Saturday, January 12, 2013

January 12, 2013 … Who’s In Control?

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 12

Passage of the Day: Genesis 32: 31 [bold/underlined] in the context of verses 28-32 [NLT] … 28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “It is now Israel [Hebrew = “one who struggles with God”], because you have struggled with both God and men and have won.” 29 “What is your name?” Jacob asked him. “Why do you ask?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. 30 Jacob named the place Peniel —“face of God” — for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.” 31 The sun rose as he left Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 That is why even today the people of Israel don’t eat meat from near the hip, in memory of what happened that night. 

Contextual Reference Passage: … To study today’s highlight passage in context, go to Genesis, Chapter 32by using this link … 

Reference Passage: 2nd Corinthians 12: 7-10 : [NLT] … {Sometimes God has to give us “a thorn” to keep us humble enough to receive His saving/sanctifying grace.} … To study this passage, go to this link

 My Journal for Today: This morning in my Os Hillman devotional, he closes with a quote from a Christian colleague, stating, “Beware of the Christian leader who does not walk with a limp.” And this quote is in reference to the highlight passage today from Genesis, Chapter 32 where the story of Jacob’s wrestling match with God was related.

All of us, Christians or non-believers, have a very human default to try to control our circumstances, and some, like Jacob, a bit more strongly – even obsessively – more than others. In today’s vernacular we might have diagnosed Jacob as a “control freak,” or someone with “OCD” – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. And Jacob came into the world that way, conniving and conning the family blessing away from his brother, Esau. But it took a major and cataclysmic encounter with God, a wrestling match for God’s blessing, for God to humble him to the place where God could truly bless Him, … even by giving Jacob a new family name, “Israel,” which would become the name of all of Jacob’s descendants and the nation of Israel.

 So, back to the quote above, which may be taking on a more personal understanding now. Sometimes, after a long life of trying to “wrestle” control away from God, He has to break us in some way, like He did with Jacob’s hip to be able to humble that person to the place where the Lord can pour His grace into that one. And another story, in the New Testament, of such an instance is that, cited above, from 2nd Cor. 12: 7-10, where God had to wrestle the pride away from the Apostle Paul by giving him “a thorn,” which was some physical or emotional malady which Paul, through the pain of “the thorn,” recognized was necessary to keep the Apostle humble enough to receive God’s enabling/empowering grace.

What about you, fellow Christian, are you, like me often, in a wrestling match with God for control in our lives? On several occasions in my life, I had to “wrestle with God;” and he had to slam me with “His thorn” to show me that, as Jesus said to Paul in 2nd Cor. 12: 9, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.”  Hence the quote above that we need to beware of anyone who doesn’t “walk with a limp” in life, feeling or declaring that they have “things under control.”

I’ve learned that one of my biggest “red-flags” of personal warning is when I’m beginning to feel like I’ve got things under MY own control. DANGER … DANGER … DANGER!! And if you ever compliment me on something I’ve done and I don’t give all the credit to God, please tap me on the hip and ask me where my limp has gone. That will help me to realize that my pride has taken me to a place where I need thank God for giving me His grace to accomplish whatever you’ve seen in me that you think is admirable.

And I will now pray that God ALWAYS helps me to realize – without needing a thorn or a broken hip – that His grace is sufficient for me in the face of my weaknesses; … no, … IN ALL THINGS!!!

My Prayer for Today Lord, I know the riskiness in this prayer; but please keep me humbled before Your throne of grace so that I will realize and be thankful that You give me Your mercy, in spite of my Jacob-like nature. … Amen

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