Dedicated? Dedication. Celebration!


Are you committed? Are you devoted? Are you firm? Are you steadfast? Are you resolute? Are you unwavering? Are you enthusiastic? Are you eager? Are you passionate? Are you hard working? Are you dutiful?

To what? Where is your dedication directed? What is your dedication for? What is it doing for you? What is it doing for others? Is your dedication to a who? Is your dedication to a what? Is your dedication to a how? Is your dedication to a where? Is your dedication to a when? Is your dedication to a why?

Is there a joy that comes through it? Is there a celebration that takes place in and because of it?

As you start today, what gets you out of bed? As you start this day, what gets you going? Will you live out today as a living sacrifice to God allow the joy of the Lord to be your strength?

Did you respond when He called your name? Will you come out and live?

He knows your name! Do you want to know Him? Do you want to know you can call on His name and be saved?


Today’s reading gets us started in 1 Kings 8:54-66:

‘When Solomon finished making these prayers and petitions to the Lord , he stood up in front of the altar of the Lord , where he had been kneeling with his hands raised toward heaven. He stood and in a loud voice blessed the entire congregation of Israel: “Praise the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the wonderful promises he gave through his servant Moses. May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us or abandon us. May he give us the desire to do his will in everything and to obey all the commands, decrees, and regulations that he gave our ancestors. And may these words that I have prayed in the presence of the Lord be before him constantly, day and night, so that the Lord our God may give justice to me and to his people Israel, according to each day’s needs. Then people all over the earth will know that the Lord alone is God and there is no other. And may you be completely faithful to the Lord our God. May you always obey his decrees and commands, just as you are doing today.” Then the king and all Israel with him offered sacrifices to the Lord . Solomon offered to the Lord a peace offering of 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep and goats. And so the king and all the people of Israel dedicated the Temple of the Lord . That same day the king consecrated the central area of the courtyard in front of the Lord ’s Temple. He offered burnt offerings, grain offerings, and the fat of peace offerings there, because the bronze altar in the Lord ’s presence was too small to hold all the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings. Then Solomon and all Israel celebrated the Festival of Shelters in the presence of the Lord our God. A large congregation had gathered from as far away as Lebo-hamath in the north and the Brook of Egypt in the south. The celebration went on for fourteen days in all—seven days for the dedication of the altar and seven days for the Festival of Shelters. After the festival was over, Solomon sent the people home. They blessed the king and went to their homes joyful and glad because the Lord had been good to his servant David and to his people Israel.’

1 Kings 8:54-66

‘So Solomon finished building the Temple of the Lord , as well as the royal palace. He completed everything he had planned to do. Then the Lord appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had done before at Gibeon. The Lord said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your petition. I have set this Temple apart to be holy—this place you have built where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart. “As for you, if you will follow me with integrity and godliness, as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, then I will establish the throne of your dynasty over Israel forever. For I made this promise to your father, David: ‘One of your descendants will always sit on the throne of Israel.’ “But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the commands and decrees I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, then I will uproot Israel from this land that I have given them. I will reject this Temple that I have made holy to honor my name. I will make Israel an object of mockery and ridicule among the nations. And though this Temple is impressive now, all who pass by will be appalled and will gasp in horror. They will ask, ‘Why did the Lord do such terrible things to this land and to this Temple?’ “And the answer will be, ‘Because his people abandoned the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and they worshiped other gods instead and bowed down to them. That is why the Lord has brought all these disasters on them.’” It took Solomon twenty years to build the Lord ’s Temple and his own royal palace. At the end of that time, he gave twenty towns in the land of Galilee to King Hiram of Tyre. (Hiram had previously provided all the cedar and cypress timber and gold that Solomon had requested.) But when Hiram came from Tyre to see the towns Solomon had given him, he was not at all pleased with them. “What kind of towns are these, my brother?” he asked. So Hiram called that area Cabul (which means “worthless”), as it is still known today. Nevertheless, Hiram paid Solomon 9,000 pounds of gold. This is the account of the forced labor that King Solomon conscripted to build the Lord ’s Temple, the royal palace, the supporting terraces, the wall of Jerusalem, and the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer. (Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had attacked and captured Gezer, killing the Canaanite population and burning it down. He gave the city to his daughter as a wedding gift when she married Solomon. So Solomon rebuilt the city of Gezer.) He also built up the towns of Lower Beth-horon, Baalath, and Tamar in the wilderness within his land. He built towns as supply centers and constructed towns where his chariots and horses could be stationed. He built everything he desired in Jerusalem and Lebanon and throughout his entire realm. There were still some people living in the land who were not Israelites, including Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These were descendants of the nations whom the people of Israel had not completely destroyed. So Solomon conscripted them as slaves, and they serve as forced laborers to this day. But Solomon did not conscript any of the Israelites for forced labor. Instead, he assigned them to serve as fighting men, government officials, officers and captains in his army, commanders of his chariots, and charioteers. Solomon appointed 550 of them to supervise the people working on his various projects. Solomon moved his wife, Pharaoh’s daughter, from the City of David to the new palace he had built for her. Then he constructed the supporting terraces. Three times each year Solomon presented burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar he had built for the Lord . He also burned incense to the Lord . And so he finished the work of building the Temple. King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Ezion-geber, a port near Elath in the land of Edom, along the shore of the Red Sea. Hiram sent experienced crews of sailors to sail the ships with Solomon’s men. They sailed to Ophir and brought back to Solomon some sixteen tons of gold.’

1 Kings 9

‘During the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord gave him victory over King Jehoiakim of Judah and permitted him to take some of the sacred objects from the Temple of God. So Nebuchadnezzar took them back to the land of Babylonia and placed them in the treasure-house of his god. Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives. “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon. ” The king assigned them a daily ration of food and wine from his own kitchens. They were to be trained for three years, and then they would enter the royal service. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were four of the young men chosen, all from the tribe of Judah. The chief of staff renamed them with these Babylonian names: Daniel was called Belteshazzar. Hananiah was called Shadrach. Mishael was called Meshach. Azariah was called Abednego. But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel. But he responded, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded.” Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others. God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams. When the training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief of staff brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service. Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom. Daniel remained in the royal service until the first year of the reign of King Cyrus.’

Daniel 1

‘As soon as they were freed, Peter and John returned to the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said. When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God: “O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying, ‘Why were the nations so angry? Why did they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepared for battle; the rulers gathered together against the Lord and against his Messiah.’ “In fact, this has happened here in this very city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed. But everything they did was determined beforehand according to your will. And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.’

Acts 4:23-31

‘This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James. I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love. Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment. In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings. But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion. When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness. Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want. But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them. But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives. Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.’

Jude 1

‘O Lord , the God of vengeance, O God of vengeance, let your glorious justice shine forth! Arise, O Judge of the earth. Give the proud what they deserve. How long, O Lord ? How long will the wicked be allowed to gloat? How long will they speak with arrogance? How long will these evil people boast? They crush your people, Lord , hurting those you claim as your own. They kill widows and foreigners and murder orphans. “The Lord isn’t looking,” they say, “and besides, the God of Israel doesn’t care.” Think again, you fools! When will you finally catch on? Is he deaf—the one who made your ears? Is he blind—the one who formed your eyes? He punishes the nations—won’t he also punish you? He knows everything—doesn’t he also know what you are doing? The Lord knows people’s thoughts; he knows they are worthless! Joyful are those you discipline, Lord , those you teach with your instructions. You give them relief from troubled times until a pit is dug to capture the wicked. The Lord will not reject his people; he will not abandon his special possession. Judgment will again be founded on justice, and those with virtuous hearts will pursue it. Who will protect me from the wicked? Who will stand up for me against evildoers? Unless the Lord had helped me, I would soon have settled in the silence of the grave. I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord , supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. Can unjust leaders claim that God is on their side— leaders whose decrees permit injustice? They gang up against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death. But the Lord is my fortress; my God is the mighty rock where I hide. God will turn the sins of evil people back on them. He will destroy them for their sins. The Lord our God will destroy them.’

Psalms 94

Will you give credit where credit is due?


Will you give God the credit? Will you celebrate what He has been able to do in and through your life? Will you celebrate what He is doing in your life? Will you celebrate what He is doing through you life? Will you give God the praise, the honor, and the glory He deserves? Will you give God the credit that He is due?


Today’s reading from God’s Word:


Will you put your hope and trust in God? Will you believe and lean into Him and His promises rather than your own understanding? Will you testify to the truth in love? Will you give credit to all those who have it coming? Will you go in the name of the Lord? Will you go in obedience to the Lord? Will you finish strong? Will you complete the good works that God has prepared in advance for you to do?

Will you help the oppressed? Will you help the needy? Will you help the orphans and widows? Will you do what God is calling you to do? Will you glorify Him by being a living sacrifice so that He can receive the praise, the honor, and the glory? Will you not sway or turn from God but instead pursue Him and follow His plans and His will? Will you pray for mercy and forgiveness? Will you pray for grace and wisdom? Will you pray for compassion and hope? Will you pray for an obedient heart so that you walk in alignment to God’s will and purposes?

