What do you do with new beginnings?


How do you handle the change? How do you prepare to start over? How do you close out the finish of the previous in order to move forward with the new?

As I ask all these questions, I think of the verse from 2 Corinthians 5:17 which says:

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

2 Corinthians 5:17

Be it a change in your physical, emotional, or spiritual life, how will you get started? Will you turn to the manual for life? Will you turn to God? Will you ask Jesus? Will you ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and direction? Will you ask the Holy Spirit for peace and comfort through the transition? Will you be rejuvenated and excited as you step up and step into this new season?


Today’s reading from God’s Word comes to use from:

  • Nehemiah 7:5-73
  • Ezekiel 47:13-23
  • Ezekiel 48
  • Acts 24:10-27
  • Revelation 18:1-10
  • Psalms 139

Will you answer the call God puts on your life? Will you pursue the idea He gives you?

Consider the instructions He gives you to accomplish this task. Even if it seems larger than you are able, trust Him. Learn from experiences like the moments when I was given the options of doing what God said or be nothing and receive the call.

Receive what God has for you and what He has prepared in advance for you.

He has gone before us preparing in advance the good works He has for us to do.

He goes before us preparing a room in heaven for all of us who choose to receive the gift of grace through Jesus Christ.

Be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within you.

Be prepared to give an answer for the hope you have.

Be prepared to give an answer for the joy that is in you.

Submit to the authority put over you.

Serve others with the authority you have been given so as to be a servant leader following Jesus’s example.

Don’t be tempted into committing sin, resist the devil and He will flee.

God knows, so you can find rest in Him. Pursue Him and His will for you.


So where are you at today? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

What will you do if it stops?


Would you ask why? Would you looking what happened? Would you wait a bit to see if it starts up again? Would you be concerned? Would you look things up for yourself? Would you seek truth? Would you seek hope? Would you seek love?

Jesus is the way the truth and the life! Jesus’s love never stop! God so loves the world that He sent Jesus to pay the ultimate price in order to make a way for us to be reconciled unto Him. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us.

Have you started your journey with Jesus? Have you invited Him into your life and started to follow after Him and His ways? Have you started to live out your life first loving God and second loving people? What motivates you? What will it take to make you keep going? What will it take to notice when the posts stop? How long would it take for you to notice the posts stop? Will you pursue it on your own? Will you get your own Bible? Will you get one for your phone like YouVersion Bible? Will you get one you can read on the web like bible.com? Will you allow it to speak to you? Will you allow the alive word of God available through the Bible to speak into your life? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to be your comforter and your guide? Will you allow Jesus to be your Lord and Savior?

What will you do if it stops?

Is there a legacy of others who will pick up the torch and carry it forward? Is there a legacy of others who will remember and continue? Is there a legacy of others who won’t give up but press in and press on? Are you one of them? Be an overcomer! Be more than a conqueror!

Post a comment, link back, let me know…


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets started with Ezra 4:

‘The enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were rebuilding a Temple to the Lord , the God of Israel. So they approached Zerubbabel and the other leaders and said, “Let us build with you, for we worship your God just as you do. We have sacrificed to him ever since King Esarhaddon of Assyria brought us here.” But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the other leaders of Israel replied, “You may have no part in this work. We alone will build the Temple for the Lord , the God of Israel, just as King Cyrus of Persia commanded us.” Then the local residents tried to discourage and frighten the people of Judah to keep them from their work. They bribed agents to work against them and to frustrate their plans. This went on during the entire reign of King Cyrus of Persia and lasted until King Darius of Persia took the throne. Years later when Xerxes began his reign, the enemies of Judah wrote a letter of accusation against the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Even later, during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, the enemies of Judah, led by Bishlam, Mithredath, and Tabeel, sent a letter to Artaxerxes in the Aramaic language, and it was translated for the king. Rehum the governor and Shimshai the court secretary wrote the letter, telling King Artaxerxes about the situation in Jerusalem. They greeted the king for all their colleagues—the judges and local leaders, the people of Tarpel, the Persians, the Babylonians, and the people of Erech and Susa (that is, Elam). They also sent greetings from the rest of the people whom the great and noble Ashurbanipal had deported and relocated in Samaria and throughout the neighboring lands of the province west of the Euphrates River. This is a copy of their letter: “To King Artaxerxes, from your loyal subjects in the province west of the Euphrates River. “The king should know that the Jews who came here to Jerusalem from Babylon are rebuilding this rebellious and evil city. They have already laid the foundation and will soon finish its walls. And the king should know that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, it will be much to your disadvantage, for the Jews will then refuse to pay their tribute, customs, and tolls to you. “Since we are your loyal subjects and do not want to see the king dishonored in this way, we have sent the king this information. We suggest that a search be made in your ancestors’ records, where you will discover what a rebellious city this has been in the past. In fact, it was destroyed because of its long and troublesome history of revolt against the kings and countries who controlled it. We declare to the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, the province west of the Euphrates River will be lost to you.” Then King Artaxerxes sent this reply: “To Rehum the governor, Shimshai the court secretary, and their colleagues living in Samaria and throughout the province west of the Euphrates River. Greetings. “The letter you sent has been translated and read to me. I ordered a search of the records and have found that Jerusalem has indeed been a hotbed of insurrection against many kings. In fact, rebellion and revolt are normal there! Powerful kings have ruled over Jerusalem and the entire province west of the Euphrates River, receiving tribute, customs, and tolls. Therefore, issue orders to have these men stop their work. That city must not be rebuilt except at my express command. Be diligent, and don’t neglect this matter, for we must not permit the situation to harm the king’s interests.” When this letter from King Artaxerxes was read to Rehum, Shimshai, and their colleagues, they hurried to Jerusalem. Then, with a show of strength, they forced the Jews to stop building. So the work on the Temple of God in Jerusalem had stopped, and it remained at a standstill until the second year of the reign of King Darius of Persia.’

Ezra 4:1-24

Our reading then brings us two chapters from Ezekiel starting with 34:

‘Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds, the leaders of Israel. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord : What sorrow awaits you shepherds who feed yourselves instead of your flocks. Shouldn’t shepherds feed their sheep? You drink the milk, wear the wool, and butcher the best animals, but you let your flocks starve. You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the injured. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty. So my sheep have been scattered without a shepherd, and they are easy prey for any wild animal. They have wandered through all the mountains and all the hills, across the face of the earth, yet no one has gone to search for them. “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord : As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , you abandoned my flock and left them to be attacked by every wild animal. And though you were my shepherds, you didn’t search for my sheep when they were lost. You took care of yourselves and left the sheep to starve. Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord . This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I now consider these shepherds my enemies, and I will hold them responsible for what has happened to my flock. I will take away their right to feed the flock, and I will stop them from feeding themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths; the sheep will no longer be their prey. “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day. I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel and by the rivers and in all the places where people live. Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in the lush pastures of the hills. I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord . I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak. But I will destroy those who are fat and powerful. I will feed them, yes—feed them justice! “And as for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign Lord says to his people: I will judge between one animal of the flock and another, separating the sheep from the goats. Isn’t it enough for you to keep the best of the pastures for yourselves? Must you also trample down the rest? Isn’t it enough for you to drink clear water for yourselves? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? Why must my flock eat what you have trampled down and drink water you have fouled? “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will surely judge between the fat sheep and the scrawny sheep. For you fat sheep pushed and butted and crowded my sick and hungry flock until you scattered them to distant lands. So I will rescue my flock, and they will no longer be abused. I will judge between one animal of the flock and another. And I will set over them one shepherd, my servant David. He will feed them and be a shepherd to them. And I, the Lord , will be their God, and my servant David will be a prince among my people. I, the Lord , have spoken! “I will make a covenant of peace with my people and drive away the dangerous animals from the land. Then they will be able to camp safely in the wildest places and sleep in the woods without fear. I will bless my people and their homes around my holy hill. And in the proper season I will send the showers they need. There will be showers of blessing. The orchards and fields of my people will yield bumper crops, and everyone will live in safety. When I have broken their chains of slavery and rescued them from those who enslaved them, then they will know that I am the Lord . They will no longer be prey for other nations, and wild animals will no longer devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will frighten them. “And I will make their land famous for its crops, so my people will never again suffer from famines or the insults of foreign nations. In this way, they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them. And they will know that they, the people of Israel, are my people, says the Sovereign Lord . You are my flock, the sheep of my pasture. You are my people, and I am your God. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!”’

Ezekiel 34:1-31

and continues into Ezekiel 35:

‘Again a message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, turn and face Mount Seir, and prophesy against its people. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord : “I am your enemy, O Mount Seir, and I will raise my fist against you to destroy you completely. I will demolish your cities and make you desolate. Then you will know that I am the Lord . “Your eternal hatred for the people of Israel led you to butcher them when they were helpless, when I had already punished them for all their sins. As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , since you show no distaste for blood, I will give you a bloodbath of your own. Your turn has come! I will make Mount Seir utterly desolate, killing off all who try to escape and any who return. I will fill your mountains with the dead. Your hills, your valleys, and your ravines will be filled with people slaughtered by the sword. I will make you desolate forever. Your cities will never be rebuilt. Then you will know that I am the Lord . “For you said, ‘The lands of Israel and Judah will be ours. We will take possession of them. What do we care that the Lord is there!’ Therefore, as surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , I will pay back your angry deeds with my own. I will punish you for all your acts of anger, envy, and hatred. And I will make myself known to Israel by what I do to you. Then you will know that I, the Lord , have heard every contemptuous word you spoke against the mountains of Israel. For you said, ‘They are desolate; they have been given to us as food to eat!’ In saying that, you boasted proudly against me, and I have heard it all! “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The whole world will rejoice when I make you desolate. You rejoiced at the desolation of Israel’s territory. Now I will rejoice at yours! You will be wiped out, you people of Mount Seir and all who live in Edom! Then you will know that I am the Lord .’

