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 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.


Do you realize the benefits?


Do you realize the benefits of walking in alignment to God’s will? Do you realize the benefits of obedience to God’s calling, God’s Word, and God’s purpose for your life? Do you realize the benefits of walking under the protection and covering of God?  Do you realize the benefits to a country whose God is the Lord? Do you realize the benefits to a country whose leaders are walking with a heart after God’s? Do you realize that it matters what you believe and what you in alignment to your beliefs?

The pendulum goes back and forthIf we look at back history and the pendulum of when people did walk in alignment and then when they walked away and the impact it had on society. If we consider where we are at today and where we are in that swing, this year could be a tipping point that makes it swing the other way making things worse if more people walk away from God.

 

Today’s reading brings us to when Solomon has become king and is walking in alignment and leading the people in alignment with God…

Wealth and Wisdom

1Now Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines up to the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life. 2Solomon’s provision for one day was 30 measures of fine flour, 60 measures of meal, 3 10 fat oxen, 20 pasture-fed oxen, 100 sheep, beside deer, gazelles, roebucks and fatted geese. 4For he had dominion over the entire region west of the River, from Tiphsah even to Gaza, over all the kings west of the River; and he had shalom on all sides around him. 5So Judah and Israel lived securely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon. 6Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 12,000 horsemen. 7So those officers provided food for King Solomon and all who came to King Solomon’s table, each in his month. They let nothing be lacking. 8They also brought barley and straw for the horses and swift steeds to the place where it should be, each according to his charge. 9God gave Solomon wisdom and discernment in great measure, and a breadth of understanding as vast as the sand on the seashore. 10Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. 11For he was wiser than all men—than Ethan the Ezrahite, or Heman, Calcol and Darda, sons of Mahol—and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. 12He also composed 3,000 proverbs and his songs were 1,005. 13He also spoke about trees, from the cedar in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall, and he spoke about beasts, birds, creeping things and fish. 14People came from everywhere to hear the wisdom of Solomon—from all kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

Hiram Offers Materials

15Then King Hiram of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon, when he heard that they had anointed him king in place of his father, for Hiram was always a friend of David. 16So Solomon sent word to Hiram saying: 17“You know how my father David could not build a House for the Name of Adonai his God because of the wars around him on every side, until Adonai put them under the soles of my feet. 18But now Adonai my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor bad incident. 19So behold, I intend to build a House for the Name of Adonai my God, as Adonai spoke to my father David saying: ‘Your son, whom I will set upon your throne in your place, he will build the House for My Name.’ 20“So now, command that they cut cedars from Lebanon for me. My servants will be with your servants, and I will give you wages for your servants according to whatever you say; for as you know, there is none among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians.” 21When Hiram heard Solomon’s words, he rejoiced greatly and said: “Blessed be Adonai today, who has given to David a wise son over this great people.” 22So Hiram sent word to Solomon saying: “I have heard the message that you sent to me. I will do all you desire concerning the cedar and cypress timber. 23My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon to the sea, and I will make them into rafts to go by sea to the place that you indicate to me. There I will break them up and you will carry them away. Then you will accomplish my desire by giving food for my household.” 24So Hiram kept providing Solomon with cedar and cypress timber, as much as he desired, 25and Solomon gave Hiram 20,000 measures of wheat for food for his household and 20 measures of beaten oil. Thus Solomon would give to Hiram year by year. 26Adonai gave Solomon wisdom as He promised him, so there was shalom between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them cut a covenant. 27King Solomon also imposed forced laborers from all Israel—the levy was 30,000 men. 28He sent them to Lebanon, in shifts of 10,000 a month: they would stay a month in Lebanon, then two months at home. Adoniram was over the forced labor. 29Solomon had 70,000 porters, and 80,000 stonecutters in the mountains, 30besides Solomon’s chief officers that were over the work—3,300 who supervised the people who were doing the work. 31Then the king commanded, and they quarried great stones, costly stones, to lay the foundation of the House with cut stones. 32So Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders along with the Gebalites cut them, and prepared the timber and the stones to build the House.

–from 1 Kings 5

Will you be willing to pass on God’s instruction to the next generation? Will you be willing to provide resources that will allow the next generation to answer their calling? Will you make sure they know who God is and to build their relationship with Him? Will you provide them an example of how good God is and the benefits of following His instructions?

Building the Temple

1Now it came to pass, 480 years after the children of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Ziv (which is the second month), that he began to build Adonai’s House. 2Now the House that King Solomon built for Adonai was 60 cubits long, 20 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. 3The porch in front of the Sanctuary of the House was 20 cubits in length—corresponding to the breadth of the House—and its depth was ten cubits from the front of the House. 4Also for the House he made windows with artistic frames. 5Against the wall of the House he built a side-structure surrounding both the Temple and the inner Sanctuary; thus he made side-chambers all around. 6The lowest story was five cubits wide, the middle was six cubits wide, and the third was seven cubits wide. All around on the outside he provided offset ledges in the wall of the House, so that the beams would not be inserted into the walls of the House. 7For the House, while being constructed, was built of stone finished at the quarry; with neither hammer, axe nor any iron tool heard in the House during its construction. 8The doorway to the lowest story of the side chambers was on the right side of the House. They went up by winding stairs to the middle story, and from the middle to the third. 9When he finished building the House, he covered the House with beams and planks of cedar. 10He built the stories of the side-structure against the whole House, each five cubits high, and they were fastened to the House with timbers of cedar. 11Then the word of Adonai came to Solomon saying: 12“As for this House which you are building, if you will walk in My statutes, execute My ordinances and keep all My mitzvot by walking in them, then I will establish My word with you, which I spoke to your father David, 13I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.” 14So Solomon built the House and finished it. 15He paneled the walls of the House on the inside with cedar planks of cedar; from the floor of the House to the ceiling he overlaid on the inside with wood; and he overlaid the floor of the House with planks of cypress. 16Then he partitioned off 20 cubits at the rear part of the House, using cedar boards from the floor to the ceiling, building it as the inner Sanctuary—the Holy of Holies. 17The House, that is, the Sanctuary, was 40 cubits long in front of the inner Sanctuary. 18The cedar of the interior of the House was carved as gourds and open flowers. All was cedar; no stone was visible. 19He prepared an inner Sanctuary within the House, to set there the ark of the covenant of Adonai. 20The inner Sanctuary was twenty cubits in length, twenty cubits in breadth and twenty cubits in height. He overlaid it with pure gold, and overlaid the cedar altar. 21So Solomon overlaid the interior of the House with pure gold; and he drew chains of gold across the front of the inner Sanctuary, and overlaid it with gold. 22So the entire House he overlaid with gold until the entire House was finished; even the entire altar by the inner Sanctuary he overlaid with gold. 23In the inner Sanctuary he made two cheruvim of olive wood, each ten cubits high. 24The length of one wing of the cheruv was five ­cubits and the length of the other wing of the cheruv was five cubits—ten cubits from the end of one wing to the end of the other, 25and the other cheruv was also ten cubits. Both cheruvim were the same in measure and form: 26the height of the one cheruv was ten cubits and so the other cheruv. 27Then he placed the cheruvim inside the inner House. When the wings of the cheruvim extended, the wing of the one touched one wall while the wing of the other cheruv touched the other wall, while their wings in the center of the House touched one another. 28He also overlaid the cheruvim with gold. 29Then he carved all the walls surrounding the House with carved engravings of cheruvim, palm trees and open flowers, in both the inner and outer rooms, 30and he also covered the floor of both the inner and the outer rooms of the House with gold. 31For the entrance of the inner Sanctuary he made doors of olive wood, the frame of the doorposts having five angles. 32As for the double doors of olive wood, he carved on them carvings of cheruvim, palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold. He beat out gold over the cheruvim and over the palm trees. 33He also made for the Temple entrance four-sided doorposts of olive wood 34and double doors of cypress wood. The two leaves of the one door were folding, and the two leaves of the other door were folding. 35He carved cheruvim, palm trees and open flowers on them and overlaid them with gold evenly applied on the graven work. 36He built the inner court with three rows of cut stone and a row of cedar beams. 37In the fourth year, in the month of Ziv, the foundation of the House of Adonai was laid, 38and in the eleventh year, in the month of Bul (which is the eighth month), the House was completed in all its parts and according to all its details. So he was seven years building it.

