Category Archives: Adversity

Are you walking? Are you running? Are you gliding? Are you bobbing? Are you weaving? Are you spinning?


Imagine gliding across the water at up to 26 MPH, bobbing, weaving, turning, and getting to see amazing things like alligators, turtles, and many varieties of birds. Reeds flying by, water splashing up from time to time. Exhilarating and amazing adventure where you can’t see where you are going but the drive is able to bring you thru what would appear to a path through the place. It kind of reminds me of where I have read that God will make a way even when there doesn’t seem to be a way. It kind of reminds me of where I have read that God knows the beginning from the end. It kind of reminds me of where I have read that nothing is a surprise to God. It kind of reminds me of where I have read that God know even before we ask what we have need of.


Day 11: 2020 Hindsight
— The 49-Week Challenge – Day 11 —

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 11 link above or want to join link here to join me and sign up.

Let’s share our takeaways from today’s reading! Did you catch and promises to trust? Did you catch any commands to obey? Did you catch any truths to embrace? Did you catch any warnings to heed? Did you catch any encouragement to rest in? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the world? What verse stood out most to you today?

If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.


Today’s reading from God’s Word – the Bible comes to us from: (I have chosen to use NIV translation, but feel free to choose whichever version you feel more comfortable with)


My Notes:

  • Do you realize how big of a deal it really is?
  • Do you realize how important you are to God?
  • Do you realize how far God will go to try and get you to choose and love Him?
  • Do you realize there is a time and a place for everything?
  • Do you realize that not everyone who acts like they are looking for your best interest really are?
  • Do you realize that we need to listen and obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit what the truth is and what we are to do, like the warning received by the Magi?
  • Do you realize that we need to listen and obey the direction of the Holy Spirit what we should do, like the direction and warning provided to Joseph because Herod was about to go and kill all the children and God had foretold how it would be said that “Out of Egypt I called my son” as well as when Joseph was directed to go back home which would fulfill what God had foretold of how “he would be called a Nazarene“?
  • In Micah we even see how God foretold so long ago how Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.
  • God has a plan that is good for those who will choose Him to be their Lord
  • In Hosea, we learn about how Jesus was to be called out of Egypt.
  • What is it going to take for people to turn back to God? Will it be natural disasters? Will it be storms? Will it be fire? Will it be flooding? Will it be wars or threats of wars? What is it going to take?
  • What will it take for you to see clearly?
  • What will it take for your ears to be opened in order to hear God’s word?
  • Do you realize the protection God has put over you? Do you realize the blessings that are available to God’s people?
  • Will you only speak what God gives you to speak?
  • Do you realize there is a good way and a bad way to live your life?
  • Do you realize there is a possibility of doing something accidentally or intentionally?
  • Jesus is our redeemer! We have all missed the mark! Jesus paid it all!

As day 11 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not join me in this prayer?

Did you pray with me? Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision? Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Today’s devotional comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit www.life.church — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through Bible.com

Now that you believe. Now that you are ready. It is time to get it done!


It may not have been easy. It may not have been direct. It may have required pain and betrayal. It may have required shaping and adversity. It may have required building trust. It may have required time for you to realize He is dependable. Now that you believe. Now that you are ready. Now is the time to take hold of the dreams and the visions. Now is the time to take hold of the promises and His presence. Now it is time to get it done!


This morning’s reading from God’s Word starts with 2 Samuel 8 and 9…

‘After this, David defeated and subdued the Philistines by conquering Gath, their largest town. David also conquered the land of Moab. He made the people lie down on the ground in a row, and he measured them off in groups with a length of rope. He measured off two groups to be executed for every one group to be spared. The Moabites who were spared became David’s subjects and paid him tribute money. David also destroyed the forces of Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah, when Hadadezer marched out to strengthen his control along the Euphrates River. David captured 1,000 chariots, 7,000 charioteers, and 20,000 foot soldiers. He crippled all the chariot horses except enough for 100 chariots. When Arameans from Damascus arrived to help King Hadadezer, David killed 22,000 of them. Then he placed several army garrisons in Damascus, the Aramean capital, and the Arameans became David’s subjects and paid him tribute money. So the Lord made David victorious wherever he went. David brought the gold shields of Hadadezer’s officers to Jerusalem, along with a large amount of bronze from Hadadezer’s towns of Tebah and Berothai. When King Toi of Hamath heard that David had destroyed the entire army of Hadadezer, he sent his son Joram to congratulate King David for his successful campaign. Hadadezer and Toi had been enemies and were often at war. Joram presented David with many gifts of silver, gold, and bronze. King David dedicated all these gifts to the Lord , as he did with the silver and gold from the other nations he had defeated— from Edom, Moab, Ammon, Philistia, and Amalek—and from Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah. So David became even more famous when he returned from destroying 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. He placed army garrisons throughout Edom, and all the Edomites became David’s subjects. In fact, the Lord made David victorious wherever he went. So David reigned over all Israel and did what was just and right for all his people. Joab son of Zeruiah was commander of the army. Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the royal historian. Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech son of Abiathar were the priests. Seraiah was the court secretary. Benaiah son of Jehoiada was captain of the king’s bodyguard. And David’s sons served as priestly leaders.’

2 Samuel 8

‘One day David asked, “Is anyone in Saul’s family still alive—anyone to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” He summoned a man named Ziba, who had been one of Saul’s servants. “Are you Ziba?” the king asked. “Yes sir, I am,” Ziba replied. The king then asked him, “Is anyone still alive from Saul’s family? If so, I want to show God’s kindness to them.” Ziba replied, “Yes, one of Jonathan’s sons is still alive. He is crippled in both feet.” “Where is he?” the king asked. “In Lo-debar,” Ziba told him, “at the home of Makir son of Ammiel.” So David sent for him and brought him from Makir’s home. His name was Mephibosheth ; he was Jonathan’s son and Saul’s grandson. When he came to David, he bowed low to the ground in deep respect. David said, “Greetings, Mephibosheth.” Mephibosheth replied, “I am your servant.” “Don’t be afraid!” David said. “I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the property that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat here with me at the king’s table!” Mephibosheth bowed respectfully and exclaimed, “Who is your servant, that you should show such kindness to a dead dog like me?” Then the king summoned Saul’s servant Ziba and said, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and servants are to farm the land for him to produce food for your master’s household. But Mephibosheth, your master’s grandson, will eat here at my table.” (Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.) Ziba replied, “Yes, my lord the king; I am your servant, and I will do all that you have commanded.” And from that time on, Mephibosheth ate regularly at David’s table, like one of the king’s own sons. Mephibosheth had a young son named Mica. From then on, all the members of Ziba’s household were Mephibosheth’s servants. And Mephibosheth, who was crippled in both feet, lived in Jerusalem and ate regularly at the king’s table.’

2 Samuel 9

‘Zedekiah son of Josiah succeeded Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim as the king of Judah. He was appointed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. But neither King Zedekiah nor his attendants nor the people who were left in the land listened to what the Lord said through Jeremiah. Nevertheless, King Zedekiah sent Jehucal son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the priest, son of Maaseiah, to ask Jeremiah, “Please pray to the Lord our God for us.” Jeremiah had not yet been imprisoned, so he could come and go among the people as he pleased. At this time the army of Pharaoh Hophra of Egypt appeared at the southern border of Judah. When the Babylonian army heard about it, they withdrew from their siege of Jerusalem. Then the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: “This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: The king of Judah sent you to ask me what is going to happen. Tell him, ‘Pharaoh’s army is about to return to Egypt, though he came here to help you. Then the Babylonians will come back and capture this city and burn it to the ground.’ “This is what the Lord says: Do not fool yourselves into thinking that the Babylonians are gone for good. They aren’t! Even if you were to destroy the entire Babylonian army, leaving only a handful of wounded survivors, they would still stagger from their tents and burn this city to the ground!” When the Babylonian army left Jerusalem because of Pharaoh’s approaching army, Jeremiah started to leave the city on his way to the territory of Benjamin, to claim his share of the property among his relatives there. But as he was walking through the Benjamin Gate, a sentry arrested him and said, “You are defecting to the Babylonians!” The sentry making the arrest was Irijah son of Shelemiah, grandson of Hananiah. “That’s not true!” Jeremiah protested. “I had no intention of doing any such thing.” But Irijah wouldn’t listen, and he took Jeremiah before the officials. They were furious with Jeremiah and had him flogged and imprisoned in the house of Jonathan the secretary. Jonathan’s house had been converted into a prison. Jeremiah was put into a dungeon cell, where he remained for many days. Later King Zedekiah secretly requested that Jeremiah come to the palace, where the king asked him, “Do you have any messages from the Lord ?” “Yes, I do!” said Jeremiah. “You will be defeated by the king of Babylon.” Then Jeremiah asked the king, “What crime have I committed? What have I done against you, your attendants, or the people that I should be imprisoned like this? Where are your prophets now who told you the king of Babylon would not attack you or this land? Listen, my lord the king, I beg you. Don’t send me back to the dungeon in the house of Jonathan the secretary, for I will die there.” So King Zedekiah commanded that Jeremiah not be returned to the dungeon. Instead, he was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace. The king also commanded that Jeremiah be given a loaf of fresh bread every day as long as there was any left in the city. So Jeremiah was put in the palace prison.’

Jeremiah 37

‘Now Jesus turned to the people again and told them this story: “A man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and moved to another country to live for several years. At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the farmers attacked the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. So the owner sent another servant, but they also insulted him, beat him up, and sent him away empty-handed. A third man was sent, and they wounded him and chased him away. “‘What will I do?’ the owner asked himself. ‘I know! I’ll send my cherished son. Surely they will respect him.’ “But when the tenant farmers saw his son, they said to each other, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ So they dragged him out of the vineyard and murdered him. “What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do to them?” Jesus asked. “I’ll tell you—he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others.” “How terrible that such a thing should ever happen,” his listeners protested. Jesus looked at them and said, “Then what does this Scripture mean? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ Everyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.” The teachers of religious law and the leading priests wanted to arrest Jesus immediately because they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. But they were afraid of the people’s reaction. Watching for their opportunity, the leaders sent spies pretending to be honest men. They tried to get Jesus to say something that could be reported to the Roman governor so he would arrest Jesus. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you speak and teach what is right and are not influenced by what others think. You teach the way of God truthfully. Now tell us—is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” He saw through their trickery and said, “Show me a Roman coin. Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. “Well then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” So they failed to trap him by what he said in front of the people. Instead, they were amazed by his answer, and they became silent.’

Luke 20:9-26

‘It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them. All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.’

Hebrews 11:8-16

‘Please, God, rescue me! Come quickly, Lord , and help me. May those who try to kill me be humiliated and put to shame. May those who take delight in my trouble be turned back in disgrace. Let them be horrified by their shame, for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!” But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “God is great!” But as for me, I am poor and needy; please hurry to my aid, O God. You are my helper and my savior; O Lord , do not delay.’

Psalms 70

In whom shall you trust? What will adversity do to or for you?


Will you look to greater nations to be your help or savior? Will you look to greater people to be your help or savior? Will you look to God to be your hope and your salvation?

Will you turn back to God in obedience or walk in your own ways? Will you receive the instruction of God through His Word and align to it and obey it?

Are you wondering why since you walked out of under the protection of the Lord that things have gotten harder? Are you wondering why you have a feeling of having to try and get through it all alone?

Turn back to God! Invite Jesus into your heart! Walk with Him and stay close to Him! Stay under the covering of His blood! Live a life so that God will see you through the blood of Jesus! Live a life so that God when He looks at you He sees you through the prism of Jesus!

Will life be easy? In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. Will there be trials? Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

But if you don’t have Jesus you will be trying to make it thru life in your own power and your own strength. Don’t go it alone! You were never meant to go through life alone! God created you to be in an intimate relationship with Him! He made a way when there didn’t seem to be a way for you to be reconciled to Him and the gap to be bridged!

Today’s reading speaks to a time when Israel wasn’t walking in alignment with God. A time where they put their trust in Egypt instead of God. A time where they were being disobedient to God’s Word and were about to be punished as God’s hand of protection was being removed as they walked out from under the protection of God.

‘Zedekiah the son of Josiah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah, reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim. But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the Lord that he spoke through Jeremiah the prophet. King Zedekiah sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the priest, the son of Maaseiah, to Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “Please pray for us to the Lord our God.” Now Jeremiah was still going in and out among the people, for he had not yet been put in prison. The army of Pharaoh had come out of Egypt. And when the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard news about them, they withdrew from Jerusalem. Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet: “Thus says the Lord , God of Israel: Thus shall you say to the king of Judah who sent you to me to inquire of me, ‘Behold, Pharaoh’s army that came to help you is about to return to Egypt, to its own land. And the Chaldeans shall come back and fight against this city. They shall capture it and burn it with fire. Thus says the Lord , Do not deceive yourselves, saying, “The Chaldeans will surely go away from us,” for they will not go away. For even if you should defeat the whole army of Chaldeans who are fighting against you, and there remained of them only wounded men, every man in his tent, they would rise up and burn this city with fire.'” Now when the Chaldean army had withdrawn from Jerusalem at the approach of Pharaoh’s army, Jeremiah set out from Jerusalem to go to the land of Benjamin to receive his portion there among the people. When he was at the Benjamin Gate, a sentry there named Irijah the son of Shelemiah, son of Hananiah, seized Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “You are deserting to the Chaldeans.” And Jeremiah said, “It is a lie; I am not deserting to the Chaldeans.” But Irijah would not listen to him, and seized Jeremiah and brought him to the officials. And the officials were enraged at Jeremiah, and they beat him and imprisoned him in the house of Jonathan the secretary, for it had been made a prison. When Jeremiah had come to the dungeon cells and remained there many days, King Zedekiah sent for him and received him. The king questioned him secretly in his house and said, “Is there any word from the Lord ?” Jeremiah said, “There is.” Then he said, “You shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.” Jeremiah also said to King Zedekiah, “What wrong have I done to you or your servants or this people, that you have put me in prison? Where are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, ‘The king of Babylon will not come against you and against this land’? Now hear, please, O my lord the king: let my humble plea come before you and do not send me back to the house of Jonathan the secretary, lest I die there.” So King Zedekiah gave orders, and they committed Jeremiah to the court of the guard. And a loaf of bread was given him daily from the bakers’ street, until all the bread of the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard. ‘

— Jeremiah 37:1-21 

Do you want to know the truth? Can you handle the truth? Will you believe the truth? How will you respond to the truth?

Today’s devotional that comes from today’s reading speaks to the impact today’s reading has on history and philosophy through Jacob ben Hayyim and The Jewish Press.

Today’s devotional from the Global Impact Bible speaks to “how the Bible has not only survived but thrived in the face of adversity.” Ever heard about times in history when people would burn Bibles and yet it survived? Ever found that the more persecution the more the Bible spread? Ever heard about the time when the Jews were being expelled from Spain? It had the impact of sending Jewish publishers to even more countries and the art of the printing press expanded and was a milestone year for Bible publishing. The joining forces off Daniel Bomberg (a Christian printer) and Felix of Prator (Jewish scholar and converted Christian) in 1517 produced a rabbinic Bible (Mikraot Gedolot) in Venice and Jacob ben Hayyim in 1525 produced a second version.

The Bible didn’t die when faced with adversity it expanded. The Bible didn’t disappear when faced with adversity, it multiplied. This rabbinic Bible was the primary text used in the writing of the Old Testament portion of the King James Bible back in 1611.

So how will you respond to adversity? Will you lean on God and allow Him to give you the strength to make it thru? Will you trust in God and allow Him to expand your territory? Will you believe in Him and watch Him multiply your benefits?


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I thank You Lord that in my weakness Your strength is revealed! I thank You Lord that in my trials, I can lean on You and consider it pure joy when I face trials of many kinds because I know that the testing of my faith builds perseverance and that when it has completed its work I will be complete and lacking nothing! I thank You Lord that when troubles of the world come my way, I don’t need to worry or fear because Jesus has already overcome the world! Help me Lord to walk beside You all the days of my life! Help me Lord not to be drawn away or tricked by the lies of the devil but rather to live a life in the light so that You will be glorified. Help me Lord to accomplish the good works You have prepared in advance for me to accomplish so that people will see my good works and glorify You. I ask all this in Jesus’ name so that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory. Amen.

The pendulum of life…


Take a look at history and watch the pendulum swing…

Good

Obedience

Aligned

Right

The pendulum goes back and forth evil

disobedience

misaligned

wrong

Throughout history we watch civilization align with God and then rebel against God. We see people and societies whose predecessors followed God get too comfortable and then take for granted the way things are not realizing the impact of their comfortable lives and then their rebellious behavior will have on the future. We see people get so far away from God that they get to a breaking point where a revival is needed to get things back on track and to a point where people celebrate in the Lord and walk aligned with God and try to get all the brokenness fixed up.

