MEDIEVAL MAPS OF THE WORLD… (The Bible’s Impact on Scientific Discovery [July 18])


Do you know where you are? How are you viewing it? Are you in the center? Are you the focus? Are you putting God in the center? Are you sticking around Him? Does everything revolved around you? Do you revolve around the Son like the Earth revolves around the Sun? What is your centricity? Who? What? do you put in the center?

Today’s reading comes from Ezekiel 5

Jerusalem Will Be Destroyed

1″And you, O son of man, take a sharp sword. Use it as a barber’s razor and pass it over your head and your beard. Then take balances for weighing and divide the hair. 2A third part you shall burn in the fire in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are completed. And a third part you shall take and strike with the sword all around the city. And a third part you shall scatter to the wind, and I will unsheathe the sword after them. 3And you shall take from these a small number and bind them in the skirts of your robe. 4And of these again you shall take some and cast them into the midst of the fire and burn them in the fire. From there a fire will come out into all the house of Israel.
5″Thus says the Lord God: This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. 6And she has rebelled against my rules by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries all around her; for they have rejected my rules and have not walked in my statutes. 7Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you are more turbulent than the nations that are all around you, and have not walked in my statutes or obeyed my rules, and have not even acted according to the rules of the nations that are all around you, 8therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, even I, am against you. And I will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. 9And because of all your abominations I will do with you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again. 10Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers. And I will execute judgments on you, and any of you who survive I will scatter to all the winds. 11Therefore, as I live, declares the Lord God, surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will withdraw. My eye will not spare, and I will have no pity. 12A third part of you shall die of pestilence and be consumed with famine in your midst; a third part shall fall by the sword all around you; and a third part I will scatter to all the winds and will unsheathe the sword after them.
13″Thus shall my anger spend itself, and I will vent my fury upon them and satisfy myself. And they shall know that I am the Lord—that I have spoken in my jealousy—when I spend my fury upon them. 14Moreover, I will make you a desolation and an object of reproach among the nations all around you and in the sight of all who pass by. 15You shall be a reproach and a taunt, a warning and a horror, to the nations all around you, when I execute judgments on you in anger and fury, and with furious rebukes—I am the Lord; I have spoken— 16when I send against you the deadly arrows of famine, arrows for destruction, which I will send to destroy you, and when I bring more and more famine upon you and break your supply of bread. 17I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will rob you of your children. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword upon you. I am the Lord; I have spoken.”

–from Ezekiel 5

Will you not put God as your center? Will you not choose to pursue and live out your life around God’s purpose, plans, and direction? Would you rather spend eternity with God than to be left to your own will, ability, and plans — wandering like the lost? wandering like sheep without a shepherd. Won’t you choose to go it God’s way? Won’t you choose the narrow path that leads to life?

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on scientific discovery brings us the topic of Medieval maps of the world. In today’s devotional, we learn about many of the medieval maps show Jerusalem in the center, at the center. The example we see today is the famous map from 1580 by Heinrich Bünting which positions at the intersection of Africa, Asia, and Europe. We learn how it is believed that this view of the world comes from today’s reading with verse 5 that says…

‘”Thus says the Lord God : This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. ‘ — Ezekiel 5:5

Today’s devotional closed sharing how St. Jerome, who worked to produce the Vulgate translation, understood the biblical text to mean that Jerusalem was the terrae umbilicus or “navel of the earth”.

So how about you? What have you decided to be the center of your world? What is it that is your focus? What is it that is producing the gravity to keep you there? What is it that is generating the gravitational force to keep you near it? Is it something real? Is it something that is good? Is it something that will last? Is it Jesus?

Let’s pray…

Prayer of Salvation Example

For those who prayed this for the first time or as a recommitment to God, I celebrate with the angels in heaven that you made the greatest decision of your life. Will you leave a comment so that I know and pray for you? Will you leave a comment or question so we can have a conversation? Look for a local church that is a Bible believing, Bible preaching church that will be able to come alongside you and help you in this journey called life.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You and I praise You Lord. I praise that You helped me to realize that it isn’t about rituals or routines. I thank You that You opened my eyes to see it is about relationship and that Jesus made a way where there wasn’t a way for me and for all of us to start a relationship with You. I thank You Lord that Your Word never returns void. I thank You Lord that Your Word is like a sword that will allow us to fight back against the lies and deception of this dark world. I thank You Lord that Your Word never fails. I thank You Lord that Your Word is faithful and is a love letter to the world from the Father. Help me Lord to keep You in the center for a cord of 3 strands is not easily broken. Help me to keep You in the center of my life. Help me to keep You in the center of my marriage. Help me to keep You in the center of my family. Help me to keep you in the middle of all the relationships in my life. Lord, I ask all this so that in and through my life You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

STIFF-NECKED FOOLS…(The Bible’s Impact on Music [May 23])


Don’t be conceited! Don’t make yourself the center by being self-absorbed and self-centered! Don’t be arrogant or boastful! Don’t be vain! Don’t make life all about stuff! Don’t be greedy! Don’t be a predator! Don’t make it all about money — money-grubbing nor money-grabbing. Don’t be coveting your neighbors things!

We need to be putting God in the center for a cord of 3 strands is not easily broken! We need to be living a selfless and serving life! We need to be servant leaders! We need to care and be generous! When people see you and watch you what are they seeing and learning about you and your life priorities? Be wise in how you live out your life! Life your life with faith in Jesus!

Today’s reading comes to us from Romans 1:

Greeting

1Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
7To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Longing to Go to Rome

8First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 9For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

The Righteous Shall Live by Faith

16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Let’s praise the creator rather than the created! Let’s be more interested in healer than the healing! Let’s me more focused on the Savior than the saving! Let’s want the giver more than the giving! Let’s want Jesus more than anything…

Let’s ponder all of this before we jump into today’s devotional…Let’s listen to Natalie Grant’s “More than Anything“…

When we put Jesus as our top priority, our top desire, our top purpose, our lives will change. He will come into our lives and His Holy Spirit will be our comforter and our guide. We will be born again and the transformation will begin from the inside out to the point where we will start to produce fruit that will be evidence of who Jesus is in and through our lives! So will you invite Jesus into your life and start a relationship with Him? Will you allow Him to be the center?

Today’s devotional in The Global Impact Bible on the topic of the Bible’s impact on music speaks about “STIFF-NECKED FOOLS” by Bob Marley which has lyrics derives from different parts of the Bible like Exodus 3:3,5 and Proverbs 10:15, 21, 18:11. We see it also takes from today’s reading from Romans 1:21.

‘And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” ‘

–from Exodus 3:3,5

‘ A rich man’s wealth is his strong city; the poverty of the poor is their ruin. The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.’