Will you walk out your calling in the power of the Holy Spirit? Will you live by more than bread alone but by every word from God? Will you live to serve and worship God alone rather than worship others or have them worship you? Will you live out your life, not testing God but walking out your life with trust and hope and love?

Will you pray and worship God with holy hands? Will you live out your life with humility? Will you make yourself be valued by the works you do to glorify God? Will you trust God? Will you lean on Him? Will you draw closer to God? Will you turn back to God and run to Him? Will you pursue Him with all your heart, mind, and soul? Will you seek God first and His righteousness? Will you testify and let others know of God and all that He has done in and through your life and that He is available to them too?

How will you celebrate it once you have it?


Is the suffering forgotten? Is the journey forgotten? Is the rescue forgotten? Is the end of one and the beginning of another forgotten? How will you celebrate? Will you celebrate in a way that will be and can be remembered? Will you celebrate at all? Will you remember? Will you cease the moment?

Today’s reading brings us to Exodus 15.

‘Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord : “I will sing to the Lord , for he has triumphed gloriously; he has hurled both horse and rider into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise him— my father’s God, and I will exalt him! The Lord is a warrior; Yahweh is his name! Pharaoh’s chariots and army he has hurled into the sea. The finest of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea. The deep waters gushed over them; they sank to the bottom like a stone. “Your right hand, O Lord , is glorious in power. Your right hand, O Lord , smashes the enemy. In the greatness of your majesty, you overthrow those who rise against you. You unleash your blazing fury; it consumes them like straw. At the blast of your breath, the waters piled up! The surging waters stood straight like a wall; in the heart of the sea the deep waters became hard. “The enemy boasted, ‘I will chase them and catch up with them. I will plunder them and consume them. I will flash my sword; my powerful hand will destroy them.’ But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters. “Who is like you among the gods, O Lord — glorious in holiness, awesome in splendor, performing great wonders? You raised your right hand, and the earth swallowed our enemies. “With your unfailing love you lead the people you have redeemed. In your might, you guide them to your sacred home. The peoples hear and tremble; anguish grips those who live in Philistia. The leaders of Edom are terrified; the nobles of Moab tremble. All who live in Canaan melt away; terror and dread fall upon them. The power of your arm makes them lifeless as stone until your people pass by, O Lord , until the people you purchased pass by. You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain— the place, O Lord , reserved for your own dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hands have established. The Lord will reign forever and ever!” When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and charioteers rushed into the sea, the Lord brought the water crashing down on them. But the people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground! Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine and led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced. And Miriam sang this song: “Sing to the Lord , for he has triumphed gloriously; he has hurled both horse and rider into the sea.”

Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the desert of Shur. They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. So they called the place Marah (which means “bitter”). Then the people complained and turned against Moses. “What are we going to drink?” they demanded. So Moses cried out to the Lord for help, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink. It was there at Marah that the Lord set before them the following decree as a standard to test their faithfulness to him. He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.” After leaving Marah, the Israelites traveled on to the oasis of Elim, where they found twelve springs and seventy palm trees. They camped there beside the water.’

Exodus 15

How long will it take before you remember everything God can do and has done in your life? How long will it be before you start to worry or complain because you have stopped leaning on God and started to think you were all alone? Why not turn to God? Why not lean on Him and trust Him rather than worrying or complaining about your situation? Don’t you remember the power God has? Don’t you remember that with God all things are possible? Will you take hold of the standard?

‘He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”’

Exodus 15:26

Today’s reading continues into 2 Chronicles 35.

‘Then Josiah announced that the Passover of the Lord would be celebrated in Jerusalem, and so the Passover lamb was slaughtered on the fourteenth day of the first month. Josiah also assigned the priests to their duties and encouraged them in their work at the Temple of the Lord . He issued this order to the Levites, who were to teach all Israel and who had been set apart to serve the Lord : “Put the holy Ark in the Temple that was built by Solomon son of David, the king of Israel. You no longer need to carry it back and forth on your shoulders. Now spend your time serving the Lord your God and his people Israel. Report for duty according to the family divisions of your ancestors, following the directions of King David of Israel and the directions of his son Solomon. “Then stand in the sanctuary at the place appointed for your family division and help the families assigned to you as they bring their offerings to the Temple. Slaughter the Passover lambs, purify yourselves, and prepare to help those who come. Follow all the directions that the Lord gave through Moses.” Then Josiah provided 30,000 lambs and young goats for the people’s Passover offerings, along with 3,000 cattle, all from the king’s own flocks and herds. The king’s officials also made willing contributions to the people, priests, and Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, the administrators of God’s Temple, gave the priests 2,600 lambs and young goats and 300 cattle as Passover offerings. The Levite leaders—Conaniah and his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel, as well as Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad—gave 5,000 lambs and young goats and 500 cattle to the Levites for their Passover offerings. When everything was ready for the Passover celebration, the priests and the Levites took their places, organized by their divisions, as the king had commanded. The Levites then slaughtered the Passover lambs and presented the blood to the priests, who sprinkled the blood on the altar while the Levites prepared the animals. They divided the burnt offerings among the people by their family groups, so they could offer them to the Lord as prescribed in the Book of Moses. They did the same with the cattle. Then they roasted the Passover lambs as prescribed; and they boiled the holy offerings in pots, kettles, and pans, and brought them out quickly so the people could eat them. Afterward the Levites prepared Passover offerings for themselves and for the priests—the descendants of Aaron—because the priests had been busy from morning till night offering the burnt offerings and the fat portions. The Levites took responsibility for all these preparations. The musicians, descendants of Asaph, were in their assigned places, following the commands that had been given by David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, the king’s seer. The gatekeepers guarded the gates and did not need to leave their posts of duty, for their Passover offerings were prepared for them by their fellow Levites. The entire ceremony for the Lord ’s Passover was completed that day. All the burnt offerings were sacrificed on the altar of the Lord , as King Josiah had commanded. All the Israelites present in Jerusalem celebrated Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. Never since the time of the prophet Samuel had there been such a Passover. None of the kings of Israel had ever kept a Passover as Josiah did, involving all the priests and Levites, all the people of Jerusalem, and people from all over Judah and Israel. This Passover was celebrated in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign.

After Josiah had finished restoring the Temple, King Neco of Egypt led his army up from Egypt to do battle at Carchemish on the Euphrates River, and Josiah and his army marched out to fight him. But King Neco sent messengers to Josiah with this message: “What do you want with me, king of Judah? I have no quarrel with you today! I am on my way to fight another nation, and God has told me to hurry! Do not interfere with God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.” But Josiah refused to listen to Neco, to whom God had indeed spoken, and he would not turn back. Instead, he disguised himself and led his army into battle on the plain of Megiddo. But the enemy archers hit King Josiah with their arrows and wounded him. He cried out to his men, “Take me from the battle, for I am badly wounded!” So they lifted Josiah out of his chariot and placed him in another chariot. Then they brought him back to Jerusalem, where he died. He was buried there in the royal cemetery. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for him. The prophet Jeremiah composed funeral songs for Josiah, and to this day choirs still sing these sad songs about his death. These songs of sorrow have become a tradition and are recorded in The Book of Laments. The rest of the events of Josiah’s reign and his acts of devotion (carried out according to what was written in the Law of the Lord ), from beginning to end—all are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah.’

2 Chronicles 35

If you forget will you turn back and look to find answers in God’s Word? How do you want to be remembered? Do you want to be remember as one who lived in accordance with God’s will or one who lives in adversity to God’s will?

Today’s reading continues into the New Testament starting in John 19.

‘Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him. “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face. Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.” Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!” When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” “Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.” The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever. He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?” Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” Then Pilate tried to release him, but the Jewish leaders shouted, “If you release this man, you are no ‘friend of Caesar.’ Anyone who declares himself a king is a rebel against Caesar.” When they said this, Pilate brought Jesus out to them again. Then Pilate sat down on the judgment seat on the platform that is called the Stone Pavement (in Hebrew, Gabbatha ). It was now about noon on the day of preparation for the Passover. And Pilate said to the people, “Look, here is your king!” “Away with him,” they yelled. “Away with him! Crucify him!” “What? Crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the leading priests shouted back. Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus away. ‘

John 19:1-16

Remember that God has the power. Don’t fear men more than God!

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 3.

‘Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames. Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.” And again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise; he knows they are worthless.” So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you— whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.’

1 Corinthians 3:10-23

So let us live our lives as temples of the Holy Spirit. Let’s live our lives being lead and guided by the Holy Spirit. Let’s live our lives with the comfort and peace that comes from the Holy Spirit. Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to teach and train us in the ways we should live! Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to bring God’s Word to life in a way that we can live out our lives in ways that will bring God all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

Today’s reading concludes in the book of Psalms. Let’s meditate on today’s psalm from Psalms 47 together.

‘Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! For the Lord Most High is awesome. He is the great King of all the earth. He subdues the nations before us, putting our enemies beneath our feet. He chose the Promised Land as our inheritance, the proud possession of Jacob’s descendants, whom he loves. Interlude God has ascended with a mighty shout. The Lord has ascended with trumpets blaring. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King over all the earth. Praise him with a psalm. God reigns above the nations, sitting on his holy throne. The rulers of the world have gathered together with the people of the God of Abraham. For all the kings of the earth belong to God. He is highly honored everywhere.’

