How far would you go for love?


What if it was for someone you love? What if it was someone who loves you? What if it was a calling from God? What if it was your neighbor? We know how far God was willing to go for His love for us: “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” We know God’s commands can be summarized with two loves: Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself. Do you realize what love is? Do you think you could live out your life as love? Try to live out your life in a way where you can replace the word love in 1 Corinthians 13 with your name in the same way we can for God who is love. How far would you go for your love? How far would you go for someone else’s love? How far would you go for God’s love? Love never fails!

How far would you go for love?


Today’s reading from God’s Love Letter to us, the Word of God, the Bible gets started with the book of Ezra.

First in Ezra 5:

‘At that time the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem. They prophesied in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jehozadak responded by starting again to rebuild the Temple of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them and helped them. But Tattenai, governor of the province west of the Euphrates River, and Shethar-bozenai and their colleagues soon arrived in Jerusalem and asked, “Who gave you permission to rebuild this Temple and restore this structure?” They also asked for the names of all the men working on the Temple. But because their God was watching over them, the leaders of the Jews were not prevented from building until a report was sent to Darius and he returned his decision. This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai the governor, Shethar-bozenai, and the other officials of the province west of the Euphrates River sent to King Darius: “To King Darius. Greetings. “The king should know that we went to the construction site of the Temple of the great God in the province of Judah. It is being rebuilt with specially prepared stones, and timber is being laid in its walls. The work is going forward with great energy and success. “We asked the leaders, ‘Who gave you permission to rebuild this Temple and restore this structure?’ And we demanded their names so that we could tell you who the leaders were. “This was their answer: ‘We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the Temple that was built here many years ago by a great king of Israel. But because our ancestors angered the God of heaven, he abandoned them to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who destroyed this Temple and exiled the people to Babylonia. However, King Cyrus of Babylon, during the first year of his reign, issued a decree that the Temple of God should be rebuilt. King Cyrus returned the gold and silver cups that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple of God in Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of Babylon. These cups were taken from that temple and presented to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom King Cyrus appointed as governor of Judah. The king instructed him to return the cups to their place in Jerusalem and to rebuild the Temple of God there on its original site. So this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the Temple of God in Jerusalem. The people have been working on it ever since, though it is not yet completed.’ “Therefore, if it pleases the king, we request that a search be made in the royal archives of Babylon to discover whether King Cyrus ever issued a decree to rebuild God’s Temple in Jerusalem. And then let the king send us his decision in this matter.”’

Ezra 5:1-17

and continues into Ezra 6:

‘So King Darius issued orders that a search be made in the Babylonian archives, which were stored in the treasury. But it was at the fortress at Ecbatana in the province of Media that a scroll was found. This is what it said: “Memorandum: “In the first year of King Cyrus’s reign, a decree was sent out concerning the Temple of God at Jerusalem. “Let the Temple be rebuilt on the site where Jews used to offer their sacrifices, using the original foundations. Its height will be ninety feet, and its width will be ninety feet. Every three layers of specially prepared stones will be topped by a layer of timber. All expenses will be paid by the royal treasury. Furthermore, the gold and silver cups, which were taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar from the Temple of God in Jerusalem, must be returned to Jerusalem and put back where they belong. Let them be taken back to the Temple of God.” So King Darius sent this message: “Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the province west of the Euphrates River, and Shethar-bozenai, and your colleagues and other officials west of the Euphrates River—stay away from there! Do not disturb the construction of the Temple of God. Let it be rebuilt on its original site, and do not hinder the governor of Judah and the elders of the Jews in their work. “Moreover, I hereby decree that you are to help these elders of the Jews as they rebuild this Temple of God. You must pay the full construction costs, without delay, from my taxes collected in the province west of the Euphrates River so that the work will not be interrupted. “Give the priests in Jerusalem whatever is needed in the way of young bulls, rams, and male lambs for the burnt offerings presented to the God of heaven. And without fail, provide them with as much wheat, salt, wine, and olive oil as they need each day. Then they will be able to offer acceptable sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the welfare of the king and his sons. “Those who violate this decree in any way will have a beam pulled from their house. Then they will be lifted up and impaled on it, and their house will be reduced to a pile of rubble. May the God who has chosen the city of Jerusalem as the place to honor his name destroy any king or nation that violates this command and destroys this Temple. “I, Darius, have issued this decree. Let it be obeyed with all diligence.” Tattenai, governor of the province west of the Euphrates River, and Shethar-bozenai and their colleagues complied at once with the command of King Darius. So the Jewish elders continued their work, and they were greatly encouraged by the preaching of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo. The Temple was finally finished, as had been commanded by the God of Israel and decreed by Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, the kings of Persia. The Temple was completed on March 12, during the sixth year of King Darius’s reign. The Temple of God was then dedicated with great joy by the people of Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the rest of the people who had returned from exile. During the dedication ceremony for the Temple of God, 100 young bulls, 200 rams, and 400 male lambs were sacrificed. And 12 male goats were presented as a sin offering for the twelve tribes of Israel. Then the priests and Levites were divided into their various divisions to serve at the Temple of God in Jerusalem, as prescribed in the Book of Moses.’

Ezra 6:1-18

Then we move to Ezekiel 36:

