What makes today happy?


Is it a special day? Is there a party? Is there a reason? Is there something special about it?

Today is the day that the Lord has made, so lets rejoice and be glad in it! Don’t let anything rob us of that joy for the joy of the Lord is our strength! There ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy, how about you?


The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.


There ain’t nothing
gonna steal my joy


Does it have to be a holiday? Does it have to be a weekend? Does it have to be a birthday? Does it have to be an anniversary? Does it have to be a party? Does it have to be a gathering? Or can it all be about the overflow of the joy of the Lord pouring out of your life?



Not feeling it? Why not fill up with Him? Did you listen to the above 2 songs? If not and you are questioning start with the one just above and then the first one. Don’t read on till you have listen to both and then come back to this point and continue.

Feeling it more? Needing more? Why not try going to the first one and watch it in YouTube and and allow YouTube to play thru a few more worship songs? This is the day the Lord has made! Music doesn’t work for everyone, so let’s do something powerful and turn to God’s love letter found in the Bible.



Even on special days, sometimes we need to know how much we are loved. Even on special days, the devil will try to rob us of our joy. Even on special days, people will do things or say things that will try to rob us of our joy. But we can’t let that cause us to lose our joy for the joy of the Lord of the joy is our strength and so if we feel it draining from us, lets turn back to God and be refilled. Let’s allow God’s Word to be our fuel for a new day so that in and through us and our lives God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name.


Today’s reading from God’s Word:

  • Nehemiah 5
  • Nehemiah 6
  • Nehemiah 7:1-4
  • Ezekiel 46
  • Ezekiel 47:1-12
  • Acts 24:1-9
  • Revelation 17:11-18
  • Psalms 138

We need to defend the oppressed. We need to support the orphans and widows.

We need to ensure that the rules and ways of doing business don’t harm the oppressed.

Let’s live out our lives in a way that shows reverence to God so that in and through our lives, as living sacrifices, He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name.

Let’s live out our lives with the wisdom of the Lord

Let’s not be fooled or tricked but rather live out our lives with the discernment that comes with the Holy Spirit. Trust God!

Let’s complete the good work that God has prepared in advance for us to accomplish.

Let’s be living sacrifices to our God that are pleasing to Him.

Let’s be living out our lives to supporting life and flourishing.

Let’s allow the living water of Jesus to flow in and through us so that there will be life wherever we go.

Let’s be a part of the victory by being on Jesus’s side.

Let’s be a part of the people who will spend eternity with God and not in the pit with the devil.

Let’s give God thanks and praise Him.

‘I give you thanks, O Lord , with all my heart; I will sing your praises before the gods. I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness; for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name. As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength. Every king in all the earth will thank you, Lord , for all of them will hear your words. Yes, they will sing about the Lord ’s ways, for the glory of the Lord is very great. Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud. Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will protect me from the anger of my enemies. You reach out your hand, and the power of your right hand saves me. The Lord will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O Lord , endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.’

Psalms 138:1-8

So where are you at today? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:


This morning when I landed on Bing to get my reward points it started with this page:


Yes, today is my birthday but that isn’t what makes it happy. Thank You Jesus for this new day You have created and have prepared in advance for me. Thank You Jesus for the strength I receive through the joy You have provided me. Thank You for today!

Are you tired?


Long day? Late night? Early morning? All of the above? Do you realize how it impacts you? How it impacts you physically? How it impacts you emotionally? How it impacts you mentally? How it impacts your ability to be patient? How it impacts your memory? How it impacts your ability to concentrate? How it impacts your mood changes? How it impacts your focus? How it impacts your immune system? How it impacts your blood pressure? How it impacts your sugar levels? How it impacts your weight? How it impacts your heart? How it impacts your balance?

They say that knowing is part of the solution. Don’t deny it, realize it so that you can manage your day. If you are too tired, you probably should be going back to bed.

We need to consider our schedules. We can’t burn the candle at both ends too long or it will impact your life. If you are up early and out late and then put in a hard day in the middle, it is almost like you are burning the candle on all four ends (burning in the middle). I learned the hard way when my diabetes had gone out of whack many years back. I learned the importance of prioritization. I learned the importance of healthy boundaries. I learned the importance of delegation. So before it is too late, check out what is going on to ensure you stay healthy with the right balance and boundaries.


How can you focus and set things in perspective? Let’s turn to trusting God and lean on His Word rather than our own understanding! Will you renew your strength by putting your hope in God?

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

Are you tired? What will you do about it? How will you handle it?


Today’s reading from God’s Word:

  • Nehemiah 4
  • Ezekiel 45
  • Acts 23:23-35
  • Revelation 17:1-10
  • Psalms 137

What would you do to find rest? What would you do to stand strong?

5Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. 6Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. 7My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. 8Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

Psalm 62:5-8

7Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. 8For you, LORD, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, 9that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living.

Psalm 116:7-9

How will you respond to when you are tired? How will you respond when others are tired? Will you put a plan into action to support and protect them? Will you set healthy boundaries? Will you enable them to be ready?

Will you divide things up in a way that supports good balance and health?

Will you make sure that the portions can be supported and balanced out?

Will you consider the impact on your actions? Will you consider the impact of your behavior? Will you adjust with the knowledge you have to make it be better?

Will you lean harder on God and put your hope in Him?

Will you make sure you are drinking enough water and eating healthy food?

Will you support those around you? Will you setup a safety boundary?

Don’t fall into sin because you are tired. Don’t be fooled because you are tired. Don’t get tripped up because you are tired. Don’t do things that will be hurtful or harmful to you and to others.

We need to have a mind with understanding. We need to ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and discernment.

Renew your mind. Renew your spirit. Renew your hope. Renew your faith. Renew your strength.


So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

What do you do when it feels cold and dark?


What if it is outside? What if it is inside? What if it is in your mind? What if it is in your heart? Is your response difference? Are you sure that it is for real? Do you know how long it will last? Do you know that the sun will rise? Do you know if the clouds will clear? Do you know how to replace it in your mind?

Do you have something else to fill your mind and your thoughts with that will bring warmth and light? Do you have something that you can fill your heart with that will bring warmth and light?

Do you realize that there is something that can turn the dark and cold into hope and life? Do you realize that you were never meant to try and go through this life alone? Do you realize that a way was made even though it doesn’t feel like there is a way in the moment? Do you realize that some call it THE WAY? Do you realize there are ways to add warmth and bring light into the situation?

Do you realize there are others around you who are feeling the cold and living in the dark? Do you realize that even when you are doing OK that you may need to be speaking truth and life in love to the people around you? Do you realize that you have been put in such a time and such a place as this in order to make a difference to those around you? Do you realize they see you and wonder how you can be that way? Do you realize they are watching you and wonder how you can feel that way? Do you realize they are observing you and hoping or wondering if it is possible for them to have it too?


Jesus is the key and the answer


What do you do when it feels cold and dark?

Will you share your warmth and your light with others? Will you share that hope that is within you with others? Will you share the truth with others? Will you share love with others?


Today’s reading from God’s Word:

  • Nehemiah 3
  • Ezekiel 44
  • Acts 23:12-22
  • Revelation 16:17-21
  • Psalms 136

Look at the broken and help build them up. Look at the injured and help them to heal through love and forgiveness.

Don’t go it alone! Support one another. Encourage one another. Love one another. Help one another. We each have a part to do!

Let’s help others have a heart for God and allow them to invite Jesus into their hearts and be transformed. Let’s help them to receive the Holy Spirit into their lives as their comforter and their guide to help them to live.

We need to share the truth of God’s plan that we will have a hope and a future. We need to share the truth of God’s plan that we are to have life and life more abundantly. We need to share the truth of God’s plan that He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. We need to share the truth of God who loves us more than we can ever understand,

16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Ephesians 16-19

Even when there are trials and troubles, we can take hope for Jesus has overcome the world and we can consider it pure joy because we know that when our faith is tested, our endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when our endurance is fully developed, we will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

If we see something wrong, we need to speak up and speak out.