Take a look around you today. Where are you standing? Where is society on the spectrum? Where is it on the path of the pendulum? Will you help it? Which side will it be? How far down the downward spiral would things have to get before you start to look up to God and call out to Him? How far off kilter do things have to get before someone will try to make a change? Things had to get really bad and really dark before revival happened in the past, how much worse do they have to get before you, before society, before the world turns back to God?


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day. I thank You Lord that Your plans are good. I thank You Lord that Your ways are better than our ways and your plans are better than our plans. I thank You Lord that through You all things are possible. Even though things may seem bad or seem tough or seem hard, I know I can keep and put my trust in You because with you all things are possible. Nothing is too big for You. Lord, as I look around at the conflicts taking place between people of different races, I lift this up to You asking for Your spirit of reconciliation to come into the middle of this.Lord, as I look around at the conflicts taking place within politics, I lift this up to You knowing and trusting in You because nobody is authority except for those You have allowed into those positions to help Your plan come together. Even what the enemy had planned for evil Lord, You can turnaround and use for good. Help us Lord to align with Your will and do what Your plans require. Help us Lord to do what is good and what is right so that Your will and Your plans will happen today. Help us Lord to walk in obedience to Your Word and Your way so that in all we think, say, and do You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory that You so deserve. Help us Lord to live our lives as humble servants so that people will come to the reality of Jesus and be saved. Lord, help us to live selfless lives, putting others first, so that our lives will be living sacrifices to You and living testimonies to the people around us! Lord I ask all this so that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Today’s reading brings us to 2 Kings 21…

Manasseh Rules in Judah

1Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother was Hephzibah. 2He did what was evil in the lord’s sight, following the detestable practices of the pagan nations that the lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. 3He rebuilt the pagan shrines his father, Hezekiah, had destroyed. He constructed altars for Baal and set up an Asherah pole, just as King Ahab of Israel had done. He also bowed before all the powers of the heavens and worshiped them.
4He built pagan altars in the Temple of the lord, the place where the lord had said, “My name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” 5He built these altars for all the powers of the heavens in both courtyards of the lord’s Temple. 6Manasseh also sacrificed his own son in the fire. He practiced sorcery and divination, and he consulted with mediums and psychics. He did much that was evil in the lord’s sight, arousing his anger.
7Manasseh even made a carved image of Asherah and set it up in the Temple, the very place where the lord had told David and his son Solomon: “My name will be honored forever in this Temple and in Jerusalem—the city I have chosen from among all the tribes of Israel. 8If the Israelites will be careful to obey my commands—all the laws my servant Moses gave them—I will not send them into exile from this land that I gave their ancestors.” 9But the people refused to listen, and Manasseh led them to do even more evil than the pagan nations that the lord had destroyed when the people of Israel entered the land.
10Then the lord said through his servants the prophets: 11“King Manasseh of Judah has done many detestable things. He is even more wicked than the Amorites, who lived in this land before Israel. He has caused the people of Judah to sin with his idols. 12So this is what the lord, the God of Israel, says: I will bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of those who hear about it will tingle with horror. 13I will judge Jerusalem by the same standard I used for Samaria and the same measure I used for the family of Ahab. I will wipe away the people of Jerusalem as one wipes a dish and turns it upside down. 14Then I will reject even the remnant of my own people who are left, and I will hand them over as plunder for their enemies. 15For they have done great evil in my sight and have angered me ever since their ancestors came out of Egypt.”
16Manasseh also murdered many innocent people until Jerusalem was filled from one end to the other with innocent blood. This was in addition to the sin that he caused the people of Judah to commit, leading them to do evil in the lord’s sight.
17The rest of the events in Manasseh’s reign and everything he did, including the sins he committed, are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. 18When Manasseh died, he was buried in the palace garden, the garden of Uzza. Then his son Amon became the next king.

Amon Rules in Judah

19Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. His mother was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz from Jotbah. 20He did what was evil in the lord’s sight, just as his father, Manasseh, had done. 21He followed the example of his father, worshiping the same idols his father had worshiped. 22He abandoned the lord, the God of his ancestors, and he refused to follow the lord’s ways.
23Then Amon’s own officials conspired against him and assassinated him in his palace. 24But the people of the land killed all those who had conspired against King Amon, and they made his son Josiah the next king.
25The rest of the events in Amon’s reign and what he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. 26He was buried in his tomb in the garden of Uzza. Then his son Josiah became the next king.

–from 2 Kings 21

Does it matter if the person is old and does what is wrong vs if the person is young and does wrong? Does it matter what the person’s race or nationality if they are doing what is wrong? Does it matter what the person’s sex is if they are doing what is wrong? No! It’s a matter of the heart! It’s not about their age, their race, their sex, it’s about their character! It’s all about the content of their heart which defines and represents their character!

Manasseh Rules in Judah

1Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. 2He did what was evil in the lord’s sight, following the detestable practices of the pagan nations that the lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. 3He rebuilt the pagan shrines his father, Hezekiah, had broken down. He constructed altars for the images of Baal and set up Asherah poles. He also bowed before all the powers of the heavens and worshiped them.
4He built pagan altars in the Temple of the lord, the place where the lord had said, “My name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” 5He built these altars for all the powers of the heavens in both courtyards of the lord’s Temple. 6Manasseh also sacrificed his own sons in the fire in the valley of Ben-Hinnom. He practiced sorcery, divination, and witchcraft, and he consulted with mediums and psychics. He did much that was evil in the lord’s sight, arousing his anger.
7Manasseh even took a carved idol he had made and set it up in God’s Temple, the very place where God had told David and his son Solomon: “My name will be honored forever in this Temple and in Jerusalem—the city I have chosen from among all the tribes of Israel. 8If the Israelites will be careful to obey my commands—all the laws, decrees, and regulations given through Moses—I will not send them into exile from this land that I set aside for your ancestors.” 9But Manasseh led the people of Judah and Jerusalem to do even more evil than the pagan nations that the lord had destroyed when the people of Israel entered the land.
10The lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they ignored all his warnings. 11So the lord sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon. 12But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the lord his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. 13And when he prayed, the lord listened to him and was moved by his request. So the lord brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh finally realized that the lord alone is God!
14After this Manasseh rebuilt the outer wall of the City of David, from west of the Gihon Spring in the Kidron Valley to the Fish Gate, and continuing around the hill of Ophel. He built the wall very high. And he stationed his military officers in all of the fortified towns of Judah. 15Manasseh also removed the foreign gods and the idol from the lord’s Temple. He tore down all the altars he had built on the hill where the Temple stood and all the altars that were in Jerusalem, and he dumped them outside the city. 16Then he restored the altar of the lord and sacrificed peace offerings and thanksgiving offerings on it. He also encouraged the people of Judah to worship the lord, the God of Israel. 17However, the people still sacrificed at the pagan shrines, though only to the lord their God.
18The rest of the events of Manasseh’s reign, his prayer to God, and the words the seers spoke to him in the name of the lord, the God of Israel, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel. 19Manasseh’s prayer, the account of the way God answered him, and an account of all his sins and unfaithfulness are recorded in The Record of the Seers. It includes a list of the locations where he built pagan shrines and set up Asherah poles and idols before he humbled himself and repented. 20When Manasseh died, he was buried in his palace. Then his son Amon became the next king.

Amon Rules in Judah

21Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. 22He did what was evil in the lord’s sight, just as his father, Manasseh, had done. He worshiped and sacrificed to all the idols his father had made. 23But unlike his father, he did not humble himself before the lord. Instead, Amon sinned even more.
24Then Amon’s own officials conspired against him and assassinated him in his palace. 25But the people of the land killed all those who had conspired against King Amon, and they made his son Josiah the next king.

–from 2 Chronicles 33

Let’s press on! Let’s not give up! Let’s take hold of the truth in God’s Word! Let’s take hope in the promises of Jesus! In this world we will have troubles but we can take hope because Jesus has already overcome the world! We can consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds for they do a work in us that will get us to the point if we will allow it to, to be complete and lacking nothing! God’s got it all in His hands and so we need to lean on Him rather than our own understanding so that He can make our paths straight!

For the choir director: A psalm of Asaph. A song to be sung to the tune “Do Not Destroy!”

1We thank you, O God!
We give thanks because you are near.
People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds.
2God says, “At the time I have planned,
I will bring justice against the wicked.
3When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil,
I am the one who keeps its foundations firm.
Interlude
4“I warned the proud, ‘Stop your boasting!’
I told the wicked, ‘Don’t raise your fists!
5Don’t raise your fists in defiance at the heavens
or speak with such arrogance.’”
6For no one on earth—from east or west,
or even from the wilderness—
should raise a defiant fist.
7It is God alone who judges;
he decides who will rise and who will fall.
8For the lord holds a cup in his hand
that is full of foaming wine mixed with spices.
He pours out the wine in judgment,
and all the wicked must drink it,
draining it to the dregs.
9But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done;
I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
10For God says, “I will break the strength of the wicked,
but I will increase the power of the godly.”

–from Psalms 75

Let’s trust in God! Trust Him no matter what happens! Like Paul who was in prison but trusted in God, no matter what would happen. Like Daniel and his friends who were about to be thrown into the fiery furnace but trusted in God, no matter what happened. Let’s walk in faith believing and trusting in God and His Word! God has a plan and His plan is good! God can make a way even when there isn’t a way! So let’s trust in Him through every challenge, delight, joy, adventure, … we need to walk through knowing that He is working in it for good! For there is no darkness in Him! God is Love! Remember in 1 Corinthians 13 how it reads when we replace Love with God since God = Love and Love = God? Don’t lose hope! Don’t grow weary in doing what is good and what is right! Put your trust in God! Ask Jesus into your heart and allow Him to work in and through you no matter the circumstances! Let’s give God the praise and redirect any to Him who is greater!

James Is Killed and Peter Is Imprisoned

1About that time King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. 2He had the apostle James (John’s brother) killed with a sword. 3When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish people, he also arrested Peter. (This took place during the Passover celebration.) 4Then he imprisoned him, placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover. 5But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.

Peter’s Miraculous Escape from Prison

6The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate. 7Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and said, “Quick! Get up!” And the chains fell off his wrists. 8Then the angel told him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” And he did. “Now put on your coat and follow me,” the angel ordered.
9So Peter left the cell, following the angel. But all the time he thought it was a vision. He didn’t realize it was actually happening. 10They passed the first and second guard posts and came to the iron gate leading to the city, and this opened for them all by itself. So they passed through and started walking down the street, and then the angel suddenly left him.
11Peter finally came to his senses. “It’s really true!” he said. “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!”
12When he realized this, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many were gathered for prayer. 13He knocked at the door in the gate, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to open it. 14When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the door, she ran back inside and told everyone, “Peter is standing at the door!”
15“You’re out of your mind!” they said. When she insisted, they decided, “It must be his angel.”
16Meanwhile, Peter continued knocking. When they finally opened the door and saw him, they were amazed. 17He motioned for them to quiet down and told them how the Lord had led him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers what happened,” he said. And then he went to another place.
18At dawn there was a great commotion among the soldiers about what had happened to Peter. 19Herod Agrippa ordered a thorough search for him. When he couldn’t be found, Herod interrogated the guards and sentenced them to death. Afterward Herod left Judea to stay in Caesarea for a while.

The Death of Herod Agrippa

20Now Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. So they sent a delegation to make peace with him because their cities were dependent upon Herod’s country for food. The delegates won the support of Blastus, Herod’s personal assistant, 21and an appointment with Herod was granted. When the day arrived, Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to them. 22The people gave him a great ovation, shouting, “It’s the voice of a god, not of a man!”
23Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died.
24Meanwhile, the word of God continued to spread, and there were many new believers.
25When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission to Jerusalem, they returned, taking John Mark with them.

–from Acts 12

So don’t give up! Put your trust in God! Let’s stick to God’s Word! It’s our measuring stick, our source of truth! Let’s lean not on our own understanding, but in all our ways let’s acknowledge Him who will make our path straight! Let’s tell the truth! Let’s live with integrity! Let’s be honest in the way we live! Let’s be pointing people to God! Let’s not be focusing on self, but rather let’s be giving it all up to God! Let’s give Him the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name! Let’s not stop speaking of the great love of Jesus! Let’s not stop speaking of what He has done for us! Let’s be salt and light! Let’s share the love, the grace, and the mercy with the world around us that they too will come to know Jesus and His sacrifice for all of us!

Treasure in Fragile Clay Jars

1Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way,we never give up. 2We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.
3If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. 4Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
5You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
7We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
8We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
11Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.
13But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” 14We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
16That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

–from 2 Corinthians 4

Do you realize making it through adversity will also bless your kids?


perfect, complete and lacking nothingMaking it through benefits more than just you! It helps those you can help too. It helps those who will follow you. It helps those who are depending on you. It will help those who are counting on you. He may bless you with kids. It will create a trickle effect where it will even bless your kids.

Today’s reading continues in the story of Joseph. After all the adversity and trials and after the reunion with his brothers and his father.

Blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh

1After these things, someone told Joseph, “Behold, your father is sick.” So he took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, with him.
2When someone told Jacob, saying, “Behold, your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel summoned his strength and sat up in the bed.
3Then Jacob said to Joseph, “El Shaddai appeared to me in Luz, in the land of Canaan, and blessed me.”
4He said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and multiply you and turn you into an assembly of peoples, and I will give this land to your seed after you as an everlasting possession.’
5So now, your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, they are mine. Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just like Reuben and Simeon.
6Any descendent of yours whom you father after them will be yours; they will be identified by the names of their brothers for their inheritance.
7“Now as for me, when I came from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died along the way, in the land of Canaan, while we were still a distance from entering Ephrath. And I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).”
8Then Israel saw Joseph’s sons and said, “Who are these?”
9Joseph said to his father, “They’re my sons, whom God has given me here.” Then he said, “Please bring them to me, so I may bless them.”
10Now Israel’s eyes had grown heavy with old age—he could not see. So he brought them near to him, and he kissed them and hugged them.
11Then Israel said to Joseph, “To see your face, I didn’t expect—and look, God has let me see your offspring as well!”
12Then Joseph took them from his knees and bowed with his face down to the ground.
13Then Joseph took the two of them—Ephraim with his right hand across from Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand across from Israel’s right—and brought them close to him.
14But Israel stretched out his right hand and placed it upon Ephraim’s head (though he was the younger), and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands (though Manasseh was the firstborn).
15Then he blessed Joseph and said, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has shepherded me throughout my life to this day,
16The Angel who redeemed me from all evil, May He bless the boys, and may they be called by my name, and by the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac. May they multiply to a multitude in the midst of the land.”
17When Joseph saw that his father placed his right hand upon Ephraim’s head, it was wrong in his eyes. So his took hold of his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head.
18Joseph said to his father, “Not like that, my father, because this one’s the firstborn. Put your right hand upon his head.”
19But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also will become a people, and he also will become great. But his younger brother will become greater than he and his seed will be the fullness of the nations.”
20Then he blessed them that day saying, “In you shall Israel bless by saying: ‘May God make you like Ephraim and like Manasseh.’” Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh.
21Then Israel said to Joseph, “Look, I am about to die. But God will be with you and will bring you back to the land of your fathers.
22Now I myself give you one portion more than your brothers, that which I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and my bow.”

–from Genesis 48

In this world you will have troubles, but take heart for Jesus has overcome the world. When you face trials of many kinds, consider it pure joy for when it completes the work it has started in you it will make you perfect, complete and lacking nothing!

So remember the hope, the truth, the love and continue to press onward towards what God is calling you to do.

Today’s reading continues with Jacob sharing what is yet to come…It even speaks how the scepter will stay in the line of Judah till the day when Jesus comes to claim it.