–from 1 Kings 6

Prepare and provide…

1Solomon recruited 70,000 men as carriers, 80,000 as stonecutters in the mountains and 3,600 supervisors over them. 2Then Solomon sent word to Huram the king of Tyre saying, “Deal with me as you did with my father David when you sent him cedars to build a house to dwell in. 3Behold, I am about to build a House for the Name of Adonai my God and to dedicate it to Him for burning fragrant incense before Him, for regular arrangement of the Bread of the Presence and for burnt offerings every morning and evening as well as on Shabbatot, New Moons and moadim of Adonai Eloheinu. Upon Israel this is forever. 4“The House that I am about to build will be great, because our God is greater than all the gods. 5But who is able to build Him a House, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain Him? Who then am I that I should build Him a House—except to burn incense before Him? 6“So now, send me a man skilled to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, and in purple, crimson and blue yarn, and experienced in engraving, to work in Judah and Jerusalem with the skilled men who are with me, whom my father David provided. 7Send me also cedar, evergreen and algum logs from Lebanon, for I know that your servants are skilled in cutting timber in Lebanon. Indeed my servants will work with yours 8to prepare an abundance of timber for me, because the House that I am about to build will be large and magnificent. 9Now, behold, I will give to your servants, the woodsmen who cut the timber, 20,000 measures of ground wheat, 20,000 measures of barley, 20,000 vats of wine and 20,000 vats of oil.” 10Then King Huram of Tyre, replied in a letter that he sent to Solomon, “Because Adonai loves His people, He has made you king over them.” 11Then Huram continued, “Blessed be Adonai, the God of Israel, who made heaven and earth. He gave King David a wise son, endowed with insight and understanding, who will build a House for Adonai and a royal house for himself. 12So now I am sending Huram-abi—a skilled man endowed with understanding 13who is the son of a woman from the daughters of Dan and whose father was a man from Tyre—a man skilled to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, in purple and blue, fine linen and crimson, and to engrave all kinds of engraving, and who can execute any design given to him. He will work with your skilled men and with the skilled men of my lord David your father. 14Now let my lord send to his servants the wheat and barley, the oil and wine he has promised 15and we will cut as many logs from Lebanon as much as you need, and float them in rafts by sea to Jaffa. You can then take them up to Jerusalem.” 16Solomon counted all the foreign men in the land of Israel, like the census that his father David had taken, and 153,600 were found. 17He appointed 70,000 of them to carry loads, 80,000 to quarry stones in the mountains, and 3,600 overseers to supervise the people working.

–from 2 Chronicles 2

Do and obey…

Solomon Builds the Temple in Jerusalem

1Then Solomon began to build the House of Adonai in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah—where Adonai appeared to his father David—at the place that David prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 2He began to build on the second day of the second month in the fourth year of his reign. 3Now the foundation Solomon laid for the building of the House of God was 60 cubits long and 20 cubits wide, according to the old standard. 4The porch in front of the House along its width was 20 cubits and its height was 120 cubits, and the inside was overlaid with pure gold. 5He paneled the main hall with cypress wood, which he overlaid with fine gold and embossed on it palm trees and chains. 6He adorned the House with precious stones and the gold he used was gold from Parvaim. 7Furthermore He overlaid the beams, thresholds, walls and doors of the House with gold and carved cheruvim on the walls. 8He made the Holy of Holies, its length corresponding to the width of the House—20 cubits long and 20 cubits wide. He overlaid it with 600 talents of fine gold. 9The weight of the nails was fifty shekels of gold. He also overlaid the upper rooms with gold. 10Next he made two sculptured cheruvim in the Holy of Holies and overlaid them with gold. 11The wingspan of the cheruvim was 20 cubits. One wing of the first cheruv was five cubits long and touched the wall of the House, while the other wing, also five cubits long, touched the wing of the other cheruv. 12Similarly, one wing of the second cheruv was five cubits long and touched the wall of the House, while the other wing, also five cubits long, touched the wing of the other cheruv. 13Thus the wingspan of these cheruvim was 20 cubits. They stood on their feet facing the main hall. 14Furthermore, he made the veil of blue, purple, crimson yarn and fine linen with cheruvim worked into it. 15In the front of the House he made two pillars 35 cubits high, each with a capital on the top measuring five cubits. 16He made interwoven chains for the inner Sanctuary and put them on top of the pillars. He also made 100 pomegranates and attached them to the chains. 17He erected the pillars in front of the Temple, one to the south and the other to the north. The one to the south he named Jachin and the one to the north Boaz.

–from 2 Chronicles 3

The law helped us realize we needed a savior! Jesus came to make a way and bridge the gap so that we could be reconciled back to God! Jesus created a new covenant through His own sacrifice on the cross to pay for our sins from then till forever. Now the decisions is yours… Will you receive this gift of the new covenant? Will you receive the gift of forgiveness? Will you receive this gift of love?

Melechizedek , a Kohen Forever

1For this Melechizedek was king of Salem, kohen of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth of everything. First, by the translation of his name, he is “King of Righteousness”; and then also King of Salem, which is “King of Shalom.” 3Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life but made like Ben-Elohim, he remains a kohen for all time. 4Now see how great this man is! Even Abraham the patriarch gave him a tenth out of the plunder. 5Indeed, those sons of Levi who receive the priesthood have, according to Torah, a command to collect a tithe from the people—that is, from their kin, although they have come out of the loins of Abraham. 6But this one—who did not have their genealogy—has collected tithes from Abraham and has blessed him, the one holding the promises. 7Now it is beyond dispute that the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8In one case, dying men receive tithes; but in the other, one about whom it is testified that he lives on. 9Through Abraham even Levi, the one receiving tithes, has paid the tithe, so to speak— 10for he was still in his father’s loins when Melechizedek met him.

