Does NO really mean no?

When God brings you to it, He will bring you through it! It may be that it will take more than one attempt for God to get the glory He deserves! It may be that for it to really mean something to the other person or people, it needs to be bigger and reinforced.

When God says “No” … that is a no, but make sure to grab a hold of what He does say…is He saying NO or did He say Not Yet? The timing may not be right yet. Either way, we know that He is looking out for our best interest and that we shouldn’t lose hope nor lose faith because of it. So if you want to know if “no” means “no”, ask God!

Imagine being called to go and set God’s people free. Imagine if the person kept saying no, or worse saying no to manipulate you into stopping the troubles saying no had brought.

Today’s reading continues in Exodus with Moses trying to convince Pharaoh to let God’s people go!

Locusts, Darkness

1Then Adonai said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, because I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, so that I might show these My signs in their midst, 2and so you may tell your son and your grandchildren what I have done in Egypt, as well as My signs that I did among them, so you may know that I am Adonai.” 3So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “This is what Adonai, the God of the Hebrews, says: How long would you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, so they may serve Me. 4Or else, if you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your borders. 5Then they will cover the face of the earth, so that no one will be able to see the ground. They will eat the remainder of what escaped—whatever is left from the hail—and eat every tree that grows for you out in the field. 6Your houses will be filled, as will the houses of all your servants and the houses of all the Egyptians, as neither your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen since the day they were on the earth until today!” Then he turned and went out from Pharaoh. 7Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Send the men, so they may serve Adonai their God. Don’t you realize yet that Egypt is being destroyed?” 8So Moses and Aaron were brought to Pharaoh again. “Go, serve Adonai your God,” he said. “But who will be going?” 9Moses answered, “We will go with our young and our elderly, our sons and our daughters. We will go with our flocks and our herds—for we must have Adonai’s feast for Him.” 10But he said to them, “So may Adonai be with you, if I ever do let you go, with your little ones. See clearly now! Evil is in your face. 11Not so! Go now—the men—and serve Adonai! For that’s what you were seeking.” Then they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence. 12Then Adonai said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, so they may come up onto Egypt and eat every plant in the land—everything the hail has left.” 13So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and Adonai brought an east wind over the land all that day and all night. When it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. 14The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and rested on the entire territory of Egypt. So dense—there was nothing like it before them, nor will there ever be again. 15For they covered the face of the whole earth so that the land was darkened, and they ate every plant in the land and all the fruit from the trees that the hail had left. No green thing remained, not a tree or a plant of the field throughout all the land of Egypt. 16Then Pharaoh quickly called for Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against Adonai your God and against you.17Now forgive my sin, only this once, please! So pray to Adonai your God—just so He would take this death away from me!” 18So he went out from Pharaoh and prayed to Adonai.
19Then Adonai turned the wind from the west, very strong, and it carried off the locusts and drove them into the Sea of Reeds. Not one locust remained in all the territory of Egypt. 20But Adonai hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let Bnei-Yisrael go. 21Then Adonai said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, and there will be darkness over the land of Egypt—a darkness that may be felt.” 22So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. 23They could not see one another, nor could anyone rise from his place for three days. Yet all Bnei-Yisrael had light within their dwellings. 24Pharaoh called Moses and said, “Go, serve Adonai. Only let your flocks and your herds remain. Your little ones may also go with you.” 25But Moses said, “You must also put sacrifices and burnt offerings into our hand, then we will do it for Adonai our God. 26Our cattle must also go with us—not a hoof may be left behind. We must take from them to serve Adonai our God. We ourselves will not know how we will serve Adonai until we ­arrive there.” 27But Adonai hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was unwilling to let them go. 28So Pharaoh said to him, “Go away from me! Take heed never to see my face again, because on the day you do, you will die!” 29“Right!” Moses said. “You said it! May I never see your face again!”
–from Exodus 10

In this world we will have troubles, but take heart for Jesus has already overcome the world! Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds, for when it has completed it’s work, you will be perfect, complete, and lacking nothing!

Today’s reading continues in Exodus with the al plague. The one that will finally be enough for Pharaoh to take Moses seriously. Let’s check it out…

Final Plague: Death

1Now Adonai had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague upon Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely thrust you out altogether from here. 2Speak now into the ears of the people, and let every man ask from his neighbor and every woman from her neighbor for articles of silver and gold.” 3Adonai gave the people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians. Indeed, the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the eyes of Pharaoh’s servants and in the eyes of the people. 4So Moses said, “This is what Adonai says: At around midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt, 5and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt will die—from the firstborn of Pharaoh sitting on his throne to the firstborn of the maidservant behind the mill, along with all the firstborn cattle. 6There will be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, the likes of which has never been before nor will ever be again. 7But not so much as a dog will growl against any of Bnei-Yisrael, neither man nor beast—so that you may know that Adonai makes a distinction between the Egyptians and Israel. 8All these servants of yours will come down to me and bow down to me, saying, ‘Get out, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that, I will go.” Then he went out from Pharaoh hot with anger. 9Adonai had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” 10So Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh, yet Adonai hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so he did not let Bnei-Yisrael go out of his land.
–from Exodus 11

God protects His own people through this. He provides for what is now known as the Passover. Looks like we will have to wait for tomorrow’s reading to get more details about what happens and how God’s people were saved and yet every other household in Egypt was impacted.

