Will you keep aligned to all God tells you?


What if He asks you to do something and you see it happen? What if there were more instructions and someone tries to persuade you into not doing that part? Do you believe all that God says? When He proves what He says to be true, will you believe the rest of it? Could anything sway you from obeying all of His command? Would you risk losing your soul to gain things in this world? Would you risk losing eternity for the temporary now? Will you seek God’s wisdom in all your decisions? Will you seek God’s directions and instructions in the full plan? Don’t miss out on all God has for you by being tricked or fooled by others. Listen to the full instruction and pursue it to the end! You don’t want to get to the place where you are doing things that require you to face the writing on the wall. Do you want your days numbered? Do you want your life weighed and found insufficient? Do you want your things divided and given away?


Today’s reading gets us started with 1 Kings 13 where we get to watch how partial obedience is disobedience. Don’t allow selfishness to rob you of full obedience to God. Don’t allow the feeling of obedience because you were partially obedient rob you of full obedience to God. Don’t allow blind spots in your life to cause partial obedience and rob you of the blessings of fully obeying God. Don’t allow partial obedience to cause you to start looking for excuses for not having fully obeyed God. Don’t be or get disqualified because of partial obedience, instead pursue God and His purpose and plans for you with complete obedience. Let’s take hold of God’s Words from John 14:15 which say “If you love me, obey my commandments“.

‘At the Lord ’s command, a man of God from Judah went to Bethel, arriving there just as Jeroboam was approaching the altar to burn incense. Then at the Lord ’s command, he shouted, “O altar, altar! This is what the Lord says: A child named Josiah will be born into the dynasty of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests from the pagan shrines who come here to burn incense, and human bones will be burned on you.” That same day the man of God gave a sign to prove his message. He said, “The Lord has promised to give this sign: This altar will split apart, and its ashes will be poured out on the ground.” When King Jeroboam heard the man of God speaking against the altar at Bethel, he pointed at him and shouted, “Seize that man!” But instantly the king’s hand became paralyzed in that position, and he couldn’t pull it back. At the same time a wide crack appeared in the altar, and the ashes poured out, just as the man of God had predicted in his message from the Lord . The king cried out to the man of God, “Please ask the Lord your God to restore my hand again!” So the man of God prayed to the Lord , and the king’s hand was restored and he could move it again. Then the king said to the man of God, “Come to the palace with me and have something to eat, and I will give you a gift.” But the man of God said to the king, “Even if you gave me half of everything you own, I would not go with you. I would not eat or drink anything in this place. For the Lord gave me this command: ‘You must not eat or drink anything while you are there, and do not return to Judah by the same way you came.’” So he left Bethel and went home another way. As it happened, there was an old prophet living in Bethel, and his sons came home and told him what the man of God had done in Bethel that day. They also told their father what the man had said to the king. The old prophet asked them, “Which way did he go?” So they showed their father which road the man of God had taken. “Quick, saddle the donkey,” the old man said. So they saddled the donkey for him, and he mounted it. Then he rode after the man of God and found him sitting under a great tree. The old prophet asked him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” “Yes, I am,” he replied. Then he said to the man of God, “Come home with me and eat some food.” “No, I cannot,” he replied. “I am not allowed to eat or drink anything here in this place. For the Lord gave me this command: ‘You must not eat or drink anything while you are there, and do not return to Judah by the same way you came.’” But the old prophet answered, “I am a prophet, too, just as you are. And an angel gave me this command from the Lord : ‘Bring him home with you so he can have something to eat and drink.’” But the old man was lying to him. So they went back together, and the man of God ate and drank at the prophet’s home. Then while they were sitting at the table, a command from the Lord came to the old prophet. He cried out to the man of God from Judah, “This is what the Lord says: You have defied the word of the Lord and have disobeyed the command the Lord your God gave you. You came back to this place and ate and drank where he told you not to eat or drink. Because of this, your body will not be buried in the grave of your ancestors.” After the man of God had finished eating and drinking, the old prophet saddled his own donkey for him, and the man of God started off again. But as he was traveling along, a lion came out and killed him. His body lay there on the road, with the donkey and the lion standing beside it. People who passed by saw the body lying in the road and the lion standing beside it, and they went and reported it in Bethel, where the old prophet lived. When the prophet heard the report, he said, “It is the man of God who disobeyed the Lord ’s command. The Lord has fulfilled his word by causing the lion to attack and kill him.” Then the prophet said to his sons, “Saddle a donkey for me.” So they saddled a donkey, and he went out and found the body lying in the road. The donkey and lion were still standing there beside it, for the lion had not eaten the body nor attacked the donkey. So the prophet laid the body of the man of God on the donkey and took it back to the town to mourn over him and bury him. He laid the body in his own grave, crying out in grief, “Oh, my brother!” Afterward the prophet said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in the grave where the man of God is buried. Lay my bones beside his bones. For the message the Lord told him to proclaim against the altar in Bethel and against the pagan shrines in the towns of Samaria will certainly come true.” But even after this, Jeroboam did not turn from his evil ways. He continued to choose priests from the common people. He appointed anyone who wanted to become a priest for the pagan shrines. This became a great sin and resulted in the utter destruction of Jeroboam’s dynasty from the face of the earth.’

1 Kings 13

‘Many years later King Belshazzar gave a great feast for 1,000 of his nobles, and he drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking the wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver cups that his predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar, had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. He wanted to drink from them with his nobles, his wives, and his concubines. So they brought these gold cups taken from the Temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. While they drank from them they praised their idols made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. Suddenly, they saw the fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king’s palace, near the lampstand. The king himself saw the hand as it wrote, and his face turned pale with fright. His knees knocked together in fear and his legs gave way beneath him. The king shouted for the enchanters, astrologers, and fortune-tellers to be brought before him. He said to these wise men of Babylon, “Whoever can read this writing and tell me what it means will be dressed in purple robes of royal honor and will have a gold chain placed around his neck. He will become the third highest ruler in the kingdom!” But when all the king’s wise men had come in, none of them could read the writing or tell him what it meant. So the king grew even more alarmed, and his face turned pale. His nobles, too, were shaken. But when the queen mother heard what was happening, she hurried to the banquet hall. She said to Belshazzar, “Long live the king! Don’t be so pale and frightened. There is a man in your kingdom who has within him the spirit of the holy gods. During Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, this man was found to have insight, understanding, and wisdom like that of the gods. Your predecessor, the king—your predecessor King Nebuchadnezzar—made him chief over all the magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and fortune-tellers of Babylon. This man Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, has exceptional ability and is filled with divine knowledge and understanding. He can interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.” So Daniel was brought in before the king. The king asked him, “Are you Daniel, one of the exiles brought from Judah by my predecessor, King Nebuchadnezzar? I have heard that you have the spirit of the gods within you and that you are filled with insight, understanding, and wisdom. My wise men and enchanters have tried to read the words on the wall and tell me their meaning, but they cannot do it. I am told that you can give interpretations and solve difficult problems. If you can read these words and tell me their meaning, you will be clothed in purple robes of royal honor, and you will have a gold chain placed around your neck. You will become the third highest ruler in the kingdom.” Daniel answered the king, “Keep your gifts or give them to someone else, but I will tell you what the writing means. Your Majesty, the Most High God gave sovereignty, majesty, glory, and honor to your predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar. He made him so great that people of all races and nations and languages trembled before him in fear. He killed those he wanted to kill and spared those he wanted to spare. He honored those he wanted to honor and disgraced those he wanted to disgrace. But when his heart and mind were puffed up with arrogance, he was brought down from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. He was driven from human society. He was given the mind of a wild animal, and he lived among the wild donkeys. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he learned that the Most High God rules over the kingdoms of the world and appoints anyone he desires to rule over them. “You are his successor, O Belshazzar, and you knew all this, yet you have not humbled yourself. For you have proudly defied the Lord of heaven and have had these cups from his Temple brought before you. You and your nobles and your wives and concubines have been drinking wine from them while praising gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone—gods that neither see nor hear nor know anything at all. But you have not honored the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny! So God has sent this hand to write this message. “This is the message that was written: Mene, Mene, Tekel , and Parsin . This is what these words mean: Mene means ‘numbered’—God has numbered the days of your reign and has brought it to an end. Tekel means ‘weighed’—you have been weighed on the balances and have not measured up. Parsin means ‘divided’—your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was dressed in purple robes, a gold chain was hung around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom. That very night Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, was killed. And Darius the Mede took over the kingdom at the age of sixty-two.’

Daniel 5

‘But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.” Everyone liked this idea, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (an earlier convert to the Jewish faith). These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them. So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too. Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people. But one day some men from the Synagogue of Freed Slaves, as it was called, started to debate with him. They were Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia, and the province of Asia. None of them could stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke. So they persuaded some men to lie about Stephen, saying, “We heard him blaspheme Moses, and even God.” This roused the people, the elders, and the teachers of religious law. So they arrested Stephen and brought him before the high council. The lying witnesses said, “This man is always speaking against the holy Temple and against the law of Moses. We have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy the Temple and change the customs Moses handed down to us.” At this point everyone in the high council stared at Stephen, because his face became as bright as an angel’s.’

Acts 6

‘Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining. If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness. I am writing to you who are God’s children because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus. I am writing to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning. I am writing to you who are young in the faith because you have won your battle with the evil one. I have written to you who are God’s children because you know the Father. I have written to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning. I have written to you who are young in the faith because you are strong. God’s word lives in your hearts, and you have won your battle with the evil one.’

1 John 2:7-14

‘Sing a new song to the Lord , for he has done wonderful deeds. His right hand has won a mighty victory; his holy arm has shown his saving power! The Lord has announced his victory and has revealed his righteousness to every nation! He has remembered his promise to love and be faithful to Israel. The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God. Shout to the Lord , all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy! Sing your praise to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and melodious song, with trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn. Make a joyful symphony before the Lord , the King! Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the earth and all living things join in. Let the rivers clap their hands in glee! Let the hills sing out their songs of joy before the Lord , for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with fairness.’

Psalms 98

So will you turn back to God? Will you invite Jesus into your heart and ask for forgiveness so that you can be forgiven of all that has happened in this life in order to be reconciled to God and get to spend eternity with God? Let’s pray now and close that gap so we can spend eternity together with God.

The Sinner's Prayer

Will anything or anyone be able to tempt you to go against God’s will?


What if it was a celebrity asking? What if it was a powerful leader asking? What if it was a child asking? What if it was vast property ownership? What if it was incredible amount of money? What if it was large value of God? What if it was expensive jewels? Could any of these tempt you to go against God’s will?

Do you have a team who is supporting you? Do you have an accountability group that helps one another stay on track? Do you have a group that ensures the lies of the devil that may sway you if you were alone because you have them and aren’t alone? Before you act do you get advice or council? Before you respond do you make sure that it is in alignment with the Holy Spirit?

Do you have a team who is supporting you? Do you have an accountability group that helps one another stay on track? Do you have a group that ensures the lies of the devil that may sway you if you were alone because you have them and aren’t alone? Before you act do you get advice or council? Before you respond do you make sure that it is in alignment with the Holy Spirit?

Can anything or anyone tempt you to go against God’s will?


Today’s reading starts in Numbers 22.

‘Then the people of Israel traveled to the plains of Moab and camped east of the Jordan River, across from Jericho. Balak son of Zippor, the Moabite king, had seen everything the Israelites did to the Amorites. And when the people of Moab saw how many Israelites there were, they were terrified. The king of Moab said to the elders of Midian, “This mob will devour everything in sight, like an ox devours grass in the field!” So Balak, king of Moab, sent messengers to call Balaam son of Beor, who was living in his native land of Pethor near the Euphrates River. His message said: “Look, a vast horde of people has arrived from Egypt. They cover the face of the earth and are threatening me. Please come and curse these people for me because they are too powerful for me. Then perhaps I will be able to conquer them and drive them from the land. I know that blessings fall on any people you bless, and curses fall on people you curse.” Balak’s messengers, who were elders of Moab and Midian, set out with money to pay Balaam to place a curse upon Israel. They went to Balaam and delivered Balak’s message to him. “Stay here overnight,” Balaam said. “In the morning I will tell you whatever the Lord directs me to say.” So the officials from Moab stayed there with Balaam. That night God came to Balaam and asked him, “Who are these men visiting you?” Balaam said to God, “Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent me this message: ‘Look, a vast horde of people has arrived from Egypt, and they cover the face of the earth. Come and curse these people for me. Then perhaps I will be able to stand up to them and drive them from the land.’” But God told Balaam, “Do not go with them. You are not to curse these people, for they have been blessed!” The next morning Balaam got up and told Balak’s officials, “Go on home! The Lord will not let me go with you.” So the Moabite officials returned to King Balak and reported, “Balaam refused to come with us.” Then Balak tried again. This time he sent a larger number of even more distinguished officials than those he had sent the first time. They went to Balaam and delivered this message to him: “This is what Balak son of Zippor says: Please don’t let anything stop you from coming to help me. I will pay you very well and do whatever you tell me. Just come and curse these people for me!” But Balaam responded to Balak’s messengers, “Even if Balak were to give me his palace filled with silver and gold, I would be powerless to do anything against the will of the Lord my God. But stay here one more night, and I will see if the Lord has anything else to say to me.” That night God came to Balaam and told him, “Since these men have come for you, get up and go with them. But do only what I tell you to do.”