Jacob Speaks Over His Sons

1Jacob called his sons and said to them: Gather together so that I can tell you what will happen to you in the last days.
2Be assembled and listen, sons of Jacob, and listen to Israel your father.
3Reuben, my firstborn are you, my vigor and firstborn of my power, endowed with extra dignity, endowed with extra strength—
4like water boiling over you will not have extra, for you got up into your father’s bed, when you defiled a maid’s couch.
5Simeon and Levi are brothers, instruments of violence are their knives.
6In their secret counsel may my soul not enter. In their contingent may my honor never be united. For in their anger they slew men, and in their self-will they maimed oxen.
7Cursed be their anger for it was strong and their rage for it was cruel— I will disperse them in Jacob, I will scatter them in Israel.
8Judah, so you are— your brothers will praise you: Your hand will be on your enemies’ neck. Your father’s sons will bow down to you.
9A lion’s cub is Judah— from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He crouches, lies down like a lion, or like a lioness— who would rouse him?
10The scepter will not pass from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs will come. To him will be the obedience of the peoples.
11Binding his foal to the vine, his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he washes his garments in wine, and in the blood of grapes his robe.
12His eyes are darker than wine, and teeth that are whiter than milk.
13Zebulun will dwell by the seashore, and be by a harbor for ships— his distant border reaches Sidon.
14Issachar is a strong-boned donkey, lying down between two saddlebags.
15He saw that a resting place was good, and that the land was pleasant. He leaned his shoulder to bear a burden, and became a forced laborer.
16Dan will judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Let Dan be a serpent beside a road, a viper beside a path, who strikes a horse’s heels, so that its rider falls backward.
18For your salvation I wait, Adonai!
19Gad—attackers will attack him, but he will attack their heels.
20Asher—rich is his food— he will provide delicacies fit for a king.
21Naphtali is a doe let loose, who offers words of beauty.
22A fruitful son is Joseph, a fruitful son beside a spring— daughters walk along a wall.
23The archers were bitter and shot arrows and were hostile towards him.
24Yet his bow was always filled, and his arms quick-moving— by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob. From there a Shepherd, the Stone of Israel,
25from the God of your father who helps you, and Shaddai who blesses you, with blessings of heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of breasts and womb.
26The blessings of your father surpassed the blessings of the ancient mountains, the desire of the everlasting hills. May they be upon Joseph’s head, upon the crown of the one set apart from his brothers.
27Benjamin is a ravening wolf— in the morning he devours spoils, and in the evening divides plunder.
28These are the tribes of Israel, twelve in all, and this is what their father spoke to them. He blessed them, each one he blessed with a suitable blessing.
29Then he charged them and said to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
30in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, that is next to Mamre in the land of Canaan—the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a property for burial.
31There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah, and there I buried Leah.
32The field was purchased along with the cave in it from the sons of Het.”
33When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, then breathed his last and was gathered to his peoples.

–from Genesis 49

Will you be bold enough to testify of who God is and what He has done for you? Let’s watch Paul before the religious rulers of his day…

1Paul, looking intently at the Sanhedrin, said, “Brothers, I have lived my life in all good conscience for God up to this day.”
2But the kohen gadol Ananias ordered those standing by him to strike him on the mouth.
3Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you on the mouth, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit judging me according to the Torah, and yet in violation of the Torah you order me to be struck?”
4Those standing nearby said, “Do you insult God’s kohen gadol ?”
5Paul said, “I didn’t know, brothers, that he is the kohen gadol . For it has been written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”
6But recognizing that one group was Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began crying out in the Sanhedrin, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees! I am on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead!”
7When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided.
8For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection or angel or spirit, but the Pharisees affirm them all.
9Then there was a great uproar. Some of the Torah scholars of the Pharisees’ party stood up and protested sharply, “We find nothing wrong with this man! What if a spirit or angel has spoken to him?”
10As a big dispute was developing, the commander was afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them. So he ordered the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them and to bring him into headquarters.
11The following night the Lord stood beside Paul and said, “Take courage! For just as you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome!”

Conspiracy to Kill Paul

12When it was day, the Judean leaders formed a conspiracy. They bound themselves by an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul.
13There were more than forty who formed this plot.
14They went to the ruling kohanim and elders and said, “We have bound ourselves with a solemn oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul.
15So now you and the Sanhedrin serve notice to the commander to bring him down to you—like you are about to investigate his case more thoroughly. But we are ready to kill him before he comes near.”
16But the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush. He went into the headquarters and told Paul.
17Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander, for he has a message for him.”
18So the centurion took him and led him to the commander and said, “The prisoner Paul called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, as he has something to say to you.”
19The commander took him by the hand, stepped aside, and began asking him privately, “What is it that you have to report to me?”
20And he said, “The Judean leaders have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the Sanhedrin tomorrow—as if they are about to investigate more thoroughly about him.
21But do not give in to them, for more than forty of them have bound themselves by an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. Even now, they are ready and waiting for your consent.”
22So the commander dismissed the young man, charging him, “Tell no one that you have informed me about these things.”

Escorted to Caesarea

23Calling two of his centurions, he said, “At the third hour of the night, prepare two hundred soldiers, along with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen, to proceed as far as Caesarea.
24Also provide mounts for Paul to ride, so that he might be brought safely to Felix the governor.”
25He wrote a letter to this effect:
26“Claudius Lysias, To the Most Excellent Governor Felix: Greetings!
27This man was seized by the Judean leaders and was about to be killed by them, when I came on the scene with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he is a Roman citizen.
28Desiring to know the charge of which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their Sanhedrin.
29I found that he was accused concerning issues of their law, but charged with nothing worthy of death or imprisonment.
30When I was informed that there was a plot against the man, I sent him to you immediately, also ordering his accusers to state before you what they have against him.”
31So the soldiers, in keeping with their orders, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris.
32On the next day, they returned to headquarters, leaving the horsemen to go on with him.
33When they came to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul before him.
34Upon reading the letter, the governor asked what province he was from. When he learned that Paul was from Cilicia,
35he said, “I will give you a hearing when your accusers have arrived also.” Then he gave orders for Paul to be guarded in Herod’s Praetorium.

–from Acts 23

God has a plan for each of us! Let’s walk to complete that plan! Let’s move forward to finish the race He has set in motion! Let’s not grow weary in doing what is good! Let’s consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds! Let’s be overcomers as Jesus was an overcomer! Let’s press on and never give up! Let’s not make it about it being a show and tell, but let’s live lives that testify to the hope and truth that is within us thanks to Jesus!

Today’s reading concludes in the book of Matthew…

Religious Leaders Demand Signs

1Now the Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Yeshua, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven.
2But He replied to them, “When evening comes, you say, ‘Fair weather coming, for the sky is red,’
3and in the morning, ‘Stormy weather today, for the sky is red and gloomy.’ You know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times!
4An evil and adulterous generation clamors for a sign, yet no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” And leaving them behind, He went away.
5Now when the disciples came to the other side of the sea, they had forgotten to take bread.
6“Watch out,” Yeshua said to them, “and beware of the hametz of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
7And they began to discuss among themselves, saying, “We didn’t bring any bread.”
8But knowing this, Yeshua said, “O you of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread?
9You still don’t get it? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets of leftovers you gathered?
10Or how about the seven loaves for the four thousand and all the baskets of leftovers you gathered?
11How is it that you don’t understand that I wasn’t talking to you about bread? Now beware of the hametz of the Pharisees and Sadducees!”
12Then they understood that He wasn’t talking about the hametz in the bread, but about the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

The Father Reveals His Son

13When Yeshua came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
14They answered, “Some say John the Immerser, others say Elijah, and still others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”
15He said, “But who do you say I am?”
16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17Yeshua said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven!
18And I also tell you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My community; and the gates of Sheol will not overpower it.
19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will have been forbidden in heaven and what you permit on earth will have been permitted in heaven.”
20Then He ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Messiah.

First Prediction: Death & Resurrection

21From that time on, Yeshua began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and ruling kohanim and Torah scholars, and be killed, and be raised on the third day.
22Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Never, Master! This must never happen to You!”
23But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, satan! You are a stumbling block to Me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but the things of men.”
24Then Yeshua said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.
25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
26For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world but forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
27For the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then ‘He will repay everyone according to his deeds.’
28Amen, I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

–from Matthew 16

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worth it in the end!


Ever gone through a tough time and when it is all over you realize you would never have asked for it, but having been through it you wouldn’t want to ever give up the experience?  Ever learned through adversity something that you couldn’t have ever learned just having good times? Ever had a second chance and realize what you learned through the tough times? Ever had a second chance and chosen to walk it out God’s way? Did you find out that it was worth it in the end? That you had wisdom that you wouldn’t have been able to have any other way? Have you been able to share it with others?

I know I have! Be it when I was called to step up and be on the board of a homeowners association and then called to step up to be president. Be it when I was called to move on but chose to try and stick it out and then went through some adversity which taught me the importance of forgiveness. God knows what He is doing! God know what it will take for us to  it, to answer it, and to move into it! He knows us better than we know ourselves!

Today’s reading shows how the adversity Joseph ha deal with was worth it and necessary for the ultimate plan to occur in saving lives and producing a humbled and wise leader in and through Joseph. And to be reunited with his father.

Jacob Goes to Egypt

1So Israel set out, along with everything that belonged to him. When he came to Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.
2In visions of the night God said to Israel, “Jacob, Jacob.” “Hineni,” he said.
3“I am God, the God of your father,” He said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will turn you into a great nation there.
4I Myself will go down with you to Egypt and I Myself will also most certainly bring you up. Joseph will put his hands on your eyes.”
5Then Jacob arose from Beersheba and Israel’s sons carried Jacob their father, their little children, and their wives in the carts that Pharaoh had sent to carry him.
6They also took their livestock and their possessions they had acquired in the land of Canaan and they came to Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him.
7His sons and his grandsons with him, his daughters and his granddaughters, and all his offspring, he brought with him to Egypt.
8Now these are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Jacob’s firstborn, Reuben,
9and Reuben’s sons: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron and Carmi.
10Simeon’s sons: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zochar and Shaul the son of the Canaanite woman.
11Levi’s sons: Gershon, Kohath and Merari.
12Judah’s sons: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez and Zerah. Er died along with Onan in the land of Canaan. Perez’s sons were Hezron and Hamul.
13Issachar’s sons: Tola, Puvah, Iob and Shimron.
14Zebulun’s sons: Sered, Elon and Jahleel.
15These are Leah’s sons whom she bore to Jacob in Paddan-aram, along with his daughter Dinah. The tally of all of his sons and daughters was 33 people.
16Gad’s sons: Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi and Areli.
17Asher’s sons: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, and Serah their sister. Beriah’s sons: Heber and Malchiel.
18These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter. She bore these to Jacob: 16 people.
19The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.
20Manasseh and Ephraim were born to Joseph in the land of Egypt—Asenath the daughter of Potiphera priest of On bore them to him.
21Benjamin’s sons: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim and Ard.
22These are Rachel’s sons who were born to Jacob. The tally of all the people was 14.
23The sons of Dan: Hushim
24Naphtali’s sons: Yachzeel, Guni, Yezer and Shillem.
25These are the sons of Bilhah whom Laban gave to Rachel his daughter and she bore these to Jacob. The tally of all the people was seven.
26All the people belonging to Jacob who came to Egypt—those coming from his loins (not counting the wives of Jacob’s sons)—the tally of all the people was 66.
27The sons of Joseph who were born to him in Egypt was a tally of two people. The tally of all the people belonging to Jacob’s house who came to Egypt was 70.
28Now he sent Judah before him to Joseph to show him the way to Goshen. When they came to the land of Goshen,
29Joseph harnessed his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel. As soon as he appeared before him, he fell upon his neck, and wept on his neck for some time.
30Then Israel said to Joseph, “At this time I am ready to die, after seeing your face in person—for you’re still alive!”
31Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I’ll go up and tell Pharaoh, and say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household who were in the land of Canaan have come to me.
32The men are shepherds, for they’ve been men who handle livestock, who have brought their flocks and cattle and everything that they possess.’
33So when Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’
34you must say, ‘Your servants have been men who handle livestock since the time of our youth until now, both we and our fathers,’ so that you can live in the land of Goshen, because every shepherd is loathsome to the Egyptians.”
–from Genesis 46

All the training from his father prepared him for what was ahead! All the adversity enable him to be a humble leader who could serve them through the tough times. And his faithfulness to God’s calling on his life.

Jacob Blesses Pharaoh

1Then Joseph came and informed Pharaoh, “My father and my brothers and their flocks and their cattle and everything that belongs to them have come from the land of Canaan, and behold, they are in the land of Goshen.”
2From among his brothers he took five men and presented them before Pharaoh.
3Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” So they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers.”
4Then they said to Pharaoh, “We came to dwell temporarily in the land, since there is no pasture for the flocks that belong to your servants, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. So now, please let your servants live in the land of Goshen.”
5Pharaoh said to Joseph saying, “Your father and your brothers came to you.
6The land of Egypt is before you—settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land. Let them live in the land of Goshen. If you know of any capable men among them, make them overseers of the livestock—over those that are mine.”
7Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.
8 Pharaoh asked Jacob, “How many days are the years of your life?”
9Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my sojourn are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life. Moreover, the days of the years of my life have not attained the days of the years of the lives of my fathers, in the days of their sojourn.”
10And Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from Pharaoh’s presence.
11Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them property in the land of Egypt, in the best part of the land, in the land of Rameses, just as Pharaoh commanded.
12And Joseph supported his father and his brothers and his father’s entire household with food for the mouths of the little ones.

Joseph’s Leadership in the Famine

13Now there was no food in all the land because the famine was very severe. Both the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine.
14Joseph collected all the money that could be found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan for the grain that they bought, and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house.
15Then the money of the land of Egypt and of the land of Canaan ran out and all of Egypt came to Joseph saying, “Give us food. Why should we die in front of you because the money is gone?”
16Joseph said, “Give your livestock and I’ll give it to you for your livestock, if the money is gone.”
17So they brought their livestock to Joseph and Joseph gave them food in exchange for horses, for flocks of sheep, for herds of cattle and for donkeys. He provided them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year.
18When that year came to an end, they came to him in the second year and said to him, “We won’t hide from my lord that the money has run out and the livestock and the domestic animals are my lord’s. There is nothing left in my lord’s sight except our bodies and our land.
19Why should we die before your eyes—both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food—we and our land will become Pharaoh’s slaves. Provide seed so that we may live and not die, and the land won’t be deserted.”
20So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh because the Egyptians, each one, sold his field, for the famine overcame them. Thus the land became Pharaoh’s.
21He made the people slaves from one end of Egypt’s border to the other.
22Only he did not buy the land belonging to the priests, because the priests had an allotment from Pharaoh, and they ate their allotment that Pharaoh gave them. Therefore they did not sell their land.
23Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have bought you and your land today for Pharaoh. Here is seed for you, so that you can sow the land.
24During the harvest you must give a fifth part to Pharaoh and four-fifths will be for you, for seed for the field and for your food, and for those in your houses, and for food for your little ones.”
25“You’ve saved our lives,” they said. “We find favor in the eyes of my lord, and we’ll be Pharaoh’s slaves.”
26So Joseph set it as a statute until this very day concerning the land of Egypt: a fifth-part goes to Pharaoh. Only the priests’ land did not become Pharaoh’s.
27Meanwhile, Israel settled in the land of Egypt in the land of Goshen, acquired property in it, and were fruitful and multiplied greatly.

Joseph’s Promise to Jacob

28Now Jacob lived in the land of Egypt for 17 years, so the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were 147 years.
29As the time of Israel’s death drew near, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, please put your hand under my thigh and show me faithful kindness. Please do not bury me in Egypt.
30When I lie down with my fathers, you must carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.” So he said, “I myself will do according to your word.”
31“Swear to me,” he said. So he swore to him. Then Israel bowed down in worship on the head of his staff.
–from Genesis 47

I reflect on this and how the power of forgiveness allowed me to step out of the adversity and even though the situation hadn’t changed, walk in joy and then be able to see where God would have me go next. I reflect on this and how the power of forgiveness allowed me to step into the lives of those around me and share the hope that was within me thanks to Jesus’ love and sacrifice to get us forgiven and how forgiveness is the key to true freedom!

So will you testify to who you were? Will you testify to your encounter with Jesus? Will you testify to the transformation that took place thanks to the encounter?

Today’s reading continues into Acts where Paul is speaking…

Paul’s Testimony on the Temple Stairs

1“Brothers and fathers, listen to my defense which I now present to you.”
2When they heard that Paul was addressing them in Aramaic, they became even more quiet. Then he said,
3“I am a Jewish man, born in Tarsus of Cilicia but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, trained strictly according to the Torah of our fathers, being zealous for God just as all of you are today.
4I persecuted this Way to the death, arresting both men and women and throwing them in prisons—
5as the kohen gadol and all the council of elders can testify about me. I also received letters from them to the brothers, and I went to Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem even those who were there in chains—to be punished.
6“But it happened that as I was traveling and drawing near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly flashed all around me.
7I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?’
8“I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ “He said to me, ‘I am Yeshua ha-Natzrati, whom you are persecuting.’
9“Now those who were with me saw the light, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me.
10So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ “And the Lord said to me, ‘Get up, and go to Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been appointed to do.’
11“But since I could not see because of the brilliance of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me and came into Damascus.
12Then a certain Ananias—a devout man according to the Torah, well spoken of by all the Jewish people living there—
13came to me. Standing before me, he said to me, ‘Brother Saul, look up!’ In that very moment, I looked and saw him!
14“And he said, ‘The God of our fathers handpicked you to know His will—to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth.
15For you will be a witness for Him to all people of what you have seen and heard.
16Now why are you waiting? Get up and be immersed, and wash away your sins, calling on His Name.’
17“It happened that when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the Temple, I fell into a trance;
18and I saw Him saying to me, ‘Hurry! Get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your witness about Me.’
19“And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another, I was imprisoning and beating those trusting in You.
20Even when the blood of Your witness Stephen was spilled, I too was standing by and approving, and guarding the clothing of those who were killing him.’
21“And he said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”
22Up to this statement they listened to him. Then they raised their voices, saying, “Away from the earth with this fellow! For he’s not fit to live!”

