Don’t forget!


Do you remember what you have gone through? Do you remember how it has shaped you? Do you remember what you have learned? Do you remember the power of forgiveness? Do you remember the power of love? Do you remember the promises of God? Do you remember the provision of God? Do you remember the wisdom of God? Do you remember the benefits of being a willing vessel? Do you remember the benefits of obedience? Do you remember the importance of presence? Do you remember the blessings so great that you can’t contain them? Do you remember the moments? Do you remember the journey? Do you remember the difference it made in helping you become who you are today? Have you shared it? Have you told your story so that others can learn from it? Don’t forget!


Today’s reading gets us started in Deuteronomy.

‘“Be careful to obey all the commands I am giving you today. Then you will live and multiply, and you will enter and occupy the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors. Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord . For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell. Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good. “So obey the commands of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and fearing him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills. When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. “But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath. “But I assure you of this: If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods, worshiping and bowing down to them, you will certainly be destroyed. Just as the Lord has destroyed other nations in your path, you also will be destroyed if you refuse to obey the Lord your God.’

Deuteronomy 8

Today’s reading then continues into Isaiah.

‘The Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, will take away from Jerusalem and Judah everything they depend on: every bit of bread and every drop of water, all their heroes and soldiers, judges and prophets, fortune-tellers and elders, army officers and high officials, advisers, skilled sorcerers, and astrologers. I will make boys their leaders, and toddlers their rulers. People will oppress each other— man against man, neighbor against neighbor. Young people will insult their elders, and vulgar people will sneer at the honorable. In those days a man will say to his brother, “Since you have a coat, you be our leader! Take charge of this heap of ruins!” But he will reply, “No! I can’t help. I don’t have any extra food or clothes. Don’t put me in charge!” For Jerusalem will stumble, and Judah will fall, because they speak out against the Lord and refuse to obey him. They provoke him to his face. The very look on their faces gives them away. They display their sin like the people of Sodom and don’t even try to hide it. They are doomed! They have brought destruction upon themselves. Tell the godly that all will be well for them. They will enjoy the rich reward they have earned! But the wicked are doomed, for they will get exactly what they deserve. Childish leaders oppress my people, and women rule over them. O my people, your leaders mislead you; they send you down the wrong road. The Lord takes his place in court and presents his case against his people. The Lord comes forward to pronounce judgment on the elders and rulers of his people: “You have ruined Israel, my vineyard. Your houses are filled with things stolen from the poor. How dare you crush my people, grinding the faces of the poor into the dust?” demands the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

The Lord says, “Beautiful Zion is haughty: craning her elegant neck, flirting with her eyes, walking with dainty steps, tinkling her ankle bracelets. So the Lord will send scabs on her head; the Lord will make beautiful Zion bald.” On that day of judgment the Lord will strip away everything that makes her beautiful: ornaments, headbands, crescent necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and veils; scarves, ankle bracelets, sashes, perfumes, and charms; rings, jewels, mirrors, fine linen garments, head ornaments, and shawls. Instead of smelling of sweet perfume, she will stink. She will wear a rope for a sash, and her elegant hair will fall out. She will wear rough burlap instead of rich robes. Shame will replace her beauty. The men of the city will be killed with the sword, and her warriors will die in battle. The gates of Zion will weep and mourn. The city will be like a ravaged woman, huddled on the ground.’

Isaiah 3

and

‘In that day so few men will be left that seven women will fight for each man, saying, “Let us all marry you! We will provide our own food and clothing. Only let us take your name so we won’t be mocked as old maids.”

But in that day, the branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious; the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of all who survive in Israel. All who remain in Zion will be a holy people— those who survive the destruction of Jerusalem and are recorded among the living. The Lord will wash the filth from beautiful Zion and cleanse Jerusalem of its bloodstains with the hot breath of fiery judgment. Then the Lord will provide shade for Mount Zion and all who assemble there. He will provide a canopy of cloud during the day and smoke and flaming fire at night, covering the glorious land. It will be a shelter from daytime heat and a hiding place from storms and rain.’

Isaiah 4

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

‘Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.” But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.” But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!” Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.” “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.

Jesus returned to the Sea of Galilee and climbed a hill and sat down. A vast crowd brought to him people who were lame, blind, crippled, those who couldn’t speak, and many others. They laid them before Jesus, and he healed them all. The crowd was amazed! Those who hadn’t been able to speak were talking, the crippled were made well, the lame were walking, and the blind could see again! And they praised the God of Israel.

Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.” The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?” Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?” They replied, “Seven loaves, and a few small fish.” So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd. They all ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food. There were 4,000 men who were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children. Then Jesus sent the people home, and he got into a boat and crossed over to the region of Magadan.’

Matthew 15:21-39

and then into Romans

‘Owe 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. For 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.” Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. This 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. The 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. Because 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. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.’

Romans 13:8-14

As we remember and reflect, let’s take hold of what God has done in and through us. Let’s remember the power of faith and obedience to our journey and how we got to this point. Let’s remember to share these stories with our family and friends as they testify to the greatness of God and His love through Jesus Christ into our lives.

Today’s reading concludes with a psalm.

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

Psalms 127

What do you do with the privileges you have been given?


What would you do if you had been given an advantage? How would you respond? How would you use it? What if it was a right that you received? Would that change how you choose to live your life? What if it were a benefit given to you? How would you receive and use it? What if it were an entitlement to something? Would you receive it? Would you accept it? What would you do with it? What if it were a freedom? Would you accept it and live it out?

Who the Son sets free is free indeed.


Today’s reading as we celebrate mother’s day begins in Deuteronomy.

‘“When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are about to enter and occupy, he will clear away many nations ahead of you: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These seven nations are greater and more numerous than you. When the Lord your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy. You must not intermarry with them. Do not let your daughters and sons marry their sons and daughters, for they will lead your children away from me to worship other gods. Then the anger of the Lord will burn against you, and he will quickly destroy you. This is what you must do. You must break down their pagan altars and shatter their sacred pillars. Cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols. For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure. “The Lord did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! Rather, it was simply that the Lord loves you, and he was keeping the oath he had sworn to your ancestors. That is why the Lord rescued you with such a strong hand from your slavery and from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands. But he does not hesitate to punish and destroy those who reject him. Therefore, you must obey all these commands, decrees, and regulations I am giving you today. “If you listen to these regulations and faithfully obey them, the Lord your God will keep his covenant of unfailing love with you, as he promised with an oath to your ancestors. He will love you and bless you, and he will give you many children. He will give fertility to your land and your animals. When you arrive in the land he swore to give your ancestors, you will have large harvests of grain, new wine, and olive oil, and great herds of cattle, sheep, and goats. You will be blessed above all the nations of the earth. None of your men or women will be childless, and all your livestock will bear young. And the Lord will protect you from all sickness. He will not let you suffer from the terrible diseases you knew in Egypt, but he will inflict them on all your enemies! “You must destroy all the nations the Lord your God hands over to you. Show them no mercy, and do not worship their gods, or they will trap you. Perhaps you will think to yourselves, ‘How can we ever conquer these nations that are so much more powerful than we are?’ But don’t be afraid of them! Just remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all the land of Egypt. Remember the great terrors the Lord your God sent against them. You saw it all with your own eyes! And remember the miraculous signs and wonders, and the strong hand and powerful arm with which he brought you out of Egypt. The Lord your God will use this same power against all the people you fear. And then the Lord your God will send terror to drive out the few survivors still hiding from you! “No, do not be afraid of those nations, for the Lord your God is among you, and he is a great and awesome God. The Lord your God will drive those nations out ahead of you little by little. You will not clear them away all at once, otherwise the wild animals would multiply too quickly for you. But the Lord your God will hand them over to you. He will throw them into complete confusion until they are destroyed. He will put their kings in your power, and you will erase their names from the face of the earth. No one will be able to stand against you, and you will destroy them all. “You must burn their idols in fire, and you must not covet the silver or gold that covers them. You must not take it or it will become a trap to you, for it is detestable to the Lord your God. Do not bring any detestable objects into your home, for then you will be destroyed, just like them. You must utterly detest such things, for they are set apart for destruction.’

Deuteronomy 7

Today’s reading then continues into Isaiah.

‘This is a vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days, the mountain of the Lord ’s house will be the highest of all— the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord , to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For the Lord ’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.

Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord ! For the Lord has rejected his people, the descendants of Jacob, because they have filled their land with practices from the East and with sorcerers, as the Philistines do. They have made alliances with pagans. Israel is full of silver and gold; there is no end to its treasures. Their land is full of warhorses; there is no end to its chariots. Their land is full of idols; the people worship things they have made with their own hands. So now they will be humbled, and all will be brought low— do not forgive them. Crawl into caves in the rocks. Hide in the dust from the terror of the Lord and the glory of his majesty. Human pride will be brought down, and human arrogance will be humbled. Only the Lord will be exalted on that day of judgment. For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has a day of reckoning. He will punish the proud and mighty and bring down everything that is exalted. He will cut down the tall cedars of Lebanon and all the mighty oaks of Bashan. He will level all the high mountains and all the lofty hills. He will break down every high tower and every fortified wall. He will destroy all the great trading ships and every magnificent vessel. Human pride will be humbled, and human arrogance will be brought down. Only the Lord will be exalted on that day of judgment. Idols will completely disappear. When the Lord rises to shake the earth, his enemies will crawl into holes in the ground. They will hide in caves in the rocks from the terror of the Lord and the glory of his majesty. On that day of judgment they will abandon the gold and silver idols they made for themselves to worship. They will leave their gods to the rodents and bats, while they crawl away into caverns and hide among the jagged rocks in the cliffs. They will try to escape the terror of the Lord and the glory of his majesty as he rises to shake the earth. Don’t put your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath. What good are they?’

Isaiah 2

Today’s reading then takes us into the New Testament starting with Matthew

‘Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked him, “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.” Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’” Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.” Then Peter said to Jesus, “Explain to us the parable that says people aren’t defiled by what they eat.” “Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus asked. “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.”’

Matthew 15:1-20

and continuing into Romans.

‘Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For 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. 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. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give 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.’

Romans 13:1-7

Let’s take hold of the truths of God’s Word. Let’s take hold of the love of God. Let’s take hold of His grace and mercies that are new every day. Let’s receive and accept what He is offering and giving to us and living our lives out to the full so that in and through it all we can bring Him the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

Today’s reading concluded in Psalms.

‘When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.” Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy! Restore our fortunes, Lord , as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.’

Psalms 126

Do you realize the impact of a personal touch?


How often do you go out of your way to say “Hi” to someone? How often do you go out of your way to ask someone “How are you doing?” and stick around long enough to hear the answer? How often are you letting people know they matter and are valued? How often are you available to listen to someone speak and share what is going on in their lives? How often are you reaching out to bring comfort or encouragement into a situation? Do you realize it may mean looking away from your phone and having a conversation? Do you realize it may mean more than just typing and actually using your voice? Do you realize it may mean doing something differently because of age differences, culture differences, etc.? Not a mechanical type of approach but do you realize the impact that a personal touch can have on the lives of the people around you?


Today’s reading starts in Leviticus 13. Imagine what it would feel like if you ended up being one of these people and how you might respond.