Ezekiel 35:1-15

Today’s reading next brings us into the New Testament starting with Acts 21:

‘After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, we sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and then went to Patara. There we boarded a ship sailing for Phoenicia. We sighted the island of Cyprus, passed it on our left, and landed at the harbor of Tyre, in Syria, where the ship was to unload its cargo. We went ashore, found the local believers, and stayed with them a week. These believers prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem. When we returned to the ship at the end of the week, the entire congregation, including women and children, left the city and came down to the shore with us. There we knelt, prayed, and said our farewells. Then we went aboard, and they returned home. The next stop after leaving Tyre was Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed for one day. The next day we went on to Caesarea and stayed at the home of Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen to distribute food. He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy. Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. He came over, took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.’” When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. But he said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” When it was clear that we couldn’t persuade him, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.” After this we packed our things and left for Jerusalem. Some believers from Caesarea accompanied us, and they took us to the home of Mnason, a man originally from Cyprus and one of the early believers. ‘

Acts of the Apostles 21:1-16

and continues into Revelation 13:

‘Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God. This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion! And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority. I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshiped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they also worshiped the beast. “Who is as great as the beast?” they exclaimed. “Who is able to fight against him?” Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his dwelling—that is, those who dwell in heaven. And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation. And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was made. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. Anyone who is destined for prison will be taken to prison. Anyone destined to die by the sword will die by the sword.’

Revelation 13:1-10

Today’s reading closes with Psalms 129:

‘From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me. Let all Israel repeat this: From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me, but they have never defeated me. My back is covered with cuts, as if a farmer had plowed long furrows. But the Lord is good; he has cut me free from the ropes of the ungodly. May all who hate Jerusalem be turned back in shameful defeat. May they be as useless as grass on a rooftop, turning yellow when only half grown, ignored by the harvester, despised by the binder. And may those who pass by refuse to give them this blessing: “The Lord bless you; we bless you in the Lord ’s name.”’

Psalms 129:1-8

So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpases all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejocie with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

Are you ready to start over and rebuild?


Ever noticed how much things change in life? Ever noticed things can’t stay the same because things happen? Growth triggers change. Plans trigger change. People trigger change. Responses trigger change. Actions trigger change. What about when a new structure is required? That triggers change too. Reorgs trigger change. Repentance triggers change. Salvation triggers change. Receiving Jesus into your heart triggers change. Bad decisions trigger change. Bad responses trigger change. Forgiveness triggers change. Grace triggers change. So what type of change are you facing? If instead of change people used the word renew would that change the perception of change?


Are you ready to start over and
rebuild things a new way?


Let’s turn to God’s Word and see what it has to say in our daily reading as part of Day 290 of Read the Bible for Life 4 + 1 Plan.

Today’s reading gets us started with Ezra 3:

‘In early autumn, when the Israelites had settled in their towns, all the people assembled in Jerusalem with a unified purpose. Then Jeshua son of Jehozadak joined his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel with his family in rebuilding the altar of the God of Israel. They wanted to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, as instructed in the Law of Moses, the man of God. Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they rebuilt the altar at its old site. Then they began to sacrifice burnt offerings on the altar to the Lord each morning and evening. They celebrated the Festival of Shelters as prescribed in the Law, sacrificing the number of burnt offerings specified for each day of the festival. They also offered the regular burnt offerings and the offerings required for the new moon celebrations and the annual festivals as prescribed by the Lord . The people also gave voluntary offerings to the Lord . Fifteen days before the Festival of Shelters began, the priests had begun to sacrifice burnt offerings to the Lord . This was even before they had started to lay the foundation of the Lord ’s Temple. Then the people hired masons and carpenters and bought cedar logs from the people of Tyre and Sidon, paying them with food, wine, and olive oil. The logs were brought down from the Lebanon mountains and floated along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Joppa, for King Cyrus had given permission for this. The construction of the Temple of God began in midspring, during the second year after they arrived in Jerusalem. The work force was made up of everyone who had returned from exile, including Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Jeshua son of Jehozadak and his fellow priests, and all the Levites. The Levites who were twenty years old or older were put in charge of rebuilding the Lord ’s Temple. The workers at the Temple of God were supervised by Jeshua with his sons and relatives, and Kadmiel and his sons, all descendants of Hodaviah. They were helped in this task by the Levites of the family of Henadad. When the builders completed the foundation of the Lord ’s Temple, the priests put on their robes and took their places to blow their trumpets. And the Levites, descendants of Asaph, clashed their cymbals to praise the Lord , just as King David had prescribed. With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord : “He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!” Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord ’s Temple had been laid. But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seen the first Temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy. The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance.’

Ezra 3:1-13

Will you change in a way that will bring joy to God? Will you change in a way that will rebuild the foundation on which you build your life? Will you set Jesus as your foundation and your cornerstone to help ensure you are aligned and on solid ground?

Today’s reading continues into Ezekiel 33:

‘Once again a message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, give your people this message: ‘When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose one of their own to be a watchman. When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.’ “Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself. “Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: You are saying, ‘Our sins are heavy upon us; we are wasting away! How can we survive?’ As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die? “Son of man, give your people this message: The righteous behavior of righteous people will not save them if they turn to sin, nor will the wicked behavior of wicked people destroy them if they repent and turn from their sins. When I tell righteous people that they will live, but then they sin, expecting their past righteousness to save them, then none of their righteous acts will be remembered. I will destroy them for their sins. And suppose I tell some wicked people that they will surely die, but then they turn from their sins and do what is just and right. For instance, they might give back a debtor’s security, return what they have stolen, and obey my life-giving laws, no longer doing what is evil. If they do this, then they will surely live and not die. None of their past sins will be brought up again, for they have done what is just and right, and they will surely live. “Your people are saying, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right,’ but it is they who are not doing what’s right. For again I say, when righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and turn to evil, they will die. But if wicked people turn from their wickedness and do what is just and right, they will live. O people of Israel, you are saying, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right.’ But I judge each of you according to your deeds.” On January 8, during the twelfth year of our captivity, a survivor from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has fallen!” The previous evening the Lord had taken hold of me and given me back my voice. So I was able to speak when this man arrived the next morning. Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, the scattered remnants of Israel living among the ruined cities keep saying, ‘Abraham was only one man, yet he gained possession of the entire land. We are many; surely the land has been given to us as a possession.’ So tell these people, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: You eat meat with blood in it, you worship idols, and you murder the innocent. Do you really think the land should be yours? Murderers! Idolaters! Adulterers! Should the land belong to you?’ “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: As surely as I live, those living in the ruins will die by the sword. And I will send wild animals to eat those living in the open fields. Those hiding in the forts and caves will die of disease. I will completely destroy the land and demolish her pride. Her arrogant power will come to an end. The mountains of Israel will be so desolate that no one will even travel through them. When I have completely destroyed the land because of their detestable sins, then they will know that I am the Lord .’ “Son of man, your people talk about you in their houses and whisper about you at the doors. They say to each other, ‘Come on, let’s go hear the prophet tell us what the Lord is saying!’ So my people come pretending to be sincere and sit before you. They listen to your words, but they have no intention of doing what you say. Their mouths are full of lustful words, and their hearts seek only after money. You are very entertaining to them, like someone who sings love songs with a beautiful voice or plays fine music on an instrument. They hear what you say, but they don’t act on it! But when all these terrible things happen to them—as they certainly will—then they will know a prophet has been among them.”’

Ezekiel 33:1-33

Will you only change if the change is for the good? Will you only change if the change is in alignment with God’s Word, wisdom, and discernment? Will you change in a way that will bless God and benefit people demonstrating your love of God and love of your neighbors?

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament with Acts 20:

‘But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him. When they arrived he declared, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus. “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. “And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know. “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood —over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders. I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you. “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself. “I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes. You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye. They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship.’

Acts of the Apostles 20:17-38

Will you be an agent of change for the better? Will you point people to repent and turn back to God? Will you point people to Jesus so that they can be changed and saved? Will you point people to Jesus so that they can be transformed with the old being gone and the new having coming? Will you share the love of Jesus so that others too may be transformed and saved?

Today’s reading continues into Revelation 12:

‘Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last— salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth— the one who accuses them before our God day and night. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens! And you who live in the heavens, rejoice! But terror will come on the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he has little time.” When the dragon realized that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But she was given two wings like those of a great eagle so she could fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness. There she would be cared for and protected from the dragon for a time, times, and half a time. Then the dragon tried to drown the woman with a flood of water that flowed from his mouth. But the earth helped her by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that gushed out from the mouth of the dragon. And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.’