The Romans Intervene

23As they were crying out and flinging off their cloaks and throwing dust into the air,
24the commander ordered Paul to be brought into headquarters. He said Paul should be examined by lashing, so that he might find out why they were shouting against him so.
25But when they stretched him out with straps, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to scourge a man who is a Roman citizen without due process?”
26Now when the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it, saying, “What are you going to do? For this man is Roman.”
27The commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you Roman?” And he said, “Yes.”
28The commander answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.” Paul said, “But I was born so.”
29Therefore, those who were about to interrogate him instantly drew back from him. And the commander also was afraid when he found out that Paul was a Roman and that he had bound him.

Delivered to the Council

30But on the next day, desiring to know exactly why Paul had been accused by the Judeans, he released him and commanded the ruling kohanim and all the Sanhedrin to meet together. And he brought Paul and set him before them.
–from Acts 22

Do you remember your encounter? I remember the aha moment when I realized it wasn’t about routine and rituals, that it was all about a relationship with Jesus! I was 30. I had gone to church on and off growing up with my grandmother or my parents from time to time. I had the drawing to go through the confirmation process while I was at university and when I went home to work, I went through the class and was confirmed Christmas eve, but somehow through all of that missed the truth about it being relational. But when that realization took place, I consider it the jetpack experience with God! What He did in me and through me blew me away. I was baptized in water. I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I went through Cleansing Stream. I learned so much through Bible studies. He called me into men’s ministry and worship and arts – tech and acting. Wow. It’s not just going through the motions, it’s actually a daily relationship with God! It’s allowed me to raise my children to know not just about Jesus but to live by example knowing Jesus. It was an incredible blessing as God touched both my heart and my wife’s heart at the same time. Wow! God is good!

Today’s reading concludes in Matthew where Jesus is being questioned and He in turns raises the question about putting routine and rituals above relationship.

Religious Leaders Quiz Yeshua

1Then some Pharisees and Torah scholars came to Yeshua from Jerusalem. They said,
2“Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not do the ritual handwashing when they eat bread.”
3And answering, He said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?
4For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.’
5But you say, ‘Whoever tells his father or mother, “Whatever you might have gained from me is a gift to God,”
6he need not honor his father.’ On account of your tradition, you made void the word of God.
7Hypocrites! Rightly did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying,
8‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.
9And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
10Then Yeshua called the crowd and said to them, “Hear and understand.
11It’s not what goes into the mouth that makes the man unholy; but what comes out of the mouth, this makes the man unholy.”
12Then the disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard this saying?”
13But He replied, “Every plant that My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.
14Leave them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
15Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.”
16“Are you also still lacking understanding?” Yeshua said.
17“Don’t you grasp that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and then is ejected into the sewer?
18But the things that proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and those things make the man unholy.
19For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, and slander.
20These are the things that make the man unholy; but to eat with unwashed hands does not make the man unholy.”

A Reward for a Humble Woman

21Now Yeshua left from there and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
22And behold, a Canaanite woman from that district came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, O Master, Ben-David! My daughter is severely tormented by a demon.”
23But He did not answer her a word. And when His disciples came, they were urging Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.”
24But He responded, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
25So she came and got down on her knees before Him, saying, “Master, help me!”
26And answering, He said, “It’s not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
27But she said, “Yes, Master, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
28Then answering, Yeshua said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed in that very hour.
29After Yeshua left there, He went along the Sea of Galilee. Then He went up on a mountainside and was sitting there.
30And large crowds came to Him, bringing with them the lame, blind, disabled, mute, and many others. And they laid them at His feet, and He healed them.
31So the crowd marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the disabled made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

Feeding More Hungry Followers

32Yeshua called His disciples and said, “I have compassion for the crowd, because they’ve stayed with Me for three days now and have nothing to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, because they might pass out on the way.”
33The disciples said to Him, “Where in this wasteland is enough bread to satisfy such a large crowd?”
34Yeshua said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they said, “and a few small fish.”
35After directing the crowd to recline on the ground,
36He took the seven loaves and the fish; and after giving thanks, He broke them. And He began giving them to the disciples, and the disciples to the crowds.
37And they all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up the broken pieces left over—seven baskets full.
38And those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children.
39And after sending away the crowds, Yeshua got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan.
–from Matthew 15

So let’s make sure what we store in our hearts is good and pure for what comes out of our mouths is the overflow of our hearts! Lord create in me a new heart, a pure heart, so that the words that come out of my mouth are words that will praise You and glorify You! Help me Lord to be speaking the truth in love! Not just the truth and not just love, breaking down the walls of pride to be able to speak in truth and love! Let’s allow God to take what we have and use it for His purposes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever considered that this adversity has a purpose?


Ever considered why it had to be this way? Ever considered what it would have taken for things to work out had the adversity never happened? Ever considered during the adversity, how is this going to be used for good? Ever considered during the adversity the greater purpose for it? Ever gotten to the place where you are looking forward to the outcome because you are going through adversity?

These questions make me remember a tough time in my career. I time where I was cheated, deceived, and mistreated. A time where I was being setup for a fall. Know what I learned? I learned the power of forgiveness! Know how that was good? It allowed me to speak truth in love to others around me who were going through similar challenges. Some were going through depression, some were taking medication, some were getting angry, and some were being too hard on themselves or taking it out on the wrong people or things. It gave me a key to help open their locks and free them from their chains. It brought people into my life who were going through similar issues where I could speak hope, life, and truth into their lives through the power of forgiveness. Even later when a new time of adversity appeared, this time my first response was forgiveness which allowed God to prepare me for what was yet to come, the new chapter in my life, the second half. It even setup through my morning readings times to hear a message to get out of the boat. Because I forgave, I was able to hear and be obedient. Because I forgave, I was able to prepare others for my departure as well as to live by example what God was speaking into my life. Because I forgave, God was able to speak to me without needing to deal with the walls or the anger or the frustration which had gone up in the first example. It took month that first time adversity showed up for me to turn to God and to forgive them. This time it was immediate!

So what are you dealing with today? What are you facing? Do you need hope in the midst of it all? Do you know where to turn? Do you know what to do? Don’t give up on God because He hasn’t given up on you! He didn’t give up on me that first time! (even though I wasn’t obeying him … at least in the beginning before I got to the end of my rope and the end of what I could handle and rock bottom) He didn’t give up on me the next time! (even when I did obey immediately and had some tough times)

Today’s reading continues with the story from the last few days speaking about Joseph’s adversity. From great dreams to being sold by his brothers to getting thrown in prison for holding up his righteousness and character and not being with his master’s wife to interpreting dreams and being forgotten by the butler to being called out to interpret for pharaoh to being raised up to be second in command of all of Egypt to saving the nation through rationing to finding himself face to face with his brothers again to today’s part of the story…

Joseph Tests His Brothers

1Then he commanded the one over his household saying, “Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they are able to carry and put money in the opening of each man’s sack.
2Put my cup, the silver cup, in the opening of the sack of the youngest along with his grain money.” So he did as Joseph told him.
3When the morning dawned, the men were sent off, they and their donkeys.
4They left the city and did not get far, when Joseph said to the one over his household, “Get up, go after the men. When you catch up to them, say to them, “Why have you repaid evil for good?
5Isn’t this the one from which my lord drinks? He even uses it especially to discern by divination. What you’ve done is evil!”
6So he caught up to them and spoke these words to them.
7They said to him, “Why does my lord say such things? Far be it from your servants to do such a thing as this.
8Look, the money we found in the opening of our bags, we brought back to you from the land of Canaan. So how could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house?
9Whoever among your servants is found with it, let him die! And we, we’ll also be my lord’s slaves.”
10“Even now let it be according to your words,” he said. “The one with whom it is found shall be my slave. But the rest of you shall be innocent.”
11Then each man quickly lowered his sack to the ground and each man opened his sack.
12He searched them beginning with the eldest and finishing with the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack.
13Then they tore their clothing, and each one loaded up his donkey and they returned to the city.
14When Judah and his brothers entered Joseph’s house, he was still there. They fell to the ground before him.
15“What’s this deed you’ve done?” Joseph said to them, “Didn’t you know that a man like me can discern by divination?”
16Then Judah said, “What can we say to my lord? What can we speak? How can we justify ourselves? God has exposed your servants’ guilt. We are now my lord’s slaves—both we as well as the one in whose hand the cup was found.”
17But he said, “Far be it from me to do this. The one in whose hand the cup was found—he will be my slave. But you, go up to your father in peace.”

Judah Pleads for Benjamin

18Then Judah approached him and said, “I beg your pardon, my lord. Please let your servant say a word in my lord’s ears, and don’t be angry with your servant, since you are like Pharaoh.
19My lord asked his servants saying, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’
20So we said to my lord, ‘We have a father who is old, a child born to him of his old age is young. Now his brother is dead, so he is the only one of his mother’s children left, and his father loves him.’
21Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me so that I can look at him.’
22But we said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father. If he were to leave his father, he would die.’
23Then you said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you won’t see my face again.’
24“Now when we went up to your servant, my father, we told him my lord’s words.
25Then our father said, ‘Go back, buy us a little grain for food.’
26So we said, ‘We won’t go down unless we have our youngest brother with us—then we’ll go down. For we won’t see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’
27“Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You yourselves know that my wife bore me two sons.
28One went out from me, so I said, “He must have been torn to shreds,” and I haven’t seen him since.
29And if you also take this one away from before me and an accident happens to him, then you’ll bring my grey hair down to the evil of Sheol.’
30“Now if I come to your servant my father and the boy isn’t with us, since his life is bound to his life,
31when he sees that the boy is no more, he’ll die. Then your servants will bring the grey hair of your servant our father down to Sheol in grief.
32For your servant became pledge for the boy with my father saying, ‘If I don’t bring him back to you, I will bear the blame before my father all my days.’
33So now, please let your servant remain as my lord’s slave in the boy’s place, and let the boy go up with his brothers.
34For how can I go up to my father and the boy is not with me? Else I must see the evil that would come upon my father!”
–from Genesis 44

We see a change of heart – the brothers had changed – and Joseph was starting to see what God was using him for … the greater purpose … turning what was planned for evil and using it for the good of nations, sending him in advance so that everyone could be saved…It could have been a response of anger…a response of retaliation…but rather Joseph was given wisdom to see it was for a greater purpose, God had a plan to save and so he forgave them…

Joseph Reveals Himself

1Now Joseph could no longer restrain himself in front of all those who were standing by him, so he cried out, “Get everyone away from me!” So no one stood with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers.
2But he gave his voice to weeping so that the Egyptians heard, and Pharaoh’s household heard.
3Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” And his brothers were unable to answer him because they were terrified at his presence.
4Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near me.” So they came near. “I’m Joseph, your brother—the one you sold to Egypt,” he said.
5“So now, don’t be grieved and don’t be angry in your own eyes that you sold me here—since it was for preserving life that God sent me here before you.
6For there has been two years of famine in the land, and there will be five more years yet with no plowing or harvesting.
7But God sent me ahead of you to ensure a remnant in the land and to keep you alive for a great escape.
8So now, it wasn’t you, you didn’t send me here, but God! And He made me as a father to Pharaoh, lord over his whole house and ruler over the entire land of Egypt.
9“Go up quickly to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son, Joseph: God has made me lord over all Egypt. Come down to me. Don’t delay.
10Then you’ll live in the land of Goshen, and be close to me, you and your children and your children’s children, your flocks and your cattle, and everything that belongs to you.
11I’ll provide food for you there—for the famine will last another five years—otherwise you’ll lose everything, you and your household, and everything that belongs to you.’
12And look, you and my brother Benjamin can see with your own eyes that it’s my mouth that’s speaking to you.
13You must tell my father about all my honor in Egypt, and about all that you’ve seen. And you must quickly bring my father down here.”
14Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept while Benjamin wept upon his neck,
15and he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them. Finally after this, his brothers talked with him.
16When the commotion was heard in Pharaoh’s house—“Joseph’s brothers have come!”—it was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and his servants,
17So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers: ‘Do this! Load your animals and go to the land of Canaan.
18Then get your father, your households, and come to me. I’ll give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you will eat the fat of the land.’
19You are also commanded to say: “Do this! Take for yourselves wagons from the land of Egypt for your little children and for your wives, and pick up your father and come.
20Don’t be concerned about your goods, because the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’”
21So the sons of Israel did so. Joseph gave them carts by Pharaoh’s command and he gave them provisions for the journey.
22To each of them he gave a change of clothes, while to Benjamin he gave 300 pieces of silver and five sets of clothes.
23Also to his father he sent the following: ten donkeys carrying from the best of Egypt, and ten female donkeys carrying grain and food and provisions for his father’s journey.
24Then he sent his brothers off, and as they departed, he said to them, “Don’t be anxious on the way.”
25Then they went up from Egypt and came to the land of Canaan, to Jacob their father.
26They told him saying, “Joseph is still alive and he is ruler of the whole land of Egypt!” His heart went numb, for he did not believe them.
27But they told him all of Joseph’s words that he had told them. When he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to pick him up, the spirit of their father Jacob revived.
28Then Israel said, “Enough! My son Joseph is still alive. I must go and see him, before I die.”
–from Genesis 45

So where are you at today? What’s happened to you? Will you keep hold of the past and the anger, the bitterness, the Unforgiveness isn't a word!? Will you forgive and allow God to work in and through you and your life? (Notice…unforgiveness isn’t a word…we are supposed to forgive…just as Jesus paid it all so we could be forgiven…we need to live giving forgiveness too)

Adversity can be turned around and used for a greater purpose! Let’s turn to God and stick with Him through it all so that His purpose can be fulfilled!

Today’s reading continues into Acts where we see Paul even after many warnings walking in obedience right into adversity for the greater call and the greater plan of God…

Going to Jerusalem Despite Warnings

1After tearing ourselves away from them and setting sail, we set a straight course to Cos, the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.
2Finding a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail.
3When we came in sight of Cyprus, passing it by on the left, we kept sailing to Syria and landed at Tyre—for there the ship was to unload the cargo.
4We looked up the disciples and stayed there seven days. They kept telling Paul through the Ruach not to set foot in Jerusalem.
5When our days there were over, we departed and went on our journey. They all, with wives and children, accompanied us until we were outside the city. After kneeling down on the shore and praying,
6we said farewell to one another. Then we boarded the ship, and they returned home.
7When we had finished the trip from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais. We greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed with them for one day.
8On the next day, we departed and came to Caesarea. We entered the home of Philip, the proclaimer of Good News, who was one of the seven, and we stayed with him.
9Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.
10While we stayed there for a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.
11He came to us, took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet, and said, “The Ruach ha-Kodesh says this: ‘In this way shall the Jewish people in Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’”
12When we heard these things, both we and the local people urged Paul not to go up to Jerusalem.
13Then Paul responded, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but to die for the name of the Lord Yeshua!”
14Since he would not be persuaded, we fell silent, saying only, “May the Lord’s will be done.”
15After these days, we packed and started going up to Jerusalem.
16Some of the disciples from Caesarea also went with us, bringing us to Mnason of Cyprus—one of the early disciples by whom we might be hosted.

Advice from Jacob and the Elders

17When we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters welcomed us gladly.
18On the next day, Paul went in with us to Jacob; all the elders were present.
19After greeting them, he reported to them in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his service.
20And when they heard, they began glorifying God. They said, “You see, brother, how many myriads there are among the Jewish people who have believed—and they are all zealous for the Torah.
21They have been told about you—that you teach all the Jewish people among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or to walk according to the customs.
22What’s to be done then? No doubt they will hear that you have come.
23“So do what we tell you. We have four men who have a vow on themselves.
24Take them, and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. That way, all will realize there is nothing to the things they have been told about you, but that you yourself walk in an orderly manner, keeping the Torah.
25“As for Gentiles who have believed, however, we have written by letter what we decided—for them to abstain from what is offered to idols, and from blood, and from what is strangled, and from immorality.”
26The next day Paul took the men, purifying himself along with them. He went into the Temple, announcing when the days of purification would be completed and the sacrifice would be offered for each one of them.