‘The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “If anyone has a swelling or a rash or discolored skin that might develop into a serious skin disease, that person must be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons. The priest will examine the affected area of the skin. If the hair in the affected area has turned white and the problem appears to be more than skin-deep, it is a serious skin disease, and the priest who examines it must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean. “But if the affected area of the skin is only a white discoloration and does not appear to be more than skin-deep, and if the hair on the spot has not turned white, the priest will quarantine the person for seven days. On the seventh day the priest will make another examination. If he finds the affected area has not changed and the problem has not spread on the skin, the priest will quarantine the person for seven more days. On the seventh day the priest will make another examination. If he finds the affected area has faded and has not spread, the priest will pronounce the person ceremonially clean. It was only a rash. The person’s clothing must be washed, and the person will be ceremonially clean. But if the rash continues to spread after the person has been examined by the priest and has been pronounced clean, the infected person must return to be examined again. If the priest finds that the rash has spread, he must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean, for it is indeed a skin disease. “Anyone who develops a serious skin disease must go to the priest for an examination. If the priest finds a white swelling on the skin, and some hair on the spot has turned white, and there is an open sore in the affected area, it is a chronic skin disease, and the priest must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean. In such cases the person need not be quarantined, for it is obvious that the skin is defiled by the disease. “Now suppose the disease has spread all over the person’s skin, covering the body from head to foot. When the priest examines the infected person and finds that the disease covers the entire body, he will pronounce the person ceremonially clean. Since the skin has turned completely white, the person is clean. But if any open sores appear, the infected person will be pronounced ceremonially unclean. The priest must make this pronouncement as soon as he sees an open sore, since open sores indicate the presence of a skin disease. However, if the open sores heal and turn white like the rest of the skin, the person must return to the priest for another examination. If the affected areas have indeed turned white, the priest will then pronounce the person ceremonially clean by declaring, ‘You are clean!’ “If anyone has a boil on the skin that has started to heal, but a white swelling or a reddish white spot develops in its place, that person must go to the priest to be examined. If the priest examines it and finds it to be more than skin-deep, and if the hair in the affected area has turned white, the priest must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean. The boil has become a serious skin disease. But if the priest finds no white hair on the affected area and the problem appears to be no more than skin-deep and has faded, the priest must quarantine the person for seven days. If during that time the affected area spreads on the skin, the priest must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean, because it is a serious disease. But if the area grows no larger and does not spread, it is merely the scar from the boil, and the priest will pronounce the person ceremonially clean. “If anyone has suffered a burn on the skin and the burned area changes color, becoming either reddish white or shiny white, the priest must examine it. If he finds that the hair in the affected area has turned white and the problem appears to be more than skin-deep, a skin disease has broken out in the burn. The priest must then pronounce the person ceremonially unclean, for it is clearly a serious skin disease. But if the priest finds no white hair on the affected area and the problem appears to be no more than skin-deep and has faded, the priest must quarantine the infected person for seven days. On the seventh day the priest must examine the person again. If the affected area has spread on the skin, the priest must pronounce that person ceremonially unclean, for it is clearly a serious skin disease. But if the affected area has not changed or spread on the skin and has faded, it is simply a swelling from the burn. The priest will then pronounce the person ceremonially clean, for it is only the scar from the burn. “If anyone, either a man or woman, has a sore on the head or chin, the priest must examine it. If he finds it is more than skin-deep and has fine yellow hair on it, the priest must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean. It is a scabby sore of the head or chin. If the priest examines the scabby sore and finds that it is only skin-deep but there is no black hair on it, he must quarantine the person for seven days. On the seventh day the priest must examine the sore again. If he finds that the scabby sore has not spread, and there is no yellow hair on it, and it appears to be only skin-deep, the person must shave off all hair except the hair on the affected area. Then the priest must quarantine the person for another seven days. On the seventh day he will examine the sore again. If it has not spread and appears to be no more than skin-deep, the priest will pronounce the person ceremonially clean. The person’s clothing must be washed, and the person will be ceremonially clean. But if the scabby sore begins to spread after the person is pronounced clean, the priest must do another examination. If he finds that the sore has spread, the priest does not need to look for yellow hair. The infected person is ceremonially unclean. But if the color of the scabby sore does not change and black hair has grown on it, it has healed. The priest will then pronounce the person ceremonially clean. “If anyone, either a man or woman, has shiny white patches on the skin, the priest must examine the affected area. If he finds that the shiny patches are only pale white, this is a harmless skin rash, and the person is ceremonially clean. “If a man loses his hair and his head becomes bald, he is still ceremonially clean. And if he loses hair on his forehead, he simply has a bald forehead; he is still clean. However, if a reddish white sore appears on the bald area on top of his head or on his forehead, this is a skin disease. The priest must examine him, and if he finds swelling around the reddish white sore anywhere on the man’s head and it looks like a skin disease, the man is indeed infected with a skin disease and is unclean. The priest must pronounce him ceremonially unclean because of the sore on his head. “Those who suffer from a serious skin disease must tear their clothing and leave their hair uncombed. They must cover their mouth and call out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as the serious disease lasts, they will be ceremonially unclean. They must live in isolation in their place outside the camp. “

Now suppose mildew contaminates some woolen or linen clothing, woolen or linen fabric, the hide of an animal, or anything made of leather. If the contaminated area in the clothing, the animal hide, the fabric, or the leather article has turned greenish or reddish, it is contaminated with mildew and must be shown to the priest. After examining the affected spot, the priest will put the article in quarantine for seven days. On the seventh day the priest must inspect it again. If the contaminated area has spread, the clothing or fabric or leather is clearly contaminated by a serious mildew and is ceremonially unclean. The priest must burn the item—the clothing, the woolen or linen fabric, or piece of leather—for it has been contaminated by a serious mildew. It must be completely destroyed by fire. “But if the priest examines it and finds that the contaminated area has not spread in the clothing, the fabric, or the leather, the priest will order the object to be washed and then quarantined for seven more days. Then the priest must examine the object again. If he finds that the contaminated area has not changed color after being washed, even if it did not spread, the object is defiled. It must be completely burned up, whether the contaminated spot is on the inside or outside. But if the priest examines it and finds that the contaminated area has faded after being washed, he must cut the spot from the clothing, the fabric, or the leather. If the spot later reappears on the clothing, the fabric, or the leather article, the mildew is clearly spreading, and the contaminated object must be burned up. But if the spot disappears from the clothing, the fabric, or the leather article after it has been washed, it must be washed again; then it will be ceremonially clean. “These are the instructions for dealing with mildew that contaminates woolen or linen clothing or fabric or anything made of leather. This is how the priest will determine whether these items are ceremonially clean or unclean.”’

Leviticus 13

Today’s reading next brings us words of wisdom through Proverbs starting in Proverbs 6.

‘My child, if you have put up security for a friend’s debt or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger— if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said— follow my advice and save yourself, for you have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy. Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased. Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do. Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter, like a bird fleeing from a net. Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up? A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber. What are worthless and wicked people like? They are constant liars, signaling their deceit with a wink of the eye, a nudge of the foot, or the wiggle of fingers. Their perverted hearts plot evil, and they constantly stir up trouble. But they will be destroyed suddenly, broken in an instant beyond all hope of healing. There are six things the Lord hates— no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family. My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck. When you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up, they will advise you. For their command is a lamp and their instruction a light; their corrective discipline is the way to life. It will keep you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of a promiscuous woman. Don’t lust for her beauty. Don’t let her coy glances seduce you. For a prostitute will bring you to poverty, but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life. Can a man scoop a flame into his lap and not have his clothes catch on fire? Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet? So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife. He who embraces her will not go unpunished. Excuses might be found for a thief who steals because he is starving. But if he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole, even if he has to sell everything in his house. But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself. He will be wounded and disgraced. His shame will never be erased. For the woman’s jealous husband will be furious, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. He will accept no compensation, nor be satisfied with a payoff of any size.’

Proverbs 6

Today’s reading then continues into Proverbs 7.

‘Follow my advice, my son; always treasure my commands. Obey my commands and live! Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes. Tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Love wisdom like a sister; make insight a beloved member of your family. Let them protect you from an affair with an immoral woman, from listening to the flattery of a promiscuous woman. While I was at the window of my house, looking through the curtain, I saw some naive young men, and one in particular who lacked common sense. He was crossing the street near the house of an immoral woman, strolling down the path by her house. It was at twilight, in the evening, as deep darkness fell. The woman approached him, seductively dressed and sly of heart. She was the brash, rebellious type, never content to stay at home. She is often in the streets and markets, soliciting at every corner. She threw her arms around him and kissed him, and with a brazen look she said, “I’ve just made my peace offerings and fulfilled my vows. You’re the one I was looking for! I came out to find you, and here you are! My bed is spread with beautiful blankets, with colored sheets of Egyptian linen. I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let’s drink our fill of love until morning. Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses, for my husband is not home. He’s away on a long trip. He has taken a wallet full of money with him and won’t return until later this month. ” So she seduced him with her pretty speech and enticed him with her flattery. He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter. He was like a stag caught in a trap, awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart. He was like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life. So listen to me, my sons, and pay attention to my words. Don’t let your hearts stray away toward her. Don’t wander down her wayward path. For she has been the ruin of many; many men have been her victims. Her house is the road to the grave. Her bedroom is the den of death.’

Proverbs 7

Today’s reading next brings us into the New Testament in Mark 10.

‘As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’” “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said. “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”

They were now on the way up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were filled with awe, and the people following behind were overwhelmed with fear. Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus once more began to describe everything that was about to happen to him. “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.”’

Mark 10:17-34

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 16.

‘Now about our brother Apollos—I urged him to visit you with the other believers, but he was not willing to go right now. He will see you later when he has the opportunity. Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love. You know that Stephanas and his household were the first of the harvest of believers in Greece, and they are spending their lives in service to God’s people. I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to submit to them and others like them who serve with such devotion. I am very glad that Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus have come here. They have been providing the help you weren’t here to give me. They have been a wonderful encouragement to me, as they have been to you. You must show your appreciation to all who serve so well.

The churches here in the province of Asia send greetings in the Lord, as do Aquila and Priscilla and all the others who gather in their home for church meetings. All the brothers and sisters here send greetings to you. Greet each other with a sacred kiss. Here is my greeting in my own handwriting—Paul . If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed. Our Lord, come! May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love to all of you in Christ Jesus.’

1 Corinthians 16:12-24

As we close today’s reading let us meditate on all that God has spoken through His Word. Let us take a moment to receive the wisdom and direction.

Let’s read today’s conclusion to our daily reading with Psalms 79.

‘O God, pagan nations have conquered your land, your special possession. They have defiled your holy Temple and made Jerusalem a heap of ruins. They have left the bodies of your servants as food for the birds of heaven. The flesh of your godly ones has become food for the wild animals. Blood has flowed like water all around Jerusalem; no one is left to bury the dead. We are mocked by our neighbors, an object of scorn and derision to those around us. O Lord , how long will you be angry with us? Forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire? Pour out your wrath on the nations that refuse to acknowledge you— on kingdoms that do not call upon your name. For they have devoured your people Israel, making the land a desolate wilderness. Do not hold us guilty for the sins of our ancestors! Let your compassion quickly meet our needs, for we are on the brink of despair. Help us, O God of our salvation! Help us for the glory of your name. Save us and forgive our sins for the honor of your name. Why should pagan nations be allowed to scoff, asking, “Where is their God?” Show us your vengeance against the nations, for they have spilled the blood of your servants. Listen to the moaning of the prisoners. Demonstrate your great power by saving those condemned to die. O Lord, pay back our neighbors seven times for the scorn they have hurled at you. Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will thank you forever and ever, praising your greatness from generation to generation.’

Psalms 79

Do you need a change? Is it on the inside or the outside?


Do you know what it will take? Do you know what to do? Do you know where to turn? Do you realize the benefits it has?

Have you already made the decision and started moving forward in change? Has it been a mental change? Has it been a physical change? Has it been a heart change? Has it been a spiritual change?

As I ponder these questions, I am so glad that I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior because when I made that decision, I was transformed. I know spiritually I had begun the transformation from the inside out. As I ponder these questions and with knowing through God’s Word that my body is the temple for the Holy Spirit, I am considering what can I do to help make the outside better too. I have purchased workout equipment which probably a good start. I am now considering diet, and how I eat to help as well.

I know that because of the big decision to receive Jesus, it has impacted my life for eternity. I am now considering best ways to live a longer and healthier life to be able to be around for the next generations where not only can I share the importance of living with and for God but also living and eating well. I want to see them grow up and develop into all that God has purposed and planned for each of their lives. Time goes by so fast and so I need to make time to do what is right and make sure to stay on track for all the things God has planned and purposed for my life too.

Will you allow God to radiate in your life to the point where your life will point others to God and to believe in Him? Will you allow God to work in and through your life so that when others see your good works they will praise your Father in heaven?

When someone looks into your eyes, what do they learn? When you look into the eyes of others, what do you learn? Ever heard that the eyes are the window to the soul? Ever considered that windows tell a story based on what you can see? Consider windows you can look in through and see the beauty, the love, the hope. Consider tinted windows where you can’t see anything but darkness or maybe a reflection of yourself. Consider windows that do the screening so that they tell one story without actually knowing what is on the inside, you might be able to get close enough to look through the dots and see in, but from a distance you only case see what it was designed to say. When people take a look into your eyes what do they see? When you look through your eyes how do you see? Is your vision keeping you from seeing others as God does? Are you allowing God glasses to help you see the people He has brought into your life in the way He does so that you can see, hear, understand, and respond like you should?

So what does your face and your eyes say to the world around you?

What does the Bible say about faces and eyes?