Yeshua, Our Kohen Gadol Forever

11Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for based on it the people had been given the Torah), what further need was there for a different kohen to arise—designated according to the order of Melechizedek , not according to the order of Aaron? 12For whenever the priesthood is altered, out of necessity an alteration of law also takes place. 13For the one about whom these things are said belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. 14For it is clear that our Lord has sprung forth from Judah—concerning this tribe, Moses said nothing about kohanim. 15And it is even more evident, if another kohen arises like Melechizedek — 16one made not by virtue of a Torah requirement of physical descent, but by virtue of the power of an indestructible life. 17For it is testified, “You are a kohen forever, according to the order of Melechizedek .” 18For on the one hand, a former requirement is set aside because of its weakness and ineffectiveness— 19for Torah made nothing perfect. But on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. 20Moreover, it was not without a sworn oath. (Others indeed have become kohanim without a sworn oath, 21but He with an oath—sworn by the One who said to Him, “Adonai has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘You are a kohen forever.’”) 22How much more then has Yeshua become the guarantee of a better covenant. 23Now on the one hand, many have become kohanim, who through death are prevented from continuing in office. 24But on the other hand, the One who does remain forever has a permanent priesthood. 25Therefore He is also able to save completely those who draw near to God through Him, always living to make intercession for them. 26For such a Kohen Gadol was fitting for us: holy, guiltless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27He has no need to offer up sacrifices day by day like those other kohanim g’dolim—first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people. For when He offered up Himself, He did this once for all. 28For the Torah appoints as kohanim g’dolim men who have weakness; but the word of the oath, which came after the Torah, appoints a Son—made perfect forever.

–from Hebrews 7

 

Do you realize how much you are needed?


God has a plan for you! God has a purpose for you! He has you right there, right now on purpose for a purpose! So…what are you going to do about it? What will you do with what God is calling you to do? Those around you need you to step up and step in! Those around you need you to speak up and speak out! Those around you need to see light and the spice of life! Those around you need hope and love and truth! What role will you play in the lives of God has brought into your life? Are you “too busy” and not reaching out? Are you “too busy” and not sharing God’s love? Are you “too busy” and missing out on many opportunities that are all around you? Do you realize how much you are needed?

Let’s start today’s reading and hear what God has to say in and through His Word…

Deborah’s Song

1Then Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang on that day saying: 2“When leaders take the lead in Israel, when people freely offer themselves, bless Adonai! 3Listen, O kings! Give ear, O rulers! I, to Adonai I will sing, I will sing praise to Adonai, the God of Israel. 4Adonai, when You came out from Seir, when You marched from Edom’s field, the earth trembled, the heavens also dropped, yes, the clouds dropped water. 5The mountains quaked before Adonai, this Sinai at the presence of Adonai, the God of Israel! 6In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the days of Yael, the highways were deserted, travelers walked by crooked paths. 7 Villages were deserted in Israel, deserted, until I, Deborah, arose, a mother in Israel arose. 8They chose new gods— then war was in the gates. No shield or spear was seen among 40,000 in Israel! 9My heart is with Israel’s rulers, who offer themselves freely among the people. Bless Adonai! 10Riders on white donkeys, sitting on saddle blankets, traveling on the road, sing! 11Louder than the sound of archers, at the watering places! There let them rehearse the righteous acts of Adonai, the righteous deeds for His villages in Israel. Then the people of Adonai went down to the gates. 12Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, utter a song! Arise, Barak, lead away your captives, O son of Abinoam! 13Then a remnant of nobles came down. Adonai’s people came down to me with the mighty ones. 14Those with root in Amalek are from Ephraim, following you, Benjamin, with your peoples. From Machir came down rulers, and from Zebulun wielding the marshal’s staff. 15Issachar’s chiefs were with Deborah. Issachar was with Barak. Into the valley they rushed at his heels. Among the divisions of Reuben there were great resolves of heart. 16Why did you stay in the sheepfolds— to hear the piping for the flocks? Among the clans of Reuben there was much searching of heart. 17Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan, and Dan, why did he stay by the ships? Asher sat at the seacoast, dwelling by its docks. 18Zebulun is a people who jeopardized their lives to death, and Naphtali also, on the heights of the battlefield. 19The kings came, they fought, then the kings of Canaan fought, at Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo, but they took no spoil of silver. 20From heaven, the stars fought, in their courses they fought Sisera. 21The Kishon torrent swept them away— that ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon! O my soul, march on with strength! 22Then the horses’ hooves beat from the dashing, the dashing of his mighty steeds. 23‘Curse Meroz!’ said the angel of Adonai, ‘Utterly curse its inhabitants, for they came not to the aid of Adonai, to the aid of Adonai among the mighty.’ 24Blessed above women is Yael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, above women in the tent is she blessed. 25 Water he asked, milk she gave him. In a lordly bowl she brought him butter. 26Her hand reached for the tent pin, her right hand to the workmen’s hammer, and with the hammer she struck Sisera, she smashed his head— yes, she crushed and pierced his temple. 27At her feet he collapsed, he fell, he lay. Between her feet he bowed, he fell. Where he bowed, there he fell dead. 28Through the window, Sisera’s mother looked out, through the lattice. and lamented shrilly: ‘Why does his chariot delay in coming? Why do the wheels of his chariots tarry?’ 29The wisest of her princesses answer her, yes, she repeats the words to herself: 30‘Are they not finding, dividing the spoil? A maiden, maidens for every warrior! To Sisera a spoil of dyed garments— a spoil of dyed garments of embroidery, double-dyed garments of embroidery for the necks of every spoiler!’ 31So let all Your enemies perish, Adonai! But may those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might.” Then the land had peace for 40 years.

–from Judges 5

Will you remember what God has done or will you forget and walk or slip away? Will you go about life His way or try to define your own version of truth? Will you risk the benefits and the blessings to lose it all and feel the pain that comes from walking away from God? Do you realize how much you are needed? Do you realize how important you are to God? Do you realize how important God is to your life? What will you do? Will you ride the rollercoaster of life on your own or will you go through it with God? Will you be in daily relationship with God or will you only turn to Him in times of trouble and need? What will it take for you to step up and step out to lead? I’ve heard it put this way that God doesn’t call the qualified but rather He qualifies the called! This reminds me of when God called me to step up to be president of a HOA and I kept coming up with reasons why I couldn’t, I shouldn’t, I wouldn’t. It came down to that final ultimatum and I didn’t want to end up being nothing. And it’s not about you, it’s about God working in and through you! It’s about giving Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name.

