FEBRUARY 1
   
Today's Bible Readings
     Genesis 33
     Esther 9-10
     Mark 4
     Romans 4
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
''Please, take my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough."  So he urged him, and he took it.'' (Genesis 33: 11)
 
THE GIFT OF THE BLESSING
            Genesis 33 presents an interesting scene. It is a time when Jacob and Esau met for the first time after being separated for several years. Both of them had dreaded this meeting because of what happened in Genesis 27.  Jacob had conspired with his mother to steal the birthright and the blessing from Esau, the firstborn. Their plot and strategy was successful and Jacob did indeed steal Esau's birthright and blessing.
            This story has a good ending because Isaac did indeed give Esau a blessing.  Now, in Genesis 33 we see what could have been a very bitter meeting turn pleasant, as Jacob gave Esau material blessings and he graciously received it.
To this day Jewish parents have known how to give the gift of the blessing to their children.  Sadly, most Gentile parents do not practice this. Bill Glass has ministered in more than 500 prisons. He tells us that in the Florida penal institutions there are more than 40,000 inmates and less than 10 of them are Jewish. He says this is because most Jewish parents know how to give the gift of the blessing to their child.
            When Kirk Douglas was receiving an academy award he said, ‘‘This means very little to me because I never received the rag man's blessing."  His reference was to his father who was a ragman on the streets of Philadelphia.  Whether we realize it or not, all of us yearn for and cherish the blessing from our parents. Have you given your child the gift of the blessing? I am not referring to some ceremony or ritual that is done once and forgotten. I am talking about a lifestyle and a relationship that carries us on through life. Old Testament Scriptures are filled with accounts of the blessing. (Genesis 1:27-28, Genesis 12:3, Genesis 14:19-20, Deuteronomy 33:1-5, Genesis 28:1)
            What does it mean for you to give the gift of the blessing to your children and grandchildren?           
This blessing includes:
   Unashamed Emotion: A wise parent will express their love for their child with meaningful touch and spoken message. That child needs the tender touch, the warm embrace and encouragement of a gentle pat on the back. They need to hear, in their ears, the spoken message, ''I love you and I always will."
   Unconditional Expression: To give your child the gift of the blessing involves affirming that you love them no matter what. Their life will be different and they will be encouraged to know that they are very valuable and cherished in your sight. Your love is not based on performance, but relationship.
   Unlimited Potential:  Our children and grandchildren need to believe they have a glorious and successful future.   We
must constantly find ways to let them know that the best is yet to come. They need to be encouraged with a verbal picture of a special future. They need to know that they are awesome and incredible and have unlimited potential. This involves attaching high value to them.
   Unending Repetition: The gift of the blessing is not something that is done once and then it is concluded.  It is an
active participation and exercise in the life of the one we are blessing. A parent is never finished giving the gift of the blessing to their child. The day will come for most parents when they can joyfully give the gift of the blessing to their grandchildren. This blessing requires unending repetition.
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
Pray for millions of homeless and hurting children in Asia without anyone to love them or bless them. Pray for God's provision and protection for them.  There are more than 40 million homeless children in Asia.
 
A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
            ''Every child deserves a pat on the back.  It depends on what they have done as to the location of the pat and the severity of it."
Ron Herrod