How do you measure? Who is the greatest?


Is it based on how good they are? Is it based on how fast they are? Is it based on how dependable they are? Is it based on their character? Is it based on their attitude? Is it based on their potential? Is it based on their past accomplishments? Is it based on their pride? Is it based on their humility? Is it based on how grown up they seem? Is it based on how child like they are? How do you measure?

These questions were triggered when I started my morning reading today on the question “Who Is the Greatest?

1At that time the disciples came to Jesus, asking, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” 2So Jesus called a child to come and stand in front of them, 3and said, “I assure you that unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven. 4The greatest in the Kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child. 5And whoever welcomes in my name one such child as this, welcomes me.

— from Matthew 18 (GNT)

So how does that compare to our normal way of measuring and determining who is the greatest? How does this make you reflect on the measuring stick? For whatever measure you use to measure others is how you will be measured!

So what part of us needs to be converted to get in alignment with such a calling? Do we need a different mind set? Do we need another frame of reference? Do we need a new temperament? Do we need to change our thought patterns in how we see ourselves as well as how we see others? What is your goal and your purpose, are you being pulled by pride, ambition, and the desire or need to be honored and have dominion over something? We need to let that go! We need to turn back to God and give this all up into His hands and work to become more like a child. We need to move from the natural to the supernatural where grace abounds. We need to turn our back on that stuff and continue to walk away from sin and into repentance (it’s hard and just like we need to keep clean daily, we need to keep on track and keep turning back to God when we go off track).

Some may wonder what becoming like a little child could mean…it’s about the grace that converts us, …

Not…

  • Do not be like children in your thinking, my friends; be children so far as evil is concerned, but be grown up in your thinking. (1 Corinthians 14:20 – not foolish)
  • Then we shall no longer be children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful people, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent. (Ephesians 4:14 – not fickle)
  • “Now, to what can I compare the people of this day? They are like children sitting in the marketplace. One group shouts to the other, 17‘We played wedding music for you, but you wouldn’t dance! We sang funeral songs, but you wouldn’t cry!’ (Matthew 11:16 – not playful)

Rather…

  • Be like newborn babies, always thirsty for the pure spiritual milk, so that by drinking it you may grow up and be saved. (1 Peter 2:2 – desire the sincere word of God)
  • “So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?’ (Matthew 6:31 – no worries, trust in our Heavenly Father)
  • Do not be like children in your thinking, my friends; be children so far as evil is concerned, but be grown up in your thinking. (1 Corinthians 14:20 – not able or likely to cause harm, rather friendly, happy, liking, loving, respectful, sympathetic, moral, thoughtful)
  • While he is young, there are men who take care of him and manage his affairs until the time set by his father. (Galatians 4:2 – taken care of and under authority)
  • Have the same concern for everyone. Do not be proud, but accept humble duties. Do not think of yourselves as wise. (Romans 12:16 – accept humble duties, make friends with humble people)
  • Lord, I have given up my pride and turned away from my arrogance. I am not concerned with great matters or with subjects too difficult for me. Instead, I am content and at peace. As a child lies quietly in its mother’s arms, so my heart is quiet within me. (Psalm 131:1-2)

So let’s check our hearts and minds and see what we need to hand over to God and change in ourselves.

The devil is going to try and tempt us away from the truth. He is going to try and build up things in our lives that we shouldn’t care about or have rather than allowing us to stand firm on the rock that is Jesus Christ. He wants to keep us off balance. He wants to keep us off guard. He doesn’t want true success for us, but rather temporary and artificial pleasures. So stand your guard today! Stand firm! Put on the full armor of God! And allow God to guide your steps.

6“If anyone should cause one of these little ones to lose his faith in me, it would be better for that person to have a large millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea. 7How terrible for the world that there are things that make people lose their faith! Such things will always happen—but how terrible for the one who causes them! 8“If your hand or your foot makes you lose your faith, cut it off and throw it away! It is better for you to enter life without a hand or a foot than to keep both hands and both feet and be thrown into the eternal fire. 9And if your eye makes you lose your faith, take it out and throw it away! It is better for you to enter life with only one eye than to keep both eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

— from Matthew 18 (GNT)

God is looking for you. When you stray and get off track, He is looking for you because you are that important. From the beginning when Adam went astray what do we hear and read:

But the Lord God called out to the man, “Where are you?”

— from Genesis 3:9 (GNT)

And in the new testament we read about the lost sheep in today’s reading…

10“See that you don’t despise any of these little ones. Their angels in heaven, I tell you, are always in the presence of my Father in heaven. 12“What do you think a man does who has one hundred sheep and one of them gets lost? He will leave the other ninety-nine grazing on the hillside and go and look for the lost sheep. 13When he finds it, I tell you, he feels far happier over this one sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not get lost. 14In just the same way your Father in heaven does not want any of these little ones to be lost.

— from Matthew 18 (GNT)

So don’t lose hope when you miss the mark. Turn back to God! Don’t try to run and hide from Him, but rather turn to Him and confess what you have done. Not sure what to do turn to God ask Him for wisdom, He will give it to you generously and graciously. The devil will try to separate you from God and will do everything he can to get you to walk away. Don’t do it! Admit your mistake and turn back to God! Jesus paid it all so that we can be forgiven! We just need to ask!

Today’s Psalm says:

A Song of Praise

1I waited patiently for the Lord’s help; then he listened to me and heard my cry.
2He pulled me out of a dangerous pit, out of the deadly quicksand. He set me safely on a rock and made me secure.
3He taught me to sing a new song, a song of praise to our God. Many who see this will take warning and will put their trust in the Lord.
4Happy are those who trust the Lord, who do not turn to idols or join those who worship false gods.
5You have done many things for us, O Lord our God; there is no one like you! You have made many wonderful plans for us. I could never speak of them all—their number is so great!
6You do not want sacrifices and offerings; you do not ask for animals burned whole on the altar or for sacrifices to take away sins. Instead, you have given me ears to hear you,
7and so I answered, “Here I am; your instructions for me are in the book of the Law.
8How I love to do your will, my God! I keep your teaching in my heart.”
9In the assembly of all your people, Lord, I told the good news that you save us. You know that I will never stop telling it.
10I have not kept the news of salvation to myself; I have always spoken of your faithfulness and help. In the assembly of all your people I have not been silent about your loyalty and constant love.
11Lord, I know you will never stop being merciful to me. Your love and loyalty will always keep me safe.

A Prayer for Help

12I am surrounded by many troubles—too many to count! My sins have caught up with me, and I can no longer see; they are more than the hairs of my head, and I have lost my courage.
13Save me, Lord! Help me now!
14May those who try to kill me be completely defeated and confused. May those who are happy because of my troubles be turned back and disgraced.
15May those who make fun of me be dismayed by their defeat.
16May all who come to you be glad and joyful. May all who are thankful for your salvation always say, “How great is the Lord!”
17I am weak and poor, O Lord, but you have not forgotten me. You are my savior and my God—hurry to my aid!

— from Psalm 40 (GNT)
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Are you prepared?


Are you getting ready for what you will face today? Are you getting into the right environment or setting up the right environment for success? Being prepared, don’t give up and have faith to walk into and through every situation that comes your way!

With faith the size of a mustard seed, all things are possible! So fear not, just believe!

Jesus didn’t delete the laws of Moses or the words of the prophets, He completed them! So let’s live each day trying to keep a clear conscience in all we think, say, and do — before God and people!

What would you do for favor? Would you do what God asks? Would you do whatever people ask? Where is your plumb line to say what is right and wrong? Would you do something that you thought was wrong if it would gain you favor? Would it be worth it in the end? Be careful! Be wise!

Where are you at today? Are  you suffering? Consider this psalm…

1I said, “I will be careful about what I do and will not let my tongue make me sin; I will not say anything while evil people are near.”
2I kept quiet, not saying a word, not even about anything good! But my suffering only grew worse,
3and I was overcome with anxiety. The more I thought, the more troubled I became; I could not keep from asking:
4“Lord, how long will I live? When will I die? Tell me how soon my life will end.”
5How short you have made my life! In your sight my lifetime seems nothing. Indeed every living being is no more than a puff of wind,
6no more than a shadow. All we do is for nothing; we gather wealth, but don’t know who will get it.
7What, then, can I hope for, Lord? I put my hope in you.
8Save me from all my sins, and don’t let fools make fun of me.
9I will keep quiet, I will not say a word, for you are the one who made me suffer like this.
10Don’t punish me any more! I am about to die from your blows.
11You punish our sins by your rebukes, and like a moth you destroy what we love. Indeed we are no more than a puff of wind!
12Hear my prayer, Lord, and listen to my cry; come to my aid when I weep. Like all my ancestors I am only your guest for a little while.
13Leave me alone so that I may have some happiness before I go away and am no more.

— Psalm 39 (GNT)

What do you do when you realize that you have done something wrong? Do you do anything? Do you do something? Do you wait for the right time? Do you act right away? Do you confess your wrong? Do you ask for forgiveness? Do you know where to turn? Do you know who to ask?

Jesus was and is and is to come the one and ultimate sacrifice that covers a multitude of sin. He is the one sacrifice that covers all the sins that we confess and ask for forgiveness in His name. No longer do we need to spill blood to cover the sins, but by following and believing Jesus, we can turn to Him and receive forgiveness.

Before Jesus, it looked like this:

5When you are guilty, you must confess the sin, 6and as the penalty for your sin you must bring to the Lord a female sheep or goat as an offering. The priest shall offer the sacrifice for your sin. 7If you cannot afford a sheep or a goat, you shall bring to the Lord as the payment for your sin two doves or two pigeons, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. 8You shall bring them to the priest, who will first offer the bird for the sin offering. He will break its neck without pulling off its head 9and sprinkle some of its blood against the side of the altar. The rest of the blood will be drained out at the base of the altar. This is an offering to take away sin. 10Then he shall offer the second bird as a burnt offering, according to the regulations. In this way the priest shall offer the sacrifice for your sin, and you will be forgiven. 11If you cannot afford two doves or two pigeons, you shall bring two pounds of flour as a sin offering. You shall not put any olive oil or any incense on it, because it is a sin offering, not a grain offering. 12You shall bring it to the priest, who will take a handful of it as a token that it has all been offered to the Lord, and he will burn it on the altar as a food offering. It is an offering to take away sin. 13In this way the priest shall offer the sacrifice for your sin, and you will be forgiven. The rest of the flour belongs to the priest, just as in the case of a grain offering.

— from Leviticus 5 (GNT)

Jesus is our priest, our king, and Lord! So let’s build up our relationship with Him! He isn’t out there somewhere, He is right here with us! Emanuel … God with us!

So let’s walk prepared into today! God is going before you to prepare in advance the good work He has planned for you. Let’s walk with Him and obediently take on this work and glorify Him today in all that we do in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Today’s reading comes from: (Day 50)

  • Matthew 17:14-27
  • Acts 24
  • Psalm 39
  • Leviticus 5
  • Leviticus 6
  • Leviticus 7

In the midst of a storm? Starting to panic? Not sure what to do?


Be of good cheer! Take courage! Don’t be afraid! Jesus is with you! This Word rings to close to me. It was on a day when the water was rocky at work. Things were out of line and I was wondering what God had in store for me next. I was able to receive the crazy message, along with the errors and mistruths, and forgive them. Rather than getting angry and bitter, I turned to God and forgave them. I came up with a plan on how to try and get through this and make it better. I kept doing my best and supporting those around me. I met with those who had setup the situation to discuss it, but afterwards I would have probably been better off not having done that based on what was said and the lack of knowledge, understanding, and even awareness of who I was and what I was doing. But I didn’t get bitter, I gave it up to God for He says, what we forgive on earth is forgiven in heaven and what we don’t forgive on earth won’t be … it is like a heavy anchor we decide to carry instead of releasing it when we don’t forgive and I learned that lesson once and didn’t forget it. So as I pushed forward, aware of the situation and circumstances around me, doing what the team wanted and needed, I started a day where today’s reading materialized. I remember driving to work praying and seeking God saying ‘God, if my workplace is the boat and you want me to get out, please let me know what side.‘ To get to work I drive over a big hill each day and as I was driving down the other side and about to turn my cell phone made the “you have a new text” type of sound. Sitting at the stop sign, I take a look and it’s a text message saying getting out of the boat from my pastor’s wife who was Tweeting that day’s devotional message. Wow, what timing, and I wasn’t going to allow the storms of life, the crazy waves around me keep me from God’s will in my life. So that night I updated my resume and my LinkedIn profile so that I was getting prepared for what God was setting into motion for me. I started researching companies. I started networking with friends (who were former colleagues) who were at any of the companies that would fit/suit my skills. I received many referrals and went through many interviews as I knocked on doors so that God could speak to me what side of the boat I was to get out on. Trusting Him, I didn’t have to worry or doubt, but just keep doing my work, for I was working as unto the Lord! I was supporting and encouraging those around me and share the hope that was within me. By the time the door opened for me to get out, I had disconnected from the company — I have many friends there, but on day 1 of my new life, I wasn’t looking back and I wasn’t missing what I had for God had already done the work in me to be prepared to step out of the boat. In the midst of the storm, without panic and with clarity of mind, with good cheer, with no fear, holding onto the courage given to me in faith by God.

I am so glad that I learned the lesson and power for forgiveness earlier, for it allowed me to respond properly to what had taken place. I am so glad that I was able to not only go through it, but share the experience with those around me so that they could see the power of God in and through my life and response. It became a platform for who God was in my life and all that He is and was able to do in and through me. It provided a testimony because my morning readings (which were based on a bible reading plan I had chosen to get through the bible in a year months earlier) were so right on the mark for the situation I was going through. People were amazed how spot on they were and wondered how I chose them. But the reality is God had a plan, long before I ever got to that page or that point. God still has a plan for what He is going to do in and through my life. My last day on my old job the verse that sticks with me and will continue to stick with me came from Job 42:12 which spoke to the second half of Job’s life was twice as good as the first. What a way to start a new beginning. I remember when Job showed up in my reading thinking, really God, with all that I am and have gone through I am going to go through a Job time. But it was to let me know it was a boxed in time. It would only last till I finished that book of the bible. Now I didn’t know that when I started it, but that is exactly how it played out. Wow, God is incredible! God’s timing is perfect! He works all things for good for those who love and trust Him!

Don’t lose hope! Don’t lose faith! Be bold and courageous! Put on the full armor of God! Don’t cower by only putting on the helmet, the breastplate, the belt, the shoes, and the shield in a defensive stance. Grab onto the Word of God, the SWORD so that you can take it on and move into an offensive stance. Without the Word of God we are defending! With the Word of God we can go on the offense and start taking back what the devil tried to rob, kill, and destroy! Not just in our lives, but in the lives of those around us. So let’s take a stance today! Let’s stand firm and stand strong! Let’s protect our mind with the helmet and keep out things that shouldn’t get in through our eyes or our ears! Let’s put the belt of truth around our waist. Let’s wear that breastplate and protect our hearts from the lies of the devil who is out to try and make us ineffective, weak, and scared! Let’s hold up that shield to keep those fiery darts the devil keeps throwing from being able to affect us! Let’s put on the shoes that allow us to share the faith through the Good News of Jesus Christ! And now that we are ready and prepared and getting into the right environment for success, let’s pick up the Word of God, our sword and start working to help others break free from the chains, the shackles, the lies, the brokenness that the devil is putting them into and locking them up in.

Don’t doubt! Trust in God! Don’t focus on the size of the problem, focus on the size of your God! He is so big that it makes any problem seem small.


Today’s reading: (from day 43)

  • Matthew 14:22-36
  • Acts 20:13-38
  • Psalm 34
  • Exodus 30
  • Exodus 31

Watch over the flock God has given you!

Will you bring anyone with you?


Are you a leader? Do you have many followers? Do you have an inner circle? Do you have your right hand people you will bring with you? Don’t be a lone wolf and try to do it all alone! Don’t be someone who is just running ahead of the pack! Be a real leader! Be a great leader!

Real leader:

“Real leadership is about servanthood. Put the interests of others at the center of your decisions” – @DaveRamsey

Great leader: (notes from Men’s Conference preached by Michael Barrow (ex-NFL player)

“Great leaders accomplish the mission. Every decision is for the benefit of the team. Great team mates hold their team mates to the same high standard.” – @Michael Barrow

This morning’s reading from Matthew 17 kick started this thought and topic. We see Jesus’ leadership style which is the ultimate example for all of us. He gives them confidence! He brings them along! He calms their fears!

1Six days later Jesus took with him Peter and the brothers James and John and led them up a high mountain where they were alone. 2As they looked on, a change came over Jesus: his face was shining like the sun, and his clothes were dazzling white. 3Then the three disciples saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus. 4So Peter spoke up and said to Jesus, “Lord, how good it is that we are here! If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was talking, a shining cloud came over them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased—listen to him!” 6When the disciples heard the voice, they were so terrified that they threw themselves face downward on the ground. 7Jesus came to them and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid!” 8So they looked up and saw no one there but Jesus. 9As they came down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Don’t tell anyone about this vision you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from death.” 10 Then the disciples asked Jesus, “Why do the teachers of the Law say that Elijah has to come first?” 11 “Elijah is indeed coming first,” answered Jesus, “and he will get everything ready. 12 But I tell you that Elijah has already come and people did not recognize him, but treated him just as they pleased. In the same way they will also mistreat the Son of Man.” 13Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

— from Matthew 17 (GNT)

So what kind of leader will you be? Will you be a leader? Believe it or not there are many people watching you to see what’s really in your heart. There are many people trying to see if you words align to your actions. Are you the real thing?

Who are you? Who am I? Who are they? Who are we?


When people speak of me, what do they say? When people think of me, what do they think? How about you? Who do people think you are? What do they believe about you? What characteristics do they give or label you or me with? Are they good labels? Are they labels that will help or hinder you? Are they the truth? Is perception a reality to them? Who do you think you are? Who do you want to be? Have you asked people you trust? Have you opened up and become vulnerable by asking someone else? At work? At home? Anywhere else? Is the perception helping you or hindering you? Is the reality allowing you to be everything you need to be and to accomplish everything you need to get done? Who do those closest to you say you are? What do they believe about you? Are you willing to ask and find out? Are you willing to step out and ask? If you don’t like the answer, are you willing to adjust or change or stand the course? Depending on what you want it to be and what you hear?

How about this… Who does God say you are? Checkout His Word and hear who not only He wants you to be but also how He sees you!


This morning’s reading starts with such a question and retrospective…

13Jesus went to the territory near the town of Caesarea Philippi, where he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 “Some say John the Baptist,” they answered. “Others say Elijah, while others say Jeremiah or some other prophet.” 15“What about you?” he asked them. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17“Good for you, Simon son of John!” answered Jesus. “For this truth did not come to you from any human being, but it was given to you directly by my Father in heaven. 18And so I tell you, Peter: you are a rock, and on this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven; what you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and what you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.” 20Then Jesus ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

— from Matthew 16 (GNT)

Each of us have been created with purpose for a purpose. God sent Jesus with the purpose to reconcile those who will believe in Him back to the Father! The way in which this had to happen to satisfy God’s own standard was decided and had to go God’s way. Jesus gave His all so that we could be saved!

21From that time on Jesus began to say plainly to his disciples, “I must go to Jerusalem and suffer much from the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law. I will be put to death, but three days later I will be raised to life.” 22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “God forbid it, Lord!” he said. “That must never happen to you!” 23Jesus turned around and said to Peter, “Get away from me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my way, because these thoughts of yours don’t come from God, but from human nature.” 24  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me. 25 For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it. 26Will you gain anything if you win the whole world but lose your life? Of course not! There is nothing you can give to regain your life. 27 For the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will reward each one according to his deeds. 28I assure you that there are some here who will not die until they have seen the Son of Man come as King.”

— from Matthew 16 (GNT)

Let’s not be comparing ourselves. Let’s be focusing on our purpose and God’s plan for our lives! Let’s be considering what God wants to do in and through us today! Envy and Jealousy are not the ways to go and will create more harm than good. Will a new car or a new house make you happy? Really happy? Not a temporary high, but happy?

So how are you living? Are you living a life you can be proud of? Are your priorities in the right order? Are you a role model? Are you someone people turn to? Are you someone people go to? What is the life you are living saying about what you believe? What is the life you are living saying about what you value? What is the life you are living saying about what matters to you? What does your life say about your source of truth? What are you being questioned about? What are you being asked about? How are you serving?

Today’s reading speaks to Paul’s life…

1Paul looked straight at the Council and said, “My fellow Israelites! My conscience is perfectly clear about the way in which I have lived before God to this very day.” 2The High Priest Ananias ordered those who were standing close to Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Paul said to him, “God will certainly strike you—you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the Law, yet you break the Law by ordering them to strike me!” 4The men close to Paul said to him, “You are insulting God’s High Priest!” 5 Paul answered, “My fellow Israelites, I did not know that he was the High Priest. The scripture says, ‘You must not speak evil of the ruler of your people.’” 6 When Paul saw that some of the group were Sadducees and the others were Pharisees, he called out in the Council, “Fellow Israelites! I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees. I am on trial here because of the hope I have that the dead will rise to life!” 7As soon as he said this, the Pharisees and Sadducees started to quarrel, and the group was divided. ( 8 For the Sadducees say that people will not rise from death and that there are no angels or spirits; but the Pharisees believe in all three.) 9The shouting became louder, and some of the teachers of the Law who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and protested strongly: “We cannot find a thing wrong with this man! Perhaps a spirit or an angel really did speak to him!” 10The argument became so violent that the commander was afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces. So he ordered his soldiers to go down into the group, get Paul away from them, and take him into the fort. 11That night the Lord stood by Paul and said, “Don’t be afraid! You have given your witness for me here in Jerusalem, and you must also do the same in Rome.”

— from  Acts 23 (GNT)

Will you stand for what you believe in? Will you fall for anything? Will you seek the truth? Will you be tricked by lies? Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and you will find all that you need. He will guide us in the ways we are to go! He will protect us! He will help us back up when we fall! He won’t abandon us! So let’s give freely and lend to others. Let’s turn away from evil and do good! He loves what is right! He protects! Let’s listen to the words of good people for they are wise and are always fair! Let’s keeps God’s law in our hearts that our path and decisions will be in alignment! And let’s allow it to overflow into every other area of our lives! Put your hope in God! Obey His commands! Ever notice that good people, observe the righteous? Ever notice that peaceful people have descendants? As God’s Word from today’s reading puts it:

39The Lord saves the righteous and protects them in times of trouble. 40He helps them and rescues them; he saves them from the wicked, because they go to him for protection.

— from Psalm 37 (GNT)

God is detail oriented! He provides very detailed plans! Need wisdom? Need details? Ask Him!