Just men reading, memorizing and studying the bible together!

Reading Plans
Bible Order: 2 Kings 14–15
Chronological Order: Psalms 73, Psalms 77-78
Old Testament Only: 1 Samuel 9–11
New Testament Only: Luke 17:11–37

Daily Verse: 1 Samuel 30:6  1 Samuel 30. 6

Bible Study

Lean Wholly On Jesus

Passage: Genesis 32:22-32

Well brothers, thank you for your patience with me. I had a wonderful time with my daughter Friday night. I had to choose between taking that opportunity with her or writing commentary for you. I guess I better just come out and say it. If it comes down to making a choice between you or my daughter, well you lose. I hope you will see that as having my priorities straight rather than some kind of insult. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you following along with the blog. I take my responsibility to you very seriously; it’s just that a man must have his priorities straight and the task God gave me in raising my daughter pre-dates the blog. I hope you’ll understand.

So, I promised you that we would wrestle with Jacob’s wrestling match with God today. Let’s get to it. I love what Dr. James Montgomery Boice. As usual he says it better than I could so I will provide his commentary here.

“There is no more moving episode in the life of Jacob than his wrestling with God at the Jabbok the night before he was to meet Esau. Besides, it is terrifying. The thing to note is that Jacob was wrestling with God and that, in this incident at least, God was his adversary. Until now this possibility had not entered Jacob’s mind. He had possessed an enemy in Laban. He anticipated an enemy in Esau and was terrified of him. But God? God was no enemy. God was a benign, friendly, heavenly father-figure to whom he could turn when things got rough but ignore when he wanted to order his own life and formulate his own plans. There was nothing to fear from God.

How wrong Jacob was! He had been using God all this while. Now he would discover to his horror that God will not be so used indefinitely. He would discover that, as a student once said in reference to C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, “Aslan is no tame lion.”

This incident was so significant in Jacob’s life that one of my friends regards it as the moment the patriarch became a true child of God. He believes that up to this time Jacob was no true child of God and that it was only after this traumatic battle with God that Jacob can be said to have been born again. I believe that Jacob was God’s man prior to this and had merely been living an undisciplined and disobedient life. But I see the force of the argument. For whether born again on this occasion or not, Jacob was certainly changed profoundly by this experience.

As we study this passage, the crucial question is whether each of us has been similarly changed. If we have not, what must happen for us to become the kind of person Jacob became through this experience? [SNIP]

The chapter says, “So Jacob was left alone” (v. 24). This is good. For the first time, Jacob is not among the distracting demands of his encampment. He is quiet. The night is hushed. Jacob looks backward, forward, to the right, the left. He looks upward toward the stars.…

Suddenly, out of the darkness, a hand seized Jacob. What a frightful moment! Who was this? Was it a wandering bandit who might be expected to murder him for the sake of his clothing, staff, or sandals? Was it an assassin sent ahead by the furious Esau to kill him? In a moment, Jacob found himself in hand-to-hand combat, wrestling grimly as if his life depended on the outcome.

Who was this individual whom the text in Genesis simply calls “a man”? In Hosea 12:4, a later inspired commentary on this passage, he is called “the angel.” But even this does not give the whole picture, unless we recognize that “the angel” is not just any angel but “the angel of the Lord,” whom we have already seen on other occasions. Presumably it was this figure who appeared to Abraham as he sat under the great trees of Mamre (Genesis 18). On that occasion there were three figures, two of whom seem actually to have been angels, while the third (who spoke to Abraham) seems to have been God himself in some form. We are alerted to this at the beginning of the passage, where we are told: “The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day” (Gen. 18:1). Most scholars consider this figure a preincarnate manifestation of the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ.

What is most significant about this text is that the man (Jesus) is said to have wrestled “with Jacob” and not that Jacob wrestled with the man, which would be the wrong way around. This is important for understanding the passage. We must not think—as many commentators have suggested—that this passage is primarily an encouragement to what we would call prevailing prayer. It is not that Jacob was seeking God so earnestly that when God, as it were, got close to him, he grappled with him and refused to let him go until he blessed him. It is true that Jacob later begged for a blessing. But at the beginning it is not Jacob who seeks God to wrestle with him; rather, it is God, who comes to wrestle with Jacob to bring him to a point of both physical and spiritual submission.