How to Have a Spiritual Facelift

Day 242: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. God’s face … Psalm 104:19-30
  2. Our faces … 2 Corinthians 3:7-18
  3. God’s eyes … 2 Chronicles 35:20-36:23

Today’s reading from God’s Word…

  • Psalms 104:19-30
  • 2 Corinthians 3:7-18
    • 7The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. 8Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? 9If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! 10In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. 11So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!
      12Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. 13We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. 14But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.
      16But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

  • 2 Chronicles 35:20-27
  • 2 Chronicles 36

Benefit Enrollment time?


What things go through your mind each time you need to go through the benefit enrollment process? What things do you realize have been impacted by the decisions of men? What things do you realize when you consider the impact of your decision on yourself and your family? What’s most important area to you? What’s just going with the flow? What’s key to your decision? What requires thought or research? How do you know if they are good or not? Do you compare them with the old way? Do you consider how they will continue to impact the future? Do you realize it impacts the providers as much as the consumers? Do you realize that decisions outside of either of your controls has gotten you to where you are today? So what are you going to do?

Have you considered the benefits of having faith in God? Have you considered the benefits of having a relationship with Jesus? Have you considered the benefit of being able to pray anywhere, anytime, and for any need since God is with you? Have you reaped the benefits of your faith? Have you reaped the benefits of your prayers for yourself and for others? Do you realize there are benefits? Have you signed up for them by receiving Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

Do you keep track of your prayers as well as you track your benefits program? Do you keep track of your answered prayers as well as you track the benefits you have used or received? Do you track the little prayers and the big prayers? What is the bar for when you will track them? Have you reviewed that log to realize and build up your faith? I know I have testimonies of God working in my life. I haven’t necessarily logged every prayer but with today’s reading and devotional, I am considering trying to capture every ask and every answer rather than just the big ones to be able to see how many times I pray and how God is faithful and just to answer them. Some may be a Yes, some a No, and others may be to wait, but God always answers. This morning’s reading is challenging me on this. Why would I track things that won’t last for eternity but then not capture the things that build up my faith and can be testimonies to myself, my family, my friends, and others for all of eternity.

Don’t forget the blessings of God! Don’t forget the benefits!

Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits –from Psalm 103:2

It is so easy to do when you consider how busy life can feel, so what will be the best way to capture and remember them all?

Have you considered? Have you studied? Have you read the manual (the Bible)? So that you can understand all of God’s benefits? Have you meditated on the fact that during benefit enrollment it’s not all about what you get but what you may get and how much it will cost you? Do you realize that God’s benefits are priceless? Do you realize that Jesus paid the price? Will you receive it? Will you invite Jesus into your heart? Will you start that personal and intimate relationship with Him? Will you grab hold and live life to the full? Will you take hold of His plan for your life that provides you with a hope and a future?

How will you start your today? …


God’s Benefit Package

Day 238: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Remember and thank God for all his benefits … Psalm 103:1-12
    • David had clearly faced many troubles in his life: sin, disease and ‘the pit’ (vv.3–4). Yet he, like the apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 1:3), begins with praise for some of God’s benefits.

      Forgiveness

      God forgives all your sins (Psalm 103:3): ‘he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities’ (v.10); ‘as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us’ (v.12).

      Healing

      God ‘heals all your diseases’. One day we will be completely healed. We see signs of this now, when God heals us directly and supernaturally. In addition, God has put in our bodies the immune system, antibodies and the mending process.

      Redemption

      God ‘redeems your life from the pit’ (v.4a). There is no pit so deep that God’s redemption cannot reach.

      Love

      He ‘crowns you with love and compassion’ (v.4b): ‘for as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him’ (v.11).

      Satisfaction

      He ‘satisfies your desires with good things’ (v.5a).

      –from Day 238: Bible In One Year 2017

  2. See his benefits even in the midst of suffering … 2 Corinthians 1:1-11
    • He starts the letter with praise – not for the problems but for the positive benefits that have come through them. What are these benefits? How can you and I see the benefits in every difficulty?

      You will be comforted

      ‘The God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles’ (vv.3–4). The word for comfort means to encourage, cheer and come alongside. God is the ‘Father of compassion’ (v.3). He is not aloof from suffering. He comes alongside us and suffers with us. His Holy Spirit is ‘the Comforter’ (John 14:26, AMP).

      You will be a help to others

      If you are in a time of suffering right now it may not seem much comfort – but one day you will bring great comfort to other people: ‘He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us’ (2 Corinthians 1:4, MSG). Those who have faced difficulty in life make the most effective ministers.

      You will be changed

      Hardship ‘produces in you patient endurance’ (v.6). Like gold refined by fire or a vine pruned to produce more fruit, difficulties lead to patience, endurance, steadfastness and perseverance. They lead to character transformation.

      You will not be alone

      Paul writes, ‘Just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort’ (v.7). The word he uses for ‘share’ comes from the Greek word koinonia, which is the word used to describe the closest possible relationship. In times of difficulty we should experience an extraordinary closeness of relationship as we comfort and encourage one another, ‘Your hard times are also our hard times’ (v.7, MSG).

      You will learn to trust God

      When things go well it is easy to become self-reliant. But when everything goes wrong and we reach the end of our tether, we are forced to trust God. As Paul puts it, ‘Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally’ (v.9, MSG).

      You will be rescued

      Paul writes, ‘He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us’ (v.10). As we look back and see that God has delivered us in the past, we can be confident he will deliver us in the future.

      Your prayers will help others

      Prayer is powerful. God really does answer prayer. One of the best ways we can help other people is by praying for them: ‘As you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favour granted us in answer to the prayers of many’ (v.11). When your prayers are answered, God will be glorified.

      –from Day 238: Bible In One Year 2017
       

  3. Don’t let his benefits make you proud … 2 Chronicles 26:1-28:27

Today’s Bible reading for day 238:

  • Devotional
  • Psalms 103:1-12
    • 1Let all that I am praise the Lord;
      with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
      2Let all that I am praise the Lord;
      may I never forget the good things he does for me.
      3He forgives all my sins
      and heals all my diseases.
      4He redeems me from death
      and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
      5He fills my life with good things.
      My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

      6The Lord gives righteousness
      and justice to all who are treated unfairly.

      7He revealed his character to Moses
      and his deeds to the people of Israel.
      8The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
      slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
      9He will not constantly accuse us,
      nor remain angry forever.
      10He does not punish us for all our sins;
      he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
      11For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
      is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
      12He has removed our sins as far from us
      as the east is from the west.

  • 2 Corinthians 1:1-11
    • 1This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy.
      I am writing to God’s church in Corinth and to all of his holy people throughout Greece.
      2May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

      God Offers Comfort to All

      3All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 7We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.
      8We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. 11And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.
  • 2 Chronicles 26
    • Uzziah Rules in Judah

      1All the people of Judah had crowned Amaziah’s sixteen-year-old son, Uzziah, as king in place of his father. 2After his father’s death, Uzziah rebuilt the town of Elath and restored it to Judah.
      3Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother was Jecoliah from Jerusalem. 4He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. 5Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah, who taught him to fear God. And as long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success.
      6Uzziah declared war on the Philistines and broke down the walls of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod. Then he built new towns in the Ashdod area and in other parts of Philistia. 7God helped him in his wars against the Philistines, his battles with the Arabs of Gur, 8The Meunites paid annual tribute to him, and his fame spread even to Egypt, for he had become very powerful.
      9Uzziah built fortified towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, at the Valley Gate, and at the angle in the wall. 10He also constructed forts in the wilderness and dug many water cisterns, because he kept great herds of livestock in the foothills of Judah and on the plains. He was also a man who loved the soil. He had many workers who cared for his farms and vineyards, both on the hillsides and in the fertile valleys.
      11Uzziah had an army of well-trained warriors, ready to march into battle, unit by unit. This army had been mustered and organized by Jeiel, the secretary of the army, and his assistant, Maaseiah. They were under the direction of Hananiah, one of the king’s officials. 12These regiments of mighty warriors were commanded by 2,600 clan leaders. 13The army consisted of 307,500 men, all elite troops. They were prepared to assist the king against any enemy.
      14Uzziah provided the entire army with shields, spears, helmets, coats of mail, bows, and sling stones. 15And he built structures on the walls of Jerusalem, designed by experts to protect those who shot arrows and hurled large stones from the towers and the corners of the wall. His fame spread far and wide, for the Lord gave him marvelous help, and he became very powerful.

      Uzziah’s Sin and Punishment

      16But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall. He sinned against the Lord his God by entering the sanctuary of the Lord’s Temple and personally burning incense on the incense altar. 17Azariah the high priest went in after him with eighty other priests of the Lord, all brave men. 18They confronted King Uzziah and said, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is the work of the priests alone, the descendants of Aaron who are set apart for this work. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have sinned. The Lord God will not honor you for this!”
      19Uzziah, who was holding an incense burner, became furious. But as he was standing there raging at the priests before the incense altar in the Lord’s Temple, leprosy suddenly broke out on his forehead. 20When Azariah the high priest and all the other priests saw the leprosy, they rushed him out. And the king himself was eager to get out because the Lord had struck him. 21So King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in isolation in a separate house, for he was excluded from the Temple of the Lord. His son Jotham was put in charge of the royal palace, and he governed the people of the land.
      22The rest of the events of Uzziah’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded by the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 23When Uzziah died, he was buried with his ancestors; his grave was in a nearby burial field belonging to the kings, for the people said, “He had leprosy.” And his son Jotham became the next king.
  • 2 Chronicles 27
    • Jotham Rules in Judah

      1Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. His mother was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok.
      2Jotham did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight. He did everything his father, Uzziah, had done, except that Jotham did not sin by entering the Temple of the Lord. But the people continued in their corrupt ways.
      3Jotham rebuilt the upper gate of the Temple of the Lord. He also did extensive rebuilding on the wall at the hill of Ophel. 4He built towns in the hill country of Judah and constructed fortresses and towers in the wooded areas. 5Jotham went to war against the Ammonites and conquered them. Over the next three years he received from them an annual tribute of 7,500 pounds of silver, 50,000 bushels of wheat, and 50,000 bushels of barley.
      6King Jotham became powerful because he was careful to live in obedience to the Lord his God.
      7The rest of the events of Jotham’s reign, including all his wars and other activities, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah. 8He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. 9When Jotham died, he was buried in the City of David. And his son Ahaz became the next king.
  • 2 Chronicles 28
    • Ahaz Rules in Judah

      1Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. He did not do what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord, as his ancestor David had done. 2Instead, he followed the example of the kings of Israel. He cast metal images for the worship of Baal. 3He offered sacrifices in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, even sacrificing his own sons in the fire. In this way, he followed the detestable practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. 4He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the pagan shrines and on the hills and under every green tree.
      5Because of all this, the Lord his God allowed the king of Aram to defeat Ahaz and to exile large numbers of his people to Damascus. The armies of the king of Israel also defeated Ahaz and inflicted many casualties on his army. 6In a single day Pekah son of Remaliah, Israel’s king, killed 120,000 of Judah’s troops, all of them experienced warriors, because they had abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 7Then Zicri, a warrior from Ephraim, killed Maaseiah, the king’s son; Azrikam, the king’s palace commander; and Elkanah, the king’s second-in-command. 8The armies of Israel captured 200,000 women and children from Judah and seized tremendous amounts of plunder, which they took back to Samaria.
      9But a prophet of the Lord named Oded was there in Samaria when the army of Israel returned home. He went out to meet them and said, “The Lord, the God of your ancestors, was angry with Judah and let you defeat them. But you have gone too far, killing them without mercy, and all heaven is disturbed. 10And now you are planning to make slaves of these people from Judah and Jerusalem. What about your own sins against the Lord your God? 11Listen to me and return these prisoners you have taken, for they are your own relatives. Watch out, because now the Lord’s fierce anger has been turned against you!”
      12Then some of the leaders of Israel—Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berekiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai—agreed with this and confronted the men returning from battle. 13“You must not bring the prisoners here!” they declared. “We cannot afford to add to our sins and guilt. Our guilt is already great, and the Lord’s fierce anger is already turned against Israel.”
      14So the warriors released the prisoners and handed over the plunder in the sight of the leaders and all the people. 15Then the four men just mentioned by name came forward and distributed clothes from the plunder to the prisoners who were naked. They provided clothing and sandals to wear, gave them enough food and drink, and dressed their wounds with olive oil. They put those who were weak on donkeys and took all the prisoners back to their own people in Jericho, the city of palms. Then they returned to Samaria.