‘“Son of man, prophesy to Israel’s mountains. Give them this message: O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord ! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Your enemies have taunted you, saying, ‘Aha! Now the ancient heights belong to us!’ Therefore, son of man, give the mountains of Israel this message from the Sovereign Lord : Your enemies have attacked you from all directions, making you the property of many nations and the object of much mocking and slander. Therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Sovereign Lord . He speaks to the hills and mountains, ravines and valleys, and to ruined wastes and long-deserted cities that have been destroyed and mocked by the surrounding nations. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My jealous anger burns against these nations, especially Edom, because they have shown utter contempt for me by gleefully taking my land for themselves as plunder. “Therefore, prophesy to the hills and mountains, the ravines and valleys of Israel. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am furious that you have suffered shame before the surrounding nations. Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I have taken a solemn oath that those nations will soon have their own shame to endure. “But the mountains of Israel will produce heavy crops of fruit for my people—for they will be coming home again soon! See, I care about you, and I will pay attention to you. Your ground will be plowed and your crops planted. I will greatly increase the population of Israel, and the ruined cities will be rebuilt and filled with people. I will increase not only the people, but also your animals. O mountains of Israel, I will bring people to live on you once again. I will make you even more prosperous than you were before. Then you will know that I am the Lord . I will cause my people to walk on you once again, and you will be their territory. You will never again rob them of their children. “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The other nations taunt you, saying, ‘Israel is a land that devours its own people and robs them of their children!’ But you will never again devour your people or rob them of their children, says the Sovereign Lord . I will not let you hear those other nations insult you, and you will no longer be mocked by them. You will not be a land that causes its nation to fall, says the Sovereign Lord .” Then this further message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by the evil way they lived. To me their conduct was as unclean as a woman’s menstrual cloth. They polluted the land with murder and the worship of idols, so I poured out my fury on them. I scattered them to many lands to punish them for the evil way they had lived. But when they were scattered among the nations, they brought shame on my holy name. For the nations said, ‘These are the people of the Lord , but he couldn’t keep them safe in his own land!’ Then I was concerned for my holy name, on which my people brought shame among the nations. “Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign Lord : I am bringing you back, but not because you deserve it. I am doing it to protect my holy name, on which you brought shame while you were scattered among the nations. I will show how holy my great name is—the name on which you brought shame among the nations. And when I reveal my holiness through you before their very eyes, says the Sovereign Lord , then the nations will know that I am the Lord . For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again to your land. “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. “And you will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago. You will be my people, and I will be your God. I will cleanse you of your filthy behavior. I will give you good crops of grain, and I will send no more famines on the land. I will give you great harvests from your fruit trees and fields, and never again will the surrounding nations be able to scoff at your land for its famines. Then you will remember your past sins and despise yourselves for all the detestable things you did. But remember, says the Sovereign Lord , I am not doing this because you deserve it. O my people of Israel, you should be utterly ashamed of all you have done! “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When I cleanse you from your sins, I will repopulate your cities, and the ruins will be rebuilt. The fields that used to lie empty and desolate in plain view of everyone will again be farmed. And when I bring you back, people will say, ‘This former wasteland is now like the Garden of Eden! The abandoned and ruined cities now have strong walls and are filled with people!’ Then the surrounding nations that survive will know that I, the Lord , have rebuilt the ruins and replanted the wasteland. For I, the Lord , have spoken, and I will do what I say. “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am ready to hear Israel’s prayers and to increase their numbers like a flock. They will be as numerous as the sacred flocks that fill Jerusalem’s streets at the time of her festivals. The ruined cities will be crowded with people once more, and everyone will know that I am the Lord .”’

Ezekiel 36:1-38

Our reading then takes us into the New Testament starting with Acts.

We begin with Acts 21:

‘When we arrived, the brothers and sisters in Jerusalem welcomed us warmly. The next day Paul went with us to meet with James, and all the elders of the Jerusalem church were present. After greeting them, Paul gave a detailed account of the things God had accomplished among the Gentiles through his ministry. After hearing this, they praised God. And then they said, “You know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they all follow the law of Moses very seriously. But the Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They’ve heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs. What should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come. “Here’s what we want you to do. We have four men here who have completed their vow. Go with them to the Temple and join them in the purification ceremony, paying for them to have their heads ritually shaved. Then everyone will know that the rumors are all false and that you yourself observe the Jewish laws. “As for the Gentile believers, they should do what we already told them in a letter: They should abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality.” So Paul went to the Temple the next day with the other men. They had already started the purification ritual, so he publicly announced the date when their vows would end and sacrifices would be offered for each of them.’

Acts of the Apostles 21:17-26

and finish our reading from New Testament in Revelation 13:

‘Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb, but he spoke with the voice of a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he required all the earth and its people to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. He did astounding miracles, even making fire flash down to earth from the sky while everyone was watching. And with all the miracles he was allowed to perform on behalf of the first beast, he deceived all the people who belong to this world. He ordered the people to make a great statue of the first beast, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life. He was then permitted to give life to this statue so that it could speak. Then the statue of the beast commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die. He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name. Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.’

Revelation 13:11-18

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 130:

‘From the depths of despair, O Lord , I call for your help. Hear my cry, O Lord. Pay attention to my prayer. Lord , if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you. I am counting on the Lord ; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word. I long for the Lord more than sentries long for the dawn, yes, more than sentries long for the dawn. O Israel, hope in the Lord ; for with the Lord there is unfailing love. His redemption overflows. He himself will redeem Israel from every kind of sin.’

Psalms 130:1-8

So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpases all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejocie with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

What will you do if it stops?


Would you ask why? Would you looking what happened? Would you wait a bit to see if it starts up again? Would you be concerned? Would you look things up for yourself? Would you seek truth? Would you seek hope? Would you seek love?

Jesus is the way the truth and the life! Jesus’s love never stop! God so loves the world that He sent Jesus to pay the ultimate price in order to make a way for us to be reconciled unto Him. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us.

Have you started your journey with Jesus? Have you invited Him into your life and started to follow after Him and His ways? Have you started to live out your life first loving God and second loving people? What motivates you? What will it take to make you keep going? What will it take to notice when the posts stop? How long would it take for you to notice the posts stop? Will you pursue it on your own? Will you get your own Bible? Will you get one for your phone like YouVersion Bible? Will you get one you can read on the web like bible.com? Will you allow it to speak to you? Will you allow the alive word of God available through the Bible to speak into your life? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to be your comforter and your guide? Will you allow Jesus to be your Lord and Savior?

What will you do if it stops?

Is there a legacy of others who will pick up the torch and carry it forward? Is there a legacy of others who will remember and continue? Is there a legacy of others who won’t give up but press in and press on? Are you one of them? Be an overcomer! Be more than a conqueror!