So the next morning Balaam got up, saddled his donkey, and started off with the Moabite officials. But God was angry that Balaam was going, so he sent the angel of the Lord to stand in the road to block his way. As Balaam and two servants were riding along, Balaam’s donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand. The donkey bolted off the road into a field, but Balaam beat it and turned it back onto the road. Then the angel of the Lord stood at a place where the road narrowed between two vineyard walls. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord , it tried to squeeze by and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall. So Balaam beat the donkey again. Then the angel of the Lord moved farther down the road and stood in a place too narrow for the donkey to get by at all. This time when the donkey saw the angel, it lay down under Balaam. In a fit of rage Balaam beat the animal again with his staff. Then the Lord gave the donkey the ability to speak. “What have I done to you that deserves your beating me three times?” it asked Balaam. “You have made me look like a fool!” Balaam shouted. “If I had a sword with me, I would kill you!” “But I am the same donkey you have ridden all your life,” the donkey answered. “Have I ever done anything like this before?” “No,” Balaam admitted. Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the roadway with a drawn sword in his hand. Balaam bowed his head and fell face down on the ground before him. “Why did you beat your donkey those three times?” the angel of the Lord demanded. “Look, I have come to block your way because you are stubbornly resisting me. Three times the donkey saw me and shied away; otherwise, I would certainly have killed you by now and spared the donkey.” Then Balaam confessed to the angel of the Lord , “I have sinned. I didn’t realize you were standing in the road to block my way. I will return home if you are against my going.” But the angel of the Lord told Balaam, “Go with these men, but say only what I tell you to say.” So Balaam went on with Balak’s officials. When King Balak heard that Balaam was on the way, he went out to meet him at a Moabite town on the Arnon River at the farthest border of his land. “Didn’t I send you an urgent invitation? Why didn’t you come right away?” Balak asked Balaam. “Didn’t you believe me when I said I would reward you richly?” Balaam replied, “Look, now I have come, but I have no power to say whatever I want. I will speak only the message that God puts in my mouth.” Then Balaam accompanied Balak to Kiriath-huzoth, where the king sacrificed cattle and sheep. He sent portions of the meat to Balaam and the officials who were with him. The next morning Balak took Balaam up to Bamoth-baal. From there he could see some of the people of Israel spread out below him.’

Numbers 22

Today’s reading continues into Amos 4

‘“I brought hunger to every city and famine to every town. But still you would not return to me,” says the Lord . “I kept the rain from falling when your crops needed it the most. I sent rain on one town but withheld it from another. Rain fell on one field, while another field withered away. People staggered from town to town looking for water, but there was never enough. But still you would not return to me,” says the Lord . “I struck your farms and vineyards with blight and mildew. Locusts devoured all your fig and olive trees. But still you would not return to me,” says the Lord . “I sent plagues on you like the plagues I sent on Egypt long ago. I killed your young men in war and led all your horses away. The stench of death filled the air! But still you would not return to me,” says the Lord . “I destroyed some of your cities, as I destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Those of you who survived were like charred sticks pulled from a fire. But still you would not return to me,” says the Lord . “Therefore, I will bring upon you all the disasters I have announced. Prepare to meet your God in judgment, you people of Israel!” For the Lord is the one who shaped the mountains, stirs up the winds, and reveals his thoughts to mankind. He turns the light of dawn into darkness and treads on the heights of the earth. The Lord God of Heaven’s Armies is his name!’

Amos 4:6-13

and then into Amos 5.

‘Listen, you people of Israel! Listen to this funeral song I am singing: “The virgin Israel has fallen, never to rise again! She lies abandoned on the ground, with no one to help her up.” The Sovereign Lord says: “When a city sends a thousand men to battle, only a hundred will return. When a town sends a hundred, only ten will come back alive.” Now this is what the Lord says to the family of Israel: “Come back to me and live! Don’t worship at the pagan altars at Bethel; don’t go to the shrines at Gilgal or Beersheba. For the people of Gilgal will be dragged off into exile, and the people of Bethel will be reduced to nothing.” Come back to the Lord and live! Otherwise, he will roar through Israel like a fire, devouring you completely. Your gods in Bethel won’t be able to quench the flames. You twist justice, making it a bitter pill for the oppressed. You treat the righteous like dirt. It is the Lord who created the stars, the Pleiades and Orion. He turns darkness into morning and day into night. He draws up water from the oceans and pours it down as rain on the land. The Lord is his name! With blinding speed and power he destroys the strong, crushing all their defenses. How you hate honest judges! How you despise people who tell the truth! You trample the poor, stealing their grain through taxes and unfair rent. Therefore, though you build beautiful stone houses, you will never live in them. Though you plant lush vineyards, you will never drink wine from them. For I know the vast number of your sins and the depth of your rebellions. You oppress good people by taking bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts. So those who are smart keep their mouths shut, for it is an evil time. Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live! Then the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper, just as you have claimed. Hate evil and love what is good; turn your courts into true halls of justice. Perhaps even yet the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will have mercy on the remnant of his people. Therefore, this is what the Lord, the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, says: “There will be crying in all the public squares and mourning in every street. Call for the farmers to weep with you, and summon professional mourners to wail. There will be wailing in every vineyard, for I will destroy them all,” says the Lord .’

Amos 5:1-17

Today’s reading next brings us into the New Testament starting in Matthew 7

‘“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.’

Matthew 7:1-14

and then into Romans 4.

‘Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!) So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.’

Romans 4:13-25

As we draw to our closing psalm, let’s pause and take a moment to reflect on our learning from God’s Word and how we can apply it in our lives today. What can we learn from our lessons from the old and new testaments? Will you believe and live with that faith? How do they apply to your life today? What nugget(s) can you bring into your Today in order to make it count?

Today’s reading closes in Psalms 112.

‘Praise the Lord ! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever. Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly. Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor. The wicked will see this and be infuriated. They will grind their teeth in anger; they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.’

Psalm 112

Government…Do you know what they are for?


Government is supposed to be serving and is supposed to be for our good and benefit! But as we know that isn’t how it is around the globe or when they choose to live outside of God’s plans and purposes.

Let’s bounce around a few different translations of Romans 13:4

For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not carry the sword in vain. He is God’s servant, an agent of retribution to the wrongdoer. –from Berean Study Bible

For he is God’s servant for your benefit. But if you do what is wrong, be afraid. He does not wear the sword to no purpose: he is God’s servant–an administrator to inflict punishment upon evil-doers. –from Weymouth New Testament

The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. –from New Living Translation

For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. –from New International Version

–from Romans 13:4

And remember yesterday’s reading from Romans 12:

A Living Sacrifice to God

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge;
    I will pay them back,”
    says the Lord.

20 Instead,

“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
    If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
    burning coals of shame on their heads.”

21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

–from Romans 12

Romans 13 tells us…

Respect for Authority

1Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
6Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. 7Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.

Love Fulfills God’s Requirements

8Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. 9For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.
11This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. 13Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. 14Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.

–from Romans 13

Revelation 13 tells us…

The Beast out of the Sea

13 Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God. This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion! And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority.

I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshiped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they also worshiped the beast. “Who is as great as the beast?” they exclaimed. “Who is able to fight against him?”

Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his dwelling—that is, those who dwell in heaven. And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation. And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was made.

Anyone with ears to hear
    should listen and understand.
10 Anyone who is destined for prison
    will be taken to prison.
Anyone destined to die by the sword
    will die by the sword.

This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently and remain faithful.

The Beast out of the Earth

11 Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb, but he spoke with the voice of a dragon.12 He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he required all the earth and its people to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13 He did astounding miracles, even making fire flash down to earth from the sky while everyone was watching. 14 And with all the miracles he was allowed to perform on behalf of the first beast, he deceived all the people who belong to this world. He ordered the people to make a great statue of the first beast, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life. 15 He was then permitted to give life to this statue so that it could speak. Then the statue of the beast commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die.

16 He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. 17 And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name. 18 Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.

–from Revelation 13

Ever realized the biblical foundations to how the US government is setup? Looking at government through the eyes of the bible, I found the following interesting table.

Biblical Principles: Basis for America’s Laws

 
PRINCIPLE LEGAL DOCUMENT BIBLE
Sovereign authority of God, not sovereignty of the state, or sovereignty of man Mayflower Compact, Declaration, Constitution, currency, oaths, mention of God in all 50 state constitutions, Pledge of Allegiance Ex. 18:1620:3Dt. 10:202 Chron. 7:14Ps. 83:1891:2Isa. 9:6-7Dan. 4:32Jn. 19:11Acts 5:29Rom. 13:1Col 1:15-201 Tim. 6:15
Existence of objective moral values, Fixed standards, Absolute truth, Sanctity of life Declaration (“unalienable” rights—life, etc., “self-evident” truths) Ex. 20:1-17Dt. 30:19Ps. 119:142-152,  Pr. 14:34Isa. 5:20-21Jn. 10:10Rom. 2:15,  Heb. 13:8
Rule of law rather than authority of man Declaration, Constitution Ex. 18:24-27Dt. 17:20Isa. 8:19-20Mat. 5:17-18
All men are sinners Constitutional checks and balances Gen 8:21Jer. 17:9Mk. 7:20-23Rom. 3:231 Jn. 1:8
All men created equal Declaration Gen. 1:26Acts 10:3417:26Gal. 3:281 Peter 2:17
Judicial, legislative, and executive branches Constitution Isa. 33:22 (See Madison)
Religious freedom First Amendment 1 Timothy2:1-2
Church protected from state control (& taxation), but church to influence the state First Amendment Dt. 17:18-201 Kgs. 3:28Ezra 7:24Neh. 8:21 Sam. 7:15-10:2715:10-312 Sam. 12:1-18Mat. 14:3-4,  Lk. 3:7-1411:52Acts 4:26-29
Republican form of government and warnings against kings but in favor of Godly rulers  Constitution Ex. 18:21Dt. 1:13Jud. 8:22-231 Samuel 8Pr. 11:1424:6
Importance of governing self and family as first level of governance First, Second, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments Mat. 18:15-18,  Gal. 5:16-261 Cor. 6:1-111 Tim. 3:1-5Tit. 2:1-8
Establish justice Declaration Ex. 23:1-9Lev. 19:15Dt. 1:1716:19-2024:17-191 Sam. 8:32 Sam. 8:15,  1 Kings 3:2810:9Mic. 6:8Rom. 13:4
Fair trial with witnesses Sixth Amendment Ex. 20:16Dt. 19:15Pr. 24:2825:18Mat. 18:16
Private property rights Fifth Amendment Ex. 20:15-17
Biblical liberty, Free enterprise Declaration Lev. 25:10Jn. 8:36,  2 Cor. 3:17Gal. 5:1James 1:251 Peter 2:16
Creation not evolution Declaration Gen. 1:1
Biblical capitalism not Darwinian capitalism (service and fair play over strict survival of the fittest) Anti-trust laws Ex. 20:17Mat. 20:2625:14-302 Thes. 3:6-151 Pet. 2:16
Importance of the traditional family State sodomy laws, few reasons for divorce Ex. 20:12-14Mat. 19:1-12Mk. 10:2-12Rom. 1:18-2:161 Cor. 7:1-40,
Religious education encouraged Northwest Ordinance Dt. 6:4-7Pr. 22:6Mat. 18:6Eph. 6:4,
Servanthood not political power Concept of public servant Ex. 18:21Rom. 13:4Php. 2:7,
Sabbath day holy “Blue laws” Ex. 20:8
Restitution Restitution laws Lev. 6:1-5Num. 5:5-7Mat. 5:23-26

We need to be praying and interceding for those in authority over us! As we read in 1 Timothy 2…

1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.

–from 1 Timothy 2

Today’s devotional speaks on this topic as follows before we jump into today’s Bible reading for the day…

Government: Divine or Demonic?

Politicians: how do we treat them? Governments and local councils: how do we view them? Taxes: do we really need to pay them?

What about evil regimes? If you live under a Hitler or Stalin are you supposed to obey them?

‘Be a good citizen,’ writes the apostle Paul. ‘All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you’re trying to get by with something. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear’ (Romans 13:1–3, MSG).

This would have been a radical idea to Paul’s original readers. In the ancient world most people saw religion and government as intertwined. The early church was still adjusting to the idea that the Messiah was not going to rule over his people in an earthly government. Those around them would have worshipped Rome and the Emperor as god. Yet here Paul tells them to follow Jesus as their King and still submit to Roman authority.

Paul’s teaching in Romans 13 needs to be balanced by Revelation 13. Revelation 13 was written at the time of the persecution of Christians under the Emperor Domitian. The state is seen as the ally of the devil (pictured as a red dragon) who has given his authority to the persecuting state (pictured as a monster emerging out of the sea). At worst, government can be demonic.

Both Romans 13 and Revelation 13 are true. There is good government and there is bad government. There is a good side to human government; there can also be an evil side. As Oscar Cullmann remarks, according to whether ‘the state remains within its limits or transgresses them, the Christian will describe it as the servant of God or as the instrument of the Devil’.

–from Day 211: Bible In One Year 2017

So let’s align with God and walk in obedience to Him and His will and His plans and His purposes as we start today and live out our lives…


Day 211: Bible In One Year 2017 — Government: Divine or Demonic?

Devotional, Psalms 89:38-45, Romans 13, 1 Chronicles 7, 1 Chronicles 8, 1 Chronicles 9:1

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/211

  1. Pray for those in authority … Psalm 89:38-45
  2. Enjoy freedom under authority … Romans 13:1-14
    • This is the basic New Testament principle. We should obey every authority – the government, local authorities and the institutions we find ourselves in. Why?

      – First, we do so because they are part of the authority that is instituted by God.

      – Second, we do so because of the consequences of not obeying them: ‘But if you’re breaking the rules right and left, watch out. The police aren’t there just to be admired in their uniforms. God also has an interest in keeping order, and he uses them to do it’ (v.4, MSG).

      – Third, ‘because of conscience’ (v.5). If we are not obeying the authorities, we cannot live with a clear conscience. ‘That’s why you must live responsibly – not just to avoid punishment but also because it’s the right way to live’ (v.5, MSG).

      We see here a clear distinction between personal morality and the enforcement of law by government. In the field of personal morality, Paul’s teaching is very similar to that of Jesus: it is one of non-retaliation and ‘turning the other cheek’ (12:14–21). However, he moves from there to discuss ‘governing authorities’ (13:1–6). He speaks of rulers as God’s servants to bring punishment on the wrongdoer (v.4).

      The state is concerned with the protection of others. To stand by and allow murder and violence would be unloving and unchristian. By analogy, if it is right for the authorities to use force to protect citizens against internal threats, arguably it is equally right to protect them against external ones by force, if necessary. In practice, of course, it is often extremely difficult to work out when such force is justified.

