Get Out of Town

God's Story For My LifeDay 28: Read today’s devotional on Bible Gateway.

Genesis 31:1-42

God tells Jacob to return to his homeland. But when Laban finds the idols missing from his home, he chases down Jacob and his wives.

Get Out of Town

Read

So Jacob put his wives and children on camels, and he drove all his livestock in front of him. He packed all the belongings he had acquired in Paddan-aram and set out for the land of Canaan, where his father, Isaac, lived. At the time they left, Laban was some distance away, shearing his sheep. Rachel stole her father’s household idols and took them with her.
(Genesis 31:17-19)

Reflect

While Jacob was living with his father-in-law, he always did more than was expected of him. When his flocks were attacked, he took the losses rather than splitting them with Laban. He worked hard even after several pay cuts. His diligence eventually paid off; his flocks began to multiply.

Leaving home was not difficult for Rachel and Leah because their father had treated them as poorly as he had treated Jacob. According to custom, they were supposed to receive the benefits of the dowry Jacob paid for them, which was fourteen years of hard work. When Laban did not give them what was rightfully theirs, they knew they would never inherit anything from their father. Thus, they wholeheartedly approved of Jacob’s plan to take the wealth he had gained and leave.

Jacob certainly had a complicated relationship with his in-laws. Even though Jacob manipulated the breeding of the flocks (Genesis 30:37-43) and snuck away with his family while Laban was gone (Genesis 31:17-19), Jacob was nevertheless a hard worker who brought wealth to his dishonest father-in-law. More importantly, Jacob was beginning to realize that whatever blessings he received were the gift of God, who was watching over him in the midst of his family turmoil.

Respond

Some of life’s most challenging relationships can be with family members. What relative do you have a complicated relationship with? Ask God to show you what you can do to honor him and that person.

Breakfast with Jesus

Breakfast with Jesus

by Alli Worthington, from her book The Year of Living Happy

Jesus is there

Peter is my favorite disciple because of how obviously flawed and human he is. (Man, can I relate to Peter!) After he denied knowing Jesus three times, he was completely (and pretty understandably) devastated. Believing his time as a disciple was over, he returned to his previous way of life as a fisherman. (Isn’t that like all of us? When we feel lost, we return so quickly to our old ways. But even when we do, God continues to come after us!)

As Peter sat in his boat, along with the other disciples, he felt lost. Not only had he failed to come to the aid of Jesus when He needed him most, now Peter couldn’t even catch fish! He’d been fishing all night and had nothing to show for it.

Then from the shore, a man tells them to cast their net to the other side of the boat. They did cast their net on the other side of the boat and caught 153 fish.

John, who was with Peter on the boat, announced it was the Lord on the shore, and Peter leapt into the water to find his way back to Jesus.

Peter didn’t stay stuck in his own failures on that boat. He wasn’t going to waste another minute finding his way back into Jesus’ arms.

By the time Peter reached Jesus on the shore, I’m sure he expected Jesus to let him have it. Instead, he found Jesus ready to receive him back into His grace — and with a hot breakfast to top it off!

How often do we do this in our own lives? We are so quick to replace the grace-filled words of Jesus with the condemnation we feel we should get for our mistakes. We forget that because of Jesus there is no longer any condemnation left for us! Jesus received our punishment so we could instead receive His love. Romans 8:1 affirms this for us:

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Jesus is there to receive us back from our mistakes. He stands on the shore ready to love us!

Think about an occasion when you spent time beating yourself up over a mistake. Now imagine what Jesus would say to you. Write yourself a letter from Him in which He tells you how He feels about you. Remember, just like with Peter, Jesus isn’t there to condemn you but to love you.

Excerpted with permission from The Year of Living Happy by Alli Worthington, copyright Alli Worthington.

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Your Turn

When was the last time you left a failure behind and leapt after Jesus? You don’t have to be devastated anymore. Jesus is waiting for you with open arms and delicious grace! Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you about having breakfast with Jesus! ~ Devotionals Daily

Get Past Your Past

Greg Laurie
Tuesday, December 31, 2019

LISTEN  

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.”

—Philippians 3:13

I heard about an interesting New Year’s Eve custom in Italy. As evening approaches, the streets are cleared and even the police take cover. Then at the stroke of midnight, the windows of the houses fly open, and every member of the family pitches out a whole catalog of personal possessions that remind them of something in the past year they’re determined to wipe out of their minds.

The apostle Paul recognized the importance of putting the past behind him as well. He said, “I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13 NLT).

We cannot live in the past. We cannot be controlled by past mistakes or live in past victories. So if you have blown it in past year, learn from it. And don’t do it anymore. Make changes in your behavior, in your habits, and in your choices to avoid going down that road again. Learn from your mistakes.

At the same time, don’t live in past victories. If God did something wonderful in your life in the last year, be thankful for that. But a new year is before you with many new opportunities. So press on for what God has for you.

Paul continued, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (verse 14 NLT). If you’re a runner, you know there is pain involved in running a race, especially if you’re running a marathon. After a while, it is hard to move one foot in front of the other.

In the same way, the Christian life is not a cake walk. It’s a battle. Paul was saying, “I’m straining to move forward.” These words are for every follower of Jesus Christ. So press on toward what God has for you.