Midianite Oppression

1Then Bnei-Yisrael did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, so Adonai gave them into the hand of Midian for seven years. 2Midian maintained an upper hand over Israel, and because of Midian Bnei-Yisrael made themselves hideouts in the mountains—caves and strongholds. 3Whenever Israel had done their sowing, the Midianites, Amalekites and people from the east would come up and raid them. 4They would set up camp by them, destroy the produce of the land as far as Gaza, and leave nothing in Israel to live on—not a sheep, ox or donkey. 5For they would come up with their cattle and their tents, invade like a multitude of locusts. Both they and their camels were innumerable, and they would come to the land to ruin it. 6So Israel was brought very low because of Midian, and Bnei-Yisrael cried out to Adonai. 7Now it came about when Bnei-Yisrael cried out to Adonai because of Midian, 8that Adonai sent a prophet to Bnei-Yisrael, and he said to them, “Thus says Adonai, God of Israel, ‘It was I who brought you up from Egypt, and brought you out of the house of bondage. 9Then I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all your oppressors, and drove them out from before you and gave you their land. 10Then I said to you, “I am Adonai your God. You are not to fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are dwelling. But you have not obeyed My voice.’”

Calling of Gideon

11Then the angel of Adonai came and sat under the terebinth that was at Ophrah, that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress—in order to hide it from the Midianites. 12Then the angel of Adonai appeared to him and said to him, “Adonai is with you, O mighty man of valor.” 13But Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if Adonai is with us, then why has all this befallen us? So where are all His wonders that our fathers told us about saying ‘Didn’t Adonai bring us up from Egypt?’ But now Adonai has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14Then Adonai turned toward him and said, “Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have not I sent you?” 15Then he said to him, “Me, my Lord? With what would I deliver Israel? Look, my family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16But Adonai said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you will strike down Midian as if it were one man.” 17Then he said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your eyes, then please, show me a sign that it is really You talking with me. 18Please, don’t leave from here, until I come to You and bring out my offering and lay it before You.” So He said, “I will stay until you come back.” 19Then Gideon went in and prepared a kid and matzot from an ephah of flour. He put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, and brought them out to Him under the terebinth and presented them. 20Then the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the matzah and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” So he did so. 21Then the angel of Adonai put out the end of the staff that was in His hand and touched the meat and the matzah . Fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the matzah . Then the angel of Adonai vanished from his sight. 22When Gideon realized that He was the angel of Adonai, Gideon said, “Alas, my Lord Adonai! For I have seen the angel of Adonai face to face!” 23But Adonai said to him, “Shalom to you. Fear not, you will not die.” 24So Gideon built an altar there to Adonai and called it “Adonai-shalom.” To this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. 25Now it came to pass the same night that Adonai said to him, “Take the young bull that belongs to your father and a second bull of seven years old, pull down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father, cut down the Asherah that is beside it, 26build an altar to Adonai your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly manner, and take the second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah pole that you will cut down.” 27So Gideon took ten of his male servants and did as Adonai had spoken to him. But since he was too afraid of his father’s household and the townspeople to do it by day, he did it at night. 28Now when the townspeople arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, the Asherah pole that was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered up on the altar that was built. 29So they said one to another, “Who did this thing?” And when they inquired and asked around, they said: “Gideon son of Joash did this thing.” 30Then the townspeople said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, because he has broken down the altar of Baal, and even cut down the Asherah pole that was beside it.” 31But Joash said to all who stood against him, “So you’re going to defend Baal? You’re going to rescue him? Whoever defends him will be put to death in the morning! If he is a god, let him defend himself—since someone has broken down his altar.” 32So on that day he was called Jerubbaal saying, “Let Baal contend with him, since he broke down his altar.” 33Now all the Midianites, the Amalekites and the people of the east gathered together, crossed over and camped in the valley of Jezreel. 34But the Ruach Adonai clothed Gideon, and he blew the shofar, and Abiezer rallied behind him. 35Then he sent messengers throughout Manasseh, and they also rallied behind him.Then he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, and they came up to join them.

Signs of the Fleece

36Then Gideon said to God, “If You are going to deliver Israel by my hand, as You have spoken, 37see, I am putting a fleece of wool on the threshing-floor. If there is dew only on the fleece, and all the ground is dry, then I will know that You will deliver Israel by my hand, as You have spoken.” 38And it was so. When he rose up early next day, he squeezed the fleece and wrung dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. 39Then Gideon said to God, “Let not Your anger burn against me if I speak once more. Let me please test once more with the fleece—let it now be dry only on the fleece, but let there be dew over all the ground.” 40God did so that night, since it was dry only on the fleece, and there was dew over all the ground.

–from Judges 6

Trust God! Believe Him! Go about it His way! Don’t worry and don’t be afraid! God has a plan and His plan is good! God has a purpose and it is so much bigger than anything we can do on our own! Don’t lose hope! Have faith, trusting in Him, believing that He is good to His Word and faithful! So let’s walk in faith believing! So let’s walk in obedience to His plans! And let’s watch the blessings that will come from it!

How will it bless others? How will reveal God’s glory? How will it point people to the source of truth? People are watching you! They are looking to see how and what you will do in that very situation you are in! Will you be different from the others before you? Will you put first things first? Will you make a difference in the lives around you? Will you show and tell others how important they are? What will you do? How will you do it?

1Masters, give your slaves what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

Devote Yourselves to Prayer

2Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. 3At the same time, keep praying for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the message, to proclaim the mystery of Messiah—for which I am in prison. 4Pray that I may make the mystery clear, as I ought to speak. 5Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, to know how you ought to answer everyone.

Further Instructions and Greetings

7Tychicus—a dearly loved brother and trustworthy servant and fellow slave to the Lord—will tell you all the news about me. 8I sent him to you for this very purpose, so you may know about us and he may encourage your hearts. 9With him I sent Onesimus—a faithful and dear brother, who is one of your own. They will tell you about everything here. 10My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You received instructions about him—if he comes your way, welcome him.) 11Yeshua who is called Justus also sends his greetings. These are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God that are from among the circumcision—they have been a comfort to me. 12Epaphras, who is one of your own, a slave of Messiah Yeshua, greets you. He is always laboring in prayer on your behalf, so you may stand complete and fully assured about everything that is God’s will. 13For I testify that he has gone to much trouble for you and for those in Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14Luke, the dearly loved physician, sends you greetings, and so does Demas. 15Greet the brothers and sisters in Laodicea, as well as Nympha and the community that meets in her house. 16When this letter has been read among you, make sure that it is also read in Messiah’s community of Laodicea. In turn, you should read my letter coming from Laodicea. 17Tell Archippus, “See to it that you complete the service you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” 18This greeting is in my own hand—Paul’s. Remember my chains! Grace be with you.

–from Colossians 4

 

 

 

 

Would you do it, even if it doesn’t make sense to you?


What if the way to win came in a way you didn’t understand? Would you still do it?

What if the instructions or directions on how to achieve victory seemed strange or different? Would you still try it?

What if the tools and the method were so far from how you would normally attempt such a feat? Would you believe enough to give it a try?

