January 24 Bible reading

24 01 2022

January 24 – Proverbs 3:1-10, Matthew 16:21-28; 17:1-13, Genesis 47:13-31; 48

Each day of the year I’ll post verses to read, with the purpose of reading through the whole Bible within a year.

Reading the Bible is helpful in taking the next steps to follow Jesus. It may not be easy and yet it can be rewarding. Digging into Scripture alongside people you know is a life-giving way to pursue answers together. We discover the love that God has for us, expressed through Jesus.

Please read the verses below, prayerfully consider them, and then my comments may be helpful after those moments.

  • What’s the plain simple truth of the verses you read?
  • Based on today’s reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?
  • What should you do about that truth?

January 24 – Proverbs 3:1-10, Matthew 16:21-28; 17:1-13, Genesis 47:13-31; 48

Proverbs 3:1-10

We should engage in a relationship with God that includes all of our learning, loving, and listening. This prompts us to be thankful and tell others about this God that we value. Sharing is essential to the experience. When we meditate on God’s Word, we can better trust God and follow God. Solomon writes about purpose in wisdom and benefits from wisdom. Loyalty and kindness are essential to a Jesus style of servant leadership. Choosing to rely on God completely includes looking for God’s will in every area of life. When we live like this we will discover God’s guidance.

Matthew 16:21-28; 17:1-13

Jesus prepared His followers for His death. Jesus called them to wholehearted devotion and choosing a lifestyle of sacrificial love. Jesus called His followers to value the Kingdom of God above their natural life. This includes a willingness to set aside their own desires in favor of God’s desires. We are called to follow Jesus, not our own way. Peter, James, and John saw Jesus’ appearance change. They saw him talking with Moses and Elijah. They heard Father God speak His loving approval over Jesus, instructing them to follow Jesus.

Genesis 47:13-31; 48

Joseph had looked for the will of God and responded faithfully to all God had revealed. Joseph obeyed God and exercised good stewardship. Many people were spared starvation from famine because of Joseph’s faithfulness to God. Jacob shared, with his own son Joseph, God’s promise to bless them so that they could be a blessing to all people.





January 23 Bible reading

23 01 2022

January 23 – Psalm 14, Matthew 16:1-20, Genesis 45; 46; 47:1-12

Each day of the year I’ll post verses to read, with the purpose of reading through the whole Bible within a year.

Reading the Bible is helpful in taking the next steps to follow Jesus. It may not be easy and yet it can be rewarding. Digging into Scripture alongside people you know is a life-giving way to pursue answers together. We discover the love that God has for us, expressed through Jesus.

Please read the verses below, prayerfully consider them, and then my comments may be helpful after those moments.

  • What’s the plain simple truth of the verses you read?
  • Based on today’s reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?
  • What should you do about that truth?

January 23 – Psalm 14, Matthew 16:1-20, Genesis 45; 46; 47:1-12

Psalm 14

Regardless of how I’m feeling the Word of God is alive and speaking to me. The Psalmist sang, “God is with those who obey Him.” God extends us grace not based on our actions, but based on His character. Our response to His grace matters.  Our God is looking for a relationship with people who are looking for Him. It is foolish to think there is no God. They sang about God’s promise to bring the Messiah from the ancestry of Israel.

Matthew 16:1-20

Jesus felt the need to warn his disciples about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. He wanted His followers to learn from His miracles and yet not become dependent on them for their faith. Peter recognized the identity of Jesus as the Messiah. The future of the church and the spiritual power is given to it, hinge on this truth. Even when we are rooting out false teaching we must stay focused on the identity of Jesus Christ and its meaning. Additionally, we must be sure that we are Jesus’ followers and not miracle followers.

Genesis 45; 46; 47:1-12

Upon discovery of his brother’s heart change, Joseph wept. Joseph revealed his identity and the perspective he had gained about God’s purpose. In the middle of an amazing reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers, we see three times that Joseph declared “God sent me,” describing the truth of what happened. This forgiveness was possible because Joseph could see God at work in the middle of his worst pain. Out of this comes provision and blessing on the whole family. We see God’s favor and then good stewardship & faithfulness from Joseph.





January 22 Bible reading

22 01 2022

January 22 – Psalm 13, Matthew 15:10-39, Genesis 43; 44

Each day of the year I’ll post verses to read, with the purpose of reading through the whole Bible within a year.