If we hear something wrong, we need to speak up and speak out.

We need to ensure that we allow the truth to set us free.

Jesus is the finishing of God’s plan. First when He paid the ultimate price of dying on the cross to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way for us to be reconciled back unto God. Finally when He will return and usher us into heaven and the eternal presence of God.

So let’s allow God’s faithful love that endures forever to cause us to give thanks!


So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:


Will you allow the light to shine thru and warm up the situation?

What to do when it is so dark and hard to see?


Don’t lose hope! Don’t give in! Don’t give up! It’s time to persevere! Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds! Take hope when you face the troubles of this world! Allow the joy of the Lord to be your strength! Let your light shine! Just because the situation changed, it doesn’t mean the hope is gone! Just because the location changed, it doesn’t mean the love it gone! Just because you don’t know what to say, it doesn’t mean it is over!

As I was walking through the San Diego airport and heading to my gate a sign showed up that caught my attention. It made me think of David and his dancing as the ark was coming back into the city. It made me think of the incredible wedding I had gotten to be a part of just a few days earlier and the celebration that took place among family and friends. This was the sign I saw at the bottom of the escalator that I had to stop and take a picture of:

How do we get back to it when the enemy comes and tries to break things up? How do we clarity misunderstandings that cause conversation to clam up? How do we reset something that was going so well just moments before and then felt like the wheels fell off moments after landing? How do we put things back on track when life shows up again and starts pulling at you?


What to do when it is so dark and hard to see?


Today’s reading in God’s Word comes from:

  • Nehemiah 1
  • Nehemiah 2
  • Ezekiel 43
  • Acts 22:30
  • Acts 23:1-11
  • Revelation 16:1-16
  • Psalms 135

Do you realize it is OK to weep and mourn it? Do you realize it is OK to fast and pray about it? Do you realize it is OK to lift it up and trust God for it? Do you realize that you can trust God to rescue the situation? Do you realize that you can trust God to restore the situation? Will you list to God’s direction and obey His instructions? Pray that you will find success today and find favor!

Will you put on a mask to hide the reality? Will you try to pretend like everything is OK, even when it isn’t? Will you allow fear to rule your responses today or will you trust God to help you in and through the moment? Will you take a pause before giving answers in order to give a good answer that comes from God to heal the situation? Will you take a pause and pray for wisdom into how to answer?

Consider the words of God about asking…

7Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 7:7-8

God won’t send you alone even though He has given you His Word.

Are you willing to check it out for yourself so that you know the situation? Are you willing to check it out for yourself so that you can understand the situation? Are you willing to do something about it rather than only going based on emotions and feelings? Will you absorb what God has told you and shown you before you open up and take action? Will you trust God to help you succeed? Will you start to rebuild now that you are home?

Will you trust that in the midst of the darkness that God’s light will shine? Will you trust that in the midst of the darkness that God’s glory will shine?

While on vacation do you realize the battle hadn’t stopped? While on vacation do you realize that there is still a spiritual war taking place for the souls of the people around you? Do you realize that by coming back to your land, you have stepped back into the spiritual war zone you had left? Do you realize you may have come back filled and renewed that the enemy of your soul is looking for a way to tear it down, rob it from you, and destroy as much of it as possible?

We need to come back together and make it whole. We need to talk through the misunderstanding in order to restore and renew and refresh the truth, the love, and the relationship.

Will you stand your ground and stand for what you believe in? Even in the midst of the trouble?

Are you able to see the division or reason in the situation? Are you able to bring God’s Word into that situation in order to restore and bring things back under the cover of the Lord?

Receive today’s message from the Lord to Be encouraged! to Preach the Good News!

So let’s praise the Lord! Let’s praise those who serve the Lord! Let’s praise the Lord for He is good! Let’s praise the Lord for He is great! Let’s praise the Lord who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine! Let’s praise the Lord who endures forever! Let’s praise the Lord who is known in every generation! Let’s praise the Lord who gives justice to His people! Let’s praise the Lord who has compassion on His servants!


So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

Prayer of Salvation

Don’t let the fire go out because the sun is setting!


Shine in the darkness. Shine your light so others in the dark will be sent in the right direction. Allow your refreshed, renewed, and rejuvenated self to show up even larger than before so that everyone can see and experience the overflow of God’s love into their lives. Now that realize the importance of making time, start to plan the next time now. Continue to stir and add to the fire never allowing it to go out.

Let’s be active participants in life. Let’s be active partners with God and with those He brings into our lives. Let’s come alongside them and journey with them. Let’s give them the attention they deserve so that they realize they value and how much you appreciate them. Let’s be authentic not allowing bitterness to take root but rather to allow forgiveness to ensure that love is being poured out. Let’s not only make a difference but also pass on the difference.


Don’t let the fire go out just because the sun is setting, the world needs the light now more than ever.


Today’s reading from God’s Word is:

  • Ezra 10
  • Ezekiel 41
  • Ezekiel 42
  • Acts 22:22-29
  • Revelation 15
  • Psalms 134

Let’s realize the situation and weep those who weep and celebrate with those who celebrate.

How important is alignment to the truth in your life? Will you reflect on God’s Word and align to what it says?

Remember the truth for the truth will set you free. Speak the truth in love so that can be heard and received by others. Allow the truth of the Word lead you and guide you, instruct you and correct you.

Jesus at the cross completed the law. Jesus’s second coming will finish the time of judgement and wrath.


So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

What does it take to get refreshed, renewed, and rejuvenated?


Consider the desert land around you and turn to God and cry out to Jesus for living water that never runs dry and will refresh you. In the midst of life and the hustle and bustle, are you willing to wait upon the Lord and be renewed? How will you prioritize living in a way that will make you leave the past where it belongs behind you and enjoy the present while pressing forward , rejuvenated in the power of God?

Will you take time to hear from God through His Word and be filled up? Will you take time to build and enhance your relationship with your spouse? Will you take time to pour out love on your kids and extended family? Will you invite Jesus into your life so that you can live eternally filled with living water that never runs dry? Will you invite the Holy Spirit into your everyday, every moment in order to be renewed and filled with wisdom and discernment in every situation? Will you invite the Holy Spirit to be your comforter and your guide? Will you take time to wait upon the Lord so that you Anne refreshed, renewed, and rejuvenated?


What does it take to get refreshed, renewed, and rejuvenated?


Today’s reading from God’s Word:

  • Ezra 9
  • Ezekiel 39:25-29
  • Ezekiel 40
  • Act 22:12-21
  • Revelation 14:14-20
  • Psalms 133

Do you see what has taken place? Do you see the spiritual desert? Do you see the biblical illiteracy? What can be done to help the people? What can be done to help the know of this love letter from God the Father? The Bible is so powerful, it is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Will you use the Word of God to help teach what is true and realize what is wrong in our lives, correct when you are wrong, and teach us what is right?

Will you surrender your life and your situation up to God and be prepared to hear from and listen to what the Holy Spirit speaks?

Will you walk in the joy of the Lord, seeking His face and His will for you and your life?

Will you look with your eyes and hear with your ears and set your heart and your mind on all that God has for you? Will you share it so that others will also know the great love of our God?

If God says to go, will you go? If God says to stay will you stay? If God says to wait will you wait?

Will you be a part of the harvest of the righteous through Jesus or will you be a part of the harvest of the ripe for judgement and the wine press of God’s wrath?