Post a comment, link back, let me know…


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets started with Ezra 4:

‘The enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were rebuilding a Temple to the Lord , the God of Israel. So they approached Zerubbabel and the other leaders and said, “Let us build with you, for we worship your God just as you do. We have sacrificed to him ever since King Esarhaddon of Assyria brought us here.” But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the other leaders of Israel replied, “You may have no part in this work. We alone will build the Temple for the Lord , the God of Israel, just as King Cyrus of Persia commanded us.” Then the local residents tried to discourage and frighten the people of Judah to keep them from their work. They bribed agents to work against them and to frustrate their plans. This went on during the entire reign of King Cyrus of Persia and lasted until King Darius of Persia took the throne. Years later when Xerxes began his reign, the enemies of Judah wrote a letter of accusation against the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Even later, during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, the enemies of Judah, led by Bishlam, Mithredath, and Tabeel, sent a letter to Artaxerxes in the Aramaic language, and it was translated for the king. Rehum the governor and Shimshai the court secretary wrote the letter, telling King Artaxerxes about the situation in Jerusalem. They greeted the king for all their colleagues—the judges and local leaders, the people of Tarpel, the Persians, the Babylonians, and the people of Erech and Susa (that is, Elam). They also sent greetings from the rest of the people whom the great and noble Ashurbanipal had deported and relocated in Samaria and throughout the neighboring lands of the province west of the Euphrates River. This is a copy of their letter: “To King Artaxerxes, from your loyal subjects in the province west of the Euphrates River. “The king should know that the Jews who came here to Jerusalem from Babylon are rebuilding this rebellious and evil city. They have already laid the foundation and will soon finish its walls. And the king should know that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, it will be much to your disadvantage, for the Jews will then refuse to pay their tribute, customs, and tolls to you. “Since we are your loyal subjects and do not want to see the king dishonored in this way, we have sent the king this information. We suggest that a search be made in your ancestors’ records, where you will discover what a rebellious city this has been in the past. In fact, it was destroyed because of its long and troublesome history of revolt against the kings and countries who controlled it. We declare to the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, the province west of the Euphrates River will be lost to you.” Then King Artaxerxes sent this reply: “To Rehum the governor, Shimshai the court secretary, and their colleagues living in Samaria and throughout the province west of the Euphrates River. Greetings. “The letter you sent has been translated and read to me. I ordered a search of the records and have found that Jerusalem has indeed been a hotbed of insurrection against many kings. In fact, rebellion and revolt are normal there! Powerful kings have ruled over Jerusalem and the entire province west of the Euphrates River, receiving tribute, customs, and tolls. Therefore, issue orders to have these men stop their work. That city must not be rebuilt except at my express command. Be diligent, and don’t neglect this matter, for we must not permit the situation to harm the king’s interests.” When this letter from King Artaxerxes was read to Rehum, Shimshai, and their colleagues, they hurried to Jerusalem. Then, with a show of strength, they forced the Jews to stop building. So the work on the Temple of God in Jerusalem had stopped, and it remained at a standstill until the second year of the reign of King Darius of Persia.’

Ezra 4:1-24

Our reading then brings us two chapters from Ezekiel starting with 34:

‘Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds, the leaders of Israel. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord : What sorrow awaits you shepherds who feed yourselves instead of your flocks. Shouldn’t shepherds feed their sheep? You drink the milk, wear the wool, and butcher the best animals, but you let your flocks starve. You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the injured. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty. So my sheep have been scattered without a shepherd, and they are easy prey for any wild animal. They have wandered through all the mountains and all the hills, across the face of the earth, yet no one has gone to search for them. “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord : As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , you abandoned my flock and left them to be attacked by every wild animal. And though you were my shepherds, you didn’t search for my sheep when they were lost. You took care of yourselves and left the sheep to starve. Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord . This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I now consider these shepherds my enemies, and I will hold them responsible for what has happened to my flock. I will take away their right to feed the flock, and I will stop them from feeding themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths; the sheep will no longer be their prey. “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day. I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel and by the rivers and in all the places where people live. Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in the lush pastures of the hills. I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord . I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak. But I will destroy those who are fat and powerful. I will feed them, yes—feed them justice! “And as for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign Lord says to his people: I will judge between one animal of the flock and another, separating the sheep from the goats. Isn’t it enough for you to keep the best of the pastures for yourselves? Must you also trample down the rest? Isn’t it enough for you to drink clear water for yourselves? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? Why must my flock eat what you have trampled down and drink water you have fouled? “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will surely judge between the fat sheep and the scrawny sheep. For you fat sheep pushed and butted and crowded my sick and hungry flock until you scattered them to distant lands. So I will rescue my flock, and they will no longer be abused. I will judge between one animal of the flock and another. And I will set over them one shepherd, my servant David. He will feed them and be a shepherd to them. And I, the Lord , will be their God, and my servant David will be a prince among my people. I, the Lord , have spoken! “I will make a covenant of peace with my people and drive away the dangerous animals from the land. Then they will be able to camp safely in the wildest places and sleep in the woods without fear. I will bless my people and their homes around my holy hill. And in the proper season I will send the showers they need. There will be showers of blessing. The orchards and fields of my people will yield bumper crops, and everyone will live in safety. When I have broken their chains of slavery and rescued them from those who enslaved them, then they will know that I am the Lord . They will no longer be prey for other nations, and wild animals will no longer devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will frighten them. “And I will make their land famous for its crops, so my people will never again suffer from famines or the insults of foreign nations. In this way, they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them. And they will know that they, the people of Israel, are my people, says the Sovereign Lord . You are my flock, the sheep of my pasture. You are my people, and I am your God. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!”’

Ezekiel 34:1-31

and continues into Ezekiel 35:

‘Again a message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, turn and face Mount Seir, and prophesy against its people. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord : “I am your enemy, O Mount Seir, and I will raise my fist against you to destroy you completely. I will demolish your cities and make you desolate. Then you will know that I am the Lord . “Your eternal hatred for the people of Israel led you to butcher them when they were helpless, when I had already punished them for all their sins. As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , since you show no distaste for blood, I will give you a bloodbath of your own. Your turn has come! I will make Mount Seir utterly desolate, killing off all who try to escape and any who return. I will fill your mountains with the dead. Your hills, your valleys, and your ravines will be filled with people slaughtered by the sword. I will make you desolate forever. Your cities will never be rebuilt. Then you will know that I am the Lord . “For you said, ‘The lands of Israel and Judah will be ours. We will take possession of them. What do we care that the Lord is there!’ Therefore, as surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , I will pay back your angry deeds with my own. I will punish you for all your acts of anger, envy, and hatred. And I will make myself known to Israel by what I do to you. Then you will know that I, the Lord , have heard every contemptuous word you spoke against the mountains of Israel. For you said, ‘They are desolate; they have been given to us as food to eat!’ In saying that, you boasted proudly against me, and I have heard it all! “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The whole world will rejoice when I make you desolate. You rejoiced at the desolation of Israel’s territory. Now I will rejoice at yours! You will be wiped out, you people of Mount Seir and all who live in Edom! Then you will know that I am the Lord .’