–from Proverbs 10:15,21

‘ A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination.’

–from Proverbs 18:11

‘For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. ‘

–from Romans 1:21

Today’s devotional let’s us get a view into who Bob Marley was  and his impact on the world by bringing Reggae to the world. We learn about how he wasn’t a Christian but a Rastafarian – Abrahamic, biblically inspired religion that developed in Jamaica after the 1930 coronation of Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I, who was considered by Rastafarians to be the returned Christ. Today’s devotional points to “Stiff-necked fools” which is an anthem against vanity and materialism and as a call for righteousness! All of these traits are major elements of the Rastafarian religion.

So how will you allow God to touch your life today? How will you live out today that your light will shine? That you will reflect the light of Jesus into the lives of the people around you? How will your life be transformed through Jesus rather than conformed to the world? Will today be the start of a new beginning?

Let’s take a moment to pray together…

Sample Sinners Prayer

Was this your first time? Are you receiving Jesus into your life and ready to begin a relationship with Him? Want to talk about it and learn more? Want to press in and press on? Leave me a note and we can chat. If this was your first time or a recommitment I am celebrating with the angels in Heaven for the decision you have made.  Let’s start today as the first day of the rest of our lives!

 


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for Your Word that never returns void! I thank You for Your truth that never ends! I thank You for this new day and all that You have planned in it that You would help me to set it apart and do something different in the middle of my week. I thank You that You will allow me to be with my family with such a big decision point. I thank You that You allow me to take time aside to spend it and be an encourager. I thank You Lord that this the day that You have made so I will rejoice and be glad in it! Help me Lord to spread joy! Help me Lord to spread hope! Help me Lord to love on my family today I pray! And Lord in and through it all I will give You the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

How long will your friendship last?


How strong is the love? How strong is the relationship? How strong is the friendship? What is the bond between you? Is it God to align and speak to how a cord of three strands is not easily broken? Will you go out of your way for them? Will you get uncomfortable? Will it reveal true loyalty between you?

Today’s reading begins with David and Jonathan and the truth that Saul wants to kill David, Jonathan’s best friend…

Reaffirming Covenant Loyalty

1Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah, came before Jonathan and said, “What have I done? What is my crime? What is my sin against your father that he should be seeking my life?” 2“Never!” he said to him. “You will not die! Behold, my father does nothing great or small without disclosing it to me. So why should my father hide this matter from me? It cannot be.” 3Then David swore again saying, “Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes. So he must have thought, ‘Let’s not let Jonathan know about this, else he will be grieved.’ But truly as Adonai lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.” 4Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you!” 5So David said to Jonathan, “Look, tomorrow is the New Moon, when I am supposed to sit down with the king to eat. Instead, let me go hide myself in the countryside until the third evening. 6If your father misses me at all, then say: ‘David earnestly asked my permission to run to Beth-lehem, his town, for it is the annual sacrifice there for the whole family.’ 7If he says thus, ‘Very well,’ then your servant is safe; but if he becomes very angry, then know that he is determined to harm me. 8Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of Adonai with you. But if there is any iniquity in me, then kill me yourself! Why should you bring me to your father?” 9Jonathan replied, “Far be it from you! For if I know for sure that my father has determined evil to come on you, then wouldn’t I tell you about it?” 10Then David asked Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?” 11Jonathan said to David, “Come, let’s go out to the field.” So they both went out to the field. 12Then Jonathan said to David, “By Adonai, God of Israel, I will sound out my father about this time tomorrow or the day after. Look, if it is good toward David, wouldn’t I then send word to you and disclose it to you? 13May Adonai do so to Jonathan and even worse, should my father intend to do you evil, if I don’t disclose it to you and send you away, that you may go in shalom. So may Adonai be with you as He has been with my father. 14“Now if I am still alive, wouldn’t you show me the loyal love of Adonai so I wouldn’t die? 15Yet also, don’t cut off your loyal love from my household ever—not even when Adonai cuts off all of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.” 16So Jonathan cut a covenant with the house of David, “So may Adonai requite David’s enemies.” 17Jonathan made David swear again because of the love he had for him, for he loved him as he loved himself. 18Then Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the New Moon. You’ll be missed because your seat will be empty. 19On the third day, you must go down quickly and come to the place where you hid as you did on that day, and remain close to the stone Ezel. 20I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I were shooting at a target. 21Now look, I will send a lad saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I specifically say to the lad, ‘See, the arrows are on this side of you—get them,’ then come; for it is safe for you and no danger, as Adonai lives. 22But if I say to the boy: ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then go your way, for Adonai has released you. 23But as for the matter which I and you have spoken about, behold, Adonai is between me and you forever.” 24So David hid himself in the field, and when the New Moon came, the king sat down to eat a meal. 25So the king sat on his seat—as usual, the seat by the wall—Jonathan stood up and Abner sat down by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty. 26Nevertheless, Saul said nothing that day, for he thought, “It must be an accident; he must be ceremonially unclean—yes, that’s it, he’s unclean.” 27Yet it came to pass on the day following the New Moon, the second day, that David’s place was still empty. So Saul asked his son Jonathan, “Why didn’t Jesse’s son come to the meal yesterday or today?” 28Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Beth-lehem, 29as he said, ‘Please let me go, for we are going to have a family feast in the town, and my brother has commanded me. So now, if I have found favor in your eyes, let me go, please, to see my brothers. That’s why he hasn’t come to the king’s table.” 30Then Saul’s rage blazed against Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have chosen the son of Jesse—to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31For as long as the son of Jesse lives on earth, neither you nor your kingship will be secure. Now, send word and bring him to me, for he is a son of death!” 32But Jonathan answered his father Saul, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” 33Then Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him down. So Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. 34So Jonathan rose up from the table in fierce anger, and did not eat food the second day of the new month, for he was grieved over David, because his father had dishonored him. 35It came to pass in the morning that Jonathan went out to the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad was with him. 36He said to his lad, “Run, find now the arrows that I am about to shoot.” Now as the lad was running, he shot an arrow past him. 37When the lad reached the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried out after the lad and said, “Isn’t the arrow beyond you?” 38Then Jonathan called out after the lad, “Quick, hurry! Don’t stand there!” So Jonathan’s lad picked up the arrow and came to his master. 39But the lad knew nothing; only Jonathan and David knew the arrangement. 40Then Jonathan gave his weapons to his lad and said to him, “Go, take them back to the town.” 41As soon as the lad was gone, David emerged from the south side and fell on his face to the ground and bowed down three times. Then they kissed each other and wept together, though David wept more. 42Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in the shalom that we both have sworn to each other in the Name of Adonai saying: ‘May Adonai be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’”

–from 1 Samuel 20

Will you put God first? Will you put Him first in your relationships? Will you lift Him up even amongst the world we live in today? Will you allow others to know of who He is? Will you call on Him to help you in this dark world?