Trouble at the Temple

27When the seven days were about to be completed, the Jewish leaders from Asia saw Paul in the Temple and began stirring up the whole crowd. They grabbed him,
28shouting, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching all men everywhere against our people and the Torah and this place. Besides, he has even brought Greeks into the Temple and defiled this holy place!”
29For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they assumed that Paul had brought him into the Temple.
30The whole city was stirred up, and the people rushed together. They grabbed Paul and dragged him out of the Temple, and the gates were shut at once.
31As they were trying to kill him, news came to the commander of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in chaos.
32Immediately he took soldiers and centurions and rushed down to them. Upon seeing the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.
33Then the commander came up, arrested Paul, ordered him to be bound with two chains, and began investigating what he had done.
34Some in the crowd shouted one thing, and some another. As he could not determine the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into headquarters.
35When he came to the steps, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd.
36For the multitude of people that followed kept shouting, “Away with him!”
37As Paul was about to be brought into the headquarters, he said to the commander, “Can I say something to you?” The commander said, “You know Greek?
38Then you’re not the Egyptian who stirred up a rebellion some time ago—and led four thousand men of the Assassins out into the desert?”
39Paul said, “I am a Jewish man from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city. I beg you, let me speak to the people.”
40When the commander had given him permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the people with his hand. When there was a great hush, he spoke to them in Aramaic, saying:
–from Acts 21

We will have to wait to learn what he said (or you can skip ahead and read Acts 22)

Adversity continues in today’s reading as we look to John the Baptist who kept pointing people to God! He kept calling people from their sinful ways and to turn back to God! But not everyone was receptive and hence him being in prison. Today’s reading continues on that topic from the book of Matthew…

Yeshua’s Cousin Beheaded

1At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Yeshua.
2He said to his servants, “This is John the Immerser—he has risen from the dead! Because of this, these powers are at work in Him.”
3For Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip,
4because John had been telling him, “It is not permitted for you to have her.”
5Although Herod wanted to kill John, he feared the crowd because they considered John a prophet.
6But when Herod’s birthday celebration came, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod,
7so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask.
8Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Immerser, here on a platter!”
9The king became sorrowful; but because of his oaths and those reclining with him, he commanded it to be given.
10And he sent and had John beheaded in the prison.
11His head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.
12John’s disciples came forth and took the body and buried it. Then they went and reported to Yeshua.
–from Matthew 14

Imagine hearing the news. Imagine facing the adversity of a large crowd (consider 5000 men and their families) and needing to be able to feed them all. Imagine the miracle it would take to handle that…

Feeding Hungry Followers

13Now when Yeshua heard this, He went away from there privately by boat to an isolated place. But when the crowds heard, they followed Him on foot from the towns.
14As Yeshua came ashore, He saw a large crowd and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.
15When it became evening, the disciples came to Him, saying, “This place is isolated, and the hour is already late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”
16But Yeshua said to them, “They don’t need to leave—you give them something to eat.”
17“We have nothing here except five loaves and two fish,” they said to Him.
18“Bring them here to Me,” He said.
19Ordering the crowd to recline on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish; and looking up to heaven, He offered the bracha. After breaking the loaves, He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
20They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve baskets full of broken pieces left over.
21Now those eating were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
–from Matthew 14

Imagine the adversity of being in a small boat in the midst of a storm. Imagine the waves and the wind. Imagine now spotting what appears to be a ghost walking on the water. Who would you call out to? What would you do? Will you keep your eyes on God?

Testing Peter’s Faith to Walk on Water

22Right away, Yeshua made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away.
23After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the hillside by Himself to pray. And when evening came, He was there alone.
24But the boat was already a long way from land, tossed around by the waves, for the wind was against it.
25Now in the fourth watch of the night, Yeshua came to them, walking on the sea.
26But when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It’s a ghost!” And they cried out with fear.
27But immediately, Yeshua spoke to them, saying, “Take courage! I am. Don’t be afraid.”
28Answering, Peter said to Him, “Master, if it’s You, command me to come to You on the water.”
29And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water to go to Yeshua.
30But seeing the wind, he became terrified. And beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Master, save me!”
31Immediately Yeshua reached out His hand and grabbed him. And He said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
33And those in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You really are Ben-Elohim!”
34After they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret.
35And when the men of that place recognized Yeshua, they sent word into all the surrounding region. And they brought to Him all those who were in bad shape
36and kept begging Him that they might just touch the tzitzit of His garment—and all who touched it were cured.
–from Matthew 14

We need to make time to spend with God! Just as Jesus would make time to go and talk to the Father, we need to make time in our lives to be with God! Yes, we should be walking and talking with Him throughout the busy day, but we need to make and take some quiet time away from it all to be and build our relationship with Him!

Let’s capture the truth of keeping our eye on Jesus! I remember the day when I read this and was at a crossroads in my career! I remember asking God “If the company I am working at is the boat and you want me to get out, can you tell me what side?” and shortly after I received a text to get out of the boat. And so I started to process of determining which side as I updated my résumé and LinkedIn profile and started to apply for jobs. It was Feb 2013 I got the message and it will be 3 years in May that I have started this new journey, the second half. I call it the second half because on my last day of my old job my reading came from Job 42:12 with the promise of the second half being twice as good as the first half. God has a great and mighty way of accomplishing His plan even in the face of adversity! He can use that adversity to get us right where He needs us to be! He can turn what the enemy would have wanted to use for evil and turn it around for good! Wow! It’s been three years since that took place and God continues to work in my life and speak to me and help me through the various challenges and adversity that come my way!

Will you trust Him? Will you walk in a spirit of forgiveness? Will you be one who shares hope, truth, and love? Let’s be ambassadors for God! Let’s live in a way to glorify Him!

 

 

Ever asked yourself why? Why me? What for?


Ever gone through some adversity and while in the midst tried to figure out why? Ever been through some tough times and wondered what good could come from this? Ever considered those who instigated it? Ever had to confront those you thought who got you into that position? Did you forgive them? Ever gotten to the end and realized the purpose for it all? Ever gotten to the end and realized how God was able to turn what they had planned for evil and used it for good? Don’t allow bitterness to get you off or out of alignment! Forgiveness is the key! When you are feeling put down or guilty, forgiveness is the key! Looking for the key to true freedom?

Well, today’s reading starts after the great n Joseph from Pharaoh who put him in charge, 2nd in command after him to help Egypt through the good times (7yrs) and the bad times (7yrs) that were yet to come and that Joseph had interpreted from Pharaoh’s dream. Today’s reading starts during the years of famine so let’ read along what happens…

Joseph Meets His Brothers

1Now Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, so Jacob said to his sons, “Why are you looking at each other?”
2Then he said, “Look! I’ve heard that there’s grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some grain for us there so that we’ll live and not die.”
3So Joseph’s brothers went down, ten of them, to buy grain from Egypt.
4But Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, Jacob did not send, for he said, “An accident might happen to him.”
5The sons of Israel went to buy grain among the others who were coming, because the famine was in the land of Canaan.
6Now Joseph was the ruler over the land. He was the provider of grain for all the people of the earth.
7Then Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down to him with faces to the ground. When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he made himself unrecognizable to them. Then he spoke harshly and said to them, “Where have you come from?” “From the land of Canaan,” they said, “to buy grain as food.”
8Though Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him.
9Then Joseph remembered the dreams he had dreamed about them. He said to them, “You’re spies! You’ve come to see the undefended places in the land.”
10“No, my lord!” they said to him. “Your servants came to buy grain as food.
11All of us—we are sons of one man. We’re honest. Your servants have never been spies.”
12“Not so,” he said to them. “Rather, you’ve come to see the undefended places in the land.”
13But they said, “We your servants are twelve brothers, sons of one man in the land of Canaan. Look, the youngest is with our father today and the other one is no more.”
14Joseph said to them, “It’s just like I told you when I said, ‘You’re spies.’
15By this you’ll be tested: by the life of Pharaoh, you’ll not leave from here until your youngest brother comes here!
16Send one from among yourselves to get your brother, while you remain confined, in order to test your words, to see whether the truth is with you. If not, by the life of Pharaoh, you’re definitely spies!”
17So he put them together in custody for three days.
18Then Joseph said to them on the third day, “Do this and you will live. I fear God.
19If you’re honest, let one of your brothers remain as a prisoner in the guardhouse where you’ve been, while you, go and bring grain for the hunger in your homes.
20And your youngest brother, bring to me so that your words can be verified—and you won’t die.” So they did.
21Then each man said to his brother, “We’re truly guilty for our brother. We saw the distress of his soul when he begged us for mercy, but we didn’t listen. That’s why this distress has come to us.”
22Reuben answered them and said, “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t sin against the boy’? But you didn’t listen. Now, see how his blood is now being accounted for.”
23They did not know that Joseph was listening, since there was an interpreter between them.
24He turned away from them and wept. When he turned back to them and spoke to them, he took Simeon from them and tied him up before their eyes.
25Then Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to return each man’s money to his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. So it was done for them.
26Then they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left from there.
27As one of them opened his sack to give fodder to his donkey at the lodge, he saw his money—behold, it was in the opening of his bag.
28So he said to his brothers, “My money has been returned! Look, it’s in my bag.” Their hearts sank. Trembling, each one turned to his brother and said, “What is this that God has done to us?”
29When they came to their father Jacob, in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them, saying,
30“The man, the lord of the land, spoke with us harshly, and took us as spies of the land.
31But we said to him, ‘We’re honest. We’ve never been spies.
32We are twelve brothers, sons of our father. One is no more and the youngest is with our father today in the land of Canaan.’
33Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘By this I’ll know if you’re honest: leave one of your brothers with me. As for the hunger of your homes: take and go!
34Then bring your youngest brother to me, so that I may know you are not spies, but you are honest. I’ll give you back your brother and you can move about freely in the land.’”
35Now as they were emptying their sacks, behold, there was each man’s bundle of money in his sack. When they saw their money bundles, they and their father, they were afraid.
36Then their father Jacob said to them, “You’ve made me childless! Joseph is no more. Now Simeon is gone, and next you’ll take Benjamin! Everything is against me!”
37Then Reuben spoke to his father, saying, “You can put my two sons to death if I don’t bring him back to you. Put him in my hand and I—I will return him to you.”
38But he said, “My son will not go down with you—for his brother is dead and he alone remains. And if harm should happen to him along the way you’re going, you’ll bring my grey hair down to Sheol in grief.”
–from Genesis 42

But this isn’t the end of the story! The story will continue and we will see how the hearts of the brothers has changed. The story will continue and we will see how the dreams of Joseph’s youth was being lived out. The story will continue and we will see how God was able to turn it around, the evil that was in the original intent and use it to save Joseph’s family. (but not all of this is in today’s reading, so feel free to read ahead or come back for tomorrow’s post)

Judah Pledges for Benjamin

1Now the famine was severe in the land.
2When they finished eating the grain they had brought from Egypt their father said to them, “Go back. Buy us a little food.”
3But Judah said to him, “The man warned us firmly saying, ‘You won’t see my face unless your brother is with you.’
4If you send our brother with us, we will go down and buy grain for you for food.
5But if you won’t send him, we won’t go down, because the man said to us, ‘You won’t see my face unless your brother is with you.’”
6Then Israel said, “Why did you do evil to me by telling the man that you have another brother?”
7They said, “The man questioned particularly about us and about our relatives saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have a brother?’ So we spoke to him on the basis of these words. How could we possibly know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’”?
8Then Judah said to his father Israel, “Please, send the boy with me and we’ll get up and go, so that we’ll live and not die—we and you, and our children.
9I myself will be his pledge. You can demand him back from my own hand. If I don’t bring him back to you and place him before you, then you can blame me all my days.
10If we had not delayed, we could have returned twice by now.”
11Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the best products of the land in your bags, and bring an offering down to the man—a little balsam and a little honey, gum and myrrh, pistachios and almonds.
12Also take in your hand a double portion of silver, and bring back in your hand the silver that had been returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake.
13Take your brother too—now, get up, go back to the man!
14May El Shaddai grant you mercy before the man, so that he may release your other brother to you, along with Benjamin. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”

The Brothers Return With Benjamin

15Then the men took this offering. They also took the double portion of silver in their hand, as well as Benjamin. So they got up and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.
16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the one over his house, “Bring the men into the house. Slaughter an animal and prepare it, for the men will eat with me this afternoon.
17So the man did as Joseph said, and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house.
18But the men were afraid, because they had been brought into Joseph’s house. They said, “It’s because of the silver that was returned to our sacks the first time that we are being brought in—to pounce on us and fall on us and take us as slaves, along with our donkeys.”
19So they approached the man who was over Joseph’s house and spoke to him at the entrance of the house.
20“I beg your pardon, my lord!” they said. “We indeed came down on the previous occasion to buy grain for food.
21When we came to the lodge and opened our sacks, behold, there was each man’s money at the opening of the sack, the full amount of our money. So we’ve returned it in our hand.
22Moreover, we’ve brought down other money in our hand to buy grain for food. We didn’t know who put our money into our sacks.”
23“Be at peace,” he replied. “Don’t be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks. Your money had come to me.” Then he brought Simeon out to them,
24and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water and they washed their feet. He also provided fodder for their donkeys.
25So they prepared the offering for Joseph’s coming at noon, for they had heard that they were going to eat there.
26When Joseph came home, they brought him the offering in their hand into the house, and they bowed down to the ground to him.
27Then he asked if they were well, and said, “Is he well—your elderly father that you told me about? Is he still alive?”
28“Your servant, our father, is well,” they said. “He’s still alive.” Then they knelt and bowed down.
29Then he lifted his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother whom you mentioned to me?” Then he said, “May God be gracious to you, my son.”
30Then Joseph hurried out because his compassion grew warm and tender toward his brother so that he wanted to cry. So he went into an inner room and wept there.
31Then he washed his face, came out, and controlled himself. “Serve the food,” he said.
32So they served him by himself, them by themselves, and the Egyptians who were eating with him by themselves (for Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews because it was an abomination to Egyptians).
33They were seated before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth. The men looked at each other in astonishment.
34Then portions were brought to them from before him—and Benjamin’s portion was five times larger than any of their portions. Yet they drank and made merry with him.
–from Genesis 43

Imagine being Joseph. Imagine the adversity he had gone through and now to be reunited with his brothers. Imagine getting to see your brother who wasn’t part of their original plot. How could you know if they really changed? How could you know if they weren’t just trying to save their own skins? How could you trust them even if you had forgiven them? How would you know? What would it take? … Tomorrow’s reading will let us know what and how he found out…

Troubles and trials weren’t just things from the old testament and they weren’t even just things from the new testament … for we face them today! Jesus spoke hope to us through when we have troubles for He has already overcome the earth! Jesus spoke hope to us through how we should receive trials so that we can be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Let’s walk as overcomers! Let’s receive it with pure joy! And let’s transform the world one person at a time by introducing them to Jesus!

Let’s see how Paul’s life does this in today’s reading…

Escaping Death

1After the uproar ended, Paul sent for the disciples; and when he had encouraged them and said farewell, he departed to go to Macedonia.
2When he had passed through these parts and given them a great word of encouragement, he came to Greece,
3where he spent three months. When a plot was formed against him by the Jewish leaders as he was about to sail to Syria, he decided to return via Macedonia.
4Sopater of Berea, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; as well as Aristarchus and Secundus of Thessalonica; Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia.
5These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas.
6But we sailed from Philippi after the Days of Matzah. In five days we came to them in Troas, where we stayed for seven days.
7Now on the first day of the week, we gathered to break bread. Paul was talking with them, intending to leave the next day, so he prolonged his speech till midnight.
8There were many lamps in the upper chamber where we were meeting.
9Now a young man named Eutychus was sitting in a windowsill, sinking into a deep sleep as Paul kept on talking. Overcome by sleep, he fell from the third story and was picked up—dead.
10But Paul went down, fell on him and threw his arms around him. He said, “Don’t be upset, for his life is within him.”
11After he went back up and broke the bread and ate, he talked with them a long while until daybreak and then left.
12So they took the boy away alive, greatly relieved.

