THRIVE: It’s not over and yet there is a slow drip of departures.


With the Friday graduation that included the surprise addition of my oldest daughter on my younger daughter and this morning she is flying back early, tomorrow we’ll have my parents and then later in the week my mother-in-law. All with early morning departures and so will be getting up earlier than my normal early but I get to bring them to the airport and wish them a safe trip back to their respective homes. It’s been a fun time of celebration and getting to spend time with family.

So today I look forward to the message on the Holy Spirit at church and a day of rest and refreshing, spending time as a family as things continue related to the graduation for a little bit longer. Praying for God’s wisdom and strength to accomplish all He has for me this week as there are continued excitement and growth on the work front. With there being a slow drip it is even more important to have God’s infilling overflowing in my life. With there being a slow drip it is even more important to make sure your heart is filled and that you get rest so that you can stay focused and excited. So let’s choose today to invite Jesus into our hearts and minds to help us stay filled with love and hope from the fountain of living water as well as have our minds renewed to be able to focus and accomplish all He has prepared in advance for us to accomplish for His glory! Let’s choose to thrive for the glory of God!

THRIVE - FOR THE GLORY OF GOD!

Today’s Verse of the Day:

‘Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. ‘

Romans 12:10

Today’s post from Be The Dads is Just For Dads: Be A Positive Christian Role Model – Day 11


So are you ready? Are you rested? Are you prepared? Will you invite Jesus in to fill you up? Will you invite Jesus in to help you out? Will you invite Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior? Will you invite Jesus into your life to lead and guide you?

If you pray today’s prayer with me feel free to let me know so I can pray with you and for you too. (If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment then you can always try email.

Let’s Pray!

Prayer Of Salvation
"Oh Father God, I believe with all of my heart that Jesus died on the cross for my sake and has risen from the dead. Lord, I receive Your Word and I repent of my sins. I renounce the past. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. I receive my forgiveness. I receive the new birth, cleansed and washed in the Word and in the precious blood of Jesus. Fill me with Your Spirit, in Jesus' name. Amen."

THRIVE: Harness the excitement and the energy in order to finish strong and celebrate!


After waking up in the middle of the night to some huge excitement and then sleeping in from my usual wake-up time, today is going to be one that is filled with excitement and energy as my younger daughter’s graduation ceremony is tonight. So in preparation for that excitement on a personal level, I will use that energy and excitement to help me finish my workweek strong and get a bunch done in order to be able then to get to celebrate tonight and this weekend as my kids, my parents, my mother-in-law is all here with my wife and me to have a grand weekend celebration.

How about you? What can you use to have the energy to get what God has prepared in advance for you to do and get it done? What will you do to finish the week strong? How will you celebrate in order to thrive and glorify God?

THRIVE - LIVING FOR THE GLORY OF GOD

Today’s Verse of the Day:

‘For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. ‘

Ephesians 2:10

Today’s post from Be The Dads is Just For Dads: Be A Positive Christian Role Model – Day 9


Today let’s choose to make a difference! Let’s choose to be salt and light! Let’s invite Jesus into our hearts! Let’s invite Jesus into our lives! Let’s allow Jesus to give us the wisdom and discernment, direction, and instruction!

If you pray today’s prayer with me feel free to let me know so I can pray with you and for you too. (If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment then you can always try email.

Let’s Pray!

Prayer Of Salvation
"Oh Father God, I believe with all of my heart that Jesus died on the cross for my sake and has risen from the dead. Lord, I receive Your Word and I repent of my sins. I renounce the past. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. I receive my forgiveness. I receive the new birth, cleansed and washed in the Word and in the precious blood of Jesus. Fill me with Your Spirit, in Jesus' name. Amen."

No Quit! Don’t give up! Don’t give in!


Ever gone through a tough time and had to push through? Ever gone through a tough time where it felt like someone was trying to shake you up by changing the rules or the roles? Ever gone through a tough time where someone promised one thing and did something else? Ever gone through a tough time when you were made the sacrificial lamb because of the numbers? Ever gone through a tough time when you weren’t sure if you could or couldn’t trust someone?

What was your response? Were you tempted to quit? Were you tempted to give up? Were you tempted to give in? Did it upset you? Did it frustrate you? Did it cause you to question?

What did you do about it? Where did you take those concerns? What direction or instruction did you receive? Were you going to a reliable source? How did you respond to those instructions? What if they said to forgive them? What if they said to forgive them, face it head-on, and then work to make things right? What if they said to forgive them and hang in there and not give up?

How long would it take for you to become obedient to that instruction? How bad would things have to get before you would consider being obedient to that instruction? Do you realize that by not being obedient there is a larger battle taking place inside of you than outside of you? Do you realize the impact it has on your mind, your body, and your soul? Do you have to hit rock bottom before you will stop trying to avoid or go it your own way? Do you have to obey immediately? Do you start following the instructions right away? Do you start to lean on God rather than your own understandings? Do you start to trust God with everything, acknowledging Him in all your ways so that He will make your path straight? Do you keep casting your cares on God because you know that He cares for you? Do you give it all up to God even though it is still happening rather than being worried or anxious? Do you keep knocking, keep asking, and keep seeking to show your trust that God will open the right door, answer your question, and reveal the truth to you in His perfect timing?

I remember a time when I had to forgive but nearly hit rock bottom before I was ready to obey.

A story about the power of forgiveness

I remember a time when after four bosses/reorgs there were four of us who ended up in a tough situation, three of us were put in a bad position, and I was lied about and set up to be the sacrificial lamb in order to meet the numbers. I remember learning about how when they had done the “stack ranking” two teams stood up for me when my own team was looking to throw me under the bus. I remembered that previous situation and my first response was to forgive and then to face the lies before working to get things fixed up. It was much quicker, had no downward spiral, provided a window to testify of God’s goodness, and later discovered that even though they had put me as a 0 in God’s books and in the outcome the amount I was saving through God’s direction worked out to be better than what the companies gave the person who had the highest rating. God is good! God is greater! God is higher! I can testify to how His way was better than my way. I can testify to how His way was higher than my way. I can testify to how His way gave me a platform to both share God’s goodness, God’s faithfulness, and God’s provision in the midst of this broken world.