      Ahaz Closes the Temple

      16At that time King Ahaz of Judah asked the king of Assyria for help. 17The armies of Edom had again invaded Judah and taken captives. 18And the Philistines had raided towns located in the foothills of Judah and in the Negev of Judah. They had already captured and occupied Beth-shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Soco with its villages, Timnah with its villages, and Gimzo with its villages. 19The Lord was humbling Judah because of King Ahaz of Judah, for he had encouraged his people to sin and had been utterly unfaithful to the Lord.
      20So when King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria arrived, he attacked Ahaz instead of helping him. 21Ahaz took valuable items from the Lord’s Temple, the royal palace, and from the homes of his officials and gave them to the king of Assyria as tribute. But this did not help him.
      22Even during this time of trouble, King Ahaz continued to reject the Lord23He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus who had defeated him, for he said, “Since these gods helped the kings of Aram, they will help me, too, if I sacrifice to them.” But instead, they led to his ruin and the ruin of all Judah.
      24The king took the various articles from the Temple of God and broke them into pieces. He shut the doors of the Lord’s Temple so that no one could worship there, and he set up altars to pagan gods in every corner of Jerusalem. 25He made pagan shrines in all the towns of Judah for offering sacrifices to other gods. In this way, he aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of his ancestors.
      26The rest of the events of Ahaz’s reign and everything he did, from beginning to end, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27When Ahaz died, he was buried in Jerusalem but not in the royal cemetery of the kings of Judah. Then his son Hezekiah became the next king.

 

Who do you watch to help get better?


Wanting to continuously improve, where do you turn? Who do you turn to? What do you learn?How does it change your life? How does it impact your children’s life? How does it impact the people around you? Who is a good example you are trying to live like? Who is watching you as an example and what are they learning watching you? Are you a good example? Are you demonstrating purity, faithfulness, and dedication? Are they seeing Jesus in you? Are they seeing Jesus through you?

Through Jesus we have received freedom! Although all things are permissible, not all things are beneficial, so we need to make sure the things we do is a good example to the people around us! Although we can do anything, not everything is good! We don’t want to cause others to stumble but rather we want to lead by example so that God receives all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Don’t live a life that is selfish in order that others will see your life and praise our Father in Heaven and receive Jesus and be saved.

So is there something that we need to do or change to make sure we are a good example to those God has placed into our lives?


How to Raise Your Game

Day 228: Bible in One Year 2017

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/228

  1. Example of your life … Proverbs 20:5-14

  2. Example of Paul … 1 Corinthians 10:14-11:1

  3. Example of leaders … 2 Chronicles 5:2-7:10


Take a read of today’s devotional and make sure to read from God’s Word in your preferred translations.


Benefits to obedience…


You know the difference between right and wrong. You know the difference between good and bad. You know what you are supposed to do and supposed to avoid. So what will you do about it? Do you realize the benefits of obedience? Do you realize the danger of disobedience? Do you have any markets to remind you? Do you have any markets to bring back memories of all God has done in and through you? Do you have any markets to bring back memories of when you didn’t do it God’s way and the repercussions?

Trust God fully

Today’s reading calls out some of the benefits such as:

16“This day Adonai your God is commanding you to do these statutes and ordinances—so you are to take care and do them with all your heart and with all your soul.
17Today you have affirmed Adonai as your God, that you will walk in His ways, keep His statutes, mitzvot and ordinances, and listen to His voice.
18Now today Adonai has affirmed you as His treasured people, as He promised you; that you are to keep all His mitzvot; 19that He will set you high above all the nations He has made, for praise, fame and honor; and that you are to be a holy people to Adonai your God, as He has promised.”

–from Deuteronomy 26

So let’s dive into today’s reading…

Justice From the Court

1“Suppose there is a dispute between people and they approach the court, the judges hear their case, and declare one righteous and the other guilty. 2Now if the guilty one deserves to be flogged, the judge is to make him lie down and be flogged before him, with the number of lashes in proportion to his guilt. 3He may strike him 40 times but no more. Otherwise he would beat him with too many a wound beyond these, and your brother would be degraded in your eyes. 4“You are not to muzzle the ox while it is threshing. 5“If brothers dwell together and one of them dies and has no son, the dead man’s wife is not to be married outside to a stranger. Her husband’s brother is to go to her and take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law. 6Now the firstborn that she bears is to carry on the name of his dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out of Israel. 7But if the man does not want to take his brother’s widow, his brother’s widow is to go to the elders at the gate and say, ‘My brother-in-law refuses to carry on his brother’s name in Israel—he is unwilling to perform a brother-in-law’s duty for me.’ 8Then the elders of his town are to summon him and speak to him. And if he stands firm and says, ‘I do not desire to take her,’ 9then his brother’s widow is to come to him in the sight of the elders, pull his sandal off his foot, spit in his face, and reply, ‘So will it be done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.’ 10Then his name is to be called in Israel ‘the house of the pulled-off sandal.’ 11“Suppose people fight with one another, a man and his brother, and the wife of the one approaches to rescue her husband from the hand of the one hitting him; and she puts out her hand and grabs him by his genitals. 12Then you are to cut off her hand—your eye will show no pity. 13“You are not to have stones of different weights in your bag—large and small. 14You are not to have in your house ephahs of different measures—large and small. 15You must have a full and honest weight and a full and honest measure, so that your days may be long on the land that Adonai your God is giving you. 16For all who do these things, all who do injustice, are detestable to Adonai your God.

Beware, Blot Out Amalek

17“Remember what Amalek did to you along the way as you came out from Egypt— 18how he happened upon you along the way and attacked those among you in the rear, all the stragglers behind you, when you were tired and weary—he did not fear God. 19Now when Adonai your God grants you rest from all the enemies surrounding you in the land Adonai your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, you are to blot out the memory of Amalek from under the heavens. Do not forget!

–from Deuteronomy 25

Remember! Don’t forget!

Firstfruits and Tithes

1“Now when you enter the land that Adonai your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it, 2you are to take some of the first of all the produce of the soil, which you gather from your land that Adonai your God is giving you, put it in a basket and go to the place Adonai your God chooses to make His Name dwell. 3You are to go to the kohen in charge in those days and say to him, ‘I declare today to Adonai your God, that I have entered into the land Adonai swore to our fathers to give us.’ 4The kohen is to take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of Adonai your God. 5“Then you are to respond before Adonai your God, ‘My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down to Egypt and lived there as an outsider, few in number. But there he became a great nation—mighty and numerous. 6The Egyptians treated us badly, afflicted us, and imposed hard labor on us. 7Then we cried out to Adonai, God of our fathers, and Adonai listened to our voice and saw our affliction, our toil and our oppression. 8Then Adonai brought us out from Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror, and with signs and wonders. 9He brought us to this place and gave us this land—a land flowing with milk and honey. 10So now, look! I have brought the first of the fruits of the soil that You have given me, Adonai.’ Then you are to set it down before Adonai your God and worship before Adonai your God. 11You will rejoice in all the good that Adonai your God has given to you and to your house—you, the Levite, and the outsider in your midst. 12“When you finish tithing the full tenth of your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you are to give it to the Levite, to the outsider, to the orphan and to the widow, so that they may eat within your town gates and be satisfied. 13Then you are to say before Adonai your God, ‘I have removed the holy tithe from my house and also have given it to the Levite and to the outsider, to the orphan and to the widow, according to all Your mitzvah that You have commanded me. I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your mitzvot. 14I have not eaten from the tithe in my mourning, or removed any of it while unclean, or given any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the voice of Adonai my God; I have done all just as You commanded me. 15Look down from Your holy dwelling place, from the heavens and bless Your people Israel and the soil You have given us, as You swore to our fathers—a land flowing with milk and honey.’

Affirming the Covenant

16“This day Adonai your God is commanding you to do these statutes and ordinances—so you are to take care and do them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17Today you have affirmed Adonai as your God, that you will walk in His ways, keep His statutes, mitzvot and ordinances, and listen to His voice. 18Now today Adonai has affirmed you as His treasured people, as He promised you; that you are to keep all His mitzvot; 19that He will set you high above all the nations He has made, for praise, fame and honor; and that you are to be a holy people to Adonai your God, as He has promised.”

–from Deuteronomy 26

Remember and obey! Consider the benefits!

1Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, “Keep the whole mitzvah that I am commanding you today. 2Now on the day when you cross over the Jordan to the land that Adonai your God is giving you, you are to set up large stones for yourself and coat them with plaster. 3Then you are to write on them all the words of this Torah when you cross over—so that you may enter the land that Adonai your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey just as Adonai, the God of your fathers, promised you. 4Now when you cross over the Jordan, you are to set up these stones about which I am commanding you today on Mount Ebal, and coat them with plaster. 5There also you will build an altar to Adonai your God, an altar of stones—you are not to use an iron tool on them. 6You are to build the altar of Adonai your God of whole stones, and you are to offer up burnt offerings on it to Adonai your God. 7You are to sacrifice fellowship offerings and eat there, and you will rejoice before Adonai your God. 8You are to write on the stones all the words of this Torah very clearly.” 9Then Moses and the Levitical kohanim spoke to all Israel, saying, “Be silent and listen, O Israel—this day you have become a people for Adonai your God. 10Therefore listen to the voice of Adonai your God, and do His mitzvot and statutes that I am commanding you today.”

11Moses commanded the people on that day saying,
12“When you have crossed over the Jordan, these are to stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin.
13For the curse these are to stand on Mount Ebal: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.
14“Then the Levites are to answer and say with a loud voice to every man of Israel:
15‘Cursed is the one who makes a carved or molten image—an abomination to Adonai, the work of a craftsman’s hands—and sets it up in secret.’ Then all the people are to answer and say, ‘Amen.’
16‘Cursed is the one who dishonors his father or mother.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
17‘Cursed is the one who removes his neighbor’s boundary marker.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
18‘Cursed is the one who misleads a blind person on the road.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
19‘Cursed is the one who twists justice for the outsider, orphan and widow.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
20‘Cursed is the one who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s nakedness.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
21‘Cursed is the one who lies with any kind of animal.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
22‘Cursed is the one who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
23“Cursed is the one who lies with his mother-in-law.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
24‘Cursed is the one who strikes down his neighbor in secret.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
25‘Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to strike down an innocent life.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
26‘Cursed is the one who does not uphold the words of this Torah by doing them.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’

–from Deuteronomy 27

Consider the benefits and the blessings! Consider the consequences and curses!

Accepted in Jerusalem

1Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus with me. 2Because of a revelation, I went up and presented to them the Good News that I proclaim among the Gentiles. But I did so privately to those who seemed to be influential, to make sure I would not run—or had not run—in vain. 3Yet not even Titus who was with me, a Greek, was forced to be circumcised. 4Now this issue came up because of false brothers secretly brought in (who slipped in to spy out our freedom in Messiah, in order to bring us into bondage). 5But we did not give in to them even for a moment, so that the truth of the Good News might be preserved for you. 6But from those who seemed to be influential (whatever they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—well, those influential ones added nothing to my message. 7On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the Good News for the uncircumcised just as Peter was for the circumcised. 8(For the same God who was at work in Peter as an emissary to the Jews, also was at work in me as an emissary to the Gentiles.) 9Realizing the favor that had been given to me, Jacob and Peter and John—who are the recognized pillars—shook hands in partnership with Barnabas and me, so that we would go to the Gentiles and they to the Jews. 10They asked only that we remember the poor—something I also was eager to do.

Confronting Hypocrisy

11But when Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong— 12for before certain people came from Jacob, he regularly ate with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and separate himself, fearing those from the circumcision. 13And the rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. 14But when I saw that they were not walking in line with the truth of the Good News, I said to Peter in front of everyone, “If you—being a Jew—live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” 15We are Jews by birth and not sinners from among the Gentiles. 16Yet we know that a person is set right not by deeds based on Torah, but rather through putting trust in Messiah Yeshua. So even we have put our trust in Messiah Yeshua, in order that we might be set right based on trust in Messiah and not by deeds based on Torah—because no human will be justified by deeds based on Torah. 17But if, while seeking to be justified in Messiah, we ourselves also were found to be sinners, is Messiah then an agent of sin? May it never be! 18For if I rebuild the very things I tore down, I prove myself to be a law-breaker. 19For through law I died to law, so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Messiah; 20and it is no longer I who live, but Messiah lives in me. And the life I now live in the body, I live by trusting in Ben-Elohim—who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21I do not nullify the grace of God—for if righteousness comes through Torah, then Messiah died for no reason!

–from Galatians 2

Jesus paid it all! All to Him I owe! So be humble! Realize your frailty! And allow God to work in and through your weaknesses to show His strength! Victory has already been won through Jesus!