Prophetic Warnings

13But we went on ahead to the ship and set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there—for so he had arranged, intending himself to travel there by land.
14When he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene.
15Sailing from there, we arrived the next day opposite Chios; the next day we crossed over to Samos, and the day after that we came to Miletus.
16For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so that he might not spend much time in Asia, because he was hurrying to be in Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Shavuot.
17From Miletus, dispatching someone to Ephesus, he called for the elders of the community.
18When they came to him, he said to them, “You yourselves know how I behaved among you all the time from the first day I set foot in Asia,
19serving the Lord with all humility and tears and trials which fell upon me through the plots of the Jewish leaders.
20I did not shrink back from proclaiming to you anything that was profitable, teaching you publicly as well as from house to house,
21testifying to both Jewish and Greek people repentance to God and trust in our Lord Yeshua.
22“And now, look, bound by the Ruach, I am going to Jerusalem—not knowing what will happen to me there,
23except that the Ruach ha-Kodesh bears witness to me from city to city, saying that bondage and afflictions await me.
24However, I don’t consider my life of any value, except that I might finish my course and the office I received from the Lord Yeshua, to declare the Good News of the grace of God.
25“Now, look! I know that none of you, among whom I have gone proclaiming the kingdom, will ever see my face again.
26Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all.
27For I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.
28“Take care of yourselves and all the flock of which the Ruach ha-Kodesh has made you overseers, to shepherd the community of God—which He obtained with the blood of His own.
29I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
30Even from among yourselves will arise men speaking perversions, to draw the disciples away after themselves.
31Therefore be alert, remembering that night and day for three years I did not stop warning you with tears.
32“Now I commit you to God and the word of His grace, which is strong to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who have been made holy.
33I coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothing.
34You yourselves know that these hands of mine have provided for my own needs as well as for those with me.
35In all things I have shown you an object lesson—that by hard work one must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Yeshua, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
36When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.
37They all began weeping and falling upon Paul’s neck and kissing him,
38grieving most of all over the statement he made that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.
–from Acts 20

 

Do you realize how God can use adversity to prepare you for greater things?


Do you realize what you learn? Do you realize what got removed? Do you realize what it taught you? Do yo realize what how it has prepared you? Do you realize how the gifts you were given can be used? Do you realize that training you were given was for something greater? Do you realize how that adversity wasn’t to harm you nor to set you back, it was to prepare you for what was yet to come? Do you realize how it slowed you down just enough to walk right into God’s perfect position and position timing? And do you realize how God can use adversity for greater things?

You have to check this out! Check out how the adversity Joseph went through prepared him to be a humble servant in such a high level role that he was called into…

Exalted by Pharaoh

1Now at the end of two whole years, Pharaoh was dreaming. Behold, there he was standing by the Nile.
2Then behold, there were seven cows, good-looking and beefy, and they grazed in the reeds.
3Then behold, there were seven other cows coming up after them from the Nile, ugly and emaciated, and they stood beside the cows at the edge of the Nile.
4Then the ugly emaciated cows ate the seven good-looking beefy cows—and Pharaoh woke up.
5Then he slept and dreamed a second time: behold, there were seven ears of corn coming up on one stalk, plump and good.
6Then behold, there were seven ears of corn, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouting up after them.
7Then the seven thin ears of corn swallowed up the seven plump and full ears of corn. Then Pharaoh woke up—it was a dream.
8But in the morning he was disturbed in his spirit. So he sent and called for the fortune-telling priests of Egypt and all its wise men and Pharaoh told them his dream. But no one could interpret them for Pharaoh.
9Then the chief of the cupbearers spoke with Pharaoh saying, “I am reminded of my sins today.
10Pharaoh had been angry with his servants and put me in the custody of the house of the commander of the bodyguards—me and the chief of the bakers.
11Then we each dreamed a dream on the same night, he and I, we both dreamed, yet each dream had its own interpretation.
12Now there with us was a Hebrew youth—a slave belonging to the commander of the bodyguards. When we told him, he interpreted our dreams for us, each man’s dream he interpreted.
13Then it came about, just as he interpreted for us, so it happened. Me he restored to my position, but him he hung.
14Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph. So they quickly fetched him from the pit. He shaved, changed his clothes, and came to Pharaoh.
15Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I dreamed a dream and there’s no one to interpret it. I heard about you— it’s said that you can listen to a dream to interpret it.”
16Then Joseph answered Pharaoh saying, “It’s not within me. God will answer with shalom for Pharaoh.”
17So Pharaoh said to Joseph: “In my dream, there I was, standing by the bank of the Nile.
18And to my surprise, out of the Nile seven cows were coming up, beefy and good-looking, and they grazed in the reeds.
19Then all of a sudden, there were seven other cows coming up after them, feeble, very ugly and emaciated. I’ve never seen the likes of these in the whole land of Egypt for ugliness.
20Then the emaciated and ugly cows ate the first seven beefy cows.
21When they were devoured, one couldn’t tell that they had been devoured. Their appearance was as ugly as it was at first. Then I woke up.
22Then I saw in my dream, there were seven ears of corn coming up on one stalk, plump and good.
23Then suddenly, there were seven ears of corn, dried up, thin, and scorched by the east wind, sprouting up after them.
24Then the thin ears of corn swallowed up the seven good ears of corn. So I told the fortune-telling priests, but no one could provide me with an explanation.”
25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dream is one. God has told Pharaoh what He is about to do.
26The seven good cows: they are seven years. Also the seven ears of corn: they’re seven years. It is one dream.
27The seven emaciated and ugly cows coming up after them: they’re seven years. Also the seven empty ears of corn scorched by the east wind: there will be seven years of famine.
28It is the word that I have already said to Pharaoh: what God is about to do, he has shown to Pharaoh.
29Seven years of abundance are about to come in the whole land of Egypt.
30Then seven years of famine will come up after them and all the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten and the famine will consume the land.
31So the abundance in the land will be unknown because of the famine that follows, for it will be a very oppressive famine.
32“Now as for repeating Pharaoh’s dream twice: it’s because the matter has been settled by God and God will quickly make it happen.
33So now, let Pharaoh select a man discerning and wise and set him in authority over the land of Egypt.
34Let Pharaoh act by appointing administrators over the land and take a fifth portion from the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance.
35Then let them gather all the food from these good years that are coming, and let them store up grain under Pharaoh’s hand as food for the cities, so they may preserve it.
36Let the food be held in reserve for the land for the seven years of famine that is coming upon the land of Egypt. Then the land will not be annihilated by the famine.”
37Now the plan seemed good in the eyes of Pharaoh as well as all his servants.
38Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can a man like this be found, one in whom is God’s Spirit?”
39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one as discerning and wise as you.
40You! You will be over my house, and all my people will pay homage to you . Only in relation to the throne will I be greater than you.”
41Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I appoint you over the whole land of Egypt.”
42Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, clothed him with fine linen garments, and put a chain of gold around his neck.
43Then he had him ride in the chariot as second-in-command, the one that belonged to him, and they called out before him, “Kneel down!” So he appointed him over the whole land of Egypt.
44Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one will lift up his hand or his foot in the whole land of Egypt.”
45Then Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, as his wife. Then Joseph went out, in charge of the land of Egypt.
46Now Joseph was 30 years old when he began serving as representative of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and passed throughout the whole land of Egypt.
47During the seven years of abundance, the land produced in heaps.
48So he gathered all the food in the land of Egypt during the seven years, and put food in the cities; the food from the city fields surrounding the cities he put in each city.
49So Joseph stored up grain like the sand of the sea, vast amounts, until he stopped keeping record because it was beyond counting.
50Two sons also had been born to Joseph before the year of famine came, born to him by Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, priest of On.
51Joseph named his first-born Manasseh, “because God has caused me to forget all my trouble and all my father’s house.”
52And the second he named Ephraim, “because God has made me fruitful in the land of my oppression.”
53Then the seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt came to an end,
54and the seven years of famine started to come—just as Joseph had said. So there was famine in all the lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was bread.
55When the whole land of Egypt suffered famine, the people cried out to Pharaoh for food, and Pharaoh said to all of Egypt, “Go to Joseph. Do whatever he tells you.”
56The famine was over all the entire land, so Joseph opened up all that was among them and sold grain to Egypt. Then the famine became severe in the land of Egypt.
57Yet the whole world came to Egypt to buy grain—to Joseph—because the famine was severe in the whole world.
–from Genesis 41

He didn’t forget you! He never left you! He will never abandon you! He will work all things together for good! He knows what is going to happen before it does! He knows how you can make a difference in that situation! He knows your potential! He knows your gifts and talents! And He wants you to be able to step up and step into the great and mighty plans He has for your life! So don’t give up! Don’t give in! And don’t think that you have it all figured out, because you may just surprised to find out the bigger picture that it all plays a part into. (Want to see what that can look like, fell free to read ahead in the next chapter and see what happens to Jesus and how his family is restored.)

Have you received the Holy Spirit? Have you received the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Like in the upper room type of experience? Did you want to? Do you want to? The baptism of the Holy Spirit is for everyone who believes! Some may think it isn’t for everyone, but that may just be a confusion with the gifts of the Spirit which are given based on the needs of the situation. Let’s see what happens when Paul finds some disciples who hadn’t received the baptism of the Holy Spirit yet. (If you are willing and desire it, ask for it.) Realize not everyone will be ready to hear the truth! Realize not everyone will be of a mindset to receive the truth! Realize God will direct you and guide you, protect you and instruct you and so you just need to listen and be obedient! If he says go then go! If he says stay then stay! If he says move then move! Let’s follow after Him and His ways!

 

1While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul traveled through the upper region and came to Ephesus. He found some disciples
2and said to them, “Did you receive the Ruach ha-Kodesh when you believed?” They replied to him, “No, we’ve never even heard that there is a Ruach ha-Kodesh.
3He said, “Into what were you immersed?” They said, “Into John’s immersion.”
4Paul said, “John immersed with an immersion of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the One coming after him—that is, in Yeshua.”
5When they heard this, they were immersed in the name of the Lord Yeshua.
6And when Paul laid hands upon them, the Ruach ha-Kodesh came upon them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.
7In all, there were about twelve men.

God’s Power Displayed in Ephesus

8Paul went into the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, debating and persuading them about the kingdom of God.
9But when they were hardening and refusing to believe, speaking evil of the Way before the whole group, he withdrew from them, taking the disciples with him, debating daily in the hall of Tyrannus.
10This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord—Jewish as well as Greek people.
11God was doing extraordinary miracles by Paul’s hands,
12so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that touched his skin were brought to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.
13But some traveling Jewish exorcists also tried to invoke the name of the Lord Yeshua, saying, “I charge you by the Yeshua whom Paul preaches.”
14Seven sons of a Jewish ruling kohen named Sceva were doing this.
15But the evil spirit answered them, “I know Yeshua and I know about Paul, but who are you?”
16Then the man with the evil spirit sprang at them, subduing and overpowering all of them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
17This became known to all who lived in Ephesus, both Jewish and Greek people. Fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Yeshua was being magnified.
18Many also of those who had believed came confessing and recounting their practices.
19And many of those who practiced magic arts brought their books together in a heap, burning them before everyone. They totaled the value of the books and found it to be about fifty thousand pieces of silver.
20So the word of the Lord was growing in power and prevailing.

Idol-Makers Start a Riot

21Now after these things were accomplished, Paul resolved in the Ruach to go to Jerusalem after passing through Macedonia and Achaia, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”
22So after sending two who were assisting him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.
23Around that time, there arose no small uproar concerning the Way.
24For a man named Demetrius—a silversmith, a maker of silver shrines of Artemis—was providing no small amount of business to the craftsmen.
25He gathered these together, along with those of related occupations, and he said, “Men, you know that our wealth is from this business.
26You see and hear that not only in Ephesus but also throughout all Asia, Paul has persuaded and perverted a considerable crowd, saying that handmade gods are not gods at all.
27Not only is there a danger that this trade of ours might come into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis might be considered as nothing. She whom all Asia and the world worships might even be thrown down from her majesty.”
28When they heard, they were filled with fury and began shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
29The city was filled with confusion. They rushed into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were travel companions of Paul.
30Paul was wishing to enter among the crowd, but the disciples would not let him.
31Some of the chiefs of Asia, being his friends, sent to him and begged him not to surrender himself in the theater.
32Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion. Most did not know why they had come together.
33Some of the crowd solicited Alexander, whom the Jewish people put forward. Alexander motioned with his hand. He wished to offer a defense to the crowd.
34But recognizing that he was Jewish, for about two hours they all with one voice cried out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
35After the town clerk quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, what man is there who doesn’t know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis and of her image fallen from heaven?
36Since these things are undeniable, you must be calm and do nothing reckless.
37For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor revilers of our goddess.
38If Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. Let them accuse them.
39But if you seek anything further, it will be settled in the lawful assembly.
40For we are in danger of being charged with rioting today, there being no reason which we are able to give to justify this mob.” Upon saying this, he dismissed the assembly.
–from Acts 19

It may not be easy, but it will totally be worth it! In this world you will have troubles, but take heart for Jesus has overcome the world! Do worry about it, because worry changes nothing, but prayer changes everything! Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds for in the perfect timing, endurance will have it works getting you to a point where you will be complete, perfect, and lacking nothing!

Today’s reading concludes in Matthew with simple stories of profound truth…Do you realize you are sowing everywhere you go? What are you sowing is based on what you are saying, what you are doing, how you are acting as you are being watched and some of them may have hearts ready for the truth of God, some of them may have doubt, some of them may have hard hearts and need the soil of their heart to be tilled up and fertilized with truth, hope, and love. Let’s get into God’s Word and consider how we can use today for greater things!

Simple Stories, Profound Truths

1On that day after Yeshua left the house, He was sitting by the sea.
2And large crowds gathered around Him; so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood on the shore.
3And He told them many things in parables, saying, “Behold, a sower went out to spread some seed.
4As he was scattering the seed, some seeds fell by the road; and the birds came and ate them up.
5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they didn’t have much soil. They sprang up immediately, because the soil wasn’t deep.
6But when the sun came up, they were scorched; and because they had no roots, they withered away.
7Other seeds fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew and choked them out.
8But others fell on good soil and were producing fruit. They yielded a crop—some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
9He who has ears, let him hear.”
10Then the disciples came to Him and said, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
11And He replied to them, “To you has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
12For whoever has, to him more will be given and he will have plenty. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
13For this reason I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear nor do they understand.
14”And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘You will keep on hearing but will never understand; you will keep looking, but will never see.
15For the heart of this people has become dull, their ears can barely hear, and they have shut their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts. Then they would turn back, and I would heal them.’
16“But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.
17Amen, I tell you, many a prophet and tzaddik longed to see what you are seeing and did not see, and to hear what you are hearing and did not hear.”

Parable of the Sower Explained

18“You then, hear the parable of the sower.
19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one having been sown along the road.
20“The one sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy.
21Yet he has no root himself but lasts only a short while; and when trouble or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he falls away.
22“But the one sown among the thorns, this is the one who hears the word; and the worries of the world and the seduction of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
23“Now the one sown on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands. He indeed bears fruit, yielding a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty times what was sown.”

Yeshua Tells More Parables

24He presented to them another parable, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.
25But while the men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.
26Now when the stalk sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared.
27So the slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Master, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’
28But he replied, ‘An enemy did this.’ Now the slaves say to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go out and gather them up?’
29But he says, ‘No, for while you are gathering up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.
30Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time, I will tell the reapers, “First, gather up the weeds and tie them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
31He presented to them another parable, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.
32It’s the smallest of all seeds; yet when it’s full grown, it’s greater than the other herbs. It becomes like a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”
33He told them another parable, “The kingdom of heaven is like hametz, which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”
34All these things Yeshua spoke to the crowds in parables. And apart from a parable, He wasn’t speaking to them,
35in order to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet, saying, “I will open My mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the foundation of the world.”
36Then He sent the crowds away and went into the house. His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.”
37He answered, “The one sowing the good seed is the Son of Man,
38and the field is the world. And the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the weeds are the sons of the evil one.
39The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.
40Therefore just as the weeds are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.
41The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks and those who practice lawlessness.
42They will throw them into the fiery furnace; in that place will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
43Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear!
44“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid. And because of his joy, he goes out and sells all that he has and buys that field.
45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.
46Upon finding a pearl of great value, he went out and sold all that he had and bought it.
47“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea, gathering things of every kind.
48When it was filled, they pulled it ashore; and they sat down and gathered up the good into containers, but threw the bad away.
49So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth and separate the wicked from among the righteous
50and throw them into the fiery furnace; in that place will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
51“Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes.”
52Then He said to them, “Therefore every Torah scholar discipled for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure both new things and old.”

Unbelief in the Hometown Synagogue

53Now when Yeshua had finished these parables, He left that place.
54Coming into His hometown, He began to teach them in their synagogue so that they were amazed. “Where did this fellow get this wisdom and these mighty works?” they said.
55“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t His mother called Miriam, and His brothers Jacob and Joseph and Simon and Judah?
56And His sisters, aren’t they all with us? So where does He get all these things?”
57And they took offense at Him. But Yeshua said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own house.”
58And He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
–from Matthew 13

 

 

 

How will you respond to adversity?