Today’s reading jumps right into just such an event. So God gives instructions on what to do, how to do it His way, very different than any other battle I am sure any of them had done. How would you respond? Let’s check out how it plays out for them…

1Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of Bnei-Yisrael—no one going out and no one coming in. 2Then Adonai said to Joshua, “Look, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty warriors. 3Now you are to march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. So you are to do for six days. 4Seven kohanim will carry seven shofarot of rams’ horns before the ark. Then on the seventh day you are to circle the city seven times while the kohanim blow the shofarot. 5It will be when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the shofar, have all the people shout a loud shout—then the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up, everyone straight ahead.” 6So Joshua son of Nun summoned the kohanim and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant. Let seven kohanim carry seven shofarot of rams’ horns before the ark of Adonai.” 7Then he said to the people, “Move forward, march around the city, and let the armed force march ahead of the ark of Adonai.” 8And it was so. After Joshua had spoken to the people, seven kohanim carrying the seven shofarot of rams’ horns before Adonai went forward and blew the shofarot, and the ark of the covenant of Adonai followed them. 9Also the armed force went before the kohanim who blew the shofarot, and the rear guard came behind the ark, while the shofarot continued to blow. 10But Joshua ordered the people saying: “You must not shout nor let your voice be heard nor let a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I tell you ‘shout!’ Then you will shout.” 11So he had the ark of Adonai go around the city, circling it once. Then they came into the camp and spent the night there. 12The next day Joshua rose early in the morning. The kohanim took up the ark of Adonai, 13and the seven kohanim carrying the seven shofarot of rams’ horns marched in front of the ark of Adonai and blew the shofarot, with the armed force marching before them and the rear guard marching behind the ark of Adonai, while the shofarot continued to blow. 14So the second day they circled the city once and returned to the camp. So they did for six days.

–from Joshua 6

What are you thinking? What would you be thinking in the midst of it all? What about the other people who are watching you? Will you stick with it? Will you do it God’s way? Let’s watch what happens…

Jericho’s Walls Come Down

15Now on the seventh day they rose early, at dawn, and marched around the city in the same way seven times. Only on that day did they march around the city seven times. 16Then on the seventh time, when the kohanim blew the shofarot, Joshua ordered the people, “Shout! For Adonai has given you the city! 17But the city will be under the ban of destruction—it and all that is in it belong to Adonai. Only Rahab the harlot will live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the scouts that we sent. 18But you, just keep yourselves from the things under the ban. Otherwise you would make yourselves accursed by taking of the things under the ban, and so you would make the camp of Israel accursed and bring trouble on it. 19All the silver and gold and vessels of bronze and iron are holy to Adonai, and must go into the treasury of Adonai.” 20So when the shofarot blew, the people shouted. When the people heard the sound of the shofar, the people shouted a loud shout—and the wall fell down flat! So the people went up into the city, everyone straight ahead, and they captured the city. 21They utterly destroyed everything in the city—man and woman, young and old, ox, sheep and donkey—with the edge of the sword. 22Then Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land: “Go into the harlot’s house and bring the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her.” 23So the young spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her relatives and all who belonged to her. All her relatives they brought out and put them outside the camp of Israel. 24Then they burned the city with fire and all that was in it. Only the silver, the gold and the vessels of bronze and iron did they put into the treasury of the House of Adonai. 25But Rahab the harlot, her father’s household and all who belonged to her, Joshua spared. She has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, because she hid the scouts whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. 26At that time Joshua made an oath saying: “Cursed before Adonai is the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho! On his firstborn he will lay its foundation, and on his youngest son he will set up its gates.” 27So Adonai was with Joshua, and his fame was throughout the region.

–from Joshua 6

Wow! Imagine the reality of what just happened! Would you consider tweaking any of the instructions? How you were to proceed or complete the plan? Would you say “He got us this far, let’s finish it His way?” Would you risk making a change or adjustment to the plan? Would you really want to be that guy who wanted to go his way rather than God’s way? Will you trust God? Will you trust Him completely?

Achan’s Trouble

1But Bnei-Yisrael unfaithfully violated the ban. Achan son of Carmi son of Zabdi son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the banned things. So Adonai’s anger burned against Bnei-Yisrael.2Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and spoke to them saying: “Go up and spy out the land.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. 3When they returned to Joshua, they reported to him: “Let not all the people go up—only about two or three thousand men need go up and strike Ai, so don’t wear out all the people there, for they are just a few.” 4So about 3,000 men from the people went up there, but they fled before the men of Ai. 5The men of Ai struck down about 36 of their men, and they chased them from outside the gate as far as Shebarim, striking them down on the slope. So the hearts of the people melted and became like water. 6Joshua then tore his clothes and fell to the ground on his face before the ark of Adonai until evening, both he and the elders of Israel, and they put dust on their heads. 7“Alas, Adonai Elohim!” Joshua said. “Why did You ever bring this people across the Jordan? Is it to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites—to destroy us? If only we had been content and dwelled beyond the Jordan! 8Oh my Lord, what can I say, now that Israel has turned its back before its enemies? 9For when the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land hear of it, they will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. Then what will You do for Your great Name?” 10Then Adonai said to Joshua, “Arise! Why are you fallen on your face? 11Israel has sinned. Yes, they have also transgressed My covenant, which I commanded them. Now they have even taken of the things under the ban of destruction. So they have also stolen and even deceived, and even put them among their own possessions. 12So Bnei-Yisrael cannot stand before their enemies. So they turn their necks before their enemies, because they have come under the ban. I will not be with you any more unless you destroy whatever is under the ban from among you. 13Arise! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, for thus says Adonai, the God of Israel: Something under the ban is in the midst of you, Israel. You will not be able to stand up before your enemies until you remove whatever is under the ban from among you. 14In the morning you will approach by your tribes. It will be that the tribe that Adonai takes will come forward by families, and the family that Adonai takes will come forward by households, and the household that Adonai takes will come forward man by man. 15Then whoever is taken with whatever is under the ban must be burned with fire, he and all belonging to him, because he has transgressed the covenant of Adonai, and because he has committed a disgrace in Israel.’” 16So Joshua rose up early in the morning and brought Israel forward by their tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17Then he brought forward the clans of Judah, and He took the family of the Zerahites. Then he brought forward the family of the Zerahites man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18Then he brought forward his household man by man, and Achan son of Carmi son of Zabdi son of Zerah of the tribe of Judah was taken. 19So Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory now to Adonai, God of Israel, and give praise to Him, and confess to me now what you have done—hide nothing from me.” 20Achan responded to Joshua and said: “It’s true! I have sinned against Adonai, God of Israel! This is what I have done: 21When I saw among the spoil a beautiful Shinar mantle and 200 shekels of silver and a wedge of gold 50 shekels in weight, I coveted them and took them. Look, they are buried in the ground in the middle of my tent, with the silver under it.” 22So Joshua sent messengers who ran to the tent, and behold, it was buried in his tent with the silver underneath it. 23Then they took them from the middle of the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all Bnei-Yisrael, and they laid them down before Adonai. 24Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the mantle, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep and his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them up to the Valley of Achor. 25Then Joshua said, “Why have you brought trouble on us? Adonai will trouble you this day.” Then all Israel stoned him with stones, burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. 26They raised over him a great heap of stones that stands to this day. Then Adonai turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day.

