THRIVE: As the week begins and things are heading back towards normal…


Happy Monday! The weekend of celebration is wrapping up and another early morning trip to the airport to send loved ones home. The work week begins with excitement about getting to present. And nearly back to normal. Although, what is normal? Is it how things were 3 weeks ago? Is it how things were pre-covid? Is it how things will be later this week? Is it how things will be when we get into the end of summer? Change is constant and so defining normal may seem to change too.

The dictionary tells us this about normal:

nor·mal
[ˈnôrməl]
ADJECTIVE
normal (adjective)
conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected:
"it's quite normal for puppies to bolt their food" · "normal working hours"
synonyms:
usual · standard · typical · stock · common · ordinary · customary · conventional · habitual · accustomed · expected · wonted · everyday · regular · routine · day-to-day · daily · established · settled · set · fixed · traditional · quotidian · prevailing · average · run-of-the-mill · middle-of-the-road · mainstream · unremarkable · unexceptional · plain · simple · homely · homespun · workaday · garden-variety
antonyms:
unusual · abnormal
(of a person) physically and mentally healthy:
"until her accident Louise had been a perfectly normal little girl" · "many previously normal people exhibit psychotic symptoms after a few nights without sleep"
synonyms:
sane · in one's right mind · right in the head · of sound mind · in possession of all one's faculties · able to think/reason clearly · lucid · rational · coherent · balanced · well balanced · compos mentis
antonyms:
insane · irrational
technical
(of a line, ray, or other linear feature) intersecting a given line or surface at right angles:
"a single plane of symmetry with a diad axis normal to it"
medicine
(of a salt solution) containing the same salt concentration as the blood:
"dilute the stock solution with sterile water or normal saline"
chemistry
dated
(of a solution) containing one gram-equivalent of solute per liter.
geology
denoting a fault or faulting in which a relative downward movement occurred in the strata situated on the upper side of the fault plane.
NOUN
normal (noun) · normals (plural noun)
the usual, average, or typical state or condition:
"her temperature was above normal" · "the service will be back to normal next week"
synonyms:
standard · usual · typical · average · the rule · predictable · unexceptional · par for the course · what one would expect · expected · (only) to be expected
antonyms:
the exception
informal
a person who is conventional or healthy.
technical
a line at right angles to a given line or surface:
"the view is along the normal to the surface"
ORIGIN
mid 17th century (in the sense ‘right-angled’): from Latin normalis, from norma ‘carpenter's square’ (see norm). Current senses date from the early 19th century.
Nor·mal
[ˈnôrməl]
DEFINITION
a town in central Illinois, home to Illinois State University (originally a normal, or teachers, school); population 52,056 (est. 2008).

https://www.bing.com/search?q=define%20normal&qs=n&form=QBRE&=%25eManage%20Your%20Search%20History%25E&sp=-1&pq=define%20normal&sc=8-13&sk=&cvid=2A36ECDCAB0A44BBB2BF03199E27C49F

I’ve joked over the years that the only time people have called me normal is if they put ab in front of it! But are we supposed to be average? Nope, Jesus calls us to a higher standard and to raise the bar! The Holy Spirit is with us to lead us and guide us, instruct us and correct us! God is with us and in us when we have received the Holy Spirit through inviting Jesus into our hearts as our Lord and Savior! So rather than choosing to be normal, choose to raise the bar, to be unusual, to be above average, to be unpredictable, to be exceptional, to be above par! Let’s allow Jesus to set the standard rather than living according to the standards of this world! Let’s choose to thrive rather than just survive by living for the glory of God!

THRIVE - LIVING FOR THE GLORY OF GOD!

Today’s Verse of the Day:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! ‘

Philippians 2:5-8

Today’s post from Be The Dads is Just For Dads: Be A Positive Christian Role Model – Day 12


So where are you at? Are you ready to be more than normal? Are you ready to be more than average? Invite Jesus into your heart today! Invite Jesus into your life today! Allow the Holy Spirit to enter in and guide you through life today!

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

Let’s Pray!

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

THRIVE: All things are possible for those who believe!


Yesterday we had a life group time and one thing that came up was times in our lives that left a mark. I shared with the group two such moments in my life and realistically there are so many more. One experience that left a mark taught me that I can’t allow fear and my own limitations to keep me from doing what God has called me to do and called me to be. This one over the years I have tagged posts with titles like “you will be president or you will be nothing, you choose” because God was calling me to step up into a position that at the time I thought was so beyond me I kept coming up with excuses why I couldn’t, shouldn’t, and wouldn’t, up until that one day when God gave me an ultimatum and nothing sounded really bad so I agreed to go it His way! It was an incredible experience to see God help me in every situation where I had to step up and step out into deeper water than I had ever been. He gave me the names of the people I was to hire. He gave me the wisdom to ask questions about insurance and security issues. He gave me discernment when some were trying to lead me astray or off track from where we were supposed to be going as a board. God is good and faithful and if we will be obedient and sensitive to Him, nothing is impossible!

The most powerful and impactful mark left on my life has been the need to forgive and forgive quickly so that we don’t leave an opening for the enemy to allow things like bitterness, anger, frustration, and even in some cases depression to set in and take root in our hearts. When something happens we need to be quick to forgive for our own well-being! When something happens we need to be quick to forgive because it isn’t them we are setting free but we are keeping ourselves from getting locked up in our own prison of our minds! When something happens we need to forgive quickly because why should or would anyone take poison and expect the other person to be impacted? The drive to the tax lady and the song 7×70 turning on the radio transformed my response forever and has allowed me to share this important news and fact with so many others over the years! Forgiveness is the key to freedom! It left such a mark that I even shared my story in a company-wide Story Slam event and have gotten to post it on YouTube too.

The Power of Forgiveness!

So have you had an encounter with Jesus that has left a mark and transformed the direction you were going? Have you been willing to share it with others to point them to Jesus and allow their lives to be transformed forever? Would you consider sharing it in the comments section of this post to help encourage others with your lesson learned? Would you consider posting your story of how God left a mark in your life and transformed the direction you were going and the destiny He had planned? Would you be willing to share it so that you can thrive and others can thrive for the glory of God too?

Thrive by living for the glory of God!

Verse of the Day:

‘The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. ‘

Psalms 18:2

Today’s post from Be The Dads is
Love Slows Down – Day 7


Do you have a mark from your encounter with Jesus? Are you looking for an encounter with Jesus? Are you struggling in life like the lady at the well was, tired of being judged and feeling worthy? Invite Jesus into the situation and have an encounter with the one who knows you better than you know yourself and loves you! Consider the mark that could be and would be made on your life if you would just invite Jesus into your heart and allow Him to teach you how to worship God in Spirit and in Truth! Why not allow today to be your day of transformation? Why not allow today to be your day of new beginnings? Why not allow today to be the day that leaves a mark?

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

Let’s Pray!

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

THRIVE: Transition…Out with the old and in with the new.