Reading the Bible is helpful in taking the next steps to follow Jesus. It may not be easy and yet it can be rewarding. Digging into Scripture alongside people you know is a life-giving way to pursue answers together. We discover the love that God has for us, expressed through Jesus.

Please read the verses below, prayerfully consider them, and then my comments may be helpful after those moments.

  • What’s the plain simple truth of the verses you read?
  • Based on today’s reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?
  • What should you do about that truth?

January 22 – Psalm 13, Matthew 15:10-39, Genesis 43; 44

Psalm 13

If we will honestly wrestle with the discontentment, frustration, pain, and questions within our soul we can find a deeper peace in the love of God. We can then rely completely on God’s unfailing love. We can then recognize where God is at work. We may see a profound heart change inside people who have hurt us in the past. David spoke honestly to God in private prayer. He would sing to God. His songs would be written down so that they could be sung by the gathered believers. Notably, this includes Psalm 13 asking God how long He will allow David’s enemies to succeed. David is honest about his stress and questions. David calls God into action and promises to trust God at the same time. At this moment David recalls God’s unfailing love and goodness. This should serve as an example for us.

Matthew 15:10-39

Jesus reveals a focus on external behaviors as a faulty approach to our faith walk. Jesus brings our faith to focus on issues of the heart. Cleansing of our spiritual heart will lead to change seen on the outside. Jesus shows power over demons. He responds to faith and presents freedom available to all who receive it in faith. Jesus continued to do healing miracles and provided food miraculously for thousands of people.

Genesis 43; 44

Joseph provided food for his father’s family. Joseph tested his half-brothers to see if they would protect his brother Benjamin. Judah offered his own life in protection of Benjamin. This exchange revealed to Joseph what was in the heart of his brothers. God cares about our hearts and what we choose to value most.





January 21 Bible reading

21 01 2022

January 21 – Psalm 12, Matthew 14:22-36; 15:1-9, Genesis 41:41-57; 42

Each day of the year I’ll post verses to read, with the purpose of reading through the whole Bible within a year.

Reading the Bible is helpful in taking the next steps to follow Jesus. It may not be easy and yet it can be rewarding. Digging into Scripture alongside people you know is a life-giving way to pursue answers together. We discover the love that God has for us, expressed through Jesus.

Please read the verses below, prayerfully consider them, and then my comments may be helpful after those moments.

  • What’s the plain simple truth of the verses you read?
  • Based on today’s reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?
  • What should you do about that truth?

January 21 – Psalm 12, Matthew 14:22-36; 15:1-9, Genesis 41:41-57; 42

Psalm 12

David gives the band a song for the gathering of believers. He is weary of defiant and violent criminals. He is singing about God taking action on behalf of the poor and oppressed. David has found God to be faithful and his promises to be pure. God is looking for interaction with us, honest dialogue, a relationship with who we really are, what we are truly thinking and feeling. God cares about what we are really thinking and feeling. God wants us to call out for help. When we realize that His “promises are pure” we are better able to trust Him completely.

Matthew 14:22-36; 15:1-9

Still looking for solace, Jesus sends the disciples ahead to cross the lake by boat. A storm brings heavy waves. They’re in trouble. Jesus appears walking on the water. Peter wants to join him. Peter takes steps on the water, but when he takes his eyes off Jesus he sinks. Jesus pulls Peter out and uses this as a teaching moment. Jesus asks the all-important question, “Why did you doubt Me?” We must gauge the condition of our hearts. The identity of Jesus as Messiah is the focus. Jesus calls into question the spiritual orientation of religious people who defied him. Jesus exposed their selfishness.

Genesis 41:41-57; 42

Just as Joseph had predicted the Egyptians saw seven years of abundant crops. He was a good steward in organizing their savings in preparation for the predicted seven years of famine to come. This set up a reunion with his brothers, exposing their guilt for selling him into slavery. Joseph saw God respond to the state of his heart and the character of his lifestyle.





January 20 Bible reading

20 01 2022

January 20 – Proverbs 2:12-22, Matthew 14:1-21, Genesis 40; 41:1-40

Each day of the year I’ll post verses to read, with the purpose of reading through the whole Bible within a year.

Reading the Bible is helpful in taking the next steps to follow Jesus. It may not be easy and yet it can be rewarding. Digging into Scripture alongside people you know is a life-giving way to pursue answers together. We discover the love that God has for us, expressed through Jesus.

Please read the verses below, prayerfully consider them, and then my comments may be helpful after those moments.