      –from Day 211: Bible In One Year 2017

  3. Be aware of the limits of authority … 1 Chronicles 7:1-9:1a

Justice vs Judgment

Time to pause the usual and consider something different…


If you were asked to warn people about something, would you do it? Would it matter who they are? What if they were your enemy and it could save their lives? What if it was God who asked you? Would you just go and do it? Would you have to think about it? Would you reject it and run away? What would you if today’s story was about you?

Usual would be my daily read through the Bible in a year. Something different is to walk thru the book of Jonah this week and then to go offline for a few days.

It’s interesting when I consider some of Jonah and how it parallels to Jesus. In particular when Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish for 3 days vs when Jesus was dead and buried in a tomb for 3 days.

It’s interesting when I consider Jonah and the natural responses we would have to being asked to do something for people who we may think don’t deserve a second chance, don’t deserve to be helped, … because of the way they live their lives, what they have done, and the impact on us. But God’s ways are not our ways! God’s ways are better than our ways! God’s Ways are higher than our ways!

So let’s jump in and check out the first part of Jonah for today…

Jonah Runs from the Lord

1The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: 2“Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”
3But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.
4But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart. 5Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship.
But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. 6So the captain went down after him. “How can you sleep at a time like this?” he shouted. “Get up and pray to your god! Maybe he will pay attention to us and spare our lives.”
7Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, the lots identified Jonah as the culprit. 8“Why has this awful storm come down on us?” they demanded. “Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?”
9Jonah answered, “I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”
10The sailors were terrified when they heard this, for he had already told them he was running away from the Lord. “Oh, why did you do it?” they groaned. 11And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, “What should we do to you to stop this storm?”
12“Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.”
13Instead, the sailors rowed even harder to get the ship to the land. But the stormy sea was too violent for them, and they couldn’t make it. 14Then they cried out to the Lord, Jonah’s God. “O Lord,” they pleaded, “don’t make us die for this man’s sin. And don’t hold us responsible for his death. O Lord, you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons.”
15Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once! 16The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.
17Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.

–from Jonah 1

So…would you have been a Jonah and run away from God rather than be obedient to His call? Would you have put the lives of others around you at risk in your attempt to run for God? Jonah knew what he had done was wrong and thought God was mad at him. Nothing surprises God! God knows our every thought! God know the thoughts spoken and unspoken! He knew what Jonah was going to do, but God had a plan and it was a good plan to save lives! Jonah unbenounced to himself by running from God ended up being on a ship of people who were following many other gods. We see with throwing Jonah overboard into the sea and watching the sea calm, the sailors on that boat had their lives intersected with the one true God! They offered Him sacrifices! They turned their lives to Him and vowed to serve Him!

Jonah may have thought God was mad at him and so had him eaten by a fish, but this was time for Jonah to be able to ponder God’s plan! It was a second chance to get Jonah to rescue the people of Nineveh! God is a loving God and His plan isn’t to harm us but that we would turn our lives to Him and be saved! Saved like the sailors on that ship! Saved like Jonah swallowed in the fish! And as we will see thru the story of Jonah, save the people of Nineveh!

As we consider this, let’s listen to a few songs…

We all aren’t Jonah, but do all have our own stories. We may even try to run from God, but God knows all things, God is everywhere, God is all powerful! In this world we will face storms and we get to choose how we will deal with them! Take a look around, see those people walking with you or those people around you? Just like Jonah, who was sleeping in the boat, we have a crew too! Sometimes we may even get thrown overboard, but God has a plan and a purpose and they are for good!

Consider the lyrics of untitled and what they speak to you. Are there any of the lyrics that speak to you or touch you? Leave me a comment and let me know.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for what it represents in the story of my life and these two weeks ahead. I thank You Lord that You have given me a crew or some may call it a team at home, at work, at church, at camp, and in my neighborhood. I thank You Lord that You are bigger than any storms that I will ever have to face! I thank You Lord that You love me just the way I am but love me too much to leave me this way! I thank You Lord that You are with me wherever I go and that I can call on You and You will hear me! I give this day into Your hands and ask Lord that You will use it for the glory of Your Kingdom! I walk open handed that I may be a vessel that can be used by You today to speak truth, hope, love, and life into those who You will bring into my life. And Lord as ask that in all of my day and all of my life, You will help me to live it out in a way that will bring You all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Is it a lost cause?


Is it too far gone? Is there no hope? Isn’t there something that get this thing turned around? Are we that divided? Are we that far gone? Is there no way for us to come back together? Is there no way for people to turn back to God?

If it’s a lost cause then what now? What will be the point? What will be the purpose?

Have things gotten as bad as what is found in today’s reading that starts with Jeremiah 15? When I consider the world as it is today against what is being said in Jeremiah, I wonder if the end times are getting closer. When I consider the world as it is today, even after Jesus has come to the earth and gave His all, and yet still there is division rather than unity, there is lukewarm rather than hot and cold, there is despair rather than hope. There shouldn’t be despair if we would pick up cross daily and follow after Jesus! Yes there will be troubles and trials, but we should still have joy and hope because Jesus overcame the world! Pure joy when we face trials of any kind! Hope beyond our circumstances!

Could it be that bad that we have walked so far out of the cover of God that we will face even greater challenges? Could it be that we have walked so far away that even though He is waiting for us to turn back and come back, that we are now out having to go it alone?

What’s it going to take for a revival to start up? What’s it going to take for people to wake up to the realities and turn back to God? What’s it going to do for people’s heart to be changed and transformed? What’s it going to take for the church to step up and be the church? What’s it going to take for the high standards and the truth to be spoken across the nation? Why can’t all the churches come together in unity? Why can’t all the churches come together in purpose? Why can’t they all join forces to preach the Good News of Jesus without limits and without fear? How bad would it have to get for that to happen? The Bible hasn’t changed! God’s Word hasn’t changed! Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection hasn’t changed! So what’s it going to take to get back on track?

God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. In Jeremiah 15, we aren’t left without hope. God not only speaks to where they are and in a lot cases where we as a nation are, but also speaks hope when He says

19Therefore thus says Adonai: “If you return, I will restore you, you will stand before Me. If you extract the precious from the worthless, you will be as My mouth. Let them turn to you, but you must not turn to them.
20I will make you a fortified bronze wall to this people. They will fight against you, but will not prevail against you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you.” It is a declaration of Adonai.
21“So I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you out of the grasp of the ruthless.”

We need to turn back to God so that there can be peace, a peace that goes beyond all understanding! We need to stand up for what is right and what is just, standing in gap!

How bad does it have to get before people come together and turn to God fully? Would sounds of joy have to be eliminated before people turn back to God? Would sounds of gladness have to be eliminated before people turn back to God? Would the sounds of happy brides and grooms have to be eliminated before people turn back to God? What’s it going to take? God’s plan is that there will be hope! God’s plan is that there will be a future! God’s plan is that there will be a remnant that will return! Will you be a part of it?

God sees what is going on! Nothing is hidden from His eyes!

Do you hear and see the lies taking place? Do you hear and see the futility? Do you hear and see the useless things? So what will be your response? We each need to make a decision for ourselves!

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness! It’s not me, it’s Him! I pray that there will be less of me and more of Jesus in and through me speaking and shining into the world around me!

Today’s reading continues into Psalms on the topic of Freedom from Terror. There is a God even though there are some that say there isn’t. There is a God even though there are some that don’t believe! He is our pathway to freedom from terror! Through all the evil and darkness that is showing up in the world, there is still hope and light through Jesus! Be encouraged in the Lord! Find vindication through the Lord! Let’s turn this nation around so that it doesn’t get put on the list to be wiped out!

How high does this need to get escalated? Do it need to make it all the way to the top? As Paul had to raise it to the level of Caesar, do we need to raise our concerns to the top? How do we get past the craziness and get to the round and round experiences? What’s it going to take? Some have been plotting and others have been deceiving, so what will you need to do to get past all the lies and cheating? What’s it going to take? Are you willing to step up and step out in faith? Are you willing to make that call? Will you choose to stand up for what is right? Will you choose to raise the stakes for the sake of truth and love and hope and faith?

So are you ready? Are you prepared for what is about to happen? Are you sowing? Are you ready to reap based on what you have sown? Have you sown sparingly and hence will reap sparingly? Have you sown generously and hence will reap generously? Are you a cheerful giver? Are you a hilarious giver? Do you want to receive God’s grace? Would you like to always have enough that you can overflow into doing good works? God provides seed and bread! We need to remember that we are to plant the seed and eat the bread! We aren’t to eat the seed too! Let’s be people who glorify God! Let’s be people who praise God! Let’s align with God and walk in His ways!

Heavenly Father,
You see where things are at and You know the outcome based on the hearts of the people. I pray Lord for Your wisdom and discernment through this time. I pray God that Your perfect will and plan will be fulfilled so that people will look to You and give you the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Your ways are higher than our ways! Your ways are better than our ways! And so Lord I give up my cares and my concerns into Your hands! I put my hope and trust in You! And I know Lord that what the enemy wants to use for evil, You can turn it around and use it for good to those who diligently seek You. So I give this day up to you and ask for Your wisdom and discernment in every step of the day and give you the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Today’s reading comes from: Jeremiah 1516, Psalms 10, Acts 25, and 2 Corinthians 9.

Benefits of alignment with God…


Do you realize there is such thing as absolute truth? Do you realize there is such thing as right and wrong? Do you realize there is such thing as good and evil? Do you realize that we all get to choose? Do you realize that our choices have outcomes? Do you realize that our decisions and our actions have consequences? Do you realize that your thoughts do matter? Do you realize that your beliefs do matter? Do you realize that your actions are driven by them both?

So when you think about your life, how are you aligned? What is the impact of that alignment on yourself and on the world around you?

Are you being fair to one another? Are you taking advantage of others? Are you worshipping people or things that won’t help and are leading you down a trail to destruction? Are you putting your trust in things that will return void? will have no return? Are you living a life that being deceptive? stealing? killing? committing adultery? lying under oath? Do you see this being done by others? If you see something, do you say something?

Why not turn to God and align with Him by being obedient to His commands?

What will happen if you get what you want?

Will be the outcomes and consequences?


Let’s consider what Jeremiah has to share today as there are many parallels throughout time with what is taking place right now…

Jeremiah Speaks at the Temple

1The lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2“Go to the entrance of the lord’s Temple, and give this message to the people: ‘O Judah, listen to this message from the lord! Listen to it, all of you who worship here! 3This is what the lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says:
“‘Even now, if you quit your evil ways, I will let you stay in your own land. 4But don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the lord’s Temple is here. They chant, “The lord’s Temple is here! The lord’s Temple is here!” 5But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice; 6only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols. 7Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever.
8“‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! 9Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, 10and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? 11Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the lord, have spoken!
12“‘Go now to the place at Shiloh where I once put the Tabernacle that bore my name. See what I did there because of all the wickedness of my people, the Israelites. 13While you were doing these wicked things, says the lord, I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer. 14So just as I destroyed Shiloh, I will now destroy this Temple that bears my name, this Temple that you trust in for help, this place that I gave to you and your ancestors. 15And I will send you out of my sight into exile, just as I did your relatives, the people of Israel.’

Judah’s Persistent Idolatry

16“Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don’t beg me to help them, for I will not listen to you. 17Don’t you see what they are doing throughout the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18No wonder I am so angry! Watch how the children gather wood and the fathers build sacrificial fires. See how the women knead dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. And they pour out liquid offerings to their other idol gods! 19Am I the one they are hurting?” asks the lord. “Most of all, they hurt themselves, to their own shame.”
20So this is what the Sovereign lord says: “I will pour out my terrible fury on this place. Its people, animals, trees, and crops will be consumed by the unquenchable fire of my anger.”
21This is what the lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Take your burnt offerings and your other sacrifices and eat them yourselves! 22When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them. 23This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’
24“But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward. 25From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets—day in and day out. 26But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful—even worse than their ancestors.
27“Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond. 28Say to them, ‘This is the nation whose people will not obey the lord their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips. 29Shave your head in mourning, and weep alone on the mountains. For the lord has rejected and forsaken this generation that has provoked his fury.’

The Valley of Slaughter

30“The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes,” says the lord. “They have set up their abominable idols right in the Temple that bears my name, defiling it. 31They have built pagan shrines at Topheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing! 32So beware, for the time is coming,” says the lord, “when that garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. They will bury the bodies in Topheth until there is no more room for them. 33The bodies of my people will be food for the vultures and wild animals, and no one will be left to scare them away. 34I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in the streets of Jerusalem. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard in the towns of Judah. The land will lie in complete desolation.

–from Jeremiah 7

Do you hear what the news is telling you? Do you hear how it varies by source? Do you know what is truth? Do you realize which is truth and which is deception? Do you realize what is truth and what is false?

Do you see where you are at? Did you fall down? Will you get back up? Are you on the wrong road? Will you turn around in order to get back on track?

I really don’t want to see history repeat itself and watch people walk away from God and not turn back. I don’t want them to fall and not get back up. I don’t want them to be clueless of where they are at. The truth will set them free — if they are willing to hear it and receive it!

Don’t be deceived by greed! Don’t be deceived by frauds!

Do you know Jesus? Or do you have a peace which really isn’t peaceful.

Do you know Jesus and even in the midst of chaos or craziness you are able to find a peace that goes beyond all understanding?

Do you know Jesus? Or do you have a hope that is more like wishing?

Do you know Jesus and even in the midst of trials and troubles you have hope beyond your circumstances?

1“In that day,” says the lord, “the enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people of Jerusalem. 2They will spread out their bones on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars—the gods my people have loved, served, and worshiped. Their bones will not be gathered up again or buried but will be scattered on the ground like manure. 3And the people of this evil nation who survive will wish to die rather than live where I will send them. I, the lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!