Revelation 12:7-17

Will you be ready for the change that will come when upon Jesus’s return? Will you have to deal with the change of people vanishing and being left behind or will you change first and be taken with that first group? Will you have to decide to follow Jesus and be changed after the first group in order that you won’t have to deal with the eternal pit? Will you choose to spend eternity with God or apart from God? Will you choose to spend eternity with God or will you have to deal with the same consequences of the devil?

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 128:

‘How joyful are those who fear the Lord — all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be! Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table. That is the Lord ’s blessing for those who fear him. May the Lord continually bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live. May you live to enjoy your grandchildren. May Israel have peace!’

Psalms 128:1-6

So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpases all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejocie with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

Hear comes change. Hear comes pressure.


When you learn there is change coming, what is your first response? When you hear about pressure coming, what is your response? Do you have a solid foundation to stand upon? Do you have a strong fortress to lean and retreat to? Does it matter what type of change it is? Does it matter what type of pressure it is? What if change means for the better? What if change means something new? What if change means going forward? What if change means going back? What if change means doing things differently? When you hear about a change coming, does that impact the way you proceed? Does it make you more hesitant? Does it make you more sensitive? Does it make you more cautious? Does it make you more determined? When you hear pressure is on the way, does it make you think about the process? Are you receptive because you know that it takes pressure to create a diamond? Is there such thing as good pressure? Do you ever consider the author or controller of the change and the pressure? Are you willing to turn to God for wisdom and discernment in and through those times? Are you willing to make the change if it is a matter of love? Are you willing to receive the pressure if it is a matter of love and a lasting relationship?

Let’s take a pause to consider this subject… Here is a song to help you consider and contemplate this pressure and change.

Diamonds by Hawk Nelson

Hear comes change.
Hear comes pressure.


Today’s reading gets us started with 2 Kings 25, the conclusions of the books of Kings.

‘So on January 15, during the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon led his entire army against Jerusalem. They surrounded the city and built siege ramps against its walls. Jerusalem was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah’s reign. By July 18 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, the famine in the city had become very severe, and the last of the food was entirely gone. Then a section of the city wall was broken down. Since the city was surrounded by the Babylonians, the soldiers waited for nightfall and escaped through the gate between the two walls behind the king’s garden. Then they headed toward the Jordan Valley. But the Babylonian troops chased the king and overtook him on the plains of Jericho, for his men had all deserted him and scattered. They captured the king and took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where they pronounced judgment upon Zedekiah. They made Zedekiah watch as they slaughtered his sons. Then they gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon. On August 14 of that year, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard and an official of the Babylonian king, arrived in Jerusalem. He burned down the Temple of the Lord , the royal palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem. He destroyed all the important buildings in the city. Then he supervised the entire Babylonian army as they tore down the walls of Jerusalem on every side. Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took as exiles the rest of the people who remained in the city, the defectors who had declared their allegiance to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the population. But the captain of the guard allowed some of the poorest people to stay behind to care for the vineyards and fields. The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars in front of the Lord ’s Temple, the bronze water carts, and the great bronze basin called the Sea, and they carried all the bronze away to Babylon. They also took all the ash buckets, shovels, lamp snuffers, ladles, and all the other bronze articles used for making sacrifices at the Temple. The captain of the guard also took the incense burners and basins, and all the other articles made of pure gold or silver. The weight of the bronze from the two pillars, the Sea, and the water carts was too great to be measured. These things had been made for the Lord ’s Temple in the days of Solomon. Each of the pillars was 27 feet tall. The bronze capital on top of each pillar was 7 1 / 2 feet high and was decorated with a network of bronze pomegranates all the way around. Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took with him as prisoners Seraiah the high priest, Zephaniah the priest of the second rank, and the three chief gatekeepers. And from among the people still hiding in the city, he took an officer who had been in charge of the Judean army; five of the king’s personal advisers; the army commander’s chief secretary, who was in charge of recruitment; and sixty other citizens. Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took them all to the king of Babylon at Riblah. And there at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king of Babylon had them all put to death. So the people of Judah were sent into exile from their land. Then King Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan as governor over the people he had left in Judah. When all the army commanders and their men learned that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah as governor, they went to see him at Mizpah. These included Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, Jezaniah son of the Maacathite, and all their men. Gedaliah vowed to them that the Babylonian officials meant them no harm. “Don’t be afraid of them. Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and all will go well for you,” he promised. But in midautumn of that year, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama, who was a member of the royal family, went to Mizpah with ten men and killed Gedaliah. He also killed all the Judeans and Babylonians who were with him at Mizpah. Then all the people of Judah, from the least to the greatest, as well as the army commanders, fled in panic to Egypt, for they were afraid of what the Babylonians would do to them. In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, Evil-merodach ascended to the Babylonian throne. He was kind to Jehoiachin and released him from prison on April 2 of that year. He spoke kindly to Jehoiachin and gave him a higher place than all the other exiled kings in Babylon. He supplied Jehoiachin with new clothes to replace his prison garb and allowed him to dine in the king’s presence for the rest of his life. So the king gave him a regular food allowance as long as he lived.’

2 Kings 25:1-30

Today’s continues into Ezekiel 31:

‘On June 21, during the eleventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, give this message to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and all his hordes: “To whom would you compare your greatness? You are like mighty Assyria, which was once like a cedar of Lebanon, with beautiful branches that cast deep forest shade and with its top high among the clouds. Deep springs watered it and helped it to grow tall and luxuriant. The water flowed around it like a river, streaming to all the trees nearby. This great tree towered high, higher than all the other trees around it. It prospered and grew long thick branches because of all the water at its roots. The birds nested in its branches, and in its shade all the wild animals gave birth. All the great nations of the world lived in its shadow. It was strong and beautiful, with wide-spreading branches, for its roots went deep into abundant water. No other cedar in the garden of God could rival it. No cypress had branches to equal it; no plane tree had boughs to compare. No tree in the garden of God came close to it in beauty. Because I made this tree so beautiful, and gave it such magnificent foliage, it was the envy of all the other trees of Eden, the garden of God. “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because Egypt became proud and arrogant, and because it set itself so high above the others, with its top reaching to the clouds, I will hand it over to a mighty nation that will destroy it as its wickedness deserves. I have already discarded it. A foreign army—the terror of the nations—has cut it down and left it fallen on the ground. Its branches are scattered across the mountains and valleys and ravines of the land. All those who lived in its shadow have gone away and left it lying there. “The birds roost on its fallen trunk, and the wild animals lie among its branches. Let the tree of no other nation proudly exult in its own prosperity, though it be higher than the clouds and it be watered from the depths. For all are doomed to die, to go down to the depths of the earth. They will land in the pit along with everyone else on earth. “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When Assyria went down to the grave, I made the deep springs mourn. I stopped its rivers and dried up its abundant water. I clothed Lebanon in black and caused the trees of the field to wilt. I made the nations shake with fear at the sound of its fall, for I sent it down to the grave with all the others who descend to the pit. And all the other proud trees of Eden, the most beautiful and the best of Lebanon, the ones whose roots went deep into the water, took comfort to find it there with them in the depths of the earth. Its allies, too, were all destroyed and had passed away. They had gone down to the grave—all those nations that had lived in its shade. “O Egypt, to which of the trees of Eden will you compare your strength and glory? You, too, will be brought down to the depths with all these other nations. You will lie there among the outcasts who have died by the sword. This will be the fate of Pharaoh and all his hordes. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!”’

Ezekiel 31:1-18

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament with Acts 19:

‘At this their anger boiled, and they began shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” Soon the whole city was filled with confusion. Everyone rushed to the amphitheater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, who were Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia. Paul wanted to go in, too, but the believers wouldn’t let him. Some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, also sent a message to him, begging him not to risk his life by entering the amphitheater. Inside, the people were all shouting, some one thing and some another. Everything was in confusion. In fact, most of them didn’t even know why they were there. The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander forward and told him to explain the situation. He motioned for silence and tried to speak. But when the crowd realized he was a Jew, they started shouting again and kept it up for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians! Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” At last the mayor was able to quiet them down enough to speak. “Citizens of Ephesus,” he said. “Everyone knows that Ephesus is the official guardian of the temple of the great Artemis, whose image fell down to us from heaven. Since this is an undeniable fact, you should stay calm and not do anything rash. You have brought these men here, but they have stolen nothing from the temple and have not spoken against our goddess. “If Demetrius and the craftsmen have a case against them, the courts are in session and the officials can hear the case at once. Let them make formal charges. And if there are complaints about other matters, they can be settled in a legal assembly. I am afraid we are in danger of being charged with rioting by the Roman government, since there is no cause for all this commotion. And if Rome demands an explanation, we won’t know what to say.” Then he dismissed them, and they dispersed.’

Acts of the Apostles 19:28-41

Today’s reading continues into Revelation 11:

‘Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: “The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.” The twenty-four elders sitting on their thrones before God fell with their faces to the ground and worshiped him. And they said, “We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were filled with wrath, but now the time of your wrath has come. It is time to judge the dead and reward your servants the prophets, as well as your holy people, and all who fear your name, from the least to the greatest. It is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth.” Then, in heaven, the Temple of God was opened and the Ark of his covenant could be seen inside the Temple. Lightning flashed, thunder crashed and roared, and there was an earthquake and a terrible hailstorm.’