Psalms 47

Are you ready to celebrate?


When was the last time you had a party to celebrate something huge? What were you commemorating? What were you observing? What special thing were you marking? What memory were you keeping?

There are many holidays that get celebrated for religious and national purposes. Some seem to get celebrated in different ways and at different levels than others. Some are joyous and others are solemn. Most get celebrated in groups. What comes out of it? Inspiration? Equipping? Revitalized? Transformed?

Do you know Jesus? Do you realize the heavenly celebration that takes place every time someone turns to Him? We see in the story of the lost or prodigal son how when the son came home it was a time to celebrate! So don’t feel like you have to get everything under control and fixed up before you can turn to God! Jesus paid it all! We just have to choose to receive the incredible gift of God!

Are you getting ready to have the greatest celebration ever? One bigger than has ever occurred before? Do you know what to celebrate? Do you know what you have to celebrate today? Do you know how to celebrate?

Why not celebrate all the people being saved through Jesus Christ? There are so many people who are having their lives intersected with Jesus each day! There is always something to celebrate!

Why not celebrate that you are alive? You have so many opportunities today! So how will you live them out and celebrate these opportunities?

Why not celebrate today? This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Facing troubles and challenges? In this world we will have troubles! Thanks to Jesus we can have hope because He has overcome them all! We can consider it pure joy because we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance and that when we let perseverance finish its work we will be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Jesus is coming back and for those of us who have chosen to receive Him as our Lord and Savior there will be such an incredible celebration!


How to Celebrate

Day 347: Bible In One Year 2018

  • Celebrate answered prayer … Psalms 142
    • Today’s devotional shares these points and reasons to celebrate and more…
  • Celebrate before the throne in heaven … Revelation 4
    • Today’s devotional shares these points and reasons to celebrate and more…
      • You do not need to wait until heaven to experience ‘heavenly’ worship. This worship is happening now – 24-7 – in heaven. In this passage, we get a glimpse of what it looks like. Every time you worship, you join in with the worship of heaven.

        John’s eyes turn from the church on earth to the church in heaven. John looks through an open door in heaven (v.1). Accompany John as he is invited to ‘Ascend and enter. I’ll show you what happens next’ (v.1, MSG).

        What follows is an extraordinary vision of the greatness and glory of God. God is at the centre of the universe, surrounded here by images of who he is and what he has done. The ‘throne’ suggests the highest authority, the ‘rainbow’ is the rainbow of promise, the ‘lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder’ point to the power of God, and the ‘sea of glass, clear as crystal’ suggests peace and security (vv.2–6).

        ‘Seven fire-blazing torches fronted the throne (these are the Sevenfold Spirit of God)’ (v.5, MSG). There is one Holy Spirit but the fire-blazing torches represent all the different ways in which he expresses himself and in which you experience his fullness in your life.

        Around the throne are twenty-four elders seated on thrones, probably representing the twelve tribes of the Old Testament and the twelve apostles of the New Testament. This is the completed and perfect church of Jesus Christ. You are included.

        As those around the throne contemplate the wonder of God the natural response is to turn to worship – and this is the first thing that John finds going on in heaven. There are five worship songs in the next two chapters.

        ‘Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come”’ (v.8). (Those of us who find repetition hard may have to get used to a lot of it!)

        ‘Whenever the living creatures give glory, honour and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and give him all the glory’ (vv.9–11).

        The church, the angels and all created things bow down and worship God. The eternal Father sits on the throne surrounded by the worshiping community.

        As John Stott wrote, one day you will ‘join the church triumphant, the great multitude that no one will be able to count, drawn from every nation, tribe, people and language, and you will stand with them before God’s throne.

        ‘The King of the universe will give you refuge in the shelter of his throne. You will see him and worship him day and night. The Lamb turned Shepherd will lead you with the rest of his sheep to fountains of living water. You will satisfy your thirst forever at his eternal springs.’
        –from Day 347: Bible In One Year 2018

  • Celebrate the great acts of God … Esther 6, Esther 7, Esther 8
    • Today’s devotional shares these points and reasons to celebrate and more…
      • Yes they will. God has come to earth in the person of his Son, Jesus (the incarnation, which we celebrate at Christmas). He has defeated evil through the cross and resurrection (which we celebrate at Easter). The final victory will take place when Jesus comes again. In the meantime, he has given you the Holy Spirit so that you can experience a foretaste of that final victory right now (this we celebrate at Pentecost).
        –from Day 347: Bible In One Year 2018

Don’t be judgmental! Don’t taunt or find joy in the pain of others! Let’s do good to all!


We are to weep with those who are weeping! We are to celebrate with those who celebrate. Not the reverse…Don’t be kicking people when they are down. Don’t be mocking people when they are going thru troubles. Even if they are your enemies, we are not to hate them and only love our neighbors. We are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us! Don’t allow judgment and malice to take root in your heart! Allow your heart to be filled with overflowing of the love of God! Just because someone else is being corrected or given discipline doesn’t mean you should celebrate in it! Seek God in all your way! Acknowledge God in all your ways! Lean not on your own understanding of what is going on because you don’t know it all … the why. Don’t be acting in a way that makes you the next target! Do you really want that attention? God cannot be mocked!

Put your trust in God who is love! His love endures forever! Give thanks to God! Do not fear for the Lord is with you! Do not be afraid for God is your helper! Take refuge in God rather than putting your hope and trust in people. He is trustworthy and His love endures forever! Need help? Call out to God who is your help and your salvation! Ask Jesus into your heart and choose life! Yes, Jesus did get rejected even though He is the foundation and the cornerstone. So align to the cornerstone and stand on the rock of Jesus! Cry out to God and ask for His salvation and help you find success! Let’s praise God! Let’s exalt God! He is good and His love endures forever!

So let’s reflect on the words from Galatians from today’s reading…Let’s start with the plan that we are to do good to all…

Doing Good to All

1Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2Carry each otherʼs burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5for each one should carry their own load. 6Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Not Circumcision but the New Creation

11See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!
12Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh. 14May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. 16Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God.
17From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.

–Galatians 6

It’s a matter of the heart! We need to make the choice and choose to follow after Jesus! We need to ask Him for forgiveness and into our hearts so that we can be new creations with the old being gone and the new having come!

Let’s celebrate with others who have come into the faith! Let’s turn to God with thanksgiving and praise because of the grace and mercy He has brought into their lives! Let’s celebrate how God has allowed love to motivate the works! Let’s celebrate how God has allowed hope to produce endurance! Let’s allow the power of the Holy Spirit to break thru the lies and open up the truth even greater into the lives of the people around us!

Today’s reading concludes with 1 Thessalonians…

1Paul, Silas and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace to you.

Thanksgiving for the Thessaloniansʼ Faith

2We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8The Lordʼs message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

–1 Thessalonians 1

 


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 25, 26, Psalms 118, Galatians 6, 1 Thessalonians 1

It’s sad when we lose people…


Have you lost anyone? Do you remember the pain? Do you remember the sadness? Do you remember the emotional rollercoaster? Do you remember the anger? Do you remember the joy? Do you remember the love? Do you remember someone who wasn’t treating you well who passed? Do you remember someone who was like a brother or sister who passed? How did you respond? How did you manage to be able to let them go?

Today’s reading opens up with David facing the news of the death of Saul and Jonathan…

David Mourns Saul and Jonathan

1Now it came to pass after the death of Saul—when David had returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites—that David stayed two days in Ziklag. 2On the third day, behold, a man came from Saul’s camp, with his clothes torn and dust on his head. Now when he approached David, he fell to the ground and prostrated himself. 3Then David asked him, “Where are you coming from?” “I’ve escaped from the camp of Israel,” he answered. 4“How did things go?” David asked him. “Please, tell me.” He answered, “The troops fled the battlefield—also many of the troops fell and died. And even Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.” 5David asked the young man informing him, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?” 6The young man informing him answered, “I happened by chance to be on Mount Gilboa, and look, Saul was leaning on his spear, while the chariots and the horsemen were closing in on him. 7When he turned around and saw me, he called me. So I answered, ‘Here I am.’ 8Then he asked me, ‘Who are you?’ “So I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’ 9So he said to me, ‘Stand now over me and kill me! For I’m in agony, yet I’m still alive.’ 10So I stood over him and killed him, because I knew he couldn’t survive after he had fallen. Then I took the crown that was on his head and the bracelet that was on his arm, and brought them here—to my lord.” 11Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so did all the men that were with him, 12and they mourned, wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, for the troops of Adonai and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. 13Then David said to the young man who informed him, “Where are you from?” “I am a son of an Amalekite outsider,” he replied. 14Then David said to him, “How is it that you were not afraid to stretch out your hand to destroy Adonai’s anointed one?” 15Then David called one of the young men and said, “Come and strike him down.” And he struck him down and he died. 16David said to him, “Your blood is on your own head, for your mouth testified against you saying, ‘I killed Adonai’s anointed.’” 17Then David chanted this lament over Saul and his son Jonathan, 18and ordered that the sons of Judah be taught the “Song of the Bow.” (Behold, it is written in the Book of Jashar): 19“Your glory, O Israel, is slain on your high places! How the mighty have fallen! 20Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in Ashkelon’s streets, lest Philistine daughters rejoice, lest daughters of the uncircumcised gloat! 21Hills of Gilboa, let no dew or rain be on you, nor on bountiful fields, for there the shield of the mighty ones lay defiled—Saul’s shield will no longer be anointed with oil. 22From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, Jonathan’s bow never turned back, Saul’s sword never returned empty. 23Saul and Jonathan, loved and delightful, parted neither in life nor death. They were swifter than eagles, stronger than lions. 24Daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet and finery, who put ornaments of gold on your clothes. 25How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan on your heights is slain! 26I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan! Very pleasing were you to me. Wonderful was your love to me more than the love of women. 27How the mighty have fallen, and the weapons of war destroyed!