Today feels different. Today is different. Today is a last. Today is an ending after nearly 9 years. Today I need to remember the conditions or requirements to help me get through today.

You are alive!
No matter what happens!
∀ Today() = Happy!


Verse of the Day:

‘In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.’

Psalms 4:8

So today I step out into this world finding my peace in God, finding my rest in God, and walking in the protection of God!


Today’s post from Be The Dads is A Father’s Legacy – Day 9


Let’s not go it alone! Let’s invite Jesus into our situation and seek His wisdom and discernment to make it through! Let’s invite Jesus in and celebrate His sacrifice and resurrection power with Him and other believers! Let’s choose to make today count! Let’s not lose hope but choose to live out today for good! Let’s get it done and accomplish the good works God has prepared in advance for us to accomplish today! Are you ready to start your journey with Jesus?

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

Let’s Pray!

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to save myself. I confess my complete helplessness to forgive my own sin or to work my way to heaven. At this moment I trust Christ alone as the One who bore my sin when He died on the cross. I believe that He did all that will ever be necessary for me to stand in your holy presence. I thank you that Christ was raised from the dead as a guarantee of my own resurrection. As best as I can, I now transfer my trust to Him. I am grateful that He has promised to receive me despite my many sins and failures. Father, I take you at your word. I thank you that I can face death now that you are my Savior. Thank you for the assurance that you will walk with me through the deep valley. Thank you for hearing this prayer. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

THRIVE in the midst of change.


This year started with a lot of change. With my oldest to kick off the year, my hiring manager in week 1, my next manager in week 2, and we are midway through week 3 and am not sure what change is around the corner, just that it is coming. To go from surviving to thriving will require change. Who knew what changes would be coming. Who knows what changes are coming? I just know that my hope and trust are in God. He knows the plans He has for me and they are to give me hope and a future. He didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world but through Him the world would be saved. And unlike the devil who comes to steal, kill, and destroy, Jesus came that we could have life and life more abundantly, that’s right Jesus wants us to thrive! Are you ready to make the exchange with God today?

Today’s verse of the day comes to us from:


‘May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.’

Psalms 19:14

Today’s post from Be The Dads is What Dad Needs – Day 1.


There are so many things that try to hold us back and hold us down. Let’s seek and find Jesus. Let’s seek God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Let’s invite Him into our lives so that we can overcome evil with good, darkness with light, and hate with love. Let’s invite Jesus into our life today and walk out each step with Him rather than trying to go it alone. Let’s pray:

Dear God
I admit I am a sinner and need your forgiveness; I believe that Jesus Christ died in my place paying the penalty for my sins. I am willing right now to turn from my sin and accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord. I commit myself to you and ask you to send the Holy Spirit into my life, to fill me and take control, and to help me become the kind of person you want me to be. Thank You Father for loving me. In Jesus' name. 
Amen.

Will it last or end? Will it remain the same or evolve?


As I start today and consider these questions I look to grasp the things that will last and what is important. Our souls will last. The suffering for the believers won’t last. God’s love will last. Riches won’t last forever. The truth aka God’s Words will last. God’s faithfulness will last.

So will you put your hope and trust in things that will last or things that are temporary? Will you put your hope and trust in things that evolve or things that remain the same? God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow!

So let’s take a hold of God’s truth! Let’s receive God’s love! Let’s receive Jesus into our hearts so that we can spend eternity with God! Let’s put our trust in the one who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow who is God! Let’s pause for a moment and reflect on what God’s Word has to say:


  • My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. — Psalms 89:34
  • Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. — Psalms 90:2
  • For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. — Malachi 3:6
  • Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. — Hebrews 13:8
  • Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. — James 1:17
  • ‘But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. ‘ — I Peter 5:10
  • I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. — Revelation 1:8
  • God’s love endures forever and is repeated many times in Psalms 136

So if God’s Word will last forever, shouldn’t we take hold of it and love like Jesus commands us to live? So if God is never changing, shouldn’t He be our strong foundation? And since we will live forever, shouldn’t we choose and decide to spend it with God rather than apart from God? How will you decide to live your forever? What will your final destination be?


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


Unchanging


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. ‘

Hebrews 13:8

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Is life confusing for you today?
  • Is life mind boggling for you today?
  • Do you get curveballs right when you think you are starting to figure things out?
  • Do you ever question what you think you have figured out?
  • Have you ever done what you thought God was calling you to do and then be surprised by something and wonder if you misunderstood?
  • Do you ever question His direction or calling?
  • Do you ever question how busy He is?
  • Do you ever question if He changed His mind?
  • He knows and sees things from every perspective and time and as such there will be things in the full process that may confuse us.
  • Remember we aren’t alone when we face setbacks!
  • Remember even the greats of the bible faced setbacks!
  • Remember we aren’t alone when we find life confusing!
  • Remember eve the greats of the bible endured confusion!
  • Remember to continue to pursue God will all of your heart just like those greats did, even when it doesn’t go as we expected or we get confused!
  • Ever looked at the back vs the front of a tapestry and noticed all the things that needed to happen behind the scenes to make such a work of art?
  • So our lives at times can seem like the back of a tapestry of which we aren’t sure the front perspective.
  • So when things look confusing we need to go to what lasts, what never changes and take our stand there.
  • We can grab hold of God’s Word that is true and will last!
  • We can grab hold of God’s unchanging character that is true and will last!
  • Jesus never changes!
  • Jesus’s love is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow!
  • Jesus’s power is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow!
  • Jesus’s authority is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow!
  • So let’s take hold of the reality of Jesus and not lose hope because we don’t get the full picture or plan!
  • Let’s take hold of the reality even when we don’t see them, feel them, and even at time may start to doubt or no believe.
  • Let’s be like the man who asked Jesus to help his unbelief!
  • In the midst of all the change around us, we can hold tight and hold firm on the reality that Jesus never changes!
  • In the midst of all the changes around us, we can put our trust and hope in the realty that Jesus’s heart, purpose, and love for us are as strong as ever!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • When times are tough, what kind of questions do you ask?
  • How does it help to remember that Christ never changes?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Great truths that are stumbling blocks to the natural man are nevertheless the very foundations upon which the confidence of the spiritual man is built.”

— Henry Allen Ironside

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


So where are you at today? What is your focus being put on? What is your time being used on? Are you investing in things that will last? Are you investing in things that will fade away? Are you investing in things that change? Are you investing in things that remain the same? Let’s decide today and pray:

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

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

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


What have you had to reconsider? When have you changed your mind?


Was it a change of perspective? Was it a process over time? Was it life experiences? Was it an encounter? Was it a conversation? Was it a revelation?

Ever considered it from another perspective?

What would it take for you to change your mind about something? Are some things easier to change than others? Are some things non-negotiable? What helps you distinguish between being flexible and rigid? Would a trusted advisor help you decide? When do you decide to bend for the sake of others versus standing your ground on principles? How do you decide? Do you have a reference or source of truth that is able to help you decide? Do you have a dependable person you can seek for advice and direction?