God is our Refuge! God is our Shelter! He is the place where we can go and find rest. He is the place where we can go and find safety. So let’s praise Him!

Refuge, Sukkah, Shelter

1For the music director, a psalm of David. 2In You, Adonai, have I taken refuge: Let me never be put to shame. In Your righteousness, deliver me. 3Turn Your ear to me, rescue me quickly. Be a rock of refuge for me, a stronghold for my deliverance. 4Since You are my rock and my fortress, You lead me and guide me for Your Name’s sake. 5Free me from the net they hid for me, for You are my refuge. 6Into Your hand I commit my spirit. You have redeemed me, Adonai, God of truth. 7I detest those who continue to watch worthless idols, but I trust in Adonai. 8I will be glad and rejoice in Your loving kindness, for You saw my affliction. You knew the troubles of my soul. 9You did not hand me over to the enemy. You set my feet in a wide-open place. 10Be gracious to me, Adonai, for I am in distress. My eyes waste away with grief, my soul and my body as well. 11For my life is consumed in sorrow and my years in sighing. My strength fails because of my anguish and my bones waste away. 12Because of all my adversaries I am the contempt of my neighbors and a dread to my acquaintances. Seeing me on the street, they flee from me. 13I am as forgotten as a dead man. I have become like a broken vessel. 14For I have heard the whispering of many. There is terror on every side as they conspire against me and plot to take my life. 15But I have trusted in You, Adonai. I said: “You are my God.” 16My times are in Your hands. Deliver me from the hands of my foes and from those who pursue me. 17Make Your face shine on Your servant. Save me in Your loving kindness. 18Adonai, let me not be ashamed, for I have called upon You. Let the wicked be ashamed— let them be silent in Sheol. 19Let the lying lips be mute. For they speak arrogantly against the righteous, with pride and contempt. 20How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have given to those who take refuge in You, before the children of men. 21In the shelter of Your presence You hide them from people’s plots. You conceal them in a sukkah from the strife of tongues. 22Blessed be Adonai, for He has shown me His wonderful love in a besieged city. 23I said in my alarm, “I have been cut off from Your sight!” But You heard the sound of my pleas when I cried out to You. 24Love Adonai, all His kedoshim! Adonai preserves all the faithful, but the proud He pays back in full. 25Chazak! Let your heart take courage, all you who wait for Adonai.
–from Psalms 31

So, will you live as a servant to God? Will you be a servant leader to those He entrusts to you? Will you walk with humility? Will you allow God to work in and through you? Will you be prepared? Will you do the work to be prepared? Will you be an ambassador of peace and grace to the world around you that they may come to know the truth and the hope of Jesus that is within you? Will you be sensitive to the Spirit so that you can speak the truth in love? Will you choose to live by faith today and make a difference? Will you choose to live a life that will bring God all the praise, the honor, and the in Jesus’ name? Will you choose to live in alignment with God’s plan? Will you choose to walk with God rather than away from Him?

Today’s reading brings us into the book of Romans…

Introducing Paul and His Message

1Paul, a slave of Messiah Yeshua, called to be an emissary and set apart for the Good News of God, 2which He announced beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures. 3Concerning His Son, He came into being from the seed of David according to the flesh. 4He was appointed Ben-Elohim in power according to the Ruach of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. He is Messiah Yeshua our Lord. 5Through Him we have received grace and the office of emissary, to bring about obedience of faith among all the nations on behalf of His name. 6And you also are called to Yeshua the Messiah. 7To all those in Rome, loved by God, called to be kedoshim: Grace to you and shalom from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah!

Eager to Visit

8First, I thank my God through Messiah Yeshua for all of you, because your faithfulness is made known throughout the whole world. 9For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the Good News of His Son. How unceasingly I make mention of you, 10always pleading in my prayers, if somehow by God’s will now at last I will be granted a good journey to come to you. 11For I long to see you, so I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you. 12That is to say, we would be encouraged together by one another’s faithfulness—both yours and mine. 13I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that many times I planned to come to you (though I was prevented until now)—so I might have some fruit among you also, just as I have among the rest of the nations. 14I have an obligation to both Greeks and barbarians, to both the wise and the foolish. 15So I am eager to proclaim the Good News also to you who are in Rome.