–from Joshua 7

Will you be willing to go it God’s way? Will you be willing to be co-heirs? Will you be willing to be a part of the body of Christ and His promises? Will you choose to build up your relationship with God daily? Will you ask for wisdom and discernment and then be obedient to walk out His instructions? When Jesus left to sit at the right hand of the Father, He promised and has sent the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and our guide! He will be that still quiet voice to prompt us and guide us and instruct us! Will you be willing to hear it and listen to it and obey it? Or would you risk the consequences?

The Mystery of the Gentiles Revealed

1For this reason I, Paul, am a prisoner of Messiah Yeshua for the sake of you Gentiles. 2Surely you have heard about the plan of God’s grace given to me for you— 3that the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote before briefly. 4When you read this, you can understand my insight into the mystery of Messiah— 5which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations, as it has now been revealed by the Ruach to His holy emissaries and prophets. 6This mystery is that the Gentiles are joint heirs and fellow members of the same body and co-sharers of the promise in Messiah Yeshua through the Good News. 7I became a servant of this Good News by the gift of God’s favor given to me through the exercise of His power. 8This favor was given to me, the very least of His kedoshim, to proclaim to the Gentiles the endless riches of the Messiah 9and to bring to light the plan of the mystery—which for ages was hidden in God, who created all things. 10The purpose is that through Messiah’s community the multi-faceted wisdom of God might be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places, 11which is in keeping with the eternal purpose that He carried out in Messiah Yeshua our Lord. 12In Him we have boldness and access with confidence through trusting in Him. 13So I ask you not to be discouraged by my troubles on your behalf—they are your glory.

Prayer for Power and Understanding

14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father— 15from Him every family in heaven and on earth receives its name. 16I pray that from His glorious riches He would grant you to be strengthened in your inner being with power through His Ruach, 17so that Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may have strength to grasp with all the kedoshim what is the width and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Messiah which surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled up with all the fullness of God. 20Now to Him who is able to do far beyond all that we ask or imagine, by means of His power that works in us, 21to Him be the glory in the community of believers and in Messiah Yeshua throughout all generations forever and ever! Amen.

–from Ephesians 3

 

 

 

Do you realize the benefits of obedience?


Do you realize there is a benefit to being obedient? Do you realize there are disadvantages to being disobedient? Do you realize that there is a reason behind the direction? Do you realize there is a reason behind the instruction? Will you receive the wisdom and walk it out obediently? God’s plans for you are for good and not for evil! God’s plans for you are to give you a hope and a future! So will you receive it and walk it out in obedience?


Today’s reading…

Blessings for Obedience

1“Now if you listen obediently to the voice of Adonai your God, taking care to do all His mitzvot that I am commanding you today, Adonai your God will set you on high—above all the nations of the earth. 2Then all these blessings will come upon you and overtake you, if you listen to the voice of Adonai your God: 3“Blessed will you be in the city, and blessed will you be in the field. 4“Blessed will be the fruit of your womb, the produce of your soil, and the offspring of your livestock—the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. 5“Blessed will be your basket and your kneading bowl. 6“Blessed will you be when you come in, and blessed will you be when you go out. 7“Adonai will cause your enemies who rise up against you to be struck down before you. They will come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. 8Adonai will command the blessing on you in your barns and in every undertaking of your hand, and He will bless you in the land Adonai your God is giving you. 9Adonai will establish you as a holy people for Himself, just as He swore to you—if you keep the mitzvot of Adonai your God and walk in His ways. 10Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of Adonai and they will stand in awe of you. 11Adonai will make you overflow in prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the offspring of your livestock and the produce of your soil—on the land Adonai swore to your fathers to give you. 12Adonai will open for you His good storehouse—the heavens—to give rain for your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand. You will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow. 13Adonai will make you the head and not the tail, and you will be only above and not below—if you listen to the mitzvot of Adonai your God that I am commanding you today, careful to do them, 14and do not turn aside from any of the words I am commanding you today, to the right or the left, to go after other gods in order to serve them.

Curses for Disobedience

15“But if you will not listen to the voice of Adonai your God, to take care to do all His mitzvot and statutes that I am commanding you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you: 16“Cursed will you be in the city, and cursed will you be in the field. 17“Cursed will be your basket and your kneading bowl. 18“Cursed will be the fruit of your womb, the produce of your soil, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock. 19“Cursed will you be when you come in, and cursed will you be when you go out. 20“Adonai will send on you cursing, confusion and frustration in every undertaking of your hand that you will do—until you are destroyed and perish quickly, because of the evil of your deeds by which you have abandoned Me. 21Adonai will make the plague cling to you, until He has put an end to you from the land that you are going in to possess. 22Adonai will strike you with weakness, fever, inflammation, fiery heat, the sword, blight and mildew—they will pursue you until you perish. 23Your sky above your head will be bronze, and the earth beneath you iron. 24Adonai will make the rain of your land powder and dust—it will come down on you from the heavens, until you are destroyed. 25“Adonai will bring you to defeat before your enemies. You will go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them. You will become a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. 26Your carcass will be food for every bird of the heavens and beast of the earth, and there will be no one to frighten them away. 27“Adonai will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with hemorrhoids, with scabs and with itching, from which you cannot be healed. 28“Adonai will strike you with madness, with blindness, and with confusion of heart. 29You will grope at noon as the blind person gropes in darkness, and you will not prosper in your ways. You will be only oppressed and robbed all the time, and there will be no one to save you. 30“You will become engaged to a woman, but another man will sleep with her. You will build a house, but you will not dwell in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will not put it to use. 31Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat of it. Your donkey will be stolen in front of you, and it will not be returned to you. Your sheep will be given to your enemies, and you will have no one to save you. 32“Your sons and daughters will be given to another people while your eyes look on, longing for them all day long—but your hand will be powerless. 33A people you do not know will eat up the produce of your soil and all your labor, and you will be only oppressed and crushed all the time. 34You will be driven mad by the sight that your eyes will see. 35“Adonai will strike you on the knees and thighs with severe boils, from which you cannot be healed—from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head. 36“Adonai will bring you and the king you set over you to a nation you and your fathers have not known—and there you will serve other gods, wood and stone. 37You will become a horror, a proverb, and a byword—among all the peoples where Adonai will drive you. 38“Much seed you will take out to the field—but little will you bring in, for the locust will eat it up. 39Vineyards you will plant and tend—but wine you will not drink or bring in, for the worm will devour it. 40Olive trees you will have in all your territory—but oil you will not rub on yourself, for your olives will drop off. 41Sons and daughters you will father—but they will not be yours, for they will go into captivity. 42All your trees and the produce of your soil the whirring locust will possess. 43“The outsider who is in your midst will rise up higher and higher above you, and you will go down lower and lower. 44He will lend to you, but you will not lend to him; he will become the head and you will become the tail. 45“All these curses will come upon you and pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed—because you did not listen to the voice of Adonai your God, to keep His mitzvot and statutes that He commanded you. 46They will be a sign and a wonder on you and your descendants forever. 47Instead of serving Adonai your God with joy and goodness of heart, out of the abundance of everything, 48you will serve your enemies, whom Adonai will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and lacking everything; and He will put an iron yoke on your neck until He has destroyed you. 49“Adonai will raise up a nation against you from far away, from the end of the earth, just as the eagle swoops down—a nation whose language you will not understand, 50a brazen-faced nation that will not respect the old or be gracious to the young. 51It will devour the offspring of your livestock and the produce of your soil, until you are destroyed. It will not leave behind for you grain, new wine, or oil, the increase of your herds or the young of your flock, until it ruins you. 52It will besiege you within all your town gates throughout your land, until your high and fortified walls—that you trusted in—come down. It will besiege you within all your gates throughout your land that Adonai your God has given you. 53“You will eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and daughters Adonai your God has given you, in the siege and stress with which your enemies will distress you. 54The most tender and delicate man among you—his eye will become evil against his brother and the wife of his bosom and the rest of his children that he has left. 55He will not give to a single one of them from his children’s flesh that he will eat, because nothing else is left for him in the siege and stress with which your enemy will distress you within all your town gates. 56The tender and delicate woman among you, who never ventured to set the sole of her foot on the ground out of delicateness and tenderness—her eye will become evil against the husband of her bosom and her son and daughter. 57For in secret she will eat her afterbirth that issues from between her legs and the children she bears, for lack of anything else in the siege and stress with which your enemy will distress you within all your gates. 58“If you do not take care to do all the words of this Torah, the things written in this scroll, to fear this glorious and awesome Name, Adonai your God, 59then Adonai will make your plagues and the plagues of your descendants extraordinary—terrible and prolonged plagues, severe and prolonged illnesses. 60He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt that you were afraid of, and they will cling to you. 61Also every illness and plague that is not written in the scroll of this Torah, Adonai will bring on you, until you are destroyed. 62“You will be left few in number, instead of being like the stars of the sky in number—because you did not listen to the voice of Adonai your God. 63Now just as Adonai rejoiced over you to do you good and to multiply you, so Adonai will rejoice over you to ruin and destroy you; and you will be uprooted from the land that you are going in to possess. 64“Adonai will scatter you among all peoples from the one end of the earth to the other, and there you will serve other gods—wood and stone—that you and your fathers have not known. 65Among these nations you will find no rest, and there will be no rest for the sole of your foot. But there Adonai will give you a trembling heart and failing eyes, and a despairing spirit. 66“Your life will hang in the balance before you; you will be afraid night and day, and you will have no assurance of your life. 67In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were evening!’ and at evening you will say, ‘If only it were morning!”—from the fear of your heart that you will fear and the sight of your eyes that you will see. 68Adonai will bring you back to Egypt in ships, by the way that I said to you, ‘You will not see it again.’ There you will sell yourselves to your enemies as slaves and maids, but there will be no buyer.”