“Then another angel came from the Temple and shouted to the one sitting on the cloud, “Swing the sickle, for the time of harvest has come; the crop on earth is ripe.” So the one sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the whole earth was harvested. After that, another angel came from the Temple in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. Then another angel, who had power to destroy with fire, came from the altar. He shouted to the angel with the sharp sickle, “Swing your sickle now to gather the clusters of grapes from the vines of the earth, for they are ripe for judgment.” So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and loaded the grapes into the great winepress of God’s wrath. The grapes were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress in a stream about 180 miles long and as high as a horse’s bridle.”

Revelation‬ ‭14:15-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Will you choose to live in harmony with your brothers and sisters? Do you realize how precious harmony is? Do you realize how refreshing harmony is? Are you ready to receive the blessings of God even unto life everlasting?


So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

How often do you make time for that special someone?


We all have but 24 hours in a day. Making time isn’t about fabricating more but rather prioritizing your time. Making time goes one step further as someone special deserves more than just the leftovers of your time but the best quality time.

So how are you doing with that? I know I need to work on that. I know I make time after a busy day to have a date night on Wednesday but how high quality is it? I know I have been blessed to get a few days away to go to a wedding and enjoy some time away and it makes me consider how it is supposed to be when it is quality time.

If we consider 10pm to 6am off the table. If we consider 8am-5pm off the table weekdays. That leaves us 5pm-10pm weekdays and longer on weekends. How can we creatively make quality time during these windows? It requires thought and preparation. It requires prioritization of things like serving and supporting our family.

How about you? Ever mapped it out? Do you setup safe and firm boundaries for that time to keep it for those special in your heart? Spouse? Kids? Family? Friends?


How often do you make time for that special someone?


God’s Word for today comes from:

  • Ezra 8
  • Ezekiel 38
  • Ezekiel 39:1-24
  • Acts 21:37-40
  • Acts 22:1-11
  • Revelation 14:6-13
  • Psalms 132

How do you make sure you remember? Remember events like a wedding or trips like a few days away in Mexico or birthdays or plans? Do you have tools and plans to help? Do you have a process or routine? Do you have a log or blog or something?

How do you make sure that you are in the right state of mind? How do you make sure you are bringing your best? How are you making sure that it is more than leftovers but is quality? Why not seek God’s plan and purpose so that in and they it all, He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory, in Jesus’s name.

We need to remember when we face a trial or problem that we are not alone? We need to remember that the battle belongs to the Lord. We need to remember not to attack each other but instead to come together and focus on solving or breaking down the problem. Jesus has won victory over sin and death. Jesus will be the victor in the end when eternity will either have us with God or apart from God depending on if we decided to follow Jesus and allow Him to be our Savior and Lord. I choose to live out eternity with God.

We need to address the situation in a way that can be received. We need to make time to complete the good works God has prepared in advance for us to accomplish. We need to follow after God who makes a way even when there doesn’t seem to be a way. Will you share your story and testimony with those God brings across your path? Share it for victory comes through the blood of the lamb and the words of our testimony. Will you share the Good News to all those God brings across your path? Will you helped them turn from ways that go against God? Will you point them to love, hope, truth and away from deception, immortality, and selfishness?

Let us persevere! Let’s take hold of our faith in Jesus. Let’s meditate on today’s reading and remember words like:

“This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!””

‭‭Revelation‬ ‭14:12-13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

So let’s make time for God. Let’s invite Him into our heart home. Let’s celebrate God with praise and honor.


So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpases all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejocie with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

Do you realize the power of getting away?


Do you realize the need to rest? Do you realize the need to refreshing? Do you realize the need to refocus? Do you realize the need to reassess? Do you realize the need to re-evaluate? Do you realize the need to pause?

How do you make sure that you have the right priorities? How do you make sure that you have the right focus? How do you make sure that you have things lined you?

Can you make it happen without getting away for a little while? Can you make it happen without getting rid of the day to day distractions? Can you do it with a time to get refreshed and renewed?

Do you make time to hear from God? Do you make time to capture His plan? Do you focus on what is the next step to accomplish God’s plan? What about in your marriage? What about in your family? What about in your community? What about in your church? What about in your workplace? Can you do it with so much busy without getting away?


Do you realize when you need to get away? Do you know how to get away?

Do you realize the power of getting away?


Getting away with my wife is so amazing. Getting to spend time relaxing and getting refreshed is so important while rekindling and strengthening our friendship and our love any from the daily grind. Experiencing life with her is so amazing as we experience marriage, kids, and all the business of life that happens within that.

How do you refresh? How do you renew? How do you rekindle? Does it take making time to get away?


Today’s reading from God’s Word comes from:

  • Ezra 6:19-22
  • Ezra 7
  • Ezekiel 37
  • Acts 21:27-36
  • Revelation 14:1-5
  • Psalms 131

We need to be prepared

We need to celebrate

We need to seek God

We need to live our days filled with the joy of the Lord

We need to study God’s Word so as to be well versed and prepared

We need to be able to share the truth of the hope that is within us because of Jesus

We need to be God led and God filled so that we have the wisdom and discernment needed to be good stewards of all that God has provided us

We need to live our lives to bring praise and honor and glory to God

We need to have hope for this world and our situations for even when Ezekiel was in the valley of dry bones, we learned how God is able to make dry bones come back to life, and as such even when this world seems dry rather than filled with the living waters of Jesus, we are able to still have hope and purpose and can pray for revival and a reformation to take place in our lands

We need to pray for the breath of God to rattle the bones in our nations, to rebuild us into a body that is reformed in God’s design, to be filled with the breath of God by the Holy Spirit and be reborn

“Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’ ””

‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭37:11-14‬

We need to share the good news of our king, our Lord, and our Savior Jesus Christ.

We need to persevere and press on

We need to press into all that God has in store for us.

We need to be prepared to spend eternity with God

Let’s take hold of and close with what today’s Psalm has to say:

“My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭131:1-3‬


So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpases all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejocie with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

How far would you go for love?


What if it was for someone you love? What if it was someone who loves you? What if it was a calling from God? What if it was your neighbor? We know how far God was willing to go for His love for us: “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” We know God’s commands can be summarized with two loves: Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself. Do you realize what love is? Do you think you could live out your life as love? Try to live out your life in a way where you can replace the word love in 1 Corinthians 13 with your name in the same way we can for God who is love. How far would you go for your love? How far would you go for someone else’s love? How far would you go for God’s love? Love never fails!

How far would you go for love?


Today’s reading from God’s Love Letter to us, the Word of God, the Bible gets started with the book of Ezra.

First in Ezra 5:

‘At that time the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem. They prophesied in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jehozadak responded by starting again to rebuild the Temple of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them and helped them. But Tattenai, governor of the province west of the Euphrates River, and Shethar-bozenai and their colleagues soon arrived in Jerusalem and asked, “Who gave you permission to rebuild this Temple and restore this structure?” They also asked for the names of all the men working on the Temple. But because their God was watching over them, the leaders of the Jews were not prevented from building until a report was sent to Darius and he returned his decision. This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai the governor, Shethar-bozenai, and the other officials of the province west of the Euphrates River sent to King Darius: “To King Darius. Greetings. “The king should know that we went to the construction site of the Temple of the great God in the province of Judah. It is being rebuilt with specially prepared stones, and timber is being laid in its walls. The work is going forward with great energy and success. “We asked the leaders, ‘Who gave you permission to rebuild this Temple and restore this structure?’ And we demanded their names so that we could tell you who the leaders were. “This was their answer: ‘We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the Temple that was built here many years ago by a great king of Israel. But because our ancestors angered the God of heaven, he abandoned them to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who destroyed this Temple and exiled the people to Babylonia. However, King Cyrus of Babylon, during the first year of his reign, issued a decree that the Temple of God should be rebuilt. King Cyrus returned the gold and silver cups that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple of God in Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of Babylon. These cups were taken from that temple and presented to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom King Cyrus appointed as governor of Judah. The king instructed him to return the cups to their place in Jerusalem and to rebuild the Temple of God there on its original site. So this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the Temple of God in Jerusalem. The people have been working on it ever since, though it is not yet completed.’ “Therefore, if it pleases the king, we request that a search be made in the royal archives of Babylon to discover whether King Cyrus ever issued a decree to rebuild God’s Temple in Jerusalem. And then let the king send us his decision in this matter.”’