Ever had or seen back to back 1sts? Imagine Aug 31st and Sept 1st.

If you haven’t seen it does that mean it doesn’t exist?

If you haven’t experienced it does that mean you can’t learn or believe it?

Are you able to learn through the experiences of others? The good, the bad, and the ugly? Do you need to go through it yourself to learn?


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for August 31st


On Second Thought


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ ‘

Philippians 3:7-8

I noticed that it continues in the NKJ version to complete the thought. To provide the full context and expand on it, I want to take a look at this through the Amplified version:

‘But whatever former things were gains to me [as I thought then], these things [once regarded as advancements in merit] I have come to consider as loss [absolutely worthless] for the sake of Christ [and the purpose which He has given my life]. But more than that, I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him—a joy unequaled]. For His sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him [believing and relying on Him], not having any righteousness of my own derived from [my obedience to] the Law and its rituals, but [possessing] that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith. And this, so that I may know Him [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers], and [that I may share] the fellowship of His sufferings, by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death [dying as He did]; so that I may attain to the resurrection [that will raise me] from the dead. ‘

Philippians 3:7-11

I see how the sentences change in the different translations but I also see the greater context by expanding the information and verses too.


POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • What would your past speak to your credentials?
  • What would you be able to share to speak to your life before your encounter with Jesus?
  • What would your story sounds like if you had to tell it in the format of “This is how my life used to be”, “This is when I had an encounter”, “This is how my life is different today”?
  • Are you special because where, when, how you were born?
  • Are you special because of the roles and responsibilities you have had and the status that has given you?
  • Are you special because of the things you have managed to do throughout your life?
  • Are you special because some or all of these has given you stature or a high position?
  • Have you ever had an encounter that turned your life around or even upside down?
  • Have you encountered Jesus yet?
  • Do you realize that Christianity isn’t about rituals, routines, or religion but about starting an intimate relationship with Jesus?
  • Have you had that aha moment yet?
  • After years and years of rituals, routines, and religion, that aha moment happened to me in my early 30s. (when I was 31)
  • It changed everything for me. It shocked me that in the various searching and experiences that this truth was missed or omitted or neglected.
  • It changed my priorities. The relationship with Jesus directed and instructed me to step up and step into things I am not sure I would have done otherwise. (ex. Men’s retreat I was directed to get involved in the community and join the board for the homeowners association — God wasn’t done with me there and used my time there to expand my capacity by calling me to step up and step into being the president)
  • Setting my priorities to be God, my wife (marriage), my kids (family) meant everything else that was trying to take up time and energy were and would and have to come after them.
  • What does your resume look like?
  • Do you use those accolades to gain acceptance, respect, or even power?
  • What is shaping your priorities today? What is shaping your goes? What is shaping your relationships?
  • What is high priority for you? What is least or your lowest priority?
  • Have you had an identity change?
  • Have you had that aha moment where your priorities and values change?
  • Have you noticed an alteration to your life through a divine encounter?
  • What is your most important fact about your life?
  • Do you want people to know about Jesus?
  • Do you want people to know about forgiveness?
  • Do you want people to know about love and grace?
  • Do you want people to know about dreams and purpose and cause?
  • Let’s grab hold of what Jesus shared in Matthew 16:26 when he says:
    • ‘For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world [wealth, fame, success], but forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? ‘
      Matthew 16:26
  • We know the answer is nothing and yet we have to decide for ourselves how we will choose to live.
  • We know the answer is nothing and yet we have to decide for ourselves if we will accept and receive the gift of grace and forgiveness Jesus is offering us.
  • So we get to choose our final destination by deciding if we will accept or reject Jesus, if we will spend eternity with God or apart from God.
  • There’s no comparison between what Jesus offers and what the world offers.
  • What will you choose?

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • Why do those things (wealth, status, pleasure, and so forth) seem so alluring to us?
  • What would it mean for you to value knowing Christ so much that all those things become secondary in your heart and in your priorities?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“God has a way of turning what you formerly treasured into trash, and what you once trashed becomes most precious treasure.”

Ike Reighard

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


So where are you at? What do you value today? What is alluring to you? What tempts you? What can you resist? Are you ready to change your perspective? Are you ready to have a change of heart and mind? Are you ready to start living your life for a greater purpose? Are you ready to start living your life for a greater cause? Could today be a new beginning for you? Let’s pray:

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

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

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


Ever considered the opportunities that it took to get you where you are at? or that it will take to get you where you need to be?


Ever considered what it took for you to make it through school? Elementary school? Middle school? High School? College or University? Did it take someone believing in you?

Ever considered what it took for you to get started? Finding that first job? Finding that second job? Finding those jobs while you were trying to get your degree? Did it take someone caring about you?

Ever considered your post school work? What had to happen to get you started? Who needed to encourage you and position you to be able to move upward and onward? Who needed to open doors of opportunity to get you moving upward and onward? What changes were required to get your attention? Did it require honoring your parents?

It took a big move for me to see God’s hand through it all. It took reflecting on the path to realize God was there all along. It took starting a relationship with Jesus for me to look beyond rituals and routines. It took learning forgiveness. It took breaking chains that were from the past that were holding me back. It took holding onto the truth of God’s Word and how the joy of the Lord is my strength and how because of that I can consider it pure joy when I face trials of many kinds.

How about you? Ever considered the opportunities that have come your way? Ever considered the opportunities that you will require to accomplish what God has planned and purposed for you? Are you ready and willing to open those doors of opportunity in order to step out, step up, and step into what He has in store for you? Are you ready today? Are you ready in and out of season to give a reason for the hope that is within you? Are you prepared for when the knock happens at the door, the phone rings, the encounter happens on the street or in the hallway?

Are you ready to walk thru the door when it shows up? Are you ready to walk thru the door when it opens up? Are you ready to take hold of the opportunity that is coming your way?