Nations Conspire Against Israel

1A song: a psalm of Asaph. 2God, do not keep silent. Do not hold Your peace, O God. Do not be still. 3For look, Your enemies make an uproar. Those who hate You lift up their head. 4They make a shrewd plot against Your people, conspiring against Your treasured ones. 5“Come,” they say, “let’s wipe them out as a nation! Let Israel’s name be remembered no more!” 6For with one mind they plot together. Against You do they make a covenant. 7The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites, 8Gebal, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre, 9even Assyria has joined them, becoming a strong arm for Lot’s sons. Selah 10Do to them as You did to Midian, to Sisera and Jabin at the Kishon River, 11who perished at En-dor— they became as dung for the ground. 12Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb— all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, 13who said, “Let us take possession of the pasturelands of God.” 14My God, make them like tumbleweed, like chaff before the wind. 15As a fire burns a forest, and as a flame sets mountains ablaze, 16so pursue them with Your tempest, and terrify them with Your storm. 17Cover their faces with shame, so they may seek Your Name—Adonai. 18Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever. Let them be humiliated and perish. 19Let them know that You alone —whose Name is Adonai— are El Elyon over all the earth.

–from Psalms 83

Put God first! Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness! Let’s allow God to work in us and through us! Let’s allow God to shine brightly through our lives! Even though people may have known and experienced God, they still may not choose to follow Him! Even though people may have come to this place for God, for His freedoms, for His truth, to follow after Him, to build a nation based on Him, it may still be left behind.

Consider how if the people who saw the most number of miracles wouldn’t accept Him, how a people who live in a place that was founded based on Him could do the same…

Why try to carry that load alone? Why not give it up to God?

Signs and Wonders Bear Witness

1When Yeshua had finished instructing His twelve disciples, He went on from there to teach and preach in their towns. 2Now when John heard in prison about the works of the Messiah, he sent word through his disciples 3and said to Yeshua, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” 4Yeshua replied, “Go report to John what you hear and see: 5the blind see and the lame walk, those with tza’arat are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised and the poor have good news proclaimed to them. 6Blessed is the one who is not led to stumble because of Me.”

A Prophet Without Honor

7Now as they were leaving, Yeshua began to talk to the crowd concerning John. “What did you go out to the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8No? So what did you go out to see? A man dressed in finery? Look, those who wear finery are in the palaces of kings! 9Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, even more than a prophet. 10This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send My messenger before You, who will prepare Your way before You.’ 11“Amen, I tell you, among those born of women, none has arisen greater than John the Immerser. Yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12From the days of John the Immerser until now, the kingdom of heaven is treated with violence, and the violent grasp hold of it. 13For all the prophets and the Torah prophesied until the time of John. 14And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15He who has ears, let him hear! 16“But to what shall I compare this generation? It’s like children sitting in the marketplaces who call to one other, saying, 17‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance. We wailed, but you did not mourn.’ 18“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ 19The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” 20Then Yeshua began to denounce the towns where most of His miracles had happened, because they did not turn from their sins. 21“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have turned long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22Nevertheless I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the Day of Judgment than for you. 23And you, Capernaum? Will you be lifted up to heaven? No, you will go down to Sheol! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24Nevertheless I tell you that it will be more bearable for the land of Sodom on the Day of Judgment than for you.”

Yeshua Teaches the Ways of His Father

25At that time Yeshua said in response, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and discerning and revealed them to infants. 26Yes, Father, for this way was pleasing to You. 27“All things have been handed over to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. 28Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and ‘you will find rest for your souls.’ 30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

–from Matthew 11

 

Trying to be the best? Trying to be the greatest? Wondering what the current status is?


In life I know we try our best to be the best. We try to be excellent at what we do in ways that will glorify God! Do you ever try to be the greatest though? Do you ever talk to people about that in order to see how you rank? What do you use to compare? Are they things that cause you to miss out on the blessings you already have and focus on other things? Are they things that cause you to focus on what you can and need to do to get better? Are they inward focused between you and God? Are they outward focused lining up pride in a way that you can be deceived? Today’s reading starts with the disciples trying to figure out who was the greatest amongst them.

Who Is the Greatest?

(Matthew 18.1-5; Luke 9.46-48)
33They came to Capernaum, and after going indoors Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you arguing about on the road?”
34But they would not answer him, because on the road they had been arguing among themselves about who was the greatest. 35Jesus sat down, called the twelve disciples, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must place himself last of all and be the servant of all.” 36Then he took a child and had him stand in front of them. He put his arms around him and said to them, 37“Whoever welcomes in my name one of these children, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me, welcomes not only me but also the one who sent me.”
~from Mark 9 (GNT)

Do you want to be first, then you need to be last? You need to humble yourself and be a servant to others. You need to be a servant leader interested in helping and taking care of others. More interested in what you can do for others than what others can do for you. We need to be welcoming! Don’t be so self-centered that you miss out on everything that is around you. Put your focus on what’s going to last! Consider your workplace…Are there new people in your office? Have you welcomed them? Have you introduced yourself? Have you learned about them? How important is that to you? How important could that be to them? Ever been new? Compare feeling welcomed vs being left on your own…Which worked better for you? Which created community and made you feel like part of the team, part of the company? Which one made you feel valued in your role? So how will you reciprocate that? How will you lead? Servant leadership can do incredible things in a group, across an organization, and across a company if you are willing to submit to that level and allow God to work in and through you.

Ever been in a situation where you don’t know where to turn or who you can turn to or who you can trust?

Whoever Is Not against Us Is for Us

(Luke 9.49, 50)
38John said to him, “Teacher, we saw a man who was driving out demons in your name, and we told him to stop, because he doesn’t belong to our group.”
39“Do not try to stop him,” Jesus told them, “because no one who performs a miracle in my name will be able soon afterward to say evil things about me. 40For whoever is not against us is for us. 41I assure you that anyone who gives you a drink of water because you belong to me will certainly receive a reward.
~from Mark 9 (GNT)

Being that servant leader and reaching out to help will have it’s reward. Bringing someone a drink as a good gesture when they are thirsty will have a reward. Keep your eyes on what God brings before you rather than trying to keep the spotlight on yourself!