What will it reveal about your character? What will your response say about who you are? Where will you find strength? Where will you put your trust? Where does your hope come from? In this world you will have troubles – Jesus tells us that – He doesn’t say you may, He says “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He doesn’t leaving us hanging with a message of despair, but speaks to us encouragement with a message of being an overcomer! Jesus also tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds – He doesn’t leave it there though, He provides more details by saying “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – that’s right “perfect and complete, lacking nothing”. So let’s allow it to work in us and through so for good. Let’s remember that what the enemy plans for evil God can turn it around and use it for good.

Today’s reading starts out speaking about adversity as we continue with the story of Joseph…God was with him. God gave him favor. Joseph’s character kept him from doing anything that would hurt him, even though it ended up he was put into prison. He found favor again thanks to God in and through all the adversity he faced. He succeeded in the face of adversity! So can you!

Joseph Succeeds in Adversity

1Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt. Potiphar, an official of Pharaoh, commander of the bodyguards, bought him from the hand of the Ishmaelites, who had brought him down there.
2But Adonai was with Joseph. So he became a successful man in the house of his master, the Egyptian.
3His master saw that Adonai was with him and that Adonai made everything he set his hand to successful.
4Joseph found favor in his eyes, so he served him as a personal servant and he made him an overseer over his household; everything that was his he entrusted into his hand.
5From the time that he made him an overseer in his house and over everything that belonged to him, Adonai blessed the Egyptian’s house because of Joseph; Adonai’s blessing was on everything that belonged to him, in the house and in the field.
6So he released everything he owned into Joseph’s hand. With him in charge, he did not think about anything except the food he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and handsome in appearance.
7Now after these things, the master’s wife lifted up her eyes at Joseph and said, “Come, lie down with me!”
8But he refused. “Look,” he said to his master’s wife, “my master doesn’t think about anything in the house with me in charge, and everything that belongs to him he’s entrusted into my hand.
9No one in this house is greater than I, and he has withheld nothing from me—except you, because you are his wife. So how could I commit this great evil and sin against God?”
10So whenever she spoke to Joseph, day after day, he did not listen to her invitation to lie down beside her, to be with her.
11Now on one such day, he came into the house to do his work, and none of the people of the house were there in the house.
12Then she grabbed him by his garment saying, “Come, lie with me!” But he left his garment in her hand, fled and went outside.
13When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and fled outside,
14she screamed to the men of her house and said to them, “Look! Someone brought a Hebrew man to us to fool with us. He approached me to lie with me so I screamed out loud.
15When he heard me raise my voice and scream, he left his garment with me, fled and went outside.”
16Then she kept the garment with her until his master came home.
17She spoke the same words to him saying, “The Hebrew slave that you brought us approached me to fool with me.
18When I raised my voiced and screamed, he left his garment with me and fled outside.”
19Now when his master heard the words his wife spoke to him saying, “Such are the things your slave did to me,” his anger burned.
20Then Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. So there he was, in the prison.
21But Adonai was with Joseph and extended kindness to him and gave him favor in the eyes of the commander of the prison.
22The commander of the prison entrusted into Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison, so that everything that was done there, he was responsible for it.
23The commander of the prison did not concern himself with anything at all under his care, because Adonai was with him, and Adonai made whatever he did successful.
–from Genesis 39

God can position you and use you right where you are at. Will you let Him? God is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. Will you trust Him? Do you have a chip on your shoulder that needs to be knocked off? Do you have some pride that you need broken off? Is there anything that is keeping you away from everything God wants for your life? His plan for you is good! His plan isn’t to harm you, it’s to give you a hope and a future! God loves you! For God so loves the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever will believe in Him will not perish but have eternal life! For God didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world, God sent Jesus to save it!

Let’s see how Jesus responds…Don’t lose hope! Don’t give up! Others may forget, but God never forgets! He will never leave you nor abandon you! Stick with God!

Interpreter of Dreams

1Now it was after these things that the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt.
2Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, with the chief of the cupbearers and with the chief of the bakers.
3So he put them in custody of the house of the commander of the bodyguards—in the prison, the place where Joseph was confined.
4The commander of the bodyguards assigned Joseph to be with them and served them as their personal servant. They were in custody for some time.
5Then the two of them each dreamed a dream on the same night. The dream of each man—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison—each had its own interpretation.
6When Joseph came to them in the morning, he observed them, and there they were, looking miserable.
7So he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were with him in the custody of the house of his master saying, “Why are your faces so sad today?”
8They said to him, “We dreamed a dream and there is no one to interpret it.” Then Joseph said to them, “Don’t interpretations belong to God? Please tell me.”
9So the chief of the cupbearers told his dream to Joseph, saying to him, “In my dream, suddenly, there was a vine in front of me.
10On the vine were three branches, and as it was budding, its blossoms came out, its clusters ripened into grapes.
11Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand and I took the grapes, pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup and put the cup in Pharaoh’s palm.”
12“This is its interpretation,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches: they are three days.
13In another three days, Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position. Then you’ll put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand just as you used to do before when you were his cupbearer.
14But if you remember me, that I was with you, when it goes well with you, please show me kindness and mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house.
15For I was forcibly kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing at all that they should put me in this pit.”
16When the chief of the bakers saw that the interpretation was good, he said to Joseph, “I also was in my dream. Expectantly, there were three baskets of white bread on my head.
17In the top basket was food for Pharaoh—all kinds of baked goods. But the birds were eating them from the basket on my head.”
18Then Joseph answered and said, “This is its interpretation. The three baskets: they are three days.
19In another three days Pharaoh will lift up your head—off of you—and will hang you on a tree. Then the birds will eat your flesh off of you.”
20Then it happened on the third day—Pharaoh’s birthday—that he held a banquet for all his servants. He lifted up the head of the chief of the cupbearers and the head of the chief of the bakers among his servants.
21He restored the chief of the cupbearers as his cupbearer, and he put the cup on the palm of Pharaoh’s hand.
22But the chief of the bakers he hung. It was just as Joseph had interpreted for them.
23Yet the chief of the cupbearers did not remember Joseph—indeed, he forgot him.
–from Genesis 40

This isn’t the end of the story! You may feel like you are in prison. You may feel like you are in a pit. You may feel like you have been forgotten. But realize and don’t give up because it’s not the end of the story! (we’ll pick up more on Joseph tomorrow)

God hasn’t forgotten you! Remember what we learned about having troubles? Remember what we learned about trials? Don’t give up! Allow endurance to complete its work! Put all your trust in God and allow Him to complete the work in His perfect timing!

If God tells you to go, what will you do? If God tells you to speak, what will you do? If God tells you to do something, will you be obedient to His calling on your life? Let’s allow God’s completing work to be done in and through our lives!

Today’s reading continues into Acts and the journey of Paul…

Many Respond in Corinth

1After these things, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
2There he found a Jewish man named Aquila—a native of Pontus having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all Jewish people to leave Rome. Paul went to see them;
3and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and began working, for by trade they were tent-makers.
4And he was debating every Shabbat in the synagogue, trying to persuade both Jewish and Greek people.
5Now when Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul became occupied with the message, urgently testifying to the Jewish people that Yeshua is the Messiah.
6But when they resisted and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said, “Your blood be upon your own heads—I am clean! From now on, I will go to the Gentiles.”
7After leaving there, Paul went into the house of a man named Titius Justus, a God-fearer whose house was next door to the synagogue.
8Crispus, the synagogue leader, put his faith in the Lord, along with his whole household. And many of the Corinthians, upon hearing, were believing and being immersed.
9Now the Lord said to Paul through a vision in the night, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent!
10For I am with you and no one shall attack you to harm you—many people in this city are for Me.”
11So he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
12But while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jewish leaders made a united attack against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat,
13saying, “This man persuades men to worship God contrary to the Torah.”
14But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jewish people, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or a vicious crime, there would be a reason to put up with you, O Jews.
15But since it is issues about words, names, and your own law, see to it yourselves. I do not wish to be a judge of these.”
16And he drove them from the judgment seat.
17Then they all grabbed Sosthenes, the synagogue leader, and began beating him in front of the judgment seat. But Gallio paid no attention to these things.

Sailing East to Revisit Communities

18Paul, having stayed many more days, said farewell to the brothers and set sail to Syria, and with him were Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchrea Paul had his hair cut off, for he was keeping a vow.
19When they arrived at Ephesus, Paul left Priscilla and Aquila there. But he himself went into the synagogue and debated with the Jewish people.
20When they asked him to stay longer, he declined,
21instead taking leave of them while saying, “God willing, I’ll return to you again.” He set sail from Ephesus.
22After landing at Caesarea, he went up and greeted Messiah’s community; then he went down to Antioch.
23After spending some time there, he departed and went one place after another throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

Discipling New Leaders

24Now a Jewish man named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, well versed in the Scriptures.
25He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. With a fervent spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the facts about Yeshua—while only being acquainted with the immersion of John.
26This man began speaking out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the way of God more accurately.
27When Apollos wanted to cross over to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. Upon arrival, he greatly helped those who by grace had believed.
28For he powerfully refuted the Jewish people in public, demonstrating through the Scriptures that the Messiah was Yeshua.
–from Acts 18

Will you answer? Will you go? Will you stay? Will you do? How will you respond? What if it isn’t easy? How will you respond? What if it bring you to a point of adversity? What are you going to do? Let’s not lose hope and let’s not give up! Jesus isn’t just lord of somethings, He is Lord of and over everything!

The Lord of Shabbat

1At that time Yeshua went through the grain fields on Shabbat. His disciples became hungry and began to pluck heads of grain and eat them.
2But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not permitted on Shabbat.”
3But He said to them, “Haven’t you read what David did when he became hungry, and those with him?
4How he entered into the house of God, and they ate the showbread, which was not permitted for him to eat, nor for those with him, but only for the kohanim?
5Or haven’t you read in the Torah that on Shabbat the kohanim in the Temple break Shabbat and yet are innocent?
6But I tell you that something greater than the Temple is here.
7If you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you wouldn’t have condemned the innocent.
8For the Son of Man is Lord of Shabbat.”
9Leaving from there, He went into their synagogue.
10A man with a withered hand was there. And so that they might accuse Him, they questioned Yeshua, saying, “Is it permitted to heal on Shabbat?”
11He said to them, “What man among you will not grab his sheep and lift it out, if it falls into a pit on Shabbat?
12How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is permitted to do good on Shabbat.”
13Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out and it was restored, as healthy as the other.
14But the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.
God’s Chosen Servant Brings Hope
15Knowing this, Yeshua went away from there. And large crowds followed Him, and He healed them all.
16And He sternly warned them not to make Him known.
17This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,
18“Here is My servant whom I chose, the One I love, in whom My soul takes delight. I will put My Ruach upon Him, and He shall proclaim justice to the nations.
19He will not quarrel or cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
20A crushed reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, until He brings forth justice to victory.
21And in His name the nations shall hope.”
–from Matthew 12

We need to make sure we get it straight! We need to make sure we know what is real and what we can hope in! We need to realize the purpose! We need to remember where to turn! We need to remember who to call upon! We need to remember who has authority over everything!

Whose Power Will Rule?

22Then a demon-plagued man, who was blind and mute, was brought to Yeshua; and He healed him, so that he spoke and saw.
23All the crowds were astounded and saying, “This can’t be Ben-David, can it?”
24But hearing this, the Pharisees said, “This fellow drives out demons only by beelzebul, the ruler of demons.”
25Knowing their thoughts, Yeshua said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.
26If satan drives out satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?
27And if I drive out demons by beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive them out? For this reason, they will be your judges.
28But if I drive out demons by the Ruach Elohim, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
29Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he will thoroughly plunder his house.
30He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
31“For this reason I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Ruach will not be forgiven.
32Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Ruach ha-Kodesh will not be forgiven, neither in this age nor in the one to come.”
33“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree rotten and its fruit rotten; for the tree is known by its fruit.
34You brood of vipers! How can you who are evil say anything good? For from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
35The good man from his good treasury brings forth good, and the evil man from his evil treasury brings forth evil.
36But I tell you that on the Day of Judgment, men will give account for every careless word they speak.
37For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
–from Matthew 12

We need to remember His plans are for good! We need to remember the power of unity! A house divided will fall! We need to realize that from the overflow of our hearts and other’s hearts the mouth speaks! We need to remember that you can see and tell a lot about someone by the fruit they produce! So guard your tongue for you will have to give an account for everyone of them.

A Sign Greater than Jonah

38Then some of the Torah scholars and Pharisees answered Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”
39But Yeshua replied to them, “An evil and adulterous generation clamors for a sign, yet no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.
40For just as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.
41The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah. And behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
42The Queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. And behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
43“Now when an unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places looking for rest and doesn’t find it.
44Then it says, ‘I’ll go back home where I came from.’ And when it comes, it finds the house vacant, swept clean, and put in order.
45Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there. And that man’s last condition becomes worse than the first. So also will it be for this evil generation.”
–from Matthew 12

Jesus and Jonah had some similar experiences. 3 days … one in a giant fish and the other in a tomb. On the 3rd day came back to life (one on the shore, the other raised from the dead). So let’s live believing Jesus and believing in Jesus! Let’s be more than readers of the Word, let’s be doers of the Word! Let’s be more than knowing about Jesus and start a real relationship with Him where it becomes a dialog rather than a monologue! That was the light or the aha moment for me! It was went I realized it was more than routines and rituals, flows and lines up, it was about having a living relationship with Jesus when my life was turned around and turned upside down. God was then able to do things in me and through me that weren’t ever available before because I was now listening as well as speak, I was no longer deaf but could hear Him speak into me. He put a jetpack on my back and accelerated my learning and transformation, a metamorphism from who I was to who I am becoming.

So let’s do what God calls us to do! So let’s be part of the family of God by being obedient to God!

Embrace and Refrain

46While Yeshua was still speaking to the crowds, His mother and brothers were standing outside, trying to speak to Him.
47Someone said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, trying to speak to You.”
48But to the one telling Him this, Yeshua responded, “Who is My mother? And who are My brothers?”
49Stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers.
50For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”
–from Matthew 12

 

 

 

Have you been touched? Have you been able to keep quiet? Have you been able to keep it to yourself?


Has your life had a divine encounter? Has your life been transformed? Have you had your eyes opened to the truth? Are you able to see things more clearly because of the transformation? Are you keeping it all to yourself? Are you not sharing the good news with others? How have you been able to keep it to yourself? What is keeping you from sharing?

God had a plan for me and when I moved thousands of miles away from my comfort zone, He provided a divine encounter. He provided a special invitation to a Christmas pageant/production at a near by church. He provided a powerful encounter of worship and preaching that drew us even closer. He provided incredible teaching from God’s Word that opened my eyes to the truth. He provided divine appointments where not only was I able to learn about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but also to experience it. He provided divine appointments where I didn’t only learn about freedom through Cleansing Stream, but also had been freed from years of violent responses when I was hit in the head through the power of forgiveness. Not only did I get to hang out with a bunch of men at a men’s retreat, but God spoke to me about how He wanted me to get more involved in my community where I was called into a higher level of leadership within my homeowners association. It also got me plugged into serving at the church where I was involved in productions – acting, signing on the stage as well as off stage with media, and production. It has impacted me at work and my interactions with others to the point where I even started to blog about it. My plan was a private site but God called me to open it up and to share my time with Him with others that His Word would be heard and be a testimony to many others. So to say the least, I haven’t been able to keep quiet. Today’s Word triggered this thought and topic to me because the two men who had a divine encounter with Jesus couldn’t keep it to themselves either.

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

27Jesus left that place, and as he walked along, two blind men started following him. “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” they shouted.
28When Jesus had gone indoors, the two blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I can heal you?”
“Yes, sir!” they answered.
29Then Jesus touched their eyes and said, “Let it happen, then, just as you believe!”— 30and their sight was restored. Jesus spoke sternly to them, “Don’t tell this to anyone!”
31But they left and spread the news about Jesus all over that part of the country.
— from Matthew 9 (GNT)

When we are freed and start to speak of what God has done in and through our lives, there will be people who try to play it down or call it something else. Jesus even faced that type of doubt and fear…

Jesus Heals a Man Who Could Not Speak

32As the men were leaving, some people brought to Jesus a man who could not talk because he had a demon. 33But as soon as the demon was driven out, the man started talking, and everyone was amazed. “We have never seen anything like this in Israel!” they exclaimed.
34 But the Pharisees said, “It is the chief of the demons who gives Jesus the power to drive out demons.”
— from Matthew 9 (GNT)

There are many people who don’t know. There are many people who have never heard. There are people held back by fear. There are people held back by doubt. But what can you do? What can you say to speak hope and life to those God brings into your life? You may be the only experience they have ever had and so you need to speak up and speak out. You need to provide a hand up rather than just a handout. Today, let’s make a difference!