Arthur W. Pink writes, “Jacob was not wrestling with this Man to obtain a blessing[;] instead, the Man was wrestling with Jacob to gain some object from him. As to what this object is the best of the commentators are agreed—it was to reduce Jacob to a sense of his nothingness, to cause him to see what a poor, helpless and worthless creature he was; it was to teach us through him the all important lesson that in recognized weakness lies our strength.”

Have you ever had God wrestle with you—when you have wanted your way or were persisting in some course that you knew displeased him? I imagine you have, since most of us have fought with God at some period of our Christian experience.

If you have had that experience, then you can easily understand two of the details that follow. First, the man wrestled with Jacob “till daybreak” (v. 24). From dusk till daybreak! [SNIP] How did Jacob ever manage to keep up his struggle throughout the entire night? I do not know. But I do know that his determination to hang in there was no greater than our frequent determination to have our own way and eventually win out over God.

Is this not the way sin is? Sin hangs on. It refuses to give up. This is one reason why God must sometimes become our fierce antagonist to overpower self and destroy sin’s power.

The second detail of the passage that I think we can readily understand because of our own willfulness is God’s touching Jacob so that “his hip was wrenched as he wrestled” (v. 25). Because I think we do understand this I want to make one observation; even so, I hesitate, lest I be misunderstood. What I want to say is: God does not play fair. Now, please, when I say “God does not play fair,” I do not mean that God ever does anything that is sinful or unjust. The Lord of all the universe does right. He is perfection itself. What I mean is: God does not play by our rules, and he never loses. He is the sovereign God. His will is done. So, whether we like the way he plays or not, God always wins the contest. If we are smart, we recognize this early and submit to it.

Have you never had your life put out of joint by God? Have you never had your own little plans dislocated? Of course you have. You were trying to do something contrary to God’s will, and suddenly, out of the blue, God used sickness or a loss of a job or some severe setback or a disappointment to bring you to the end of yourself and turn you to him. I do not suggest that every sickness, loss, or disappointment comes because we are out of the will of God. God sometimes has other purposes with these things. But sometimes—sometimes quite often—he uses them to bring us to our senses.

We have seen Jacob trembling and wrestling. In the third place, we see him clinging to the one who has triumphed over him. By now the change has taken place, and we see a totally different Jacob. At first, Jacob is wrestling in his own strength for his own way. Later, Jacob’s strength is broken, and he is simply clinging to Christ for his blessing. “Helpless, lame, and ready to fall, he can but cling with desperate tenacity to the very Being who has so sorely smitten him.”

What do you think about this picture of Jacob as he clings desperately to the angel? Does it seem pitiful? Does Jacob seem to be a loser now, a weakling? If so, you have not progressed far in spiritual things. This is not a sad picture. It is a picture of a man now remade in God’s image, surrendered to the will of God. It is a picture of faith.” (Robert S. Candlish, Studies in Genesis, 540.)

Boice, J. M. (1998). Genesis: an expositional commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

I’m sorry for the length of this post but I think Dr. Boice had some important things to share with us. I whole heartedly recommend his commentaries. He has more to say on this subject. Let me close by simply exhorting you to cling to Christ; lean not on yourself and your own understanding but lean wholly on Jesus. In Him the weak are made strong.

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

by | April 26, 2015 | In Daily Reading No Comments

Reading Plans
Bible Order: 2 Kings 10–13
Chronological Order: 1 Chronicles 3-5
Old Testament Only: 1 Samuel 6–8
New Testament Only: Luke 16:18–17:10

Daily Verse: 1 Peter 3:15   1 Peter 3. 15

Day of Rest

Saturdays are a day of rest for me in my blog writing. I write the blog a day ahead so this means it is a day of rest from my commentary for you on Sundays. Enjoy your day of worship!