Deception by False Prophets

4“Jeremiah, say to the people, ‘This is what the lord says:
“‘When people fall down, don’t they get up again?
When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back?
5Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path?
Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back?
They cling tightly to their lies
and will not turn around.
6I listen to their conversations
and don’t hear a word of truth.
Is anyone sorry for doing wrong?
Does anyone say, “What a terrible thing I have done”?
No! All are running down the path of sin
as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle!
7Even the stork that flies across the sky
knows the time of her migration,
as do the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane.
They all return at the proper time each year.
But not my people!
They do not know the lord’s laws.
8“‘How can you say, “We are wise because we have the word of the lord,”
when your teachers have twisted it by writing lies?
9These wise teachers will fall
into the trap of their own foolishness,
for they have rejected the word of the lord.
Are they so wise after all?
10I will give their wives to others
and their farms to strangers.
From the least to the greatest,
their lives are ruled by greed.
Yes, even my prophets and priests are like that.
They are all frauds.
11They offer superficial treatments
for my people’s mortal wound.
They give assurances of peace
when there is no peace.
12Are they ashamed of these disgusting actions?
Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush!
Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered.
They will be brought down when I punish them,
says the lord.
13I will surely consume them.
There will be no more harvests of figs and grapes.
Their fruit trees will all die.
Whatever I gave them will soon be gone.
I, the lord, have spoken!’
14“Then the people will say,
‘Why should we wait here to die?
Come, let’s go to the fortified towns and die there.
For the lord our God has decreed our destruction
and has given us a cup of poison to drink
because we sinned against the lord.
15We hoped for peace, but no peace came.
We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror.’
16“The snorting of the enemies’ warhorses can be heard
all the way from the land of Dan in the north!
The neighing of their stallions makes the whole land tremble.
They are coming to devour the land and everything in it—
cities and people alike.
17I will send these enemy troops among you
like poisonous snakes you cannot charm.
They will bite you, and you will die.
I, the lord, have spoken!”

Jeremiah Weeps for Sinful Judah

18My grief is beyond healing;
my heart is broken.
19Listen to the weeping of my people;
it can be heard all across the land.
“Has the lord abandoned Jerusalem?” the people ask.
“Is her King no longer there?”
“Oh, why have they provoked my anger with their carved idols
and their worthless foreign gods?” says the lord.
20“The harvest is finished,
and the summer is gone,” the people cry,
“yet we are not saved!”
21I hurt with the hurt of my people.
I mourn and am overcome with grief.
22Is there no medicine in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why is there no healing
for the wounds of my people?

–from Jeremiah 8

Would you rather make a course correction or get corrected? Are you willing to do what is right no matter the consequences? Are you willing to be obedient to God no matter the warnings? Are you more interested in your eternity than your present?

Paul’s Journey to Jerusalem

1After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, we sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and then went to Patara. 2There we boarded a ship sailing for Phoenicia. 3We sighted the island of Cyprus, passed it on our left, and landed at the harbor of Tyre, in Syria, where the ship was to unload its cargo.
4We went ashore, found the local believers, and stayed with them a week. These believers prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem. 5When we returned to the ship at the end of the week, the entire congregation, including women and children, left the city and came down to the shore with us. There we knelt, prayed, 6and said our farewells. Then we went aboard, and they returned home.
7The next stop after leaving Tyre was Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed for one day. 8The next day we went on to Caesarea and stayed at the home of Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen to distribute food. 9He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy.
10Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. 11He came over, took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.’” 12When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
13But he said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” 14When it was clear that we couldn’t persuade him, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

Paul Arrives at Jerusalem

15After this we packed our things and left for Jerusalem. 16Some believers from Caesarea accompanied us, and they took us to the home of Mnason, a man originally from Cyprus and one of the early believers. 17When we arrived, the brothers and sisters in Jerusalem welcomed us warmly.
18The next day Paul went with us to meet with James, and all the elders of the Jerusalem church were present. 19After greeting them, Paul gave a detailed account of the things God had accomplished among the Gentiles through his ministry.
20After hearing this, they praised God. And then they said, “You know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they all follow the law of Moses very seriously. 21But the Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They’ve heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs. 22What should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come.
23“Here’s what we want you to do. We have four men here who have completed their vow. 24Go with them to the Temple and join them in the purification ceremony, paying for them to have their heads ritually shaved. Then everyone will know that the rumors are all false and that you yourself observe the Jewish laws.
25“As for the Gentile believers, they should do what we already told them in a letter: They should abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality.”

Paul Is Arrested

26So Paul went to the Temple the next day with the other men. They had already started the purification ritual, so he publicly announced the date when their vows would end and sacrifices would be offered for each of them.
27The seven days were almost ended when some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the Temple and roused a mob against him. They grabbed him, 28yelling, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who preaches against our people everywhere and tells everybody to disobey the Jewish laws. He speaks against the Temple—and even defiles this holy place by bringing in Gentiles.” 29(For earlier that day they had seen him in the city with Trophimus, a Gentile from Ephesus, and they assumed Paul had taken him into the Temple.)
30The whole city was rocked by these accusations, and a great riot followed. Paul was grabbed and dragged out of the Temple, and immediately the gates were closed behind him. 31As they were trying to kill him, word reached the commander of the Roman regiment that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32He immediately called out his soldiers and officers and ran down among the crowd. When the mob saw the commander and the troops coming, they stopped beating Paul.
33Then the commander arrested him and ordered him bound with two chains. He asked the crowd who he was and what he had done. 34Some shouted one thing and some another. Since he couldn’t find out the truth in all the uproar and confusion, he ordered that Paul be taken to the fortress. 35As Paul reached the stairs, the mob grew so violent the soldiers had to lift him to their shoulders to protect him. 36And the crowd followed behind, shouting, “Kill him, kill him!”

Paul Speaks to the Crowd

37As Paul was about to be taken inside, he said to the commander, “May I have a word with you?”
“Do you know Greek?” the commander asked, surprised. 38“Aren’t you the Egyptian who led a rebellion some time ago and took 4,000 members of the Assassins out into the desert?”
39“No,” Paul replied, “I am a Jew and a citizen of Tarsus in Cilicia, which is an important city. Please, let me talk to these people.” 40The commander agreed, so Paul stood on the stairs and motioned to the people to be quiet. Soon a deep silence enveloped the crowd, and he addressed them in their own language, Aramaic.

–from Acts 21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you realize the impact of you not doing what is right on others?


You realize that when you aren’t doing what is right it has an impact right? You realize the impact isn’t only on you right? You realize it will impact others around you? You realize based on your position or role it could impact a lot of people.

So knowing this, let’s set the bar higher like we are supposed to! Remember how Jesus in Matthew 5 was calling us to a higher standard than the law, the 10 commandments?

27You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  –Matthew 5

What we say makes a difference! What we do makes a difference! What we allow into our minds makes a difference! It’s more than garbage in, garbage out! It’s garbage in, garbage stay! And you don’t want that garbage to stay in your mind!

It doesn’t matter if you try to keep it a secret either! The truth is like a beach ball, it may be fun when it is out in the open, but it’s buoyant and so if you try to hide it under the water, it will eventually surface for everyone to see. So we need to do what is right even when nobody is watching! This is the definition of integrity!

Who has God come to speak into your life? Who has He sent to let you know what is right? The prophets in the Bible came to tell people when they weren’t loving God and when they weren’t loving people! These two things can be used to summary all of the Laws! Put another way love the Lord with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and all your strength and secondly, love your neighbor as yourself!


Today’s reading begins in 2 Kings…

The Israelites are Deported to Assyria

1In the twelfth year of King Ahaz of Judah, Hoshea son of Elah became king in Samaria over Israel, and he reigned nine years. 2He did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, yet not as the kings of Israel who were before him. 3King Shalmaneser of Assyria marched against him, so Hoshea became his vassal and paid him tribute. 4But the king of Assyria caught Hoshea conspiring—he had sent messengers to King So of Egypt, and had not paid the tribute to the king of Assyria as he had done every year. Therefore the king of Assyria seized him and put him in prison. 5Then the king of Assyria invaded the entire country, marched up to Samaria, and besieged it for three years. 6In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He placed them in Halah and Habor, on the Gozan River, and in the towns of the Medes. 7Now it was so because the men of Israel had sinned against Adonai their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods. 8Instead they followed the customs of the nations, whom Adonai had dispossessed before Bnei-Yisrael, yet which the kings of Israel practiced. 9Bnei-Yisrael secretly did things against Adonai their God that were not right. They built shrines for themselves in all their settlements—from watchtowers to fortified cities, 10and they set up pillars and Asherah poles for themselves on every high hill and under every leafy tree. 11There they burned incense on all the high places, like the nations whom Adonai had driven out before them. So they did wicked things to provoke Adonai. 12They worshipped idols, about which Adonai had said to them, “You shall not do this thing.” 13Yet Adonai had forewarned Israel and Judah by the hand of every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the Torah which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by the hand of My servants the prophets.” 14Yet they would not listen, but stiffened their neck like their fathers, who did not trust in Adonai their God. 15So they rejected His statutes and His covenant that He had made with their fathers, and His testimonies that He testified against them. Instead they went after futile things and became futile, following the nations that surrounded them, about whom Adonai had charged them not to emulate. 16So they abandoned all the mitzvot of Adonai their God. So they made for themselves molten images, two calves, and made an Asherah pole, and bowed down to all the host of heavens, and worshipped Baal, 17and they made their sons and daughters pass through the fire, practiced divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in Adonai’s eyes, to provoke Him. 18So Adonai became very angry with Israel, and banished them from His presence. There was none left but the tribe of Judah alone. 19Even Judah did not keep the mitzvot of Adonai their God, but followed the customs which Israel had practiced. 20So Adonai spurned all the descendants of Israel and afflicted them and delivered them into the hand of plunderers, until He had cast them out of His sight. 21When He had torn Israel from the house of David, they made Jeroboam son of Nebat king. Then Jeroboam drew Israel away from following Adonai and made them commit a great sin. 22The men of Israel kept walking in all the sins that Jeroboam committed. They did not turn away from them, 23until Adonai banished Israel from His presence, as He spoke by the hand of all His servants the prophets. So Israel has been exiled from their own land to Assyria to this day.

Origin of the Samaritans

24Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria, instead of the men of Israel. So they possessed Samaria and settled in its cities. 25When they first began dwelling there, they did not fear Adonai—so Adonai sent lions among them, which killed some of them. 26Then they spoke to the king of Assyria saying, “The nations that you deported and resettled in the towns of Samaria do not know the requirement of the God of the land. Therefore He has sent lions among them, and behold, they are killing them because they don’t know the requirement of the God of the land.” 27Then the king of Assyria commanded saying, “Send there one of the kohanim whom you have exiled from there. Let them go and live there and teach them the requirement of the God of the land.” 28So one of the kohanim that had been deported from Samaria came and lived in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear Adonai. 29However, every nation kept making its own gods, and put them in the shrines of the high places that the Samaritans had made—every nation in their cities where they settled. 30So the people of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the people of Cuth made Nergal, the people of Hamath made Ashima, 31the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. 32So they feared Adonai, while they also appointed for themselves from among themselves priests of the shrines, who officiated for them in the shrines of the high places. 33They continued to fear Adonai, but worshipped their own gods, after the custom of the nations from which they had been deported. 34Up to this day, they follow their former customs. Nor do they fear Adonai, or follow the statutes, the ordinances, the Torah or the mitzvot that Adonai commanded the children of Jacob—whom He had renamed Israel. 35With them Adonai had made a covenant, and charged them saying, “You will not fear other gods, or bow down to them, or serve them, or sacrifice to them, 36but only Adonai, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm—Him will you fear, and to Him will you bow down and to Him will you sacrifice. 37The statutes and the ordinances, and the Torah and the mitzvah, which He wrote for you, you will take care to do all the time. You are not to fear other gods. 38The covenant that I have made with you, you will not forget. Nor will you fear other gods, 39but Adonai your God will you fear. Then He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.” 40Yet they did not listen, but they continued their former practices. 41So while these nations feared Adonai, they also worshipped their idols. Their children and grandchildren do as their fathers did to this day.

–from 2 Kings 17

So let’s align with God’s will! Let’s align with God’s way! Let’s allow LOVE to be the focus! Let’s love God! Let’s love one another! Let’s allow vengeance to be God’s rather than something we seek! Let’s allow God to take care of things and work them out for His glory! Let’s be ambassadors for God! Let’s point people to the one and only true God! Let’s help others to see Jesus in and through us! Let’s be used by God so that other can see the fact that God’s Not Dead and is still working on earth today!

Highway in the Wilderness

1The wilderness and dry land will be glad. The desert will rejoice and blossom like a lily. 2It will blossom profusely, will rejoice with joy and singing, will be given the glory of Lebanon, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of Adonai, the splendor of our God. 3Strengthen the limp hands, make firm the wobbly knees. 4Say to those with anxious heart, “Be strong, have no fear!” Behold, your God! Vengeance is coming! God’s recompense—it is coming! Then He will save you. 5Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing. For water will burst forth in the desert and streams in the wilderness. 7The parched land will become a pool, the thirsty ground springs of water. In the haunt of jackals, where they rest, grass will become reeds and rushes. 8A highway will be there—a roadway. It will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it. It is for the one who walks the way. Fools will not go astray. 9No lion will be there. No ravenous beast will go up on it. They will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk there. 10The ransomed of Adonai will return and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

–from Isaiah 35

God created each of us on purpose! God created each of us for a purpose! We aren’t accidents! We are to live in relationship with God so that we can grab hold of His plan and His purpose! His desire is to give us a hope and a future! He didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world, but to save it! So let’s point people to Jesus in the way we live! Let’s point people to Jesus by doing what is right according to His Word! Let’s plant the seeds of the Bible into our hearts and minds so that we can remember them when we are faced with a decision and needing to know what to do! Let’s plant the seeds of the Bible so that we can turn to them and reap a harvest at the right time!

Humanity is God’s Splendor

1For the music director, upon the Gittite lyre: a psalm of David. 2Adonai our Lord, how excellent is Your Name over all the earth! You set Your splendor above the heavens. 3Out of the mouths of babies and toddlers You established power, because of Your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. 4When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You established— 5what is man, that You are mindful of him? And the son of man, that You care for him? 6Yet You made him a little lower than the angels, and crowned him with glory and majesty! 7You gave him dominion over the works of Your hands. You put all things under their feet: 8all sheep and oxen, and also beasts of the field, 9birds in the air, and fish in the ocean— all passing through the paths of the seas. 10Adonai our Lord, how excellent is Your Name over all the earth!