  • What’s the plain simple truth of the verses you read?
  • Based on today’s reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?
  • What should you do about that truth?

January 20 – Proverbs 2:12-22, Matthew 14:1-21, Genesis 40; 41:1-40

Proverbs 2:12-22

A lifestyle of loving God with all you’ve got will help you make wise decisions. Learning from God will bring guidance on how to live each day. This will protect you from dangerous relationships and keep you from sexual sin. You are able to make decisions to follow God’s life-giving way. If I will choose to live by God-fearing wisdom I will run from sexual immorality and I will stay on the paths of the righteous (healthy relationships with God and others).

Matthew 14:1-21

John the Baptist confronted the sexual sin of Herod, a violent ruler. Herod has John put to death. Jesus wants to be alone when he hears the news but more than 5,000 people are following him. Jesus was moved with compassion for them despite his grief. Jesus provided food for them miraculously. Jesus healed the sick. Jesus cared about their spiritual needs and their natural needs. What a contrast between Herod living for his own pleasure and Jesus’ giving life to others!

Genesis 40; 41:1-40

Falsely accused and in prison, Joseph doesn’t give up. God gives Joseph the interpretation of dreams. Joseph provides the meaning of the dreams and suggestions for action. Joseph doesn’t take credit for himself but attributes God for this ability. Joseph is restored from prison to a place of authority over Potipher’s resources. On any given day God has wisdom for us. We are given the opportunity to seek God and live faithfully in response to all that God has already done for us. Joseph showed wisdom in saying, “It is beyond my power, but God can do this.”





January 19 Bible reading

19 01 2022

January 19 – Psalm 11, Matthew 13:36-58, Genesis 38; 39

Each day of the year I’ll post verses to read, with the purpose of reading through the whole Bible within a year.

Reading the Bible is helpful in taking the next steps to follow Jesus. It may not be easy and yet it can be rewarding. Digging into Scripture alongside people you know is a life-giving way to pursue answers together. We discover the love that God has for us, expressed through Jesus.

Please read the verses below, prayerfully consider them, and then my comments may be helpful after those moments.

  • What’s the plain simple truth of the verses you read?
  • Based on today’s reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?
  • What should you do about that truth?

January 19 – Psalm 11, Matthew 13:36-58, Genesis 38; 39

Psalm 11

On ordinary days and days when things are falling apart, our God is alive, aware, able, and active. This is the faith statement sung by David when chaos and violence seem unchecked. “What should I do?” David sings. David believes that God is in control. We can choose to trust God. Turning to God we will see His face. He has an attentive focus on each human.

Matthew 13:36-58

Jesus taught His disciples that the Kingdom of God transcends everything in our natural world. We would be wise to recognize the priority of the Kingdom of God. Jesus called people to receive new spiritual life and repent of their self-oriented ways. Jesus predicted a day when all will be made right and our decision to follow Him will be rewarded. Jesus told us that the Kingdom of Heaven is more valuable than anything on earth. Jesus taught these things repeatedly and plainly. Jesus only did a few miracles in His hometown where they did not believe in Him as Savior.

Genesis 38; 39

Israel’s son Judah had been influential in selling his brother Joseph into slavery. Judah chooses sexual sin over God’s ways. Judah’s sons are wicked. Judah remains caught up in the customs of this world and sinful decisions. God is always aware of what is going on and brings consequences. Joseph’s master Potiphar recognizes the favor of God on him and puts him in charge of his resources. Joseph resists the temptation of sexual sin. Falsely accused, Joseph is put in prison where God continues to show him favor. God brings redemption to messed up human relationships. God can show His faithful love even when we are falsely accused and wrongfully punished.





January 18 Bible reading

18 01 2022

January 18 – Psalm 10:12-18, Matthew 13:18-35, Genesis 36; 37

Each day of the year I’ll post verses to read, with the purpose of reading through the whole Bible within a year.

Reading the Bible is helpful in taking the next steps to follow Jesus. It may not be easy and yet it can be rewarding. Digging into Scripture alongside people you know is a life-giving way to pursue answers together. We discover the love that God has for us, expressed through Jesus.

Please read the verses below, prayerfully consider them, and then my comments may be helpful after those moments.

  • What’s the plain simple truth of the verses you read?
  • Based on today’s reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?
  • What should you do about that truth?