Ezekiel 35:1-15

Today’s reading next brings us into the New Testament starting with Acts 21:

‘After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, we sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and then went to Patara. There we boarded a ship sailing for Phoenicia. We sighted the island of Cyprus, passed it on our left, and landed at the harbor of Tyre, in Syria, where the ship was to unload its cargo. We went ashore, found the local believers, and stayed with them a week. These believers prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem. When we returned to the ship at the end of the week, the entire congregation, including women and children, left the city and came down to the shore with us. There we knelt, prayed, and said our farewells. Then we went aboard, and they returned home. The next stop after leaving Tyre was Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed for one day. The next day we went on to Caesarea and stayed at the home of Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen to distribute food. He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy. Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. He came over, took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.’” When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. But he said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” When it was clear that we couldn’t persuade him, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.” After this we packed our things and left for Jerusalem. Some believers from Caesarea accompanied us, and they took us to the home of Mnason, a man originally from Cyprus and one of the early believers. ‘

Acts of the Apostles 21:1-16

and continues into Revelation 13:

‘Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God. This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion! And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority. I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshiped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they also worshiped the beast. “Who is as great as the beast?” they exclaimed. “Who is able to fight against him?” Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his dwelling—that is, those who dwell in heaven. And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation. And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was made. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. Anyone who is destined for prison will be taken to prison. Anyone destined to die by the sword will die by the sword.’

Revelation 13:1-10

Today’s reading closes with Psalms 129:

‘From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me. Let all Israel repeat this: From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me, but they have never defeated me. My back is covered with cuts, as if a farmer had plowed long furrows. But the Lord is good; he has cut me free from the ropes of the ungodly. May all who hate Jerusalem be turned back in shameful defeat. May they be as useless as grass on a rooftop, turning yellow when only half grown, ignored by the harvester, despised by the binder. And may those who pass by refuse to give them this blessing: “The Lord bless you; we bless you in the Lord ’s name.”’

Psalms 129:1-8

So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpases all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejocie with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

Are you ready to start over and rebuild?


Ever noticed how much things change in life? Ever noticed things can’t stay the same because things happen? Growth triggers change. Plans trigger change. People trigger change. Responses trigger change. Actions trigger change. What about when a new structure is required? That triggers change too. Reorgs trigger change. Repentance triggers change. Salvation triggers change. Receiving Jesus into your heart triggers change. Bad decisions trigger change. Bad responses trigger change. Forgiveness triggers change. Grace triggers change. So what type of change are you facing? If instead of change people used the word renew would that change the perception of change?


Are you ready to start over and
rebuild things a new way?


Let’s turn to God’s Word and see what it has to say in our daily reading as part of Day 290 of Read the Bible for Life 4 + 1 Plan.

Today’s reading gets us started with Ezra 3:

‘In early autumn, when the Israelites had settled in their towns, all the people assembled in Jerusalem with a unified purpose. Then Jeshua son of Jehozadak joined his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel with his family in rebuilding the altar of the God of Israel. They wanted to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, as instructed in the Law of Moses, the man of God. Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they rebuilt the altar at its old site. Then they began to sacrifice burnt offerings on the altar to the Lord each morning and evening. They celebrated the Festival of Shelters as prescribed in the Law, sacrificing the number of burnt offerings specified for each day of the festival. They also offered the regular burnt offerings and the offerings required for the new moon celebrations and the annual festivals as prescribed by the Lord . The people also gave voluntary offerings to the Lord . Fifteen days before the Festival of Shelters began, the priests had begun to sacrifice burnt offerings to the Lord . This was even before they had started to lay the foundation of the Lord ’s Temple. Then the people hired masons and carpenters and bought cedar logs from the people of Tyre and Sidon, paying them with food, wine, and olive oil. The logs were brought down from the Lebanon mountains and floated along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Joppa, for King Cyrus had given permission for this. The construction of the Temple of God began in midspring, during the second year after they arrived in Jerusalem. The work force was made up of everyone who had returned from exile, including Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Jeshua son of Jehozadak and his fellow priests, and all the Levites. The Levites who were twenty years old or older were put in charge of rebuilding the Lord ’s Temple. The workers at the Temple of God were supervised by Jeshua with his sons and relatives, and Kadmiel and his sons, all descendants of Hodaviah. They were helped in this task by the Levites of the family of Henadad. When the builders completed the foundation of the Lord ’s Temple, the priests put on their robes and took their places to blow their trumpets. And the Levites, descendants of Asaph, clashed their cymbals to praise the Lord , just as King David had prescribed. With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord : “He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!” Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord ’s Temple had been laid. But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seen the first Temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy. The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance.’

Ezra 3:1-13

Will you change in a way that will bring joy to God? Will you change in a way that will rebuild the foundation on which you build your life? Will you set Jesus as your foundation and your cornerstone to help ensure you are aligned and on solid ground?

Today’s reading continues into Ezekiel 33:

‘Once again a message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, give your people this message: ‘When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose one of their own to be a watchman. When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.’ “Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself. “Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: You are saying, ‘Our sins are heavy upon us; we are wasting away! How can we survive?’ As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die? “Son of man, give your people this message: The righteous behavior of righteous people will not save them if they turn to sin, nor will the wicked behavior of wicked people destroy them if they repent and turn from their sins. When I tell righteous people that they will live, but then they sin, expecting their past righteousness to save them, then none of their righteous acts will be remembered. I will destroy them for their sins. And suppose I tell some wicked people that they will surely die, but then they turn from their sins and do what is just and right. For instance, they might give back a debtor’s security, return what they have stolen, and obey my life-giving laws, no longer doing what is evil. If they do this, then they will surely live and not die. None of their past sins will be brought up again, for they have done what is just and right, and they will surely live. “Your people are saying, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right,’ but it is they who are not doing what’s right. For again I say, when righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and turn to evil, they will die. But if wicked people turn from their wickedness and do what is just and right, they will live. O people of Israel, you are saying, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right.’ But I judge each of you according to your deeds.” On January 8, during the twelfth year of our captivity, a survivor from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has fallen!” The previous evening the Lord had taken hold of me and given me back my voice. So I was able to speak when this man arrived the next morning. Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, the scattered remnants of Israel living among the ruined cities keep saying, ‘Abraham was only one man, yet he gained possession of the entire land. We are many; surely the land has been given to us as a possession.’ So tell these people, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: You eat meat with blood in it, you worship idols, and you murder the innocent. Do you really think the land should be yours? Murderers! Idolaters! Adulterers! Should the land belong to you?’ “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: As surely as I live, those living in the ruins will die by the sword. And I will send wild animals to eat those living in the open fields. Those hiding in the forts and caves will die of disease. I will completely destroy the land and demolish her pride. Her arrogant power will come to an end. The mountains of Israel will be so desolate that no one will even travel through them. When I have completely destroyed the land because of their detestable sins, then they will know that I am the Lord .’ “Son of man, your people talk about you in their houses and whisper about you at the doors. They say to each other, ‘Come on, let’s go hear the prophet tell us what the Lord is saying!’ So my people come pretending to be sincere and sit before you. They listen to your words, but they have no intention of doing what you say. Their mouths are full of lustful words, and their hearts seek only after money. You are very entertaining to them, like someone who sings love songs with a beautiful voice or plays fine music on an instrument. They hear what you say, but they don’t act on it! But when all these terrible things happen to them—as they certainly will—then they will know a prophet has been among them.”’

Ezekiel 33:1-33

Will you only change if the change is for the good? Will you only change if the change is in alignment with God’s Word, wisdom, and discernment? Will you change in a way that will bless God and benefit people demonstrating your love of God and love of your neighbors?

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament with Acts 20:

‘But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him. When they arrived he declared, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus. “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. “And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know. “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood —over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders. I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you. “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself. “I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes. You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye. They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship.’

Acts of the Apostles 20:17-38

Will you be an agent of change for the better? Will you point people to repent and turn back to God? Will you point people to Jesus so that they can be changed and saved? Will you point people to Jesus so that they can be transformed with the old being gone and the new having coming? Will you share the love of Jesus so that others too may be transformed and saved?

Today’s reading continues into Revelation 12:

‘Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last— salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth— the one who accuses them before our God day and night. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens! And you who live in the heavens, rejoice! But terror will come on the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he has little time.” When the dragon realized that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But she was given two wings like those of a great eagle so she could fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness. There she would be cared for and protected from the dragon for a time, times, and half a time. Then the dragon tried to drown the woman with a flood of water that flowed from his mouth. But the earth helped her by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that gushed out from the mouth of the dragon. And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.’

Revelation 12:7-17

Will you be ready for the change that will come when upon Jesus’s return? Will you have to deal with the change of people vanishing and being left behind or will you change first and be taken with that first group? Will you have to decide to follow Jesus and be changed after the first group in order that you won’t have to deal with the eternal pit? Will you choose to spend eternity with God or apart from God? Will you choose to spend eternity with God or will you have to deal with the same consequences of the devil?

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 128:

‘How joyful are those who fear the Lord — all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be! Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table. That is the Lord ’s blessing for those who fear him. May the Lord continually bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live. May you live to enjoy your grandchildren. May Israel have peace!’

Psalms 128:1-6

So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpases all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejocie with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

Will you be ready when the time comes?


We may not know the time. We may not know the place. We do know the reason. We do know the outcome. We do know the person.

We know the promises are true. We know the reason is love. We know that victory belongs to the Lord. We know that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

So are you ready? Are you prepared? Are you read up? Are you filled up?

Have you decided? Have you chosen? Have you submitted? Have you received?

We are to be ready in and out of season! We are to put on the full armor of God! We are to be spirit filled! Let’s live out our lives transformed! Let’s allow our infilling to overflow into the lives of all the people God has brought into our lives! Let’s be conduits of God to all the people God has brought into our lives to be our mission field.

What if today someone comes to you looking for hope? What if today someone comes to you looking for a reason for the hope that is within you? What if today someone comes to you asking for help? What if today someone comes to you with a truth that will change tomorrow? What if today someone comes to you with a truth that will change your situation? Are you going to be ready? Are you going to be read up? Are you going to be prayed up? Are you going to be filled up? Are you ready?

Will you be ready when the time comes?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started with Ezra 1:

‘In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, the Lord fulfilled the prophecy he had given through Jeremiah. He stirred the heart of Cyrus to put this proclamation in writing and to send it throughout his kingdom: “This is what King Cyrus of Persia says: “The Lord , the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build him a Temple at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Any of you who are his people may go to Jerusalem in Judah to rebuild this Temple of the Lord , the God of Israel, who lives in Jerusalem. And may your God be with you! Wherever this Jewish remnant is found, let their neighbors contribute toward their expenses by giving them silver and gold, supplies for the journey, and livestock, as well as a voluntary offering for the Temple of God in Jerusalem.” Then God stirred the hearts of the priests and Levites and the leaders of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of the Lord . And all their neighbors assisted by giving them articles of silver and gold, supplies for the journey, and livestock. They gave them many valuable gifts in addition to all the voluntary offerings. King Cyrus himself brought out the articles that King Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Lord ’s Temple in Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his own gods. Cyrus directed Mithredath, the treasurer of Persia, to count these items and present them to Sheshbazzar, the leader of the exiles returning to Judah. This is a list of the items that were returned: 30 gold basins, 1,000 silver basins, 29 silver incense burners, 30 gold bowls, 410 silver bowls, and 1,000 other items. In all, there were 5,400 articles of gold and silver. Sheshbazzar brought all of these along when the exiles went from Babylon to Jerusalem.’