Revelation 11:15-19

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 126:

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

Psalms 126:1-6

So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpases all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejocie with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are stil questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:


As I got to this point of my post a song from a play I was in many years ago came to mind. Somethings comin’ somethings comin’ our God is up to something.

Are you ready to mourn the loss of the old and move forward following the new?


Transitions can always be a challenge. They mean change and that can be uncomfortable. This is true even when it for the better. How will you handle the transition? How will you remap the lines? How will you know what’s next? Will you trust God enough to listen? Will you trust God enough to follow? Will you love God enough to do His will over what you think? Will you love God enough to do what He asks over what you feel? Will you love God enough to be a good steward of everything He has given you? Will you love God enough to give up your time and energy to God? Will you love God enough to give up your will? Will you love God enough to give up your words to align with His Word? Will you love God enough to give up your decisions and plans for His decisions and plans? Remember that we don’t do things to earn God’s love because He already loves us, so much that He sent Jesus to take our place in order to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way. Remember the reason we do what we do is to show God how much we love Him.

Two verses to consider as part of this are: God loves us so much that:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

and We love God so much that:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Romans 12:1

Today’s reading gets us started with the closing of Deuteronomy:

‘Then Moses went up to Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab and climbed Pisgah Peak, which is across from Jericho. And the Lord showed him the whole land, from Gilead as far as Dan; all the land of Naphtali; the land of Ephraim and Manasseh; all the land of Judah, extending to the Mediterranean Sea ; the Negev; the Jordan Valley with Jericho—the city of palms—as far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to Moses, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have now allowed you to see it with your own eyes, but you will not enter the land.” So Moses, the servant of the Lord , died there in the land of Moab, just as the Lord had said. The Lord buried him in a valley near Beth-peor in Moab, but to this day no one knows the exact place. Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyesight was clear, and he was as strong as ever. The people of Israel mourned for Moses on the plains of Moab for thirty days, until the customary period of mourning was over. Now Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him, doing just as the Lord had commanded Moses. There has never been another prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. The Lord sent him to perform all the miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, and all his servants, and his entire land. With mighty power, Moses performed terrifying acts in the sight of all Israel.’

Deuteronomy 34

Today’s reading then continues into Isaiah:

‘Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon. There the Lord will display his glory, the splendor of our God. With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland. The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived. And a great road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-minded people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways; fools will never walk there. Lions will not lurk along its course, nor any other ferocious beasts. There will be no other dangers. Only the redeemed will walk on it. Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.’

Isaiah 35

and

‘In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria came to attack the fortified towns of Judah and conquered them. Then the king of Assyria sent his chief of staff from Lachish with a huge army to confront King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. The Assyrians took up a position beside the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed. These are the officials who went out to meet with them: Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian. Then the Assyrian king’s chief of staff told them to give this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the great king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you so confident? Do you think that mere words can substitute for military skill and strength? Who are you counting on, that you have rebelled against me? On Egypt? If you lean on Egypt, it will be like a reed that splinters beneath your weight and pierces your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is completely unreliable! “But perhaps you will say to me, ‘We are trusting in the Lord our God!’ But isn’t he the one who was insulted by Hezekiah? Didn’t Hezekiah tear down his shrines and altars and make everyone in Judah and Jerusalem worship only at the altar here in Jerusalem? “I’ll tell you what! Strike a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria. I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find that many men to ride on them! With your tiny army, how can you think of challenging even the weakest contingent of my master’s troops, even with the help of Egypt’s chariots and charioteers? What’s more, do you think we have invaded your land without the Lord ’s direction? The Lord himself told us, ‘Attack this land and destroy it!’” Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Assyrian chief of staff, “Please speak to us in Aramaic, for we understand it well. Don’t speak in Hebrew, for the people on the wall will hear.” But Sennacherib’s chief of staff replied, “Do you think my master sent this message only to you and your master? He wants all the people to hear it, for when we put this city under siege, they will suffer along with you. They will be so hungry and thirsty that they will eat their own dung and drink their own urine.” Then the chief of staff stood and shouted in Hebrew to the people on the wall, “Listen to this message from the great king of Assyria! This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you. He will never be able to rescue you. Don’t let him fool you into trusting in the Lord by saying, ‘The Lord will surely rescue us. This city will never fall into the hands of the Assyrian king!’ “Don’t listen to Hezekiah! These are the terms the king of Assyria is offering: Make peace with me—open the gates and come out. Then each of you can continue eating from your own grapevine and fig tree and drinking from your own well. Then I will arrange to take you to another land like this one—a land of grain and new wine, bread and vineyards. “Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you by saying, ‘The Lord will rescue us!’ Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria? What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? And what about the gods of Sepharvaim? Did any god rescue Samaria from my power? What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? So what makes you think that the Lord can rescue Jerusalem from me?” But the people were silent and did not utter a word because Hezekiah had commanded them, “Do not answer him.” Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian, went back to Hezekiah. They tore their clothes in despair, and they went in to see the king and told him what the Assyrian chief of staff had said.’

Isaiah 36

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testaments starting with Matthew:

‘“The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about—the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place.” (Reader, pay attention!) “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. And pray that your flight will not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones. “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. See, I have warned you about this ahead of time. “So if someone tells you, ‘Look, the Messiah is out in the desert,’ don’t bother to go and look. Or, ‘Look, he is hiding here,’ don’t believe it! For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes. Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near. “Immediately after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.’

Matthew 24:15-31

and then continues into Ephesians:

‘Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free. Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don’t threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites.’

Ephesians 6:1-9

Today’s reading closes in Psalms:

‘Praise the Lord ! Praise the Lord from the heavens! Praise him from the skies! Praise him, all his angels! Praise him, all the armies of heaven! Praise him, sun and moon! Praise him, all you twinkling stars! Praise him, skies above! Praise him, vapors high above the clouds! Let every created thing give praise to the Lord , for he issued his command, and they came into being. He set them in place forever and ever. His decree will never be revoked. Praise the Lord from the earth, you creatures of the ocean depths, fire and hail, snow and clouds, wind and weather that obey him, mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all livestock, small scurrying animals and birds, kings of the earth and all people, rulers and judges of the earth, young men and young women, old men and children. Let them all praise the name of the Lord . For his name is very great; his glory towers over the earth and heaven! He has made his people strong, honoring his faithful ones— the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the Lord !’

Psalms 148

Have you made it thru?


Did you get back on track? Did you turn back to what got you there? Did you start to trust again? Did you start to believe again? Did you start to follow again? Are you still going around in circles trying to get it all figured out? Are you ready for a change? Are you ready to get back on track? Will you be the catalyst? Will you be the change? Will you be the lead? Will you make a difference?


Today’s reading begins in Deuteronomy.

‘“Then we turned around and headed back across the wilderness toward the Red Sea, just as the Lord had instructed me, and we wandered around in the region of Mount Seir for a long time. “Then at last the Lord said to me, ‘You have been wandering around in this hill country long enough; turn to the north. Give these orders to the people: “You will pass through the country belonging to your relatives the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. The Edomites will feel threatened, so be careful. Do not bother them, for I have given them all the hill country around Mount Seir as their property, and I will not give you even one square foot of their land. If you need food to eat or water to drink, pay them for it. For the Lord your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the Lord your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.”’ “So we bypassed the territory of our relatives, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. We avoided the road through the Arabah Valley that comes up from Elath and Ezion-geber. “Then as we turned north along the desert route through Moab, the Lord warned us, ‘Do not bother the Moabites, the descendants of Lot, or start a war with them. I have given them Ar as their property, and I will not give you any of their land.’” (A race of giants called the Emites had once lived in the area of Ar. They were as strong and numerous and tall as the Anakites, another race of giants. Both the Emites and the Anakites are also known as the Rephaites, though the Moabites call them Emites. In earlier times the Horites had lived in Seir, but they were driven out and displaced by the descendants of Esau, just as Israel drove out the people of Canaan when the Lord gave Israel their land.) Moses continued, “Then the Lord said to us, ‘Get moving. Cross the Zered Brook.’ So we crossed the brook. “Thirty-eight years passed from the time we first left Kadesh-barnea until we finally crossed the Zered Brook! By then, all the men old enough to fight in battle had died in the wilderness, as the Lord had vowed would happen. The Lord struck them down until they had all been eliminated from the community. “When all the men of fighting age had died, the Lord said to me, ‘Today you will cross the border of Moab at Ar and enter the land of the Ammonites, the descendants of Lot. But do not bother them or start a war with them. I have given the land of Ammon to them as their property, and I will not give you any of their land.’” (That area was once considered the land of the Rephaites, who had lived there, though the Ammonites call them Zamzummites. They were also as strong and numerous and tall as the Anakites. But the Lord destroyed them so the Ammonites could occupy their land. He had done the same for the descendants of Esau who lived in Seir, for he destroyed the Horites so they could settle there in their place. The descendants of Esau live there to this day. A similar thing happened when the Caphtorites from Crete invaded and destroyed the Avvites, who had lived in villages in the area of Gaza.) Moses continued, “Then the Lord said, ‘Now get moving! Cross the Arnon Gorge. Look, I will hand over to you Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and I will give you his land. Attack him and begin to occupy the land. Beginning today I will make people throughout the earth terrified because of you. When they hear reports about you, they will tremble with dread and fear.’”

Moses continued, “From the wilderness of Kedemoth I sent ambassadors to King Sihon of Heshbon with this proposal of peace: ‘Let us travel through your land. We will stay on the main road and won’t turn off into the fields on either side. Sell us food to eat and water to drink, and we will pay for it. All we want is permission to pass through your land. The descendants of Esau who live in Seir allowed us to go through their country, and so did the Moabites, who live in Ar. Let us pass through until we cross the Jordan into the land the Lord our God is giving us.’ “But King Sihon of Heshbon refused to allow us to pass through, because the Lord your God made Sihon stubborn and defiant so he could help you defeat him, as he has now done. “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Look, I have begun to hand King Sihon and his land over to you. Begin now to conquer and occupy his land.’ “Then King Sihon declared war on us and mobilized his forces at Jahaz. But the Lord our God handed him over to us, and we crushed him, his sons, and all his people. We conquered all his towns and completely destroyed everyone—men, women, and children. Not a single person was spared. We took all the livestock as plunder for ourselves, along with anything of value from the towns we ransacked. “The Lord our God also helped us conquer Aroer on the edge of the Arnon Gorge, and the town in the gorge, and the whole area as far as Gilead. No town had walls too strong for us. However, we avoided the land of the Ammonites all along the Jabbok River and the towns in the hill country—all the places the Lord our God had commanded us to leave alone.’

Deuteronomy 2

Today’s reading continues into Micah.

‘What sorrow awaits you who lie awake at night, thinking up evil plans. You rise at dawn and hurry to carry them out, simply because you have the power to do so. When you want a piece of land, you find a way to seize it. When you want someone’s house, you take it by fraud and violence. You cheat a man of his property, stealing his family’s inheritance. But this is what the Lord says: “I will reward your evil with evil; you won’t be able to pull your neck out of the noose. You will no longer walk around proudly, for it will be a terrible time.” In that day your enemies will make fun of you by singing this song of despair about you: “We are finished, completely ruined! God has confiscated our land, taking it from us. He has given our fields to those who betrayed us. ” Others will set your boundaries then, and the Lord ’s people will have no say in how the land is divided.

“Don’t say such things,” the people respond. “Don’t prophesy like that. Such disasters will never come our way!” Should you talk that way, O family of Israel? Will the Lord ’s Spirit have patience with such behavior? If you would do what is right, you would find my words comforting. Yet to this very hour my people rise against me like an enemy! You steal the shirts right off the backs of those who trusted you, making them as ragged as men returning from battle. You have evicted women from their pleasant homes and forever stripped their children of all that God would give them. Up! Begone! This is no longer your land and home, for you have filled it with sin and ruined it completely. Suppose a prophet full of lies would say to you, “I’ll preach to you the joys of wine and alcohol!” That’s just the kind of prophet you would like!

“Someday, O Israel, I will gather you; I will gather the remnant who are left. I will bring you together again like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture. Yes, your land will again be filled with noisy crowds! Your leader will break out and lead you out of exile, out through the gates of the enemy cities, back to your own land. Your king will lead you; the Lord himself will guide you.”’

Micah 2

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

‘“Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed. “‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”’

Matthew 13:18-30

Today’s reading continues into Romans.

‘I ask, then, has God rejected his own people, the nation of Israel? Of course not! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham and a member of the tribe of Benjamin. No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very beginning. Do you realize what the Scriptures say about this? Elijah the prophet complained to God about the people of Israel and said, “ Lord , they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” And do you remember God’s reply? He said, “No, I have 7,000 others who have never bowed down to Baal!” It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel have remained faithful because of God’s grace—his undeserved kindness in choosing them. And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved. So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have—the ones God has chosen—but the hearts of the rest were hardened. As the Scriptures say, “God has put them into a deep sleep. To this day he has shut their eyes so they do not see, and closed their ears so they do not hear.” Likewise, David said, “Let their bountiful table become a snare, a trap that makes them think all is well. Let their blessings cause them to stumble, and let them get what they deserve. Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see, and let their backs be bent forever.”’

Romans 11:1-10

Today’s reading brings us back to the book of Psalms.

‘I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord , who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.’

Psalms 121

So where are you at today? What decision have you made? Has it transformed your life? Are you ready for a difference? Are you ready to stop being sick and tired of being sick and tired? Are you ready to believe?

Let’s consider God’s Word from today’s reading and take hold of it and pray how we can put it into practice today and how it can make a difference both in our own lives as well as the lives of everyone God brings our way.

Are you ready for a change?


Had enough? Tired of being sick and tired? Sick of being sick and tired? Ready for a change? Ready for a change that will last? Looking for the answers? Looking for the way? Looking for something that can make a transformative difference? Are you ready for change?

Have you heard of Jesus? Have you heard that He is the way, the truth, and the life? Have you heard about the transformation that takes place when you receive Him into your life that makes you a new creation? Have you heard about the eternity that becomes available to you when you accept Him and ask Him into your life? He is the answer! He is the way! Why not make today the most important day of your life and invite Jesus into your heart?


Today’s reading begins in Leviticus 14.

‘And the Lord said to Moses, “The following instructions are for those seeking ceremonial purification from a skin disease. Those who have been healed must be brought to the priest, who will examine them at a place outside the camp. If the priest finds that someone has been healed of a serious skin disease, he will perform a purification ceremony, using two live birds that are ceremonially clean, a stick of cedar, some scarlet yarn, and a hyssop branch. The priest will order that one bird be slaughtered over a clay pot filled with fresh water. He will take the live bird, the cedar stick, the scarlet yarn, and the hyssop branch, and dip them into the blood of the bird that was slaughtered over the fresh water. The priest will then sprinkle the blood of the dead bird seven times on the person being purified of the skin disease. When the priest has purified the person, he will release the live bird in the open field to fly away. “The persons being purified must then wash their clothes, shave off all their hair, and bathe themselves in water. Then they will be ceremonially clean and may return to the camp. However, they must remain outside their tents for seven days. On the seventh day they must again shave all the hair from their heads, including the hair of the beard and eyebrows. They must also wash their clothes and bathe themselves in water. Then they will be ceremonially clean. “On the eighth day each person being purified must bring two male lambs and a one-year-old female lamb, all with no defects, along with a grain offering of six quarts of choice flour moistened with olive oil, and a cup of olive oil. Then the officiating priest will present that person for purification, along with the offerings, before the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle. The priest will take one of the male lambs and the olive oil and present them as a guilt offering, lifting them up as a special offering before the Lord . He will then slaughter the male lamb in the sacred area where sin offerings and burnt offerings are slaughtered. As with the sin offering, the guilt offering belongs to the priest. It is a most holy offering. The priest will then take some of the blood of the guilt offering and apply it to the lobe of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot of the person being purified. “Then the priest will pour some of the olive oil into the palm of his own left hand. He will dip his right finger into the oil in his palm and sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the Lord . The priest will then apply some of the oil in his palm over the blood from the guilt offering that is on the lobe of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot of the person being purified. The priest will apply the oil remaining in his hand to the head of the person being purified. Through this process, the priest will purify the person before the Lord . “Then the priest must present the sin offering to purify the person who was cured of the skin disease. After that, the priest will slaughter the burnt offering and offer it on the altar along with the grain offering. Through this process, the priest will purify the person who was healed, and the person will be ceremonially clean. “But anyone who is too poor and cannot afford these offerings may bring one male lamb for a guilt offering, to be lifted up as a special offering for purification. The person must also bring two quarts of choice flour moistened with olive oil for the grain offering and a cup of olive oil. The offering must also include two turtledoves or two young pigeons, whichever the person can afford. One of the pair must be used for the sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. On the eighth day of the purification ceremony, the person being purified must bring the offerings to the priest in the Lord ’s presence at the entrance of the Tabernacle. The priest will take the lamb for the guilt offering, along with the olive oil, and lift them up as a special offering to the Lord . Then the priest will slaughter the lamb for the guilt offering. He will take some of its blood and apply it to the lobe of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot of the person being purified. “The priest will also pour some of the olive oil into the palm of his own left hand. He will dip his right finger into the oil in his palm and sprinkle some of it seven times before the Lord . The priest will then apply some of the oil in his palm over the blood from the guilt offering that is on the lobe of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot of the person being purified. The priest will apply the oil remaining in his hand to the head of the person being purified. Through this process, the priest will purify the person before the Lord . “Then the priest will offer the two turtledoves or the two young pigeons, whichever the person can afford. One of them is for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering, to be presented along with the grain offering. Through this process, the priest will purify the person before the Lord . These are the instructions for purification for those who have recovered from a serious skin disease but who cannot afford to bring the offerings normally required for the ceremony of purification.”

Leviticus 14:1-32

Today’s reading then brings us wisdom through Proverbs 8.

‘Listen as Wisdom calls out! Hear as understanding raises her voice! On the hilltop along the road, she takes her stand at the crossroads. By the gates at the entrance to the town, on the road leading in, she cries aloud, “I call to you, to all of you! I raise my voice to all people. You simple people, use good judgment. You foolish people, show some understanding. Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you. Everything I say is right, for I speak the truth and detest every kind of deception. My advice is wholesome. There is nothing devious or crooked in it. My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge. Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it. “I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment. All who fear the Lord will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech. Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine. Because of me, kings reign, and rulers make just decrees. Rulers lead with my help, and nobles make righteous judgments. “I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me. I have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice. My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold, my wages better than sterling silver! I walk in righteousness, in paths of justice. Those who love me inherit wealth. I will fill their treasuries. “The Lord formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else. I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began. I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters. Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born— before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil. I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans. I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth. I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth’s foundations, I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence. And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family! “And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it. Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord . But those who miss me injure themselves. All who hate me love death.”’

Proverbs 8

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament where we get to read Mark 10.

‘Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do us a favor.” “What is your request?” he asked. They replied, “When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” But Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?” “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!” Then Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. God has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.” When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”’

Mark 10:35-45

Today’s reading continues with 2 Corinthians 1.

‘This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. I am writing to God’s church in Corinth and to all of his holy people throughout Greece. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.’

2 Corinthians 1:1-11

As we consider the questions. As we consider today’s Word. Let’s pray before finishing today’s reading in Psalms 80.

‘Please listen, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph’s descendants like a flock. O God, enthroned above the cherubim, display your radiant glory Turn us again to yourself, O God. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved. O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, how long will you be angry with our prayers? You have fed us with sorrow and made us drink tears by the bucketful. You have made us the scorn of neighboring nations. Our enemies treat us as a joke. Turn us again to yourself, O God of Heaven’s Armies. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved. You brought us from Egypt like a grapevine; you drove away the pagan nations and transplanted us into your land. You cleared the ground for us, and we took root and filled the land. Our shade covered the mountains; our branches covered the mighty cedars. We spread our branches west to the Mediterranean Sea; our shoots spread east to the Euphrates River. But now, why have you broken down our walls so that all who pass by may steal our fruit? The wild boar from the forest devours it, and the wild animals feed on it. Come back, we beg you, O God of Heaven’s Armies. Look down from heaven and see our plight. Take care of this grapevine that you yourself have planted, this son you have raised for yourself. For we are chopped up and burned by our enemies. May they perish at the sight of your frown. Strengthen the man you love, the son of your choice. Then we will never abandon you again. Revive us so we can call on your name once more. Turn us again to yourself, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved.’

Psalms 80

What would it take to get your attention?


Would things have to go too well for you to notice? Or would it just mean you could coast a long a bit further?

Would things have to start a downward spiral for you to notice? Or would it embitter you, frustrate you, anger you, and make you walk further away?

Would getting your own way make you notice? Or would you start to believe you were a self-made person and didn’t need anyone else?

Would more money than you could ever spend make you notice? Or would it make you more stingy or even more focused on yourself?

What would it take for you to notice that God is calling you? What would it take for you to notice that God is trying to get your attention? What would it take for you to notice how much God loves you and turn back to Him?

Might it be a word? Something someone speaks to you? A word you happen to read on a page? What does it take to get your attention? How much does it take for loved ones to get your attention?

Why not take some time and start to read God’s Love letter to you – the Bible! Not sure where to start? Why not open up the new Testament? Maybe John, Matthew, Mark, or Luke?

How about a snippet for you to get an idea of what is in there?

God’s love can transform your life! He doesn’t want robots and hence why we need to make the decision to receive Jesus into our hearts as Lord and Savior! God wants an intimate relationship with us – coming and going with us every step of every day! It just takes us turning back to Him! Returning home to our loving Father who is waiting in hopes and anticipation of you coming home!

Will you choose to be God’s child today? He’s awaiting you and your decision to come home!


Today’s reading from God’s Word comes from:


Today’s Devotional:

Life-Changing Words

Day 282: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Words of blessing … Psalm 119:1-8
  2. Words of power … 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:16
  3. Words of fire … Jeremiah 18:1-20:18

 

Who can change? What would it take?


Change:

alter · make/become_different · adjust · adapt · amend · modify · revise · refine · reshape · refashion · redesign · restyle · revamp · rework · remodel · reorganize · reorder · vary · transform· transfigure · transmute · metamorphose · evolve · tweak · doctor · rejig · permute

What would it take to be difference? To be transformed? To become that person you were created to be? To adapt to what is going on?

When you take a look around and consider those you have known before, have you noticed there have been a few who have transformed and changed? Some maybe for the better or maybe for the worse as the case may be.

Did they get into the wrong crowd? Did they start doing things that got them into trouble? Did they continue to spiral out of control? Did they become addicts? Did it cause them to start doing even more illegal type activities? Did they become angry?

Did they find Jesus? Did they start talking differently? Did they start acting differently? Did they start to smile more? Did their addition break? Did their heart change? Did their anger stop? Did they start to radiate like there was something going on and making you suspect and wonder what had happened?

It is amazing what can happen if we get ourselves into a position where we allow God to intersect our lives … be it on purpose or “by accident” – in quotes because God’s got a plan and it isn’t an accident or coincident. It’s amazing when we choose of our own freewill to invite Jesus into our hearts and lives to be our savior how it transforms our lives! It becomes even more incredible when we go beyond being saved and allow Jesus to be the Lord of our life! Giving Him permission and control to be lord of our lives! And allowing Him to lead our steps, grant us wisdom, grant us discernment, gives words of wisdom to speak, and so much more.

Can people change? Yes! Can they really change no matter how far into this dark world they go? Yes! Can they be transformed with the old being gone and a new them appearing? Yes!

Ever noticed that people who seemed to be the farthest away from God tend to be the ones who then cling tighter and stick closer to Jesus when they make the decision? They know what being apart from God is like and they don’t want that ever again!

Ever noticed how hard it can be at times when people that they have it all together and have everything they need because they did it all themselves to introduce them to Jesus? It’s not impossible but it can be very hard! Nothing is impossible with God!

So don’t give up! Pray for those you are in contact with, the people who cross your path, the people you find in need! Pray for your friends and for your enemies!

Ever heard how long it takes to start a habit? Ever heard how long it takes to break a habit? Ever noticed how hard it is to break a bad habit though? Ever noticed how easy it can be to break a good habit? Will you give up that bad habit or some call it sin?

For some the answer is to turn back to God! For some the answer is for God to let them have what they think they need till they get to the end of their rope or they get to rock bottom and then realize it and turn back to Him! God is waiting for you to turn back! God is waiting for you to come home! God loves you no matter where you have gone or what you have done! Will you return to the love of the Father?

Consider what it took for the son who asked for inheritance early and then went out to squander it…

Parable of the Lost Son

11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[a]’

22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’

28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’

31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”

–from Luke 15

We all need Jesus because we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! Not just the “bad” people but we have all missed the mark! None of us are perfect and not needing Jesus in our lives to make us restored in relationship with God!

Let’s consider all of this as we turn to God’s Word and reflect on the question we hear asked by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 13:23


Can a Leopard Change its Spots?

Day 279: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Changed by God’s help … Psalm 118:1-16
  2. Changed by Jesus … Colossians 2:6-23
  3. Changed by testing … Jeremiah 11:18-13:27

Today’s reading from God’s Word comes from…


God's Transforming Power - proverbs 3_5 6

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does the Bible say about faces and eyes?


How to Have a Spiritual Facelift

Day 242: Bible In One Year 2017

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

Today’s reading from God’s Word…

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

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

Who is ready for change?


Change seems to be the only constant in life. Sometimes people get comfortable which gives them a false sense of security. Are you looking for change or more of the same? Will you keep doing the same thing and hope that the outcome changes? Will you decide it’s time for a change and go and do something different?

what-is-insanity-by-albert-einstein

Take a look around and see what is taking place that needs change. Consider what things are working and also what things are not. What do you want to do about it? Will you step up and step out and do something about it? Will we come together as people and turn away from the evil and negative things that have been taking place? Will we put aside our differences in order to unify in alignment with God? and God’s will? Will we do it for God and with God before things get so out of hand that something more drastic needs to happen?

We’ve been given a way! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life – nobody gets to the Father except through Him!

We’ve been offered a gift! Jesus gave His life on the cross so that we can be reconciled to God! He conquered the grave so that we could have hope!

Will you choose to receive it? Will you choose to follow after Him?


Today’s reading from 2 Kings 23 continues from yesterday where we see how after Josiah’s enlightenment starts looking at ways to implement change…

Josiah’s Religious Reforms

1Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2And the king went up to the Temple of the lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the lord’s Temple. 3The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the lord’s presence. He pledged to obey the lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.
4Then the king instructed Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the Temple gatekeepers to remove from the lord’s Temple all the articles that were used to worship Baal, Asherah, and all the powers of the heavens. The king had all these things burned outside Jerusalem on the terraces of the Kidron Valley, and he carried the ashes away to Bethel. 5He did away with the idolatrous priests, who had been appointed by the previous kings of Judah, for they had offered sacrifices at the pagan shrines throughout Judah and even in the vicinity of Jerusalem. They had also offered sacrifices to Baal, and to the sun, the moon, the constellations, and to all the powers of the heavens. 6The king removed the Asherah pole from the lord’s Temple and took it outside Jerusalem to the Kidron Valley, where he burned it. Then he ground the ashes of the pole to dust and threw the dust over the graves of the people. 7He also tore down the living quarters of the male and female shrine prostitutes that were inside the Temple of the lord, where the women wove coverings for the Asherah pole.
8Josiah brought to Jerusalem all the priests who were living in other towns of Judah. He also defiled the pagan shrines, where they had offered sacrifices—all the way from Geba to Beersheba. He destroyed the shrines at the entrance to the gate of Joshua, the governor of Jerusalem. This gate was located to the left of the city gate as one enters the city. 9The priests who had served at the pagan shrines were not allowed to serve at the lord’s altar in Jerusalem, but they were allowed to eat unleavened bread with the other priests.
10Then the king defiled the altar of Topheth in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, so no one could ever again use it to sacrifice a son or daughter in the fire as an offering to Molech. 11He removed from the entrance of the lord’s Temple the horse statues that the former kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were near the quarters of Nathan-melech the eunuch, an officer of the court. The king also burned the chariots dedicated to the sun.
12Josiah tore down the altars that the kings of Judah had built on the palace roof above the upper room of Ahaz. The king destroyed the altars that Manasseh had built in the two courtyards of the lord’s Temple. He smashed them to bits and scattered the pieces in the Kidron Valley. 13The king also desecrated the pagan shrines east of Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Corruption, where King Solomon of Israel had built shrines for Ashtoreth, the detestable goddess of the Sidonians; and for Chemosh, the detestable god of the Moabites; and for Molech,the vile god of the Ammonites. 14He smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. Then he desecrated these places by scattering human bones over them.
15The king also tore down the altar at Bethel—the pagan shrine that Jeroboam son of Nebat had made when he caused Israel to sin. He burned down the shrine and ground it to dust, and he burned the Asherah pole. 16Then Josiah turned around and noticed several tombs in the side of the hill. He ordered that the bones be brought out, and he burned them on the altar at Bethel to desecrate it. (This happened just as the lord had promised through the man of God when Jeroboam stood beside the altar at the festival.)
Then Josiah turned and looked up at the tomb of the man of God who had predicted these things. 17“What is that monument over there?” Josiah asked.
And the people of the town told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and predicted the very things that you have just done to the altar at Bethel!”
18Josiah replied, “Leave it alone. Don’t disturb his bones.” So they did not burn his bones or those of the old prophet from Samaria.
19Then Josiah demolished all the buildings at the pagan shrines in the towns of Samaria, just as he had done at Bethel. They had been built by the various kings of Israel and had made the lordvery angry. 20He executed the priests of the pagan shrines on their own altars, and he burned human bones on the altars to desecrate them. Finally, he returned to Jerusalem.

Josiah Celebrates Passover

21King Josiah then issued this order to all the people: “You must celebrate the Passover to the lord your God, as required in this Book of the Covenant.” 22There had not been a Passover celebration like that since the time when the judges ruled in Israel, nor throughout all the years of the kings of Israel and Judah. 23But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign, this Passover was celebrated to the lord in Jerusalem.
24Josiah also got rid of the mediums and psychics, the household gods, the idols, and every other kind of detestable practice, both in Jerusalem and throughout the land of Judah. He did this in obedience to the laws written in the scroll that Hilkiah the priest had found in the lord’s Temple. 25Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.
26Even so, the lord was very angry with Judah because of all the wicked things Manasseh had done to provoke him. 27For the lord said, “I will also banish Judah from my presence just as I have banished Israel. And I will reject my chosen city of Jerusalem and the Temple where my name was to be honored.”
28The rest of the events in Josiah’s reign and all his deeds are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah.
29While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, went to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah and his army marched out to fight him, but King Neco killed him when they met at Megiddo. 30Josiah’s officers took his body back in a chariot from Megiddo to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. Then the people of the land anointed Josiah’s son Jehoahaz and made him the next king.

Jehoahaz Rules in Judah

31Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. 32He did what was evil in the lord’s sight, just as his ancestors had done.
33Pharaoh Neco put Jehoahaz in prison at Riblah in the land of Hamath to prevent him from ruling in Jerusalem. He also demanded that Judah pay 7,500 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of gold as tribute.

Jehoiakim Rules in Judah

34Pharaoh Neco then installed Eliakim, another of Josiah’s sons, to reign in place of his father, and he changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. Jehoahaz was taken to Egypt as a prisoner, where he died.
35In order to get the silver and gold demanded as tribute by Pharaoh Neco, Jehoiakim collected a tax from the people of Judah, requiring them to pay in proportion to their wealth.
36Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother was Zebidah, the daughter of Pedaiah from Rumah. 37He did what was evil in the lord’s sight, just as his ancestors had done.

–from 2 Kings 23

What needs to be changed? What needs to be updated? What needs to stay the same?

What do we need to start doing? What do we need to stop doing? What do we need to keep doing?

Where are you at today? Will you be part of the spark? Will you be part of the start? Will you be part of the light? Will you be part of the salt? What will be your part?

Don’t assume that you know, but rather turn to God and ask Him for wisdom in the situation so that you don’t go out to fight a battle that was never yours to begin with.

Josiah Celebrates Passover

1Then 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. 2Josiah also assigned the priests to their duties and encouraged them in their work at the Temple of the lord. 3He 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. 4Report 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.
5“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. 6Slaughter the Passover lambs, purify yourselves, and prepare to help those who come. Follow all the directions that the lord gave through Moses.”
7Then 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. 8The 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. 9The 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.
10When everything was ready for the Passover celebration, the priests and the Levites took their places, organized by their divisions, as the king had commanded. 11The 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. 12They 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. 13Then 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.
14Afterward 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.
15The 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.
16The 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. 17All the Israelites present in Jerusalem celebrated Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. 18Never 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. 19This Passover was celebrated in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign.

Josiah Dies in Battle

20After 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. 21But 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.”
22But 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. 23But 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!”
24So 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. 25The 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.
26The 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), 27from beginning to end—all are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah.

–from 2 Chronicles 35

We need to realize it isn’t Jesus plus, it’s just Jesus that is the answer! Don’t allow others to add weights or burdens that were never yours to carry! Ask God what it is that He would have you do today! Ask God how He would like you to do it! And then allow Him to receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Consider what change may be required to help you get to the next level God desires for you? Could it be going a different way? Could it be a new partnership? I am sure whatever it is, the important part is to stay aligned with God’s will and walking in His way! I am sure whatever it is, the important part is to walk out God’s work for your life to bring truth, hope, and love to those in need. Could it be that what is best is to divide and conquer in order to reach more people and spread/share the good news?

Consider what it will take for things to go well. Receiving Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Consider the things we need to avoid as we read from today’s reading…

The Council at Jerusalem

1While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers: “Unless you are circumcised as required by the law of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2Paul and Barnabas disagreed with them, arguing vehemently. Finally, the church decided to send Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, accompanied by some local believers, to talk to the apostles and elders about this question. 3The church sent the delegates to Jerusalem, and they stopped along the way in Phoenicia and Samaria to visit the believers. They told them—much to everyone’s joy—that the Gentiles, too, were being converted.
4When they arrived in Jerusalem, Barnabas and Paul were welcomed by the whole church, including the apostles and elders. They reported everything God had done through them. 5But then some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and insisted, “The Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses.”
6So the apostles and elders met together to resolve this issue. 7At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: “Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe. 8God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. 9He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith. 10So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? 11We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”
12Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.
13When they had finished, James stood and said, “Brothers, listen to me. 14Peter has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people for himself. 15And this conversion of Gentiles is exactly what the prophets predicted. As it is written:
16‘Afterward I will return
and restore the fallen house of David.
I will rebuild its ruins
and restore it,
17so that the rest of humanity might seek the lord,
including the Gentiles—
all those I have called to be mine.
The lord has spoken—
18he who made these things known so long ago.’
19“And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood. 21For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.”

The Letter for Gentile Believers

22Then the apostles and elders together with the whole church in Jerusalem chose delegates, and they sent them to Antioch of Syria with Paul and Barnabas to report on this decision. The men chosen were two of the church leaders—Judas (also called Barsabbas) and Silas. 23This is the letter they took with them:
“This letter is from the apostles and elders, your brothers in Jerusalem. It is written to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. Greetings!
24“We understand that some men from here have troubled you and upset you with their teaching, but we did not send them! 25So we decided, having come to complete agreement, to send you official representatives, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27We are sending Judas and Silas to confirm what we have decided concerning your question.
28“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements: 29You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell.”
30The messengers went at once to Antioch, where they called a general meeting of the believers and delivered the letter. 31And there was great joy throughout the church that day as they read this encouraging message.
32Then Judas and Silas, both being prophets, spoke at length to the believers, encouraging and strengthening their faith. 33They stayed for a while, and then the believers sent them back to the church in Jerusalem with a blessing of peace. 35Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch. They and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord there.

Paul and Barnabas Separate

36After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are doing.” 37Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. 38But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work. 39Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus. 40Paul chose Silas, and as he left, the believers entrusted him to the Lord’s gracious care. 41Then he traveled throughout Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches there.

–from Acts 15

 

What legacy do you want to leave?


Are you interested in the one? Are you interested in yourself? Are you interested in others? Are you interested in helping one? Are you interested in helping a multitude?

Will you give them fish to help them for a day? Will you teach them to fish and help them for a lifetime? Will you help them build a fish pond and set them up to help generations to come?

What are you saying? What are you doing? Is it a matter of the heart or are you just going through the motions and not really in it? Do you believe? Are you pretending? What’s it going to take for it to be real? Are you acting out of love? Are you acting out of fear?

God sees beyond the surface! God knows your heart! God knows your every thought! Nothing is hidden from Him!

Why not turn back to Jesus! Why not invite Him into your life? Why not allow Him into your heart? Why not follow after Him and His lead and His example? Be transformed! Be renewed! And be for real! No more acting! Be true! No more pretending! Be real!

This world needs you to be! Live in a way that will leave a legacy! Be transformed! Bring transformation around you!


Today’s reading continues in the book of Isaiah…

Night Vision of Ariel

1Oy , Ariel, Ariel! City where David camped. Year to year again—festivals in a cycle. 2But I will distress Ariel. There will be lamenting and moaning— then will she be like Ariel to Me? 3I will encamp against you all around, I will set up siege-works against you and will raise up ramps against you. 4You will be brought low, you will speak from the ground. From the dust where you are prostrate your speech will come. Your voice will be like a ghost out of the ground, and your speech will whisper out of the dust. 5Yet the multitude of your foes will become like fine dust, and the multitude of the terrifying like chaff that passes away. It will happen in an instant, suddenly. 6You will be visited by Adonai-Tzva’ot with thunder, earthquake, huge noise, whirlwind and storm-wind, and the flame of a consuming fire. 7It will be like a dream, a night vision: the multitude of all the nations warring against Ariel, yes, all warring against her, the ramparts around her and her besiegers. 8It will be like a hungry man dreaming and behold, he is eating, but awakes with his hunger unsatisfied, or like a thirsty man dreaming and behold, he is drinking, but awakes faint, his soul thirsting. So it will be with the multitude of all the nations warring against Mount Zion. 9Wait, and be astounded! Blind yourselves, and be blind! Drunk, but not with wine, Stagger, but not with strong drink. 10For Adonai has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep, and has shut your eyes—the prophets, and covered your heads—the seers. 11So this entire vision is for you like the words of a sealed scroll, which they give to one who knows books, saying, “Read this, please,” but he says, “I can’t, because it’s sealed.” 12Then the scroll is given to one who does not know books, saying, “Read this, please,” but he says, “I don’t know books.” 13So Adonai says, “Since these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, yet their hearts are far from Me, and their fear of Me is a mitzvah taught by men. 14Therefore, behold, once more I will do a marvelous work among this people— a marvel and a wonder— so the wisdom of their wise will perish, and the discernment of their discerning will be concealed.” 15Oy , those who go to great depths to hide their plans from Adonai! Their works are in the dark. They say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?” 16Your perversity! Should the potter be regarded the same as the clay? Should the thing made say to its maker, “You did not make me”? Or the thing formed say of its former, “You have no understanding?” 17Will it not be just a very little while before Lebanon turns into a garden, and a garden will seem like a forest? 18In that day the deaf will hear words of a book, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. 19The meek will add to their joy in Adonai, and the needy of humanity will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. 20For the ruthless will come to an end and the scorner will be finished, and all watching to do evil cut off. 21Those who make a man out to be guilty with a word, and trap him who reproves at the gate, and deny justice with meaninglessness. 22Therefore, thus says Adonai, Redeemer of Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: “Jacob will no longer be ashamed, no longer will his face grow pale; 23for when he sees his children, the work of My hands in his midst, they will sanctify My Name; they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and stand in awe of the God of Israel. 24Those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding, and those who murmur will learn instruction.”

–from Isaiah 29

Wondering where to start? Wondering where to turn? Wondering where to go?

Turn to God! Ask Jesus into your heart! Ask Him to give you eyes to see and ears to hear! Ask Him to give you wisdom! Open His Word! Read His Word daily! Open the Bible! Don’t have one and want one? You can read it online at http://bible.com! You can read it on your phone by getting the Bible app at http://bible.com/app! You can get paper versions at bookstores or contact a local church or ask a friend (if they are like me, they have several)! It’s God’s love letter to us! It’s a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path! It’s a book of wisdom, instruction, direction, hope, love! (more free resources…)

No Help In Egypt

1“Oy , the rebellious children” —it is a declaration of Adonai— “Who carry out a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance, but not of My Ruach, so they may add sin to sin, 2who go down to Egypt, but did not consult Me, to take refuge in Pharaoh’s stronghold, to seek shelter in Egypt’s shadow. 3Therefore Pharaoh’s stronghold will become your shame, and the shelter in Egypt’s shadow will become your disgrace. 4For though their princes are at Zoan and their ambassadors reach Hanes, 5they will all be ashamed of a people who cannot profit them. They are neither help nor profit, but shame and disgrace.” 6The burden concerning the beasts of the Negev: Through a land of trouble and anguish, in which are lioness and lion, viper and flying serpent, they are carrying their riches on the backs of young donkeys, their treasures on camel humps, to a people who cannot profit them. 7Egypt’s help is futile and pointless. Therefore I have called her “Rahab who just sits.”

Witness Against False Prophets

8Now go, write it on a tablet for them and inscribe it in a scroll, so that it may be as a witness for the last day, forever. 9For this is a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to obey the Torah of Adonai. 10They say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right. Speak to us smooth words. Prophesy illusions. 11Get out of the way! Turn away from the path! Let’s hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.” 12Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel: “Because you despise this word, and trust in oppression and rely on perversity, 13therefore this sin will be to you like a crack bulging in a high wall, about to fall— its collapse comes suddenly, in an instant! 14Its collapse is like smashing a clay jar, so ruthlessly shattered that a shard will not be found among the pieces to take fire from the hearth or scoop water from the cistern.”

Longing to Be Gracious

15For thus says Adonai Elohim, the Holy One of Israel: “By repentance and rest you are saved, in quietness and trust is your strength— but you were not willing.” 16But you said, “No, we will flee on horses!” Therefore you will flee. And, “We will ride on swift horses!” Therefore your pursuers will be swift. 17A thousand will flee at the threat of one, at the threat of five you will flee, until you are left like a flag on the top of a mountain, and like a banner on a hill. 18Therefore Adonai is longing to be gracious to you. Thus He will be exalted, so He may have mercy on you. For Adonai is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him. 19For the people of Zion who are dwelling in Jerusalem will weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. When He hears you, He will answer. 20Though Adonai gives you the bread of adversity and the water of oppression, your teachers will no longer be hidden, but your eyes will see your teachers. 21Your ears will hear a word behind you saying: “This is the way, walk in it. When you turn to the right, or when you turn to the left.” 22You will defile your graven images overlaid with silver, and your metal images covered with gold. You will throw them away like a menstrual cloth. You will say, “Be gone!” 23Then He will give you rain for your seed, which you will sow in the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will feed in wide-open pasture. 24The oxen and the young donkeys that till the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and pitchfork. 25There will be, on every high mountain and on every lofty hill, streams running with water— on a day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26Moreover the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter— like the light of seven days— in the day Adonai binds up the brokenness of His people, and heals the wounds He inflicted. 27Look, Adonai’s Name comes from afar, burning with His anger, in thick rising smoke, His lips full of indignation, His tongue like a consuming fire, 28His Ruach like an overflowing torrent rising up to the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of the worthless, to put in the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads away. 29You will have songs as in the night when you keep a holy festival, and gladness of heart like one walking with the flute to go to the mountain of Adonai, to the Rock of Israel.

Punishing Rod

30Adonai will make His glorious voice heard, and reveal His arm descending with fierce fury in a consuming fire, in cloudburst, rainstorm and hailstones. 31For at the voice of Adonai, Assyria will be terrified— when He strikes with the rod. 32Every stroke of His punishing rod that Adonai brings down on him —with tambourines and harps, and battles brandishing His arm— He will fight against them. 33For Topheth has long been ready, prepared for the king, its fire pit made deep and wide, a pyre of fire with plenty of wood. The breath of Adonai, like a torrent of brimstone, sets it aflame.

–from Isaiah 30

We don’t have to be stuck in our old ways! We can choose to have a new start! We can choose to be born again! We can choose to be transformed! We can ask Jesus in and allow His hope to fill us up! We can leave the past where it belongs behind us! We can stop allowing setbacks to define us and just let them be a setup for a comeback! We need to put our trust in God! We need to start a living relationship with Jesus! And then let’s move forward transformed for the glory of God! While you are living, it’s never too late to start believing in Jesus! So why not you? Why not now? Why not right where you are right now?

Jesus gave His life on the cross so that we can live! Don’t allow it to be for nothing! Receive it!

Lazarus Is Dead

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

Comforting the Mourners

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

Yeshua’s Word Raises the Dead

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

Better that One Man Die

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

–from John 11