January 18 – Psalm 10:12-18, Matthew 13:18-35, Genesis 36; 37

Psalm 10:12-18

The Psalm prays for the helpless, troubled, grieving, fatherless, homeless, and oppressed. God knows their hope and will bring justice. Psalm 10 calls God into action against violent criminals who hurt the poor while scoffing at God. The song asks God to help people who have been wronged and can no longer provide for themselves. It’s a prayer for God to make right the wrongs and bring peace to people who have none.

Matthew 13:18-35

Jesus explains the parable of seeds warning us about the importance of understanding spiritual perspective, the need to resist our enemy, and the danger of allowing the worries of this life to choke out our response to God. Through it, Jesus calls His followers to become more focused on God’s truth than anything in this life. Drawing strength from God’s truth for life we will see fruit every season. Jesus brings perspective about the Kingdom of God, and how God can bring supernatural results out of that which looks like not enough. God loves us. God has a plan for us. The kingdom of God transcends the natural world we see.

Genesis 36; 37

Esau’s families are the original people of Edom. They multiplied and branched out into new territory. Israel loved Joseph more than any of his eleven other sons. Joseph is betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery. We will yet see the will of God at work above and beyond the brokenness of these human relationships. In Joseph, we see that when God gives us a glimpse of His plan it is incredibly helpful to have hope.





January 17 Bible reading

17 01 2022

January 17 – Psalm 10:1-11, Matthew 12:46-50; 13:1-17, Genesis 34; 35

Each day of the year I’ll post verses to read, with the purpose of reading through the whole Bible within a year.

Reading the Bible is helpful in taking the next steps to follow Jesus. It may not be easy and yet it can be rewarding. Digging into Scripture alongside people you know is a life-giving way to pursue answers together. We discover the love that God has for us, expressed through Jesus.

Please read the verses below, prayerfully consider them, and then my comments may be helpful after those moments.

  • What’s the plain simple truth of the verses you read?
  • Based on today’s reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?
  • What should you do about that truth?

January 17 – Psalm 10:1-11, Matthew 12:46-50; 13:1-17, Genesis 34; 35

Psalm 10:1-11

People may not believe that God is aware of them and the harm they are causing, but He is. There are people who take advantage of the poor and yet believe that there will be no consequences for their actions. They live like God doesn’t exist. They lie, cheat, steal, and murder. Psalm 10 calls God into action.

Matthew 12:46-50; 13:1-17

Anyone who responds to Yahweh in faithful obedience is part of the family of Jesus. Some of Jesus’ teaching came in the form of stories. The parable of the sower helps us understand that God has initiated a relationship through truth and each person has an opportunity to respond. When a person responds to Jesus faithfully the seed that God provided is found fruitful. Sadly not everyone will respond. Some will ignore Jesus. Some will allow the things of this life to distract them. Those who respond to Jesus by hearing what He has said will find joy. Following Jesus will help us see our spiritual family and our priorities in relationships. Some people will have a hard heart and not respond to Jesus. The few people who hear Jesus and respond with staying power will see results that are multiplied.

Genesis 34; 35

Jacob’s sons avenge the rape of their sister. God sees sins committed in unhealthy relationships and calls Jacob back to Bethel, a place of worship. Jacob calls his whole family to rid themselves of idols and worship only God who had revealed Himself as “Almighty”. God speaks purpose to them and promises them land. Jacob and his family respond to God in obedience. Again God renames Jacob as Israel. God reveals Himself as El Shaddai the Almighty God.





Learning from Rev Dr MLK Jr

16 01 2022

Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr continues to teach me.
His life and words speak to the priority of love as a motivation for action.
Today I am thankful for the opportunity to learn from my neighbors in Baltimore City and many agents of change here, who have been shaped by the legacy of Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Further, I am so thankful to have again shared this morning with the Baptist Minister’s Night Conference of Baltimore & Vicinity, Rev Dr. Sandra Conner, Bishop J.L. Carter, Bishop Reginald Kennedy, various elected officials, and many heroes of the faith from Baltimore City!! Like Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. they lead with action and speak with powerful words.

This year I am considering the way in which Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to the ways in which equality and justice would “enable men and women everywhere to live in dignity and human decency. Additionally, the words of Rev Howard Thurman, “The first step toward love is a common sharing of a sense of mutual worth and value.” (Jesus and the Disinherited) How would our neighborhood be a better place to live if we all related to each other with loving respect?

Many people quote memorable one-line statements from Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That is helpful. Search them out and consider them.