Ezra 1:1-11

Today’s reading continues into Ezra 2:

‘Here is the list of the Jewish exiles of the provinces who returned from their captivity. King Nebuchadnezzar had deported them to Babylon, but now they returned to Jerusalem and the other towns in Judah where they originally lived. Their leaders were Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah. This is the number of the men of Israel who returned from exile: The family of Parosh: 2,172, The family of Shephatiah: 372, The family of Arah: 775, The family of Pahath-moab (descendants of Jeshua and Joab): 2,812, The family of Elam: 1,254, The family of Zattu: 945, The family of Zaccai: 760, The family of Bani: 642, The family of Bebai: 623, The family of Azgad: 1,222, The family of Adonikam: 666, The family of Bigvai: 2,056, The family of Adin: 454, The family of Ater (descendants of Hezekiah): 98, The family of Bezai: 323, The family of Jorah: 112, The family of Hashum: 223, The family of Gibbar: 95, The people of Bethlehem: 123, The people of Netophah: 56, The people of Anathoth: 128, The people of Beth-azmaveth: 42, The people of Kiriath-jearim, Kephirah, and Beeroth: 743, The people of Ramah and Geba: 621, The people of Micmash: 122, The people of Bethel and Ai: 223, The citizens of Nebo: 52, The citizens of Magbish: 156, The citizens of West Elam: 1,254, The citizens of Harim: 320, The citizens of Lod, Hadid, and Ono: 725, The citizens of Jericho: 345, The citizens of Senaah: 3,630. These are the priests who returned from exile: The family of Parosh: 2,172 The family of Shephatiah: 372 The family of Arah: 775 The family of Pahath-moab (descendants of Jeshua and Joab): 2,812 The family of Elam: 1,254 The family of Zattu: 945 The family of Zaccai: 760 The family of Bani: 642 The family of Bebai: 623 The family of Azgad: 1,222 The family of Adonikam: 666 The family of Bigvai: 2,056 The family of Adin: 454 The family of Ater (descendants of Hezekiah): 98 The family of Bezai: 323 The family of Jorah: 112 The family of Hashum: 223 The family of Gibbar: 95 The people of Bethlehem: 123 The people of Netophah: 56 The people of Anathoth: 128 The people of Beth-azmaveth: 42 The people of Kiriath-jearim, Kephirah, and Beeroth: 743 The people of Ramah and Geba: 621 The people of Micmash: 122 The people of Bethel and Ai: 223 The citizens of Nebo: 52 The citizens of Magbish: 156 The citizens of West Elam: 1,254 The citizens of Harim: 320 The citizens of Lod, Hadid, and Ono: 725 The citizens of Jericho: 345 The citizens of Senaah: 3,630 The family of Jedaiah (though the line of Jeshua ): 973, The family of Immer: 1,052, The family of Pashhur: 1,247, The family of Harim: 1,017. These are the Levites who returned from exile: The descendants of the following Temple servants returned from exile: Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth, Keros, Siaha, Padon, Lebanah, Hagabah, Akkub, Hagab, Shalmai, Hanan, Giddel, Gahar, Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda, Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah, Besai, Asnah, Meunim, Nephusim, Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur, Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha, Barkos, Sisera, Temah, Neziah, and Hatipha. The descendants of these servants of King Solomon returned from exile: Sotai, Hassophereth, Peruda, Jaalah, Darkon, Giddel, Shephatiah, Hattil, Pokereth-hazzebaim, and Ami. In all, the Temple servants and the descendants of Solomon’s servants numbered 392. Another group returned at this time from the towns of Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Kerub, Addan, and Immer. However, they could not prove that they or their families were descendants of Israel. This group included the families of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda—a total of 652 people. Three families of priests—Hobaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai—also returned. (This Barzillai had married a woman who was a descendant of Barzillai of Gilead, and he had taken her family name.) They searched for their names in the genealogical records, but they were not found, so they were disqualified from serving as priests. The governor told them not to eat the priests’ share of food from the sacrifices until a priest could consult the Lord about the matter by using the Urim and Thummim—the sacred lots. So a total of 42,360 people returned to Judah, in addition to 7,337 servants and 200 singers, both men and women. They took with them 736 horses, 245 mules, 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys. When they arrived at the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, some of the family leaders made voluntary offerings toward the rebuilding of God’s Temple on its original site, and each leader gave as much as he could. The total of their gifts came to 61,000 gold coins, 6,250 pounds of silver, and 100 robes for the priests. So the priests, the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, the Temple servants, and some of the common people settled in villages near Jerusalem. The rest of the people returned to their own towns throughout Israel.’

Ezra 2:1-70

Today’s reading then brings us to Ezekiel 32:

‘On March 3, during the twelfth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, mourn for Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and give him this message: “You think of yourself as a strong young lion among the nations, but you are really just a sea monster, heaving around in your own rivers, stirring up mud with your feet. Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will send many people to catch you in my net and haul you out of the water. I will leave you stranded on the land to die. All the birds of the heavens will land on you, and the wild animals of the whole earth will gorge themselves on you. I will scatter your flesh on the hills and fill the valleys with your bones. I will drench the earth with your gushing blood all the way to the mountains, filling the ravines to the brim. When I blot you out, I will veil the heavens and darken the stars. I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give you its light. I will darken the bright stars overhead and cover your land in darkness. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken! “I will disturb many hearts when I bring news of your downfall to distant nations you have never seen. Yes, I will shock many lands, and their kings will be terrified at your fate. They will shudder in fear for their lives as I brandish my sword before them on the day of your fall. For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “The sword of the king of Babylon will come against you. I will destroy your hordes with the swords of mighty warriors— the terror of the nations. They will shatter the pride of Egypt, and all its hordes will be destroyed. I will destroy all your flocks and herds that graze beside the streams. Never again will people or animals muddy those waters with their feet. Then I will let the waters of Egypt become calm again, and they will flow as smoothly as olive oil, says the Sovereign Lord . And when I destroy Egypt and strip you of everything you own and strike down all your people, then you will know that I am the Lord . Yes, this is the funeral song they will sing for Egypt. Let all the nations mourn. Let them mourn for Egypt and its hordes. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!” On March 17, during the twelfth year, another message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, weep for the hordes of Egypt and for the other mighty nations. For I will send them down to the world below in company with those who descend to the pit. Say to them, ‘O Egypt, are you lovelier than the other nations? No! So go down to the pit and lie there among the outcasts. ’ The Egyptians will fall with the many who have died by the sword, for the sword is drawn against them. Egypt and its hordes will be dragged away to their judgment. Down in the grave mighty leaders will mockingly welcome Egypt and its allies, saying, ‘They have come down; they lie among the outcasts, hordes slaughtered by the sword.’ “Assyria lies there surrounded by the graves of its army, those who were slaughtered by the sword. Their graves are in the depths of the pit, and they are surrounded by their allies. They struck terror in the hearts of people everywhere, but now they have been slaughtered by the sword. “Elam lies there surrounded by the graves of all its hordes, those who were slaughtered by the sword. They struck terror in the hearts of people everywhere, but now they have descended as outcasts to the world below. Now they lie in the pit and share the shame of those who have gone before them. They have a resting place among the slaughtered, surrounded by the graves of all their hordes. Yes, they terrorized the nations while they lived, but now they lie in shame with others in the pit, all of them outcasts, slaughtered by the sword. “Meshech and Tubal are there, surrounded by the graves of all their hordes. They once struck terror in the hearts of people everywhere. But now they are outcasts, all slaughtered by the sword. They are not buried in honor like their fallen heroes, who went down to the grave with their weapons—their shields covering their bodies and their swords beneath their heads. Their guilt rests upon them because they brought terror to everyone while they were still alive. “You too, Egypt, will lie crushed and broken among the outcasts, all slaughtered by the sword. “Edom is there with its kings and princes. Mighty as they were, they also lie among those slaughtered by the sword, with the outcasts who have gone down to the pit. “All the princes of the north and the Sidonians are there with others who have died. Once a terror, they have been put to shame. They lie there as outcasts with others who were slaughtered by the sword. They share the shame of all who have descended to the pit. “When Pharaoh and his entire army arrive, he will take comfort that he is not alone in having his hordes killed, says the Sovereign Lord . Although I have caused his terror to fall upon all the living, Pharaoh and his hordes will lie there among the outcasts who were slaughtered by the sword. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!”’