Temptations to Sin

(Matthew 18.6-9; Luke 17.1, 2)
42“If anyone should cause one of these little ones to lose faith in me, it would be better for that person to have a large millstone tied around the neck and be thrown into the sea. 43So if your hand makes you lose your faith, cut it off! It is better for you to enter life without a hand than to keep both hands and go off to hell, to the fire that never goes out. 45And if your foot makes you lose your faith, cut it off! It is better for you to enter life without a foot than to keep both feet and be thrown into hell. 47And if your eye makes you lose your faith, take it out! It is better for you to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to keep both eyes and be thrown into hell. 48There ‘the worms that eat them never die, and the fire that burns them is never put out.’
49“Everyone will be purified by fire as a sacrifice is purified by salt.
50“Salt is good; but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again?
“Have the salt of friendship among yourselves, and live in peace with one another.”
~from Mark 9 (GNT)

What we do, makes a difference! It will make a difference for good or for evil, so we need to choose to live wisely! It kind of goes back to something from yesterday’s post that aligns with what someone said to me on Sunday…all things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial… and if we do something because we think it is ok, but it then leads someone else off track, that isn’t good. We need to be aware and consider of what our actions speak into the lives of others! A few scriptures that speak to this include: 1 Corinthians 8:13, Matthew 18:7, Romans 14:20, Romans 14:15. We have a purpose! We have a reason for the hope that is within us! We know that there is more to life than just ourselves! So how will that change your today?

Consider all that God has done in and through your life! Consider what you have to be thankful for! Are you considering the big  things like breathing and being alive? Are you considering the smaller things too? If someone asks you what you are thankful for, what is the area you go to first? Do you forget about the big things because you take them for granted? Do you try to compare yourself to others and then end up losing the reality of the blessings you already have? Are you comparing yourself against those who have the most stuff? Are you comparing yourself against the people who are on TV all the time?  Are you comparing yourself against people who have been hit by storms, draught, starvation, epidemics,? Let’s keep our eyes on God! Let’s be thankful for everything that He has brought into or lives! Let’s give Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory that He deserves!

1From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and from our brother Timothy—

To the church of God in Corinth, and to all God’s people throughout Achaia:
2May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Paul Gives Thanks to God

3Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the merciful Father, the God from whom all help comes! 4He helps us in all our troubles, so that we are able to help others who have all kinds of troubles, using the same help that we ourselves have received from God. 5Just as we have a share in Christ’s many sufferings, so also through Christ we share in God’s great help. 6If we suffer, it is for your help and salvation; if we are helped, then you too are helped and given the strength to endure with patience the same sufferings that we also endure. 7So our hope in you is never shaken; we know that just as you share in our sufferings, you also share in the help we receive.
8We want to remind you, friends, of the trouble we had in the province of Asia. The burdens laid upon us were so great and so heavy that we gave up all hope of staying alive. 9We felt that the death sentence had been passed on us. But this happened so that we should rely, not on ourselves, but only on God, who raises the dead. 10From such terrible dangers of death he saved us, and will save us; and we have placed our hope in him that he will save us again, 11as you help us by means of your prayers for us. So it will be that the many prayers for us will be answered, and God will bless us; and many will raise their voices to him in thanksgiving for us.
~from 2 Corinthians 1 (GNT)

There is a hope that is in me. There is a hope that I must share. There is a hope that others need to know about and need to be a part. How can I make this happen today? Where will God allow me to plant a seed? Where will God allow me to pour some water? Who will God setup a divine appointment with me today? I need to be ready! I need to be open! I need to be prepared to share the hope that is within me!

A Song of Praise

1Come, let us praise the Lord!
Let us sing for joy to God, who protects us!
2Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and sing joyful songs of praise.
3For the Lord is a mighty God,
a mighty king over all the gods.
4He rules over the whole earth,
from the deepest caves to the highest hills.
5He rules over the sea, which he made;
the land also, which he himself formed.
6Come, let us bow down and worship him;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7He is our God;
we are the people he cares for,
the flock for which he provides.
Listen today to what he says:
8“Don’t be stubborn, as your ancestors were at Meribah,
as they were that day in the desert at Massah.
9There they put me to the test and tried me,
although they had seen what I did for them.
10For forty years I was disgusted with those people.
I said, ‘How disloyal they are!
They refuse to obey my commands.’
11I was angry and made a solemn promise:
‘You will never enter the land
where I would have given you rest.’”
~from Psalm 95 (GNT)

What is in the center of your life?


Are you focused on money? Are you focused on stuff? Are you focused on relationships? Are you focused on people? Are you focused on work? Are you focused on family? What are you focused on? What is in the center of it all?

Ever notice when you take a picture that if you don’t have it focused on something then everything is blurry?

Ever notice that if you don’t have the right thing in the center everything around it seems out of place?

We need to make God the centerpiece of our lives! With Him in the center, we have something to build out from!

By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped. — Eccl. 4:12
One way to do that is to stay in constant contact with Him!
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. 1 Thes. 5:16-18
Put another way, “Pray without ceasing!”
Another way to seek Him!
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. — Matthew 6:30-33
In order to live out the incredible plans of God, to find meaning in our lives, we need to put Christ in the center! (sermon notes)
  1. In Galatians 2:20 Paul is asserting that Christ is the center of his life for “Christ lives in him” and the purpose (#7 Purpose) of his life is to live it “crucified unto Christ.”
    When the meaning of our life is to be “crucified with Him” that will determine the remaining components of the circle which we believe sums up all thinking/behaving.
  2. By letting Christ be at the center, we create a “new Self” (#2 Self) for in 2 Cor 5:17 Paul says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”  Knowing our position in Christ solves all identity issues. I know who I am because I know Whose I am. And, that is good enough!
  1. By letting Christ be center of our lives the gives me the Power and Resources (#3 Power) to live in this world successfully for Phil 4:13 “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
  2. By letting Christ be the center of our lives, we have a dynamic relationship with this concept called Time (#4 Time).  He has given me eternal life (John 3:16). “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.”  (Romans 14:8)
    Paul says, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  (Romans 8:18) That tells me that being crucified with Christ, having our meaning from Him makes time irrelevant for we are in Him the timeless one.
  3. By letting Christ be the center of our lives, we will live in obedience to the Greatest Commandment which calls upon us to love God and to love our neighbor (#5 Others).
    Matthew 22:37-40
    37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with thy entire mind. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
  4. By letting Christ be the center of our lives, we will accept the world as a place that we can live in without fear but with confidence and joy (#6 World). 1 John 4:4 says,“…dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
  5. By letting Christ be the center of our lives, He is our purpose, period (#7 Purpose).
    2 Timothy 4:6-9 “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

We need to put first things first and by putting God as the focus point it allows us to better see how the other pieces of our lives come together. If God is first then what is second? Marriage/Spouse if you are married. Then what is third? Family/Kids. Now that we have filled the first 3 slots, that means anything else can’t be any higher than fourth. So if that is the case, is that how you are living? Is that how your time and effort are being split up? When I think about it that way, it would mean that everything has to do with God, and everything I do must be for the benefit of my wife and then everything has to be for the benefit of my kids and family. So if someone asked you why are you doing ________? (you fill in the blank) would it meet and align with your prioritization list? Why do you work? Why do you put in so much effort? Why do you volunteer? Why do you go to so many sporting activities? Why do you ____________?

Without focus everything in life will become blurry. Without filling it up with the right pieces, the vacuum will be filled up with other things that may not be beneficial nor helpful to you and your life.

Do you realize the benefits of God in the center, as your centerpiece of life?

  • Stability
  • Endurance
  • Security

Life is so busy and unless we are grounded and centered, we will miss out on the number of people our lives touch and impact daily: our family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc.). God has sent us into the world to be His arms extended to all those we come into contact with. What do they see? What would they say? Can they see God through you? Are you a prism that shows an incredible rainbow because of God’s light shining in your life?

So let’s clean out the distractions that in our lives so we can focus! What’s on your list? What in your life? What are you active in? What does your appointment calendar look like? What groups are you involved in?

Let’s put our hope and trust in God! If He says to do it, let’s do it! If He doesn’t, then let’s not! Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and He will give you the desires of your heart. He will give us everything we need to fulfill His plans and desires.

So don’t turn a deaf ear to God. Believe and become all that God desires for you to be!

The Centerpiece of All We Believe
1-6So, my dear Christian friends, companions in following this call to the heights, take a good hard look at Jesus. He’s the centerpiece of everything we believe, faithful in everything God gave him to do. Moses was also faithful, but Jesus gets far more honor. A builder is more valuable than a building any day. Every house has a builder, but the Builder behind them all is God. Moses did a good job in God’s house, but it was all servant work, getting things ready for what was to come. Christ as Son is in charge of the house.
6-11Now, if we can only keep a firm grip on this bold confidence, we’re the house! That’s why the Holy Spirit says,
Today, please listen;
don’t turn a deaf ear as in “the bitter uprising,”
that time of wilderness testing!
Even though they watched me at work for forty years,
your ancestors refused to let me do it my way;
over and over they tried my patience.
And I was provoked, oh, so provoked!
I said, “They’ll never keep their minds on God;
they refuse to walk down my road.”
Exasperated, I vowed,
“They’ll never get where they’re going,
never be able to sit down and rest.”
12-14So watch your step, friends. Make sure there’s no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God. For as long as it’s still God’s Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn’t slow down your reflexes. If we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we’re in this with Christ for the long haul.
These words keep ringing in our ears:
Today, please listen;
don’t turn a deaf ear as in the bitter uprising.
15-19For who were the people who turned a deaf ear? Weren’t they the very ones Moses led out of Egypt? And who was God provoked with for forty years? Wasn’t it those who turned a deaf ear and ended up corpses in the wilderness? And when he swore that they’d never get where they were going, wasn’t he talking to the ones who turned a deaf ear? They never got there because they never listened, never believed.
— Hebrews 3

Now grab onto the promises of God! Let’s step up and step out trusting in Him.

When the Promises Are Mixed with Faith

1-3For as long, then, as that promise of resting in him pulls us on to God’s goal for us, we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified. We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith. If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting. But not if we don’t have faith. Remember that God said,
Exasperated, I vowed,
“They’ll never get where they’re going,
never be able to sit down and rest.”
3-7God made that vow, even though he’d finished his part before the foundation of the world. Somewhere it’s written, “God rested the seventh day, having completed his work,” but in this other text he says, “They’ll never be able to sit down and rest.” So this promise has not yet been fulfilled. Those earlier ones never did get to the place of rest because they were disobedient. God keeps renewing the promise and setting the date as today, just as he did in David’s psalm, centuries later than the original invitation:
Today, please listen,
don’t turn a deaf ear . . .
8-11And so this is still a live promise. It wasn’t canceled at the time of Joshua; otherwise, God wouldn’t keep renewing the appointment for “today.” The promise of “arrival” and “rest” is still there for God’s people. God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God. So let’s keep at it and eventually arrive at the place of rest, not drop out through some sort of disobedience.
12-13God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.

The High Priest Who Cried Out in Pain

14-16Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
— Hebrews 4

So today let’s not try to go and do it all on our own! Let’s accept God’s grace and mercy and accept the help He offers and desires to give us.

 

When will you look beyond the material stuff, the feel good stuff, and the self promoting stuff?


How much stuff do you need? Money isn’t evil, the love of money is the root of all evil.

Is it more important to feel good than to do good?

Is it more important to self promote than to be a servant leader?


 

What will it take to grow up and look beyond this?

It’s not about planting or watering, it is about the reason behind it. It’s the fact that we are doing what we do out of obedience to God so that in all we do, He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory. One may plant the seed, another may water, but it is God that makes it grow! Let’s remember the solid foundation we have to be able to build upon, it is Jesus! Let’s make sure we are building our lives on top of this foundation with material that is good, that is just, that is right, that is of value, that will bring God all the praise, the honor, and the glory. Let’s make sure that when it is tested that it will stand the test! We are the temple of God, so take care of it! Let’s live by God’s rules for His ways are right and pure and just! Being God’s fool is better than being smart according to the world! Don’t brag or inflate yourself or others, everything you have is a gift from God!

Will you live your life as a servant to others? Will you lead through a servant lifestyle? Will you stop trying to make it all about you? Consider how you can help! Consider how you can serve! Be a guide rather than trying to be a guard! Be reliable! Be accurate in your knowledge! Don’t make it or allow it to become a popularity contest! Don’t be judgmental towards others! Be aware and smart about what you do and how you do it! God knows our heart and our mind, He sees our intentions, He knows our purposes, He hears our prayers, so don’t think you will get away with anything for one day it will all come out into the open. Are you willing to live a life where when you are done you will get to hear from God “Well done my good and faithful servant”? Perspective is key! It’s important to look at things through God’s perspective or point of view. Don’t let gossip or hearsay direct your actions or reactions! Don’t allow hearsay to inflate or deflate reputations! Do any of us really know it all? What’s in a person’s mind? What’s in a person’s heart? Is there anyone who really knows you or that you really know them? Is there anything that could be found out that we could actually take credit for? Isn’t everything just a gift from God? So why are you comparing yourself to others? Why are you competing against others? With God giving you everything you need and allowing you full access to Himself (more than you can handle) why not just focus on you and Him? Let’s come alongside one another as brothers and sisters in love! Let’s live our lives for God, so that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory. Not focusing on trying to make everyone feel good or making sure we have every new gadget that comes out or pumping ourselves up. We need to make sure we live a good life, not as spoiled children. There will be many who are looking to pop your balloon and drag you down, but live a life filled with the Father’s Love that helps us and other to grow up! Make the time! It’s important! Make the effort! It’s worth it! Don’t live life as a balloon full of hot air, but rather live a life of purpose that’s empowered by the Spirit of God!

What way would you want someone to come into your life to speak to you?

As a severe disciplinarian who makes you toe the mark? Or as a good friend and counselor who wants to share heart-to-heart with you? You decide. — from 1 Corinthians 4:21


Consider the road you are taking! Consider those around you that need you to step in, step up, and give them a hand up! Consider the love they need from you! Consider the hope that you can share! How will you show up today for those around you who are looking to you?

Is your heart right? Is there anything polluting your heart?


Are you saying things to make excuses for doing things right? Are you doing things that don’t align with what you should really be doing? Where is your heart in all of this? What is really going on? Are you doing the right thing or is your heart really not in it?

This morning’s reading from God’s Word: Matthew 15-16, Psalm 92 starts off with this title: “What Pollutes Your Life“. One quote that comes to mind as I am reading this is “Methings thou dost protest too much” from William Shakespeare in Hamlet. We see the reading start with Pharisees and religion scholars coming and protesting about how Jesus’ disciples are living. We see it is a matter of the heart why they are attacking Him and them.

1-2After that, Pharisees and religion scholars came to Jesus all the way from Jerusalem, criticizing, “Why do your disciples play fast and loose with the rules?”
3-9But Jesus put it right back on them. “Why do you use your rules to play fast and loose with God’s commands? God clearly says, ‘Respect your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone denouncing father or mother should be killed.’ But you weasel around that by saying, ‘Whoever wants to, can say to father and mother, What I owed to you I’ve given to God.’ That can hardly be called respecting a parent. You cancel God’s command by your rules. Frauds! Isaiah’s prophecy of you hit the bull’s-eye:
These people make a big show of saying the right thing,
but their heart isn’t in it.
They act like they’re worshiping me,
but they don’t mean it.
They just use me as a cover
for teaching whatever suits their fancy.”
10-11He then called the crowd together and said, “Listen, and take this to heart. It’s not what you swallow that pollutes your life, but what you vomit up.”

It’s not a matter of what you put in that pollutes you, it’s a matter of what comes back out! What goes in isn’t as big of a problem, unless it affects what is on the inside. If your heart is good then what comes out will be good. If your heart is hurting, what you speak out will be hurting words. If your heart is polluted, then that pollution will be coming back out. Jesus explained it this way:

15Peter said, “I don’t get it. Put it in plain language.”
16-20Jesus replied, “You, too? Are you being willfully stupid? Don’t you know that anything that is swallowed works its way through the intestines and is finally defecated? But what comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart. It’s from the heart that we vomit up evil arguments, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies, and cussing. That’s what pollutes. Eating or not eating certain foods, washing or not washing your hands—that’s neither here nor there.”

So where are you at today? Is your heart in the right place? Are you asking Jesus to help clean house? Have you asked Him into your heart so that in your heart is only Jesus? Not Jesus plus but Jesus only. Are you ask God to search your heart and make it pure and clean? Like David did?

Don’t give up! Keep pressing on! Allow your faith to find victory!

21-22From there Jesus took a trip to Tyre and Sidon. They had hardly arrived when a Canaanite woman came down from the hills and pleaded, “Mercy, Master, Son of David! My daughter is cruelly afflicted by an evil spirit.”
23Jesus ignored her. The disciples came and complained, “Now she’s bothering us. Would you please take care of her? She’s driving us crazy.”
24Jesus refused, telling them, “I’ve got my hands full dealing with the lost sheep of Israel.”
25Then the woman came back to Jesus, went to her knees, and begged. “Master, help me.”
26He said, “It’s not right to take bread out of children’s mouths and throw it to dogs.”
27She was quick: “You’re right, Master, but beggar dogs do get scraps from the master’s table.”
28Jesus gave in. “Oh, woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!” Right then her daughter became well. — Matthew 15

There are so many people around you today who are in need. Have you prepared to be able to help them? Have you gone in advance to be ready for all that God wants and needs you to do today? Jesus did, so let’s follow His example.

29-31After Jesus returned, he walked along Lake Galilee and then climbed a mountain and took his place, ready to receive visitors. They came, tons of them, bringing along the paraplegic, the blind, the maimed, the mute—all sorts of people in need—and more or less threw them down at Jesus’ feet to see what he would do with them. He healed them. When the people saw the mutes speaking, the maimed healthy, the paraplegics walking around, the blind looking around, they were astonished and let everyone know that God was blazingly alive among them. — Matthew 15

But He didn’t stop there, He met them at their point of need and then saw their was more that He could do. Are you seeing those around you and their immediate problem? Are you assisting them in that area? Do you think you are done or are you asking God for wisdom in regards to if there is anything else that He would want you to be doing or helping with? Jesus did and it glorified His Father in Heaven!

32But Jesus wasn’t finished with them. He called his disciples and said, “I hurt for these people. For three days now they’ve been with me, and now they have nothing to eat. I can’t send them away without a meal—they’d probably collapse on the road.”
33His disciples said, “But where in this deserted place are you going to dig up enough food for a meal?”
34-39Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”
“Seven loaves,” they said, “plus a few fish.” At that, Jesus directed the people to sit down. He took the seven loaves and the fish. After giving thanks, he divided it up and gave it to the people. Everyone ate. They had all they wanted. It took seven large baskets to collect the leftovers. Over four thousand people ate their fill at that meal. After Jesus sent them away, he climbed in the boat and crossed over to the Magadan hills. — Matthew 15

Imagine someone coming up to Jesus demanding a sign? Imagine getting back the only sign they will get is the sign of Jonah? Imagine the confusion as this was before the crucifixion and resurrection. Jonah was in the fish for 3 days — Jesus was dead and in the tomb for three days. Jonah was given new life on the third day — Jesus was resurrected and defeated death and sin forever! So be careful in your life, because a little bit of a bad thing can ruin the entire batch. As we head into the next chapter (16), we see that is where this starts with the title “Some Bad Yeast“.

