Not sure which way to go?


Are you at a crossroads? Are you at an intersection? Are you at a Y in the road?

Are you needing direction on what to do? Are you needing wisdom for a decision?

Do you know what to do? Do you know where to turn? Turn to God! Ask and He will answer! Seek and you will find! Knock and it will be opened to you!

Since God has a plan, why not ask Him so that You can align with Him and accomplish His good plan? Sure we’ve messed up or gone about things the wrong way, but our mistakes aren’t who we are, they are an event, so give them up to God and ask Him for wisdom and help, ask Him for forgiveness and press towards to goal! Let’s allow God to get us back on track! God will never leave us or forsake us! We may try to walk away or out from under His protection and have to deal with those consequences, however, if we will just turn back and call out to Him, He will be there! He isn’t giving up on us! He didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world, but rather He sent Jesus so that thru Him we could be saved! So if He hasn’t come back yet and the judgement hasn’t begun, you still have time to choose to start your relationship with Jesus!

Do you trust technology to get you where you need to go? Trust God more!

Do you trust technology to get you thru even when you don’t know where you are? Trust God more!

Do you trust technology to get you back on track if you make a wrong turn? Trust God more!

Doing what is right doesn’t mean it is easy nor trouble free! Jesus is an example of this! But take heart for Jesus has overcome the world! In this world we will have troubles, but take heart for Jesus has overcome the world! It’s because of this that we can consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds!


Five Ways God Guides You — Day 110: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalm 48:9-14, Luke 19:45-48, Luke 20:1-26, Deuteronomy 31:30, Deuteronomy 32

Five main ways in which God guides us:

  1. Commanding Scripture (the Bible)
  2. Compelling Spirit (the Holy Spirit)
  3. Counsel of the Saints (the church)
  4. Common Sense (reason)
  5. Circumstantial Signs (providence).

1. Promise of guidance .. Psalm 48:9-14

9Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. 10Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness. 11Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments. 12Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, 13consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. 14For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

–from Psalm 48

Today’s devotional calls out the following from today’s reading…

Counsel of the Saints

Guidance is not an individual activity. It is significant that the psalmist says, ‘Within your temple… we meditate on your unfailing love’ (v.9). The temple was where the people of God came together to worship God. We receive guidance in the context of community. On our own, we can sometimes get things very wrong (Proverbs 12:15). God can speak to others, as well as to us, and it is always wise to seek advice about major decisions.

–from Day 110: Bible In One Year 2017

2. Model of guidance … Luke 19:45-20:26

45When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. 46“It is written,” he said to them, “ ‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’
47Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. 48Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.

–from Luke 19

1One day as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courts and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him. 2“Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,” they said. “Who gave you this authority?”
3He replied, “I will also ask you a question. Tell me: 4John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin?
5They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ 6But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet.”
7So they answered, “We don’t know where it was from.”
8Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

The Parable of the Tenants

9He went on to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. 10At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed. 12He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.
13 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’
14 “But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 15So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
“What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.
When the people heard this, they said, “God forbid!”
17Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written:
“ ‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone’?
18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.
19The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.

Paying Taxes to Caesar

20Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. 21So the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. 22Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
23He saw through their duplicity and said to them, 24“Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
25He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.
26They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.

–from Luke 20

Today’s devotional calls out the following from today’s reading…

Commanding Scripture

Be extremely careful to avoid any situation in which ministry is being used for personal gain.

Jesus sees people who are trying to make money off the back of spiritual activity. He confronts the activity with the word of God. He says, ‘It’s written in Scripture, My house is a house of prayer; You have turned it into a religious bazaar’ (19:46, MSG).

Jesus’ understanding of the will of God came from studying the Scriptures very carefully. This is the supreme way in which God guides us all.

Compelling Spirit

When Jesus is questioned about his authority he challenges the ‘religious police’ with a question about John’s authority. Jesus is suggesting that John received his authority ‘from heaven’, that is, from God himself. The clear implication is that Jesus’ own authority also came ‘from heaven’. It came from his close relationship with God.

Even his opponents recognised ‘the truth’ (20:21) in Jesus’ teaching. Jesus was not willing to curry favour or to show partiality. He was guided by what he knew to be the truth. He spoke the truth fearlessly.

Jesus challenges the premise behind their question: to what earthly power should we give our primary allegiance? The key issue, he explains, is whether we give God the primary allegiance we owe him – whether we count ourselves as citizens of his kingdom before any earthly one. We should ‘give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s’ (v.25). They were astonished by Jesus’ answer and became silent (v.26).

Luke tells us that Jesus was ‘led by the Spirit’ (Luke 4:1). Presumably it was the Holy Spirit who gave Jesus his answer. As Jesus walked in this close relationship with God, studying the Scriptures and teaching the truth, the Holy Spirit (‘the Spirit of truth’, John 15:26) prompted him with words of extraordinary wisdom.

–from Day 110: Bible In One Year 2017

3. Example of guidance … Deuteronomy 31:30-32:52

30And Moses recited the words of this song from beginning to end in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel:

–from Deuteronomy 31

1Listen, you heavens, and I will speak;
hear, you earth, the words of my mouth.
2Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants.
3I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
4He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he.
5They are corrupt and not his children;
to their shame they are a warped and crooked generation.
6Is this the way you repay the Lord,
you foolish and unwise people?
Is he not your Father, your Creator,
who made you and formed you?
7Remember the days of old;
consider the generations long past.
Ask your father and he will tell you,
your elders, and they will explain to you.
8When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance,
when he divided all mankind,
he set up boundaries for the peoples
according to the number of the sons of Israel.
9For the Lord’s portion is his people,
Jacob his allotted inheritance.
10In a desert land he found him,
in a barren and howling waste.
He shielded him and cared for him;
he guarded him as the apple of his eye,
11like an eagle that stirs up its nest
and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them aloft.
12The Lord alone led him;
no foreign god was with him.
13He made him ride on the heights of the land
and fed him with the fruit of the fields.
He nourished him with honey from the rock,
and with oil from the flinty crag,
14with curds and milk from herd and flock
and with fattened lambs and goats,
with choice rams of Bashan
and the finest kernels of wheat.
You drank the foaming blood of the grape.
15Jeshurun grew fat and kicked;
filled with food, they became heavy and sleek.
They abandoned the God who made them
and rejected the Rock their Savior.
16They made him jealous with their foreign gods
and angered him with their detestable idols.
17They sacrificed to false gods, which are not God—
gods they had not known,
gods that recently appeared,
gods your ancestors did not fear.
18You deserted the Rock, who fathered you;
you forgot the God who gave you birth.
19The Lord saw this and rejected them
because he was angered by his sons and daughters.
20“I will hide my face from them,” he said,
“and see what their end will be;
for they are a perverse generation,
children who are unfaithful.
21They made me jealous by what is no god
and angered me with their worthless idols.
I will make them envious by those who are not a people;
I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding.
22For a fire will be kindled by my wrath,
one that burns down to the realm of the dead below.
It will devour the earth and its harvests
and set afire the foundations of the mountains.
23“I will heap calamities on them
and spend my arrows against them.
24I will send wasting famine against them,
consuming pestilence and deadly plague;
I will send against them the fangs of wild beasts,
the venom of vipers that glide in the dust.
25In the street the sword will make them childless;
in their homes terror will reign.
The young men and young women will perish,
the infants and those with gray hair.
26I said I would scatter them
and erase their name from human memory,
27but I dreaded the taunt of the enemy,
lest the adversary misunderstand
and say, ‘Our hand has triumphed;
the Lord has not done all this.’ ”
28They are a nation without sense,
there is no discernment in them.
29If only they were wise and would understand this
and discern what their end will be!
30How could one man chase a thousand,
or two put ten thousand to flight,
unless their Rock had sold them,
unless the Lord had given them up?
31For their rock is not like our Rock,
as even our enemies concede.
32Their vine comes from the vine of Sodom
and from the fields of Gomorrah.
Their grapes are filled with poison,
and their clusters with bitterness.
33Their wine is the venom of serpents,
the deadly poison of cobras.
34“Have I not kept this in reserve
and sealed it in my vaults?
35It is mine to avenge; I will repay.
In due time their foot will slip;
their day of disaster is near
and their doom rushes upon them.”
36The Lord will vindicate his people
and relent concerning his servants
when he sees their strength is gone
and no one is left, slave or free.
37He will say: “Now where are their gods,
the rock they took refuge in,
38the gods who ate the fat of their sacrifices
and drank the wine of their drink offerings?
Let them rise up to help you!
Let them give you shelter!
39“See now that I myself am he!
There is no god besides me.
I put to death and I bring to life,
I have wounded and I will heal,
and no one can deliver out of my hand.
40I lift my hand to heaven and solemnly swear:
As surely as I live forever,
41when I sharpen my flashing sword
and my hand grasps it in judgment,
I will take vengeance on my adversaries
and repay those who hate me.
42I will make my arrows drunk with blood,
while my sword devours flesh:
the blood of the slain and the captives,
the heads of the enemy leaders.”
43Rejoice, you nations, with his people,
for he will avenge the blood of his servants;
he will take vengeance on his enemies
and make atonement for his land and people.
44Moses came with Joshua son of Nun and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people. 45When Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel, 46he said to them, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. 47They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”
Moses to Die on Mount Nebo
48On that same day the Lord told Moses, 49“Go up into the Abarim Range to Mount Nebo in Moab, across from Jericho, and view Canaan, the land I am giving the Israelites as their own possession. 50There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people. 51This is because both of you broke faith with me in the presence of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin and because you did not uphold my holiness among the Israelites. 52Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel.”

–from Deuteronomy 32

Today’s devotional calls out the following from today’s reading…

Circumstantial Signs

He goes on to describe how God, in his providence, looked after his people. He ‘fed him… nourished him with honey… oil… curds and milk… lambs and goats… the finest grains of wheat… the foaming blood of the grape’ (vv.13–14). These were the providential signs of his presence with them on the road.

However, God’s people, here described as ‘Jeshurun’ (meaning ‘the upright one’, that is, Israel), ‘abandoned the God who made [Jeshurun] and rejected the Rock his Saviour’ (v.15c). It was this rejection that led to God saying, ‘I will hide my face from them’ (v.20).

So often, it is sin that prevents us from hearing God’s voice. Sin can lead to disaster (vv.23–27). Now we have a remedy in the death and resurrection of Jesus: ‘the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin… If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:7,9).

Common Sense

When we fall, as we all do, the sensible thing is to get up quickly. Part of guidance generally is doing the sensible thing. This was Moses’ complaint: ‘They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them. If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end will be!’ (Deuteronomy 32:28–29). God made us thinking beings. He guides your mind as you walk in a close relationship with him. Avoid a super-spirituality that expects an inward voice to guide every little detail of your life.

Moses returned at the end of his song to the word of God, ‘Take to heart all these words to which I give witness today and urgently command your children to put them into practice, every single word of this Revelation. Yes. This is no small matter for you; it’s your life’ (vv.46–47, MSG).

–from Day 110: Bible In One Year 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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He’s got a plan for you!


Not a deal. Not a offer. He’s got a plan for you! His plan is good! His plan is to give you a hope and a future! His plan isn’t to condemn you but to save you! God’s plan is strategic!

As I was considering God’s plan and looking around, I found an interesting article called “God’s Perfect Plan” which was an interesting read.

Will you choose to start a relationship to God? Does it matter how good His plan is? Will you choose to build your relationship with God? Does it matter the wisdom available to you? Will you pursue Him and His plan for your life? Will you follow and obey His instruction for and into your life?

Will you take hold of God’s strategic plan? Will you be a part of it? Will you ask Him for wisdom on how to be more strategic in all you do? Will you ask Him for wisdom to help you live strategically at home, in your neighborhood, and in your workplace?


God’s Strategic Plan — Day 109: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalm 48:1-8, Luke 19:11-44, Deuteronomy 30:11-20, Deuteronomy 31:1-29

1. The power of the city … Psalm 48:1-8

1Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. 2Beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth, like the heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King. 3God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress. 4When the kings joined forces, when they advanced together, 5they saw her and were astounded; they fled in terror. 6Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labor. 7You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind. 8As we have heard, so we have seen in the city of the Lord Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever. –from Psalm 48

which aligns to the New Testament which says…

  • But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. –from Galatians 4:26
  • 2I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. –from Revelation 21:2-3

2. The passion for the city … Luke 19:11-44

11While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. 12He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’
14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’
15 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.
16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’
17 “ ‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’
18 “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’
19 “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’
20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’
22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’
24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’
25 “ ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’
26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’ ”

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

28After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30“Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’ ”
32Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
34They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
35They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
37When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
38“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
41As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” –from Luke 19

3. The person of the city … Deuteronomy 30:11-31:29

11Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
15See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
17But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
19This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

–from Deuteronomy 30

1Then Moses went out and spoke these words to all Israel: 2“I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you. The Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not cross the Jordan.’ 3The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross over ahead of you, as the Lord said. 4And the Lord will do to them what he did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, whom he destroyed along with their land. 5The Lord will deliver them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you. 6Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
7Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 8The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Public Reading of the Law

9So Moses wrote down this law and gave it to the Levitical priests, who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel. 10Then Moses commanded them: “At the end of every seven years, in the year for canceling debts, during the Festival of Tabernacles, 11when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place he will choose, you shall read this law before them in their hearing. 12Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the foreigners residing in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and follow carefully all the words of this law. 13Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”

Israel’s Rebellion Predicted

14The Lord said to Moses, “Now the day of your death is near. Call Joshua and present yourselves at the tent of meeting, where I will commission him.” So Moses and Joshua came and presented themselves at the tent of meeting.
15Then the Lord appeared at the tent in a pillar of cloud, and the cloud stood over the entrance to the tent. 16And the Lord said to Moses: “You are going to rest with your ancestors, and these people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them. 17And in that day I will become angry with them and forsake them; I will hide my face from them, and they will be destroyed. Many disasters and calamities will come on them, and in that day they will ask, ‘Have not these disasters come on us because our God is not with us?’ 18And I will certainly hide my face in that day because of all their wickedness in turning to other gods.
19“Now write down this song and teach it to the Israelites and have them sing it, so that it may be a witness for me against them. 20When I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, the land I promised on oath to their ancestors, and when they eat their fill and thrive, they will turn to other gods and worship them, rejecting me and breaking my covenant. 21And when many disasters and calamities come on them, this song will testify against them, because it will not be forgotten by their descendants. I know what they are disposed to do, even before I bring them into the land I promised them on oath.” 22So Moses wrote down this song that day and taught it to the Israelites.
23The Lord gave this command to Joshua son of Nun: “Be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you.”
24After Moses finished writing in a book the words of this law from beginning to end, 25he gave this command to the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord: 26“Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God. There it will remain as a witness against you. 27For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you have been rebellious against the Lord while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die! 28Assemble before me all the elders of your tribes and all your officials, so that I can speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to testify against them. 29For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster will fall on you because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord and arouse his anger by what your hands have made.”

-from Deuteronomy 31

The new testament speaks to it this way…

  • 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. –from 1 Corinthians 10
  • 37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” –from John 7
  • 1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. –from Revelation 22

The started flowing from the city…

  • 10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. –from Genesis 2

Facing a midlife crisis? Trying to fill the void?


What have you set as goals? What has given you purpose? What is most important to you? What dreams did you have for this time? What have you been striving towards? What have you valued? What have you defined success to be?

Are you at a point in life where it doesn’t line up and you are feeling that something is missing? Are you coming to a realization that those things won’t fill that void or weren’t as valuable as you had thought? Have you been chasing the wind? Have you be out of alignment from what is truly important? Have you been going the wrong way?

Do you realize that you have an alternative option? Do you realize you can turn back? Do you realize there is an answer? Do you realize no matter how far you have strayed you can always turn back? Do you realize no matter how empty, you can get a fresh new start?


Never Too Late — Day 108: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Proverbs 10:1-10, Luke 18:31-43, Luke 19:1-10, Deuteronomy 29, Deuteronomy 30:1-10

1. Apply ‘the rocking chair test’ … Proverbs 10:1-10

Reflect on the decisions of the past and which were good and which were bad. Decide moving forward that you will make decisions that you won’t regret in the future.

1The proverbs of Solomon:
A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son brings grief to his mother.
2Ill-gotten treasures have no lasting value, but righteousness delivers from death.
3The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
4Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.
5He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.
6Blessings crown the head of the righteous, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.
7The name of the righteous is used in blessings, but the name of the wicked will rot.
8The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.
9Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.
10Whoever winks maliciously causes grief, and a chattering fool comes to ruin.

–from Proverbs 10

2. Set your life in the right direction … Luke 18:31-19:10

Where has your past put you? Did you achieve all your goals of success and prosperity? Have realized that they came at a cost that needs to be repaid or returned? Did you achieve wealth at the cost of your heart or soul? Realize you have a choice! Realize you can escape the trap! Realize that Jesus is the answer! Realize He has the keys! Don’t allow the pressures (real or not) to push you into a state of anger, bitterness, depression, or being resentful! Reflect on the past and remember the good and the bad! Turn to Jesus and allow Him to set your feet upon a solid foundation to help you course correct, setting first things first, and follow after Him and His ways the rest of your life! Don’t try to go it alone! Don’t allow the lies of the devil rob you of the joy that Jesus so desires for you to have! Don’t take on the weight and the pressure the devil is speaking into your ears but rather join forces with Jesus for He tells us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Will you choose to be a force of good for God? Will you like Zacchaeus be transformed and be a benefit to others providing justice for the cheated?

31Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; 33they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”
34The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

A Blind Beggar Receives His Sight

35As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
38He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
39Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
40Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41“What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.
42Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.

–from Luke 18

1Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
8But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
9Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

–from Luke 19

3. Live a wholehearted life … Deuteronomy 29:1-30:10

Follow after God all the days of your life! Share what God has revealed to you with others!

Renewal of the Covenant

1These are the terms of the covenant the Lord commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb.
2Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them:
Your eyes have seen all that the Lord did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land. 3With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those signs and great wonders. 4But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear. 5Yet the Lord says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. 6You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink. I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.”
7When you reached this place, Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan came out to fight against us, but we defeated them. 8We took their land and gave it as an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh.
9Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do. 10All of you are standing today in the presence of the Lord your God—your leaders and chief men, your elders and officials, and all the other men of Israel, 11together with your children and your wives, and the foreigners living in your camps who chop your wood and carry your water. 12You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the Lord your God, a covenant the Lord is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, 13to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 14I am making this covenant, with its oath, not only with you 15who are standing here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God but also with those who are not here today.
16You yourselves know how we lived in Egypt and how we passed through the countries on the way here. 17You saw among them their detestable images and idols of wood and stone, of silver and gold. 18Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.
19When such a person hears the words of this oath and they invoke a blessing on themselves, thinking, “I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way,” they will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry. 20The Lord will never be willing to forgive them; his wrath and zeal will burn against them. All the curses written in this book will fall on them, and the Lord will blot out their names from under heaven. 21The Lord will single them out from all the tribes of Israel for disaster, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this Book of the Law.
22Your children who follow you in later generations and foreigners who come from distant lands will see the calamities that have fallen on the land and the diseases with which the Lord has afflicted it. 23The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulfur—nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, which the Lord overthrew in fierce anger. 24All the nations will ask: “Why has the Lord done this to this land? Why this fierce, burning anger?”
25And the answer will be: “It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the covenant he made with them when he brought them out of Egypt. 26They went off and worshiped other gods and bowed down to them, gods they did not know, gods he had not given them. 27Therefore the Lord’s anger burned against this land, so that he brought on it all the curses written in this book. 28In furious anger and in great wrath the Lord uprooted them from their land and thrust them into another land, as it is now.”
29The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

–from Deuteronomy 29

1When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, 2and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, 3then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. 4Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. 5He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors. 6The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. 7The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. 8You will again obey the Lord and follow all his commands I am giving you today. 9Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors, 10if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

–from Deuteronomy 30

It’s never too late to start living a wholehearted life – given over to God!

What is your main focus?


Where are you spending your time and energy? How are you living your life? What is the driving force? What is motivating you? What is the purpose behind all that you do? What’s in the center? Who is in the center? Where is your focal point? How is that impacting your life and how you live it out?

Do you still feel there is a hole that needs filled? Are you still feeling there is a gap that needs to get filled or covered up? Do you realize there is an answer? Do you realize the answer is Jesus? That emptiness, that hole, that gap are the need for God!

Will you invite Him into your life and your heart today? Will you follow after Him and make Him your main focus? Will you choose to receive Him into your life so that you will have the blessing of spending the rest of eternity with Him? Will you put Him in the center? Will you allow Him to have the wheel and be the driving force in your life? Will you allow Him to give you purpose? Is today your day?

Will you allow your consciences to be quickened by God’s holiness? Will you allow your mind to be nourished by God’s truth? Will you allow your imagination to be purified by God’s beauty? Will you allow your heart to be opened by God’s love? Will you allow your will to be surrendered to God’s purpose? Consider all that was said in commentary by William Temple.

Have you put yourself at the center? It’s not something new but something people have been doing or trying to do forever. Probably why the original astronomers thought the earth was at the center and everything else revolved around it. Don’t be self-centered and miss out on the reality of life! Don’t miss out on the truth and the realities of what is really going on all around you. When we put God in the center then we have the opportunity to learn, hear, grasp what is really going on in this world! When you put God in the center you can start to build that relationship with Him that He created you to have! When you put God in the center you can start to learn from His truth and walk in His Spirit to become all that He created you to be! When you put God in the center, it helps you get your priorities in order so that you can have first things first which has the impact of transforming the rest of your life!

But what does it mean to lead a God-centred life and what steps do you need to take in order to get there? –from Day 107: Bible In One Year 2017


Six Steps to a God-Centred Life — Day 107: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalm 47, Luke 18:1-30, Deuteronomy 28:15-68

Psalm 47

1Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. 2For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth. 3He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet. 4He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved. 5God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets. 6Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. 7For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. 8God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne. 9The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God; he is greatly exalted.

Luke 18:1-30

1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’ ”
6And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

The Little Children and Jesus

15People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

The Rich and the Kingdom of God

18A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’”
21“All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
23When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
26Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”
27Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
28Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Deuteronomy 28:15-68

15However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you:
16You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.
17Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed.
18The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
19You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.
20The Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him. 21The Lord will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess. 22The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish. 23The sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron. 24The Lord will turn the rain of your country into dust and powder; it will come down from the skies until you are destroyed.
25The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You will come at them from one direction but flee from them in seven, and you will become a thing of horror to all the kingdoms on earth. 26Your carcasses will be food for all the birds and the wild animals, and there will be no one to frighten them away. 27The Lord will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors, festering sores and the itch, from which you cannot be cured. 28The Lord will afflict you with madness, blindness and confusion of mind. 29At midday you will grope about like a blind person in the dark. You will be unsuccessful in everything you do; day after day you will be oppressed and robbed, with no one to rescue you.
30You will be pledged to be married to a woman, but another will take her and rape her. You will build a house, but you will not live in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will not even begin to enjoy its fruit. 31Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will eat none of it. Your donkey will be forcibly taken from you and will not be returned. Your sheep will be given to your enemies, and no one will rescue them. 32Your sons and daughters will be given to another nation, and you will wear out your eyes watching for them day after day, powerless to lift a hand. 33A people that you do not know will eat what your land and labor produce, and you will have nothing but cruel oppression all your days. 34The sights you see will drive you mad. 35The Lord will afflict your knees and legs with painful boils that cannot be cured, spreading from the soles of your feet to the top of your head.
36The Lord will drive you and the king you set over you to a nation unknown to you or your ancestors. There you will worship other gods, gods of wood and stone. 37You will become a thing of horror, a byword and an object of ridicule among all the peoples where the Lord will drive you.
38You will sow much seed in the field but you will harvest little, because locusts will devour it. 39You will plant vineyards and cultivate them but you will not drink the wine or gather the grapes, because worms will eat them. 40You will have olive trees throughout your country but you will not use the oil, because the olives will drop off. 41You will have sons and daughters but you will not keep them, because they will go into captivity. 42Swarms of locusts will take over all your trees and the crops of your land.
43The foreigners who reside among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower. 44They will lend to you, but you will not lend to them. They will be the head, but you will be the tail.
45All these curses will come on you. They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the Lord your God and observe the commands and decrees he gave you. 46They will be a sign and a wonder to you and your descendants forever. 47Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, 48therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the Lord sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you.
49The Lord will bring a nation against you from far away, from the ends of the earth, like an eagle swooping down, a nation whose language you will not understand, 50a fierce-looking nation without respect for the old or pity for the young. 51They will devour the young of your livestock and the crops of your land until you are destroyed. They will leave you no grain, new wine or olive oil, nor any calves of your herds or lambs of your flocks until you are ruined. 52They will lay siege to all the cities throughout your land until the high fortified walls in which you trust fall down. They will besiege all the cities throughout the land the Lord your God is giving you.
53Because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege, you will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you. 54Even the most gentle and sensitive man among you will have no compassion on his own brother or the wife he loves or his surviving children, 55and he will not give to one of them any of the flesh of his children that he is eating. It will be all he has left because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege of all your cities. 56The most gentle and sensitive woman among you—so sensitive and gentle that she would not venture to touch the ground with the sole of her foot—will begrudge the husband she loves and her own son or daughter 57the afterbirth from her womb and the children she bears. For in her dire need she intends to eat them secretly because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege of your cities.
58If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name—the Lord your God— 59the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses. 60He will bring on you all the diseases of Egypt that you dreaded, and they will cling to you. 61The Lord will also bring on you every kind of sickness and disaster not recorded in this Book of the Law, until you are destroyed. 62You who were as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left but few in number, because you did not obey the Lord your God. 63Just as it pleased the Lord to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess.
64Then the Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods—gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your ancestors have known. 65Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. 66You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. 67In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening, “If only it were morning!”—because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see. 68The Lord will send you back in ships to Egypt on a journey I said you should never make again. There you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.

Six Steps to a God-Centred Life…

  1. Worship God
  2. Pray consistently
  3. Humble yourself
  4. Be childlike
  5. Follow Jesus
  6. Serve God

13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” –from Galatians 3

Fully Devoted Follower with Jesus in the Center

 

Presence…being there…


There are ways to communicate without being present, but being present is always better. Especially when you love someone you would rather be with them than be sending text messages, sending emails, chatting with or without video using FaceTime or Skype or Zoom, they are ways to be able to communicate when you are apart, but the best way is to be present! I’ve heard people call it the ministry of presence when you are just there during a tough or rough time in someone else’s life – you may not have the words or the answers, but being there helps.

With God, He created Adam and Eve to live in His presence, but sin then separated them. But with Jesus, Emmanuel God with us we are able to be in His presence thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice because we have receive His gift of grace. We don’t have to go it alone! God is omnipresent so He is able to be with us all wherever we go. We don’t need to worry where He is, we just need to be in communication with Him (pray without ceasing). We can walk away – it’s a choice, but I would recommend walking out each day with Him instead!

We have the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and our guide! He is available to us 24×7 everyday! It’s our choice to plug in and appreciate the presence of God! He will never leave us and never abandon us!


His Presence — Day 106: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalm 46, Luke 17:11-37, Deuteronomy 26, Deuteronomy 27, Deuteronomy 28:1-14

1. ‘The Lord Almighty is with us’ … Psalm 46:1-11

1God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. 4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. 6Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. 7The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. 8Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. 9He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields 10He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 11The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. –from Psalm 46

which is continued in additional scripture called out in today’s devotional

19Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” 20They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. –from John 2

19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the LORD. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. –from Ephesians 2

Here are some pointers from today’s devotional…

If you take time to be still and to listen to him, you see in this psalm some of the blessings that come from knowing his presence with you.

Peace

‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear’ (vv.1–2a).

Joy

‘There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God’ (v.4a). Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit bringing ‘streams of living water’ (John 7:38). This river is now not in a physical city but in your heart.

Security

‘God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day’ (Psalm 46:5).

Protection

‘The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress’ (vv.7,11). ‘God fights for us’ and ‘protects us’ (v.11, MSG).

–from Day 106: Bible In One Year 2017

2. ‘The kingdom of God is among you’ … Luke 17:11-37

11Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

The Coming of the Kingdom of God

20Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.
22Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. 23People will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running off after them. 24For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. 25But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
30 “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. 32Remember Lot’s wife! 33Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. 34I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.” 36Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.
37“Where, Lord?” they asked.
He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.

–from Luke 17

Here are some pointers from today’s devotional…

With the coming of Jesus and the coming of the kingdom of God, God has come to dwell among his people. Jesus is ‘Immanuel… God with us’ (Matthew 1:23). Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is both ‘now’ and ‘not yet’:

God’s presence: ‘Now’

The Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come. Jesus answered, ‘The kingdom of God doesn’t come by counting the days on the calendar. Nor when someone says, “Look here!” or, “There it is!” And why? Because God’s kingdom is already among you’ (Luke 17:20–21, MSG).

The kingdom of God is God’s rule and reign. Jesus inaugurated the kingdom of God, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing the sick (for example, vv.15–18), and through his death and resurrection. With the coming of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, God is present among his people. However, his presence is not always visible. People today will not always be able to say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is’ (v.21), but a time is coming when his presence will be visible.

God’s presence: ‘Not yet’

One day Jesus will return. This will be the day of consummation for the kingdom of God. Then everyone will see, ‘For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other’ (v.24).

This will be the day when the Son of Man is revealed in all his glory (v.30), then we will see him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12); and ‘we will be with the Lord forever’ (1 Thessalonians 4:17). We will experience the visible presence of God forever.

Right now God’s presence is not visible. People focus on eating, drinking, marrying, buying, selling, planting and building (see Luke 17:27–28). None of these things is wrong in itself. They are part of regular, ordinary life. The problem in both Noah’s time and Lot’s time was that most people did not listen to the warnings. Jesus urges you to be ready.

Paradoxically, whoever tries to keep their life will lose it and whoever loses their life will preserve it (v.33). If you are always trying to find ways of getting the most out of life for yourself – the most money, highest position, best reputation, most popular – you will miss out. If you lose your life in denying yourself and serving Jesus, you will actually find life in all its fullness.

As you live in this time between the first and second coming of Jesus, don’t forget to thank God for all his blessings. Of the ten lepers whom Jesus cured, only one came back ‘praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him’ (Luke 17:15–16).

It is easy to be like the nine lepers who forgot to thank Jesus. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude – taking time to thank Jesus for answers to prayer, his constant love, his forgiveness, his kindness and especially for the promise of God’s presence with you. Recently, while praying in Hyde Park, I decided to try and think of a hundred things for which to thank God. I got there very quickly and realised that I’d hardly begun to list all the things for which to give thanks.

–from Day 106: Bible In One Year 2017

3. ‘The presence of the Lord’ … Deuteronomy 26:1-28:14

Firstfruits and Tithes

1When you have entered the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled in it, 2take some of the firstfruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the Lord your God is giving you and put them in a basket. Then go to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name 3and say to the priest in office at the time, “I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come to the land the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.” 4The priest shall take the basket from your hands and set it down in front of the altar of the Lord your God. 5Then you shall declare before the Lord your God: “My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous. 6But the Egyptians mistreated us and made us suffer, subjecting us to harsh labor. 7Then we cried out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression. 8So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. 9He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; 10and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, Lord, have given me.” Place the basket before the Lord your God and bow down before him. 11Then you and the Levites and the foreigners residing among you shall rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household.
12When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. 13Then say to the Lord your God: “I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them. 14I have not eaten any of the sacred portion while I was in mourning, nor have I removed any of it while I was unclean, nor have I offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the Lord my God; I have done everything you commanded me. 15Look down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us as you promised on oath to our ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Follow the Lord’s Commands

16The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17You have declared this day that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in obedience to him, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws—that you will listen to him. 18And the Lord has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands. 19He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised.

–from Deuteronomy 26

The Altar on Mount Ebal

1Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people: “Keep all these commands that I give you today. 2When you have crossed the Jordan into the land the Lord your God is giving you, set up some large stones and coat them with plaster. 3Write on them all the words of this law when you have crossed over to enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. 4And when you have crossed the Jordan, set up these stones on Mount Ebal, as I command you today, and coat them with plaster. 5Build there an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones. Do not use any iron tool on them. 6Build the altar of the Lord your God with fieldstones and offer burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God. 7Sacrifice fellowship offerings there, eating them and rejoicing in the presence of the Lord your God. 8And you shall write very clearly all the words of this law on these stones you have set up.”

Curses From Mount Ebal

9Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, “Be silent, Israel, and listen! You have now become the people of the Lord your God. 10Obey the Lord your God and follow his commands and decrees that I give you today.”
11On the same day Moses commanded the people:
12When you have crossed the Jordan, these tribes shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph and Benjamin. 13And these tribes shall stand on Mount Ebal to pronounce curses: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan and Naphtali.
14The Levites shall recite to all the people of Israel in a loud voice:
15“Cursed is anyone who makes an idol—a thing detestable to the Lord, the work of skilled hands—and sets it up in secret.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
16“Cursed is anyone who dishonors their father or mother.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
17“Cursed is anyone who moves their neighbor’s boundary stone.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
18“Cursed is anyone who leads the blind astray on the road.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
19“Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
20“Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his father’s wife, for he dishonors his father’s bed.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
21“Cursed is anyone who has sexual relations with any animal.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
22“Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
23“Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his mother-in-law.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
24“Cursed is anyone who kills their neighbor secretly.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
25“Cursed is anyone who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
26“Cursed is anyone who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

–from Deuteronomy 27

1If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:
3You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.
4The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
5Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.
6You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.
7The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.
8The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.
9The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to him. 10Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you. 11The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you.
12The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. 13The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. 14Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.

–from Deuteronomy 28

Here are some pointers from today’s devotional…

In this passage we see part of the Old Testament background to the understanding of ‘the presence of the Lord’. The land that God had given as an inheritance was the place that he chose as ‘a dwelling for his Name’ (26:2).

They were to recite their history ‘in the Presence of God’ (v.5, MSG). They were to prostrate themselves ‘in the Presence of God’ (v.10, MSG). In the ‘Presence of God’ they were to pray for God’s blessing on his people (vv.9–16, MSG). They were to rejoice in ‘the Presence of God’ (27:7, MSG).

God had rescued his people from ‘misery, toil and oppression’ (26:7). This is a good description of life without the presence of God. He called his people to be ‘his treasured possession’ (v.18). He tells them to build a place of worship where they can rejoice ‘in the presence of the Lord your God’ (27:7).

Sin is what takes us away from the presence of God. Therefore, God warns his people to avoid idol worship, dishonouring families, theft, leading the blind astray, injustice, sexual immorality, murder and bribery (vv.14–26).

By contrast, if his people fully obey they will enjoy all his blessings (28:1–14). God promises to bless their homes, families, work and other activities. As Joyce Meyer writes, ‘Obedience is not to be an occasional event; it is to be a way of life. There is a big difference between people who are willing to obey God daily and those who are willing to obey only in order to get out of trouble. God certainly shows people how to get out of trouble, but He showers blessings on those who decide to live wholeheartedly for Him and make obedience to Him their lifestyle.’

Of course, none of us have fully obeyed the Lord, except Jesus. His death and resurrection have made it possible for you to be forgiven and to enjoy the presence of God and a foretaste of all the blessings that are promised in this passage. And one day, when Jesus returns, you will experience them in all their fullness in the visible presence of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

–from Day 106: Bible In One Year 2017