2020 was the latest incident where I was being challenged because it kept feeling like a setup. It felt like I was being positioned to fail. I felt like I was being cut off and isolated. I felt like I didn’t know what was going on and why. 2020 had the theme of hindsight is 2020. It took all the way till December for the aha moment, for the light to bring clarity to why the pain, the suffering, the treatment took place. Through it all I forgave. Through it all, I prayed with my wife and kids. Through it all, I trusted God and cast all my cares on Him. And in December it all changed. And in December within 16 days I went from uncertainty to confidence to a completely new reality. The first 12 helped me heal. The last 4 I walked through a door I hadn’t realized God had been preparing all year for me to be ready to walk through. Trust God! Trust God’s Word! Trust God’s wisdom and discernment! Lean not on your own understanding but rather in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight! 2020 finished strong and was a setup to a great start to 2021.

I am not sure where you are at today. I am not sure who did what to you. I am not sure who said what to you. I am not sure how they did it or why they did it. I just know the first step that is key is to forgive them and then to turn to God for wisdom and discernment on what to do next. It may be to wait. It may be to act. It may be something totally unexpected. Be still and know that He is God! Trust in the Lord in all your ways! Trust in the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength! Don’t quit! Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Be obedient to God’s leading, guiding, and prompting! Then testify of all He has done in and through you and your life to everyone God brings to you to encourage them!


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for November 25th


Getting Back To Work


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. ‘

Nehemiah 4:15

You ever needed God to let you know what is really going on? Ever found out and then had the others wonder how you found out? Let’ check out the context of today’s verse and use the Amplified version to learn more.

‘ But when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became furious, completely enraged, and he ridiculed the Jews. He spoke before his brothers and the army of Samaria, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Can they restore it for themselves? Can they offer sacrifices? Can they finish in a day? Can they revive the stones from the heaps of dust and rubbish, even the ones that have been burned?” Now Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, “Even what they are building—if a fox should get up on it, he would break down their stone wall.” [And Nehemiah prayed] Hear, O our God, how we are despised! Return their taunts on their own heads. Give them up as prey in a land of captivity. Do not forgive their wrongdoing and do not let their sin be wiped out before You, for they have offended the builders [and provoked You]. So we built the wall and the entire wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a heart to work. But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the repair of the walls of Jerusalem went on, and that the breaches were being closed, they were very angry. They all conspired together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to cause a disturbance in it.

But we prayed to our God, and because of them we set up a guard against them day and night. Then [the leaders of] Judah said, “The strength of the burden bearers is failing, And there is much rubble; We ourselves are unable To rebuild the wall.”

Our enemies said, “They will not know or see us until we are among them, kill them and put a stop to the work.” When the Jews who lived near them came, they said to us ten times (repeatedly), “From every place you turn, they will come up against us.” So I stationed armed men behind the wall in the lowest places, at the open positions [where it was least protected]; and I stationed the people in families with their swords, spears, and bows. When I saw their fear, I stood and said to the nobles and officials and the rest of the people: “Do not be afraid of them; [confidently] remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and [with courage from Him] fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and for your homes.”

Now when our enemies heard that we knew about their plot against us, and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each one to his work. From that day on, half of my servants carried on the work while the other half held the spears, shields, bows, and breastplates; and the captains were behind the whole house of Judah. Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens loaded themselves so that everyone worked with one hand and held a weapon with the other. Every builder had his sword secured at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet [to summon the troops] stood at my side. I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is great and extensive, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, gather to us there. Our God will fight for us.”

So we carried on with the work with half of them holding spears from dawn until the stars came out. At that time I also said to the people, “Let each man with his servant spend the night inside Jerusalem so that they may serve as a guard for us at night and a laborer during the day.” So neither I, my brothers (relatives), my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us took off our clothes; each took his weapon [even] to the water.’

Nehemiah 4:1-23

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Ever felt like someone was testing your limits to find out when you would quit or give up?
  • If we considered the measure of what it takes to make someone quite as an indicator Nehemiah shows it would take a lot.
  • We see in the midst of everything thrown his way, nothing was going to keep him down.
  • We see a guy who has a huge task in front of him and all of his help is demoralized.
  • We see how he motivated them and got them to rally around the idea so as to get started building the wall.
  • It didn’t take long though for them to start losing hope between the betrayal from the inside and the opposition from the outside.
  • Ever been insulted to try and demoralize you and get you to quit? They did.
  • Ever been attacked to try and demoralize you and get you to quit? They did.
  • Ever found out in advance and had to come up with a strategy to avoid any panic?
  • Ever came up with a strategy that thwarted the plans and kept everyone focused and on point?
  • Were you able to encourage them with God?
    • ‘When I saw their fear, I stood and said to the nobles and officials and the rest of the people: “Do not be afraid of them; [confidently] remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and [with courage from Him] fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and for your homes.” ‘
      Nehemiah 4:14
  • Will you lean on and trust God enough to help you be the leader this world needs?
  • Will you lean on and trust God enough to help you be the leader your team needs?
  • Are you able to help them focus on the problem, on what’s important, and live up to God’s calling in and on their lives?
  • Let’s not grow weary in doing good!
  • Let’s take the victory and celebrate by getting the work God has called us to do done!
  • Let’s be like Nehemiah and know that we can’t stop and lose the momentum!
  • Let’s be like Nehemian and keep the focus on completing the good works God has given us to do!
  • Don’t waste time!
  • As leaders let’s focus on celebrating the success not by stopping or taking a break but instead by getting the job done!
  • Let’s take the energy and momentum that the success has created in order that we can get the job done and done well and done quickly.