1-4Some Pharisees and Sadducees were on him again, pressing him to prove himself to them. He told them, “You have a saying that goes, ‘Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky at morning, sailors take warning.’ You find it easy enough to forecast the weather—why can’t you read the signs of the times? An evil and wanton generation is always wanting signs and wonders. The only sign you’ll get is the Jonah sign.” Then he turned on his heel and walked away.
5-6On their way to the other side of the lake, the disciples discovered they had forgotten to bring along bread. In the meantime, Jesus said to them, “Keep a sharp eye out for Pharisee-Sadducee yeast.”
7-12Thinking he was scolding them for forgetting bread, they discussed in whispers what to do. Jesus knew what they were doing and said, “Why all these worried whispers about forgetting the bread? Runt believers! Haven’t you caught on yet? Don’t you remember the five loaves of bread and the five thousand people, and how many baskets of fragments you picked up? Or the seven loaves that fed four thousand, and how many baskets of leftovers you collected? Haven’t you realized yet that bread isn’t the problem? The problem is yeast, Pharisee-Sadducee yeast.” Then they got it: that he wasn’t concerned about eating, but teaching—the Pharisee-Sadducee kind of teaching. — Matthew 16

Do you realize who Jesus is? Do you know that He came to have a relationship with us? Do you know that it is about more than religion and rituals, but it is about a relationship with Jesus? In this way new doors of opportunity and life have been open.

13When Jesus arrived in the villages of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?”
14They replied, “Some think he is John the Baptizer, some say Elijah, some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”
15He pressed them, “And how about you? Who do you say I am?”
16Simon Peter said, “You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17-18Jesus came back, “God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am. And now I’m going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.
19“And that’s not all. You will have complete and free access to God’s kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven. A yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven.”
20He swore the disciples to secrecy. He made them promise they would tell no one that he was the Messiah.

Let Jesus take the wheel! Let Him be in the driver’s seat! Trust Him, He is good to His Word! Do what He says to do. Avoid what He says not to do. This is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it. Jesus did it all that we could be reconciled to God.

21-22Then Jesus made it clear to his disciples that it was now necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, submit to an ordeal of suffering at the hands of the religious leaders, be killed, and then on the third day be raised up alive. Peter took him in hand, protesting, “Impossible, Master! That can never be!”
23But Jesus didn’t swerve. “Peter, get out of my way. Satan, get lost. You have no idea how God works.”
24-26Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?
27-28“Don’t be in such a hurry to go into business for yourself. Before you know it the Son of Man will arrive with all the splendor of his Father, accompanied by an army of angels. You’ll get everything you have coming to you, a personal gift. This isn’t pie in the sky by and by. Some of you standing here are going to see it take place, see the Son of Man in kingdom glory.” — Matthew 16

It’s a gift through grace. Will you receive it? Will you accept it? Will you live it?

What is the legacy that you are passing along to your children?


There are so many things we can pass along to our children, but are we passing along something of long term value or significance? How are you forming and molding your children to know what is right and what is wrong? How are you guiding and directing your children to discover and decide which way to go? What are you feeding into their lives so that they will be built up, strengthened, and prepared for what will be before them? What type of a legacy are you preparing for them by the things you say and do?

This morning’s reading comes from 1 Chronicles 22-24, Psalm 73. It kicks off speaking of David, Solomon, and the Temple. David’s desire along with God’s promise setup for a legacy that lives on to this day. I setup Solomon for an incredible legacy and life under the wisdom of God. David wanted to make sure everything would be not only ready, but available for Solomon to be able to accomplish the task.

Do you talk to your kids about the legacy you desire for them? Do you share with them the hopes and dreams you have for their lives? Do you share your love and your time with them so that they know how much you care? Are you modeling what they should or would want to be as parents? Are you setting them up for an incredible future?

We see how David did when he explained to Solomon about the Temple:

7-10David said to Solomon, “I wanted in the worst way to build a sanctuary to honor my God. But God prevented me, saying, ‘You’ve killed too many people, fought too many wars. You are not the one to honor me by building a sanctuary—you’ve been responsible for too much killing, too much bloodshed. But you are going to have a son and he will be a quiet and peaceful man, and I will calm his enemies down on all sides. His very name will speak peace—that is, Solomon, which means Peace—and I’ll give peace and rest under his rule. He will be the one to build a sanctuary in my honor. He’ll be my royal adopted son and I’ll be his father; and I’ll make sure that the authority of his kingdom over Israel lasts forever.’
11-16“So now, son, God be with you. God-speed as you build the sanctuary for your God, the job God has given you. And may God also give you discernment and understanding when he puts you in charge of Israel so that you will rule in reverent obedience under God’s Revelation. That’s what will make you successful, following the directions and doing the things that God commanded Moses for Israel. Courage! Take charge! Don’t be timid; don’t hold back. Look at this—I’ve gone to a lot of trouble to stockpile materials for the sanctuary of God: a hundred thousand talents (3,775 tons) of gold, a million talents (37,750 tons) of silver, tons of bronze and iron—too much to weigh—and all this timber and stone. And you’re free to add more. And workers both plentiful and prepared: stonecutters, masons, carpenters, artisans in gold and silver, bronze and iron. You’re all set—get to work! And God-speed!”
17-19David gave orders to all of Israel’s leaders to help his son Solomon, saying, “Isn’t it obvious that your God is present with you; that he has given you peaceful relations with everyone around? My part in this was to put down the enemies, subdue the land to God and his people; your part is to give yourselves, heart and soul, to praying to your God. So get moving—build the sacred house of worship to God! Then bring the Chest of the Covenant of God and all the holy furnishings for the worship of God into the sanctuary built in honor of God.” — 1 Chronicles 22:7-19

How are you serving God? Are you living your role? Are you sharing the importance of doing God’s will with your children? Are you passing along your hopes and trust in God to your children? Are you sharing the testimonies of all that God has done so that they can be encouraged, so that in the highs and the lows, they will know they can trust God because He is working something out because His plan is good. His ways may not be our ways, but His ways are better than our ways, His ways are higher than our ways. Inheritance isn’t just about money. Legacy isn’t just about the stuff you leave them, but the life you are preparing for them to live. It is something that will hopefully last more than a single generation – your children’s children, your grandchildren, and even longer.

Today is the day to consider and get started. Today is the day to reflect and respond. Today is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it. How will you be preparing the legacy you want to pass along to the next and future generations?

Don’t rub it in their face. Remember how you are supposed to behave!


Don’t be someone who acts in spiteful revenge or criminally vengeful against others. You will run the risk of being hit with acts of vengeance. Remember the battle belongs to the Lord and as such let Him take care of things and handle it properly. Let’s not be lead into the traps of the devil and be acting in ways that are not becoming. Rather, let’s reflect on how God desires for us to respond and act.

