In the United States, the “Pledge of Allegiance” has been recited countless times in school classrooms, at the beginning of meetings, sporting events, and other instances. The original 29 words were inspired by the writings of Francis Bellamy (from 1892) and became official in 1923. In 1954, the words, “under God” were added. These 31 words mean much more than just a mere collection of words.
January 14Jacob Becomes a Family Man Genesis 28; Psalms 8; Proverbs 3:11-12 Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him, and charged him, and said to him: “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padan Aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father; and take yourself a wife from there of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother. “May God Almighty bless you,And make you fruitful and multiply you,That you may be an assembly of peoples;And give you the blessing of Abraham,To you and your descendants with you,That you may inherit the landIn which you are a stranger,Which God gave to Abraham.” So Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Padan Aram, to Laban the son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau. Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Padan Aram to take himself a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.” Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the LORD stood above it and said: “I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.” So Jacob went on his journey and came to the land of the people of the East. And he looked, and saw a well in the field; and behold, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks. A large stone was on the well’s mouth. Now all the flocks would be gathered there; and they would roll the stone from the well’s mouth, water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place on the well’s mouth. And Jacob said to them, “My brethren, where are you from?”And they said, “We are from Haran.”Then he said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?”And they said, “We know him.”So he said to them, “Is he well?” And they said, “He is well. And look, his daughter Rachel is coming with the sheep.” Then he said, “Look, it is still high day; it is not time for the cattle to be gathered together. Water the sheep, and go and feed them.” But they said, “We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together, and they have rolled the stone from the well’s mouth; then we water the sheep.” Now while he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and wept. And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s relative and that he was Rebekah’s son. So she ran and told her father. Then it came to pass, when Laban heard the report about Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him and kissed him, and brought him to his house. So he told Laban all these things. And Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh.” And he stayed with him for a month. Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what should your wages be?” Now Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were delicate, but Rachel was beautiful of form and appearance. Now Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, “I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.” And Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me.” So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her. Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to her.” And Laban said, “It must not be done so in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. Fulfill her week, and we will give you this one also for the service which you will serve with me still another seven years.” Then Jacob did so and fulfilled her week. So he gave him his daughter Rachel as wife also. And Laban gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as a maid. Then Jacob also went in to Rachel, and he also loved Rachel more than Leah. And he served with Laban still another seven years. Genesis 28:1-6, 10-22; 29:1-21, 26-30 WORSHIPO LORD, our Lord,How excellent is Your name in all the earth,Who have set Your glory above the heavens!Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infantsYou have ordained strength,Because of Your enemies,That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.O LORD, our Lord,How excellent is Your name in all the earth!Psalm 8:1-2, 9 WISDOMMy son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,Nor detest His correction;For whom the LORD loves He corrects,Just as a father the son in whom he delights.Proverbs 3:11-12
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:18-20
One hundred sixty-five years ago today, the famed missionary David Livingstone was in danger. Livingstone took the Gospel to Africa an actually discovered and unlocked much of that continent to the outside world. But he lived a life of loneliness and danger.
On January 14, 1856, he was surrounded by hostile people beating war drums like they were going to attack the next morning. He wrote in his journal: “Felt much turmoil of spirit in prospect of having all of my plans for the welfare of this great region and this teaming population knocked on the head by savages tomorrow.”
Sitting at his campfire, he knew what was out there in the dark. He wrote,
“But I read that Jesus said, ‘All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth, go ye therefore and teach all nations, and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the world.’ This is the word of a gentleman of the most strict and sacred honor. I will not cross furtively as I had intended. Why should such a man as I flee? I shall take observations for latitude and longitude tonight. Though it may be the last, I feel quite calm now. Thank God.”
Did you realize that worry is a mild form of atheism? Follow Livingstone’s example. Practice the presence of the Lord this coming year. You’re going to be tempted. Know that Jesus Christ never leaves us, never forsakes us. When the devil comes and knocks at your heart’s door, simply say, “Jesus, please go answer the door.”
For more from Love Worth Finding and Pastor Adrian Rogers, please visit www.lwf.org.