Some people have hard hearts and it may man you need to keep trying before they will be able to receive and respond to your message. Have you ever had to ask over and over again before getting something? Have you ever had to keep going back because they didn’t seem to get it? Have you found yourself needing to persevere and not give up because the other person just didn’t seem to get it? Don’t lose hope just because it didn’t work the first time, second time, … Believe in what God tells you and press on! Keep your trust in God through it all, He knows where the other person is currently at and the work required to cause a change.
Don’t give up! If God called you to it, He will get you through it!
Today’s reading shows how Moses ran into just such a situation…
Frogs, Gnats, Flies1Then Adonai told Moses, “Say to Aaron: Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, canals and pools, and cause frogs to come up over the land of Egypt.” 2So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land. 3But the magicians did the same with their secret arts and brought up frogs over the land of Egypt. 4Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to Adonai, that He would take the frogs away from me and from my people. Then I will let the people go, so they may sacrifice to Adonai.” 5Moses answered Pharaoh, “Boast about me after I pray for you. When am I to pray for you, your servants and your people, that the frogs would be cut off from you and your houses, and remain only in the Nile?” 6“Tomorrow,” he said. So he said, “Let it happen according to your word, so that you may know that there is none like Adonai our God. 7The frogs will depart from you, from your houses, from your servants and from your people. They will remain only in the Nile.” 8After Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, Moses cried out to Adonai concerning the frogs, which He had brought upon Pharaoh. 9So Adonai acted according to the word of Moses, and the frogs died out in the houses, the courts and the fields. 10They piled them together in large heaps, and the land stank. 11But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them—just as Adonai had said.12So Adonai said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, and it will become gnats throughout all the land of Egypt.’” 13So they did. When Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff and struck the dust of the earth, there were gnats on men and animals. All the dust of the earth became gnats throughout all the land of Egypt. 14When the magicians attempted the same with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, they could not. There were gnats on men and animals. 15So the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them—just as Adonai had said.16Then Adonai said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh. As he comes to the water say to him, This is what Adonai says: Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 17Or else, if you do not let My people go, I will send the swarm of flies on you and on your servants, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of the swarm of flies including the ground that they stand on. 18“But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are dwelling—except no swarm of flies will be there—so that you may know that I, Adonai, am in the midst of the earth. 19I will make a distinction between My people and your people. By tomorrow this sign will happen.” 20Adonai did just so. A massive swarm of flies went into the house of Pharaoh and into his servant’s houses. All the land of Egypt was ruined because of the swarm of flies. 21So Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron and said, “Go! Sacrifice to your God—in the land.” 22But Moses said, “That would not be right. For the offerings we intend to sacrifice to Adonai our God are an abomination to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice what is an abomination to the Egyptians, wouldn’t they stone us? 23We must walk a three-day journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to Adonai our God—just as He tells us.” 24Pharaoh said, “I will let you go, so that you may sacrifice to Adonai your God in the wilderness. Only you must not go very far away. Pray for me.” 25So Moses said, “See, I am leaving you, and I will pray to Adonai that the swarm of flies will depart from Pharaoh, his servants and from his people tomorrow. However, let Pharaoh no longer deal deceitfully by not letting the people go sacrifice to Adonai.” 26Then Moses went out from Pharaoh and prayed to Adonai. 27Adonai acted according to the word of Moses, and removed the swarm of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people. Nothing remained. 28But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and did not let the people go.–from Exodus 8
Nope…wait there is more…