–from Psalms 8

Let’s abide in Jesus! Let’s walk in alignment to Jesus! Let’s walk in obedience to His Word! Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to live in us and to lead us and guide us, teach us and correct us in Jesus’ name. Let’s not wander away but rather let’s stay connected to Jesus! Let’s allow our lives to be pruned of the things that need to go! Let’s allow our lives to be flourish by staying connected to Jesus who is the vine! Let’s produce much fruit for the glory of God’s kingdom! Let’s allow God’s love to flow in and thru us to the world around us!

Abiding in the Vine

1“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. 2Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He trims so that it may bear more fruit. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Abide in Me, and I will abide in you. The branch cannot itself produce fruit, unless it abides on the vine. Likewise, you cannot produce fruit unless you abide in Me. 5“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for apart from Me, you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away like a branch and is dried up. Such branches are picked up and thrown into the fire and burned. 7“If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. 8In this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples.” 9“Just as the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you. Abide in My love! 10If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and your joy may be full. 12“This is My commandment, that you love one another just as I have loved you. 13No one has greater love than this: that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15“I am no longer calling you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing. Now I have called you friends, because everything I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16“You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I selected you so that you would go and produce fruit, and your fruit would remain. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My name. 17“These things I command you, so that you may love one another.”

The World Hates God’s Own

18“If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before you. 19If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. But you are not of the world, since I have chosen you out of the world; therefore the world hates you. 20“Remember the word I spoke to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21“But all these things they will do to you for the sake of My name, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin. But now they have no excuse for their sin. 23“He who hates Me also hates My Father. 24If I had not done works among them that no one else did, they would have no sin. But now they have seen and have hated both Me and My Father. 25So is fulfilled the word written in their Scripture, ‘They hated Me for no reason.’ 26“When the Helper comes—whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—He will testify about Me. 27And you also testify, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”

–from John 15

Knowing that it really doesn’t hurt you is one thing, but if someone else seeing you do it will mess things up for then, then we shouldn’t do it! It’s more about building others up rather than just puffing ourselves up. Sure we know it and that could puff us up, like the rooster who struts his stuff around the chicken run. But out of love we can build up others by not doing stuff that we know is ok but could send them astray. We don’t know what they have been thru or their vices and so we need to live our lives out of love first because of our knowledge. We don’t want to be become a stumbling block because of it.

Concerning Idol Sacrifices

1Now concerning idol sacrifices, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2If anyone thinks he knows anything, he doesn’t yet know as he ought to know. 3But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him. 4Therefore concerning the eating of idol sacrifices, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no God but one. 5For even if there are so-called “gods,” whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Yeshua the Messiah, through whom are all things, and we exist through Him. 7But that knowledge is not in everyone—some, so accustomed to idols up until now, eat food as an idol sacrifice; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8But food will not bring us before God. We are no worse off if we do not eat and no better off if we do eat. 9But watch out that this freedom of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10For suppose someone sees you—who have this knowledge—dining in an idol’s temple. If his conscience is weak, won’t he be emboldened to eat idol sacrifices? 11For the one who is weak is destroyed by your knowledge—the brother for whom Messiah died. 12In this way, when you sin against the brothers and sisters and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Messiah. 13For this reason, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I do not cause my brother to stumble.

–from 1 Corinthians 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where does your hope come from?


Where does your help come from? What do you believe? Whom do you follow? With who do you align? Are you walking with or walking away? Are you talking with or talking to or talking at? Are you managing or are you building a relationship? Do you see what is going on around you? Will you be salt and light and make a difference? Will you be positive and encouraging so that people turn back to God? Will you allow your life to shine so that people will glorify your Father in heaven? Will you trust in God no matter what? Will you have hope because you know that the best is yet to come? Yes in this world we will have troubles, but as Jesus tells us, “take heart for I have overcome the world“. Yes, we will face trials, but as God’s Word tells us, “consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds” not just for kicks or for giggles, but so that in and through them we will come thru the other end complete and lacking nothing. My hope is in Jesus! As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! So don’t lose hope! Don’t lose faith! Trust in God! Don’t go it alone! Don’t try to do it your own way and in your own strength! Turn to God and follow after Him and His ways!


Today’s reading starts in Isaiah …

Vision of Jerusalem’s Catastrophe

1The burden of the Valley of Vision: What is the matter with you now? For you have gone up to the rooftops. 2You were full of noise, a boisterous city, an exultant town? Your dead were not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle. 3All your rulers have fled together, then captured without a bow. All who were caught were taken into exile together, though they had fled far off. 4Therefore I said, “Look away from me! Let me weep bitterly— don’t try to comfort me about the ruin of the daughter of my people.” 5For my Lord Adonai-Tzva’ot has a day of panic, trampling and confusion— in the Valley of Vision— of tearing down a wall, a catastrophe on the mountain. 6Elam took up the quiver, with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield. 7So it will come to pass that your choicest valleys will be full of chariots and horsemen posted at the gate. 8So He will expose Judah’s defense, and in that day you will look for the armor in the Forest House. 9Then you will see the breaches in the walls of the city of David—for they will be many—though you collect the water of the lower pool. 10Though you counted the houses of Jerusalem, you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. 11You even made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool—but you did not look to the Maker, or consider the One who planned it long before. 12Now in that day, Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot will call for weeping and wailing, for baldness and putting on sackcloth. 13But instead, there is joy and gladness, slaughtering cattle and killing sheep, meat and drinking wine! “Let’s eat and drink, for tomorrow we will die!” 14But Adonai-Tzva’ot revealed in my ears: “Surely this sin will not be atoned for until you die,” says my Lord Adonai-Tzva’ot. 15Thus says my Lord Adonai-Tzva’ot: “Go, say to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the house: 16‘What are you doing here, and who are you to be here, that you cut out a grave for yourself, carving out a tomb on the height, chiseling a crypt for yourself in the rock? 17Behold, strong man, Adonai is about to hurl you headlong, and seize you firmly. 18He will roll you up tightly and toss you like a ball into a large country. There you will die, and your glorious chariots will be the shame of your Master’s house. 19I will remove you from your post, and pull you down from your station. 20“In that day I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah. 21I will clothe him in your robe and fasten your sash on him. I will give your authority into his hands, so he will be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22I will set the key of the house of David upon his shoulder—what he opens, no one can shut; what he shuts, and no one can open. 23I will fasten him as a peg in a firm place, and he will be a throne of honor to his father’s house. 24They will hang all the glory of his father’s house on him—offspring and posterity, all the small vessels, from bowls to all the jars. 25“In that day,” says Adonai-Tzva’ot, “the peg that was fastened in a firm place will give way, break away and fall, and the load that was on it will be cut off.” For Adonai has spoken.

–from Isaiah 22

Let’s try to get our nation back on track. Let’s try to get it back in alignment with God’s Word, God’s Will and God’s Ways. Let’s not allow it to stray and have to deal with the consequences. Let’s put our hope and trust in God! Just as in the old testament, we have watched how people have had to get into pretty bad situations before they had the aha moments which got them to stop and turn back to God! I pray we don’t have to hit rock bottom before we do turn back to God as a nation! How bad do you need it to be before you will turn back? How bad do you need it to be before you start to intercede for others? How will you point people to the hope that is within you?

How much shaking will it take before God can get your attention? Sometimes it takes shaking things up to get your attention! Are you ready?

Shaking Tyre and Sidon

1The burden of Tyre. Wail, ships of Tarshish! For Tyre is destroyed. There is no house and no harbor. From the land of Cyprus, it was revealed to them. 2Be still, inhabitants of the coastland, you merchants of Sidon, your messengers crossing the sea. 3On many waters the grain of Shihor, the harvest of the Nile was her revenue and a marketplace of nations. 4Be ashamed, O Sidon. For the sea has spoken, the stronghold of the sea, saying, “I have not writhed or given birth. I have not reared young men or brought up maidens.” 5When the report reaches Egypt, they will be in anguish at the report about Tyre. 6Cross over to Tarshish. Wail, you inhabitants of the island! 7Is this your jubilant city? Whose antiquity is from long ago, whose feet have taken her to settle in far off lands? 8Who planned this against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants were princes, whose traders were the honored of earth? 9Adonai-Tzva’ot has planned it, to defile the pride of all glory, to shame all the honored of earth. 10Overflow through your land like the Nile, O daughter of Tarshish! There is no restraint any more. 11His hand has stretched out over the sea, He has shaken the kingdoms. Adonai has given a commandment concerning Canaan, to destroy its strongholds. 12He said, “You will exult no more.” O crushed virgin daughter of Sidon. Arise, cross over to Cyprus— even there you will have no rest. 13Look, the land of the Chaldeans— this is the people who no longer exist. Assyria set it up for desert animals. They set up their siege towers; they stripped its palaces; they made it a ruin. 14Wail, you ships of Tarshish! For your stronghold is destroyed. 15Then it will come about in that day that Tyre will be forgotten for 70 years, like the days of one king. At the end of 70 years it will happen to Tyre just as in the song of the prostitute: 16“Take a harp, stroll about the city, forgotten harlot! Skillfully play many songs, so you may be remembered.” 17Then it will come about after the end of 70 years that Adonai will take note of Tyre. She will return to her trade and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth. 18 Yet her profit and her wages will be set apart to Adonai. They will not be stored up or hoarded. For her profit will be for those who dwell in the presence of Adonai, as ample food and as fine clothing.

–from Isaiah 23

So will you turn to Jesus? Will you cry out to Jesus? Will you ask Him into your life? Will you ask Him into your heart? Will you pursue Him? Will follow after Him? Will you listen to Him? Will you be obedient to Him? Will you receive His mercies? Will you walk in His light? Will you reflect it into the world around you? Will you receive Him before it is too late? Will grab hold of the love and the hope He is offering? Will you love Him? He loves you so much He gave up His life on the cross to provide for forgiveness for you!

Mercy for a Sinful Woman

1But Yeshua went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn, He came again into the Temple. All the people were coming to Him, and He sat down and began to teach them. 3The Torah scholars and Pharisees bring in a woman who had been caught in adultery. After putting her in the middle, 4they say to Yeshua, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of committing adultery. 5In the Torah, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do You say?” 6Now they were saying this to trap Him, so that they would have grounds to accuse Him. But Yeshua knelt down and started writing in the dirt with His finger. 7When they kept asking Him, He stood up and said, “The sinless one among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Then He knelt down again and continued writing on the ground. 9Now when they heard, they began to leave, one by one, the oldest ones first, until Yeshua was left alone with the woman in the middle. 10Straightening up, Yeshua said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11“No one, Sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Yeshua said. “Go, and sin no more.”

The Light of the World

12Yeshua spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows Me will no longer walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13Then the Pharisees said to Him, “You are testifying about Yourself, so Your testimony is not valid.” 14Yeshua answered them, “Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is valid. For I know where I came from and where I am going. But you don’t know where I come from or where I am going. 15You judge according to the flesh, but I do not judge anyone. 16Yet even if I do judge, My judgment is true, because it is not I alone but I with the Father who sent Me. 17Even in your Torah it is written that the testimony of two men is true. 18I am one witness for Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness for Me.” 19Then they said to Him, “Where is your Father?” Yeshua answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you knew Me, you would also know My Father.” 20He spoke these words in the treasury while teaching in the Temple, but no one arrested Him because His hour had not yet come. 21Then again Yeshua spoke to them, “I am going away. You will look for Me and die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22“He won’t kill Himself, will He?” the Judeans asked. “Is that why He says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23Yeshua said, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world 24Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. If you don’t believe that I am, you will die in your sins.”25So they asked Him, “Who are you?” Yeshua replied, “What have I been telling you from the beginning? 26I have much to say and judge about you. But the One who sent Me is true, and I tell the world what I heard from Him.” 27They didn’t understand that He was talking to them about the Father. 28So Yeshua said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know who I am. I do nothing by Myself, but speak just what the Father has taught Me. 29The One who sent Me is with Me. He has not left Me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to Him.” 30As He was speaking these things, many people put their trust in Him. 31Then Yeshua said to the Judeans who had trusted Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly My disciples. 32You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!” 33They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s children and have never been slaves to anyone! How can you say, ‘You will become free’?” 34Yeshua answered them, “Amen, amen I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35Now the slave does not remain in the household forever; the son abides forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed! 37I know you are Abraham’s children; yet you are trying to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38I tell of what I have seen with the Father; so also you do what you heard from the Father.” 39“Abraham is our father,” they replied to Him. Yeshua said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. 40But now you are seeking to kill Me—a Man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God. This Abraham did not do! 41You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, “We were not born as illegitimate children—we have one Father, God Himself!” 42Yeshua said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for from God I came and now I am here. For I have not come on My own, but He sent Me. 43Why don’t you understand My speech? Because you’re not able to hear My word! 44You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks lies he is just being himself—for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45“But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 46Which one of you convicts Me of sinning? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe Me? 47He who belongs to God hears the words of God. The reason you don’t hear is because you do not belong to God.” 48The Judean leaders responded, “Aren’t we right to say you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49Yeshua answered, “I do not have a demon! I honor My Father, yet you dishonor Me. 50But I do not seek My own glory; there is One who is seeking and judging. 51Amen, amen I tell you, if anyone keeps My word, he will never see death.” 52“Now we know You have a demon!” the Judean leaders said to Him. “Abraham and the prophets died. Yet You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste death.’ 53You are not greater than our father Abraham who died, are You? The prophets also died! Who do You make Yourself out to be?” 54Yeshua answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing. It is My Father who gives Me glory—the One of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ 55Yet you do not know Him, but I know Him. If I say I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you. Yet I do know Him and keep His Word. 56Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; he saw it and was thrilled.” 57Then the Judeans said to Him, “You’re not even fifty years old and you’ve seen Abraham?” 58Yeshua answered, “Amen, amen I tell you, before Abraham was, I am!” 59Then they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Yeshua hid Himself and went out from the Temple.