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

Reading Plans
Bible Order: 2 Kings 8–9
Chronological Order: Psalms 43-45, Psalms 49, Psalms 84-85, Psalms 87
Old Testament Only: 1 Samuel 3–5
New Testament Only: Luke 16:1–17

Daily Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:16   1 Thessalonians 5. 16

Bible Study

Daddy Daughter Night

Passage: None

Brothers, I will not be making commentary today. I know I promised you commentary on Jacob’s wrestling with God but I have a higher commitment I must honor. You see, every Friday evening I take my daughter out for dinner and desert. We usually have an early dinner and then walk around various stores until our food has settled. We then go have a desert together. I love these Fridays with my daughter and I think she enjoys them too. Usually, after having spent a couple of hours with her old dad, my daughter is ready for some alone time. Today, however, she seemed to desire some more time with me. We are going to watch something together on Netflix. This means that I must give up my time for commentary so I can spend additional time with her.

I hope you’ll forgive me but I only have so much time left with her before she is grown and out of the nest. I’ll resume commentary on Monday. We’ll pick up with Jacob’s wrestling match then.

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

Reading Plans
Bible Order: 2 Kings 5–7
Chronological Order: 1 Chronicles 1-2
Old Testament Only: 1 Samuel 1–2
New Testament Only: Luke 15:8–32

Daily Verse: Genesis 32:10  Genesis 32. 10

Bible Study

Make Amends And Do Things God’s Way

Passage: Genesis 32:1-21

Have you ever wrestled with God? I have on numerous occasions. Those occasions usually occur when I have gone my own way only to find trouble and suffering along that path. The consequences of my bad choices brought me low. It is in that low place where I realized I was stuck in a dead end, unable to go forward or backward. It is in that place where I would turn to God and urgently and passionately call out for His help. The wrestling part was really me wrestling with myself. Would I accept my responsibility for my actions? Would I acknowledge God’s way is the only way? Would I admit I am not God and He is? Would I submit to His lordship? Would I make amends for what I had done?

In today’s chapter we see Jacob in similar straights. He had run away from his uncle only to see Laban catch up to him. God prevented Laban from hurting Jacob. Even so there was such bad blood between them that they agreed to a non-aggression pact. They set up a stone pillar and promised that each would stay on his side of that boundary. Jacob’s relationship with his uncle was ruined and he couldn’t go backward. The only direction he could go from there was forward toward the land of his birth and inheritance. Unfortunately, before him lay another familial relationship in tatters. Jacob had fled to his uncle’s house to begin with to escape his brother Esau who was plotting to murder him for the theft of his father’s blessing. No place to go but forward and there waited one who sought his death.

Jacob had come to the end of his scheming. He had been god of his life, and as is always the case, that life now lay in the gutter. The wheels had come off all his plans and schemes. What is a man to do? As I first read Genesis 32 today I found myself condemning Jacob for once again putting into motion a plan of his own devising rather than seeking God’s guidance. I might be right to condemn him for this. I would think if he had consulted God first the Bible would have told us so. Since the Bible does not tell us that he sought God’s guidance before putting his plan in motion I think this was his plan.

The plan seems to be an attempt to bribe Esau into forgiving him. He sent wave after wave of livestock ahead as a gift for Esau. The messages he told his servants to deliver to Esau were humble, almost apologetic. If in fact this plan was a humble attempt at giving restitution and seeking forgiveness then I’m actually okay with this. You see I have the benefit of further Scripture through which I can understand what God would have me do when I have wronged someone. Now maybe Jacob knew this truth as well. Either way, his plan could actually be consistent with God’s will.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells us the following:

Matthew 5:21-25 ESV

[21] “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ [22] But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. [23] So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, [24] leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. [25] Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.

Jacob received two things from his brother. The first thing he received was something his brother sold to him; the birthright of the first born. Jacob did nothing wrong in the exchange of stew for the birthright. Jacob had stew, Esau was hungry and willingly traded his birthright for the stew. It was a foolish bargain but Jacob didn’t cheat Esau out of it. We sure do like to blame others when we make a shortsighted and ill-advised deal. Unfortunately, the second thing Jacob received from his brother was the blessing Isaac intended to give to Esau. Jacob, at the instigation of his mother, deceived his father into thinking that he was blessing Esau. This was out and out theft. Jacob did grievous wrong to his brother by stealing that blessing. Esau had every right to be angry with Jacob; though murder was not justified.