Livestock, Boils, Hail1Then Adonai said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, and tell him: This is what Adonai, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘Let My people go, so they may serve Me.’ 2For if you refuse to let them go, and hold them still, 3behold, the hand of Adonai will fall upon your livestock that are in the field—on the horses, donkeys, camels, herds and flocks. There will be a crushing plague. 4But Adonai will make a distinction between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt, and nothing will die that belongs to Bnei-Yisrael.” 5Also Adonai set a specific time, saying, “Tomorrow Adonai will do this thing in the land.” 6Then the next day, Adonai did the deed. All the cattle of Egypt died, yet of the cattle of Bnei-Yisrael, not one died. 7When Pharaoh inquired, there was not so much as one of the cattle of Bnei-Yisrael dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was stubborn, and he did not let the people go.8Then Adonai said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from the furnace, and have Moses throw it heavenward in the sight of Pharaoh. 9It will become fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and will become boils erupting with sores on both men and animals throughout all the land.” 10So they took soot from the furnace and stood before Pharaoh. When Moses threw it heavenward, it became boils erupting with sores on both men and animals. 11Moreover, the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, because they were on the magicians, as on all the Egyptians. 12But Adonai hardened the heart of Pharaoh, so he did not listen to them—just as Adonai had said to Moses.13Then Adonai said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning, stand before Pharaoh and say to him: This is what Adonai the God of the Hebrews says: ‘Let My people go, so they may serve Me. 14For this time I will send all My plagues to your heart, and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth. 15Surely by now I could have stretched out My hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. 16However, I have let you stand for this reason: to show you My power, and that My Name might be proclaimed throughout all the earth. 17Yet still you exalt yourself over My people, by not letting them go. 18Behold, tomorrow at about this time, I will cause it to rain a very severe hailstorm, the likes of which has not occurred in Egypt since the day it was founded until now. 19Send word, shelter your cattle and all that you have in the field. For every person and animal found in the field and not brought home, when the hail comes down on them, they will die.’” 20Whoever feared the word of Adonai among the servants of Pharaoh had his own servants and cattle flee into the houses, 21but whoever disregarded the word of Adonai left his servants and cattle in the field. 22Then Adonai said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven and let there be hail in all the land of Egypt, on people, animals and every plant of the field, throughout all the land.” 23So Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and Adonai sent thunder and hail. Fire came down on the earth, as Adonai rained hail on the land of Egypt. 24The hail fell very severely, with fire flashing up amidst the hail, the likes of which had not occurred in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 25The hail struck down everything that was in the fields, both men and animals, all throughout the land of Egypt. It also struck every plant of the field and broke down every tree. 26Only in the land of Goshen, where Bnei-Yisrael were, was there no hail. 27So Pharaoh sent, called for Moses and Aaron and said to them, “I have sinned this time. Adonai is righteous, while I and my people are wicked. 28Pray to Adonai—there has been enough of God’s thunders and hail! I will let you go. You don’t have to stay any longer.” 29Moses said to him, “As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to Adonai. The thunder will cease and there will be no more hail—so you may know that the earth is Adonai’s. 30But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear Adonai Elohim.” 31(The flax and the barley were destroyed, because the barley was in the ear, and the flax was in bloom. 32But the wheat and the spelt were not destroyed, because they ripen later.) 33Moses went out of the city, away from Pharaoh, and stretched out his hands to Adonai. Then the thunder and hail ceased, and rain no longer poured down on the earth. 34But when Pharaoh saw that the rain, the hail and the thunder had ceased, he increased his sin and hardened his heart, both he and his servants. 35So Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he did not let Bnei-Yisrael go—just as Adonai had said by Moses’ hand.–from Exodus 9
This is where we end in today’s reading, but it’s not the end of the story, Pharaoh’s heart is still to hard to let God’s people go!
People may have impressions of you even before really knowing you. They may assume by your entrance, your appearance, your walk, or other things who you are. They may not have the right impression at all. They may even see things happen to you and assume your past because of what happened. They may even assume things about you or your future based on what happens in front of them. No matter what happens, don’t give up! Press on and keep sharing the good news of God with those God brings into your circle.