The Righteous Shall Live by Faith

16For I am not ashamed of the Good News, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who trusts—to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17In it the righteousness of God is revealed, from trust to trust. As it is written, “But the righteous shall live by emunah.”

Yet All Are Guilty

18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. In unrighteousness they suppress the truth, 19because what can be known about God is plain to them—for God has shown it to them. 20His invisible attributes—His eternal power and His divine nature—have been clearly seen ever since the creation of the world, being understood through the things that have been made. So people are without excuse— 21for even though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. Instead, their thinking became futile, and their senseless hearts were made dark. 22Claiming to be wise, they became fools. 23They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image in the form of mortal man and birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things. 24Therefore God gave them over in the evil desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies with one another. 25They traded the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26For this reason God gave them up to shameful passions. Even their women exchanged natural relations for what is against nature. 27Likewise the men abandoned natural relations with women and were burning with passion toward one another—men committing shameful acts with other men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28And just as they did not see fit to recognize God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what is not fitting. 29They became filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents. 31They are foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Though they know God’s righteous decree—that those who practice such things deserve death—they not only do them but also approve of others who practice the same.
–from Romans 1

So how will you live? How will you prepare? How will you come? Don’t miss out on the grace! Don’t miss out on the love! Don’t miss out on the hope! Let’s get ready so we won’t miss out on that day when Jesus returns!

Today’s reading closes in Matthew, speaking of the return, speaking of those who will be ready, speaking of those who will receive, and speaking of those who won’t. How will you respond to the call? How will you respond to the choice?

Invitation to the Wedding Feast

1Yeshua answered and spoke to them again in parables, saying, 2“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who made a wedding feast for his son. 3He sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they wouldn’t come. 4Again he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who were invited, “Look, I’ve prepared my meal. My oxen and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast!”’ 5“But paying no attention, they went away, one to his own farm, another to his business. 6And the rest grabbed his servants, humiliated them, and killed them. 7Now the king became furious! Sending his troops, he destroyed those murderers and set fire to their city. 8“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9So go into the highways and byways, and invite everyone you find to the wedding feast.’ 10And those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all they found, both bad and good; and the wedding was filled with guests. 11“But when the king came in to look over the guests, he saw a man there who wasn’t dressed in wedding clothes. 12‘Friend,’ he said to him, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ But the man was silent. 13Then the king said to his servants, ‘Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14For many are called, but few are chosen.”

A Trap about Paying Taxes

15Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might trap Him with a word. 16And they sent to Him some of their disciples, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are honest and teach the way of God in truth. And what others think doesn’t concern You, for You do not look at men’s appearance. 17Tell us therefore, what do You think? Is it permitted to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18But Yeshua, knowing their wickedness, said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? 19Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. 20And He said to them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” 21“Caesar’s,” they said to Him. Then He said to them, “Give therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22And hearing this, they were amazed. So they left Him and went away.

Religious Leaders Ask a Tricky Question

23On that day, Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to Yeshua and questioned Him, saying, 24“Teacher, Moses said, ‘If someone dies having no children, his brother as next of kin shall marry his widow and father children for his brother.’ 25Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died; and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. 26In the same way also the second, and the third, down to the seventh. 27Last of all, the woman died. 28So in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her.” 29But answering, Yeshua said to them, “You’ve gone astray, because you don’t understand the Scriptures or the power of God. 30For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31But concerning the resurrection of the dead, haven’t you read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 32‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living!” 33When the crowds heard this, they were astounded at His teaching.

The Greatest Mitzvot

34But the Pharisees, when they heard that Yeshua had silenced the Sadducees, gathered together in one place. 35And testing Him, one of them, a lawyer, asked, 36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Torah?” 37And He said to him, “‘You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40The entire Torah and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Yeshua Overturns the Arguments

41Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Yeshua asked them a question, 42saying, “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose Son is He?” “David’s,” they say to Him. 43“Then how is it,” He says to them, “that David by the Ruach calls him ‘Lord’? 44For he says, ‘Adonai said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies under Your feet.”’ 45If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” 46No one was able to answer Him a word. Nor did anyone dare from that day on to question Him any longer.

There are people who will try to trip you up! Make sure to weigh it up against God so that He can give you wisdom to answer the questions, for He know their hearts! Just because it seems like it was the last time, always ask God for He may have a different plan for how it will work this time. Some may want to tri[ you up asking strange questions, so be prepared! Walk with God and allow the Holy Spirit’s prompting to lead you and guide you, direct you and instruct you in every situation!






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