–from John 8

There is a way!


Don’t give up! Don’t lose hope! Don’t be afraid! Don’t worry! There is a way!

We are all facing choices! Everyday we need to make a choice! Choose wisely! Seek wisdom! There is a way!

Need answers? Need wisdom? Need direction? Need instruction? Need correction? There is a way!

Turn back to God! Ask God for help! Hear and obey His instruction! There is a way!


Today’s reading begins with Hosea…

Salvation Like Dew for Israel

1Samaria will bear her guilt, for she has rebelled against her God. They will fall by the sword, their infants dashed to pieces, their pregnant women ripped open. 2Return O Israel, to Adonai your God, for you have stumbled in your iniquity. 3Take words with you and return to Adonai. Say to Him: “Take away all iniquity, and accept what is good, so we may repay with offerings of our lips: 4‘Assyria will not save us. We will not ride on horses, and we will never again say, “Our god,” to the work of our hands, for with You, orphans find mercy.’” 5“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger will turn away from him. 6I will be like dew for Israel. He will blossom like a lily, and thrust out his roots like Lebanon. 7His tender shoots will spread out. His beauty will be like an olive tree and his fragrance will be like Lebanon. 8Those dwelling in his shadow will return. They will grow grain and bud like a vine. His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon. 9Ephraim: “What more are idols to me? I have responded and observed Him. I will be like a luxuriant cypress tree. From me will be found Your fruit.” 10Who is wise? Let him discern these things. Who is intelligent? Let him know them. For the ways of Adonai are straight, and the just walk in them, but the wicked stumble in them.

–from Hosea 14

Will you help clean up the situation? Will you help make sure that we are going the right way? Will you help point people in the right direction? There is a way!

1The word of Adonai that came to Micah the Morashtite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah—visions he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

Smashing Idols in the High Places

2Hear, O peoples—all of you! Attention, O land and everything in it! Adonai Elohim will be witness against you— The Lord from His holy Temple. 3For behold, Adonai is coming forth out of His place. He will come down and trample on the high places of the land. 4The mountains will melt away under Him and the valleys will split apart like wax before the fire, like water being poured down a slope. 5All this is because of Jacob’s transgression and the sins of the house of Israel. Who is the transgression of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? Who are the high places of Judah? Are they not Jerusalem? 6So I will make Samaria into a ruin in the countryside, planting places for a vineyard. I will hurl her stones into the valley and will lay bare her foundations. 7All her images will be smashed, all her prostitute’s pay burned with fire, and all her idols I will make desolate. For from prostitute’s pay she collected them and to prostitute’s pay they will return. 8Concerning this let me lament and howl. Let me walk barefoot and naked. I will make a howl like jackals and a mourning like ostriches. 9For her wounds are incurable. For it has come up to Judah. It has reached the gate of my people— even up to Jerusalem! 10Tell it not in Gath—weep not at all. At Beth-le-aphrah roll in the dust. 11Pass on, you who dwell in Saphir— nakedness and shame— she who dwells in Zaanan will not come out. Wailing of Beth-ezel: He will take from you its standing-place. 12For she who dwells in Maroth has languished for something good. For calamity has come down from Adonai to Jerusalem’s gate. 13Harness the chariot to the steed, O inhabitant of Lachish! It was the beginning of sin for the Daughter of Zion— because in you were found the rebellions of Israel. 14Therefore you will give parting gifts to Moresheth-gath—houses of Achzib as a deception to the kings of Israel. 15Yet I will bring the possessor to you, inhabitant of Mareshah. The glory of Israel will come as far as Adullam. 16Shave yourself bald, yes shear your hair for the children of your delight. Enlarge your bald spot like a vulture, for they went from you into exile.

–from Micah 1

Let’s get our hearts aligned to God! Let’s get our hearts opened up to God’s ways! Let’s choose to take care of the things God has given us to do! Let’s hear His Word and do what He asks! Let’s allow the still quiet voice to lead us and direct us! Let’s turn back to God! Let’s point people back to God! There is a way!

Covetous Schemers

1Oy to them who scheme wickedness, who work out evil upon their beds! In the light of the morning, they do it, for the power is in their hands. 2They covet fields, so they seize them, or houses, and take them away. So they oppress a man and his house— a man and his inheritance. 3Therefore, thus said Adonai: “Behold, I am scheming a calamity against this family from which you cannot remove your necks. Then you will not walk haughtily, for it will be a time of distress.” 4In that day He will lift up a parable for you, and there will be wailing lamentation, saying: “We have been utterly ruined! He changes the portion of my people. How He removes it from me! To the faithless He apportions our fields!” 5Therefore you will have no one casting for territory by lot in the congregation of Adonai. 6“Do not prophesy,” they prophesy. Unless they prophesy about such things, He will not turn back reproaches.” 7Is it said, “O house of Jacob, is the Ruach Adonai short of patience? Are these His deeds?” “Do not My words deal well with one who walks uprightly?” 8But recently My people arose as an enemy. You strip off the outer robe of a garment from those passing through confidently— those returning from war. 9The wives of My people you cast out from their exquisite houses. From her young children you take away My splendor, forever. 10Arise and go! For this is not the resting place, because of uncleanness that destroys— a grievous destruction. 11If a man walking in a spirit of falsehood speaks lies—“I will prophesy for you of wine and strong drink”—then he would be a spokesman of this people. 12“I will surely gather Jacob—all of you! I will surely gather the remnant of Israel. I will put them together like sheep in a pen, like a flock within its pasture. They will be noisy with people. 13One breaking through will go up before them. They will break through, pass through the gate and go out by it. Their King will pass through before them —Adonai at their head!”

–from Micah 2

Let’s give our lives over to God! Let’s align our steps to His path, His plan, and His purpose! Let’s bring Him praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’ name! Let’s make a difference! Let’s walk in His strength! There is a way!

God Thunders Throughout Creation

1A psalm of David. Ascribe to Adonai, O sons of God, ascribe to Adonai glory and strength. 2Ascribe to Adonai the glory of His Name. Bow down to Adonai in the beauty of holiness. 3The voice of Adonai is over the waters. The God of glory thunders— Adonai is over mighty waters. 4The voice of Adonai is powerful. The voice of Adonai is full of majesty. 5The voice of Adonai breaks the cedars. Yes, Adonai shatters cedars of Lebanon. 6He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. 7The voice of Adonai hews out flames of fire. 8The voice of Adonai shakes the desert. Adonai shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 9The voice of Adonai makes the deer writhe in birth and strips forests bare, and in His Temple all are saying, “Glory!” 10Adonai sits enthroned over the flood. Yes, Adonai sits as King forever. 11Adonai gives strength to His people. Adonai blesses His people with shalom.

–from Psalms 29

Follow after Jesus! He is the way, the truth, and the light! He will bring us to the Father! There is a way!

Jesus knew His purpose and nothing was going to get in His way! Jesus knew that in His sacrifice there would be victory for all! Jesus knew the beginning and the end! He conquered the grave! He defeated the cross! He made a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! He opened a door that nobody can close! He closed a door that nobody can open! Death was defeated and couldn’t hold Him down! So don’t lose hope! Don’t give up! There is a way!

Handed Over to the Romans

1Right at daybreak, the ruling kohanim held a meeting to consult with the elders and Torah scholars and the whole Sanhedrin. They tied up Yeshua, led Him away, and handed Him over to Pilate. 2Pilate interrogated Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Yeshua answers him, “As you say.” 3The ruling kohanim began to accuse Him of many things. 4Again, Pilate asked Him, “Aren’t you going to answer? Look how many charges they’re bringing against You!” 5But Yeshua did not answer, so Pilate was amazed. 6Now during the feast, he used to release to them one prisoner, anyone they were asking for. 7Now a man named Bar-Abba had been in jail with the rebels who had committed murder during the rebellion. 8The crowd came up and began to request what he was accustomed to do for them. 9But Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10For he knew that out of envy the ruling kohanim had handed Him over. 11But the ruling kohanim stirred up the crowd, so he would release Bar-Abba to them instead. 12Then answering again, Pilate said to them, “So what do you want me to do with the One you call the King of the Jews?” 13They shouted back, “Execute Him!” 14Pilate responded, “Why? What evil has He done?” But they shouted all the more, “Execute Him!” 15Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Bar-Abba for them. And after he had Yeshua scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified. 16The soldiers took Him away, into the palace, the governor’s mansion called the Praetorium. And they call together the cohort of soldiers. 17They dress Him up in purple. After braiding a crown of thorns, they put it on Him. 18And they began to salute Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19Over and over, they kept hitting Him on the head with a staff and spitting on Him; and kneeling down, they worshiped Him. 20When they finished mocking Him, they stripped the purple off Him and put His own clothes back on Him. And they led Him out to crucify Him.

Crucified as King of the Jews

21Now Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was coming in from the countryside. The soldiers force this passerby to carry Yeshua’s cross-beam. 22They bring Yeshua to the place called Golgotha (which is translated, Place of a Skull). 23They were offering Him wine mixed with myrrh, but He didn’t take it. 24Then they crucify Him and divide up His clothing among themselves, casting lots for them to see who should take what. 25Now it was the third hour when they nailed Him on the stake. 26And the inscription of the charge against Him was written above: “THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 27And with Him they execute two outlaws, one on His right and one on His left. 28[footnote: Later mss. add: So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘He was counted with the sinners.’ See Isa. 53:12.] 29Those passing by were jeering at Him, shaking their heads and saying, “Ha! You who are going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days, 30save Yourself by coming down from the stake!” 31Likewise the ruling kohanim, along with the Torah scholars, were also mocking Him among themselves. “He saved others,” they were saying, “but He can’t save Himself? 32Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the stake, so we may see and believe!” Even those executed with Him were ridiculing Him.

Death and Burial

33When the sixth hour had come, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34At the ninth hour Yeshua cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me?” 35When some of the bystanders heard it, they began saying, “Look, He’s calling for Elijah.” 36Then someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine. He put it on a stick and was offering it to Yeshua to drink, saying, “Wait, let’s see if Elijah comes to take Him down.” 37But letting out a loud cry, Yeshua breathed His last. 38Then the curtain of the Temple was split in two, from top to bottom. 39When the centurion, who was standing in front of Him, saw the way Yeshua breathed His last, he said, “This Man really was the Son of God!” 40There were also women watching from a distance. Among them were Miriam from Magdala, Miriam the mother of Jacob the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41They would follow Him and serve Him when He was in the Galilee. Many other women who had gone up together with Him to Jerusalem were there also. 42Now evening had already come. Since it was the Day of Preparation, that is, the day before Shabbat, 43Joseph of Arimathea, a respected council member who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Yeshua’s body. 44Pilate was surprised that He was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him whether Yeshua had been dead for long. 45When Pilate learned this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. 46Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen, and laid Him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47Miriam from Magdala and Miriam the mother of Joses were watching where Yeshua’s body was placed.

–from Mark 15

 

What’s leading or directing your decisions?


Faced with a decision to make, what is guiding you? Faced with decision to make, what is directing your path? Faced with decision to make, who or what are you following?

How about at work when options come before you? How about in your country when it comes to picking leadership during the elections? How about in your community when you need to choose where and when and if to get involved?

Is it based on peer pressure? Is it based on group decision? Is it based on a gut feel? Is it based on analyzing all the data? Is it based on alignment to God’s way and will?

sign-post-what-is-directing-your-decision-and-path

Imagine how things would be different if everyone put God in the center of all of their lives! Imagine Jesus being the center for every decision and hence being lead by the Holy Spirit in every decision you make!

jesus-at-the-center-of-it-all

Let’s stop focusing on the thing and start focusing on the creator! Let’s stop focusing on the created and start focusing on the creator! Let’s stop focusing on rituations and start focusing on having a relationship with God!


Today’s reading kicks off in this line in Hosea…

Idols Thrown Down

1“Put a shofar to your mouth! Like a vulture he comes against the house of Adonai. For they overstepped My covenant and transgressed My Torah. 2 Will they cry out to Me, ‘My God, we—Israel—knew You’? 3Israel has rejected goodness— an adversary will pursue him. 4They crowned kings, but not by Me. They appointed princes I did not approve. Their silver and gold they made into idols— just so they would be cut down. 5Samaria! Your calf is thrown down! My anger is kindled against them! How long will they be incapable of innocence? 6For a craftsman from Israel made it, so it is no god. For the calf of Samaria will be splinters. 7“For they sow wind, and reap a whirlwind. There is no mature grain— the sprout yields no meal. Should it produce anything, strangers would swallow it up. 8Israel has been swallowed up! Now they are among the nations, like an ornament with no delight in it. 9For they have gone up to Assyria, like a wild donkey alone by itself. Ephraim has hired lovers. 10Although they hire among the nations, I will now round them up. So they will begin to decrease under the burden of king and princes. 11“When Ephraim multiplied altars for making sin offerings, they became his altars for sinning. 12Though I were to write out for him ten thousand things from My Torah, they are regarded as something strange. 13Sacrifices are gifts for Me— should they sacrifice meat and then eat it? Adonai will not accept them. Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sin— they will return to Egypt. 14For Israel has forgotten his Maker and built temples, while Judah has multiplied fortified cities. So I will send fire upon its cities that will consume their citadels.”

–from Hosea 8

How far away can you get before you get into trouble? How far from under the protective cover can you get before you get hurt? How far will you wander before you turn back?