Renewing the Covenant

69These are the words of the covenant that Adonai commanded Moses to make with Bnei-Yisrael in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant He made with them at Horeb.

–from Deuteronomy 28

So let’s receive Jesus, the answer to it all! Let’s ask Him into our hearts and start a living relationship with Him and allow Him to guide our every thought, word, step and action. Let’s be living by faith, trusting Him! Let’s allow our actions speak to our faith! Let’s allow our actions and what we produce show people who we believe in and how great is our faith in Him! Faith without deeds is dead!

By Deeds or by Faith?

1O foolish Galatians, who cast a spell on you? Before your eyes Yeshua the Messiah was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I want to find out just one thing from you: did you receive the Ruach by deeds based on Torah, or by hearing based on trust? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Ruach, will you now reach the goal in the flesh? 4Did you endure so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5So then, the One who gives you the Ruach and works miracles among you—does He do it because of your deeds based on Torah or your hearing based on trust and faithfulness? 6Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” 7know then that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8The Scriptures, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the Good News to Abraham in advance, saying, “All the nations shall be blessed through you.” 9So then, the faithful are blessed along with Abraham, the faithful one. 10For all who rely on the deeds of Torah are under a curse—for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not keep doing everything written in the scroll of the Torah.” 11It is clear that no one is set right before God by Torah, for “the righteous shall live by emunah.” 12However, Torah is not based on trust and faithfulness; on the contrary, “the one who does these things shall live by them.” 13Messiah liberated us from Torah’s curse, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)— 14in order that through Messiah Yeshua the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so we might receive the promise of the Ruach through trusting faith.

Slaves or Sons?

15Brothers and sisters, I speak in human terms: even with a man’s covenant, once it has been confirmed, no one cancels it or adds to it. 16Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. It doesn’t say, “and to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “and to your seed,” who is the Messiah. 17What I am saying is this: Torah, which came 430 years later, does not cancel the covenant previously confirmed by God, so as to make the promise ineffective. 18For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise. But God has graciously given it to Abraham by means of a promise. 19Then why the Torah? It was added because of wrongdoings until the Seed would come—to whom the promise had been made. It was arranged through angels by the hand of an intermediary. 20Now an intermediary is not for one party alone—but God is one. 21Then is the Torah against the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given that could impart life, certainly righteousness would have been based on law. 22But the Scripture has locked up the whole world under sin, so that the promise based on trust in Messiah Yeshua might be given to those who trust. 23Now before faith came, we were being guarded under Torah—bound together until the coming faith would be revealed. 24Therefore the Torah became our guardian to lead us to Messiah, so that we might be made right based on trusting. 25But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 26For you are all sons of God through trusting in Messiah Yeshua. 27For all of you who were immersed in Messiah have clothed yourselves with Messiah. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female—for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua. 29And if you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham’s seed—heirs according to the promise.

–from Galatians 3

 

 

 

 

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

Will you stand up for what is right?


When you see something wrong, will you call it out? Will you stand up for what you believe in? Will stand firm? Will do something about it? How far will you take it in order to make things right?

Today’s reading starts with Jesus finding people over charging and cheating people in the Temple and we see how he responds…Is there anything that is taking place around you that needs someone to step up and speak out?

12Jesus went into the Temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the stools of those who sold pigeons, 13and said to them, “It is written in the Scriptures that God said, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer.’ But you are making it a hideout for thieves!”

— from Matthew 21 (GNT) —

Check your heart though to make sure it isn’t out of misunderstanding or jealousy or bad intentions, but it is out of truth, hope, and love that you are responding. You are wanting to do what is right and to bring things back into alignment.

14The blind and the crippled came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. 15The chief priests and the teachers of the Law became angry when they saw the wonderful things he was doing and the children shouting in the Temple, “Praise to David’s Son!” 16So they asked Jesus, “Do you hear what they are saying?”“Indeed I do,” answered Jesus. “Haven’t you ever read this scripture? ‘You have trained children and babies to offer perfect praise.’” 17Jesus left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.

— from Matthew 21 (GNT) —

And realize that there is power in our words! Words have the power to build up and to tear down! Words have the power to speak life and speak death! Consider your words today for their impact can be huge!