Anointed for Burial

1Now it was two days before Passover and the Feast of Matzah. The ruling kohanim and Torah scholars were searching for a way to grab Yeshua by stealth and kill Him. 2“But not during the festival,” they were saying, “so there won’t be a riot among the people.” 3And while Yeshua was in Bethany at the house of Simon ha-Metzora, reclining at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive oil of pure nard. Breaking open the jar, she poured it over His head. 4But some got angry and said among themselves, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5It could have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor!” And they kept scolding her. 6But Yeshua said, “Leave her alone. Why do you cause trouble for her? She’s done Me a mitzvah. 7For you always have the poor with you, and you can do good for them whenever you want; but you won’t always have Me. 8She did what she could—she came beforehand to anoint My body for burial. 9Amen, I tell you, wherever the Good News is proclaimed in all the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” 10Then Judah from Kriot, one of the Twelve, went out to the ruling kohanim to betray Yeshua to them. 11They were delighted when they heard this and promised to give him money. And Judah began looking for a chance to hand Him over.

New Covenant at the Last Seder

12Now on the first day of matzah , when they were slaughtering the Passover lamb, Yeshua’s disciples say to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare for You to eat the Passover?” 13He sends two of His disciples and tells them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, 14and wherever he enters, tell the homeowner, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is My guest room, where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ 15He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” 16The disciples went out, came to the city, and found just what Yeshua had told them. And they prepared the Passover. 17When it was evening, He came with the Twelve. 18As they were reclining and eating, Yeshua said, “Amen, I tell you, one of you who is eating with Me will betray Me.” 19They began to be sorrowful and to say to Him one by one, “I’m not the one, am I?” 20He said to them, “It’s one of the Twelve, one who dips with Me in the bowl. 21For the Son of Man indeed goes, just as it is written about Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born!” 22And while they were eating, He took matzah ; and after He offered the bracha, He broke it and gave it to them and said, “Take; this is My body.” 23And He took a cup; and after giving thanks, He gave to them and they all drank from it. 24And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25Amen, I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.”

Denial Predicted

26After singing the Hallel, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27And Yeshua said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28But after I’m raised up, I will go before you to the Galilee.” 29Peter said to Him, “Even though all fall away, I won’t!” 30And Yeshua said to him, “Amen, I tell you, today—this very night—before a rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” 31But Peter kept insisting exceedingly, “Even if I must die with You, I’ll never deny You!” And they all were saying the same.

A Night of Painful Prayer

32Then they come to a place whose name is Gethsemane; and Yeshua says to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33He takes with Him Peter, Jacob, and John; and He began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34And He tells them, “My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch.” 35Going a little farther, He fell to the ground and began praying that if possible this hour might pass Him by. 36And He was saying, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You! Take this cup from Me! Yet not what I will, but what You will.” 37Then He comes and finds them sleeping; and He tells Peter, “Simon, you’re asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38Keep watching and praying, so that you do not enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39Again He went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy. They didn’t know what to answer Him. 41And He comes the third time and says to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is being delivered into the hands of sinners. 42Get up, let’s go! Look, My betrayer is near.”

Betrayed and Abandoned

43Right away, while Yeshua was still speaking, Judah comes up, one of the Twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the ruling kohanim, Torah scholars, and elders. 44Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “The One I kiss, He’s the One! Seize Him and lead Him away under guard.” 45As soon as Judah came, he drew near to Yeshua and said, “Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 46Then they threw their hands on Yeshua and seized Him. 47But one of the bystanders, drawing his sword, struck the servant of the kohen gadol and cut off his ear. 48Yeshua said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs, to capture Me as you would against a revolutionary? 49Every day I was with you in the Temple teaching, and you didn’t seize Me. But this is so that the Scriptures would be fulfilled.” 50And all fled, abandoning Him. 51A certain young man was following Him, with nothing but a linen cloth around his body, and they grabbed him. 52But he ran away naked, leaving behind the linen cloth.

Falsely Charged

53Then they led Yeshua away to the kohen gadol . And all the ruling kohanim, elders, and Torah scholars gathered. 54Peter had followed Him from a distance, right into the courtyard of the kohen gadol . He was sitting with the guards, warming himself by the fire. 55Now the ruling kohanim and all the Sanhedrin kept trying to get evidence against Yeshua so they could put Him to death, but they weren’t finding any. 56Many were giving false testimony against Him, but their testimony wasn’t consistent. 57Some stood up and began to give false testimony against Him, saying, 58“We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this Temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.’” 59Yet even then, their testimony didn’t agree. 60The kohen gadol stood up in the middle and questioned Yeshua, saying, “Do You have no answer? What is this they’re testifying against You?” 61But keeping silent, Yeshua did not answer. Again the kohen gadol questioned Him, “Are you Mashiach, Son of the Blessed One?” 62“I am,” said Yeshua, “and you shall see ‘the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Powerful One,’ and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven’!” 63Tearing his clothes, the kohen gadol says, “Why do we still need witnesses? 64You’ve heard the blasphemy. What seems right to you?” Then all condemned Him as deserving death. 65Some began to spit on Him, to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists, saying, “Prophesy!” Also the guards slapped Him around.

The Rooster Crows

66As Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the kohen gadol comes by. 67Seeing Peter warming himself, she looked straight at him. “You also were with Yeshua of Natzeret,” she says. 68But he denied it, saying, “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about!” Then he went outside to the gateway, and a rooster crowed. 69Seeing him, the servant girl began again to tell the bystanders, “This is one of them.” 70But again he denied it. And a little while later, the bystanders were again saying to Peter, “Surely you’re one of them, for you’re also a Galilean.” 71But he began to curse himself and to swear an oath: “I do not know this Man you’re talking about!” 72Right then, a rooster crowed a second time. Then Peter called to mind the word Yeshua had said to him: “Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And he broke down and began to weep.

–from Mark 14

Don’t lose what you have been given!


Do you realize what you have? Do you realize what you have seen? Do you realize what you have experienced? Do you realize what you have been given? Don’t forget!

Will you live out your life in love and obedience? Will you pass on as a legacy the good news you have received? Will you live each day with the importance and the urgency that it has?

Today’s reading begins with a reminder from Moses…

Love and Obey with All Your Heart

1“Therefore you are to love Adonai your God and keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances and His mitzvot at all times. 2And you should know this day that it was not your children who knew or saw the discipline of Adonai your God—His greatness, His mighty hand and His outstretched arm; 3His signs and the deeds He did in the midst of Egypt to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to all his land; 4and what He did to the army of Egypt, to its horses and chariots when He made the waters of the Sea of Reeds flow over them as they chased after you, and how Adonai has destroyed them to this day; 5what He did for you in the wilderness until you came to this place; 6 and what He did to Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab son of Reuben—how the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, along with their households and tents and every living thing that followed them, in the midst of all Israel— 7Rather, it is your own eyes that have seen every mighty deed that Adonai has done. 8“Therefore you are to keep the whole mitzvah that I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and possess the land that you are crossing over to possess, 9and so that you may prolong your days on the land that Adonai swore to give to your fathers and to their descendants—a land flowing with milk and honey. 10“For the land you are going in to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you came. There you planted your seed and watered it by foot, like a vegetable garden. 11But the land you are crossing over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, drinking from the rain of the heavens it drinks in water. 12It is a land that Adonai your God cares for—the eyes of Adonai your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year up to the end of the year. 13“Now if you listen obediently to My mitzvot that I am commanding you today—to love Adonai your God and to serve Him with all your heart and soul— 14then I will give rain for your land in its season—the early rain and the late rain —so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. 15I will give grass in your field for your livestock, and you will eat and be satisfied. 16Watch yourselves, so your heart is not deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them. 17Then the anger of Adonai will be kindled against you, so He will shut up the sky so that there will be no rain and the soil will not yield its produce. Then you will perish quickly from the good land Adonai is giving you. 18“Therefore you are to set these words of Mine in your heart and in your soul. You are to bind them as a sign on your hand, and as frontlets between your eyes. 19You are to teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. 20You are to write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21so that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied on the land Adonai swore to give to your fathers, as long as the heavens are above the earth. 22“For if you will diligently keep all this ­mitzvah that I am commanding you to do—to love Adonai your God, to walk in all His ways and to cling to Him— 23then Adonai will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves. 24Every place where the sole of your foot treads will be yours—from the wilderness to the Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, as far as the western sea will be your border. 25No one will be able to stand against you—Adonai your God will put the fear and dread of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has promised you.

Blessing or Curse Set Before You

26“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— 27the blessing, if you listen to the mitzvot of Adonai your God that I am commanding you today, 28but the curse, if you do not listen to the mitzvot of Adonai your God, but turn from the way I am commanding you today, to go after other gods you have not known. 29Now when Adonai your God brings you into the land you are going in to possess, you are to set the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. 30Are they not across the Jordan toward the west, in the land of the Canaanites who dwell in the Arabah—opposite Gilgal, beside the oaks of Moreh? 31For you are about to cross over the Jordan to go in to possess the land Adonai your God is giving you—you will possess it and dwell in it, 32and you will take care to do all the statutes and ordinances that I am setting before you today.

–from Deuteronomy 11

Will you go the way you are supposed to go and reap the benefits? Will you share this wisdom and knowledge that there will be a legacy after you? How will you make a difference in and through the life you lead and live? There is a reason and a purpose in everything He asks of you, it’s part of His greater plan!

The Place He Chooses

1“These are the statutes and ordinances that you are to make sure to do in the land that Adonai, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess—all the days that you live on the earth. 2You must utterly destroy all the places where the nations that you will dispossess served their gods—on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3You are to tear down their altars, smash their pillars, burn their Asherah poles in the fire and cut down the carved images of their gods, and you are to obliterate their name from that place. 4“You are not to act like this toward Adonai your God. 5Rather you are to seek only the place Adonai your God chooses from all your tribes to put His Name to dwell—there you will come. 6There you are to bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes, the offering of your hand, your vow and freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. 7There you and your households will eat before Adonai your God and rejoice in every undertaking of your hand, as Adonai your God has blessed you. 8You will not do all the things as we are doing here today—everyone doing what is right in his own eyes. 9For you have not yet come to the resting place and the inheritance that Adonai your God is giving you. 10But when you cross over the Jordan and settle in the land that Adonai your God enables you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around you, you will dwell in safety. 11“Then the place Adonai your God chooses to make His Name dwell, there you are to bring all that I command you—your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes, the offering of your hand, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to Adonai. 12Then you will rejoice before Adonai your God—you and your sons and daughters, your slaves and maids, and the Levite in your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance among you. 13Be careful that you do not offer your burnt offerings in any place you see. 14Rather do so only in the place Adonai chooses in one of your tribes—there you are to offer your burnt offerings, and there you are to do all I am commanding you. 15“However, you may slaughter and eat meat within all your gates—whatever your soul’s desire, according to the blessing Adonai your God has given you. Either the unclean or clean may eat of it, as they would a gazelle and or deer. 16But you are not to eat the blood—you are to pour it out on the ground like water. 17You may not eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or new wine or oil, or the firstborn of your herd or of your flock, or any of your vow offerings that you vow, or your freewill offerings, or the offering of your hand. 18Rather you are to eat them before Adonai your God in the place Adonai your God chooses—you, your son and daughter, your slave and maid, and the Levite within your gates—and you will rejoice before Adonai your God in every undertaking of your hand. 19Be careful that you do not neglect the Levite as long as you live on the earth. 20“When Adonai your God enlarges your territory as He has promised you, and you say, ‘I want to eat meat,’ because your soul craves meat, then you may eat meat—all your soul’s desire. 21If the place Adonai your God chooses to put His Name is too far from you, then you may slaughter any of your herd and flock that Adonai has given you—as I have commanded you—and you may eat within your gates, all your soul’s desire. 22Just as the gazelle or hart is eaten, so you may eat it—the unclean and clean alike may eat it. 23Only be sure that you do not eat the blood—for the blood is the life, and you are not to eat the life with the meat. 24You are not to eat it—you are to pour it out on the ground like water. 25You are not to eat it, so that it may go well with you and your children after you, when you do what is right in Adonai’s eyes. 26“Only the holy things and vow offerings that are yours are you to take and go to the place that Adonai chooses. 27You are to offer your burnt offerings—the flesh and the blood—on the altar of Adonai your God. The blood of your sacrifices is to be poured out on the altar of Adonai your God, but the meat you are to eat. 28Take care and listen to all these words that I am commanding you, so that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the eyes of Adonai your God. 29“When Adonai your God cuts off before you the nations that you are going in to dispossess, when you have dispossessed them and settled in their land, 30be careful not to be trapped into imitating them after they have been destroyed before you. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods? I will do the same.’ 31You are not to act like this toward Adonai your God! For every abomination of Adonai, which He hates, they have done to their gods—they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

–from Deuteronomy 12

He is trying to guide you. He is trying to protect you. He is trying to set boundaries in order to save you and keep you from falling for lies and deception. The truth sets us free but there are some who will try to twist it and trip you up.