Ezra 5:1-17

and continues into Ezra 6:

‘So King Darius issued orders that a search be made in the Babylonian archives, which were stored in the treasury. But it was at the fortress at Ecbatana in the province of Media that a scroll was found. This is what it said: “Memorandum: “In the first year of King Cyrus’s reign, a decree was sent out concerning the Temple of God at Jerusalem. “Let the Temple be rebuilt on the site where Jews used to offer their sacrifices, using the original foundations. Its height will be ninety feet, and its width will be ninety feet. Every three layers of specially prepared stones will be topped by a layer of timber. All expenses will be paid by the royal treasury. Furthermore, the gold and silver cups, which were taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar from the Temple of God in Jerusalem, must be returned to Jerusalem and put back where they belong. Let them be taken back to the Temple of God.” So King Darius sent this message: “Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the province west of the Euphrates River, and Shethar-bozenai, and your colleagues and other officials west of the Euphrates River—stay away from there! Do not disturb the construction of the Temple of God. Let it be rebuilt on its original site, and do not hinder the governor of Judah and the elders of the Jews in their work. “Moreover, I hereby decree that you are to help these elders of the Jews as they rebuild this Temple of God. You must pay the full construction costs, without delay, from my taxes collected in the province west of the Euphrates River so that the work will not be interrupted. “Give the priests in Jerusalem whatever is needed in the way of young bulls, rams, and male lambs for the burnt offerings presented to the God of heaven. And without fail, provide them with as much wheat, salt, wine, and olive oil as they need each day. Then they will be able to offer acceptable sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the welfare of the king and his sons. “Those who violate this decree in any way will have a beam pulled from their house. Then they will be lifted up and impaled on it, and their house will be reduced to a pile of rubble. May the God who has chosen the city of Jerusalem as the place to honor his name destroy any king or nation that violates this command and destroys this Temple. “I, Darius, have issued this decree. Let it be obeyed with all diligence.” Tattenai, governor of the province west of the Euphrates River, and Shethar-bozenai and their colleagues complied at once with the command of King Darius. So the Jewish elders continued their work, and they were greatly encouraged by the preaching of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo. The Temple was finally finished, as had been commanded by the God of Israel and decreed by Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, the kings of Persia. The Temple was completed on March 12, during the sixth year of King Darius’s reign. The Temple of God was then dedicated with great joy by the people of Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the rest of the people who had returned from exile. During the dedication ceremony for the Temple of God, 100 young bulls, 200 rams, and 400 male lambs were sacrificed. And 12 male goats were presented as a sin offering for the twelve tribes of Israel. Then the priests and Levites were divided into their various divisions to serve at the Temple of God in Jerusalem, as prescribed in the Book of Moses.’

Ezra 6:1-18

Then we move to Ezekiel 36:

‘“Son of man, prophesy to Israel’s mountains. Give them this message: O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord ! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Your enemies have taunted you, saying, ‘Aha! Now the ancient heights belong to us!’ Therefore, son of man, give the mountains of Israel this message from the Sovereign Lord : Your enemies have attacked you from all directions, making you the property of many nations and the object of much mocking and slander. Therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Sovereign Lord . He speaks to the hills and mountains, ravines and valleys, and to ruined wastes and long-deserted cities that have been destroyed and mocked by the surrounding nations. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My jealous anger burns against these nations, especially Edom, because they have shown utter contempt for me by gleefully taking my land for themselves as plunder. “Therefore, prophesy to the hills and mountains, the ravines and valleys of Israel. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am furious that you have suffered shame before the surrounding nations. Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I have taken a solemn oath that those nations will soon have their own shame to endure. “But the mountains of Israel will produce heavy crops of fruit for my people—for they will be coming home again soon! See, I care about you, and I will pay attention to you. Your ground will be plowed and your crops planted. I will greatly increase the population of Israel, and the ruined cities will be rebuilt and filled with people. I will increase not only the people, but also your animals. O mountains of Israel, I will bring people to live on you once again. I will make you even more prosperous than you were before. Then you will know that I am the Lord . I will cause my people to walk on you once again, and you will be their territory. You will never again rob them of their children. “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The other nations taunt you, saying, ‘Israel is a land that devours its own people and robs them of their children!’ But you will never again devour your people or rob them of their children, says the Sovereign Lord . I will not let you hear those other nations insult you, and you will no longer be mocked by them. You will not be a land that causes its nation to fall, says the Sovereign Lord .” Then this further message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by the evil way they lived. To me their conduct was as unclean as a woman’s menstrual cloth. They polluted the land with murder and the worship of idols, so I poured out my fury on them. I scattered them to many lands to punish them for the evil way they had lived. But when they were scattered among the nations, they brought shame on my holy name. For the nations said, ‘These are the people of the Lord , but he couldn’t keep them safe in his own land!’ Then I was concerned for my holy name, on which my people brought shame among the nations. “Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign Lord : I am bringing you back, but not because you deserve it. I am doing it to protect my holy name, on which you brought shame while you were scattered among the nations. I will show how holy my great name is—the name on which you brought shame among the nations. And when I reveal my holiness through you before their very eyes, says the Sovereign Lord , then the nations will know that I am the Lord . For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again to your land. “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. “And you will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago. You will be my people, and I will be your God. I will cleanse you of your filthy behavior. I will give you good crops of grain, and I will send no more famines on the land. I will give you great harvests from your fruit trees and fields, and never again will the surrounding nations be able to scoff at your land for its famines. Then you will remember your past sins and despise yourselves for all the detestable things you did. But remember, says the Sovereign Lord , I am not doing this because you deserve it. O my people of Israel, you should be utterly ashamed of all you have done! “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When I cleanse you from your sins, I will repopulate your cities, and the ruins will be rebuilt. The fields that used to lie empty and desolate in plain view of everyone will again be farmed. And when I bring you back, people will say, ‘This former wasteland is now like the Garden of Eden! The abandoned and ruined cities now have strong walls and are filled with people!’ Then the surrounding nations that survive will know that I, the Lord , have rebuilt the ruins and replanted the wasteland. For I, the Lord , have spoken, and I will do what I say. “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am ready to hear Israel’s prayers and to increase their numbers like a flock. They will be as numerous as the sacred flocks that fill Jerusalem’s streets at the time of her festivals. The ruined cities will be crowded with people once more, and everyone will know that I am the Lord .”’

Ezekiel 36:1-38

Our reading then takes us into the New Testament starting with Acts.

We begin with Acts 21:

‘When we arrived, the brothers and sisters in Jerusalem welcomed us warmly. The next day Paul went with us to meet with James, and all the elders of the Jerusalem church were present. After greeting them, Paul gave a detailed account of the things God had accomplished among the Gentiles through his ministry. After hearing this, they praised God. And then they said, “You know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they all follow the law of Moses very seriously. But the Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They’ve heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs. What should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come. “Here’s what we want you to do. We have four men here who have completed their vow. Go with them to the Temple and join them in the purification ceremony, paying for them to have their heads ritually shaved. Then everyone will know that the rumors are all false and that you yourself observe the Jewish laws. “As for the Gentile believers, they should do what we already told them in a letter: They should abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality.” So Paul went to the Temple the next day with the other men. They had already started the purification ritual, so he publicly announced the date when their vows would end and sacrifices would be offered for each of them.’