Ezekiel 32:1-32

Today’s reading from God’s Word then brings us the New Testament reading from Acts 20:

‘When the uproar was over, Paul sent for the believers and encouraged them. Then he said good-bye and left for Macedonia. While there, he encouraged the believers in all the towns he passed through. Then he traveled down to Greece, where he stayed for three months. He was preparing to sail back to Syria when he discovered a plot by some Jews against his life, so he decided to return through Macedonia. Several men were traveling with him. They were Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea; Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica; Gaius from Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. They went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. After the Passover ended, we boarded a ship at Philippi in Macedonia and five days later joined them in Troas, where we stayed a week. On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper. Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight. The upstairs room where we met was lighted with many flickering lamps. As Paul spoke on and on, a young man named Eutychus, sitting on the windowsill, became very drowsy. Finally, he fell sound asleep and dropped three stories to his death below. Paul went down, bent over him, and took him into his arms. “Don’t worry,” he said, “he’s alive!” Then they all went back upstairs, shared in the Lord’s Supper, and ate together. Paul continued talking to them until dawn, and then he left. Meanwhile, the young man was taken home alive and well, and everyone was greatly relieved. Paul went by land to Assos, where he had arranged for us to join him, while we traveled by ship. He joined us there, and we sailed together to Mitylene. The next day we sailed past the island of Kios. The following day we crossed to the island of Samos, and a day later we arrived at Miletus. Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, for he didn’t want to spend any more time in the province of Asia. He was hurrying to get to Jerusalem, if possible, in time for the Festival of Pentecost. ‘

Acts of the Apostles 20:1-16

Today’s reading continues into Revelation 12:

‘Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and she cried out because of her labor pains and the agony of giving birth. Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born. She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to care for her for 1,260 days.’

Revelation 12:1-6

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 127:

‘Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. Children are a gift from the Lord ; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.’

Psalms 127:1-5

So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:


Hear comes change. Hear comes pressure.


When you learn there is change coming, what is your first response? When you hear about pressure coming, what is your response? Do you have a solid foundation to stand upon? Do you have a strong fortress to lean and retreat to? Does it matter what type of change it is? Does it matter what type of pressure it is? What if change means for the better? What if change means something new? What if change means going forward? What if change means going back? What if change means doing things differently? When you hear about a change coming, does that impact the way you proceed? Does it make you more hesitant? Does it make you more sensitive? Does it make you more cautious? Does it make you more determined? When you hear pressure is on the way, does it make you think about the process? Are you receptive because you know that it takes pressure to create a diamond? Is there such thing as good pressure? Do you ever consider the author or controller of the change and the pressure? Are you willing to turn to God for wisdom and discernment in and through those times? Are you willing to make the change if it is a matter of love? Are you willing to receive the pressure if it is a matter of love and a lasting relationship?

Let’s take a pause to consider this subject… Here is a song to help you consider and contemplate this pressure and change.

Diamonds by Hawk Nelson

Hear comes change.
Hear comes pressure.


Today’s reading gets us started with 2 Kings 25, the conclusions of the books of Kings.