–from 2 Samuel 1

Do you remember celebrating their lives? Do you remember mourning their loss?

Let’s be reminders to the world around us the importance of turning back to God! Let’s be testimonies of God’s great love and how His ask is that we love Him and love one another! Be it in the old testament where the prophets were speaking out to people on behalf of God to tell them to turn back to God and love Him and obey Him or be it that they were treating one another bad and needed to be treating one another with love, dignity, and respect. Be it in the new testament where Jesus summarized the 10 commandments into 2 – Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and strength and second to love your neighbor as you love yourself. It goes beyond ourselves! It goes beyond trying to make us the center! So let’s live out today so that we make a difference and glorify God!

Restore Your People from Captivity

1For the music director, a psalm of the sons of Korah. 2Adonai, will you favor Your land? Will You restore Jacob from captivity? 3Will You bear away Your people’s iniquity, Will You pardon all their sin? Selah 4Will You withdraw all Your wrath? Will You turn from Your burning anger? 5Restore us, O God of our salvation, and renounce Your indignation with us. 6Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger from generation to generation? 7Will You not revive us again, so Your people may rejoice in You? 8Show us Your mercy, Adonai, and grant us Your salvation. 9Let me hear what God Adonai will say. For He will speak shalom to His people, and to His kedoshim— but let them not turn back to folly. 10Surely His salvation is near those who fear Him, so that glory may dwell in our land. 11Lovingkindness and truth meet together. Righteousness and shalom kiss each other. 12Truth will spring up from the earth, and justice will look down from heaven. 13Yes, Adonai will give what is good, and our land will yield its produce. 14Righteousness is going before Him and prepares a way for His feet.

–from Psalms 85

And let’s do it before it is too late! Let’s make a difference  today! Let’s be light! Let’s be salt! Let’s be love! Don’t be lead astray! Don’t be deceived! Put your hope and trust in God! Allow Jesus to be the center of your life! Follow after Him! Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you all the days of your life! Be prepared! Notice the signs of the times! Don’t lose hope! Don’t give up! Your time to make a difference is now! Don’t miss out! Don’t be left out! Let’s be bold and courageous! Let’s be living the right way and be prepared for the trumpet sound and to be restored and lifted up to meet with and be with Jesus! Let’s be aware of the times we are living in today! God’s Word will last forever! Love the greatest thing will last forever! So grab a hold of the truth and stand firm! Put on the full armor of God and be prepared to make and take a stand today! Let’s live that we may hear “well done my good and faithful servant” from Jesus!

1Now when Yeshua went out and was going away from the Temple, His disciples came up to point out to Him the Temple buildings. 2“Don’t you see all these?” He responded to them. “Amen, I tell you, not one stone will be left here on top of another—every one will be torn down!”

Signs of the End of Time

3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen? What will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” 4Yeshua answered them, “Be careful that no one leads you astray! 5For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will lead many astray. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must happen but it is not yet the end. 7For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8But all these things are only the beginning of birth pains. 9“Then they will hand you over to persecution and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations because of My name. 10And then many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one other. 11Many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. 13But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14This Good News of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. 15“So when you see ‘the abomination of desolation,’ which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the Holy Place (let the reader understand), 16then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. 17The one on the roof must not go down to take what is in his house, 18and the one in the field must not turn back to get his coat. 19Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20Pray that your escape will not happen in winter, or on Shabbat. 21For then there will be great trouble, such as has not happened since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. 22And unless those days were cut short, no one would be delivered. But for the sake of the chosen, those days will be cut short. 23“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here’s the Messiah,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe it. 24For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and show great signs and wonders so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen. 25See, I have told you beforehand. 26“So if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. Or, ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27For just as lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so also will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28For wherever the carcass is, there the vultures will gather. 29“But immediately after the trouble of those days, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light and the stars will fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.’ 30Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the land will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory. 31He will send out His angels with a great shofar, and they will gather together His chosen from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Watching for Messiah’s Return

32“Now learn the parable from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33So also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, at the door. 34Amen, I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things happen. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. 36But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven nor the Son, except the Father alone. 37“For just as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38For in those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. 39And they did not understand until the flood came and swept them all away. So shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40Then two men will be in the field, one taken and one left. 41Two women will be grinding at the mill, one taken and one left. 42Therefore stay alert; for you do not know what day your Lord is coming. 43But know this, that if the master of the house had known what time the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and not let his house be broken into. 44So you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

The Faithful Servant

45“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master put in charge of his household to give them food at the proper time? 46Blessed is that servant whose master finds him so doing when he comes. 47Amen, I tell you, his master will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48But if that wicked servant says in his heart, ‘My master is taking a long time,’ 49and he begins to beat his fellow servants, and he eats and drinks with drunkards, 50the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know. 51And he will cut him in two and assign his place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

–from Matthew 24

 

 

 

Will you remember? How will you remember?


Do you leave a marker? Do you write something down? How will you remember and remind those that come after you? Is there anything that you can do so it won’t be forgotten? Is there anything you can do to ensure that others will see it and remember what happened? How can you tell people of how good God has been to you? How can you remind people of good God is? How can you show people how good God is?

Today’s reading starts with such a topic as the people of Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground as they entered the promised land…

Twelve Memorial Stones

1Now when all the nation had finished crossing over the Jordan, Adonai spoke to Joshua saying: 2“Take for yourself twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe, 3and command them saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the feet of the kohanim are standing firm, and carry them over with you, and deposit them at the place where you will lodge tonight.” 4Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from Bnei-Yisrael, one man from each tribe.
5Joshua said to them, “Cross over before the ark of Adonai your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you, lift up a stone on his shoulder, for the number of the tribes of Bnei-Yisrael. 6Let this be a sign among you. When your children ask later saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7then you will say to them: ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of Adonai—when it crossed the Jordan—the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones will be a reminder to Bnei-Yisrael forever.” 8So Bnei-Yisrael did so, as Joshua commanded. They lifted twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, just as Adonai had said to Joshua, for the number of the tribes of Bnei-Yisrael. Then they carried them over with them to the lodging place and put them down there. 9Joshua also set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan, at the spot where the feet of the kohanim carrying the ark of the covenant were standing—they are there to this day. 10The kohanim who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything that Adonai had commanded Joshua to speak to the people was completed, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua. The people hurried across, 11and when all the people had finished crossing over, the ark of Adonai and the kohanim crossed over in the presence of the people. 12Also the children of Reuben, the children of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over armed ahead of Bnei-Yisrael, just as Moses had said to them— 13about 40,000 equipped for war crossed over before Adonai for battle to the plains of Jericho. 14On that day Adonai exalted Joshua in the eyes of all Israel. So they revered him, just as they had revered Moses all the days of his life.
15Then Adonai spoke to Joshua saying: 16“Command the kohanim who are carrying the ark of the testimony to come up from the Jordan.” 17Joshua therefore commanded the kohanim saying, “Come up from the Jordan!” 18As soon as the kohanim who were carrying the ark of the covenant of Adonai came up from the middle of the Jordan and the soles of the feet of the kohanim were drawn up to the dry ground, the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and overflowed all its banks as before. 19Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20Those twelve stones, which they had taken out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. 21Then he said to Bnei-Yisrael saying, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come saying: ‘What are these stones?’ 22then you will inform your children saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23For Adonai your God dried up the waters of Jordan before you until you crossed—just as Adonai your God did to the Sea of Reeds, which He dried up before us until we crossed over— 24so that all the peoples of the earth may know Adonai’s hand is mighty, and so that you may fear Adonai your God forever.”

–from Joshua 4

Will you setup a memorial to help everyone’s memory? Will you help the people be prepared for what is to come? Will you share God’s wisdom and God’s grace with them?

When names and places are remembered, sentences in the old testament end up reminding you of what and where things happened in the new testament. Consider the words “rolled away” or “Gilgal” or “Passover” and what they mean and signify to you.

