Do you remember that time? Do you remember how you felt? Do you remember the anger? Do you remember the resentment? Do you remember the sadness? Do you remember the feeling of betrayal? Do you remember the thoughts you had for them? Do you remember the feelings? Do you remember walking away? Do you remember how you thought you would respond or react?
Ever considered it was for a reason? Ever considered it was for your benefit? Ever considered it was to prevent you from being a part of something you were never meant to be a part of? Ever considered it was for your protection? Ever considered it was for a plan greater than you knew? Ever considered it wasn’t rejection but a plan for protection? Ever considered it was to keep you for doing or saying something that would have disqualified you from the greater plan?
How did you respond? Were you able to respond God’s way with forgiveness? Were you able to respond in a way that would glorify God? Were you able to respond in a way that would prevent yourself from spiraling out of control into bitterness and fear and anger? Did you provide a testimony that others could see? Did you provide an example that others questioned how it could even be possible? Did you shine for God? Were you salt and light? Were you able to speak hope and life in love?
I’ve gone it both ways! I learned the hard way that forgiveness was the only way to make it through! I learned the hard way that the longer you wait to forgive the worst things get and the further down the spiral you get! I learned the hard way that it is less about what they did or do to you and more about how you respond to it! I learned and was able to share this with others who were in the midst of sadness, bitterness, anger, and frustration! I learned and was able to share with others the power of forgiveness not only for others for your ourselves! I learned that when the next one came my first response was to turn to God, to forgive them for they knew not what they were doing, and then to work on a go forward plan that will and would glorify God! So choose love! Choose forgiveness! And allow God to work in and through you!
Today’s reading’s beginning triggered this reminder to me and in my heart…
David Sent Back from Battle
1Now the Philistines mustered all their armies at Aphek, while the Israelites were camping by the spring in Jezreel. 2As the Philistine lords were proceeding ahead of their hundreds and thousands, David and his men were bringing up the rear with Achish. 3Then the Philistine commanders said, “What are these Hebrews doing here?” Achish said to the Philistine commanders, “No! That’s David, servant of Israel’s King Saul—he’s been with me today for over a year, and I’ve not found any fault in him since the day he defected to me until now.” 4But the Philistine commanders got angry with him, and the Philistine commanders said to him, “Make this man go back—back to his place you assigned him. He must not go down with us to the battle, or in the battle he might become our adversary. For how would this fellow appease his lord? Wouldn’t it be with the heads of our men? 5Isn’t this one David, about whom they were singing in dances saying: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?’” 6So Achish called David and said to him, “As Adonai lives, you have been upright and your going out and your coming in with me, in the army are pleasing in my eyes. For I never found fault with you since the day of your coming to me up to this day. However, the other lords do not approve of you. 7So now, turn around and go back in peace, and you won’t be doing anything to displease the Philistine lords.” 8“But what have I done?” David said to Achish. “What have you found in your servant from the day I have been before you to this day, that I shouldn’t go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?” 9“I know,” Achish answered saying to David. “You are as pleasing in my eyes as an angel of God. Nevertheless, the Philistine commanders have said, ‘He must not go up with us to the battle.’ 10So now, rise up early in the morning, you and the servants of your lord that came with you, and as soon you rise, early in the morning, once there is light, leave.” 11So David rose up early, he and his men, leaving in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. Meanwhile, the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
–from 1 Samuel 29
It might not be rejection! It might not be betrayal! It might be an opportunity to see if you are ready! It might be an opportunity to share the hope that is within you! So before you get your feathers in a ruffle, turn to God and get His perspective! And then live out that hope that is within you in love and forgiveness! Let’s be people of valour! Let’s people who are mighty!
Descendants of Other Tribes
1The sons of Issachar: Tola, Puah, Jashub and Shimron—four. 2The sons of Tola were Uzzi, Rephaiah, Jeriel, Jahmai, Ibsam and Shemuel, heads of their clans. The descendants of Tola were mighty men of valor; their number in the days of David was 22,600. 3The son of Uzzi was Izrahiah, and the sons of Izrahiah: Michael, Obadiah, Joel, Isshiah—all five of them were leaders. 4Along with them, by their generations after their clans were 36,000 troops of the army for battle, for they had many wives and sons. 5Their kinsmen among all the families of Issachar by genealogical records were mighty men of valor—87,700. 6The sons of Benjamin: Bela, Becher and Jediael—three. 7The sons of Bela: Ezbon, Uzzi, Uzziel, Jerimoth and Iri—five. They were heads of clans, mighty men of valor; by genealogical records they were 22,034. 8The sons of Becher: Zemirah, Joash, Eliezer, Elioenai, Omri, Jeremoth, Abijah, Anathoth and Alemeth—all sons of Becher. 9According to their genealogical records, their descendants were heads of their clans, 22,200 mighty men of valor. 10Finally the sons of Jediael: Bilhan. The sons of Bilhan: Jeush, Benjamin, Ehud, Chenaanah, Zethan, Tarshish and Ahishahar. 11All these were sons of Jediael, heads of their clans, mighty men of valor, 17,200 who were able to go out in the army for war. 12Shuppim and Huppim were sons of Ir; Hushim was the son of Aher. 13The sons of Naphtali were Jahziel, Guni, Jezer and Shallum, the sons of Bilhah. 14One of the sons of Manasseh was Asriel, whom she bore; his Aramean concubine bore Machir the father of Gilead. 15Machir took a wife from Huppim and Shuppim. His sister’s name was Maacah. The name of the second was Zelophehad, and Zelophehad had daughters. 16Machir’s wife Maacah bore a son and she named him Peresh. His brother’s name was Sheresh, and his sons were Ulam and Rekem. 17Ulam’s son was Bedan. These were the sons of Gilead son of Machir, son of Manasseh. 18His sister Hammolecheth bore Ish-hod, Abiezer and Mahlah. 19Shemida’s sons were Ahian, Shechem, Likhi and Aniam. 20The descendants of Ephraim: Shuthelah, Bered his son, Tahath his son, Eleadah his son, Tahath his son, 21Zabad his son and Shuthelah his son, also Ezer and Elead. The native-born men of Gath killed them because they came down to raid their cattle. 22Their father Ephraim mourned many days, and his brothers came to comfort him. 23Then he went in to his wife, and she conceived and bore a son and he called him Beriah , because evil had befallen his house. 24His daughter was Sheerah, who built both lower and upper Beth-horon, and also Uzzen-sheerah. 25Rephah was his son, Resheph his son, Telah his son, Tahan his son, 26Ladan his son, Ammihud his son, Elishama his son, 27 Nun his son and Joshua his son. 28Their possessions and settlements were Beth-el and its villages, and to the east Naaran, and to the west Gezer with its villages, as well as Shechem and its villages, as far as Aiah and its villages, 29and along the borders of the children of Manasseh, Beth-shean and its villages, Taanach and its villages, Megiddo and its villages, Dor and its villages. In these lived the children of Joseph son of Israel. 30The sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, and their sister Serah. 31The sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel, who was the father of Birzaith. 32Heber fathered Japhlet, Shomer and Hotham, and their sister Shua. 33The sons of Japhlet were Pasach, Bimhal, and Asvath. These were the children of Japhlet. 34The sons of Shemer: Ahi, Rohgah, Hubbah and Aram. 35The sons of his brother Helem: Zophah, Imna, Shelesh and Amal. 36The sons of Zophah: Suah, Harnepher, Shaul, Beri, Imrah, 37 Bezer, Hod, Shamma, Shilshah, Ithran and Beera. 38The sons of Jether: Jephunneh, Pispa and Ara. 39The sons of Ulla: Arah, Hanniel and Rizia. 40All these were the descendants of Asher, heads of the clans, choice and mighty men of valor, chief of the princes. The number of them recorded by genealogy for service in war was 26,000 men.
–from 1 Chronicles 7
So wherever we go, let’s go in the name of the Lord! God’s prepared in advance the good work He has for you to do! Let’s step into it and do what God has called and created us to do! Let’s live our lives in a way that will bring Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name! Let’s be Jesus’ hands extended! Let’s be Jesus’ arms embracing! Let’s make a difference! Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us to help heal and restore, transform and renew! Today is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s not hold back, let’s press forward in faith believing! If we just have faith the size of a mustard seed, we will see mountains move! Let’s not allow fear or doubt to have a place in our hearts! Let’s not allow fear or doubt to take root! Let’s allow faith to fill us to overflowing! Let’s walk with good intentions and respond out of obedience! It’s bigger than us, it’s a call from God! It’s bigger than us and it needs us to have faith in God! Let’s be people of faith who live to make a difference for God and for the people around us! Let’s be the men and women God created us to be so that our family and friends, our neighbors and our community, our local and national will be a better place and God’s love will permeate throughout all of it!
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 Mountains
18Now 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 Authority
23Now 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 Actions
28“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 Vineyard
33“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