Beware of False Prophets

1“Whatever I command you, you must take care to do—you are not to add to it or take away from it. 2“Suppose a prophet or a dreamer of dreams rises up among you and gives you a sign or wonder, 3and the sign or wonder he spoke to you comes true, while saying, ‘Let’s follow other gods’—that you have not known, and—‘Let’s serve them!’ 4You must not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams—for Adonai your God is testing you, to find out whether you love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 5Adonai your God you will follow and Him you will fear. His mitzvot you will keep, to His voice you will listen, Him you will serve and to Him you will cling. 6That prophet or dreamer of dreams must be put to death! For he has spoken falsehood against Adonai your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to entice you from the way Adonai your God commanded you to walk. So you will purge the evil from your midst. 7“Suppose your brother—your mother’s son—or your son or daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your best friend of your own soul misleads you secretly, saying, ‘Let’s go and serve other gods’—that you and your fathers have not known, 8from among the gods of the peoples around you, near you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other. 9You are not to give in or listen to him, your eye is not to pity him, and you are not to spare or conceal him. 10Instead, you will surely put him to death. Your hand should be the first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 11You are to stone him with stones to death because he tried to entice you away from Adonai your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery. 12Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and never again will they do such an evil thing as this in your midst. 13“Suppose you hear it said in one of your cities, which Adonai your God is giving you to dwell in, 14that worthless fellows have gone out from among you and enticed the inhabitants of their city, saying, ‘Let’s go and serve other gods’—that you have not known. 15Then you are to investigate, search out and inquire thoroughly. If indeed it is true and the matter certain that this abomination has been done in your midst, 16you will surely strike down the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it and all that is in it and its livestock with the sword. 17You are to gather all its plunder into the middle of the street, and you are to burn with fire the city and all its plunder—all of it to Adonai your God. It will be a ruin forever—it shall never be built again. 18Nothing from the ban should cling to your hand, so that Adonai may turn from the fierceness of His anger and show you mercy, and have compassion on you and multiply you, just as He swore to your fathers— 19when you listen to the voice of Adonai your God, keeping all His mitzvot that I am commanding you today, doing what is right in the eyes of Adonai your God.

–from Deuteronomy 13

So turn to God! Go to the source of truth! Turn to the one who is true love! And follow after Him and His ways! Let’s be planting generosity! Let’s be planting a heart of cheerful giving! Let’s be people who joyfully give so that others may come to know the reality of Jesus in their lives! Let’s live lives that will bring God all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name.

1Now about this service to the kedoshim, it is indeed unnecessary for me to write to you— 2for I know your eagerness. I boast about it to the Macedonians, that Achaia has been preparing for a year already; and your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you may not be in vain in this case, so that you may be prepared, just as I kept saying. 4Otherwise, if any Macedonians were to come and find you unprepared, we—not to mention you—would be put to shame in this undertaking. 5So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on to you and arrange ahead of time your generous gift that had been promised beforehand, so that it would be ready as a gift and not as an extortion.

Sowing and Reaping Generosity

6The point is this: whoever sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. 7Let each one give as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion—for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace overflow to you, so that by always having enough of everything, you may overflow in every good work. 9As it is written, “He scattered widely, He gave to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” 10Now the One who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in everything for all generosity, which through us brings about thanksgiving to God. 12For this service of giving is not only supplying the needs of the kedoshim, but is also overflowing with many thanksgivings to God. 13Because of the evidence of this service, they praise God for the obedience of your affirmation of the Good News of Messiah and for the generosity of your contribution to them and to everyone. 14And in their prayer for you, they long for you because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

–from 2 Corinthians 9

Ever heard of the right place at the right time?


Do you believe there is purpose? Do you believe there is a calendar and a schedule? Do you believe that it’s not random? Do you believe it’s not a coincidence? Do you believe that you were put in such a place on a such a day for such a thing as that?

I have had many instances where God has put me places for special purposes. I have been reading my morning readings and then go on with my day to realize it is speaking right into my very situation. I have seen FB updates and started conversations and next thing I know instead of it being about me saying “Hi”, “Congratulations” the other person turns it around to be asking me questions and it leads to new opportunities. I have seen where my blog triggered something in a reader which created a conversation between our blogs which allowed me to speak hope and life into his life.

God’s timing is perfect! He is never late, rarely early, He is just on time! So be patient! Be obedient to His prompting! Allow the process to have its work in you! Is it tough? Yes, but we can take hope for God’s Word tells us “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Will we face trial, challenges, troubles? Yes, but we can take hope for God’s Word tells us to “consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

So don’t worry! Worry changes nothing! Turn to God in prayer and stick with Him through it all! Or as God’s Word puts it “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Worry won’t help! Or as God’s Word puts it:

25“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 28“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 31“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. –from Matthew 6 (NLT)

So let’s take a hold of the truth! There is a right place to be! There is a right time! There is also a right way to go about it! And until the time is right we will just walk out life, the highs and the lows, with God the right way!


Today’s reading starts with speaking about timing…

1Then Adonai spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they approached the presence of Adonai and died. 2Adonai said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holiest Place behind the curtain —before the atonement cover which is on the Ark—so that he would not die. For I will be appearing in the cloud over the atonement cover.

Yom Kippur Service

3“In this way shall Aaron come into the Sanctuary: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 4He is to put on the holy linen garment, have the linen undergarments on his body, put on the linen sash, and wear the linen turban—they are the holy garments. He shall bathe his body in water, and put them on. 5“Then he is to take from the congregation of Bnei-Yisrael two he-goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering. 6Then Aaron is to offer the bull for the sin offering which is for himself and make atonement for himself and his house. 7Then he is take the two goats and present them before Adonai at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. 8Aaron will then cast lots for the two goats—one lot for Adonai, and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9Aaron is to present the goat on which the lot for Adonai fell and make it a sin offering. 10But the goat upon which the lot for the scapegoat fell is to be presented alive before Adonai, to make atonement upon it, by sending it away as the scapegoat into the wilderness. 11“Also Aaron is to present the bull of the sin offering which is for himself and so make atonement for himself and his house. He is to slaughter the bull of the sin offering which is for himself. 12He is to take a firepan full of coals of fire from off the altar before Adonai plus two handfuls of sweet powdered incense and bring it within the curtain. 13Then he is to put the incense on the fire before Adonai, so that the cloud of the incense may cover the atonement cover that is on the Ark, so that he would not die. 14He is then to take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the atonement cover, on the east side. Before the atonement cover he is to sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times. 15“Then he is to slaughter the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, bring its blood behind the curtain, and do with it as he did with the blood of the bull—sprinkle it upon the atonement cover, and before the atonement cover. 16So he is to make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the ­uncleanness of Bnei-Yisrael and because of their transgressions, all their sins. He is to do the same for the Tent of Meeting, which dwells with them in the midst of their impurities. 17No one is to be in the Tent of Meeting when he enters to make atonement in the Holy Place until he comes out, and has made atonement for himself and for his household, and for all the assembly of Israel. 18“Then he is to go out to the altar that is before Adonai and make atonement for it. He is to take some of the bull’s blood and some of the goat’s blood and dab it around on the horns of the altar. 19He is to sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and consecrate it from the uncleanness of Bnei-Yisrael. 20“When he has finished atoning for the Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, then he is to present the live goat. 21Aaron should lay both his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the iniquities of Bnei-Yisrael and all their transgressions, all their sins. He should place them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. 22The goat will carry all their iniquities by itself into a solitary land and he is to leave the goat in the wilderness. 23“Then Aaron is to come into the Tent of Meeting, take off the linen garments that he put on when he went into the Holy Place, and leave them there. 24He is to bathe himself with water in a holy place, put on his garments, and come out to offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, to make atonement for himself and for the people. 25“Then he is to burn up fat of the sin offering in smoke on the altar. 26The man who leaves the goat as a scapegoat is to wash his clothes and bathe his body in water. Afterward he may come into the camp. 27“The bull for the sin offering and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy Place, shall be carried outside the camp, and their hides, their flesh, and their dung burned with fire. 28The one who burns them is to wash his clothes and bathe his body in water. Then afterward he may come into the camp. 29“It is to be a statute to you forever, that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you are to afflict your souls, and do no kind of work—both the native-born and the outsider dwelling among you. 30For on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. From all your sins you will be clean before Adonai. 31It is a Shabbat of solemn rest to you, and you are to afflict your souls. It is a statute forever. 32The kohen who is anointed and who is consecrated to be kohen in his father’s place will make the atonement, and put on the linen garments, the holy garments. 33He is to make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary, for the Tent of Meeting, for the altar, for the kohanim, and for all the people of the assembly. 34“This will be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for Bnei-Yisrael once in the year because of all their sins.” It was done as Adonai commanded Moses.
–from Leviticus 16

We need to consider our choices and our actions for their are consequences or responses or reactions.

Sacrifice of Life in Blood

1Then Adonai spoke to Moses, saying: 2“Speak to Aaron, to his sons, and to all Bnei-Yisrael, and say to them: This is the word which Adonai has commanded. 3Anyone from the house of Israel who slaughters a bull, a lamb or a goat in the camp or outside the camp, 4but has not brought it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting to offer it as a sacrifice to Adonai before the Tabernacle—let bloodguilt be charged to that man. He has shed blood—that man is to be cut off from among his people. 5Thus Bnei-Yisrael may bring their sacrifices that they were making in the open field to Adonai, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting to the kohen, and offer them as sacrifices of fellowship offerings to Adonai. 6The kohen is to sprinkle the blood on the altar of Adonai at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and burn up the fat as smoke for a soothing aroma to Adonai. 7They are no longer to offer their sacrifices to the goat-demons after which they play the prostitute. This will be a statute forever to them throughout their generations. 8“Then you are to say to them: Anyone from the house of Israel, or from the outsiders dwelling among them, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice, 9but does not bring it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting to sacrifice it to Adonai, is to be cut off from his people. 10“Anyone from the house of Israel, or from the outsiders dwelling among them, who eats any kind of blood, I will set my face against that soul—the one who eats blood—and will cut him off from among his people. 11For the life of the creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your lives—for it is the blood that makes atonement because of the life. 12Therefore I have said to Bnei-Yisrael: No person among you may eat blood, nor may any outsider dwelling among you eat blood. 13“Any person from Bnei-Yisrael, or from the outsiders dwelling among them, who hunts as game any animal or bird that may be eaten, must drain its blood and cover it with dust. 14For the life of every creature, its blood is in its life. Therefore I said to Bnei-Yisrael: You are not to eat the blood of any kind of creature, for the life of every creature is its blood. Whoever eats it is to be cut off. 15“Everyone who eats what dies naturally or is torn by animals—whether he is native-born or a foreigner—is to wash his clothes and bathe himself in water. He will be unclean until the evening, then he will be clean. 16But if he does not wash them or bathe his body, then he will bear his iniquity.”
–from Leviticus 17

We need to stick with Jesus! He is not only a good example, but a great advocate for us! Let’s not grow weary in doing what is good and what is right! God’s timing is perfect! We may think He is late, but watch what He will do in that very situation! Consider the extra glory to God because of His timing! God cares for us! God’s got compassion for us! His plan is that nobody would perish but that all would turn back to Him and be saved! He sent Jesus to save! Jesus didn’t come to condemn but to seek and save the lost! So we can trust Him! We can live for Him! And we can see how He will touch our lives and transform us from the inside out!

Lazarus Is Dead

1Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Miriam and her sister Martha. 2This was the same Miriam who anointed the Master with perfume and wiped His feet with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was sick. 3So the sisters sent a word to Yeshua, saying, “Master, the one you love is sick!” 4When Yeshua heard this, He said, “This sickness will not end in death. It is for God’s glory, so that Ben-Elohim may be glorified through it.” 5Now Yeshua loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6However, when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was for two more days. 7Then after this, He said to His disciples, “Let’s go up to Judea again.” 8“Rabbi,” the disciples say to Him, “just now the Judean leaders were trying to stone You! And You’re going back there again?” 9Yeshua answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours in the day? If a man walks in the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of the world. 10But if a man should walk around at night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11After He said this, He tells them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I’m going there to wake him up.” 12So the disciples said to Him, “Master, if he has fallen asleep, he will get better.” 13Now Yeshua had spoken about his death, but they thought He was talking about ordinary sleep. 14Then Yeshua told them clearly, “Lazarus is dead! 15I’m glad for your sake I wasn’t there, so that you may believe. Anyway, let’s go to him!” 16Then Thomas called the Twin said to the other disciples, “Let’s go too, so that we may die with Him!”