‘So on January 15, during the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon led his entire army against Jerusalem. They surrounded the city and built siege ramps against its walls. Jerusalem was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah’s reign. By July 18 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, the famine in the city had become very severe, and the last of the food was entirely gone. Then a section of the city wall was broken down. Since the city was surrounded by the Babylonians, the soldiers waited for nightfall and escaped through the gate between the two walls behind the king’s garden. Then they headed toward the Jordan Valley. But the Babylonian troops chased the king and overtook him on the plains of Jericho, for his men had all deserted him and scattered. They captured the king and took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where they pronounced judgment upon Zedekiah. They made Zedekiah watch as they slaughtered his sons. Then they gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon. On August 14 of that year, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard and an official of the Babylonian king, arrived in Jerusalem. He burned down the Temple of the Lord , the royal palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem. He destroyed all the important buildings in the city. Then he supervised the entire Babylonian army as they tore down the walls of Jerusalem on every side. Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took as exiles the rest of the people who remained in the city, the defectors who had declared their allegiance to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the population. But the captain of the guard allowed some of the poorest people to stay behind to care for the vineyards and fields. The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars in front of the Lord ’s Temple, the bronze water carts, and the great bronze basin called the Sea, and they carried all the bronze away to Babylon. They also took all the ash buckets, shovels, lamp snuffers, ladles, and all the other bronze articles used for making sacrifices at the Temple. The captain of the guard also took the incense burners and basins, and all the other articles made of pure gold or silver. The weight of the bronze from the two pillars, the Sea, and the water carts was too great to be measured. These things had been made for the Lord ’s Temple in the days of Solomon. Each of the pillars was 27 feet tall. The bronze capital on top of each pillar was 7 1 / 2 feet high and was decorated with a network of bronze pomegranates all the way around. Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took with him as prisoners Seraiah the high priest, Zephaniah the priest of the second rank, and the three chief gatekeepers. And from among the people still hiding in the city, he took an officer who had been in charge of the Judean army; five of the king’s personal advisers; the army commander’s chief secretary, who was in charge of recruitment; and sixty other citizens. Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took them all to the king of Babylon at Riblah. And there at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king of Babylon had them all put to death. So the people of Judah were sent into exile from their land. Then King Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan as governor over the people he had left in Judah. When all the army commanders and their men learned that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah as governor, they went to see him at Mizpah. These included Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, Jezaniah son of the Maacathite, and all their men. Gedaliah vowed to them that the Babylonian officials meant them no harm. “Don’t be afraid of them. Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and all will go well for you,” he promised. But in midautumn of that year, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama, who was a member of the royal family, went to Mizpah with ten men and killed Gedaliah. He also killed all the Judeans and Babylonians who were with him at Mizpah. Then all the people of Judah, from the least to the greatest, as well as the army commanders, fled in panic to Egypt, for they were afraid of what the Babylonians would do to them. In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, Evil-merodach ascended to the Babylonian throne. He was kind to Jehoiachin and released him from prison on April 2 of that year. He spoke kindly to Jehoiachin and gave him a higher place than all the other exiled kings in Babylon. He supplied Jehoiachin with new clothes to replace his prison garb and allowed him to dine in the king’s presence for the rest of his life. So the king gave him a regular food allowance as long as he lived.’

2 Kings 25:1-30

Today’s continues into Ezekiel 31:

‘On June 21, during the eleventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, give this message to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and all his hordes: “To whom would you compare your greatness? You are like mighty Assyria, which was once like a cedar of Lebanon, with beautiful branches that cast deep forest shade and with its top high among the clouds. Deep springs watered it and helped it to grow tall and luxuriant. The water flowed around it like a river, streaming to all the trees nearby. This great tree towered high, higher than all the other trees around it. It prospered and grew long thick branches because of all the water at its roots. The birds nested in its branches, and in its shade all the wild animals gave birth. All the great nations of the world lived in its shadow. It was strong and beautiful, with wide-spreading branches, for its roots went deep into abundant water. No other cedar in the garden of God could rival it. No cypress had branches to equal it; no plane tree had boughs to compare. No tree in the garden of God came close to it in beauty. Because I made this tree so beautiful, and gave it such magnificent foliage, it was the envy of all the other trees of Eden, the garden of God. “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because Egypt became proud and arrogant, and because it set itself so high above the others, with its top reaching to the clouds, I will hand it over to a mighty nation that will destroy it as its wickedness deserves. I have already discarded it. A foreign army—the terror of the nations—has cut it down and left it fallen on the ground. Its branches are scattered across the mountains and valleys and ravines of the land. All those who lived in its shadow have gone away and left it lying there. “The birds roost on its fallen trunk, and the wild animals lie among its branches. Let the tree of no other nation proudly exult in its own prosperity, though it be higher than the clouds and it be watered from the depths. For all are doomed to die, to go down to the depths of the earth. They will land in the pit along with everyone else on earth. “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When Assyria went down to the grave, I made the deep springs mourn. I stopped its rivers and dried up its abundant water. I clothed Lebanon in black and caused the trees of the field to wilt. I made the nations shake with fear at the sound of its fall, for I sent it down to the grave with all the others who descend to the pit. And all the other proud trees of Eden, the most beautiful and the best of Lebanon, the ones whose roots went deep into the water, took comfort to find it there with them in the depths of the earth. Its allies, too, were all destroyed and had passed away. They had gone down to the grave—all those nations that had lived in its shade. “O Egypt, to which of the trees of Eden will you compare your strength and glory? You, too, will be brought down to the depths with all these other nations. You will lie there among the outcasts who have died by the sword. This will be the fate of Pharaoh and all his hordes. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!”’

Ezekiel 31:1-18

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament with Acts 19:

‘At this their anger boiled, and they began shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” Soon the whole city was filled with confusion. Everyone rushed to the amphitheater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, who were Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia. Paul wanted to go in, too, but the believers wouldn’t let him. Some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, also sent a message to him, begging him not to risk his life by entering the amphitheater. Inside, the people were all shouting, some one thing and some another. Everything was in confusion. In fact, most of them didn’t even know why they were there. The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander forward and told him to explain the situation. He motioned for silence and tried to speak. But when the crowd realized he was a Jew, they started shouting again and kept it up for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians! Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” At last the mayor was able to quiet them down enough to speak. “Citizens of Ephesus,” he said. “Everyone knows that Ephesus is the official guardian of the temple of the great Artemis, whose image fell down to us from heaven. Since this is an undeniable fact, you should stay calm and not do anything rash. You have brought these men here, but they have stolen nothing from the temple and have not spoken against our goddess. “If Demetrius and the craftsmen have a case against them, the courts are in session and the officials can hear the case at once. Let them make formal charges. And if there are complaints about other matters, they can be settled in a legal assembly. I am afraid we are in danger of being charged with rioting by the Roman government, since there is no cause for all this commotion. And if Rome demands an explanation, we won’t know what to say.” Then he dismissed them, and they dispersed.’

Acts of the Apostles 19:28-41

Today’s reading continues into Revelation 11:

‘Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: “The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.” The twenty-four elders sitting on their thrones before God fell with their faces to the ground and worshiped him. And they said, “We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were filled with wrath, but now the time of your wrath has come. It is time to judge the dead and reward your servants the prophets, as well as your holy people, and all who fear your name, from the least to the greatest. It is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth.” Then, in heaven, the Temple of God was opened and the Ark of his covenant could be seen inside the Temple. Lightning flashed, thunder crashed and roared, and there was an earthquake and a terrible hailstorm.’

Revelation 11:15-19

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 126:

‘When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.” Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy! Restore our fortunes, Lord , as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.’

Psalms 126:1-6

So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpases all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejocie with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are stil questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:


As I got to this point of my post a song from a play I was in many years ago came to mind. Somethings comin’ somethings comin’ our God is up to something.

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