Acts of the Apostles 21:17-26

and finish our reading from New Testament in Revelation 13:

‘Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb, but he spoke with the voice of a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he required all the earth and its people to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. He did astounding miracles, even making fire flash down to earth from the sky while everyone was watching. And with all the miracles he was allowed to perform on behalf of the first beast, he deceived all the people who belong to this world. He ordered the people to make a great statue of the first beast, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life. He was then permitted to give life to this statue so that it could speak. Then the statue of the beast commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die. He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name. Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.’

Revelation 13:11-18

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 130:

‘From the depths of despair, O Lord , I call for your help. Hear my cry, O Lord. Pay attention to my prayer. Lord , if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you. I am counting on the Lord ; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word. I long for the Lord more than sentries long for the dawn, yes, more than sentries long for the dawn. O Israel, hope in the Lord ; for with the Lord there is unfailing love. His redemption overflows. He himself will redeem Israel from every kind of sin.’

Psalms 130:1-8

So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpases all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejocie with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

What will you do if it stops?


Would you ask why? Would you looking what happened? Would you wait a bit to see if it starts up again? Would you be concerned? Would you look things up for yourself? Would you seek truth? Would you seek hope? Would you seek love?

Jesus is the way the truth and the life! Jesus’s love never stop! God so loves the world that He sent Jesus to pay the ultimate price in order to make a way for us to be reconciled unto Him. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us.

Have you started your journey with Jesus? Have you invited Him into your life and started to follow after Him and His ways? Have you started to live out your life first loving God and second loving people? What motivates you? What will it take to make you keep going? What will it take to notice when the posts stop? How long would it take for you to notice the posts stop? Will you pursue it on your own? Will you get your own Bible? Will you get one for your phone like YouVersion Bible? Will you get one you can read on the web like bible.com? Will you allow it to speak to you? Will you allow the alive word of God available through the Bible to speak into your life? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to be your comforter and your guide? Will you allow Jesus to be your Lord and Savior?

What will you do if it stops?

Is there a legacy of others who will pick up the torch and carry it forward? Is there a legacy of others who will remember and continue? Is there a legacy of others who won’t give up but press in and press on? Are you one of them? Be an overcomer! Be more than a conqueror!

Post a comment, link back, let me know…


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets started with Ezra 4:

‘The enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were rebuilding a Temple to the Lord , the God of Israel. So they approached Zerubbabel and the other leaders and said, “Let us build with you, for we worship your God just as you do. We have sacrificed to him ever since King Esarhaddon of Assyria brought us here.” But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the other leaders of Israel replied, “You may have no part in this work. We alone will build the Temple for the Lord , the God of Israel, just as King Cyrus of Persia commanded us.” Then the local residents tried to discourage and frighten the people of Judah to keep them from their work. They bribed agents to work against them and to frustrate their plans. This went on during the entire reign of King Cyrus of Persia and lasted until King Darius of Persia took the throne. Years later when Xerxes began his reign, the enemies of Judah wrote a letter of accusation against the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Even later, during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, the enemies of Judah, led by Bishlam, Mithredath, and Tabeel, sent a letter to Artaxerxes in the Aramaic language, and it was translated for the king. Rehum the governor and Shimshai the court secretary wrote the letter, telling King Artaxerxes about the situation in Jerusalem. They greeted the king for all their colleagues—the judges and local leaders, the people of Tarpel, the Persians, the Babylonians, and the people of Erech and Susa (that is, Elam). They also sent greetings from the rest of the people whom the great and noble Ashurbanipal had deported and relocated in Samaria and throughout the neighboring lands of the province west of the Euphrates River. This is a copy of their letter: “To King Artaxerxes, from your loyal subjects in the province west of the Euphrates River. “The king should know that the Jews who came here to Jerusalem from Babylon are rebuilding this rebellious and evil city. They have already laid the foundation and will soon finish its walls. And the king should know that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, it will be much to your disadvantage, for the Jews will then refuse to pay their tribute, customs, and tolls to you. “Since we are your loyal subjects and do not want to see the king dishonored in this way, we have sent the king this information. We suggest that a search be made in your ancestors’ records, where you will discover what a rebellious city this has been in the past. In fact, it was destroyed because of its long and troublesome history of revolt against the kings and countries who controlled it. We declare to the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, the province west of the Euphrates River will be lost to you.” Then King Artaxerxes sent this reply: “To Rehum the governor, Shimshai the court secretary, and their colleagues living in Samaria and throughout the province west of the Euphrates River. Greetings. “The letter you sent has been translated and read to me. I ordered a search of the records and have found that Jerusalem has indeed been a hotbed of insurrection against many kings. In fact, rebellion and revolt are normal there! Powerful kings have ruled over Jerusalem and the entire province west of the Euphrates River, receiving tribute, customs, and tolls. Therefore, issue orders to have these men stop their work. That city must not be rebuilt except at my express command. Be diligent, and don’t neglect this matter, for we must not permit the situation to harm the king’s interests.” When this letter from King Artaxerxes was read to Rehum, Shimshai, and their colleagues, they hurried to Jerusalem. Then, with a show of strength, they forced the Jews to stop building. So the work on the Temple of God in Jerusalem had stopped, and it remained at a standstill until the second year of the reign of King Darius of Persia.’

Ezra 4:1-24

Our reading then brings us two chapters from Ezekiel starting with 34:

‘Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds, the leaders of Israel. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord : What sorrow awaits you shepherds who feed yourselves instead of your flocks. Shouldn’t shepherds feed their sheep? You drink the milk, wear the wool, and butcher the best animals, but you let your flocks starve. You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the injured. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty. So my sheep have been scattered without a shepherd, and they are easy prey for any wild animal. They have wandered through all the mountains and all the hills, across the face of the earth, yet no one has gone to search for them. “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord : As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , you abandoned my flock and left them to be attacked by every wild animal. And though you were my shepherds, you didn’t search for my sheep when they were lost. You took care of yourselves and left the sheep to starve. Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord . This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I now consider these shepherds my enemies, and I will hold them responsible for what has happened to my flock. I will take away their right to feed the flock, and I will stop them from feeding themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths; the sheep will no longer be their prey. “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day. I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel and by the rivers and in all the places where people live. Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in the lush pastures of the hills. I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord . I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak. But I will destroy those who are fat and powerful. I will feed them, yes—feed them justice! “And as for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign Lord says to his people: I will judge between one animal of the flock and another, separating the sheep from the goats. Isn’t it enough for you to keep the best of the pastures for yourselves? Must you also trample down the rest? Isn’t it enough for you to drink clear water for yourselves? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? Why must my flock eat what you have trampled down and drink water you have fouled? “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will surely judge between the fat sheep and the scrawny sheep. For you fat sheep pushed and butted and crowded my sick and hungry flock until you scattered them to distant lands. So I will rescue my flock, and they will no longer be abused. I will judge between one animal of the flock and another. And I will set over them one shepherd, my servant David. He will feed them and be a shepherd to them. And I, the Lord , will be their God, and my servant David will be a prince among my people. I, the Lord , have spoken! “I will make a covenant of peace with my people and drive away the dangerous animals from the land. Then they will be able to camp safely in the wildest places and sleep in the woods without fear. I will bless my people and their homes around my holy hill. And in the proper season I will send the showers they need. There will be showers of blessing. The orchards and fields of my people will yield bumper crops, and everyone will live in safety. When I have broken their chains of slavery and rescued them from those who enslaved them, then they will know that I am the Lord . They will no longer be prey for other nations, and wild animals will no longer devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will frighten them. “And I will make their land famous for its crops, so my people will never again suffer from famines or the insults of foreign nations. In this way, they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them. And they will know that they, the people of Israel, are my people, says the Sovereign Lord . You are my flock, the sheep of my pasture. You are my people, and I am your God. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!”’