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • When is taking a break a good thing to do? When is it best to get back to work immediately?
  • Describe Nehemiah’s leadership style.

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“The degree of hope you manifest by persevering through obstacles becomes a measure of your passion.”

Better Than Good
Creating a Life You Can’t Wait to Live
By Zig Ziglar 

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


So have you been through some things and wondering what to do? Are you going through things and wondering what to do? Are you dealing with things and wondering what to do? Why not invite Jesus into the situation and get God’s perspective into what you should do? Ready for some wisdom and discernment from God? Ready to be bold and courageous in stepping out and doing what He instructs? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


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

What is your favorite type of party?


Do you like anniversaries? Do you like commemorations? Do you like holidays? Do you like jamborees? Do you like carnivals? Do you like ceremonies? Do you like fiestas? Do you like pageants? Do you like galas? Do you like rite of rituals?
Do you like festivals? What is your favorite type of celebration? What is your favorite type of party?


Today’s reading gets us started in Leviticus 23.

‘The Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. These are the Lord ’s appointed festivals, which you are to proclaim as official days for holy assembly. “You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of complete rest, an official day for holy assembly. It is the Lord ’s Sabbath day, and it must be observed wherever you live. “In addition to the Sabbath, these are the Lord ’s appointed festivals, the official days for holy assembly that are to be celebrated at their proper times each year.

“The Lord ’s Passover begins at sundown on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the next day, the fifteenth day of the month, you must begin celebrating the Festival of Unleavened Bread. This festival to the Lord continues for seven days, and during that time the bread you eat must be made without yeast. On the first day of the festival, all the people must stop their ordinary work and observe an official day for holy assembly. For seven days you must present special gifts to the Lord . On the seventh day the people must again stop all their ordinary work to observe an official day for holy assembly.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. When you enter the land I am giving you and you harvest its first crops, bring the priest a bundle of grain from the first cutting of your grain harvest. On the day after the Sabbath, the priest will lift it up before the Lord so it may be accepted on your behalf. On that same day you must sacrifice a one-year-old male lamb with no defects as a burnt offering to the Lord . With it you must present a grain offering consisting of four quarts of choice flour moistened with olive oil. It will be a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord . You must also offer one quart of wine as a liquid offering. Do not eat any bread or roasted grain or fresh kernels on that day until you bring this offering to your God. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation wherever you live.

“From the day after the Sabbath—the day you bring the bundle of grain to be lifted up as a special offering—count off seven full weeks. Keep counting until the day after the seventh Sabbath, fifty days later. Then present an offering of new grain to the Lord . From wherever you live, bring two loaves of bread to be lifted up before the Lord as a special offering. Make these loaves from four quarts of choice flour, and bake them with yeast. They will be an offering to the Lord from the first of your crops. Along with the bread, present seven one-year-old male lambs with no defects, one young bull, and two rams as burnt offerings to the Lord . These burnt offerings, together with the grain offerings and liquid offerings, will be a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord . Then you must offer one male goat as a sin offering and two one-year-old male lambs as a peace offering. “The priest will lift up the two lambs as a special offering to the Lord , together with the loaves representing the first of your crops. These offerings, which are holy to the Lord , belong to the priests. That same day will be proclaimed an official day for holy assembly, a day on which you do no ordinary work. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation wherever you live. “When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God.”

The Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. On the first day of the appointed month in early autumn, you are to observe a day of complete rest. It will be an official day for holy assembly, a day commemorated with loud blasts of a trumpet. You must do no ordinary work on that day. Instead, you are to present special gifts to the Lord .”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Be careful to celebrate the Day of Atonement on the tenth day of that same month—nine days after the Festival of Trumpets. You must observe it as an official day for holy assembly, a day to deny yourselves and present special gifts to the Lord . Do no work during that entire day because it is the Day of Atonement, when offerings of purification are made for you, making you right with the Lord your God. All who do not deny themselves that day will be cut off from God’s people. And I will destroy anyone among you who does any work on that day. You must not do any work at all! This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation wherever you live. This will be a Sabbath day of complete rest for you, and on that day you must deny yourselves. This day of rest will begin at sundown on the ninth day of the month and extend until sundown on the tenth day.”

And the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. Begin celebrating the Festival of Shelters on the fifteenth day of the appointed month—five days after the Day of Atonement. This festival to the Lord will last for seven days. On the first day of the festival you must proclaim an official day for holy assembly, when you do no ordinary work. For seven days you must present special gifts to the Lord . The eighth day is another holy day on which you present your special gifts to the Lord . This will be a solemn occasion, and no ordinary work may be done that day. (“These are the Lord ’s appointed festivals. Celebrate them each year as official days for holy assembly by presenting special gifts to the Lord —burnt offerings, grain offerings, sacrifices, and liquid offerings—each on its proper day. These festivals must be observed in addition to the Lord ’s regular Sabbath days, and the offerings are in addition to your personal gifts, the offerings you give to fulfill your vows, and the voluntary offerings you present to the Lord .) “Remember that this seven-day festival to the Lord —the Festival of Shelters—begins on the fifteenth day of the appointed month, after you have harvested all the produce of the land. The first day and the eighth day of the festival will be days of complete rest. On the first day gather branches from magnificent trees —palm fronds, boughs from leafy trees, and willows that grow by the streams. Then celebrate with joy before the Lord your God for seven days. You must observe this festival to the Lord for seven days every year. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed in the appointed month from generation to generation. For seven days you must live outside in little shelters. All native-born Israelites must live in shelters. This will remind each new generation of Israelites that I made their ancestors live in shelters when I rescued them from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” So Moses gave the Israelites these instructions regarding the annual festivals of the Lord .’

Leviticus 23

Today’s reading continues with wisdom through Proverbs 20.