Jesus Has Pity for the People

35 Jesus went around visiting all the towns and villages. He taught in the synagogues, preached the Good News about the Kingdom, and healed people with every kind of disease and sickness. 36 As he saw the crowds, his heart was filled with pity for them, because they were worried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 So he said to his disciples, “The harvest is large, but there are few workers to gather it in. 38Pray to the owner of the harvest that he will send out workers to gather in his harvest.”
— from Matthew 9 (GNT)

Not everyone is going to want to hear! Not everyone is going to want to respond! But don’t fear, just believe and put your trust in God! God has greater plans for you! God’s plan for you and those around you isn’t that anyone should perish, but that through Jesus Christ we will all have eternal life with Him! So don’t stop sharing because some people don’t what to hear. Don’t stop sharing because some people threaten you. Press in to what God calls you to and get it done! It’s incredible what God can do in and through us if we open up and allow Him to flow through us into the lives of those He brings into our lives. But don’t allow pride to trip you up. Don’t allow others to lift you up but point them all to Jesus. There is a risk when people are able to see and experience God working through you that they may get misdirected and think it is about you, but we need to make sure we point them to the true source and the true savior of the world … Jesus!

In Iconium

1The same thing happened in Iconium: Paul and Barnabas went to the synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of Jews and Gentiles became believers. 2But the Jews who would not believe stirred up the Gentiles and turned them against the believers. 3The apostles stayed there for a long time, speaking boldly about the Lord, who proved that their message about his grace was true by giving them the power to perform miracles and wonders. 4The people of the city were divided: some were for the Jews, others for the apostles.
5Then some Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, decided to mistreat the apostles and stone them. 6When the apostles learned about it, they fled to the cities of Lystra and Derbe in Lycaonia and to the surrounding territory. 7There they preached the Good News.

In Lystra and Derbe

8In Lystra there was a crippled man who had been lame from birth and had never been able to walk. 9He sat there and listened to Paul’s words. Paul saw that he believed and could be healed, so he looked straight at him 10and said in a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” The man jumped up and started walking around. 11When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they started shouting in their own Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us!” 12They gave Barnabas the name Zeus, and Paul the name Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13The priest of the god Zeus, whose temple stood just outside the town, brought bulls and flowers to the gate, for he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifice to the apostles.
14When Barnabas and Paul heard what they were about to do, they tore their clothes and ran into the middle of the crowd, shouting, 15 “Why are you doing this? We ourselves are only human beings like you! We are here to announce the Good News, to turn you away from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven, earth, sea, and all that is in them. 16In the past he allowed all people to go their own way. 17But he has always given evidence of his existence by the good things he does: he gives you rain from heaven and crops at the right times; he gives you food and fills your hearts with happiness.” 18Even with these words the apostles could hardly keep the crowd from offering a sacrifice to them.
19Some Jews came from Antioch in Pisidia and from Iconium; they won the crowds over to their side, stoned Paul and dragged him out of the town, thinking that he was dead. 20But when the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he and Barnabas went to Derbe.

The Return to Antioch in Syria

21Paul and Barnabas preached the Good News in Derbe and won many disciples. Then they went back to Lystra, to Iconium, and on to Antioch in Pisidia. 22They strengthened the believers and encouraged them to remain true to the faith. “We must pass through many troubles to enter the Kingdom of God,” they taught. 23In each church they appointed elders, and with prayers and fasting they commended them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
24After going through the territory of Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25There they preached the message in Perga and then went to Attalia, 26and from there they sailed back to Antioch, the place where they had been commended to the care of God’s grace for the work they had now completed.
27When they arrived in Antioch, they gathered the people of the church together and told them about all that God had done with them and how he had opened the way for the Gentiles to believe. 28And they stayed a long time there with the believers.
— from Acts 14 (GNT)

Let’s sing songs of praise to God! Let’s celebrate the incredible things He is and has and will do in and through our lives! Let’s make each day so filled with joy because He is with us that it will be hard for others to hold back or to get down, let’s give us a reason for the joy that is within us! Let’s not allow our circumstances to direct our attitudes and actions. Let’s allow Jesus working in us to drive our attitude and responses to everything that comes our way!

12Many enemies surround me like bulls;

they are all around me,
like fierce bulls from the land of Bashan.
13They open their mouths like lions,
roaring and tearing at me.
14My strength is gone,
gone like water spilled on the ground.
All my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like melted wax.
15My throat is as dry as dust,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
You have left me for dead in the dust.
16An evil gang is around me;
like a pack of dogs they close in on me;
they tear at my hands and feet.
17All my bones can be seen.
My enemies look at me and stare.
18  They gamble for my clothes
and divide them among themselves.
19O Lord, don’t stay away from me!
Come quickly to my rescue!
20Save me from the sword;
save my life from these dogs.
21Rescue me from these lions;
I am helpless before these wild bulls.
22  I will tell my people what you have done;
I will praise you in their assembly:
23“Praise him, you servants of the Lord!
Honor him, you descendants of Jacob!
Worship him, you people of Israel!
24He does not neglect the poor or ignore their suffering;
he does not turn away from them,
but answers when they call for help.”
25In the full assembly I will praise you for what you have done;
in the presence of those who worship you
I will offer the sacrifices I promised.
26The poor will eat as much as they want;
those who come to the Lord will praise him.
May they prosper forever!
27All nations will remember the Lord.
From every part of the world they will turn to him;
all races will worship him.
28The Lord is king,
and he rules the nations.
29All proud people will bow down to him;#

22.29: Probable text will bow down to him; Hebrew will eat and bow down.
all mortals will bow down before him.
30Future generations will serve him;
they will speak of the Lord to the coming generation.
31People not yet born will be told:
“The Lord saved his people.”
— from Psalm 22 (GNT)

So today as we get started, let’s put on the full armor of God and be prepared for what will be ahead of us. Let’s share the Good News of how God has worked in and through our lives and how He wants to make a difference in the lives of those around us. Yes, you reading this text, that is you. He wants to make a difference in your life because He loves you so much. Yes, you reading this, He wants to hear you sharing the Good News with others as you have been transformed and saved. Yes, you reading this text, if you want to hear more or talk more, please leave me a comment for me to respond to … feel free to read through other postings if that is more comfortable for you. Do a search about something that is on your mind.

 

What are you doing up there watching? Why don’t you get involved?


How long have you been just been out there looking down? How long will you stay up there out of the hustle and bustle of everyday? Are you a watcher rather than a doer? There are things to do that need your help! There are things to do that only you have the ability to help make come to fruition! There are things that need you to be involved! Will you climb down from your spot and come help complete the incredible things that have been planned in advance for you to accomplish?

TODAY IS YOUR DAY!


This morning is another great one because God’s Word is before me to help me prepare and get my day started off on the right foot.

1-4Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way—he was a short man and couldn’t see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by.
5-7When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, “What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?”
8Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, “Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I’m caught cheating, I pay four times the damages.”
9-10Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”
— Luke 19

Do you realize what you have? You have been given great things! What will you do with the gifts God has given you?

11While he had their attention, and because they were getting close to Jerusalem by this time and expectation was building that God’s kingdom would appear any minute, he told this story:
12-13“There was once a man descended from a royal house who needed to make a long trip back to headquarters to get authorization for his rule and then return. But first he called ten servants together, gave them each a sum of money, and instructed them, ‘Operate with this until I return.’
14“But the citizens there hated him. So they sent a commission with a signed petition to oppose his rule: ‘We don’t want this man to rule us.’
15“When he came back bringing the authorization of his rule, he called those ten servants to whom he had given the money to find out how they had done.
16“The first said, ‘Master, I doubled your money.’
17“He said, ‘Good servant! Great work! Because you’ve been trustworthy in this small job, I’m making you governor of ten towns.’
18“The second said, ‘Master, I made a fifty percent profit on your money.’
19“He said, ‘I’m putting you in charge of five towns.’
20-21“The next servant said, ‘Master, here’s your money safe and sound. I kept it hidden in the cellar. To tell you the truth, I was a little afraid. I know you have high standards and hate sloppiness, and don’t suffer fools gladly.’
22-23“He said, ‘You’re right that I don’t suffer fools gladly—and you’ve acted the fool! Why didn’t you at least invest the money in securities so I would have gotten a little interest on it?’
24“Then he said to those standing there, ‘Take the money from him and give it to the servant who doubled my stake.’
25“They said, ‘But Master, he already has double . . .’
26“He said, ‘That’s what I mean: Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag.
27“‘As for these enemies of mine who petitioned against my rule, clear them out of here. I don’t want to see their faces around here again.’”

— Luke 19

Are you willing to take that risk for God? Are you willing to give your all for His glory? Are you willing to share His love with those around you? Are you willing to show His truth in love to everyone you meat? Are you willing to take the risk for God’s sake? Are you willing to take the risk that will multiply the reward, the harvest, the outcome so that God will receive greater praise, honor, and glory? He has given you gifts and talents! Are you investing them and increasing them for His glory so that on that day when He returns you will get to hear Him say: “Well done my good and faithful servant”?


 

We all have our part to making God’s truth, hope, and love known! Will you do your part or will you let rocks cry out in your place? Will you get past the fear or worry or doubt and in faith praise God by loving others the way He first loved you? Today is a day where you have opportunities to show God’s love to the world. You can do it in how you speak! You can do it in what you share! You can do it in what you give! You can do it in how you care! The decision though comes to you… What are you going to do? Will you do anything? Will right wrongs? Will you speak up for those who can’t speak? Will you provide a hand up rather than a hand out so that people can get back on their feet? Will you speak truth in love so that people can get back on track? What are you going to do?

28-31After saying these things, Jesus headed straight up to Jerusalem. When he got near Bethphage and Bethany at the mountain called Olives, he sent off two of the disciples with instructions: “Go to the village across from you. As soon as you enter, you’ll find a colt tethered, one that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says anything, asks, ‘What are you doing?’ say, ‘His Master needs him.’”
32-33The two left and found it just as he said. As they were untying the colt, its owners said, “What are you doing untying the colt?”
34They said, “His Master needs him.”
35-36They brought the colt to Jesus. Then, throwing their coats on its back, they helped Jesus get on. As he rode, the people gave him a grand welcome, throwing their coats on the street.
37-38Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed:
Blessed is he who comes,
the king in God’s name!
All’s well in heaven!
Glory in the high places!
39Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, “Teacher, get your disciples under control!”
40But he said, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.”
41-44When the city came into view, he wept over it. “If you had only recognized this day, and everything that was good for you! But now it’s too late. In the days ahead your enemies are going to bring up their heavy artillery and surround you, pressing in from every side. They’ll smash you and your babies on the pavement. Not one stone will be left intact. All this because you didn’t recognize and welcome God’s personal visit.”
45-46Going into the Temple he began to throw out everyone who had set up shop, selling everything and anything. He said, “It’s written in Scripture,
My house is a house of prayer;
You have turned it into a religious bazaar.”
47-48From then on he taught each day in the Temple. The high priests, religion scholars, and the leaders of the people were trying their best to find a way to get rid of him. But with the people hanging on every word he spoke, they couldn’t come up with anything.

— Luke 19

What’s easier to try and accuse and question others or to give an answer? What easier to stand up for what is right or sit back and do nothing? What’s easier to give it all or to lose it all? What’s easier to press on or to fall back? Nobody ever said life would be easy! God just promised He would be with you every step of the way! He will never leave you nor abandon you! So which road will you take the wise road that leads to destruction or the narrow road that leads to eternity with God? Choices, choices, we will face them everyday, so choose wisely!

1-2One day he was teaching the people in the Temple, proclaiming the Message. The high priests, religion scholars, and leaders confronted him and demanded, “Show us your credentials. Who authorized you to speak and act like this?”
3-4Jesus answered, “First, let me ask you a question: About the baptism of John—who authorized it, heaven or humans?”
5-7They were on the spot, and knew it. They pulled back into a huddle and whispered, “If we say ‘heaven,’ he’ll ask us why we didn’t believe him; if we say ‘humans,’ the people will tear us limb from limb, convinced as they are that John was God’s prophet.” They agreed to concede that round to Jesus and said they didn’t know.
8Jesus said, “Then neither will I answer your question.”

— Luke 20

How are you going to handle the responsibility you have been given? How will you return someone’s trust in you? How will you take on the tasks given you?

9-12Jesus told another story to the people: “A man planted a vineyard. He handed it over to farmhands and went off on a trip. He was gone a long time. In time he sent a servant back to the farmhands to collect the profits, but they beat him up and sent him off empty-handed. He decided to try again and sent another servant. That one they beat black-and-blue, and sent him off empty-handed. He tried a third time. They worked that servant over from head to foot and dumped him in the street.
13“Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘I know what I’ll do: I’ll send my beloved son. They’re bound to respect my son.’
14-15“But when the farmhands saw him coming, they quickly put their heads together. ‘This is our chance—this is the heir! Let’s kill him and have it all to ourselves.’ They killed him and threw him over the fence.
15-16“What do you think the owner of the vineyard will do? Right. He’ll come and clean house. Then he’ll assign the care of the vineyard to others.”
Those who were listening said, “Oh, no! He’d never do that!”
17-18But Jesus didn’t back down. “Why, then, do you think this was written:
That stone the masons threw out—
It’s now the cornerstone!?
“Anyone falling over that stone will break every bone in his body; if the stone falls on anyone, it will be a total smashup.”
19The religion scholars and high priests wanted to lynch him on the spot, but they were intimidated by public opinion. They knew the story was about them.

— Luke 20

The truth can sting, but how you respond to it will either eat you up from the inside or make you stronger and turn your life around! Again with the choices…Choose wisely!


Trickery…Some live by it. Some are able to bypass it. Some try it. Some avoid it. Seek wisdom from God and He can reveal the true intentions of the questions being asked. They may not really be asking for an answer. They may be trying to trip you up or trick you. God knows the heart and the intentions. The battle belongs to the Lord!

20-22Watching for a chance to get him, they sent spies who posed as honest inquirers, hoping to trick him into saying something that would get him in trouble with the law. So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you’re honest and straightforward when you teach, that you don’t pander to anyone but teach the way of God accurately. Tell us: Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
23-24He knew they were laying for him and said, “Show me a coin. Now, this engraving, who does it look like and what does it say?”
25“Caesar,” they said.
Jesus said, “Then give Caesar what is his and give God what is his.”
26Try as they might, they couldn’t trap him into saying anything incriminating. His answer caught them off guard and left them speechless.

— Luke 20


God’s plan isn’t to be out there somewhere. He wants to have an intimate relationship with you! Are you willing to start having a relationship with God? Will allow Jesus into your heart? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to be that comforter and guide who can help you every step of every day? It’s not about religion and rituals, it is about a relationship that grows and flourishes because it is based on a foundation of LOVE!

27-33Some Sadducees came up. This is the Jewish party that denies any possibility of resurrection. They asked, “Teacher, Moses wrote us that if a man dies and leaves a wife but no child, his brother is obligated to take the widow to wife and get her with child. Well, there once were seven brothers. The first took a wife. He died childless. The second married her and died, then the third, and eventually all seven had their turn, but no child. After all that, the wife died. That wife, now—in the resurrection whose wife is she? All seven married her.”
34-38Jesus said, “Marriage is a major preoccupation here, but not there. Those who are included in the resurrection of the dead will no longer be concerned with marriage nor, of course, with death. They will have better things to think about, if you can believe it. All ecstasies and intimacies then will be with God. Even Moses exclaimed about resurrection at the burning bush, saying, ‘God: God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob!’ God isn’t the God of dead men, but of the living. To him all are alive.”
39-40Some of the religion scholars said, “Teacher, that’s a great answer!” For a while, anyway, no one dared put questions to him.
41-44Then he put a question to them: “How is it that they say that the Messiah is David’s son? In the Book of Psalms, David clearly says,
God said to my Master,
“Sit here at my right hand
until I put your enemies under your feet.”
“David here designates the Messiah as ‘my Master’—so how can the Messiah also be his ‘son’?”
45-47With everybody listening, Jesus spoke to his disciples. “Watch out for the religion scholars. They love to walk around in academic gowns, preen in the radiance of public flattery, bask in prominent positions, sit at the head table at every church function. And all the time they are exploiting the weak and helpless. The longer their prayers, the worse they get. But they’ll pay for it in the end.”