Ezekiel 34:1-31

and continues into Ezekiel 35:

‘Again a message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, turn and face Mount Seir, and prophesy against its people. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord : “I am your enemy, O Mount Seir, and I will raise my fist against you to destroy you completely. I will demolish your cities and make you desolate. Then you will know that I am the Lord . “Your eternal hatred for the people of Israel led you to butcher them when they were helpless, when I had already punished them for all their sins. As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , since you show no distaste for blood, I will give you a bloodbath of your own. Your turn has come! I will make Mount Seir utterly desolate, killing off all who try to escape and any who return. I will fill your mountains with the dead. Your hills, your valleys, and your ravines will be filled with people slaughtered by the sword. I will make you desolate forever. Your cities will never be rebuilt. Then you will know that I am the Lord . “For you said, ‘The lands of Israel and Judah will be ours. We will take possession of them. What do we care that the Lord is there!’ Therefore, as surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , I will pay back your angry deeds with my own. I will punish you for all your acts of anger, envy, and hatred. And I will make myself known to Israel by what I do to you. Then you will know that I, the Lord , have heard every contemptuous word you spoke against the mountains of Israel. For you said, ‘They are desolate; they have been given to us as food to eat!’ In saying that, you boasted proudly against me, and I have heard it all! “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The whole world will rejoice when I make you desolate. You rejoiced at the desolation of Israel’s territory. Now I will rejoice at yours! You will be wiped out, you people of Mount Seir and all who live in Edom! Then you will know that I am the Lord .’

Ezekiel 35:1-15

Today’s reading next brings us into the New Testament starting with Acts 21:

‘After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, we sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and then went to Patara. There we boarded a ship sailing for Phoenicia. We sighted the island of Cyprus, passed it on our left, and landed at the harbor of Tyre, in Syria, where the ship was to unload its cargo. We went ashore, found the local believers, and stayed with them a week. These believers prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem. When we returned to the ship at the end of the week, the entire congregation, including women and children, left the city and came down to the shore with us. There we knelt, prayed, and said our farewells. Then we went aboard, and they returned home. The next stop after leaving Tyre was Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed for one day. The next day we went on to Caesarea and stayed at the home of Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen to distribute food. He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy. Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. He came over, took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.’” When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. But he said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” When it was clear that we couldn’t persuade him, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.” After this we packed our things and left for Jerusalem. Some believers from Caesarea accompanied us, and they took us to the home of Mnason, a man originally from Cyprus and one of the early believers. ‘

Acts of the Apostles 21:1-16

and continues into Revelation 13:

‘Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God. This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion! And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority. I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshiped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they also worshiped the beast. “Who is as great as the beast?” they exclaimed. “Who is able to fight against him?” Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his dwelling—that is, those who dwell in heaven. And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation. And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was made. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. Anyone who is destined for prison will be taken to prison. Anyone destined to die by the sword will die by the sword.’

Revelation 13:1-10

Today’s reading closes with Psalms 129:

‘From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me. Let all Israel repeat this: From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me, but they have never defeated me. My back is covered with cuts, as if a farmer had plowed long furrows. But the Lord is good; he has cut me free from the ropes of the ungodly. May all who hate Jerusalem be turned back in shameful defeat. May they be as useless as grass on a rooftop, turning yellow when only half grown, ignored by the harvester, despised by the binder. And may those who pass by refuse to give them this blessing: “The Lord bless you; we bless you in the Lord ’s name.”’

Psalms 129:1-8

So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpases all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejocie with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

Are you ready to start over and rebuild?


Ever noticed how much things change in life? Ever noticed things can’t stay the same because things happen? Growth triggers change. Plans trigger change. People trigger change. Responses trigger change. Actions trigger change. What about when a new structure is required? That triggers change too. Reorgs trigger change. Repentance triggers change. Salvation triggers change. Receiving Jesus into your heart triggers change. Bad decisions trigger change. Bad responses trigger change. Forgiveness triggers change. Grace triggers change. So what type of change are you facing? If instead of change people used the word renew would that change the perception of change?


Are you ready to start over and
rebuild things a new way?


Let’s turn to God’s Word and see what it has to say in our daily reading as part of Day 290 of Read the Bible for Life 4 + 1 Plan.

Today’s reading gets us started with Ezra 3:

‘In early autumn, when the Israelites had settled in their towns, all the people assembled in Jerusalem with a unified purpose. Then Jeshua son of Jehozadak joined his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel with his family in rebuilding the altar of the God of Israel. They wanted to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, as instructed in the Law of Moses, the man of God. Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they rebuilt the altar at its old site. Then they began to sacrifice burnt offerings on the altar to the Lord each morning and evening. They celebrated the Festival of Shelters as prescribed in the Law, sacrificing the number of burnt offerings specified for each day of the festival. They also offered the regular burnt offerings and the offerings required for the new moon celebrations and the annual festivals as prescribed by the Lord . The people also gave voluntary offerings to the Lord . Fifteen days before the Festival of Shelters began, the priests had begun to sacrifice burnt offerings to the Lord . This was even before they had started to lay the foundation of the Lord ’s Temple. Then the people hired masons and carpenters and bought cedar logs from the people of Tyre and Sidon, paying them with food, wine, and olive oil. The logs were brought down from the Lebanon mountains and floated along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Joppa, for King Cyrus had given permission for this. The construction of the Temple of God began in midspring, during the second year after they arrived in Jerusalem. The work force was made up of everyone who had returned from exile, including Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Jeshua son of Jehozadak and his fellow priests, and all the Levites. The Levites who were twenty years old or older were put in charge of rebuilding the Lord ’s Temple. The workers at the Temple of God were supervised by Jeshua with his sons and relatives, and Kadmiel and his sons, all descendants of Hodaviah. They were helped in this task by the Levites of the family of Henadad. When the builders completed the foundation of the Lord ’s Temple, the priests put on their robes and took their places to blow their trumpets. And the Levites, descendants of Asaph, clashed their cymbals to praise the Lord , just as King David had prescribed. With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord : “He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!” Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord ’s Temple had been laid. But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seen the first Temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy. The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance.’

Ezra 3:1-13

Will you change in a way that will bring joy to God? Will you change in a way that will rebuild the foundation on which you build your life? Will you set Jesus as your foundation and your cornerstone to help ensure you are aligned and on solid ground?

Today’s reading continues into Ezekiel 33:

‘Once again a message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, give your people this message: ‘When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose one of their own to be a watchman. When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.’ “Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself. “Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: You are saying, ‘Our sins are heavy upon us; we are wasting away! How can we survive?’ As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die? “Son of man, give your people this message: The righteous behavior of righteous people will not save them if they turn to sin, nor will the wicked behavior of wicked people destroy them if they repent and turn from their sins. When I tell righteous people that they will live, but then they sin, expecting their past righteousness to save them, then none of their righteous acts will be remembered. I will destroy them for their sins. And suppose I tell some wicked people that they will surely die, but then they turn from their sins and do what is just and right. For instance, they might give back a debtor’s security, return what they have stolen, and obey my life-giving laws, no longer doing what is evil. If they do this, then they will surely live and not die. None of their past sins will be brought up again, for they have done what is just and right, and they will surely live. “Your people are saying, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right,’ but it is they who are not doing what’s right. For again I say, when righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and turn to evil, they will die. But if wicked people turn from their wickedness and do what is just and right, they will live. O people of Israel, you are saying, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right.’ But I judge each of you according to your deeds.” On January 8, during the twelfth year of our captivity, a survivor from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has fallen!” The previous evening the Lord had taken hold of me and given me back my voice. So I was able to speak when this man arrived the next morning. Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, the scattered remnants of Israel living among the ruined cities keep saying, ‘Abraham was only one man, yet he gained possession of the entire land. We are many; surely the land has been given to us as a possession.’ So tell these people, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: You eat meat with blood in it, you worship idols, and you murder the innocent. Do you really think the land should be yours? Murderers! Idolaters! Adulterers! Should the land belong to you?’ “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: As surely as I live, those living in the ruins will die by the sword. And I will send wild animals to eat those living in the open fields. Those hiding in the forts and caves will die of disease. I will completely destroy the land and demolish her pride. Her arrogant power will come to an end. The mountains of Israel will be so desolate that no one will even travel through them. When I have completely destroyed the land because of their detestable sins, then they will know that I am the Lord .’ “Son of man, your people talk about you in their houses and whisper about you at the doors. They say to each other, ‘Come on, let’s go hear the prophet tell us what the Lord is saying!’ So my people come pretending to be sincere and sit before you. They listen to your words, but they have no intention of doing what you say. Their mouths are full of lustful words, and their hearts seek only after money. You are very entertaining to them, like someone who sings love songs with a beautiful voice or plays fine music on an instrument. They hear what you say, but they don’t act on it! But when all these terrible things happen to them—as they certainly will—then they will know a prophet has been among them.”’