Today, we see just such a situation in today’s reading with Paul…
From Malta to Rome1Once safely ashore, we learned that the island was called Malta. 2The natives showed us unusual kindness. Because it had started raining and it was cold, they kindled a fire and welcomed us all. 3But when Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood and placed it on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. 4When the natives saw the snake hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer! Though he has been saved from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5However, Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no harm. 6They were expecting him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead—but after they waited a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and began to say he was a god. 7Now in the vicinity around that place were lands belonging to the most prominent man of the island, named Publius. He welcomed us and hosted us warmly for three days. 8It so happened that the father of Publius was lying in bed sick with a fever and dysentery. Paul visited him and, when he had prayed and laid hands on him, he healed him. 9After this happened, the rest of the sick on the island started coming and getting healed. 10They also heaped honors on us; and when we sailed, they put on board all the supplies we needed. 11After three months, we set sail in a ship from Alexandria that had wintered at the island, with the Twin Brothers as its figurehead. 12Setting down at Syracuse, we stayed there three days. 13From there we got underway and reached Rhegium; and a day later a south wind came up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. 14There we found some brothers and sisters, and we were invited to stay with them for seven days. And in this way we came to Rome. 15Now the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. When Paul saw them, he gave thanks to God and took courage. 16When we entered Rome, Paul was permitted to remain in his own quarters, with a soldier guarding him.
Paul Keeps Spreading the Good News17It happened that after three days, Paul called together those who were the prominent Jewish leaders. When they had gathered he said to them, “Brothers, although I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. 18When they examined me, they wanted to release me because there was no basis for the death penalty. 19But when the Judean leaders protested, I was forced to appeal to Caesar—not that I had any charge to bring against my own nation. 20For this reason, therefore, I have requested to see you and to speak with you—since it is for the hope of Israel that I am bearing this chain.” 21They said to him, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you. 22But we think it appropriate to hear from you about what you think. For indeed, it is known to us that regarding this sect, it is spoken against everywhere.” 23They set a day to meet Paul and came to him at his quarters in large numbers. From morning until evening he was explaining everything to them, testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them about Yeshua from both the Torah of Moses and the Prophets. 24Some were convinced by what he said, while others refused to believe. 25So when they disagreed among themselves, they began leaving after Paul had said one last statement: “The Ruach ha-Kodesh rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, 26saying, ‘Go to this people and say, “You will keep on hearing but will never understand; you will keep looking, but will never see. 27For the heart of this people has become dull, their ears can barely hear, and they have shut their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts. Then they would turn back, and I would heal them.”’ 28Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!” 30Paul remained two whole years in his own rented quarters and continued to welcome all who came to him— 31proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Yeshua the Messiah with all boldness and without hindrance.–from Acts 28
God can work in every situation! God can work through every situation! Be it a Joseph or a Moses, a Paul or a Stephen, a Jonah or a Daniel, He can get you through it! It may not be exactly what you would have chosen for yourself but in the end it will bring Him praise and honor and glory because of you.
Those words reminded me of the pain of betrayal, the pain of lies, the pain of being cheated and the downward spiral it created in me because I wasn’t willing to forgive. Once I got to rock bottom and was able to give it all up to God, and truly forgive it transformed me and my life. Since then I have been able to share this hope that is within me and how others who are feeling down can use forgiveness to break free. In some cases it is the forgiveness to others for what they had/have done. In some cases it is the forgiveness of themselves for what they had/have done by asking Jesus into the situation and to forgive them. Jesus paid it all! Not just a down payment, He paid it all! So there is nothing that can’t be or shouldn’t be forgiven! How many times? Not 7! 7×70! I learned the power of freedom when I forgave! I found joy again once I let go of the bitterness and forgave! I was able to share it with others once I had forgiven as God opened my eyes to see people hurting and embittered. So don’t lose hope! Don’t give up! Forgive and move on! You may not forget…You may not trust…But that is something God will have to work in and through you! By forgiving you have opened the door with the key of forgiveness for God to remove the weight, the burden, the pain, the sorrow, the bitterness, and the anger. It will make a difference! They don’t even need to know! It is something you and God can take care of! If you are needing forgiveness then asking for it is important too! That is your responsibility! It’s not about the response, that is between them and God! You just need to humble yourself as God leads and calls you so that you can get that off of your shoulders and then allow God to work that out in your life! I had some of that too! The person I went to said they didn’t even remember the incident, but so that we could move on would forgive me. In some cases you are carrying a weight that didn’t exist to others, but the lies and the deception of the devil speaking into your head causes you to carry it around your neck rather than give it up to God and letting it go!