Days of Desolation Are Coming

1Do not rejoice, O Israel, do not celebrate like the peoples— for so you have gone whoring away from your God. You have loved a prostitute’s pay, on every grain-threshing-floor. 2Threshing-floor and wine-press will not sustain them, and new wine will fail her. 3They will not dwell in Adonai’s land. Instead Ephraim will return to Egypt, and eat unclean food in Assyria. 4They will pour no wine-offerings to Adonai— they would not be pleasing to Him. Their sacrifices will be like the bread of mourners for them. All that eat it will be defiled, for their bread is for their appetite, not coming into the House of Adonai. 5What will you do for a moed or for the day of Adonai’s feast? 6Look, even if they escape the desolation, Egypt will gather them up; Memphis will bury them. And their precious silver treasures? Weeds will possess them. Thorns will be in their tents. 7The days of punishment have come; the days of retribution have come. Let Israel know! The prophet is a fool; the man of the spirit is mad! For great is your iniquity and great the hostility. 8Ephraim is a watchman with my God, a prophet. A bird catcher’s trap is on all his paths. Hostility is in the House of his God. 9They have deeply corrupted themselves as in the days of Gibeah. He will remember their iniquity, He will punish their sin. 10“Like grapes in the wilderness I found Israel. Like early fruit on a fig tree in its first season I saw your fathers. They came to Baal-peor and devoted themselves to shame. So they became as detestable as the thing they loved. 11Ephraim’s glory flies away like a bird— no birth, no pregnancy, no conception! 12For if they should raise their children, I would make them childless to the last man. Yes, woe to them when I depart from them! 13Ephraim, as I have seen, is like Tyre, planted in a meadow, but Ephraim will bring his children out to the slayer.” 14Give them, Adonai, what will You give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dried up breasts. 15“All their wickedness is at Gilgal, for there I despised them. Because of their wicked practices, I will drive them out of My House. I will love them no more. All their princes are rebellious. 16Ephraim is blighted; their root is withered; they bear no fruit. Even if they bring forth children, I will slay the cherished ones in their wombs.” 17My God will cast them off, since they did not listen to Him. So they will become wanderers among the nations.

–from Hosea 9

What is going to take to bring you back into alignment with God? Will you need to see something? Will you need to hear something? Will you need to feel something? Will you smell or sense something? What would need to happen to really get your attention?

Will you change the way you are living? Will you set an ethic to follow? Will you look to live righteously? Will you look to live a covenant of love? Will you soften your heart to the things and ways of God? Will you humble yourself and give your life up to God?

What will you sow? What will that cause you to reap?

Israel to be Shamed in Captivity

1A luxuriant vine is Israel, who produces fruit for himself. Like the abundance of his fruit he has multiplied his altars. Like the goodness of his land, they made beautiful sacred pillars. 2Their heart became smooth. Now they will bear their guilt. He will break down their altars. He will destroy their sacred pillars. 3Surely now they will say: “We have no king, for we have not feared Adonai. The king—what can he do for us?” 4They spoke words— empty oaths to make a covenant. But judgment springs up as hemlock in the furrows of the field. 5The inhabitants of Samaria will quarrel over the calves of Beth-aven. Indeed its people will mourn over it, but its priests will tremble over it. For its glory will surely depart from it. 6It also will be carried to Assyria as tribute to a warring king. Ephraim will receive shame and Israel will be put to shame by its own counsel. 7Samaria is being cut off. Her king is like a splinter on the surface of the water. 8The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel will be destroyed. Thorns and thistles will come up on their altars. And they will say to the mountains: “Cover us!” And to the hills: “Fall on us!” 9“From the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, O Israel. There they took their stand. Will not war over sons of iniquity overtake them in Gibeah? 10When I desire, I will chasten them, and peoples will gather against them when they are yoked to their two sins. 11Though Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh, I put a yoke over her fair neck. I will make Ephraim pull; Judah will plow; Jacob will drag a harrow by himself.”

Plow Up Your Ground

12Sow for yourselves righteousness. Reap in accord with covenant love. Break up your unplowed ground. For it is time to seek Adonai, until He comes and showers righteousness on you. 13You have plowed up wickedness, you have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of delusion, for you have trusted in your own way, in the multitude of your mighty men. 14A tumult will arise among your people. All your strongholds will be demolished, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel in the day of battle, when a mother was dashed in pieces with her children. 15Just so has Bethel done to you because of your great wickedness. At dawn the king of Israel will be utterly cut off.

–from Hosea 10

What’s it going to take for God to get your attention? Do you realize what He has already done for you? Do you realize how much Jesus did? Do you realize what is at hand? Do you realize what is available? Do you realize it’s a choice we each have to make individually? So choose wisely! Choose to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and to follow Him all the rest of your life!

My Son Called Out

1“When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. 2They called out to them but they departed from their presence. They kept sacrificing to the Baalim and burning incense up to idols. 3Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk. I took them on My arms. But they never acknowledged that I had healed them. 4With human cords I was drawing them, with bonds of love, and I became to them as One lifting a yoke from their jaws. I bent down to them and fed them. 5He will not return to the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian will be his king— because they refused to return. 6So a sword will fall on his cities, and destroy and devour his gate bars because of their own counsels. 7So My people are bent on turning from Me. Although they are being called upwards, none will rise up. 8“How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I surrender you, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I set you as Zeboim? My heart is turning over within Me. My compassions are kindled. 9 I will not vent My fierce anger. I will not again destroy Ephraim. For I am God—not a man— the Holy One in the midst of you, and I will not come in fury.” 10They will walk after Adonai. He will roar like a lion. Indeed, He will roar and the children will come trembling from the west. 11“They will come trembling like a bird out of Egypt, like a dove out of the land of Assyria, and I will settle them in their houses.” It is a declaration of Adonai.

–from Hosea 11

Make your choice fast! Make your choice soon! Don’t wait till it is too late! Take a look around and see the signs of the season! Every year when I go through the Bible, I feel like we are getting closer based on what is taking place in the world!

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Signs of the End

1As Yeshua was going out of the Temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, look! What stones and what buildings!” 2Yeshua said to him, “You see these great buildings? Not one stone here will be left upon another. Every one will be torn down!” 3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple, Peter, Jacob, John, and Andrew were questioning Him privately, 4“Tell us, when will these things happen? What will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5Yeshua began to tell them, “Watch out that no one leads you astray! 6Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and they will lead many astray. 7When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed, for this must happen but it is not yet the end. 8For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines. These things are only the beginning of birth pains. 9“Watch out for yourselves! They will hand you over to the courts, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will stand before governors and kings because of Me, as a witness to them. 10The Good News must first be proclaimed to all the nations. 11When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Say whatever is given to you in that hour, for it is not you who speaks but the Ruach ha-Kodesh. 12Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. And children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. 13And you will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

Birth Pangs Before Deliverance

14“But when you see ‘the abomination of desolation’ standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. 15The one on the roof must not go down, nor enter to take anything out of his house. 16And the one in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 17Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 18Pray that it will not happen in winter. 19“For in those days there will be trouble such as has never happened, not since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will. 20And unless Adonai had cut short those days, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He cut short the days. 21“And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here’s the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there He is!’ do not believe it. 22For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and show signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the chosen. 23So be careful! See, I have told you everything beforehand.”

Messianic Victory

24“But in those days, after that trouble, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.’ 26And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27Then He will send out the angels and will gather together His chosen from the four winds, from the end of the earth, to the end of heaven.”

Keep Watch

28“Now learn the parable from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 29So also, when you see all these things happening, know that it is near, at the door. 30Amen, I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things happen. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. 32But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven nor the Son, except the Father. 33“Keep on the lookout! Stay alert! For you do not know when the time is. 34It is like a man away on a journey. After leaving his house and putting his servants in charge and giving each his task, he also commanded the doorkeeper to watch. 35Therefore stay alert, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, when the rooster crows, or in the early morning. 36So watch in case, coming suddenly, he finds you asleep. 37What I say to you I say to all: ‘Stay alert!’”

–from Mark 13

 

Turbulent times…


Do you realize the impact of all that change? Do you realize that your worldview makes a difference? How you live! How you speak! How you act! What drives you! What motivates you! What leads you! What guides you! What instructs you! What corrects you!

only-those-who-press-through-turbulence-find-success

When you start going your own way and it’s against God’s way, it tends not to last! When you start out strong with God but then walk away, it tends not to last! What will get you back on track? What will help you stay on track? What will help you finish strong?

Jesus came to make a way! Jesus gave His all in order that it’s never too late to turn back to God! Jesus provides wisdom and guidance on how to live! So let’s follow in His servant leadership shoes!

Take a look around and see the impact when leadership isn’t aligned with God’s will and God’s way! It’s not isolated to a specific country how the pendulum swings. It’s not limited to just some countries if or when it will swing towards or away from God. But as the people of God we need to be living our lives and pointing people by the way we live our lives back to God! Sharing the love of Jesus! Allowing the Holy Spirit to work in and through us! And ensure that God gets the honor and the glory, forever and ever in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! Amen.

Turbulent times…


Today’s reading begins in 2 Kings…

Menahem Ends Jehu’s Line

1In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah became king. 2He was 16 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned 52 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. 3Now he did what was right in Adonai’s eyes, just like all that his father Amaziah had done. 4However, the high places were not taken away—the people were still sacrificing and burning incense on the high places. 5Then Adonai struck the king, so that he had tza’arat until the day of his death, and lived in an isolated house. Meanwhile Jotham, the king’s son, was in charge of the palace and governing the people of the land. 6Now the rest of the acts of Azariah and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 7Then Azariah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David. Then his son Jotham became king in his place. 8In the thirty-eighth year of King Azariah of Judah, Zechariah son of Jeroboam reigned over Israel in Samaria for six months. 9But he did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, as his fathers had done. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit. 10Then Shallum son of Jabesh conspired against him and smote him before the people, killed him, and became king in his place. 11Now the rest of the acts of Zechariah, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 12This was the word of Adonai that He spoke to Jehu, saying, “Your descendants to the fourth generation will sit on the throne of Israel,” and so it came to pass. 13Shallum son of Jabesh began to reign in the thirty-ninth year of King Uzziah of Judah, and he reigned for one month in Samaria. 14Then Menahem son of Gadi marched up from Tirzah, reached Samaria, then struck down Shallum son of Jabesh in Samaria, killed him, and became king in his place. 15Now the rest of the acts of Shallum, including his conspiracy that he contrived, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 16Then Menahem struck down Tiphsah and all who were in it, and its territories from Tirzah, because they did not open to him, therefore he attacked it and ripped open all its pregnant women. 17In the thirty-ninth year of King Azariah of Judah, Menahem son of Gadi became king over Israel, and he reigned ten years in Samaria. 18But he did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes. Throughout his days he never turned away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit. 19Then King Pul of Assyria invaded the country, so Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver so that his hand might be with him to strengthen his hold on the kingdom. 20Menahem exacted the money from Israel, from every person of means, each one 50 shekels of silver to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back and stayed no longer in the land. 21Now the rest of the acts of Menahem and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 22Then Menahem slept with his fathers, and his son Pekahiah became king in his place. 23In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekahiah son of Menahem became king over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned two years. 24But he did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit. 25Then Pekah son of Remaliah, his aide, conspired against him and assassinated him in Samaria, in the castle of the royal palace, along with Argob, Arieh, and 50 Gileadite men. So he killed him and became king in his place. 26Now the rest of the acts of Pekahiah and all that he did, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.

Israel and Aram Attack Judah

27In the fifty-second year of King Azariah of Judah, Pekah son of Remaliah became king over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned 20 years. 28But he did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit. 29In the days of Pekah king of Israel, King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria invaded and captured Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee—all the region of Naphtali, and he deported them to Assyria. 30Then Hoshea son of Elah conspired against Pekah son of Remaliah. He attacked and assassinated him, and then became king in his place in the twentieth year of Jotham son of Uzziah. 31Now the rest of the acts of Pekah and all that he did, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 32In the second year of Pekah son of King Remaliah of Israel, Jotham son of Uzziah king of Judah began to reign. 33He was 25 years old when he became king, and he reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jerusha daughter of Zadok. 34Now he did what was right in the eyes of Adonai, just as his father Uzziah had done. 35However, the high places were not taken away, and the people were still sacrificing and burning incense on the high places. It was he who built the upper gate of the House of Adonai. 36Now the rest of the acts of Jotham and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 37In those days Adonai began to send King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah against Judah. 38Jotham slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of his father David. Then Ahaz his son became king in his place.

–from 2 Kings 15

So will you align to God’s will? Will you allow Him to guide your steps, your thoughts, and your words? Will you live with integrity so that you can walk safely? Will you keep your eyes on God rather than lifting up yourself?

Good King Jotham Prospers

1Jotham was 25 years old when he became king, and he reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jerushah the daughter of Zadok. 2He did what was right in the eyes of Adonai, just as his father Uzziah had done. But unlike his father, he did not enter into the Temple of Adonai. The people, however, acted corruptly. 3He rebuilt the upper gate of the House of Adonai and did extensive building on the wall of Ophel. 4He also built towns in the Judean hills and forts and towers in the forests. 5Jotham also fought the king of the Ammonites and prevailed against them. That year the Ammonites paid him 100 talents of silver, 10,000 measures of wheat and 10,000 of barley. The Ammonites brought him the same amount also in the second and third years. 6Jotham became powerful because he ordered his ways before Adonai his God. 7Now the rest of the acts of Jotham and all his wars and his ways, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. 8He was 25 years old when he became king and reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. 9Jotham slept with his fathers and they buried him in the city of David. Ahaz his son became king in his place.

–from 2 Chronicles 27

God has a plan! God has a purpose! How will you choose to hear it and align to it? Will you believe it and follow after it? Will you try to change it up because of a hard heart? Will you humble yourself? Will you approach God with the innocence of a child? Will you not allow pride to get in the way of doing what God has called you to do and become? It may not be easy, but with God all things are possible!

Abide in Marriage

1Then getting up from there, Yeshua goes to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. Again crowds gather around Him, and, as was His custom, He began to teach them once more. 2Pharisees came up, and to test Him they began asking, “Is it permitted for a man to divorce his wife?” 3And He replied to them, “What did Moses command you?” 4The Pharisees said, “Moses permitted a man to write a bill of divorce and to put her away.” 5But Yeshua said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment! 6But from the beginning of creation, God ‘made them male and female. 7For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate!” 10In the house, the disciples began questioning Him about this again. 11And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 12And if she divorces her husband and marries another, she is committing adultery.”

Let the Little Ones Come!