Ezekiel 33:1-33

Will you only change if the change is for the good? Will you only change if the change is in alignment with God’s Word, wisdom, and discernment? Will you change in a way that will bless God and benefit people demonstrating your love of God and love of your neighbors?

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament with Acts 20:

‘But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him. When they arrived he declared, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus. “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. “And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know. “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood —over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders. I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you. “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself. “I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes. You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye. They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship.’

Acts of the Apostles 20:17-38

Will you be an agent of change for the better? Will you point people to repent and turn back to God? Will you point people to Jesus so that they can be changed and saved? Will you point people to Jesus so that they can be transformed with the old being gone and the new having coming? Will you share the love of Jesus so that others too may be transformed and saved?

Today’s reading continues into Revelation 12:

‘Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last— salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth— the one who accuses them before our God day and night. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens! And you who live in the heavens, rejoice! But terror will come on the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he has little time.” When the dragon realized that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But she was given two wings like those of a great eagle so she could fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness. There she would be cared for and protected from the dragon for a time, times, and half a time. Then the dragon tried to drown the woman with a flood of water that flowed from his mouth. But the earth helped her by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that gushed out from the mouth of the dragon. And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.’

Revelation 12:7-17

Will you be ready for the change that will come when upon Jesus’s return? Will you have to deal with the change of people vanishing and being left behind or will you change first and be taken with that first group? Will you have to decide to follow Jesus and be changed after the first group in order that you won’t have to deal with the eternal pit? Will you choose to spend eternity with God or apart from God? Will you choose to spend eternity with God or will you have to deal with the same consequences of the devil?

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 128:

‘How joyful are those who fear the Lord — all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be! Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table. That is the Lord ’s blessing for those who fear him. May the Lord continually bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live. May you live to enjoy your grandchildren. May Israel have peace!’

Psalms 128:1-6

So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpases all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejocie with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

Will you be ready when the time comes?


We may not know the time. We may not know the place. We do know the reason. We do know the outcome. We do know the person.

We know the promises are true. We know the reason is love. We know that victory belongs to the Lord. We know that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

So are you ready? Are you prepared? Are you read up? Are you filled up?

Have you decided? Have you chosen? Have you submitted? Have you received?

We are to be ready in and out of season! We are to put on the full armor of God! We are to be spirit filled! Let’s live out our lives transformed! Let’s allow our infilling to overflow into the lives of all the people God has brought into our lives! Let’s be conduits of God to all the people God has brought into our lives to be our mission field.

What if today someone comes to you looking for hope? What if today someone comes to you looking for a reason for the hope that is within you? What if today someone comes to you asking for help? What if today someone comes to you with a truth that will change tomorrow? What if today someone comes to you with a truth that will change your situation? Are you going to be ready? Are you going to be read up? Are you going to be prayed up? Are you going to be filled up? Are you ready?

Will you be ready when the time comes?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started with Ezra 1:

‘In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, the Lord fulfilled the prophecy he had given through Jeremiah. He stirred the heart of Cyrus to put this proclamation in writing and to send it throughout his kingdom: “This is what King Cyrus of Persia says: “The Lord , the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build him a Temple at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Any of you who are his people may go to Jerusalem in Judah to rebuild this Temple of the Lord , the God of Israel, who lives in Jerusalem. And may your God be with you! Wherever this Jewish remnant is found, let their neighbors contribute toward their expenses by giving them silver and gold, supplies for the journey, and livestock, as well as a voluntary offering for the Temple of God in Jerusalem.” Then God stirred the hearts of the priests and Levites and the leaders of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of the Lord . And all their neighbors assisted by giving them articles of silver and gold, supplies for the journey, and livestock. They gave them many valuable gifts in addition to all the voluntary offerings. King Cyrus himself brought out the articles that King Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Lord ’s Temple in Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his own gods. Cyrus directed Mithredath, the treasurer of Persia, to count these items and present them to Sheshbazzar, the leader of the exiles returning to Judah. This is a list of the items that were returned: 30 gold basins, 1,000 silver basins, 29 silver incense burners, 30 gold bowls, 410 silver bowls, and 1,000 other items. In all, there were 5,400 articles of gold and silver. Sheshbazzar brought all of these along when the exiles went from Babylon to Jerusalem.’

Ezra 1:1-11

Today’s reading continues into Ezra 2:

‘Here is the list of the Jewish exiles of the provinces who returned from their captivity. King Nebuchadnezzar had deported them to Babylon, but now they returned to Jerusalem and the other towns in Judah where they originally lived. Their leaders were Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah. This is the number of the men of Israel who returned from exile: The family of Parosh: 2,172, The family of Shephatiah: 372, The family of Arah: 775, The family of Pahath-moab (descendants of Jeshua and Joab): 2,812, The family of Elam: 1,254, The family of Zattu: 945, The family of Zaccai: 760, The family of Bani: 642, The family of Bebai: 623, The family of Azgad: 1,222, The family of Adonikam: 666, The family of Bigvai: 2,056, The family of Adin: 454, The family of Ater (descendants of Hezekiah): 98, The family of Bezai: 323, The family of Jorah: 112, The family of Hashum: 223, The family of Gibbar: 95, The people of Bethlehem: 123, The people of Netophah: 56, The people of Anathoth: 128, The people of Beth-azmaveth: 42, The people of Kiriath-jearim, Kephirah, and Beeroth: 743, The people of Ramah and Geba: 621, The people of Micmash: 122, The people of Bethel and Ai: 223, The citizens of Nebo: 52, The citizens of Magbish: 156, The citizens of West Elam: 1,254, The citizens of Harim: 320, The citizens of Lod, Hadid, and Ono: 725, The citizens of Jericho: 345, The citizens of Senaah: 3,630. These are the priests who returned from exile: The family of Parosh: 2,172 The family of Shephatiah: 372 The family of Arah: 775 The family of Pahath-moab (descendants of Jeshua and Joab): 2,812 The family of Elam: 1,254 The family of Zattu: 945 The family of Zaccai: 760 The family of Bani: 642 The family of Bebai: 623 The family of Azgad: 1,222 The family of Adonikam: 666 The family of Bigvai: 2,056 The family of Adin: 454 The family of Ater (descendants of Hezekiah): 98 The family of Bezai: 323 The family of Jorah: 112 The family of Hashum: 223 The family of Gibbar: 95 The people of Bethlehem: 123 The people of Netophah: 56 The people of Anathoth: 128 The people of Beth-azmaveth: 42 The people of Kiriath-jearim, Kephirah, and Beeroth: 743 The people of Ramah and Geba: 621 The people of Micmash: 122 The people of Bethel and Ai: 223 The citizens of Nebo: 52 The citizens of Magbish: 156 The citizens of West Elam: 1,254 The citizens of Harim: 320 The citizens of Lod, Hadid, and Ono: 725 The citizens of Jericho: 345 The citizens of Senaah: 3,630 The family of Jedaiah (though the line of Jeshua ): 973, The family of Immer: 1,052, The family of Pashhur: 1,247, The family of Harim: 1,017. These are the Levites who returned from exile: The descendants of the following Temple servants returned from exile: Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth, Keros, Siaha, Padon, Lebanah, Hagabah, Akkub, Hagab, Shalmai, Hanan, Giddel, Gahar, Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda, Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah, Besai, Asnah, Meunim, Nephusim, Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur, Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha, Barkos, Sisera, Temah, Neziah, and Hatipha. The descendants of these servants of King Solomon returned from exile: Sotai, Hassophereth, Peruda, Jaalah, Darkon, Giddel, Shephatiah, Hattil, Pokereth-hazzebaim, and Ami. In all, the Temple servants and the descendants of Solomon’s servants numbered 392. Another group returned at this time from the towns of Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Kerub, Addan, and Immer. However, they could not prove that they or their families were descendants of Israel. This group included the families of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda—a total of 652 people. Three families of priests—Hobaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai—also returned. (This Barzillai had married a woman who was a descendant of Barzillai of Gilead, and he had taken her family name.) They searched for their names in the genealogical records, but they were not found, so they were disqualified from serving as priests. The governor told them not to eat the priests’ share of food from the sacrifices until a priest could consult the Lord about the matter by using the Urim and Thummim—the sacred lots. So a total of 42,360 people returned to Judah, in addition to 7,337 servants and 200 singers, both men and women. They took with them 736 horses, 245 mules, 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys. When they arrived at the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, some of the family leaders made voluntary offerings toward the rebuilding of God’s Temple on its original site, and each leader gave as much as he could. The total of their gifts came to 61,000 gold coins, 6,250 pounds of silver, and 100 robes for the priests. So the priests, the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, the Temple servants, and some of the common people settled in villages near Jerusalem. The rest of the people returned to their own towns throughout Israel.’

