Do you know what food is good for the body? Do you know things are good for the mind? Do you know what things are good for the soul? Do you realize that it is what comes out of you that makes you unclean? What are you putting into your heart? From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks! So don’t allow bitterness to stick in your heart! Allow forgiveness to have its way so that both you and others will be in a healthy state. Don’t wait and allow bitterness to drag you down into the pit, but rather forgive and allow your heart to be free from the sadness, the pain, the sorrow, the anger, and worse. Let’s ask God to soften our hearts! Let’s ask God to clean out our hearts! Let’s invite Jesus into our hearts to create a new pure heart in us! That we may be generous! That we may be ambassadors for God that others may come to know Him and hear Him and start a relationship with Him! Let’s be givers! Let’s be ambassadors of peace! Let’s share the love of God with others! And when you aren’t sure what to do, cry out to God! Ask Jesus for help! Allow the Holy Spirit to speak into your life the wisdom, the direction, the correction, the instruction you need! Stop and cry out to Him! Ask Him! Seek Him! Knock that He may open! Don’t lose hope but rather cry out to God and chase after Him! Don’t allow the enemy of your soul to create fear and and doubt but rather put your hope and trust in God! Let’s build others up! Let’s tear down strongholds that are holding us and them down or back! Let’s come humbly! Let’s come confidently! Let’s come lovingly! Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood but rather against dark powers and principalities of this world! Let’s be spreading the knowledge of God rather than allow those who would try to block it or come against it to be victorious. Let’s be confident of what Jesus has done! Let’s be confident of what Jesus is doing in and through us! Let’s share the good news! Everyone is looking to get some good news, there is so much bad news everywhere you turn. Don’t hoard the good news, but share it with those God brings into your life! Speak a word of encouragement for you may be that breath of wind into someone else’s sail to allow them to keep going! Let’s live lives that will bless and honor God that in the end we will get to hear those precious words – “well done my good and faithful servant”.
Today’s reading speaks into this topics through the following scripture…
Clean Foods for a Holy People
1“You are the children of Adonai your God. You are not to cut yourselves or shave your forehead for the dead. 2For you are a holy people to Adonai your God—from all the peoples on the face of the earth, Adonai has chosen you to be His treasured people. 3You are not to eat any detestable thing. 4These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, 5the deer, the gazelle, the roebuck, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope, and the mountain sheep. 6Among the animals, you may eat any animal that splits the hoof—the hoof completely split in two—and chews the cud. 7Yet of those that chew the cud or have a split hoof, you are not to eat the camel, the hare, and the rabbit—because they chew the cud but do not split the hoof, they are unclean to you. 8The pig, because it splits the hoof but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you—you are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses. 9Of all that are in the waters, these you may eat: whatever has fins and scales you may eat, 10but whatever does not have fins and scales you are not to eat—it is unclean to you. 11You may eat all clean birds, 12but these are the ones you are not to eat: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard, 13the red kite, the black kite, and any bird of prey of that kind, 14every raven of any kind, 15the ostrich, the owl, the seagull, a hawk of any kind, 16the little owl, the great owl, the white owl, 17the pelican, the Egyptian vulture, the cormorant, 18the stork, a heron of any kind, the hoopoe, and the bat. 19All winged insects are unclean to you—they are not to be eaten. 20You may eat any clean bird. 21You are not to eat anything that dies of itself. You may give it to the outsider within your gates so that he may eat it or you may sell it to a foreigner. For you are a holy people to Adonai your God. You are not to boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
Tithe and Remember the Levite
22“You will surely set aside a tenth of all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. 23You are to eat the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, before Adonai your God in the place He chooses to make His Name dwell, so that you may learn to fear Adonai your God always. 24Now suppose the way is too long for you, for you cannot carry the tithe because the place Adonai your God chooses to set His Name is too far from you. When Adonai your God blesses you, 25then you are to exchange the tithe for silver, bind up the silver in your hand, and go to the place that Adonai your God chooses. 26You may spend the money for whatever your soul desires—cattle, sheep, wine, strong drink, or whatever your soul asks of you. Then you will eat there before Adonai your God and rejoice—you and your household. 27But you are not to neglect the Levite within your gates, for he has no portion or inheritance with you. 28At the end of every three years, you are to bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year and store it within your gates. 29Then the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, along with the outsider, the orphan and the widow within your gates, will come and eat and be satisfied, so that Adonai your God may bless you in all the work of your hand that you do.
–from Deuteronomy 14
Shmittah: Cancellation of Debts
1“At the end of every seven years you are to cancel debts. 2This is how you are to cancel debts: every creditor is to release what he has loaned to his neighbor. He must not force his neighbor or his brother to repay, for Adonai’s debt cancellation has been proclaimed. 3A foreigner you may force, but your hand is to release whatever your brother owes you. 4“However, there should be no poor among you, for Adonai will surely bless you in the land Adonai your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess. 5If only you would carefully listen to the voice of Adonai your God, being careful to do all these mitzvah that I am commanding you today! 6For Adonai your God will bless you as He promised you. So you will lend to many nations, but not borrow; you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you. 7“If there is a poor man among you—any of your brothers within any of your gates in your land that Adonai your God is giving you—you are not to harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother. 8Rather, you must surely open your hand to him and you must surely lend him enough for his need—whatever he is lacking. 9Watch yourself, so there is no unworthy thing in your heart saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of cancelling debts, is near,’ and your eye is evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing. Then he may call out to Adonai against you, and it will be a sin upon you. 10You must surely give to him, and your heart is not to be grieved when you give to him—for because of this thing Adonai your God will bless you in all your work and in every undertaking of your hand. 11“For there will never cease to be poor people in the land. Therefore I am commanding you, saying, ‘You must surely open your hand to your brother—to your needy and poor in your land.’ 12“If your fellow Hebrew—a man or woman—is sold to you and serves you six years, then in the seventh year you are to set him free. 13When you set him free, you are not to send him away empty-handed. 14You are to surely provide for him from your flock and threshing floor and winepress. As Adonai your God has blessed you, you are to give to him. 15You will remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Adonai your God redeemed you; therefore I am commanding you this thing today. 16“Now if he tells you, ‘I will not go away from you’—because he loves you and your household since he is well off with you— 17then you are to take an awl and put it through his ear to the door, and he will be your servant forever. And to your female slave you are to do the same. 18It should not seem hard to you when you set him free from you, for he has served you six years—double the value of a hired worker. So Adonai your God will bless you in all that you do. 19“All the firstborn males that are born in your herd and your flock you are to consecrate to Adonai your God. You are to do no work with the firstborn of your herd or shear the firstborn of your flock. 20You are to eat it before Adonai your God year after year in the place Adonai chooses—you and your household. 21But if it has any blemish—if it is lame or blind or has any serious blemish—you are not to sacrifice it to Adonai your God. 22You are to eat it within your gates, the unclean and the clean together, just as they eat the gazelle or deer. 23Only its blood you are not to eat—you must pour it out on the ground like water.
–from Deuternomy 15
Cry of Desperation
1A song, a psalm of the sons of Korah, for the music director, for singing Mahalath, a contemplative song of Heman the Ezrahite. 2Adonai, God of my salvation, day and night I cried out before You. 3Let my prayer come before You. Turn Your ear to my cry. 4For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. 5I am counted with those who go down into the Pit. I have become as one with no strength— 6abandoned among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom You remember no more— cut off from Your hand. 7You have laid me in the lowest places, in dark places, in the depths. 8Your wrath lies heavily on me. You afflicted me with all Your waves. Selah
9You have put my companions far from me. You have made me repulsive to them. I am shut in and I cannot go out. 10My eye fails from affliction. I call upon You every day, Adonai. I spread out my hands to You. 11Will You work wonders for the dead? Or will the departed spirits rise up praising You? Selah
12Will Your love be declared in the grave? Or Your faithfulness in the place of ruin? 13Will Your wonders be known in the darkness? Your righteousness in the land of oblivion? 14But I—I cried out to You, Adonai, and in the morning my prayer meets You. 15Adonai, why do You spurn me? Why do You hide Your face from me? 16From my youth I have been afflicted and close to death. I suffer Your terrors—I am desperate! 17Your fury has swept over me. Your terrors have cut me off. 18Like water they surge around me all day. They close in on me together. 19Friend and loved one You took far from me. Darkness has become my companion.
–from Psalms 88
Tearing Down Strongholds
1Now I, Paul, appeal myself to you by the meekness and gentleness of Messiah—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when far away. 2I beg of you that when I am present I won’t need to be bold with the courage I consider showing against some who judge us as walking in the flesh. 3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly but powerful through God for the tearing down of strongholds. We are tearing down false arguments 5and every high-minded thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Messiah— 6ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. 7Look at what is before your eyes. If anyone is confident in himself that he belongs to Messiah, let him reconsider that just as he belongs to Messiah, so also do we. 8For even if I boast a little more about our authority—which the Lord gave for building you up and not for tearing you down—I will not be put to shame. 9Not that I would try to terrify you by my letters— 10for they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his presence in person is weak and his speech of no account.” 11Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word through letters when we are absent, we also are in action when we are present. 12For we do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves. But when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they have no understanding. 13But we will not boast beyond limits, but within the limits of the area that God has assigned to us—to reach even as far as you. 14We are not extending ourselves too far, as if we did not reach you—for we did come even as far as to you with the Good News of Messiah. 15Neither are we boasting beyond limits based on the labors of others, but we have hope while your faith is growing for our area among you to be greatly enlarged— 16so that we may proclaim the Good News even to regions beyond you, not boasting about what has been accomplished in another’s area. 17But “let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” 18For it Is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
–from 2 Corinthians 10