There is a godly principle shared by Christ in Matthew 5:21-25. That principle is that if you have done your literal or figurative brother wrong, you should make amends quickly before the consequences come fully to bear. If you want to have a right relationship with God, if you want to live a life that brings glory to God, which is really the only good gift we have to offer Him, then, as far as it is within your power, you must make amends to those whom you have injured. You must apologize and seek forgiveness.

If this was Jacob’s plan, if he was attempting to make amends rather than make a bribe, then I think it was a godly plan. You see, it isn’t really about what Jacob did here but rather why he was doing it. God has always been concerned with the condition of His children’s hearts. You can do the right thing for the wrong reason and it will benefit you not at all in a spiritual sense. I really don’t know which of these two motives stand behind Jacob’s strategy. I have my doubts that it was strictly an act of contrition. It is the following verse that makes me think he didn’t have pure motives.

Genesis 32:20 ESV

[20] and you shall say, ‘Moreover, your servant Jacob is behind us.’” For he thought, “I may appease him with the present that goes ahead of me, and afterward I shall see his face. Perhaps he will accept me.”

It is interesting that this is the last thought of Jacob we read before he wrestles with God. We’ll look at that wrestling match tomorrow. In the meantime, what can we take from the verses we looked at today? As has been the theme for some time now, when we do things our way things go off track. When we do things God’s way things improve. When we inevitably find ourselves at the end of our rope, we need to return to God and start doing things His way. Accept responsibility for what you’ve done wrong, make amends to those whom you have hurt, and then move forward as God would have you go.

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

Reading Plans
Bible Order: 2 Kings 1–4
Chronological Order: Psalms 6, Psalms 8-10, Psalms 14, Psalms 16, Psalms 19, Psalms 21
Old Testament Only: Ruth 1–4
New Testament Only: Luke 14:25–15:7

Daily Verse: Psalm 78:4   Psalm 78. 4

Bible Study

Lead Your Household

Passage: Genesis 31:25-55

Verses 25 through 55 of Genesis 31 tell the story of Laban catching up to Jacob as he ran for home. I think the text makes it very clear that Laban intended to do Jacob harm. Jacob’s fears were well founded if one did not take God’s promises into consideration. The text also shows that Laban viewed Jacob’s wives and property as his. I have no doubt that had God not intervened to stay Laban’s hand, Jacob would have been out on his ear with nothing.

Verse 24 shows that God told Laban to behave himself. Still, Laban showed up and bragged that he had the power to do Jacob harm. I’m reminded of another biblical character that said something similar to Jesus Christ. His name was Pilot and he asked if Jesus did not realize that he had the power to release Him or crucify Him. Jesus said “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11). Now this is Jesus we are talking about. We cannot equate ourselves with Him completely. We are, however, Children of the Living God, and as such it is true that no one has any power over us but that which God allows. This was true about Jacob as well. God told Laban to leave Jacob alone which meant that Laban did not have the power to do him harm.

Now let’s be careful here brothers not to take the wrong lesson from this. Can others do us Christians harm? You know the answer to that. Others can indeed do us great physical harm; just as they did great physical harm to Christ. Today Christians are being slaughtered in extremely cruel and bloody ways and numbers not seen since the time of Nero. God has not promised to make a multitude of nations out of you or me. He has promised to deliver us to eternal life in His presence. He has also promised that His followers would suffer greatly for His sake; for the sake of the Gospel. The people who do such great harm to Christians today could not do so if God did not allow it. Obviously the question then is why God allows it.

God allows it because persecution of the Church purifies and grows the Church. Those whose hearts were not truly changed, but rather simply masquerade as Christians, will fall away as things get uncomfortable. Others who see how true Christians face persecution will be drawn to that which sustains us in these trials and tribulations. I have got to tell you guys that I have my doubts about this pre-tribulation rapture idea which is so popular these days. Until sometime in the 1800’s the Christian church had no such theory about the end times. It is a thoroughly modern idea. The fact that it is modern doesn’t make it wrong, but the Church has never grown as fast and as deep as when it suffered under persecution. If the whole point of us Christians remaining in this fallen world is to spread the Gospel, and if it is true that the Gospel never spreads faster or deeper than when Christians are persecuted, then I find it hard to believe that God would take away those He left here to do that job before the time was up.