Ezra 2:1-70

Today’s reading then brings us to Ezekiel 32:

‘On March 3, during the twelfth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, mourn for Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and give him this message: “You think of yourself as a strong young lion among the nations, but you are really just a sea monster, heaving around in your own rivers, stirring up mud with your feet. Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will send many people to catch you in my net and haul you out of the water. I will leave you stranded on the land to die. All the birds of the heavens will land on you, and the wild animals of the whole earth will gorge themselves on you. I will scatter your flesh on the hills and fill the valleys with your bones. I will drench the earth with your gushing blood all the way to the mountains, filling the ravines to the brim. When I blot you out, I will veil the heavens and darken the stars. I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give you its light. I will darken the bright stars overhead and cover your land in darkness. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken! “I will disturb many hearts when I bring news of your downfall to distant nations you have never seen. Yes, I will shock many lands, and their kings will be terrified at your fate. They will shudder in fear for their lives as I brandish my sword before them on the day of your fall. For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “The sword of the king of Babylon will come against you. I will destroy your hordes with the swords of mighty warriors— the terror of the nations. They will shatter the pride of Egypt, and all its hordes will be destroyed. I will destroy all your flocks and herds that graze beside the streams. Never again will people or animals muddy those waters with their feet. Then I will let the waters of Egypt become calm again, and they will flow as smoothly as olive oil, says the Sovereign Lord . And when I destroy Egypt and strip you of everything you own and strike down all your people, then you will know that I am the Lord . Yes, this is the funeral song they will sing for Egypt. Let all the nations mourn. Let them mourn for Egypt and its hordes. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!” On March 17, during the twelfth year, another message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, weep for the hordes of Egypt and for the other mighty nations. For I will send them down to the world below in company with those who descend to the pit. Say to them, ‘O Egypt, are you lovelier than the other nations? No! So go down to the pit and lie there among the outcasts. ’ The Egyptians will fall with the many who have died by the sword, for the sword is drawn against them. Egypt and its hordes will be dragged away to their judgment. Down in the grave mighty leaders will mockingly welcome Egypt and its allies, saying, ‘They have come down; they lie among the outcasts, hordes slaughtered by the sword.’ “Assyria lies there surrounded by the graves of its army, those who were slaughtered by the sword. Their graves are in the depths of the pit, and they are surrounded by their allies. They struck terror in the hearts of people everywhere, but now they have been slaughtered by the sword. “Elam lies there surrounded by the graves of all its hordes, those who were slaughtered by the sword. They struck terror in the hearts of people everywhere, but now they have descended as outcasts to the world below. Now they lie in the pit and share the shame of those who have gone before them. They have a resting place among the slaughtered, surrounded by the graves of all their hordes. Yes, they terrorized the nations while they lived, but now they lie in shame with others in the pit, all of them outcasts, slaughtered by the sword. “Meshech and Tubal are there, surrounded by the graves of all their hordes. They once struck terror in the hearts of people everywhere. But now they are outcasts, all slaughtered by the sword. They are not buried in honor like their fallen heroes, who went down to the grave with their weapons—their shields covering their bodies and their swords beneath their heads. Their guilt rests upon them because they brought terror to everyone while they were still alive. “You too, Egypt, will lie crushed and broken among the outcasts, all slaughtered by the sword. “Edom is there with its kings and princes. Mighty as they were, they also lie among those slaughtered by the sword, with the outcasts who have gone down to the pit. “All the princes of the north and the Sidonians are there with others who have died. Once a terror, they have been put to shame. They lie there as outcasts with others who were slaughtered by the sword. They share the shame of all who have descended to the pit. “When Pharaoh and his entire army arrive, he will take comfort that he is not alone in having his hordes killed, says the Sovereign Lord . Although I have caused his terror to fall upon all the living, Pharaoh and his hordes will lie there among the outcasts who were slaughtered by the sword. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!”’

Ezekiel 32:1-32

Today’s reading from God’s Word then brings us the New Testament reading from Acts 20:

‘When the uproar was over, Paul sent for the believers and encouraged them. Then he said good-bye and left for Macedonia. While there, he encouraged the believers in all the towns he passed through. Then he traveled down to Greece, where he stayed for three months. He was preparing to sail back to Syria when he discovered a plot by some Jews against his life, so he decided to return through Macedonia. Several men were traveling with him. They were Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea; Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica; Gaius from Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. They went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. After the Passover ended, we boarded a ship at Philippi in Macedonia and five days later joined them in Troas, where we stayed a week. On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper. Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight. The upstairs room where we met was lighted with many flickering lamps. As Paul spoke on and on, a young man named Eutychus, sitting on the windowsill, became very drowsy. Finally, he fell sound asleep and dropped three stories to his death below. Paul went down, bent over him, and took him into his arms. “Don’t worry,” he said, “he’s alive!” Then they all went back upstairs, shared in the Lord’s Supper, and ate together. Paul continued talking to them until dawn, and then he left. Meanwhile, the young man was taken home alive and well, and everyone was greatly relieved. Paul went by land to Assos, where he had arranged for us to join him, while we traveled by ship. He joined us there, and we sailed together to Mitylene. The next day we sailed past the island of Kios. The following day we crossed to the island of Samos, and a day later we arrived at Miletus. Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, for he didn’t want to spend any more time in the province of Asia. He was hurrying to get to Jerusalem, if possible, in time for the Festival of Pentecost. ‘

Acts of the Apostles 20:1-16

Today’s reading continues into Revelation 12:

‘Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and she cried out because of her labor pains and the agony of giving birth. Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born. She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to care for her for 1,260 days.’

Revelation 12:1-6

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 127:

‘Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. Children are a gift from the Lord ; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.’

Psalms 127:1-5

So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray: