayer seeking his blessing.  The greatest blessing is when God changes us.  As we run from one problem we caused to the next one we caused, do not be surprised if we run right into God.  As my friend Bill Gladden used to tell me, “You will know that it is God when all you can do is hold on.”  
Pray with me:         
Father, you and we all know how we get into the messes we find ourselves in.  We are running fast today, running to get away.  Show us what we are running from.  Teach us to run to you.  O Love that will not let us go, we hold on to you today.  You are all we have and you are still all we need.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.  
Scripture memorization for this week:    
2 Corinthians 10:12
We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
1 John 3:18
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
New International Version (NIV)
Our 2021 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations Bible reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy here:
We would love for you to join us as we read through the Bible in one year, while still having the flexibility of reading 5 days per week.  In addition, I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  We will also memorize 2 scriptures each week.  As we journal together this year,  Robby Gallaty’s H.E.A.R. plan is a good resource: Highlight a verse that stands out to you, Explain what it means, Apply that truth to your life and Respond to what you’ve read with an action or prayer.
Joyfully, 
Duane 

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