January 25, 2021
Genesis 28:16-17
When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”
New International Version (NIV)
               Who said, “If you are living like there is no God, you had better be right”?  I have heard it said, “God will never bless someone who started their relationship in disobedience.”  Is that true?  Are our failures finally fatal?  Have we already done something that has gained God’s irrevocable judgment?  Are we beyond blessing?  

               One thing is for sure:  the Bible is painfully honest about people.  If you were going to make up a story to show that the characters were admirable and heroic, you would not tell the stories that Genesis tells.  Even after Abraham trusted God and received righteousness he asked his wife to lie and say she was his sister.  Abraham did this to save his own neck, and his son Isaac did the exact same thing.  When Jacob and Esau were born, they came from a long line of ancestors who wrestled with telling the truth.  Jacob lied to his own dad to steal his brother’s blessing.  He even lies about God (Genesis 27:20).  How could God ever bless a life like that?  But God did.  Why?

               After Jacob stole his brother’s birthright and his blessing, his parents sent him back to their own people far away to find a wife.  Along the way, Jacob who had never feared God or his parents ran right into God.  Sooner or later we all sit down to a big banquet of consequences.  Even though Jacob had made a mess of his life, God was not finished with him.  When Jacob saw a ladder with angels ascending and descending in his dream, he awakened afraid.  As the writer of Proverbs says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  For the first time in his life Jacob reckoned with the fact that there was a God.  He had been living like there was no God and he was wrong.  By God’s grace his heart changed.

               Here is hope:  God uses broken and flawed people.  Why?  We are all he has to work with.  This very fact should make us repent and worship God alone.  His kindness is leading us to repentance!  Jesus is the ladder on which the angels ascend and descend.  When we meet him, like Jacob, we should experience a holy fear that leads to deep trust.  God can and will use us, even though we have made mistakes.  Today is a great day to start serving him.  There is a God.  Let’s live like it!
Pray with me:         
Father, we have often lived like there was no God.  Forgive us for our functional atheism.  Let us live every waking moment of this day conscious of your loving presence.  As we turn from our mistakes, we receive your forgiveness.  Let us not despise the riches of your kindness today, but let your new mercies this morning lead us to repentance.  Thank you for cleansing us and using us.  Let us live this day with a deep reverence for your gracious kindness and love.  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:
https://www.tallowood.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Read-Through-Bible-Download.pdf
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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