9-10Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. 11-13Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. 14-16Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody. 17-19Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” 20-21Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good. — Romans 12:9-21

Check your heart and mind to see where you are at. Imagine if you lived your life to the full God’s way, what a difference it would be, what a difference it would make. Imagine a full life that is even more than you could ask or imagine.

Do your best, prepare for the worst—then trust God to bring victory. — Proverbs 21:31

My daily reading today (Day 191) closes with Psalm 41 and so I will share it’s message here as it aligns with my post above. May this post and the reading plan end with the same message.

A David Psalm
1-3Dignify those who are down on their luck;
you’ll feel good—that’s what God does.
God looks after us all,
makes us robust with life—
Lucky to be in the land,
we’re free from enemy worries.
Whenever we’re sick and in bed,
God becomes our nurse,
nurses us back to health.
4-7I said, “God, be gracious!
Put me together again—
my sins have torn me to pieces.”
My enemies are wishing the worst for me;
they make bets on what day I will die.
If someone comes to see me,
he mouths empty platitudes,
All the while gathering gossip about me
to entertain the street-corner crowd.
These “friends” who hate me
whisper slanders all over town.
They form committees
to plan misery for me.
8-9The rumor goes out, “He’s got some dirty,
deadly disease. The doctors
have given up on him.”
Even my best friend, the one I always told everything
—he ate meals at my house all the time!—
has bitten my hand.
10God, give grace, get me up on my feet.
I’ll show them a thing or two.
11-12Meanwhile, I’m sure you’re on my side—
no victory shouts yet from the enemy camp!
You know me inside and out, you hold me together,
you never fail to stand me tall in your presence
so I can look you in the eye.
13Blessed is God, Israel’s God,
always, always, always.
Yes. Yes. Yes.

Are you letting the worries, riches, and pleasures of this world keep you from becoming all you could be?


“And the seed that fell in the weeds—well, these are the ones who hear, but then the seed is crowded out and nothing comes of it as they go about their lives worrying about tomorrow, making money, and having fun. – Luke 8:14

Where are you at in your life today? Are you looking to God and walk with God down the roads of life? Are you seeking His will and His kingdom?

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.Matthew 6:30-33

Not at this point in the journey? Are you stuck with worry? Worrying about tomorrow? Worrying about money? Worrying about having fun?

Jesus overheard and said, “Don’t be upset. Just trust me and everything will be all right.” – Luke 8:50

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. – Matthew 6:34

So focus on right now. Focus on what is before you today. Focus on God!

How are you living today? Is it all about you? What’s in the center?


Are you living life today for your glory? Are you living life today to get yourself in the limelight? Are you putting yourself in the center?

Alternate reality… Are you just reflecting God’s goodness to those you encounter in your life? Are you sharing all God’s truth and hope so that He gets all the praise and the honor and the glory? Are you being effective?

When people see you, do they see God’s nature? When people see you, do they see the revelation of God’s power? When they do isn’t it amazing how it can transform the world around you?

So today, don’t hog the limelight for yourself. Give it to God and allow Him to be in the light getting all the praise, the honor, and the glory and see how much better things turn out. Watch how His power flowing through you will encourage others and give God all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Resources:

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for all that will be done in and through it. I lift up my upset stomach to You Lord and ask for Your healing touch so that I am able to focus on You and Your plans today without pain or discomfort. Lord, I lift up my family and pray Your hand of protection and wisdom over them today. Help my friends Lord who are search and seeking their next steps, grant them wisdom and guide their steps to assure their hopes are accomplished and that Your plans are fulfilled. Lord, I lift up this day and ask Lord that every thought, word, and action bring You praise, honor, and glory, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Not getting what you deserve? That could be grace.


So don’t be afraid, even though now you deserve to be punished and have been scattered among other nations. But when I destroy them, I will protect you. I, the LORD, have spoken. — Jeremiah 46:28 (CEV)

When God is for you, who can be against you? Turn to God! Put your hope and trust in Him!


There is a difference between what we need and what we want. There are only seven things that we need, the rest are wants. The key is to make sure we keep Jesus in the center and not allow our needs or our wants to take the lead.

Needs:

  1. Dignity
  2. Authority
  3. Blessings and Provision
  4. Security
  5. Purpose and Meaning
  6. Freedom and Boundary
  7. Intimate love and Companionship

Let’s stay within God’s provision to meet these needs and avoid the potential for getting into trouble. I will let you consider your own list of wants.

Keeping Christ in the center allows us to keep focus and perspective when things are added or removed from our lives.

God shows that our work is a place where many of our needs can be met, even from the beginning.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”  — Genesis 2:15

Ever had the conversation around work-life balance? Ever heard some people try to explain it away so that they are able to merge their work so deeply into their lives that there isn’t a separation? Ever heard some people say that it is a myth? Ever watch some people who find so much of their meaning or purpose in their work that they become workaholics? Ever seen people who get their validation from work and as such want to or end up spending all their time there? I still remember two times when I came to a point of re-evaluating the situation. One was when my health started to suffer because I was pushing so hard and trying to do everything. I remember reflecting on a book I had read many years later calls First Things First which helped me to stop and reprioritize how I was living life. The second time was when parts of my work were taken away from me in a way that seemed deceitful but that I learned simply required me to forgive in order to discover and live in the true hope and freedom of God.

Are you working too many hours? Why? What is the reason? What is your focus? What does God want you to do? – the light on the dashboard for me was my diabetes going out of whack. Turn to God and have him as the top priority and then do what He shows you and tells you to do. He knows what you need. He knows that work is important to help us be productive and gain satisfaction. God also knows that if we make work the center of our lives, that we end up in a performance based life and with that we can fall into the trap of believing that we are only acceptable when work says we are acceptable. It can taunt us and torment us. It can turn us into workaholics and then we lose the key, the core, and the center of all truth – GOD. We need to put and keep God in the center. Throughout my career, there have been times when people ask me how I can do what I do (not realizing everything that is in my life). Telling them all of the areas of my life get me to the point where they feel more confused that when they first asked. It’s not because of me, but because of what God is doing in and through me. God’s Word even tells us “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and …” God will take care of the rest. Quoting from God’s word and our needs, we find:

32These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. – John 6:32-34

How much of what you need will he give you when you
put God in the center and seek His kingdom?

EVERYTHING YOU NEED!!

And do you remember there are only 7 needs,
so seek God’s Kingdom and watch them all get met.


References:


My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I praise You Lord for my family and for the incredible blessing they are to my life. I praise You Lord for Your Word that never returns void but speaks hope, life, and wisdom into my life. Help me today Lord to shine for You and to allow others to come to know You and glorify You through my thoughts, words, and actions. Let the thoughts, words, and actions bring You praise, honor, and glory I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.