Circumcision at Gilgal

1Now it came about when all the Amorite kings beyond the Jordan westward and all the Canaanite kings by the sea heard how Adonai had dried up the waters of the Jordan before Bnei-Yisrael until they had crossed, their heart melted, nor was there any spirit in them anymore, because of Bnei-Yisrael. 2At that time Adonai said to Joshua, “Make yourself flint knives and circumcise again Bnei-Yisrael a second time.” 3So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised Bnei-Yisrael at Gibeath-ha-araloth. 4Now this is the reason why Joshua circumcised: all the people that came out of Egypt who were males—all the men of war—had died in the wilderness along the way after they came out of Egypt. 5Though all the people that came out were circumcised, none of the people who were born in the wilderness along the way as they came out of Egypt had been circumcised. 6For Bnei-Yisrael walked 40 years in the wilderness, until all the nation’s men of war who came out of Egypt died out, because they had not listened to the voice of Adonai. To them Adonai had sworn that He would never let them see the land which Adonai had sworn to their fathers that He would give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. 7But He raised up their children in their place. Joshua circumcised them, for they were uncircumcised, since they had not been circumcised along the way. 8Now it came to pass after they had finished circumcising the entire nation, they remained in their places in the camp until they recovered. 9Then Adonai said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore the name of that place has been called Gilgal to this day. 10While Bnei-Yisrael camped at Gilgal, they observed Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month in the plains of Jericho. 11On the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, matzot and roasted grain. 12Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten of the produce of the land. Bnei-Yisrael had manna no longer, but ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan that year.

Commander of Adonai’s Army

13Now it came to pass when Joshua was near Jericho that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there was a man standing in front of him with his sword drawn in his hand. Joshua approached him and said to him: “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” 14“Neither,” he said. “Rather, I have now come as commander of Adonai’s army.” Then Joshua fell on his face to the ground and worshipped. Then he asked him, “What is my lord saying to his servant?” 15Then the commander of Adonai’s army replied to Joshua, “Take your sandal off of your foot, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

–from Joshua 5

God is so good! Let’s pray that He will prepare in advance the good work He has for us to do and that He will give us obedient spirits to get it done! Without doubt and without fear, but with complete hope and trust in Him being obedient to the call!

Let’s put all our hope and trust in Him! Let’s spend time with Him throughout the day! Let’s stay under the protection of His wing! Let’s praise Him for what He has done! Let’s praise Him for what He is doing! Let’s praise Him for what He is preparing and working out for our future!

My Hope When I Am Gray

1In You, Adonai, have I taken refuge. Let me never be ashamed. 2Deliver me and rescue me in Your justice. Turn Your ear to me and save me. 3Be to me a sheltering rock where I may always go. Give the command to save me— for You are my rock and my fortress. 4My God, rescue me out of the hand of the wicked, out of the grasp of an evil, ruthless man. 5For You are my hope, Adonai my Lord— my trust from my youth. 6From my birth I have leaned on You. You took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise is always about You. 7I am like an ominous sign to many, but You are my strong refuge. 8My mouth is filled with Your praise and with Your glory all day. 9Do not cast me away in the time of old age. When my strength fails, do not forsake me. 10For my enemies speak against me. Those who watch for my soul conspire together, 11saying: “God has forsaken him— Pursue and take him, for no one will deliver.” 12O God, be not far from me! My God, come quickly to help me. 13Let the accusers of my soul be disgraced and destroyed. Let those who seek to harm me be covered with scorn and confusion. 14But I—I will hope continually and will praise You more and more. 15My mouth will recount Your justice and Your salvation all day, though I do not know the sum of them. 16I come because of the mighty deeds of Adonai my Lord. I will remember Your righteousness —Yours alone. 17God, You taught me from my youth, and I still keep declaring Your wonders. 18So even until I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, till I tell of Your strong arm to the next generation, Your might to all who are to come. 19For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to high heaven. You have done great things— O God, who is like You? 20You made me see many troubles and evils —You will revive me again— from the depths of the earth You will bring me up again. 21You will increase my greatness, and comfort me once again. 22So I will praise You with the harp for your truth, O my God. I will sing praises to You with the lyre O Holy One of Israel. 23My lips will shout for joy —when I sing praises to You— and my soul, which You have redeemed. 24Also my tongue will tell of Your righteousness all day. For those who seek my hurt have been put to shame and confusion.

–from Psalms 71

Do you realize the road you are on without Jesus? Do you realize the gift that is offered up through Jesus? Do you realize you have a choice of wrath vs grace? Do you realize it’s up to you? Do you realize we all have the choice of obedience vs disobedience? It’s part of having freewill – so choose wisely! There is nothing we can do to be saved, it’s a gift from God by choosing Jesus! When we ask Jesus into our hearts, we become new creations! When we ask Jesus into our hearts, we are saved by grace through faith! Not by works so that we can’t boast about how good we are and that is why we are saved! We are His creation to be doing good deeds! It’s a matter of the heart! It’s an inside thing that puts us in the right or wrong spot! Have you asked Jesus into your heart? If not, what is holding you back from asking Him in today?

Destined for Wrath, Saved by Grace

1You were dead in your trespasses and sins. 2At that time, you walked in the way of this world, in conformity to the ruler of the domain of the air—the ruler of the spirit who is now operating in the sons of disobedience. 3We too all lived among them in the cravings of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind. By nature we were children of wrath, just like the others. 4But God was rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us. 5Even when we were dead in our trespasses, He made us alive together with Messiah. (By grace you have been saved!) 6And He raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua— 7to show in the olam ha-ba the measureless richness of His grace in kindness toward us in Messiah Yeshua. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not from yourselves—it is the gift of God. 9It is not based on deeds, so that no one may boast. 10For we are His workmanship—created in Messiah Yeshua for good deeds, which God prepared beforehand so we might walk in them.

Jew and Gentile, One in Messiah

11Therefore, keep in mind that once you—Gentiles in the flesh—were called “uncircumcision” by those called “circumcision” (which is performed on flesh by hand). 12At that time you were separate from Messiah, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Messiah Yeshua, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. 14For He is our shalom, the One who made the two into one and broke down the middle wall of separation. Within His flesh He made powerless the hostility— 15the law code of mitzvot contained in regulations. He did this in order to create within Himself one new man from the two groups, making shalom, 16and to reconcile both to God in one body through the cross—by which He put the hostility to death. 17And He came and proclaimed shalom to you who were far away and shalom to those who were near— 18for through Him we both have access to the Father by the same Ruach. 19So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household. 20You have been built on the foundation made up of the emissaries and prophets, with Messiah Yeshua Himself being the cornerstone. 21In Him the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple for the Lord. 22In Him, you also are being built together into God’s dwelling place in the Ruach.

–from Ephesians 2

Remember those words from the start of my blog? Gilgal – where Jesus was crucified. Rolled away – from the entrance of the tomb which was empty because Jesus was risen. Passover – which was the timing of when they took Jesus. So let’s tell the world around us of Jesus’ great love and sacrifice and victory so that they can celebrate, remember, and receive the gift by grace from God too!

Our New Testament reading from today’s reading concludes as follows from Mark 16…

The Empty Tomb

1When Shabbat was over, Miriam of Magdala, Miriam the mother of Jacob, and Salome bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Yeshua’s body. 2Very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they come to the tomb. 3They were saying to each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4Looking up, they see that the stone (it was really huge) had been rolled away. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were startled. 6But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You are looking for Yeshua of Natzeret, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here! See the place where they put Him. 7But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to the Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.’” 8And going outside, they fled from the tomb, gripped by trembling and amazement. They didn’t say anything to anybody, for they were afraid.

He Is Risen

9After He had risen early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Miriam of Magdala, from whom He had driven out seven demons. 10She went and brought word to those who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping. 11When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe. 12After that, He appeared in a different form to two of them as they were walking on their way to the country. 13They went and reported it to the rest, but they did not believe them either. 14Later He appeared to them, the eleven, as they were reclining at the table. He rebuked them for their unbelief and hardheartedness, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had been raised.

Tell the World!

15He told them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the Good News to every creature. 16He who believes and is immersed shall be saved, but he who does not believe shall be condemned. 17These signs will accompany those who believe: in My name they will drive out demons; they will speak new languages; 18they will handle snakes; and if they drink anything deadly, it will not harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will get well.” 19Then the Lord Yeshua, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20And they went out and proclaimed everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that follow.

–from Mark 16

 

Do you take time to celebrate the good?


Ever finished a big project and then people setup meetings to have a retrospective or post mortem? Ever found people tend to focus on what went bad more than what went well? What we need to fix or stop vs what went well and should continue? It seems to be human nature to do that, but what we really need to do is to make an effort to celebrate the good! Have meetings to lift up the good news! Have conversations about all the things that have gone well! Be able to help those around you to see there is good taking place! Otherwise, we end up with a team, a group, a society where everyone is feeling doom and gloom.

Consider the news! How much good news do you find on TV or the Radio or the Web?

So how will you make a difference? How will you motivate? How will you encourage? How will you respond? How will you build up? How will you lift up? How will you be a transforming power?

Celebrate the little wins

Today’s reading starts with a celebration…blowing the shofar…

Yom Teruah: Day of Shofar Shouts

1“On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a sacred assembly. You are to do no laborious work. It is for you a day for sounding the shofar. 2You are to prepare a burnt offering as a pleasing aroma to Adonai: one young bull from the herd, one ram, and seven male lambs a year old, without flaw, 3with their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah with the bull, two tenths with the ram, 4and one tenth with each of the seven lambs, 5as well as one male goat as a sin offering to make atonement for yourselves. 6Also offer the burnt offering for the month with its grain offering, the regular burnt offering with its grain offering, and their appropriate drink offerings as a pleasing aroma to Adonai, as an offering by fire.

Yom Kippur: Day of Atonement

7“On the tenth day of this seventh month, you are to have a sacred assembly. You are to deny yourselves and do no work. 8You are to present to Adonai a burnt offering as a pleasing aroma, one young bull from the herd, one ram, and seven year-old male lambs without defect, 9along with their grain offerings of fine flour mixed with oil: three tenths of an ephah with the bull, two tenths with the ram, 10and one tenth with each of the seven lambs. 11Also offer one male goat for a sin offering, in addition to the sin offering for atonement, as well as the regular burnt offering with its grain offering and their drink offerings.

Sukkot: Feast of Tabernacles

12“On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you are to have a sacred assembly. You are not to do any of your work, and you are to celebrate the Feast to Adonai for seven days.
13You are to offer a burnt offering by fire to Adonai as a pleasing aroma: thirteen young bulls from the herd, two rams, and fourteen year-old male lambs without defect,
14their grain offerings of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah with each of the thirteen bulls, two tenths with each of the two rams,
15and one tenth with each of the fourteen lambs,
16plus one male goat as a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering with its grain and drink offering.
17“On the second day, you are to offer twelve young bulls from the herd, two rams, and fourteen year-old male lambs without flaw,
18with their grain and drink offerings, with the bulls, rams, and lambs as appropriate by their number according to the regulations,
19plus one male goat as a sin offering, as well as the regular burnt offering with its grain and drink offerings.
20“On the third day, offer eleven bulls, two rams, and fourteen year-old male lambs without defect,
21with their grain and drink offerings, with the bulls, rams, and lambs the number specified,
22and a male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain and drink offerings.
23“On the fourth day, ten bulls, two rams, and fourteen year-old male lambs without flaw,
24their grain offerings and drink offerings with the bulls, rams, and lambs by their number according to the regulations,
25and one male goat as a sin offering and the regular burnt offering with its grain and drink offerings.
26“On the fifth day, nine bulls, two rams, and fourteen male one year old lambs without defect,
27with their grain and drink offerings by their number as specified,
28and one goat for a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain and drink offerings.
29“On the sixth day, eight bulls, two rams, and fourteen male lambs a year old without defect,
30with the bulls, rams, and lambs, their grain and drink offerings according to those numbers specified,
31and one goat for a sin offering with the regular burnt offering and its grain and drink offerings.
32“On the seventh day, seven bulls, two rams, and fourteen male lambs without defect a year old,
33plus their grain and drink offerings, for the bulls, rams, and lambs according to the numbers specified,
34in addition to one male goat for a sin offering and the regular burnt offering with its grain and drink offerings.
35“On the eighth day there shall be for you an assembly. You are to do no regular work.
36You are to offer to Adonai a burnt offering, a fire offering, a pleasing aroma, one bull, one ram, and seven male lambs a year old without defect,
37and their grain and drink offerings, with the bull, ram, and lamb corresponding to their number according to the regulations,
38and a goat for a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering with its grain and drink offerings.
39“You are to prepare these for Adonai at your moadim in addition to your vow and freewill offerings, along with your burnt offerings, grain offerings, drink offering, and fellowship offerings.”
40So Moses told Bnei-Yisrael all that Adonai commanded Moses.

–from Numbers 29

We need to remember the truth! We need to remember that Jesus has already won the victory! We need to remember that in the end – even in the final battle – God wins! We need to remember how much Jesus did for us! We need to remember His love! His sacrifice! His example! so that we can live our lives with the joy and peace of God in order that others may come to know Him! We may be the only experience of Jesus anyone ever gets as they may never go to a church, but they will spend time with us!

So let’s rejoice in the Lord! Let’s celebrate all the good things that are taking place in and around us!

The Victory of the Resurrection

1Now I make known to you, brothers and sisters, the Good News which I proclaimed to you. You also received it, and you took your stand on it,
2and by it you are being saved if you hold firm to the word I proclaimed to you—unless you believed without proper consideration.
3For I also passed on to you first of all what I also received— that Messiah died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
5and that He appeared to Kefa, then to the Twelve.
6Then He appeared to over five hundred brothers and sisters at one time— most of them are still alive, though some have died.
7Then He appeared to Jacob, then to all the emissaries,
8and last of all, as to one untimely born, He also appeared to me.
9For I am the least of the emissaries, unworthy to be called an emissary because I persecuted God’s community.
10But by the grace of God I am what I am. His grace toward me was not in vain. No, I worked harder than them all—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
11Whether then it is I or they, so we proclaim, and so you believed.
12Now if Messiah is proclaimed—that He has been raised from the dead—how can some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Messiah has been raised!
14And if Messiah has not been raised, then our proclaiming is meaningless and your faith also is meaningless.
15Moreover, we are found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified about God that He raised up Messiah—whom He did not raise up, if in fact the dead are not raised.
16For if the dead are not raised, not even Messiah has been raised.
17And if Messiah has not been raised, your faith is futile—you are still in your sins.
18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Messiah have perished.
19If we have hoped in Messiah in this life alone, we are to be pitied more than all people.
20But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
21For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also has come through a Man.
22For as in Adam all die, so also in Messiah will all be made alive.
23But each in its own order: Messiah the firstfruits; then, at His coming, those who belong to Messiah;
24then the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all rule and all authority and power.
25For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
26The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
27For God has “put all things in subjection underneath His feet.” But when the psalmist says that “all” has been put in subjection, it is clear that this does not include God Himself, who put all things under Messiah.
28Now when all things become subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also become subject to the One who put all things under Him, so that God may be all in all.
29Otherwise, what will they do who are immersed for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are they immersed for them?
30And why are we in danger every hour?
31I die every day—yes, as surely as the boast in you, brothers and sisters, which I have in Messiah Yeshua our Lord.
32If, for human reasons, I fought with “wild animals” at Ephesus, what good is that to me? If the dead are not raised, “let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
33Do not be deceived! “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
34Come to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning! For some have no knowledge of God—I say this to your shame.
35But someone will say, “How are the dead raised?” and, “With what kind of body do they come?”
36Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
37As for what you sow—you are not sowing the body that will be, but a bare seed, maybe of wheat or something else.
38But God gives it a body just as He planned, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.
39All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of humans, another flesh of animals, another of birds, and another of fish.
40There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one thing while the earthly is another.
41There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
42So also is the resurrection of the dead: Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption!
43Sown in dishonor, raised in glory! Sown in weakness, raised in power!
44Sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body! If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
45So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
46However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.
47The first man is of the earth, made of dust; the second man is from heaven.
48Like the one made of dust, so also are those made of dust; and like the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.
49And just as we have borne the image of the one made from dust, so also shall we bear the image of the One from heaven.
50Now I say this, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and what decays cannot inherit what does not decay.
51Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—
52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last shofar. For the shofar will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.
53For this corruptible must put on incorruptibility , and this mortal must put on immortality.
54But when this corruptible will have put on incorruptibility and this mortal will have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55“Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?”
56Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Torah.
57But thanks be to God, who keeps giving us the victory through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah!
58Therefore, my dearly loved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord—because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

–from 1 Corinthians 15

 

 

It’s time to come home…


Have you wandered away? Have you walked away? Have you turned away? It doesn’t matter how far you have gone! It doesn’t matter what you have done! It’s time to come home! Don’t be afraid! Don’t be worried! Don’t be discouraged! Be humble! Be repentant! Come home with a heart in the right attitude.

Let’s consider the story of the Lost Son or also known as the Prodigal Son…

The Lost Son

11 Jesus went on to say, “There was once a man who had two sons.  12 The younger one said to him, ‘Father, give me my share of the property now.’ So the man divided his property between his two sons.  13 After a few days the younger son sold his part of the property and left home with the money. He went to a country far away, where he wasted his money in reckless living.  14 He spent everything he had. Then a severe famine spread over that country, and he was left without a thing.  15 So he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him out to his farm to take care of the pigs.  16 He wished he could fill himself with the bean pods the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything to eat.  17 At last he came to his senses and said, ‘All my father’s hired workers have more than they can eat, and here I am about to starve!  18 I will get up and go to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against God and against you.  19 I am no longer fit to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired workers.”’  20 So he got up and started back to his father.
“He was still a long way from home when his father saw him; his heart was filled with pity, and he ran, threw his arms around his son, and kissed him.  21 ‘Father,’ the son said, ‘I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son.’  22 But the father called to his servants. ‘Hurry!’ he said. ‘Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet.  23 Then go and get the prize calf and kill it, and let us celebrate with a feast!  24 For this son of mine was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.’ And so the feasting began.
25 “In the meantime the older son was out in the field. On his way back, when he came close to the house, he heard the music and dancing.  26 So he called one of the servants and asked him, ‘What’s going on?’  27 ‘Your brother has come back home,’ the servant answered, ‘and your father has killed the prize calf, because he got him back safe and sound.’  28 The older brother was so angry that he would not go into the house; so his father came out and begged him to come in.  29 But he spoke back to his father, ‘Look, all these years I have worked for you like a slave, and I have never disobeyed your orders. What have you given me? Not even a goat for me to have a feast with my friends!  30 But this son of yours wasted all your property on prostitutes, and when he comes back home, you kill the prize calf for him!’  31 ‘My son,’ the father answered, ‘you are always here with me, and everything I have is yours.  32 But we had to celebrate and be happy, because your brother was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.’”
–from Luke 15:11-32
God wants you to come home! God’s just like that dad who was waiting and watching hoping that one day you will come home! When you do, there will be so much rejoicing on earth and in heaven because you chose to come home! There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Will you come  home? Will you turn back? Will you realize how far you have gone and come back home? As is always the case, we have freewill to choose! Is today the day you will choose to come home?
Today’s reading speaks about when God calls Israel to come home…

Israel’s Return Home

1The Lord says, “The time is coming when I will be the God of all the tribes of Israel, and they will be my people. 2In the desert I showed mercy to those people who had escaped death. When the people of Israel longed for rest, 3I appeared to them from far away. People of Israel, I have always loved you, so I continue to show you my constant love. 4Once again I will rebuild you. Once again you will take up your tambourines and dance joyfully. 5Once again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria, and those who plant them will eat what the vineyards produce. 6Yes, the time is coming when sentries will call out on the hills of Ephraim, ‘Let’s go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.’” 7The Lord says, “Sing with joy for Israel, the greatest of the nations. Sing your song of praise, ‘The Lord has saved his people; he has rescued all who are left.’ 8I will bring them from the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. The blind and the lame will come with them, pregnant women and those about to give birth. They will come back a great nation. 9My people will return weeping, praying as I lead them back. I will guide them to streams of water, on a smooth road where they will not stumble. I am like a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my oldest son.” 10The Lord says, “Nations, listen to me and proclaim my words on the far-off shores. I scattered my people, but I will gather them and guard them as a shepherd guards his flock. 11I have set Israel’s people free and have saved them from a mighty nation. 12They will come and sing for joy on Mount Zion and be delighted with my gifts—gifts of grain and wine and olive oil, gifts of sheep and cattle. They will be like a well-watered garden; they will have everything they need. 13Then the young women will dance and be happy, and men, young and old, will rejoice. I will comfort them and turn their mourning into joy, their sorrow into gladness. 14I will fill the priests with the richest food and satisfy all the needs of my people. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

The Lord’s Mercy on Israel

15The Lord says, “A sound is heard in Ramah, the sound of bitter weeping. Rachel is crying for her children; they are gone, and she refuses to be comforted. 16Stop your crying and wipe away your tears. All that you have done for your children will not go unrewarded; they will return from the enemy’s land. 17There is hope for your future; your children will come back home. I, the Lord, have spoken. 18“I hear the people of Israel say in grief, ‘Lord, we were like an untamed animal, but you taught us to obey. Bring us back; we are ready to return to you, the Lord our God. 19We turned away from you, but soon we wanted to return. After you had punished us, we hung our heads in grief. We were ashamed and disgraced because we sinned when we were young.’ 20“Israel, you are my dearest child, the one I love best. Whenever I mention your name, I think of you with love. My heart goes out to you; I will be merciful. 21Set up signs and mark the road; find again the way by which you left. Come back, people of Israel, come home to the towns you left. 22How long will you hesitate, faithless people? I have created something new and different, as different as a woman protecting a man.”

The Future Prosperity of God’s People

23The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says, “When I restore the people to their land, they will once again say in the land of Judah and in its towns, ‘May the Lord bless the sacred hill of Jerusalem, the holy place where he lives.’ 24People will live in Judah and in all its towns, and there will be farmers, and shepherds with their flocks. 25I will refresh those who are weary and will satisfy with food everyone who is weak from hunger. 26So then, people will say, ‘I went to sleep and woke up refreshed.’ 27“I, the Lord, say that the time is coming when I will fill the land of Israel and Judah with people and animals. 28And just as I took care to uproot, to pull down, to overthrow, to destroy, and to demolish them, so I will take care to plant them and to build them up. 29 When that time comes, people will no longer say, ‘The parents ate the sour grapes, But the children got the sour taste.’ 30Instead, those who eat sour grapes will have their own teeth set on edge; and everyone will die because of their own sin.” 31 The Lord says, “The time is coming when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt. Although I was like a husband to them, they did not keep that covenant. 33 The new covenant that I will make with the people of Israel will be this: I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 None of them will have to teach a neighbor to know the Lord, because all will know me, from the least to the greatest. I will forgive their sins and I will no longer remember their wrongs. I, the Lord, have spoken.” 35The Lord provides the sun for light by day, the moon and the stars to shine at night. He stirs up the sea and makes it roar; his name is the Lord Almighty. 36He promises that as long as the natural order lasts, so long will Israel be a nation. 37If one day the sky could be measured and the foundations of the earth explored, only then would he reject the people of Israel because of all they have done. The Lord has spoken. 38“The time is coming,” says the Lord, “when all of Jerusalem will be rebuilt as my city, from Hananel Tower west to the Corner Gate. 39And the boundary line will continue from there on the west to the hill of Gareb and then around to Goah. 40The entire valley, where the dead are buried and garbage is dumped, and all the fields above Kidron Brook as far as the Horse Gate to the east, will be sacred to me. The city will never again be torn down or destroyed.”
–from Jeremiah 31

Where do you go when you get such news?


You just got a message that will change your life and the lives of so many others, where are you going to go? Who will you turn to? Is there someone who ranks high enough that you would go and see them? Would it be family? Would it be a friend? Who would it be? And what would be your plan for when you arrive there? How will you share it? How will you tell the story? How long will it take to tell and to get there? Will you go in person? Will you call on the phone? Will you drive? Will you fly? Will you take a bus or a train? How would you do it? Ever done something like that and when you got there it was almost like they already knew, but there is no way they could have? They just say something that is so on target though it makes you wonder? Where do you go when you get such news?


This morning’s reading continues in Luke with Mary. She just got the news and she knows exactly where she is going to go and wow what an experience for her and for Elizabeth.

39Soon afterward Mary got ready and hurried off to a town in the hill country of Judea. 40She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby moved within her. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42and said in a loud voice, “You are the most blessed of all women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43Why should this great thing happen to me, that my Lord’s mother comes to visit me? 44For as soon as I heard your greeting, the baby within me jumped with gladness. 45How happy you are to believe that the Lord’s message to you will come true!” — Luke 1:39-45

What a welcome she received? She hadn’t even spoken her news and it was being spoken over her. She was receiving affirmation of what she was going through. She was spoken to via the Holy Spirit through Elizabeth. Of course she will celebrate the reality of the situation…

46Mary said, “My heart praises the Lord; 47my soul is glad because of God my Savior, 48for he has remembered me, his lowly servant! From now on all people will call me happy, 49because of the great things the Mighty God has done for me. His name is holy; 50from one generation to another he shows mercy to those who honor him. 51He has stretched out his mighty arm and scattered the proud with all their plans. 52He has brought down mighty kings from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly. 53He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away with empty hands. 54He has kept the promise he made to our ancestors, and has come to the help of his servant Israel. 55He has remembered to show mercy to Abraham and to all his descendants forever!” 56Mary stayed about three months with Elizabeth and then went back home. — Luke 1:46-56

What will you do? What have you done? Where will you go? Where did you go? What will you say? What did you say? What was the news? Were you expecting the news?

Was news of going from death to life? Was it the new about the power of the resurrection? Was it news about victory? Was it news about change? What was the news? Today’s reading continues into Ephesians which speaks of the hope that is within us, the hope of going from death to life! While we were still messing around in our own ways and our own thoughts and our own actions, God loved us so much that He sent Jesus who died for us that we could be reconciled back to God and that through His death we could be transformed and through His resurrection we could be born again and live in the spirit rather than the flesh. It’s not something we could have done on our own, but it was done by God through God by grace and we have to receive it by faith, not by works because we can’t do anything but receive it! We can’t boast about how great we are or what we did to be saved, because all we did was accept it in faith!

1In the past you were spiritually dead because of your disobedience and sins. 2At that time you followed the world’s evil way; you obeyed the ruler of the spiritual powers in space, the spirit who now controls the people who disobey God. 3Actually all of us were like them and lived according to our natural desires, doing whatever suited the wishes of our own bodies and minds. In our natural condition we, like everyone else, were destined to suffer God’s anger. 4But God’s mercy is so abundant, and his love for us is so great, 5that while we were spiritually dead in our disobedience he brought us to life with Christ. It is by God’s grace that you have been saved. 6In our union with Christ Jesus he raised us up with him to rule with him in the heavenly world. 7He did this to demonstrate for all time to come the extraordinary greatness of his grace in the love he showed us in Christ Jesus. 8-9For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it. 10God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do. — Ephesians 2:1-10

So let’s hold onto this gift! Let’s do good deeds that we were created to accomplish! Good deeds that He prepared in advance for us to accomplish! Let’s shine like who God created us to be and how God created us to live! Let’s take the news that He has given to us and let’s share it! Where will you go? What will you do? What will you say?