I’ve wandered haven’t I? I want to close out Genesis 31 today so let me touch on one other little point from this chapter. Rachel stole her father’s household idols/gods before departing. Why? When Abraham sent his servant back to his family in Ur to find Isaac a wife, he did so to ensure that Isaac would have a wife that had a relationship with God. If Isaac had taken a wife from the local population, he would likely have been drawn away from the One True God to follow after man-made gods. You see, when there is a godly father, it is likely he will raise godly children. Unfortunately this is not universally true. It seems to have been true of Terah and his sons Abraham, Haran, and Nahor.

Nahor was the father of Bethuel and Bethuel was the father of Rebekah (Jacob’s mother) and Laban (Leah and Rachel’s father). It seems that the faith of Terah was passed down to his sons (Abram, Haran, and Nahor) and subsequently on to their sons. Once we get down to the great grandchild level, however, we see a divergence. While Rebekah seems to have had a relationship with the One True God, that doesn’t appear to be true of her brother Laban. Laban had household gods. When he spoke to Jacob of what God had told him in a dream, Laban referred to Him as “the God of your father”, not “the God of my father” or “my God” or even “God” (Genesis 31:29). At the end of the chapter, as the two men make their non-aggression pact, Laban says to Jacob “The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” Laban called upon the God of Jacob’s grandfather and his own grandfather. He did not call upon God as his own.

So what does this mean to our story? It may explain why Rachel stole her father’s gods. Her father probably did not teach his daughters about the One True God. If he had rejected the One True God for man-made gods, why would he teach his daughters differently? Some of the struggles we’ve seen in this family, and some of the struggles to come, are directly related to minimal, if not downright nonexistent, relationships with God. Rachel stealing those idols provides us some insight into what is going on with her and the impact she may or may not have had on her family. Jacob, as husband and father of his family, and as one who did have a relationship with the One True God, couldn’t lead his family effectively until he grew up enough spiritually to do so, and much of what we have been seeing so far is Jacob’s spiritual immaturity.

Guys, husbands and dads matter. I heard a statistic recently that was somewhat stunning. I wish I could remember the figures exactly and the provenance of those numbers but I do remember the general figures. When churches are able to get children to church through VBS, or bus ministries, or what have you, they have a 7% chance of getting the rest of the family to church. When churches are able to get moms to church, they have a 20-something percent chance of getting the rest of the family to church. When churches are able to get dads to church, however, they have a 90% chance of getting the rest of the family to church. Don’t tell me husbands/dads don’t matter. Men are supposed to be the spiritual heads of their households. When we don’t do our jobs everyone in our family suffers. Brother, grow up spiritually and lead your household.

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

Reading Plans
Bible Order: 1 Kings 22
Chronological Order: 2 Samuel 1-4
Old Testament Only: Judges 21
New Testament Only: Luke 14:1–24

Daily Verse: 2 Chronicles 20:12   2 Chronicles 20. 12

Bible Study

Turn Everything Over To Him

Passage: Genesis 31:17-24

We have finally come to the place where Jacob returns to the land of his father. He should have gone long ago but his desire for a woman, and later for wealth, caused him to linger. God blessed him through this time of bad decisions, but as is the case whenever we live by worldly standards, a time of reckoning was approaching. Jacob was aware of the growing animosity his uncle and cousins had toward him. He realized that he needed to get out of there. He decided to “get away” while Laban was about a three day journey from home. Here is how it went down.

Genesis 31:17-24 ESV

[17] So Jacob arose and set his sons and his wives on camels. [18] He drove away all his livestock, all his property that he had gained, the livestock in his possession that he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to the land of Canaan to his father Isaac. [19] Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father’s household gods. [20] And Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean, by not telling him that he intended to flee. [21] He fled with all that he had and arose and crossed the Euphrates, and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead. [22] When it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled, [23] he took his kinsmen with him and pursued him for seven days and followed close after him into the hill country of Gilead. [24] But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream by night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.”

Part of me doesn’t want to be too hard on Jacob for sneaking off from his uncle. Laban was a treacherous man who had no intention of letting Jacob leave, let alone leave with all that belonged to him. The Scripture above, in verse 20, says that “Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean, by not telling him that he intended to flee”. In other words Jacob did not deal with this situation as a godly man. He continued to lower himself to his uncle’s level by using trickery to obtain his desires and address his troubles. This is man’s way, not God’s way. I believe Jacob should have walked up to Laban and said “It is time for me to go. Tomorrow I will pack up my wives, my children, and my livestock, all of which are my wages as we agreed, and leave. Goodbye.”