What has been even more helpful for me is to read the letter below (among other writings and listening to full speeches) for the sake of hearing his voice, his heart, his thinking, and having an opportunity to learn from him.

Please read the letter below and consider a few questions:

  1. What motivated him?
  2. What did he value?
  3. What was he willing to sacrifice for the sake of the cause?
  4. What do we learn from this letter?
  5. What should we do about it this week?

Letter from a Birmingham Jail by Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

16 April 1963

My Dear Fellow Clergymen:

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine goodwill and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham since you have been influenced by the view which argues against “outsiders coming in.” I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty-five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here.

But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their “thus saith the Lord” far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city’s white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.

In any nonviolent campaign, there are four basic steps: a collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good-faith negotiation.

Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with leaders of Birmingham’s economic community. In the course of the negotiations, certain promises were made by the merchants–for example, to remove the stores’ humiliating racial signs. On the basis of these promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations. As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few signs, briefly removed, returned; the others remained. As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self-purification. We began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: “Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?” “Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?” We decided to schedule our direct-action program for the Easter season, realizing that except for Christmas, this is the main shopping period of the year. Knowing that a strong economic-withdrawal program would be the by-product of direct action, we felt that this would be the best time to bring pressure to bear on the merchants for the needed change.

Then it occurred to us that Birmingham’s mayoral election was coming up in March, and we speedily decided to postpone action until after election day. When we discovered that the Commissioner of Public Safety, Eugene “Bull” Connor, had piled up enough votes to be in the run-off, we decided again to postpone action until the day after the run-off so that the demonstrations could not be used to cloud the issues. Like many others, we waited to see Mr. Connor defeated, and to this end, we endured postponement after postponement. Having aided in this community need, we felt that our direct-action program could be delayed no longer.

You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches, and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I, therefore, concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

One of the basic points in your statement is that the action that I and my associates have taken in Birmingham is untimely. Some have asked: “Why didn’t you give the new city administration time to act?” The only answer that I can give to this query is that the new Birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one before it will act. We are sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Albert Boutwell as mayor will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is a much more gentle person than Mr. Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to the maintenance of the status quo. I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is a historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.

“Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an “I it” relationship for an “I thou” relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically, and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man’s tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.

Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal. Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state’s segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama, all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.

I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws.

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

In your statement, you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn’t this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn’t this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquiries precipitated the act by the misguided populace in which they made him drink hemlock? Isn’t this like condemning Jesus because his unique God-consciousness and never-ceasing devotion to God’s will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber. I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: “All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth.” Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of goodwill. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.

You speak of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At first, I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. I began thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency, made up in part of Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, are so drained of self-respect and a sense of “somebodiness” that they have adjusted to segregation; and in part of a few middle-class Negroes who, because of a degree of academic and economic security and because in some ways they profit by segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the masses. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best known being Elijah Muhammad’s Muslim movement. Nourished by the Negro’s frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination, this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible “devil.”

I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the “do-nothingism” of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, by now many streets of the South would, I am convinced, be flowing with blood. And I am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as “rabble-rousers” and “outside agitators” those of us who employ nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies–a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare.

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America, and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent-up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides -and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: “Get rid of your discontent.” Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed, extremist. But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice: “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist: “Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.” And John Bunyan: “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.” And Abraham Lincoln: “This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.” And Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . .” So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill, three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime–the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation, and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent, and determined action. I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers in the South have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still all too few in quantity, but they are big in quality. Some -such as Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden, James McBride Dabbs, Ann Braden, and Sarah Patton Boyle–have written about our struggle in eloquent and prophetic terms. Others have marched with us down nameless streets of the South. They have languished in filthy, roach-infested jails, suffering the abuse and brutality of policemen who view them as “dirty nigger-lovers.” Unlike so many of their moderate brothers and sisters, they have recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for powerful “action” antidotes to combat the disease of segregation. Let me take note of my other major disappointment. I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions. I am not unmindful of the fact that each of you has taken some significant stands on this issue. I commend you, Reverend Stallings, for your Christian stand on this past Sunday, in welcoming Negroes to your worship service on a nonsegregated basis. I commend the Catholic leaders of this state for integrating Spring Hill College several years ago.

But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen.

When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests, and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.

In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed.