Comforting the Mourners

17So when Yeshua arrived, He discovered that Lazarus had been in the tomb already for four days. 18Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19and many of the Judeans had come to Martha and Miriam to console them about their brother. 20When Martha heard that Yeshua was coming, she went out to meet Him; but Miriam sat in the house. 21Martha said to Yeshua, “Master, if You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died! 22But I know, even now, that whatever You may ask of God, He will give You.” 23Yeshua said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24Martha said to Him, “I know, he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25Yeshua said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life! Whoever believes in Me, even if he dies, shall live. 26And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27She says to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, Ben-Elohim who has come into the world.” 28After she said this, she left and secretly told her sister Miriam, “The Teacher is here, and He’s calling for you.” 29As soon as Miriam heard, she quickly got up and was coming to Him. 30Now Yeshua had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met Him. 31The Judeans, who were with Miriam in the house and comforting her, seeing how quickly she got up and went out, followed her. They thought she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32So when Miriam came to where Yeshua was, she saw Him and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Master, if You had been here, my brother would not have died!” 33When Yeshua saw her weeping, and the Judeans who came with her weeping, He was deeply troubled in spirit and Himself agitated. 34“Where have you laid him?” He asked. “Come and see, Master,” they tell Him. 35Yeshua wept. 36So the Judeans said, “See how He loved him!” 37But some of them said, “Couldn’t this One, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have also kept this man from dying?”

Yeshua’s Word Raises the Dead

38So Yeshua, again deeply troubled within Himself, comes to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39Yeshua says, “Roll away the stone!” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to Him, “Master, by this time he stinks! He’s been dead for four days!” 40Yeshua says to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41So they rolled away the stone. Yeshua lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard Me. 42I knew that You always hear Me; but because of this crowd standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43And when He had said this, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44He who had been dead came out, wrapped in burial clothes binding his hands and feet, with a cloth over his face. And Yeshua tells them, “Cut him loose, and let him go!”

Better that One Man Die

45Therefore many of the Judeans, who had come to Miriam and had seen what Yeshua had done, put their trust in Him. 46But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Yeshua had done. 47So the ruling kohanim and Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we doing?” they asked. “This Man is performing many signs! 48If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our holy place and our nation.” 49But one of them, Caiaphas, who was kohen gadol that year, said to them, “You know nothing! 50You don’t take into account that it is better for you that one man die for the people rather than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” 51Now he did not say this by himself; but as the kohen gadol that year, he prophesied that Yeshua would die for the nation. 52And not for the nation only, but also so that He might gather together into one the scattered children of God. 53So from that day on, they plotted to kill Him. 54Therefore Yeshua no longer walked openly among the Judeans, but went from there to the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim. He stayed there with His disciples. 55Now the Jewish Passover was near; and many people went up out of the regions to Jerusalem before Passover, to purify themselves. 56So they were searching for Yeshua, saying to one another as they stood in the Temple, “What do you think? Won’t He come to the feast at all?” 57Now the ruling kohanim and Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it so that they might arrest Him.
–from John 11

 

 

Do you know a big deal when you see it?


Do you take in the moment? Do you absorb the reality of the situation? Do gloss it over? Do you forget about it? What if you read something that explains how much work and effort, the size, the strength, the durability of something and then later also read about how it tore apart? Don’t miss out on the big deals! Don’t lose out on the benefits! Don’t just skip over it!

Today’s reading starts off with the story of the curtain, it’s the same curtain that ripped apart when Jesus gave up His life on the cross. Let’s learn more about this curtain…

Curtains

1“Moreover you are to make the Tabernacle with ten curtains of fine woven linen, of blue , purple and scarlet, with cheruvim made by the work of a skillful craftsman. 2The length of each curtain is to be 28 cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits. All the curtains are to have the same measure. 3Five curtains are to be coupled together one to another, and the other five curtains are also to be coupled one to another. 4Also make loops of violet on the edge of the one curtain that is outermost in the first set, and do likewise within the edge of the curtain that is outermost in the second set. 5You are to make 50 loops in the first curtain and 50 loops on the edge of the curtain that is in the second set. The loops are to be opposite one another. 6Then make 50 clasps of gold, and couple the curtains one to another with the clasps, so that the Tabernacle may be one piece. 7“You are to make curtains of goat hair for a tent over the Tabernacle, 11 curtains in all. 8The length of each curtain is to be 30 cubits and the width of each curtain four cubits. The eleven curtains are to have the same measurement. 9You are to couple five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves, and double over the sixth curtain in the forefront of the tent. 10Then make 50 loops on the edge of the one curtain that is outermost in the first set, along with 50 loops on the edge of the curtain that is outermost in the second set. 11Make 50 bronze clasps, put them into the loops, and couple the tent together, so that it may be one. 12As for the overhanging part that remains of the tent curtains, the half curtain that remains is to hang over the back of the Tabernacle. 13The extra cubit on one side, as well as the cubit on the other side, which remains in the length of the curtains of the tent, is to hang over the sides of the Tabernacle on each side, to cover it. 14You are to make a covering for the tent of ram skins, dyed red, and a covering of sealskins above. 15“You are to make the framework of boards for the Tabernacle from acacia wood, standing upright. 16The length of each board is to be 10 cubits by one and a half cubits wide. 17There are to be two supports in each board, joined one to another. Do this for all the boards of the Tabernacle. 18You are to make the 20 boards for the south side of the Tabernacle, 19and 40 silver bases underneath the 20 boards. Two bases go underneath one board for its supports and two bases under another board for its supports. 20Likewise, for the second side of the Tabernacle, on the north side, there are to be 20 boards, 21with their 40 bases of silver. Two bases go under one board and two bases under the next board. 22For the back part of the Tabernacle, westward, you are to make six boards. 23Make two boards for the corners of the Tabernacle on the back side. 24They are also to be doubled at the bottom, and in the same way joined at the top by the first ring. It is to be this way for them both, and they will provide for the two corners. 25So there will be eight boards, with 16 silver bases, two bases under each board. 26“Also make crossbeams of acacia wood, five for the boards on one side of the Tabernacle, 27five for the boards on the other side of the Tabernacle, and five for the boards on the back part of the Tabernacle to the west. 28The middle crossbeam in the center of the boards will pass through from end to end. 29Then overlay the boards with gold, and make their rings from gold as holders for the crossbeams, and overlay the crossbeams with gold. 30“You are to raise up the Tabernacle according to the plan which you were shown on the mountain. 31“Make a fine woven linen curtain of blue, purple and scarlet, with cheruvim. It is to be the work of a skillful craftsman. 32You are to hang it on four pillars of acacia overlaid with gold, their hooks being made of gold, atop four bases of silver. 33You are to hang the curtain under the clasps, and bring the Ark within the curtain of the Testimony. The parokhet will divide for you between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. 34“Then you are to put the atonement cover on the Ark of the Testimony in the Holy of Holies. 35You shall set the table outside the curtain, and the menorah opposite the table on the side of the Tabernacle toward the south. You are to put the table on the north side. 36“For the entrance of the tent, also make a screen of blue, purple and scarlet, finely twisted linen, the work of a color weaver. 37You are also to make for the screen five pillars of acacia, and overlay them with gold. Their hooks are to be made of gold, and you are to cast five bases of bronze for them.
–from Exodus 26

How many times might you have skipped over some reading about curtains? How many other things would the title have made you skip over? Have you missed out on the full story? Have you missed out the miracles? Have you missed out on the blessings by skipping over stuff that God had intended to use to speak into your life? What if had been bolded? Would that have gotten your attention? What if there were more lights? Don’t miss out because you don’t think it doesn’t apply to you! God knows what you are going through! He can speak to you right where you are at in and through His Word! I pick a 365 day walk through the Bible each year and each year God is able to speak to me – He knows even before I do what I need to hear. So don’t gloss over God’s Word! The details are important! They were given because they are important!

Altar, Courtyard, Oil

1“Make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide. The altar will be square and its height is to be three cubits. 2Make horns on the four corners—of one piece. Overlay it with bronze. 3You are to make pots for it to take away ashes, along with shovels, basins, forks and fire pans—make all the utensils of bronze. 4Also make a bronze grating net for it, and on the net you are to make four bronze rings on the four corners. 5You are to place it under the ledge around the altar beneath, so that the net may reach halfway up the altar. 6Make poles for the altar, poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with bronze. 7Its poles are to be put into the rings, on the two sides of the altar, for carrying it. 8You are to make it with planks so that it is hollow. As it has been shown to you in the mountain, they are to make it just so. 9“You are also to make a courtyard for the Tabernacle. For the south side there are to be hangings for the courtyard of finely twisted linen, 100 cubits long. 10There are to be 20 pillars with 20 bronze bases, and the hooks on the pillars along with their bands are to be made of silver. 11Likewise for the north side, in length there are to be 100 cubit long hangings, 20 pillars and 20 bronze bases. The hooks of the pillars and their clasps are to be made of silver. 12“Now for the width of the courtyard on the west side there are to be 50 cubits of hangings, ten pillars and ten bases. 13The width of the courtyard on the east side is to be 50 cubits. 14The hangings on one side of the gate are to be 15 cubits, with three pillars and three bases. 15For the other side there is also to be 15 cubits of hangings, with three pillars and three bases. 16“For the gate of the courtyard there is to be a 20 cubit curtain of blue, purple, scarlet and finely twisted linen, the work of a color weaver, along with their four pillars and their four bases. 17The pillars of the courtyard are to be banded with silver, their hooks of silver, and their bases of bronze all around. 18The length of the courtyard is to be 100 cubits, and the width 50 throughout. The height is to be five cubits, with hangings of finely twisted linen, with their bronze bases. 19All the articles of the Tabernacle for all the services there, along with all the pegs, including all the pegs of the courtyard, are to be bronze. 20“Also you are to command Bnei-Yisrael, that they are to bring to you pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause a lamp to burn continually. 21In the Tent of Meeting, outside the curtain which is before the Testimony, Aaron and his sons will set it in order, to burn from evening to morning before Adonai. It will be a statute forever throughout their generations, on behalf of Bnei-Yisrael.
–from Exodus 27

We need to shine our light into this dark world! We need to allow the light that shone into our lives through Jesus to shine out of our lives into the dark world! It’s not good enough to dim it down so that we assimilate into the world! It’s more important that people see the difference! It’s more important that people will see through the darkness the hope that is within you! It’s more important that people will see through the darkness the reason for the hope that is within you! Will you allow the oil – the anointing of the Holy Spirit to burn within you so that your light will continue to shine all the days of your life? Will you stay with the Holy Spirit so that you will be continually filled up so that you can and will shine? It’s all about choices and decisions, words and actions, faith and hope, love and sacrifice!

Will you be part of the remnant who will stick with God? Will you be part of the starter group who will start up a revival? Will you be part of the group who will take a hold of God’s calling and do what He needs? Will you give? Will you go? Will you do? What is God calling you to do? What is He asking you to do? What will your part be? What does He want to say into your life? What can He do in and through you? Will you allow God to prune? Will you allow God to graft you into the family? into the vine?

Israel Not Rejected

1I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2God has not rejected His people whom He knew beforehand. Or do you not know what the Scripture says about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3“Adonai, they have killed your prophets, they have destroyed your altars; I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” 4But what is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5So in the same way also at this present time there has come to be a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. 6But if it is by grace, it is no longer by works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. 7What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained; but the elect obtained it, and the rest were hardened— 8just as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes not to see and ears not to hear, until this very day.” 9And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. 10Let their eyes be darkened so they do not see, and bend their back continually.” 11I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their false step salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke Israel to jealousy. 12Now if their transgression leads to riches for the world, and their loss riches for the Gentiles, then how much more their fullness! 13But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Insofar as I am an emissary to the Gentiles, I spotlight my ministry 14if somehow I might provoke to jealousy my own flesh and blood and save some of them. 15For if their rejection leads to the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16If the firstfruit is holy, so is the whole batch of dough; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17But if some of the branches were broken off and you—being a wild olive—were grafted in among them and became a partaker of the root of the olive tree with its richness, 18do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, it is not you who support the root but the root supports you. 19You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20True enough. They were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but fear— 21for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you. 22Notice then the kindness and severity of God: severity toward those who fell; but God’s kindness toward you, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off! 23And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again. 24For if you were cut out of that which by nature is a wild olive tree, and grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?