‘Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise. The king’s fury is like a lion’s roar; to rouse his anger is to risk your life. Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling. Those too lazy to plow in the right season will have no food at the harvest. Though good advice lies deep within the heart, a person with understanding will draw it out. Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable? The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them. When a king sits in judgment, he weighs all the evidence, distinguishing the bad from the good. Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin”? False weights and unequal measures — the Lord detests double standards of every kind. Even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right. Ears to hear and eyes to see— both are gifts from the Lord . If you love sleep, you will end in poverty. Keep your eyes open, and there will be plenty to eat! The buyer haggles over the price, saying, “It’s worthless,” then brags about getting a bargain! Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies. Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt. Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners. Stolen bread tastes sweet, but it turns to gravel in the mouth. Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without wise advice. A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers. If you insult your father or mother, your light will be snuffed out in total darkness. An inheritance obtained too early in life is not a blessing in the end. Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the Lord to handle the matter. The Lord detests double standards; he is not pleased by dishonest scales. The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way? Don’t trap yourself by making a rash promise to God and only later counting the cost. A wise king scatters the wicked like wheat, then runs his threshing wheel over them. The Lord ’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive. Unfailing love and faithfulness protect the king; his throne is made secure through love. The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old. Physical punishment cleanses away evil; such discipline purifies the heart.’

Proverbs 20

Today’s reading then takes us into the New Testament starting with Mark 13.

‘“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert#13:33 Some manuscripts add and pray.! “The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!”’

Mark 13:32-37

and then Mark 14.

‘It was now two days before Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law were still looking for an opportunity to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.” Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head. Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked. “It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly. But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time. I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests to arrange to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted when they heard why he had come, and they promised to give him money. So he began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.’

Mark 14:1-11

and then 2 Corinthians 5.

‘Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.’

2 Corinthians 5:11-21

As we consider parties, lets consider how we celebrate and if the way we celebrate or how the way we celebrate makes a difference. Is the celebration something positive? Is the celebration something glorifying to God? Is the celebration something uplifting? Is the celebration something encouraging? Is the celebration something that is worth repeating or ever doing again? Is the celebration something that makes everyone better once it is complete? All things are possible and so it becomes a matter of is the celebration beneficial?

Lets meditate on today’s reading from God’s Word and what it says to us as we prepare to close in the book of Psalms with Psalms 89.

‘I will sing of the Lord ’s unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness. Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens. The Lord said, “I have made a covenant with David, my chosen servant. I have sworn this oath to him: ‘I will establish your descendants as kings forever; they will sit on your throne from now until eternity.’” Interlude All heaven will praise your great wonders, Lord ; myriads of angels will praise you for your faithfulness. For who in all of heaven can compare with the Lord ? What mightiest angel is anything like the Lord ? The highest angelic powers stand in awe of God. He is far more awesome than all who surround his throne. O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies! Where is there anyone as mighty as you, O Lord ? You are entirely faithful. You rule the oceans. You subdue their storm-tossed waves. You crushed the great sea monster. You scattered your enemies with your mighty arm. The heavens are yours, and the earth is yours; everything in the world is yours—you created it all. You created north and south. Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon praise your name. Powerful is your arm! Strong is your hand! Your right hand is lifted high in glorious strength. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants. Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord . They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation. They exult in your righteousness. You are their glorious strength. It pleases you to make us strong. Yes, our protection comes from the Lord , and he, the Holy One of Israel, has given us our king. Long ago you spoke in a vision to your faithful people. You said, “I have raised up a warrior. I have selected him from the common people to be king. I have found my servant David. I have anointed him with my holy oil. I will steady him with my hand; with my powerful arm I will make him strong. His enemies will not defeat him, nor will the wicked overpower him. I will beat down his adversaries before him and destroy those who hate him. My faithfulness and unfailing love will be with him, and by my authority he will grow in power. I will extend his rule over the sea, his dominion over the rivers. And he will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’ I will make him my firstborn son, the mightiest king on earth. I will love him and be kind to him forever; my covenant with him will never end. I will preserve an heir for him; his throne will be as endless as the days of heaven. But if his descendants forsake my instructions and fail to obey my regulations, if they do not obey my decrees and fail to keep my commands, then I will punish their sin with the rod, and their disobedience with beating. But I will never stop loving him nor fail to keep my promise to him. No, I will not break my covenant; I will not take back a single word I said. I have sworn an oath to David, and in my holiness I cannot lie: His dynasty will go on forever; his kingdom will endure as the sun. It will be as eternal as the moon, my faithful witness in the sky!” Interlude But now you have rejected him and cast him off. You are angry with your anointed king. You have renounced your covenant with him; you have thrown his crown in the dust. You have broken down the walls protecting him and ruined every fort defending him. Everyone who comes along has robbed him, and he has become a joke to his neighbors. You have strengthened his enemies and made them all rejoice. You have made his sword useless and refused to help him in battle. You have ended his splendor and overturned his throne. You have made him old before his time and publicly disgraced him. Interlude O Lord , how long will this go on? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your anger burn like fire? Remember how short my life is, how empty and futile this human existence! No one can live forever; all will die. No one can escape the power of the grave. Interlude Lord, where is your unfailing love? You promised it to David with a faithful pledge. Consider, Lord, how your servants are disgraced! I carry in my heart the insults of so many people. Your enemies have mocked me, O Lord ; they mock your anointed king wherever he goes. Praise the Lord forever! Amen and amen!’

Psalms 89

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

Where does your confidence come from?


When you are walking down the street? When you face challenges at work? When you face challenges at home? When you are facing a big challenge? When you are facing a small challenge? When you are seeing a huge battle ahead? When you are being accused? When you are being attacked? Consider where you confidence comes from based on when the fear mechanism gets triggered? How will you get through it?

As for me and my house, it comes from the Lord – Jesus!