18On his way back to the city early next morning, Jesus was hungry. 19He saw a fig tree by the side of the road and went to it, but found nothing on it except leaves. So he said to the tree, “You will never again bear fruit!” At once the fig tree dried up. 20The disciples saw this and were astounded. “How did the fig tree dry up so quickly?” they asked. 21 Jesus answered, “I assure you that if you believe and do not doubt, you will be able to do what I have done to this fig tree. And not only this, but you will even be able to say to this hill, ‘Get up and throw yourself in the sea,’ and it will. 22If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

— from Matthew 21 (GNT) —

Do you believe? Do you not doubt? Do you have faith? Even faith the size of a mustard seed is enough! So consider your words for the words you use when said in faith, believing have incredible power! You need to stand for something or you will end up falling for anything!

Do you have eyes to see? Do you have ears to hear? Do you have wisdom to understand? Salvation is a gift from God! Jesus came that we can all be set free!

“How well the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophet Isaiah to your ancestors! 26For he said,‘Go and say to this people: You will listen and listen, but not understand; you will look and look, but not see, 27because this people’s minds are dull, and they have stopped up their ears and closed their eyes. Otherwise, their eyes would see, ir ears would hear, their minds would understand, they would turn to me, says God, and I would heal them.’” 28And Paul concluded: “You are to know, then, that God’s message of salvation has been sent to the Gentiles. They will listen!”  30For two years Paul lived in a place he rented for himself, and there he welcomed all who came to see him. 31He preached about the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ, speaking with all boldness and freedom.

— from Acts 28:25-31 (GNT) —

So have you been set free by God? Have you received and accepted the message of salvation? Then let’s teach about the Kingdom of God! Then let’s testify of what Jesus is and has and continues to do in and through our lives! And let’s do it freely and boldly!

Do you realize the importance to being obedient to God’s will? Do you realize the benefits of being obedient to God’s will? Today in Leviticus it starts with the following words of truth and encouragement…

1 The Lord said, “Do not make idols or set up statues, stone pillars, or carved stones to worship. I am the Lord your God. 2Keep the religious festivals and honor the place where I am worshiped. I am the Lord. 3“If you live according to my laws and obey my commands, 4I will send you rain at the right time, so that the land will produce crops and the trees will bear fruit. 5Your crops will be so plentiful that you will still be harvesting grain when it is time to pick grapes, and you will still be picking grapes when it is time to plant grain. You will have all that you want to eat, and you can live in safety in your land. 6“I will give you peace in your land, and you can sleep without being afraid of anyone. I will get rid of the dangerous animals in the land, and there will be no more war there. 7You will be victorious over your enemies; 8five of you will be able to defeat a hundred, and a hundred will be able to defeat ten thousand. 9I will bless you and give you many children; I will keep my part of the covenant that I made with you. 10Your harvests will be so plentiful that they will last for a year, and even then you will have to throw away what is left of the old harvest to make room for the new. 11I will live among you in my sacred Tent, and I will never turn away from you. 12I will be with you; I will be your God, and you will be my people. 13I, the Lord your God, brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves. I broke the power that held you down and I let you walk with your head held high.”

— from Leviticus 26 (GNT) —

Do you realize there are consequences to not following God’s will? Do you realize bad choices end up in bad outcomes? Do you realize that you have a choice? Do you realize that God pauses to give you a chance to change your mind? He is merciful and wants to give you another chance! You don’t have to keep walking away from Him! You don’t have to keep doing the opposite of what He is calling you to do! Today if you are far away from God, turn around and turn back to Him. Run back to Him and watch the joy and the celebration as we heard about in Jesus’ story of the prodigal or lost son and how he was received and the celebration that ensued because he came back, he was dead but now alive!

14 The Lord said, “If you will not obey my commands, you will be punished. 15If you refuse to obey my laws and commands and break the covenant I have made with you, 16I will punish you. I will bring disaster on you—incurable diseases and fevers that will make you blind and cause your life to waste away. You will plant your crops, but it will do you no good, because your enemies will conquer you and eat what you have grown. 17I will turn against you, so that you will be defeated, and those who hate you will rule over you; you will be so terrified that you will run when no one is chasing you. 18“If even after all of this you still do not obey me, I will increase your punishment seven times. 19I will break your stubborn pride; there will be no rain, and your land will be dry and as hard as iron. 20All your hard work will do you no good, because your land will not produce crops and the trees will not bear fruit. 21“If you still continue to resist me and refuse to obey me, I will again increase your punishment seven times. 22I will send dangerous animals among you, and they will kill your children, destroy your livestock, and leave so few of you that your roads will be deserted. 23“If after all of this punishment you still do not listen to me, but continue to defy me, 24then I will turn on you and punish you seven times harder than before. 25I will bring war on you to punish you for breaking our covenant, and if you gather in your cities for safety, I will send incurable diseases among you, and you will be forced to surrender to your enemies. 26I will cut off your food supply, so that ten women will need only one oven to bake all the bread they have. They will ration it out, and when you have eaten it all, you will still be hungry. 27“If after all of this you still continue to defy me and refuse to obey me, 28then in my anger I will turn on you and again make your punishment seven times worse than before. 29Your hunger will be so great that you will eat your own children. 30I will destroy your places of worship on the hills, tear down your incense altars, and throw your dead bodies on your fallen idols. In utter disgust 31I will turn your cities into ruins, destroy your places of worship, and refuse to accept your sacrifices. 32I will destroy your land so completely that the enemies who occupy it will be shocked at the destruction. 33I will bring war on you and scatter you in foreign lands. Your land will be deserted, and your cities left in ruins. 34-35Then the land will enjoy the years of complete rest that you would not give it; it will lie abandoned and get its rest while you are in exile in the land of your enemies. 36“I will make those of you who are in exile so terrified that the sound of a leaf blowing in the wind will make you run. You will run as if you were being pursued in battle, and you will fall when there is no enemy near you. 37You will stumble over one another when no one is chasing you, and you will be unable to fight against any enemy. 38You will die in exile, swallowed up by the land of your enemies. 39The few of you who survive in the land of your enemies will waste away because of your own sin and the sin of your ancestors. 40“But your descendants will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors, who resisted me and rebelled against me, 41and caused me to turn against them and send them into exile in the land of their enemies. At last, when your descendants are humbled and they have paid the penalty for their sin and rebellion, 42I will remember my covenant with Jacob and with Isaac and with Abraham, and I will renew my promise to give my people the land. 43First, however, the land must be rid of its people, so that it can enjoy its complete rest, and they must pay the full penalty for having rejected my laws and my commands. 44But even then, when they are still in the land of their enemies, I will not completely abandon them or destroy them. That would put an end to my covenant with them, and I am the Lord their God. 45I will renew the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I showed all the nations my power by bringing my people out of Egypt, in order that I, the Lord, might be their God.” 46All these are the laws and commands that the Lord gave to Moses on Mount Sinai for the people of Israel.

— from Leviticus 26 (GNT) —

So today we each face a decision we need to make! Do we stay or do we go? Do we follow Him or do we walk away? And as we choose we need to realize there are benefits and there are consequences to our decisions! So today you get to choose!

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