The Mystery Revealed!

25For I do not want you, brothers and sisters, to be ignorant of this mystery—lest you be wise in your own eyes—that a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26and in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer shall come out of Zion. He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. 27And this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” 28Concerning the Good News, they are hostile for your sake; but concerning chosenness, they are loved on account of the fathers— 29for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30For just as you once were disobedient to God but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, 31in like manner these also have now been disobedient with the result that, because of the mercy shown to you, they also may receive mercy. 32For God has shut up all in disobedience, so that He might show mercy to all. 33O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how incomprehensible His ways! 34For “who has known the mind of Adonai, or who has been His counselor?” 35Or “who has first given to Him, that it shall be repaid to him?” 36For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.
–from Romans 11

Let’s live sacrificial lives in love! Let’s allow our lives to be a calling sigh for people to come and to know God through our Lord and Savior Jesus! Let’s shine our lights that others may see it and glorify our Father in Heaven! Let’s live lives in the spirit so that we are in alignment with God’s Holy Spirit and can lead us and guide us every step of every day! Let’s share the grace and the mercy God has poured out on us to flow into the lives of those around us that they may come to the realization of God’s greatness!

The Son Is Risen!

1Now after Shabbat, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Miriam of Magdala and the other Miriam came to look at the tomb. 2And suddenly there was a great earthquake, for an angel of Adonai descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4And those keeping watch were shaken for fear of him and became like dead men. 5But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know you are looking for Yeshua who was crucified. 6He is not here; for He is risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7Go quickly now and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead. And behold, He’s going before you to the Galilee. There you will see Him. See, I have told you!” 8They quickly left the tomb, with fear yet with great joy, and ran to bring news to His disciples.

The Good News Cannot Be Hidden

9And behold, Yeshua met them. “Shalom!” He said. They drew near, grasped his feet, and worshiped Him. 10“Don’t be afraid,” Yeshua said to them. “Go tell My brothers to head for the Galilee, and there they will see Me.” 11Now while they were going, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the ruling kohanim all that had happened. 12And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of silver to the soldiers, 13saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we were sleeping.’ 14And if this is heard by the governor, we’ll appease him and keep you out of trouble.” 15So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story was spread among the Judeans to this day.

Authority to Make Disciples Everywhere

16Now the eleven disciples went to the Galilee, to the mountain Yeshua had designated. 17When they saw Him, they worshiped; but some wavered. 18And Yeshua came up to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Ruach ha-Kodesh, 20teaching them to observe all I have commanded you. And remember! I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
–from Matthew 28

Let’s live in the celebration of our risen Savior! Even as Easter is just around the corner, let’s reflect on the birth, the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus! And then shine that He may be glorified! God’s desire isn’t for us to be afraid! His plan is to give us a message of good news so that we will choose to spend our lives and our eternity with Him!

Angels in the Bible make me laugh – they appear in all their glory and awe which tends to startle or frighten people – then they say “Do not be afraid”. So let’s not walk in fear, let’s walk by faith!

Today’s reading alone, we see “Do not be afraid” and “Don’t be afraid”, first from the angel and secondly from Jesus! So let’s take a hold of that today and not walk in fear!

What does it mean?


What does it imply? What are the implications? You are being called! What does it mean? What are the implications if you answer the call? How does your work play into this? How is your work an integral part of it? Do you realize how important our work is a key part of the restoration plan? Do you have the right perspective? Has it helped or hindered your sense of calling?

Today’s reading starts with the topic of living as we are called…

17Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 18Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 19For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 20Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. 23You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. 24So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.

–from 1 Corinthians 7

The key is to keep the commandments of God! It’s not about our appearance! It’s not about our social status! Jesus paid the price so that now we can live according to His plans and purposes! so let’s not be concerned about where we were, but not let’s focus on how we can be all that God is calling us to be!

Today’s reading continues with our calling and our gifts…

8For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

–from 1 Corinthians 12

So let’s take a hold of the gifts and talents God has given us! We don’t need to worry or be concerned about what others have, just that we take what we have been given and be good stewards of it by using them to glorify God!

Today’s reading goes on to speak about how we each have a calling, we have each been given gifts for the purpose that God has created us to accomplish…

 6Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

–from Romans 12

We can’t all be the same. We are the body and so we each have a part in the overall health and well being of the body! We can’t complain or shouldn’t complain which part we have to play because each part is important and has a purpose! Some parts may be more visible in what they do and others may be more behind the scenes. Just like the various parts of our human body! And just because you aren’t being used in a way that isn’t as visible, it doesn’t mean your work isn’t any less important! Consider the heart…nobody sees it, but without it the body is dead! Consider the brain…nobody sees it, but without it the connections and collaboration couldn’t take place! We each have a part to play! And they are all important to the overall goal and health! So let’s be cheerful and share the joy of the Lord with those around us! Let’s contribute to the greater good! Let’s be generous in the way we live our lives! Even with the little we have God can take it, multiply it, and provide more than we could ever ask or imagine! Consider the boy who shared his lunch (Matthew 15:32-39/Mark 8:1-13)… Consider the widow and her son who only had a little oil (1 Kings 17:8-16)… What little do you have that God can use for the greater good?

Today’s reading concludes speaking to the importance of unity…

11And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

–from Ephesians 4

We each have a calling that God needs and wants for us to answer! We each have a calling and a purpose that goes beyond just ourselves! We need to work together to bring unity through Jesus so that we can become mature and complete, lacking nothing! It’s not easy! We will face trials of many kinds. We are to consider them pure for joy for in the end, the process will help us to be complete and lacking nothing! Don’t be tossed around or confused! Allow the truth to keep you on track and set you free! Don’t allow the cunning and deceitful schemes of man to rob you of the joy that God put in place for you to receive! So let’s speak truth in love! Let’s grow up in every way Jesus calls us so that as a body, we will be held together strong and be ready and equipped to complete the work as function properly and in unity together sharing the love of God with the world around us, in Jesus’ name!

Not sure where to turn? Not sure what to ask? Turn to God! Turn to His Word that will never return void!


Today’s devotional (day 4) adds some additional insight this way…

Implications of Calling

A biblical view of work runs throughout all of Scripture. Our work plays a part in God’s plan for the restoration of his kingdom. We have lost sight of this perspective and consequently lost our sense of calling.

So, what is calling, and what does it mean for our lives?

There are two types of calling:

  • General calling: The primary meaning of calling in Scripture is general – God calls us out of an old, sinful way of life into a new, redeemed, and faithful way of life.
  • Particular calling: This type of calling, used in I Corinthians 7:17-24, refers to our state or condition of life.

The implication of the general call is to be faithful to the Lord in all areas of our lives – including our families, our church, our nation, and our work. We are called to a new way of life and faithfulness to our Lord. When we are faithful to the callings God has placed upon our lives, we will experience meaning, significance, and wholeness. If our priorities are askew, we will not.

Calling impacts and orients our lives in a variety of ways:

  • A sense of calling gives us perspective on what we do. Whether we succeed or fail, we can sustain motivation to our calling if we remain faithful.
  • Calling can keep us from compromising. Sometimes in our work we face the temptation to compromise our values. We may be challenged to act unethically in order to advance in our careers.
  • We are called to be good stewards of our gifts. I Corinthians 12:8-10, Romans 12:6-8, and Ephesians 4:11-13, list various gifts in the body of Christ. We are called to know our gifts and to use them vigorously for his kingdom. Our “natural” gifts are our “created” gifts – given to us by God. The Fall has withered, misdirected, or twisted our natural gifts. However, the Holy Spirit can redirect these gifts to benefit both the church and the world.
  • Don’t expect a “perfect” use of your gifts. We live in a world that is far from perfect. It is often difficult to find a job that fully fits your gifts. Even if you could land the perfect job, you would find that it wasn’t perfect because you and the people around you are fallen. Although you shouldn’t expect perfection, you should strive to be a good steward of the gifts you were given.

What do you think? How can calling impact and orient your life and work?

–from How Do I Find My Calling? (day 4 of 5)

What is your reality based on?


Are you basing reality on standards? Are you basing reality on appearance? Are you basing reality on opinion? Is your reality based on things that are constant? Is your reality based on things that are in continuous flux? Are you being swayed by every wave? Are you stable because you are standing on a strong foundation? What is your source of truth? Where do you go for wisdom? How do you know the difference between right and wrong? What is right? What is wrong? What are you supposed to think about it? What are you supposed to do about it? Is it in alignment to God’s will? Is it in alignment to what God wants? Are you doing it for your own benefit and glorification? Are you doing it to lift up God working in and through you? Are you honest? Are you humble? Is obedience important? Is it important to you?

What is your reality based on?


Today’s reading starts on such a topic…

Jesus at the Festival of Shelters

10After his brothers had gone to the festival, Jesus also went; however, he did not go openly, but secretly. 11The Jewish authorities were looking for him at the festival. “Where is he?” they asked. 12There was much whispering about him in the crowd. “He is a good man,” some people said. “No,” others said, “he fools the people.” 13But no one talked about him openly, because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities. 14The festival was nearly half over when Jesus went to the Temple and began teaching. 15The Jewish authorities were greatly surprised and said, “How does this man know so much when he has never been to school?” 16Jesus answered, “What I teach is not my own teaching, but it comes from God, who sent me. 17Whoever is willing to do what God wants will know whether what I teach comes from God or whether I speak on my own authority. 18Those who speak on their own authority are trying to gain glory for themselves. But he who wants glory for the one who sent him is honest, and there is nothing false in him. 19Moses gave you the Law, didn’t he? But not one of you obeys the Law. Why are you trying to kill me?” 20“You have a demon in you!” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?” 21Jesus answered, “I performed one miracle, and you were all surprised. 22Moses ordered you to circumcise your sons (although it was not Moses but your ancestors who started it), and so you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. 23If a boy is circumcised on the Sabbath so that Moses’ Law is not broken, why are you angry with me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? 24Stop judging by external standards, and judge by true standards.”

–from John 7

Do you live to comfort and draw the flock closer to God with hope, truth, faith, and love? Do you live to scatter the flock with misinformation, lies, fear, and disorder? Are you a part of the flock? Are you livening in alignment within the flock? Are you serving? We aren’t just to be leading or leaders, but we are to be servant leaders just as Jesus was a servant leader! Don’t be an instrument of the devil who is roaming around roaring and trying to create fear, but rather provide hope, comfort, peace, and joy that comes from God into the world around you.

As we continue into our reading we read to this fact and truth…

The Flock of God

1I, who am an elder myself, appeal to the church elders among you. I am a witness of Christ’s sufferings, and I will share in the glory that will be revealed. I appeal to you 2to be shepherds of the flock that God gave you and to take care of it willingly, as God wants you to, and not unwillingly. Do your work, not for mere pay, but from a real desire to serve. 3Do not try to rule over those who have been put in your care, but be examples to the flock. 4And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the glorious crown which will never lose its brightness.
5In the same way you younger people must submit yourselves to your elders. And all of you must put on the apron of humility, to serve one another; for the scripture says, “God resists the proud, but shows favor to the humble.” 6Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time. 7Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.
8Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the Devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9Be firm in your faith and resist him, because you know that other believers in all the world are going through the same kind of sufferings. 10But after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who calls you to share his eternal glory in union with Christ, will himself perfect you and give you firmness, strength, and a sure foundation. 11To him be the power forever! Amen.

–1 Peter 5

Let’s be living lives that will glorify God and show His power in and through us.

Today’s reading continues and will conclude with the Songs of Song…

1I wish that you were my brother, that my mother had nursed you at her breast. Then, if I met you in the street, I could kiss you and no one would mind. 2I would take you to my mother’s house, where you could teach me love. I would give you spiced wine, my pomegranate wine to drink. 3Your left hand is under my head, and your right hand caresses me. 4Promise me, women of Jerusalem, that you will not interrupt our love.

The Sixth Song

The Women

5Who is this coming from the desert, arm in arm with her lover?

The Woman

Under the apple tree I woke you, in the place where you were born. 6Close your heart to every love but mine; hold no one in your arms but me. Love is as powerful as death; passion is as strong as death itself. It bursts into flame and burns like a raging fire. 7Water cannot put it out; no flood can drown it. But if any tried to buy love with their wealth, contempt is all they would get.

–from Songs of Song 8