Why do you think Jacob didn’t take that course of action? You know, he did try that once before. What happened? Laban appealed to Jacob’s greed. He told Jacob to name his price to stay and work for Laban. That sounds good doesn’t it? What if your boss came in one day and said to you “I have noticed that everything I have put in your care has prospered and made this company a lot of money. I don’t want to lose you so name your price. What will it take to keep you working for me?” That’s pretty flattering isn’t it? It makes you feel valued and a little powerful to boot. Wouldn’t your mind leap at the possibilities? Why you might demand an equal share of the profits or to become a full partner in the venture. You’d be so wrapped up in the possibilities you might forget how dishonest that boss had been in the past.

I think Jacob knew he was susceptible to Laban’s blandishments. I think his main reason for hightailing it while Laban was gone, however, is because he was afraid the relationship had deteriorated to a point that Laban would keep his two wives and eleven children and all the livestock, and kick him out on his ear with nothing. I think he was afraid to lose what he had worked so hard and long to acquire. Of course Jacob was a trickster from way back. Dealing up right and honestly would have been against his former nature. I say former nature because God was slowly, perhaps agonizingly so, growing Jacob spiritually. We have seen some growth on his part in that he at least recognized that the improvement of his share of livestock was due to God’s blessing rather than his own efforts. Still, he has not really learned to trust God yet.

Here he is, 20 some years later, returning home the way he left, sneaking out before a family member does him grievous harm. He knows that God has blessed him but he isn’t sure he can trust God to protect him from Laban. This is why he left as he did. It turns out that he had some reason to fear Laban. As soon as Laban heard about his nephew’s departure he put together a posse and took off after him. He pursued Jacob and his retinue for seven days. This does not read as a desire to bless Jacob and send him off in style. Laban intended to do Jacob harm. It seems to me Jacob knew Laban would be angry which is why he took off in his absence to begin with.

Please take note, however, of verse 24. God knew what was in Laban’s heart and He came to Laban in a dream and told him to mind his P’s and Q’s. That was it. He said don’t say anything good or bad to Jacob. As we will see tomorrow, Laban did question his nephew about his sneaking off, but he didn’t lift a finger against Jacob and he didn’t threaten Jacob nor did he offer some phony “good deal”. God put an end to the problem just like that.

The way Jacob ran off endangered his wives, his children, and all the wealth God had given him. If it weren’t for God, Jacob could well have ended up dead. How much easier would it have been to trust God to begin with? If Jacob had gone to Laban to tell him he was leaving, could God have come to Laban the night before and told him to let Jacob go? Sure. God could have done any number of things to protect Jacob. Jacob should have known by now that God had a plan for him and that He would ensure that things worked out as they should.

Oh brother, I see so much of myself in Jacob. How about you? I so want to be in charge of my life, to make my own decisions, to show that I am smart, capable and in command. You and I are surrounded by a world that operates with worldly wisdom. It is so easy to succumb to the lure of the world; to pursue worldly things in worldly ways. This is a sure fire way to bring trouble and unhappiness into our lives. It also shows how much more spiritual growing we have to do.

Very shortly we will see Jacob wrestle with God. He will have one of those moments where you come face to face with the creator and you finally realize that you really do need to give everything over into His hand. As Christians we already did that when we submitted our lives to Christ. Our problem is we far too often continue to live by the worldly wisdom we just rejected. This means that we too must wrestle with God from time to time. We regularly have to be reminded to do things God’s way rather than our own way.

I have an exceptionally hard head and God has at times had to nudge me pretty hard and repeatedly to get through to me. There are still many things in which He is schooling me. I sure do get tired of flunking some of these exams. Still, I have a solid hope. My spiritual maturity does not rest on my ability. My spiritual maturity is guaranteed by He who has to power to finish in me what He started. My hope is in Christ. He will grow me to the point where I consistently turn everything over to Him, reject the way of the world, and do things His way.

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!