Today is a big day! It’s taken years to get to this point! There will be a test! But I will not fear, but rather I will put my hope and trust in Jesus! A big day for me! A big day for my wife! A big day for our family! A day I am anticipating to end with a great celebration! Praise be to God!


Today’s reading…

1“The Levitical kohanim, all the tribe of Levi, are to have no portion or inheritance with Israel. They are to eat the offerings made to Adonai by fire as His inheritance. 2They will have no inheritance among their brothers—Adonai is their inheritance, just as He promised them. 3So this will be the share due to the kohanim from the people—from those who offer a sacrifice, whether a bull or sheep, they are to give the kohen the shoulder, two cheeks, and the stomach. 4The firstfruits of your grain, of your new wine, of your oil, and the first fleece of your sheep, you are to give him. 5For Adonai your God has chosen him from all your tribes to stand and serve in the Name of Adonai—him and his sons forever. 6“Suppose a Levite comes from one of your towns, wherever he is living in all of Israel, and he comes whenever his soul desires to the place Adonai chooses, 7and serves in the Name of Adonai his God like all his fellow Levites who stand there before Adonai. 8They are to eat equal portions, regardless of their fathers’ goods.

Occultism Loathsome to Adonai

9When you enter the land Adonai your God is giving you, you are not to learn to do the abominations of those nations. 10There must not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire, or a fortune-teller, soothsayer, omen reader, or sorcerer, 11or one who casts spells, or a medium, a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12For whoever does these things is an abomination to Adonai, and because of these abominations Adonai your God is driving them out from before you. 13You are to be blameless before Adonai your God. 14“For these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to soothsayers and fortune-tellers, but as for you, Adonai your God will not allow you to do so.

A Prophet is Promised

15“Adonai your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your midst—from your brothers. To him you must listen. 16This is just what you asked of Adonai your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly when saying, ‘I cannot continue to hear the voice of Adonai my God or see this great fire any more, or I will die.’ 17“Adonai said to me, ‘They have done well in what they have spoken. 18I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their brothers. I will put My words in his mouth, and he will speak to them all that I command him. 19Now whoever does not listen to My words that this prophet speaks in My Name, I Myself will call him to account. 20But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My Name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods—that prophet will die.’ 21“Now should you say in your heart, ‘How would we recognize the word that Adonai has not spoken?’ 22When a prophet speaks in Adonai’s Name and the word does not happen or come true, that is a word that Adonai has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously—do not be afraid of him.

–from Deuteronomy 18

Stay away from cults. Trust and obey prophets from God!

Cities of Refuge

1“When Adonai your God cuts off the nations whose land Adonai your God is giving you, and you dispossess them and dwell in their cities and houses, 2you are to set apart three cities for yourself within the land He is giving you to possess. 3You are to prepare the way for yourself and divide into three parts the borders of your land that Adonai your God enables you to inherit, so that anyone who kills may flee there. 4Now this is the case of the one who kills, who may flee there and live—whoever kills his neighbor unintentionally and did not hate him in the past— 5as when someone goes into the forest with his neighbor to chop wood, and his hand takes a swing with the axe to cut down the tree, and the iron flies off the wood and hits his neighbor so that he dies. He may flee to one of these cities and live. 6Otherwise if the way is long, the avenger of the blood, while his heart is hot, may chase the manslayer, catch up to him and strike him dead. Yet no death sentence is on him, since he did not hate him in the past. 7Therefore I am commanding you—set apart three cities for yourself. 8“Suppose Adonai your God enlarges your territory, as He has sworn to your fathers, and He gives you all the land that He promised to give to your fathers— 9when you take care to do all this mitzvah that I am commanding you today, to love Adonai your God and to always walk in His ways. Then you are to add three more cities for yourself, besides these three. 10Then innocent blood will not be shed within your land that Adonai your God is giving you as an inheritance, and there would be blood upon you. 11“But suppose someone hates his neighbor, waits in hiding for him, rises up against him, strikes him dead, then flees to one of these cities. 12Then the elders of his hometown should send and take him from there and hand him over to the avenger of blood, to die. 13Your eye should not pity him, but you must purge the innocent blood from Israel, so that it may go well with you. 14“You must not move your neighbor’s boundary marker that the first generations marked out, in the inheritance you will receive in the land Adonai your God is giving you to possess. 15A single witness shall not rise up against a person for any offense or sin that he commits. By the word of two or three witnesses is a case to be established. 16Suppose a hostile witness rises up against someone to accuse him of wrongdoing. 17Then both people who have the dispute will stand before Adonai, before the kohanim and judges in charge at that time. 18The judges are to investigate thoroughly, and if indeed the witness is a false witness and has testified falsely against his brother, 19then you are to do to him just as he had plotted to do to his brother. So you will purge the evil from your midst. 20Those who remain will hear and be afraid, and they will no longer do such an evil thing as this in your midst. 21Your eye must not show pity—life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

–from Deuteronomy 19

Where does your hope come from? Where does your trust come from? He is just! There will be mountain top experience and there will be valley times too, and through it all including through the battles, we need to put our confidence, hope and trust in God!

Confidence in Battle

1“When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horse and chariot—a people more numerous than you—do not be afraid of them. For Adonai your God, the One who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you. 2When you draw near to the battle, the kohen will come forward and speak to the people. 3He will say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, you are drawing near today to the battle against your enemies. Don’t be fainthearted! Don’t fear or panic or tremble because of them. 4For Adonai your God is the One who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies to save you.’ 5“The officers are to speak to the troops saying, ‘What man has built a new house but has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his house—otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would dedicate it. 6What man has planted a vineyard but has not put it to use? Let him go back to his house—otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would begin to use it. 7What man has become engaged to a woman but has not married her? Let him go back to his house—otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would marry her.’ 8The officers will speak further to the troops and say, ‘What man is afraid and fainthearted? Let him go back to his house—so he does not weaken his brothers’ heart like his own.’ 9Then when the officers have finished speaking to the troops, they should appoint army commanders at the head of the troops. 10“When you go near a city to fight against it, call out shalom to it. 11Now if it answers you shalom and opens up to you, then all the people found in it will serve you as forced laborers. 12If it does not make peace with you but makes war against you, then lay siege against that city. 13When Adonai your God hands it over to you, you are to strike all its males with the sword. 14Only the women, children, livestock and all that is in the city—all its spoil—may you take as plunder for yourself. So you may consume your enemies’ spoil, which Adonai your God has given you. 15Thus you will do to all the cities that are very distant from you, which are not among the towns of these nations nearby. 16However, only from the cities of these peoples, which Adonai your God is giving you as an inheritance, you must not let anything that breathes live. 17You must utterly destroy them—the Hittites , the Amorites , the Canaanites , the Perizzites , the Hivites and the Jebusites—just as Adonai your God has commanded you. 18You are to do this so they will not teach you to do all the abominations as they have done for their gods, and so you would sin against Adonai your God. 19“When you lay siege to a city for a long time, making war against it to capture it, you are not to destroy its trees by swinging an axe at them. For from them you may eat, so you shall not chop them down. For is the tree of the field human, that it should enter the siege before you? 20You may destroy and chop down only the trees that you know are not trees for food, so that you may build siege equipment against the city that is making war with you until its downfall.

–from Deuteronomy 20

Let’s grab a hold of God’s promises! Let’s grab a hold of His truth. Let’s live in the freedom that His truth gives and grants us! Today is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Boasting in Visions and Weakness

1I must go on boasting—though it does no good, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2I know a man in Messiah (whether in the body I don’t know, or whether out of the body I don’t know—God knows)—fourteen years ago, he was caught up to the third heaven. 3I know such a man (whether in the body or outside of the body I don’t know—God knows)— 4he was caught up into Paradise and heard words too sacred to tell, which a human is not permitted to utter. 5On behalf of such a man I will boast—but about myself I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses. 6For if I should want to boast, I would not be foolish—for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, so that no one may think more of me than what he sees in me or hears from me— 7even in the extraordinary quality of the revelations. So that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me—a a messenger of satan to torment me, so I would not exalt myself. 8I pleaded with the Lord three times about this, that it might leave me. 9But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Messiah may dwell in me. 10For Messiah’s sake, then, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in distresses, in persecutions, in calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 11I have become a fool—you drove me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I am in no way inferior to the super-special emissaries—though I am nothing. 12Truly the signs of an emissary were worked out among you, with patient endurance, by signs and wonders and mighty miracles. 13For in what respect were you treated worse than the rest of Messiah’s communities—except that I myself did not burden you? Pardon me this injustice! 14Look, I am ready to come to you this third time, and I will not burden you—for I seek not your possessions, but you! For the children are not obliged to save up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16But be that as it may, I did not burden you myself. Nevertheless, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you with trickery! 17I haven’t taken advantage of you through any of those I sent to you, have I? 18I did urge Titus to visit you, and I sent the brother with him. Titus didn’t take any advantage of you, did he? Didn’t we walk in the same spirit, in the same footsteps? 19All along you’ve been thinking that we are defending ourselves to you. It is before God that we’ve been speaking in Messiah—and all for building you up, loved ones. 20For I am afraid that perhaps when I come, I may find you not as I wish, or I may be found by you not as you wish—that there may be strife, envy, outbursts of anger, self-seeking disputes, lashon ha-ra , gossip, arrogance, unruly commotions. 21I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I will mourn for many of those who have sinned before and not repented of the impurity and sexual immorality and indecency which they committed.

–from 2 Corinthians 12

Let’s be living testimonies of God’s love and greatness! Let’s boast in our actions and our words of His great love! Let’s live out how in our weakness His strength is revealed! He is more than enough! His grace is more than enough! He can use our weakness to reveal His power and strength! Let’s live out love into the world around us!

Taking the Kingdom by Force

1Yeshua began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a hedge around it, dug a pit for the winepress, and built a tower. He leased it to some tenant farmers and went on a journey.
2And at the season, he sent a servant to collect from the tenants part of the vineyard’s fruit.
3But grabbing him, they beat him up and sent him away empty-handed.
4And again the man sent another servant to them, and they wounded his head and treated him shamefully.
5He sent another, and that one they killed; and so on with many others, beating some and killing some.
6He had yet one, a well-loved son. He sent him to them last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
7“But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir! Come on, let’s kill him and the inheritance will be ours!’
8So grabbing the son, they killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.
9“What then will the master of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others.
10Haven’t you read this Scripture? ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the chief cornerstone.
11This came from Adonai, and it is marvelous in our eyes.’”
12They were trying to seize Yeshua, because they realized that He spoke the parable against them. But they feared the crowd, so they left Him and went away.

A Test of Loyalty

13Then they send some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Yeshua in order to trap Him with a word.
14They come and say to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are honest, and what others think doesn’t concern You. You don’t look at men’s appearance, but teach the way of God according to the truth. Is it permitted to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?
15Should we pay, or shouldn’t we?” But Yeshua saw through their hypocrisy and said to them, “Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius so I may see it.”
16They brought one. And He said to them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they said to Him.
17Then Yeshua said to them, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were completely amazed at Him.

The Challenge of the Sadducees

18Then Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came and began questioning Yeshua, saying,
19“Teacher, Moses wrote for us that ‘if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, then his brother should take the widow and father children for his brother.’
20There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife and, when he died, left no offspring.
21And the second took her and died, leaving no offspring, and the third likewise.
22Now the seven left no offspring. Last of all, the woman died, too.
23In the resurrection, when they rise up, whose wife will she be? For all seven had married her.”
24Yeshua said to them, “Isn’t this the reason you’ve gone astray, because you don’t understand the Scriptures or the power of God?
25For when they rise up from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
26But concerning the dead being raised, haven’t you read in the book of Moses about the burning bush? How God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?
27He’s not the God of the dead, but of the living. You have gone far astray!”

Love Ends the Argument

28One of the Torah scholars came and heard them debating. Seeing that Yeshua had answered them well, he asked Him, “Which commandment is first of all?”
29Yeshua answered, “The first is, ‘Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.
30And you shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’
31The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
32“Well said, Teacher,” the Torah scholar said to Him. “You have spoken the truth, that He is echad, and besides Him there is no other!
33And ‘to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love the neighbor as oneself,’ is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34When Yeshua saw that he had answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared any longer to question Him.

Who Is King David’s Lord?

35While Yeshua was teaching in the Temple, He said, “How is it that the Torah scholars say that the Messiah is Ben-David?
36David himself, through the Ruach ha-Kodesh, said, ‘Adonai said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies under Your feet.”’
37If David himself calls Him ‘Lord,’ in what way is He his son?” And the large crowd was listening to Him with delight.
38In His teaching He said, “Watch out for the Torah scholars, who like to walk around in long robes. They like greetings in the marketplaces,
39the best seats in the synagogues, and places of honor at feasts.
40They devour widows’ houses and make long prayers as a show. These men will receive greater condemnation!”
41He sat down opposite the treasury and began watching how the people were putting money into the offering box. Many rich people were putting in a lot.
42Then a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth less than a penny.
43Calling His disciples over, He said to them, “Amen, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those contributing to the box!
44For they all put in from their surplus; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had, her whole living.”

–from Mark 12

 

 

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

 

 

Here he comes…


 

Look at how he is making an entrance! Look at the humility! Look at the grace! Look at the joy of the people! Look at the praise of the people! Look at the experience that took place! Now consider the next time he makes an entrance! Consider the difference! Consider the impact! Consider the perception! Consider this new experience and the response it will generate! The celebration comparisons between the two events!

Today’s reading begins with the triumphant entry…

Jesus riding into Jerusalem. Triumphant Entry

The Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem

(Matthew 21.1-11; Mark 11.1-11; Luke 19.28-40)

12The next day the large crowd that had come to the Passover Festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Praise God! God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord! God bless the King of Israel!” 14Jesus found a donkey and rode on it, just as the scripture says, 15“Do not be afraid, city of Zion! Here comes your king, riding on a young donkey.” 16His disciples did not understand this at the time; but when Jesus had been raised to glory, they remembered that the scripture said this about him and that they had done this for him. 17The people who had been with Jesus when he called Lazarus out of the grave and raised him from death had reported what had happened. 18That was why the crowd met him—because they heard that he had performed this miracle. 19The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see, we are not succeeding at all! Look, the whole world is following him!”

–from John 12

What you believe matters! What you believe makes a difference! It impacts how you live and how you can do more than just survive, you can thrive! God desires to be more than average! Through Jesus we can be! The promise is forever!

Our Victory over the World

1Whoever believes that Jesus is the Messiah is a child of God; and whoever loves a father loves his child also. 2This is how we know that we love God’s children: it is by loving God and obeying his commands. 3For our love for God means that we obey his commands. And his commands are not too hard for us, 4because every child of God is able to defeat the world. And we win the victory over the world by means of our faith. 5Who can defeat the world? Only the person who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

The Witness about Jesus Christ

6Jesus Christ is the one who came with the water of his baptism and the blood of his death. He came not only with the water, but with both the water and the blood. And the Spirit himself testifies that this is true, because the Spirit is truth. 7There are three witnesses: 8the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and all three give the same testimony. 9We believe human testimony; but God’s testimony is much stronger, and he has given this testimony about his Son. 10So those who believe in the Son of God have this testimony in their own heart; but those who do not believe God, have made a liar of him, because they have not believed what God has said about his Son. 11The testimony is this: God has given us eternal life, and this life has its source in his Son. 12Whoever has the Son has this life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

–from 1 John 5

So what do you believe? Whose words will impact you the most? Grab a hold of the truth and live for it! Don’t be dragged down, rather take a hold of the promises of God and don’t give up! Turn to God before it is too late! Why wait till you hit rock bottom to start looking up to Him? He is right there with you right now!

1The end of my life is near. I can hardly breathe; there is nothing left for me but the grave. 2I watch how bitterly everyone mocks me. 3I am being honest, God. Accept my word. There is no one else to support what I say. 4You have closed their minds to reason; don’t let them triumph over me now. 5In the old proverb someone betrays his friends for money, and his children suffer for it. 6And now people use this proverb against me; they come and spit in my face. 7My grief has almost made me blind; my arms and legs are as thin as shadows. 8Those who claim to be honest are shocked, and they all condemn me as godless. 9Those who claim to be respectable are more and more convinced they are right. 10But if all of them came and stood before me, I would not find even one of them wise. 11My days have passed; my plans have failed; my hope is gone. 12But my friends say night is daylight; they say that light is near, but I know I remain in darkness. 13My only hope is the world of the dead, where I will lie down to sleep in the dark. 14I will call the grave my father, and the worms that eat me I will call my mother and my sisters. 15Where is there any hope for me? Who sees any? 16Hope will not go with me when I go down to the world of the dead.

–from Job 17

Lose something? How hard did you look to find it?


Ever lost something important? Remember how important it was and how hard you looked to find it? Remember the effort you were willing to put in to find it? Remember the depth you were willing to search in order to find it? Remember the excitement when you found it? Remember the relief when you found it? Imagine finding something that you lost that was worth so much more than that. Imaging being able to bring it back to where it belongs. Imagine if it was something life changing.