I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers declare: “Follow this decree because integration is morally right and because the Negro is your brother.” In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: “Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern.” And I have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely other-worldly religion which makes a strange, un-Biblical distinction between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.

I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi, and all the other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings, I have looked at the South’s beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious education buildings. Over and over I have found myself asking: “What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace gave a clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?”

Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment, I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson, and the great-grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.

There was a time when the church was very powerful–in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.”‘ But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example, they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent–and often even vocal–sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.

Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world. But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom. They have left their secure congregations and walked the streets of Albany, Georgia, with us. They have gone down the highways of the South on tortuous rides for freedom. Yes, they have gone to jail with us. Some have been dismissed from their churches, have lost the support of their bishops and fellow ministers. But they have acted in the faith that right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. Their witness has been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning of the gospel in these troubled times. They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment. I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America’s destiny. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were here. For more than two centuries our forebears labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; they built the homes of their masters while suffering gross injustice and shameful humiliation -and yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands. Before closing, I feel impelled to mention one other point in your statement that has troubled me profoundly. You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping “order” and “preventing violence.” I doubt that you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its dogs sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes. I doubt that you would so quickly commend the policemen if you were to observe their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes here in the city jail; if you were to watch them push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls; if you were to see them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys; if you were to observe them, as they did on two occasions, refuse to give us food because we wanted to sing our grace together. I cannot join you in your praise of the Birmingham police department.

It is true that the police have exercised a degree of discipline in handling the demonstrators. In this sense, they have conducted themselves rather “nonviolently” in public. But for what purpose? To preserve the evil system of segregation. Over the past few years, I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. Perhaps Mr. Connor and his policemen have been rather nonviolent in public, as was Chief Pritchett in Albany, Georgia, but they have used the moral means of nonviolence to maintain the immoral end of racial injustice. As T. S. Eliot has said: “The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason.”

I wish you had commended the Negro sit inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer, and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense of purpose that enables them to face jeering and hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy-two-year-old woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride segregated buses, and who responded with ungrammatical profundity to one who inquired about her weariness: “My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest.” They will be the young high school and college students, the young ministers of the gospel, and a host of their elders, courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience’ sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were, in reality, standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Never before have I written so long a letter. I’m afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts, and pray long prayers?

If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.

I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil-rights leader but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,

Martin Luther King, Jr.





January 16 Bible reading

16 01 2022

January 16 – Proverbs 2:1-11, Matthew 12:22-45, Genesis 32; 33

Each day of the year I’ll post verses to read, with the purpose of reading through the whole Bible within a year.

Reading the Bible is helpful in taking the next steps to follow Jesus. It may not be easy and yet it can be rewarding. Digging into Scripture alongside people you know is a life-giving way to pursue answers together. We discover the love that God has for us, expressed through Jesus.

Please read the verses below, prayerfully consider them, and then my comments may be helpful after those moments.

  • What’s the plain simple truth of the verses you read?
  • Based on today’s reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?
  • What should you do about that truth?

January 16 – Proverbs 2:1-11, Matthew 12:22-45, Genesis 32; 33

Proverbs 2:1-11

When I have found grace through Jesus, I want to love God more than anything else. My human nature can make that difficult. Learning helps. Choosing to live each day aware of who God is, is where true wisdom begins. Growing in an understanding of who I am in a relationship with God will help me apply wisdom to my daily life. Growing in wisdom requires focus and effort. We must ask God. It is God who can give us knowledge, understanding, insight, and wisdom. Wise choices will have lasting benefits. Understanding will keep us.

Matthew 12:22-45

Leaders who were in the position to teach people the truth about God were challenging the identity of Jesus as Messiah instead. Jesus confronted evil spirits and removed them from people. These leaders claimed that Jesus worked in collaboration with the devil. Jesus refuted this showing His superior power and its good results. They demanded miracles. Jesus called for repentance and reminded them of Ninevah. One day everyone will recognize the powerful identity of Jesus Christ. Jesus says that we speak out of our hearts and that we will be known by the “fruit” of our lives. He informs us that there will be consequences for those who do not repent.

Genesis 32; 33

Jacob is following God’s direction and moving his family to the land God had promised. Jacob fears his brother Esau and cries out to the God of unfailing love. Jacob was looking for a blessing from God beyond all that God had already provided. Arriving at land promised to him Jacob wrestles with God, is renamed “Israel”, and nervously reunites with his brother. Peacemaking remains important to God.