13Now people were bringing little children to Yeshua so He might touch them, but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14But when Yeshua saw this, He got angry. He told them, “Let the little children come to Me! Do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15Amen, I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it!” 16And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.

The Cost of Discipleship

17As Yeshua was setting out on His way, a man ran up to Him, fell on his knees before Him, and asked, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18“Why do you call Me good?” Yeshua said to him. “No one is good except One—that is God. 19You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony,’ do not cheat, ‘honor your father and mother.’” 20The man responded, “Teacher, all these I have kept since my youth!” 21Looking at him, Yeshua loved him and said, “One thing you lack. Go, sell as much as you have, and give to the poor; and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” 22But at this statement, the man became sad and went away grieving, for he had much property. 23Then looking around, Yeshua says to His disciples, “How hard it will be for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” 24The disciples were amazed at His words. But Yeshua answers again and says to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26The disciples were even more astonished, saying among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” 27Looking at them, Yeshua said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God!” 28Peter began to say to Him, “Look, we’ve left everything to follow You!” 29“Amen, I tell you,” Yeshua replied, “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for My sake and for the sake of the Good News, 30who will not receive a hundred times as much now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and property, along with persecutions; and in the olam ha-ba , eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Death and Resurrection Revealed

32They were on the way going up to Jerusalem, and Yeshua was going ahead of them. And they were amazed, while those who followed were fearful. Again Yeshua took the Twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him. 33He said, “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the ruling kohanim and the Torah scholars. They will condemn Him to death and hand Him over to the Gentiles. 34They will mock Him and spit on Him, scourge Him and kill Him. Yet after three days, He will rise again!” 35Then Jacob and John, the sons of Zebedee, come up to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.” 36And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37They said to Him, “Let us sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.” 38But Yeshua answered them, “You don’t know what you’re asking! Are you able to drink the cup I drink, or endure the immersion I must endure?” 39They said to Him, “We are able.” And Yeshua said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink, and you will endure the immersion I must endure. 40But to sit on My right or left is not Mine to grant—it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41Now when the ten heard, they started to get angry with Jacob and John. 42And calling them over, Yeshua said to them, “You know those recognized as rulers of the nations lord it over them, and their great ones play the tyrant over them. 43Yet it is not this way among you. But whoever wants to be great among you shall be your servant, 44and whoever wants to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Ben-David Heals the Blind

46Then they came to Jericho. Now as Yeshua was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus the son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 47When he heard that it was Yeshua of Natzeret, he began to cry out, “Ben-David, Yeshua! Have mercy on me!” 48Many were warning him to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the more, “Ben-David, have mercy on me!” 49Yeshua stopped and said, “Call him over.” So they call the blind man, saying, “Take heart! Get up, He’s calling you!” 50Throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and came to Yeshua. 51And answering him, Yeshua said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said, “Rabboni, I want to see again!” 52Yeshua said to him, “Go! Your faith has made you well.” Instantly he regained his sight and began following Yeshua down the road.

–from Mark 10

 

How will you approach? Will you be coming asking or demanding?


What tone will you use? What approach will you use? What strategy will you use?

Do you realize that the approach will have an interpretation to the one you are approaching? Do you realize there are consequence and benefits to picking the right approach?

How will you approach?
Will you be coming asking or demanding?


Do you realize that it’s important to be going to the right place? Do you realize that it’s important to be asking the right person? Do you realize the implications of going to ask the wrong person?

Elijah Prophesies to Ahaziah

1After Ahab’s death, Moab rebelled against Israel. 2Now Ahaziah fell down from the balcony of his upper chamber in Samaria and was injured. So he sent messengers and instructed them, “Go inquire of Baal-Zebub the god of Ekron, whether I will recover from this injury.” 3But an angel of Adonai said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say to them: ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-Zebub the god of Ekron?’ 4Therefore thus says Adonai: ‘You will not leave the bed you are lying on, for you will surely die.’” And Elijah departed. 5When the messengers returned to the king, he asked them, “Why have you returned?” 6They answered him, “A man came up to meet us and said to us: ‘Go, return to the king who sent you, and say to him, thus says Adonai, “Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-Zebub the god of Ekron? Therefore you will not leave the bed you are lying on, for you will surely die.”’” 7Then he said to them, “What kind of man was he that came up to meet you and told you these words?” 8They answered him, “He was a hairy man with a leather belt around his waist.” “It’s Elijah the Tishbite,” he said. 9So the king sent a captain of 50 with his 50 to Elijah. When the captain went up to him, behold, he was sitting on the top of the hill. So he announced to him, “O man of God, by order of the king, come down!” 10In response, Elijah said to the captain of 50, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your 50!” Then fire did come down from heaven and consumed him and his 50. 11So the king again sent to him another captain of 50 with his 50 men, who addressed him and said, “O man of God, by order of the king, come down quickly!” 12In response, Elijah said to them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your 50.” And the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his 50. 13So the king again sent the captain of a third 50 with his 50. But when the third captain of 50 went up and came near, he knelt before Elijah, and begged him saying, “O man of God, please, let my life and the lives of these 50 servants of yours be precious in your eyes! 14Behold, fire came down from heaven and consumed the two previous captains of 50 with their 50; but now let my life be precious in your eyes!” 15Then the angel of Adonai said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So he arose and went down with him to the king. 16Then Elijah said to the king, “Thus says Adonai: You have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-Zebub the god of Ekron. Is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of His word? Therefore you will not leave the bed you are lying on, for you will surely die.” 17So he died just as was the word of Adonai that Elijah had spoken. Then Jehoram became king in his place, because Ahaziah had no son. It was in the second year of Jehoram son of King Jehoshaphat of Judah. 18Now the rest of the deeds of Ahaziah which he did, are they not written in the book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?

–from 2 Kings 1

Where will you turn? Who will you ask? What will you believe? Why would you trust something said or done that is against the Word of God? Will you ask advice from people who always give you a good report? Will you ask advice from people who always speak the truth? Will you find it more valuable to get the truth or something that makes you feel better in the moment? Do you realize the implication when the message is a lie? If you are asked, will you give a “happy” answer or will you speak the truth in love?

Prophecy of the Deceiving Spirit

1Now Jehoshaphat had wealth and honor in abundance but he allied himself with Ahab by marriage. 2Some years later he went down to visit Ahab in Samaria. Ahab slaughtered many sheep and bulls for him and the people with him, and urged him to march with him against Ramoth-gilead. 3King Ahab of Israel asked King Jehoshaphat of Judah, “Will you go with me against Ramoth-gilead?” He replied, “I am as you are and my people as your people, and we will be with you in battle.” 4Jehoshaphat then said to the king of Israel, “Please, let us seek, today, the word of Adonai.” 5So the king of Israel assembled the prophets—400 men—and asked them, “Should we go to war against Ramoth-gilead, or should I hold off?” They answered, “Go up, for God will give it into the king’s hand!” 6But Jehoshaphat asked, “Isn’t there another prophet of Adonai here of whom we should inquire?” 7The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man through whom we can inquire of Adonai—but I hate him, because he has never prophesied anything good about me but always evil. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.” But Jehoshaphat said, “May the king never say such a thing.” 8So the king of Israel called an official and said, “Bring Micaiah son of Imlah quickly!” 9Now the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah, wearing their robes, were sitting on their thrones on the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria with all the prophets prophesying before them. 10Zedekiah son of Henaanah made for himself iron horns and declared, “Thus says Adonai, ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are exterminated!’” 11All the other prophets were prophesying similarly, saying “March against Ramoth-gilead and succeed, for Adonai will give it into the hand of the king.” 12Now the messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah spoke to him saying, “Look, the words of the prophets are unanimously favorable to the king. So please let your word be like one of them and speak favorably.” 13But Micaiah replied, “As Adonai lives, what my God says that is what I will say.” 14When he came to the king, the king asked him, “Micaiah, should we go to war against Ramoth-gilead, or should I hold off?” He replied, “March and be victorious! They will be given into your hand!” 15But the king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the Name of Adonai?” 16 So he said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and Adonai said, ‘These have no master—let each man return home in shalom.” 17So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies good about me, only evil?” 18Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of Adonai. I saw Adonai sitting on His throne with the whole host of heaven standing on His right and on His left. 19And Adonai said: ‘Who will entice Ahab king of Israel to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ Then one said this and another said that, 20until a spirit came forward and stood before Adonai and said, ‘I will entice him.’ So Adonai said to him, ‘How?’ 21He answered, ‘I will go and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then He said, ‘You will entice him and you will also succeed. Go and do so.’ 22So now, behold, Adonai has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these prophets of yours and Adonai has decreed disaster against you.” 23Then Zedekiah son of Chenaanah approached Micaiah, slapped him on the cheek and said, “How did the spirit of Adonai pass over me to speak to you?” 24Micaiah replied, “Behold, you will see on the day that you go to hide in an inner room.” 25Then the king of Israel said, “Take Micaiah and turn him over to Amon, governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son, 26and say, ‘Thus says the king, “Put this fellow in prison and make him eat the bread and water of affliction—until I return in shalom.”’” 27Then Micaiah said, “If you ever return in shalom, Adonai has not spoken through me.” He added: “Listen, all you people!”

Ahab Dies in Battle

28So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah marched against Ramoth-gilead. 29Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into the battle, but you put on your robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and they went into the battle. 30Now the king of Aram had already ordered his chariot commanders saying: “Don’t attack anyone, small or great, except the king of Israel alone.” 31So when the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat they thought, “This is the king of Israel.” So they turned to attack him but Jehoshaphat cried out. Adonai helped him and God diverted them from him. 32When the chariot commanders realized that he was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him. 33But a man drew his bow aimlessly and struck the king of Israel between the lower armor and the breastplate. The king said to the charioteer, “Turn around and take me out of the battle, for I am wounded.” 34The battle raged that day and the king of Israel remained propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans until dusk. Then at sunset he died.

–from 2 Chronicles 18

Will you align to God? Will you turn from your own ways and towards God’s? Will you allow God’s wisdom and direction and correction to lead you and direct your steps?

Jehoshaphat’s Judicial Reforms

1Then King Jehoshaphat of Judah returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem. 2Jehu son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate Adonai? Because of this, wrath from before Adonai is against you. 3Nevertheless, good things are found in you, for you have removed the Asherah poles out of the land and have set your heart to seek God.” 4Jehoshaphat dwelt in Jerusalem and he went out again among the people from Beer-sheba over to the hill country of Ephraim and brought them back to Adonai, the God of their fathers. 5He also appointed judges in the land throughout all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city. 6He said to the judges. “Consider what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for Adonai who is with you when you pass judgment. 7Now then, let the fear of Adonai be upon you. Be very careful what you do, for there is no injustice or favoritism or bribe-taking with Adonai Eloheinu.” 8In Jerusalem also, Jehoshaphat appointed some of the Levites, kohanim and the leading patriarchs of Israel to render the judgment of Adonai and to settle disputes among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 9He charged them saying, “This is how you shall act: in the fear of Adonai, faithfully and wholeheartedly. 10When any dispute comes to you from your kinsmen who live in their cities, whether bloodshed, or concerning Torah, mitzvot, statutes or ordinances, you must warn them so that they will not be guilty before Adonai. Otherwise wrath will come upon you and your kinsmen. Act accordingly and you will not be guilty. 11“Behold, Amariah the chief kohen will be over you in all matters pertaining to Adonai, and Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, the ruler of the House of Judah, in all the matters pertaining to the king. Also the Levites will serve as officials before you. Act courageously and may Adonai be with the good.”

–from 2 Chronicles 19

Don’t lose hope! Don’t lose trust! Don’t give up! Turn to God! Call on Him!

My Help and My Deliverer

1For the music director, of David, for a memorial. 2O God, come quickly to deliver me, Adonai, to help me. 3May they be put to shame and disgrace who seek my life. May they be turned back in humiliation who delight in my hurt. 4May those who say, “Aha! Aha!” be turned away because of their shame. 5But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You. May those who love Your salvation always say, “Let God be magnified.” 6But I am poor and needy— God, come quickly to me. You are my help and my deliverer— Adonai, do not delay.

–from Psalms 70

Let’s choose early to walk with God and receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior! Let’s choose early to hear and obey His Word! Let’s choose early to ask Jesus when we are faced with situations and need to measure the results and reactions. Let’s not wait to receive Him and let’s choose through the furnace, the pit, the storms, and the valleys to never turn from Him but to hold onto Him even tighter. Let’s live as those in the lamb’s book of life! Let’s not be marked to eternal death, but to eternal life through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Two Beasts

1Then I saw a beast rising out of the sea, that had ten horns and seven heads. On his horns were ten royal crowns, and upon his heads were slanderous names. 2Now the beast that I saw was like a leopard, his feet like a bear’s, and his mouth like a lion’s. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. 3One of his heads seemed to have been slain, but the fatal wound was healed. The whole earth was amazed and followed the beast. 4And they worshiped the dragon, because he had given authority to the beast. They also worshiped the beast, chanting, “Who is like the beast, and who can make war against him?” 5The beast was given a mouth uttering great boasts and blasphemies. It was given authority to act for forty-two months. 6Then he opened his mouth with blasphemies against God, to slander His name and His tabernacle—that is, those dwelling in heaven. 7He was also permitted to make war against the kedoshim and overcome them, and he was given authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation. 8All who dwell on the earth shall worship him—everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the Book of Life of the Lamb who was slain. 9If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10If anyone is meant for captivity, to captivity he goes. If anyone is to be killed by the sword, by the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and faith of the kedoshim. 11Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. 12He exercises all the authority of the first beast before him, and he makes the earth and all those who dwell in it worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13He performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven in the sight of men. 14And he deceives those who dwell on the earth through the signs he is permitted to perform, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image in honor of the beast who has the sword wound yet lived. 15The second beast was permitted to give life to the image of the first beast, so that the image of the beast could even speak and cause all who would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16He also causes all—the small and the great, the rich and the poor, the free and the slave—to receive a mark on their right hand or upon their forehead. 17And so no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark—either the name of the beast or the number of his name. 18Here is wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number of a man, and his number is 666.

–from The Revelation 13