Today’s Word starts out speaking about the lost…

The Lost Sheep

(Matthew 18.12-14)
1One day when many tax collectors and other outcasts came to listen to Jesus, 2the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law started grumbling, “This man welcomes outcasts and even eats with them!” 3So Jesus told them this parable: 4“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them—what do you do? You leave the other ninety-nine sheep in the pasture and go looking for the one that got lost until you find it. 5When you find it, you are so happy that you put it on your shoulders 6and carry it back home. Then you call your friends and neighbors together and say to them, ‘I am so happy I found my lost sheep. Let us celebrate!’ 7In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine respectable people who do not need to repent.

The Lost Coin

8“Or suppose a woman who has ten silver coins loses one of them—what does she do? She lights a lamp, sweeps her house, and looks carefully everywhere until she finds it. 9When she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, and says to them, ‘I am so happy I found the coin I lost. Let us celebrate!’ 10In the same way, I tell you, the angels of God rejoice over one sinner who repents.”

–from Luke 15

Are you lost? Are you trying to figure out what life has to offer you? Are you trying to find yourself? Are you trying to fill that void? Are you really wanting to know what life is all about? Turn back to God! Turn to God! Ask Him and He will answer you. Seek Him with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength and you will find Him! Knock and He will open it! Keep knocking and the right door will open! Trust in Him! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! Ask Him to fill that hole in your heart! Ask Him to move into your heart! Give Him all the pieces of your broken heart and He can restore and heal it.

Have you found someone who is lost and wonder what to do? Have you found someone who has gotten off track and isn’t sure where to go or what to do? Found someone who is seeking? Found someone who is asking? Found someone who is knocking? Do you know how to act?

Today’s reading continues with this wisdom…

Responsibilities toward Believers

1Do not rebuke an older man, but appeal to him as if he were your father. Treat the younger men as your brothers, 2the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, with all purity. 3Show respect for widows who really are all alone. 4But if a widow has children or grandchildren, they should learn first to carry out their religious duties toward their own family and in this way repay their parents and grandparents, because that is what pleases God. 5A widow who is all alone, with no one to take care of her, has placed her hope in God and continues to pray and ask him for his help night and day. 6But a widow who gives herself to pleasure has already died, even though she lives. 7Give them these instructions, so that no one will find fault with them. 8But if any do not take care of their relatives, especially the members of their own family, they have denied the faith and are worse than an unbeliever. 9Do not add any widow to the list of widows unless she is over sixty years of age. In addition, she must have been married only once 10and have a reputation for good deeds: a woman who brought up her children well, received strangers in her home, performed humble duties for other Christians, helped people in trouble, and devoted herself to doing good. 11But do not include younger widows in the list; because when their desires make them want to marry, they turn away from Christ, 12and so become guilty of breaking their earlier promise to him. 13They also learn to waste their time in going around from house to house; but even worse, they learn to be gossips and busybodies, talking of things they should not. 14So I would prefer that the younger widows get married, have children, and take care of their homes, so as to give our enemies no chance of speaking evil of us. 15For some widows have already turned away to follow Satan. 16But if any Christian woman has widows in her family, she must take care of them and not put the burden on the church, so that it may take care of the widows who are all alone. 17The elders who do good work as leaders should be considered worthy of receiving double pay, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18For the scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox when you are using it to thresh grain” and “Workers should be given their pay.” 19Do not listen to an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or more witnesses. 20Rebuke publicly all those who commit sins, so that the rest may be afraid. 21In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the holy angels I solemnly call upon you to obey these instructions without showing any prejudice or favor to anyone in anything you do. 22Be in no hurry to lay hands on people to dedicate them to the Lord’s service. Take no part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. 23Do not drink water only, but take a little wine to help your digestion, since you are sick so often. 24The sins of some people are plain to see, and their sins go ahead of them to judgment; but the sins of others are seen only later. 25In the same way good deeds are plainly seen, and even those that are not so plain cannot be hidden. –from Luke 5

We all have a purpose! We all have a responsibility! So let’s not give up on completing the good work that God has prepared in advance for us to accomplish! So let’s stick close to God in order that we won’t go astray or get lost! Don’t let the devil tempt you into a life that will lead to death, but rather, keep hold of Jesus so that in the end you will find life!

Today’s Word continues with Wisdom into the Proverbs…

1My child, remember what I say and never forget what I tell you to do. 2Do what I say, and you will live. Be as careful to follow my teaching as you are to protect your eyes. 3Keep my teaching with you all the time; write it on your heart. 4Treat wisdom as your sister, and insight as your closest friend. 5They will keep you away from other men’s wives, from women with seductive words.

The Immoral Woman

6Once I was looking out the window of my house, 7and I saw many inexperienced young men, but noticed one foolish fellow in particular. 8He was walking along the street near the corner where a certain woman lived. He was passing near her house 9in the evening after it was dark. 10And then she met him; she was dressed like a prostitute and was making plans. 11She was a bold and shameless woman who always walked the streets 12or stood waiting at a corner, sometimes in the streets, sometimes in the marketplace. 13She threw her arms around the young man, kissed him, looked him straight in the eye, and said, 14“I made my offerings today and have the meat from the sacrifices. 15So I came out looking for you. I wanted to find you, and here you are! 16I’ve covered my bed with sheets of colored linen from Egypt. 17I’ve perfumed it with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18Come on! Let’s make love all night long. We’ll be happy in each other’s arms. 19My husband isn’t at home. He’s on a long trip. 20He took plenty of money with him and won’t be back for two weeks.” 21So she tempted him with her charms, and he gave in to her smooth talk. 22Suddenly he was going with her like an ox on the way to be slaughtered, like a deer prancing into a trap 23where an arrow would pierce its heart. He was like a bird going into a net—he did not know that his life was in danger. 24Now then, sons, listen to me. Pay attention to what I say. 25Do not let such a woman win your heart; don’t go wandering after her. 26She has been the ruin of many men and caused the death of too many to count. 27If you go to her house, you are on the way to the world of the dead. It is a shortcut to death. –from Proverbs 7