Today’s reading concludes in Matthew…Let’s live out our lives with faith, trusting God with and for everything! Let’s live out our lives to glorify God in our thoughts, our words, and our actions! Jesus has been given all authority, so let’s walk with Him! Let’s talk with Him! And let’s walk in obedience to His will in and through our lives!
Baruch Ha-Ba! Blessed Is He Who Comes!1Now as they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Yeshua sent two disciples, 2saying to them, “Go into the village before you. Right away, you’ll find a donkey tied up and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to Me. 3If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Master needs them.’ And right away he will send them.” 4This happened to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet, saying, 5“Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘See, your King is coming to you, humble and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” 6The disciples went and did as Yeshua had directed them. 7They brought the donkey and colt and put their clothing on them, and He sat on the clothing. 8Most of the crowd spread their clothing on the road, and others began cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. 9The crowds going before Him and those following kept shouting, saying, “Hoshia-na to Ben-David! Baruch ha-ba b’shem Adonai! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hoshia-na in the highest!” 10When He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11And the crowds kept saying, “This is the prophet Yeshua, from Natzeret in the Galilee.” 12Then Yeshua entered the Temple and drove out all those selling and buying in the Temple. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those selling doves. 13And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of thieves’!” 14The blind and lame came to Him in the Temple, and He healed them. 15But when the ruling kohanim and Torah scholars saw the wonders He performed, and the children crying out in the Temple and saying, “Hoshia-na to Ben-David,” they became indignant. 16And they said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” Yeshua said to them. “Haven’t you ever read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing toddlers You have prepared praise for Yourself’?” 17Then He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and He spent the night there.
Faith Moves Mountains18Now early in the morning, as He was returning to the city, He became hungry. 19Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came up to it and found nothing on it except leaves only. And He said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree shriveled up at once. 20When the disciples saw it they were astonished. “How did the fig tree shrivel on the spot?” they asked. 21Yeshua answered them, “Amen, I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. 22And whatever you ask in prayer, trusting, you shall receive.”
Questions about Yeshua’s Authority23Now when He entered the Temple, the ruling kohanim and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, saying, “By what authority are You doing these things? Who gave You this authority?” 24Yeshua replied to them, “I also will ask you one question. If you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25John’s immersion, where was it from? From heaven or from men?” They began to dialogue among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the crowd, for all hold up John as a prophet.” 27So answering Yeshua, they said, “We don’t know.” Then He said to them, “Neither am I telling you by what authority I do these things.”
A Parable about Intentions and Actions28“Now what do you think? A man had two sons, and he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go work in the vineyard today.’ 29The son answered, ‘I won’t,’ but afterward he had a change of heart and went. 30The man went to the second son and said the same thing. But he answered, ‘I will, sir,’ and didn’t go. 31Which of the two did the will of the father?” “The first,” they said. Yeshua said to them, “Amen, I tell you, the tax collectors and prostitutes are going ahead of you into the kingdom of God. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him. But the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and even after you saw this, you had no change of heart to believe him.”
Parable of the Vineyard33“Listen to another parable. There was a master of a household who planted a vineyard. He put a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a tower. Then He leased it to some tenant farmers and went on a journey. 34Now when fruit season drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. 35But grabbing his servants, the tenants beat up one, killed another, and stoned still another. 36Again the master sent other servants, even more than the first, and they did the same thing to them. 37Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38“But when the tenants saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir! Come on, let’s kill him and get his inheritance!’ 39So grabbing him, they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40Therefore when the master of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41“He will bring those miserable men to a miserable end,” they said to Him, “and will lease the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the fruits in their seasons.” 42Yeshua said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures? ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the chief cornerstone. This came from Adonai, and it is marvelous in our eyes.’ 43Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to people producing its fruits. 44Whoever falls on this stone will be shattered; but the one upon whom it falls, it will crush him.” 45When the ruling kohanim and Pharisees heard Yeshua’s parables, they realized He was talking about them. 46Although they were trying to seize Him, they feared the crowds, because they regarded Him as a prophet.–from Matthew 21