So let’s continue in Psalm 119 and praise God! Let’s allow the happiness to be spread everywhere we go!

17Be good to me, your servant, so that I may live and obey your teachings.
18Open my eyes, so that I may see the wonderful truths in your law.
19I am here on earth for just a little while; do not hide your commands from me.
20My heart aches with longing; I want to know your judgments at all times.
21You reprimand the proud; cursed are those who disobey your commands.
22Free me from their insults and scorn, because I have kept your laws.
23The rulers meet and plot against me, but I will study your teachings.
24Your instructions give me pleasure; they are my advisers.

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


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

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

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

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

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

Jesus Heals a Man Who Could Not Speak

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

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

Jesus Has Pity for the People

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

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

In Iconium

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

In Lystra and Derbe

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

The Return to Antioch in Syria

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

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

12Many enemies surround me like bulls;

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

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

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

 

There will always be people who question when you do something good for someone else.


Ever noticed that people are suspicious of people who are doing good things. Suspecting that they are going to want something in return. Suspecting that it is a trick of some sort. Things have gotten so off track that doing nice or good things for others isn’t the norm but raises concerns in others. Does that mean we should stop? NO! It means we need to be doing it and helping others to do it too to help stop this trend. If more people weren’t scam artists or trickster, than more people would be appreciative and accepting of people doing nice things to and for them. Where are you at on this situation today? Are you suspicious? Are you doing nice things? Are you trying to manipulate others? Are you only doing in order to get something back in return? Are you being kind and generous because that is what we should do without any expectations of anything in return? Let’s reflect on this and predetermine what and how we are going to act and respond. Let’s respond with grace and gratitude when someone does something nice. Let’s do out of love for God and for others nice things that will give them a hand up, give them a word of encouragement, give them support and courage to press on. This is the day to start a new trend and get things going in the right direction.


Today’s reading is interesting because we see how others question Jesus. They question His actions. They question His authority. They question His character. They judge him even before they can see the miracle. He touched the mans heart and life and then his body to prove His intentions and His authority are all grounded in LOVE!

1Jesus got into the boat and went back across the lake to his own town, 2where some people brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a bed. When Jesus saw how much faith they had, he said to the paralyzed man, “Courage, my son! Your sins are forgiven.”

3Then some teachers of the Law said to themselves, “This man is speaking blasphemy!”
4Jesus perceived what they were thinking, and so he said, “Why are you thinking such evil things? 5Is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6I will prove to you, then, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, pick up your bed, and go home!”
7The man got up and went home. 8When the people saw it, they were afraid, and praised God for giving such authority to people.
— from Matthew 9

Let’s be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in every situation we are in today. Let’s share the marvels of God with those around us based on His leading and direction. Let’s speak what God wants us to say. Let’s do what God calls us to do. And let’s make sure that in and through it all, He receives the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name.

God isn’t looking for perfect vessels, but yielded vessels who are willing to walk with Him and follow after His ways. We see in many cases Jesus stepping into situations which the religious people of the time would have looked down on. He wants to be with people who need and desire Him. He wants us all to walk in that way. Can we walk in a way that points and brings people to Jesus? Will you decide and choose to be an ambassador for Jesus today and help to transform the world around you? One person at a time? Consider the encounter with Matthew…

9Jesus left that place, and as he walked along, he saw a tax collector, named Matthew, sitting in his office. He said to him, “Follow me.”

Matthew got up and followed him.

10  While Jesus was having a meal in Matthew’s house,#
9.10: in Matthew’s house; or in his (that is Jesus’) house.

many tax collectors and other outcasts came and joined Jesus and his disciples at the table. 11Some Pharisees saw this and asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such people?”

12Jesus heard them and answered, “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. 13 Go and find out what is meant by the scripture that says: ‘It is kindness that I want, not animal sacrifices.’ I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts.”
— from Matthew 9

Are you going to be someone who is giving a hand up rather than a hand out? Are you going to be someone is will help or someone who will enable? Jesus is clear and gives us an example to follow, so let’s take a grab of that today and follow after His ways so that we increase the average, change the temperature of the society, and help not only transform the world, but also point the world heavenly through Jesus Christ our Lord!

God’s put a calling on each of our lives. If God spoke to you to go, would you go? If God spoke to you to let others who you are closely tied to go, would you let them go? Would you go with a blessing or would you go in doubt? Would you let them go with a blessing or would you let them go with regret? Will you pray for them and encourage them to complete the work that God is calling them into? Will you be obedient to the prompting of the Spirit? We see what happens when the Spirit prompts them to send Barnabas and Saul…

1In the church at Antioch there were some prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon (called the Black), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (who had been brought up with Governor Herod), and Saul. 2While they were serving the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said to them, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul, to do the work to which I have called them.”

3They fasted and prayed, placed their hands on them, and sent them off.
— from Acts 13

We also see what happens when we are obedient to the prompting and the impact it can make not only on a generation but for multiple generations as the story has been captured and published to millions through the Bible.

In Cyprus

4Having been sent by the Holy Spirit, Barnabas and Saul went to Seleucia and sailed from there to the island of Cyprus. 5When they arrived at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues. They had John Mark with them to help in the work.
6They went all the way across the island to Paphos, where they met a certain magician named Bar-Jesus, a Jew who claimed to be a prophet. 7He was a friend of the governor of the island, Sergius Paulus, who was an intelligent man. The governor called Barnabas and Saul before him because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8But they were opposed by the magician Elymas (that is his name in Greek), who tried to turn the governor away from the faith. 9Then Saul—also known as Paul—was filled with the Holy Spirit; he looked straight at the magician 10and said, “You son of the Devil! You are the enemy of everything that is good. You are full of all kinds of evil tricks, and you always keep trying to turn the Lord’s truths into lies! 11The Lord’s hand will come down on you now; you will be blind and will not see the light of day for a time.”
At once Elymas felt a dark mist cover his eyes, and he walked around trying to find someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the governor saw what had happened, he believed; for he was greatly amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

In Antioch in Pisidia

13Paul and his companions sailed from Paphos and came to Perga, a city in Pamphylia, where John Mark left them and went back to Jerusalem. 14They went on from Perga and arrived in Antioch in Pisidia, and on the Sabbath they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15After the reading from the Law of Moses and from the writings of the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent them a message: “Friends, we want you to speak to the people if you have a message of encouragement for them.” 16Paul stood up, motioned with his hand, and began to speak:
“Fellow Israelites and all Gentiles here who worship God: hear me! 17 The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors and made the people a great nation during the time they lived as foreigners in Egypt. God brought them out of Egypt by his great power, 18and for forty years he endured them in the desert. 19 He destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan and made his people the owners of the land. 20 All of this took about 450 years.
“After this he gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. 21 And when they asked for a king, God gave them Saul son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin, to be their king for forty years. 22After removing him, God made David their king. This is what God said about him: ‘I have found that David son of Jesse is the kind of man I like, a man who will do all I want him to do.’ 23It was Jesus, a descendant of David, whom God made the Savior of the people of Israel, as he had promised. 24 Before Jesus began his work, John preached to all the people of Israel that they should turn from their sins and be baptized. 25And as John was about to finish his mission, he said to the people, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not the one you are waiting for. But listen! He is coming after me, and I am not good enough to take his sandals off his feet.’
— from Acts 13

But it doesn’t end there, there is more to this story (probably for me in tomorrow’s reading, but you can read on…). God’s got incredible plans for how you can do good in this world. He will not only bless you, but allow you to be a blessing in the lives of others that He will bring in and through your life. Seek wisdom through the Holy Spirit so that you can understand and know the intentions and the plans. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide and protect you and your actions. Let’s make today a great day of doing good for others…for no other reason than to glorify God! And let’s see what God will do in and through our lives!


And then let’s celebrate the victories! Let’s celebrate with others who have breakthroughs! Let’s celebrate for the victories God has provided us! Let’s not forget the good work that He is and has done in and through our lives!

1The king is glad, O Lord, because you gave him strength;

he rejoices because you made him victorious.
2You have given him his heart’s desire;
you have answered his request.
3You came to him with great blessings
and set a crown of gold on his head.
4He asked for life, and you gave it,
a long and lasting life.
5His glory is great because of your help;
you have given him fame and majesty.
6Your blessings are with him forever,
and your presence fills him with joy.
7The king trusts in the Lord Almighty;
and because of the Lord‘s constant love
he will always be secure.
8The king will capture all his enemies;
he will capture everyone who hates him.
9He will destroy them like a blazing fire
when he appears.
The Lord will devour them in his anger,
and fire will consume them.
10None of their descendants will survive;
the king will kill them all.
11They make their plans, and plot against him,
but they will not succeed.
12He will shoot his arrows at them
and make them turn and run.
13We praise you, Lord, for your great strength!
We will sing and praise your power.
— from Psalm 21

When we consider that Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, we know that the final chapter speaks to the conclusion and the victory of Jesus. The devil goes around trying to trick people through lies, making plans and plots against Jesus, however, Jesus has already won the victory over death through His resurrection. So let’s be like the psalmist and praise the Lord, sing to Him, let’s worship Him for all He has already done and what He is yet to do in and through our lives and for the rest of eternity!