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for August 17th


Doors of Opportunity


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘Then Jesse said to his son David, “Take now for your brothers an ephah of this dried grain and these ten loaves, and run to your brothers at the camp. And carry these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand, and see how your brothers fare, and bring back news of them.” ‘

I Samuel 17:17-18

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Ever taken time to reflect on life?
  • Ever taken time to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly parts?
  • Ever considered what the characters in the Bible went through?
  • Ever considered what you remember most of about them?
  • Like David, do you think of his big wins like killing the giant Goliath? honoring his friendship with Jonathan? uniting the kingdom of God?
  • Like David, do you think of his big challenges like having to run from Saul? his son?
  • Like David, do you think of the ugly parts too like committing adultery and murder?
  • Ever considered how his life began and how it wasn’t easy with all the older brothers who got most of the attention and what seemed to be preferential treatment?
  • Ever considered how God trained and encouraged David, building up his confidence in spite of the challenges?
  • Who would have thought that being sent to deliver food in order to bring back news from the front by his dad would have had the outcome it did?
  • But David saw the way the army was filled with fear because of the giant Goliath.
  • In spite of the taunting of his brothers, David offered his services to king Saul to take down that giant.
  • David had experienced taking down lions and bears as a shepherd boy and knew if God was with him then and could hep him then, how much more would God help him in that very moment.
  • David knew that the battle belonged to the Lord!
  • David trusted God.
  • David wasn’t going to wear the heavy armor of the king but would go out there just the way God made him and gave him the skills, the abilities, and the confidence to take on the giant with his sling and a stone.
  • Who would have known that the door of opportunity was going to swing open at that very moment to transform the rest of David’s life?
  • What about you? Are you ready if the door of opportunity swings open for you today to take that opportunity to transform the rest of your life?
  • Are you ready to use the circumstances of today to glorify God?
  • Are you ready to see God’s hand in action to help you accomplish things you didn’t even know were just through the doorway of opportunity?
  • Are you ready to have and walk in the confidence God has created and built up in you so that you can accomplish the good works He has prepared in advance for you to accomplish?
  • Don’t let the hurts of the past keep you from the miracles of today!
  • Don’t let the taunts of today keep you from accomplishing what God is bringing your way!
  • Let’s be like David who when the door of opportunity swung open was ready to walk through it and do what God was calling him and had prepared him to be able to do.
  • Let’s be like David who when the door of opportunity swung open was ready to walk through it because we are focused more on God and less on the way we had been overlooked in our past.
  • Let’s be like David who when the door of opportunity swung open was ready to walk through it because we are more focused on what God has done in and through us in the past than spending time in self-pity.
  • Let’s march through the door when it opens up!
  • Let’s be the catalyst for radical change today!
  • Let’s be like David who decided to take the opportunity in order to proclaim and glorify God!
    • ‘Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord ’s, and He will give you into our hands.”’ — I Samuel 17:45-47

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • How did God use a painful situation as an open door for David?
  • Is there a difficult circumstance in your life that God might use to open a door for you?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Great doors of opportunity swing on the tiny hinges of obedience.”

Ike Reighard

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


So where are you at today? Are you going through challenges? Are you coming out of a challenging time? Is a challenge coming down the line? Are you ready for it? Be it an opportunity or a trial, are you ready? Be it an opportunity or trouble, are you ready for it? Are you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually ready for it? Are you ready to take heart because you know that Jesus has overcome the world? Are you ready to consider it pure joy because You know that it will build your faith, build your perseverance, and in the end you will be complete and lacking nothing? Are you ready to invite Jesus into the situation rather than trying to push through it alone? Are you ready to walk it out with Jesus rather than going it alone? Why not get started with Him from the beginning? Today is your opportunity to invite and allow Jesus to walk thru the rest of your life with you. Let’s pray:

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

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

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


Change for the better. What would it take?


Would things have to go well? Would things have to go poorly? Would it take a catastrophic event? Would it take an incredible discovery? Would it take some catalyst for change? Would it take some type of change agent? Would it require you catching a clear vision? Would it require someone coming alongside you and being patient and yet persistent? Would it require someone coming alongside you and being willing to ask the tough questions? Would it require someone coming alongside you who is knowledgeable and can lead by example? Would it require someone coming alongside you who can build a strong relationship that is built on trust? Would it need to be someone from outside your normal circle of friends who can promote, champion, enable, and support the change? Would it need to be someone who can focus on people and their interactions? Would you need a catalyst to change? Would you require a change agent to change?

Are you ready to change for the better? Are you willing to change for the better? Are you able to change for the better? If the answer is no, why not? What is it going to take? Would you need to hit rock bottom? Would you need to reach the mountain top? Would you need an encounter? Would you need an enlightening? Could today be your day? Are you prepared for change? Are you requiring some type of conviction to help you step out and step into becoming a changed and better you?

What would it take? You’ve heard about continuous improvement right? You’ve heard how each generation should try to improve itself over the last right? So what about you? What will be your way of improving and becoming a better you? Today’s devotional shares what happened to Josiah when the Word of God was brought and explained to him.

Maybe God’s Word and spending time with God could be the change agent you need to become the better you, God created for you to be.


The One Year Daily Insights
with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard 
for May 21st


Convicted to Change


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes. ‘

II Kings 22:11

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Would you have to be in trouble before you would be ready to turn to or hear from God?
  • Would you have to be in bad alliances or relationships before you would be ready to turn to and hear from God?
  • How rough or bad would things have to be before you would be ready for change?
  • Would it require something that would create such a conviction that you would know that you need to change?
  • With so much of God and the Bible being taken out of society, have you ever take the time to read God’s Word?
  • With so much of God and the Bible being taken out of school, work, politics, etc. – might you consider taking some time to read God’s Word? It’s available in books, online, and even in apps.
  • Imagine the power and the clarity of God’s Word speaking to you like it did to Josiah as he was sitting on his throne.
  • Image how you would respond if you or when you realize that all the problems that are and were being experienced by you and our society occurred because your forefathers had not been obedient to God’s Word.
  • Imagine the sadness and sorrow it would produce
  • Let’s go from emotions to actions! Let’s go from being sorry to starting to take action!
  • Let’s make the decision to reconnect with God!
  • Let’s make the decision to follow after Him and His ways!
  • Let’s make the decision to get rid of the things that were trying to fill that God shaped spot in our hearts in order to make room for Him!
  • Let’s accept the conviction that has come our way of disobedience and selfishness and turn back to God and follow His example!
  • There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! The devil tries to condemn us but God will convict us to help us get back on track!
  • Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to touch us at the deepest level
  • Let’s allow that touch to create a true feeling of remorse
  • Let’s take action, bold actions, to right the wrongs and then start to walk transformed with God in truth and integrity!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
When was the last time you felt truly convicted by God’s Spirit about sin in your life? Describe your response.
What are some actions you need to take to “clean house” the way Josiah did?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Greatness is a spiritual condition worthy to excite love, interest, and admiration; and the outward proof of possessing greatness is that we excite love, interest and admiration.

Matthew Arnold

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


So what condition are you in today? Are you ready for a transformation? Are you ready for a change for the better? Could today be your day? Could today be the beginning of something incredible?

Where are you at today? Are you looking for guidance? Are you wondering where to turn? Are you at the end of your rope and needing help? Are you ready for some help? Are you ready to turn to God and ask? seek? knock? Let’s pray together:

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

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

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

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

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


How has your life been changed?


Ever had an incident in your life that caused change? Ever had an incident in your life that transformed? Ever had an incident that change the trajectory for the rest of your life?

What about on a professional level? What about on a personal level? What about on a relational level? What about on a spiritual level?

When it first happened did you realize it was going to have such a huge impact? When it happened did you realize it was going to be the catalyst? When it happened were you receptive?

Was it triggered by a positive event? Was it triggered by a negative event? Was it triggered by some type of trial or emergency? Was it caused by a resistance? Was it that you were on the edge of a breakthrough and had to push through?

Consider the turbulence that takes place to pilots and planes right before the breakthrough of crossing the boundary of hitting MACH. Imagine being that first pilot…

Consider the resistance and the excuses that kept you from going to church, starting a relationship with Jesus, and being transformed into a new version of You.

Taking hold of these truths, if things are feeling really rough, like you are being tested more than normal, don’t give up because you might just be on the door steep of a breakthrough!

I know how my life was transformed back in 2000 when my life took a huge turn as I moved my family away from all our friends and family, thinking it was for my career, and with all the miracles that took place including the job I ended up with (applied for 3 and took a third because I ran into someone I knew in the hallway) the house we bought (where the randomly assigned real estate agent happened to bring us to an area nearly an hour from where we had thought, researched, and planned to move) to the incredible church we are now a part of (thanks to an invite we received for the Christmas production) and in the midst of all of that we had an encounter with Jesus who has transformed not only my life, my wife’s life, but our entire family.

So yes things might be feeling tough right now… Don’t give up!

Yes things might be feeling rough right now … Don’t give up!

Yes things might be feeling stuck right now … Don’t give up!

Yes things might even be feeling isolated or lonely right now … Don’t give up!

Let’s look for ways to press on, to finish the race, to finish strong, to be bold and courageous, to be prepared for the good works God has prepared in advance for us to accomplish, to race to win, to race to get the crown God has for us, to produce good fruits, to be salt and light into this dark world, to be the one in one another!


Day 85: 2020 Hindsight
— The 49-Week Challenge 
 Day 85 —

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 85 link to join link here to join me and sign up.

With February in the rear view mirror, let’s share our takeaways from today’s reading! Did you catch and promises to trust? Did you catch any commands to obey? Did you catch any truths to embrace? Did you catch any warnings to heed? Did you catch any encouragement to rest in? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the world? What verse stood out most to you today?

If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.


Today’s reading from God’s Word – the Bible comes to us from:

(I have chosen to use NIV translation, but feel free to choose whichever version you feel more comfortable with)


My Notes:

  • We see how even with Jesus’s disciples tried to prevent the children from approaching Him, He rebuked them and said to not hinder them from coming to Him!
  • With God all things are possible! Even a rich man who in their own way couldn’t make a way through Jesus a transformed heart will make it possible!
  • What seems impossible to man is possible with and through God!
  • Do you have a need? Are you having a problem seeing? Seeing where this is going? Seeing what is going on? Seeing what you are supposed to do? Seeing your part or your role? Seeing the reason? Seeing the purpose? Seeing what you are to learn? Seeing where you are headed? Seeing the breakthrough? Cry out to Jesus like your life depends on it! Be like the blind man who heard Jesus was passing by and don’t let anyone keep you from having an encounter with Jesus! Get louder and get serious about it so that you can have an encounter with Jesus that will transform the rest of your life!
  • Want things to be better? Do you want to keep things to a high standard? Let’s remember the God’s commands! Let’s remember how Jesus calls us to raise the average and raise the bar!

As day 85 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not join me in this prayer?

Did you pray with me? Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision? Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Today’s devotional comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit www.life.church — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through Bible.com

Are you ready for a change? Are you ready to see a change? Are you ready to be the change?


Ever heard that the only constant is change? Ever heard that there is nothing new under the sun? And yet we go through change constantly. Some is self directed like when people move or go off to school or get married or have kids or change jobs. Others are via external sources like reorgs, elections, government bills and laws. How about you? Are you ready to be a catalyst for change? Are you reach to be a catalyst for transformation? What is or will be your motivation? What is or will be your decision points? What is or will be your measures for or of success? Where will you go for instruction and direction? How will you know if it is good or bad? How will you know if it is a success or failure? How will you know it has happened? Change it is everywhere! We have all been created and we all continue to grow and develop till we die on this earth and are transformed into a spirit form and based on our decision to either follow Jesus or not, we will spend eternity in that new body or form with God or apart from God!


Day 60: 2020 Hindsight
— The 49-Week Challenge 
 Day 60 —

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 60 link to join link here to join me and sign up.

January is in the rear view mirror

With January in the rear view mirror, let’s share our takeaways from today’s reading! Did you catch and promises to trust? Did you catch any commands to obey? Did you catch any truths to embrace? Did you catch any warnings to heed? Did you catch any encouragement to rest in? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the world? What verse stood out most to you today?

If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.


Today’s reading from God’s Word – the Bible comes to us from:

(I have chosen to use NIV translation, but feel free to choose whichever version you feel more comfortable with)


My Notes:

  • Would you want to be present for the change?
  • Would you want to know about the change?
  • Would you want to be a part of the change?
  • Would you like to change?
  • Would you like to change others?
  • Who is with you? Who is against you?
  • How far would you go to see the change?
  • How long would you wait to see change?
  • How prepared are you for change?
  • Do you believe enough to see or receive a change?
  • Are you willing to accomplish God’s will and purpose even if the change requires change?
  • Are you willing to do what is needed in order to keep you on track towards the change?
  • Keep your focus on God and live to spend eternity with Him in heaven!
  • Choose God’s ways over your own ways!
  • Choose God’s plan that is to give you a hope and a future!
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength!
  • God will complete and accomplish all that He has plan and promised to do!
  • Will you receive God’s peace that surpasses all understanding?
  • Are you willing to do God’s will in order to flourish for His glory?
  • Will you consecrate and purify yourself to be able to enter into the presence of God?
  • Will you accept and receive Jesus to be your Lord and Savior?
  • Do you hear what people are seeing and saying? How do you respond to crying and complaining?
  • How would you respond to food / bread from heaven?
  • How would you provide for the people?
  • Do you have faith?
  • How will you respond to the burden that has been put upon you?
  • What burden will you choose to accept and receive? Will it be the one Jesus offers?
  • Will you receive and walk in the Spirit?
  • How will you respond to the actions of the people around you?

As day 60 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not join me in this prayer?

Did you pray with me? Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision? Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Today’s devotional comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit www.life.church — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through Bible.com

Is there anything you would add? would remove? would change?


Are you content with where you are at? Are you satisfied with where you are at? Would you add anything to your plate? Would you remove anything from your plate? Would change anything? Now before you answer that … what if you knew there was a change coming that could obliterate everything as it is today. So you know there is a change coming but you just don’t know what it is yet or how it will impact your current roles and responsibilities. If it changes your role from what you like then what would you do? If it removes the parts that you have enjoyed most then what would you do? If it tries to add things you don’t like then what would you do? Would you consider a change? Would you consider a bigger change? Would consider looking into other opportunities? What if you are in your current situation because that is where the group needed you and yet due to realignment of ownership, roles, and responsibilities that role you were to stay in or keep is about to go away? What do you like to do? What do you have passion to do? Is there something else that you could or should be putting your name in the hat for? Are you listening to what God has to say? Are you listening to hear what He wants you to do? What will you decide to do or to pursue? Will you ask? Will you seek? Will you knock? What are you ready to do?


Day 24: 2020 Hindsight
— The 49-Week Challenge – Day 24 —

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 24 link above or want to join link here to join me and sign up.

Let’s share our takeaways from today’s reading! Did you catch and promises to trust? Did you catch any commands to obey? Did you catch any truths to embrace? Did you catch any warnings to heed? Did you catch any encouragement to rest in? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the world? What verse stood out most to you today?

If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.


Today’s reading from God’s Word – the Bible comes to us from: (I have chosen to use NIV translation, but feel free to choose whichever version you feel more comfortable with)


My Notes:

  • Are you willing to work outside of the definition of normal?
  • Are you willing to do something that isn’t expected?
  • Are you willing to bring truth and life into a person or people who are in need but don’t realize that you can help?
  • Where are you willing to go in order to accomplish God’s will?
  • Are you willing to go on new path to get there?
  • Are you willing to engage with new people?
  • Are you willing to accomplish God’s will?
  • Are you willing to shine light into a dark situation?
  • Are you willing to speak life into a hard situation?
  • Are you willing to be a part of the solution rather than doing nothing and becoming part of the problem?
  • What are the intentions of the questions being asked?
  • What is the trigger for such a conversation?
  • Is there something that is behind it?
  • Is there something off your radar triggering or causing the questions?
  • Are you willing to break the stereotype?
  • Are you willing to share the truth about sustenance that lasts for ever?
  • Are you ready to share the truth about who Jesus is and what He is able to do in the lives of the people God brings into your life?
  • Are you willing to step into a difficult question in order for the truth and the light to shine thru and bring healing and hope into the situation?
  • Let’s live out our lives as offerings to God! Let’s live out our lives worshiping God in Spirit and in truth! Are you willing to pour the overflow from the Holy Spirit into the lives of all those around you?
  • Are you willing to go there and reveal the truth that Jesus is He? Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life!
  • Are you hungry for the truth or just to fill your stomach?
  • Are you hungry to do the will of God who sent you?
  • Do you realize that the fields are ready for the harvest and we each have a part to do?
  • Are you willing to sow and now get to reap but allow others to reap the benefits?
  • Are you willing to reap the benefits of what someone else has sown?
  • What do you want more? Will you continue to thirst or choose to thirst no more and driving from the living water that is available through Jesus.
  • Worshiping isn’t about a specific place, it is a matter of the heart for we need to doing more than just lip service, we need to worshiping and living our lives in Spirit and in truth in order to live our lives as living sacrifices to God.
  • Do you believe? Do you have to see it to believe it? What will it take for you to see what is right before you?
  • Will you believe because of what others say? Would you believe more if you heard it directly from Jesus?
  • Will you trust Jesus at His Word?
  • Where does your hope come from? Where does your help come from?
  • Are you motivated by faith rather than fear?
  • Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged! Do what God is calling you to do!
  • How will you create an altar to God where you testify to who God is and what God has done?
  • Do you remember everything that God already done for you?
  • Are you ready to serve the Lord?
  • Will you and your family serve the Lord?
  • Who is it that you will serve?
  • Let’s praise God for what He has done!
  • Let’s trust and not be afraid
  • We need to realize where we are at. We need to thirst for the truth. We need to worship God in Spirit and in truth! We each have our own part! We need to be sowing! We need to be reaping! We need to be harvesting for the fields are white and workers are needed and God calling each of us to do our part. We need to trust that what Jesus says is good and true and so we must do it and accomplish it. Let’s live out our lives with hope! Let’s server the Lord! Let’s remember and testify to all the good things God has done in and through our lives. Let us not forget! Let’s believe! Let’s do our part!

As day 24 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not join me in this prayer?

Did you pray with me? Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision? Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Today’s devotional comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit www.life.church — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through Bible.com

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:

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.

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.

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

 

Ever considered that day when everything changed?


That day when God came into your life? That day when He became real? That day when it was more than just words on a page, but it became words of God?  That day when you ask Jesus into your heart? That day when the Holy Spirit moved in? Can you be patient? Can you be obedient? Can you be faithful?

Do you remember how things changed? Do you remember the impact? Do you remember how your life was transformed? Were you afraid to come forward at first? Were you afraid of what it will mean? Were you afraid of what others may think? Fear Not, Just Believe! When God calls you to it, He will get you through it!

Consider a seed…

What a seed goes through

Today’s reading begins on the day when Saul’s life changed…

Saul Anointed King

1Then Samuel took the vial of oil and poured it on his head. Then he kissed him and said, “Has Adonai not anointed you ruler over His inheritance? 2When you leave me today, you will find two men near the tomb of Rachel in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah, and they will say to you: ‘The donkeys you set out to look for have been found—behold, your father has dropped the matter about the donkeys and is worried about you saying, “What should I do about my son?’” 3Then you will go on from there until you reach the terebinth of Tabor, and there three men going up to God at Beth-el will meet you, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and the other carrying a jug of wine. 4Then they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you will receive from their hand. 5After that, you will arrive at the hill of God, where the garrison of the Philistines is. It will come about, as soon as you enter the town, that you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the high place, preceded by a harp, a tambourine and a flute, and they will be prophesying. 6Then the Ruach of Adonai will seize you and you will prophesy with them—you will turn into another man. 7Now when these signs happen to you, do for yourself what the occasion requires, for God is with you. 8Afterward, you are to go down before me to Gilgal; and behold, I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice fellowship offerings. Seven days you will wait, until I come to you and instruct you what you should do.” 9Then it happened, as Saul turned his back to leave Samuel, that God transformed his heart, and all those signs came to pass that day. 10When they arrived there, at the hill, behold, a band of prophets did meet him, and suddenly, the Ruach of God overtook him, and subsequently, he prophesied among them. 11So when all who knew him formerly saw him prophesying with the prophets, they said one to another, “What has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” 12(Someone there asked, “Who is their father?”) Therefore it became a proverb, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 13When he finished prophesying, he came to the high place. 14Now Saul’s uncle asked him and his servant, “Where did you go?” And he said, “To look for the donkeys. But when we saw that they could not be found, we went to Samuel.” 15Saul’s uncle said, “Tell me now, what did Samuel say to you?” 16“He assured us that the donkeys had been found,” Saul said to his uncle. But concerning the matter of kingship about which Samuel spoke, he told him nothing. 17Then Samuel summoned the people to Adonai at Mizpah. 18He said to Bnei-Yisrael, “Thus says Adonai, God of Israel: I brought Israel out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all the kingdoms that oppressed you. 19But today you have spurned your God, who is your deliverer from all your calamities and your distresses. For you said to Him: ‘No! Rather set a king over us.’ Now therefore present yourselves before Adonai by your tribes and by your thousands.” 20So Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was chosen. 21Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin by its clans, and the clan of the Matrites was chosen. Finally, Saul son of Kish was chosen. But when they looked for him, he could not be found. 22Therefore, they inquired of Adonai further, “Has the man come here yet?” Adonai answered, “He has just hidden himself among the baggage.” 23So they ran and brought him from there. When he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders up. 24Then Samuel announced to all the people, “Do you see the one Adonai has chosen? Surely there is no one like him among all the people!” Then all the people shouted and said, “Long live the king!” 25Then Samuel explained to the people the rules of kingship, wrote them in a scroll and placed it before Adonai. Then Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. 26Saul also went home to Gibeah, accompanied by men of valor whose hearts God had touched. 27But certain worthless men said, “How can this one save us?” So they despised him and brought him no present. But he kept silent.

–from 1 Samuel 10

How will God use you? What will be the first thing you get to do? How will you respond? Will you walk in obedience? Will you act in alignment to the Spirit of God?

Saul’s First Victory

1Now Nahash the Ammonite marched up and encamped against Jabesh-gilead. Then all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you.” 2But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, “Only on this condition will I make a treaty with you—by gouging out the right eye of every one of you, thus I will bring disgrace on all Israel.” 3So the elders of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days’ respite, so we may send messengers throughout all the territory of Israel. If no one comes to deliver us, we will surrender to you.” 4When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and spoke these words in the hearing of the people, all the people lifted up their voice and wept. 5Now behold, Saul was coming from the field behind the oxen, so Saul asked, “Why are the people weeping?” Then they told him the words of the men of Jabesh. 6Then the Ruach of God suddenly rushed upon Saul when he heard those words, and his anger blazed. 7So he took a pair of oxen, cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hand of messengers saying, “Whoever does not come out after Saul and after Samuel, so will it be done to his oxen.” So the dread of Adonai fell on the people, and they came out as one man. 8He numbered them in Bezek, and Bnei-Yisrael were 300,000 and the men of Judah 30,000. 9So they said to the messengers who came, “Thus will you say to the men of Jabesh-gilead: Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you will have deliverance.” The messengers came and told the men of Jabesh, and they were glad. 10Then the men of Jabesh said, “Tomorrow we will surrender to you and you can do to us whatever seems good to you.” 11So it was on the following day that Saul divided the people into three columns; they penetrated into the midst of the camp at the morning watch and struck down the Ammonites until the heat of day. It came about that the survivors were scattered, so that no two of them were left together. 12Then the people said to Samuel, “Who was it who said, ‘Should Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, so we may put them to death.” 13But Saul replied, “No man will be put to death this day, for today Adonai has brought deliverance to Israel.” 14Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let’s go to Gilgal and reaffirm the kingdom there.” 15So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before Adonai in Gilgal. There they sacrificed fellowship offerings before Adonai, and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.

–from 1 Samuel 11

Do you remember? Has life gotten so buy that you forgot? Has the comforts of today caused you to forget how it all began? Has something caused you to lose focus? Has something caused you to lose direction? Has something caused you to lose touch? Do you remember the pendulum experience? Going from needing God to forgetting about Him till the pain and suffering became too hard to handle and then you called out to Him and He rescued you and then you got too comfortable again and the cycle continues?

Why not just stick with God? Why not walk with Him daily? Why not talk with Him daily? Why not build up that relationship and not sway to the left or right? Why not walk out your life conformed to what God is calling you to do? Why not live out life to the fullest?

Samuel Rebukes Israel

1Then Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, I have listened to your voice in all you said to me, and have set a king over you. 2Now here is the king who will go before you, while I am old and gray. Also here are my sons with you. I have gone before you from my youth to this day. 3Here I am. Witness against me before Adonai and before His anointed. Whose ox have I taken or whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I defrauded or whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I taken a bribe to look the other way? I will restore it to you.” 4They replied, “You haven’t defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from anyone’s hand.” 5Then he said to them, “Adonai is then a witness against you, and His anointed is a witness this day that you have not found anything in my hand.” “He is a witness,” they replied. 6Then Samuel said to the people, “It is Adonai who appointed Moses and Aaron and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt. 7So now, stand still, so that I may plead with you before Adonai concerning all the righteous acts of Adonai, which He did for you and your fathers. 8When Jacob entered Egypt and your fathers cried out to Adonai, then Adonai sent Moses and Aaron who brought your fathers out of Egypt and settled them in this place. 9But they forgot Adonai their God, so He gave them over into the hand of Sisera, captain of the army of Hazor, into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab, who fought against them. 10So they cried out to Adonai and said, ‘We have sinned because we have forsaken Adonai and have worshipped the Baalim and the Ashtaroth. But now deliver us from the hand of our enemies and we will worship You.’ 11Then Adonai sent Jerubbaal, Bedan, Jephthah and Samuel, and delivered you from the hand of your enemies on every side, so that you might live securely. 12But when you saw Nahash king of the Ammonites marching against you, you said to me, ‘No! But a king must reign over us!’—even though Adonai your God is your king. 13“Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have asked for, and behold, Adonai has set him as king over you. 14If you fear Adonai and worship Him, and listen to His voice and do not rebel against the command of Adonai, then both you as well as the king who reigns over you will be following Adonai your God. 15But if you do not listen to the voice of Adonai and rebel against the command of Adonai, then the hand of Adonai will be against you and against your fathers. 16Now stand by and see this great thing that Adonai will do before your eyes. 17Is it not wheat harvest season today? I will call to Adonai, that He may send thunder and rain. Then you will know and see that your wickedness is great which you have done in the sight of Adonai by asking for yourselves a king.” 18So Samuel prayed to Adonai, and Adonai sent thunder and rain that day. Then all the people greatly feared Adonai and Samuel, 19and all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to Adonai your God, that we would not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil by asking for ourselves a king.” 20Samuel said to the people, “Fear not! Indeed you have done all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following Adonai, but worship Adonai with all your heart. 21Do not turn aside to go after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are futile. 22For Adonai will not forsake His people for His great Name’s sake, because it has pleased Adonai to make you a people to Himself. 23Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against Adonai by ceasing to pray for you! Yet I will keep instructing you in the good and straight way. 24Only fear Adonai and worship Him in truth with all your heart, considering how magnificently He has dealt with you. 25But if you persist in acting wickedly, you will be swept away, both you and your king.”

–from 1 Samuel 12

He will be with you at the highest mountain tops! He will be with you in the deepest valleys! He will be with you every step of the way! Will you acknowledge Him? Will you talk to Him? Will you build up the relationship while you are living life? Will you trust Him? Will you overcome worry with trust in God? Fear Not, Just Believe! Put your hope and trust in Him!

Righteous Living

1“Beware of practicing your righteousness before others to be seen by them; otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2So whenever you do tzadakah, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, so that they may be glorified by men. Amen, I tell you, they have their reward in full! 3But when you do tzadakah, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your tzadakah may be in secret; and your Father, who sees in secret, shall reward you. 5“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Amen, I tell you, they have their reward in full! 6But you, when you pray, go into your inner room; and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, shall reward you. 7And when you are praying, do not babble on and on like the pagans; for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. 9“Therefore, pray in this way: ‘Our Father in heaven, sanctified be Your name. 10Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11Give us this day our daily bread. 12And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ 14“For if you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions. 16“And whenever you fast, do not become sad-faced like the hypocrites, for they neglect their faces to make their fasting evident to men. Amen, I tell you, they have their reward in full! 17But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18so that your fasting won’t be evident to men, but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. 19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in or steal. 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22“The eye is the lamp of the body. Therefore if your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eye is bad, your body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick by one and look down on the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Overcoming Worry with Trust

25“So I say to you, do not worry about your life—what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26“Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your Father in heaven feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They neither toil nor spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30Now if in this way God clothes the grass—which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow—will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32For the pagans eagerly pursue all these things; yet your Father in heaven knows that you need all these. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

–from Matthew 6

 

Don’t give up!


Do you understand what is being asked? Do you understand what is being said? Do you understand what is expected of you? Don’t give up! Press on! Persevere! Remember that in this world you will face challenges, but Jesus has overcome the world! We have already the victory through Jesus Christ! So let’s receive it and accomplish all that God desires in and through us!

Today’s reading starts with misunderstanding and confusion and people getting ready to give up. Let’s see how it was handled…

The Words of Eternal Life

60Many of his followers heard this and said, “This teaching is too hard. Who can listen to it?” 61Without being told, Jesus knew that they were grumbling about this, so he said to them, “Does this make you want to give up? 62Suppose, then, that you should see the Son of Man go back up to the place where he was before? 63What gives life is God’s Spirit; human power is of no use at all. The words I have spoken to you bring God’s life-giving Spirit. 64Yet some of you do not believe.” (Jesus knew from the very beginning who were the ones that would not believe and which one would betray him.) 65And he added, “This is the very reason I told you that no people can come to me unless the Father makes it possible for them to do so.”
66Because of this, many of Jesus’ followers turned back and would not go with him any more. 67So he asked the twelve disciples, “And you—would you also like to leave?” 68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. 69And now we believe and know that you are the Holy One who has come from God.”
70Jesus replied, “I chose the twelve of you, didn’t I? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71He was talking about Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. For Judas, even though he was one of the twelve disciples, was going to betray him.

–from John 6

Turn back to God! Turn to Jesus for He is the way, the truth, and the life! Turn to Jesus, it is only through Him that we can make it the Father. God’s plan is that He doesn’t want anyone to perish but that everyone would be able to experience eternal life! We all get a freewill though and we get to choose! Choose wisely! Let’s live the transformed life that God desires! Let’s be good stewards of the gifts that God has given us! Let’s focus on the future! Our eyes are on the front of our head so that we can focus on what is ahead of us!

Changed Lives

1Since Christ suffered physically, you too must strengthen yourselves with the same way of thinking that he had; because whoever suffers physically is no longer involved with sin. 2From now on, then, you must live the rest of your earthly lives controlled by God’s will and not by human desires. 3You have spent enough time in the past doing what the heathen like to do. Your lives were spent in indecency, lust, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and the disgusting worship of idols. 4And now the heathen are surprised when you do not join them in the same wild and reckless living, and so they insult you. 5But they will have to give an account of themselves to God, who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6That is why the Good News was preached also to the dead, to those who had been judged in their physical existence as everyone is judged; it was preached to them so that in their spiritual existence they may live as God lives.

Good Managers of God’s Gifts

7The end of all things is near. You must be self-controlled and alert, to be able to pray. 8Above everything, love one another earnestly, because love covers over many sins. 9Open your homes to each other without complaining. 10Each one, as a good manager of God’s different gifts, must use for the good of others the special gift he has received from God. 11Those who preach must preach God’s messages; those who serve must serve with the strength that God gives them, so that in all things praise may be given to God through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and power forever and ever. Amen.

–from 1 Peter 4

So be prepared! Be self-controlled! Be loving! Don’t complain! Don’t worry! Don’t give up!

As we continue r reading we go back to Songs of Song…

The Women

1Most beautiful of women, where has your lover gone? Tell us which way your lover went, so that we can help you find him.

The Woman

2My lover has gone to his garden, where the balsam trees grow. He is feeding his flock in the garden and gathering lilies. 3My lover is mine, and I am his; he feeds his flock among the lilies.

The Fifth Song

The Man

4My love, you are as beautiful as Jerusalem, as lovely as the city of Tirzah, as breathtaking as these great cities. 5Turn your eyes away from me; they are holding me captive. Your hair dances like a flock of goats bounding down the hills of Gilead. 6Your teeth are as white as a flock of sheep that have just been washed. Not one of them is missing; they are all perfectly matched. 7Your cheeks glow behind your veil. 8Let the king have sixty queens, eighty concubines, young women without number! 9But I love only one, and she is as lovely as a dove. She is her mother’s only daughter, her mother’s favorite child. All women look at her and praise her; queens and concubines sing her praises. 10Who is this whose glance is like the dawn? She is beautiful and bright, as dazzling as the sun or the moon. 11I have come down among the almond trees to see the young plants in the valley, to see the new leaves on the vines and the blossoms on the pomegranate trees. 12I am trembling; you have made me as eager for love as a chariot driver is for battle.

The Women

13Dance, dance, girl of Shulam. Let us watch you as you dance.

The Woman

Why do you want to watch me as I dance between the rows of onlookers?

–from Songs of Song 6

Does it matter the day? Does it matter the belief? Does it?


What day isn’t it ok to do the right thing? What day isn’t it ok to do something good? Is there a bad day to do the right thing or a good thing?

What do you believe? Do believe it enough to be obedient? Do you believe it enough that your life will be transformed? Do you believe that you can believe enough to be changed forever by a miracle?

Do you realize that God can touch you anywhere on any day? Do you realize that the key is to believe? Do you know Jesus? Have you started a relationship with Him and asked Him into your heart? Are you ready to be changed from the inside out? God loves you more than words can say. He loves you unconditionally just the way you are. He loves you so much that He sent Jesus to come and die for your mistakes and for mine. There is no greater sacrifice than to lie down you life for a friend, and Jesus laid down His life for us. If we put our hope and our trust in Him and start the journey of a relationship with Him, our lives will be transformed and we will be come new creatures. He will lead us and guide us and give us a hope and a future. He will make a way when there doesn’t seem to be a way. He will be with us on the mountain tops. He will be with us in the valleys. He will never leave us nor abandon/forsake us.

So does it matter? Does it?


Today’s reading starts speaking of an encounter on the Sabbath day, let’s check it out…

The Healing at the Pool

1After this, Jesus went to Jerusalem for a religious festival. 2Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there is a pool with five porches; in Hebrew it is called Bethzatha. 3A large crowd of sick people were lying on the porches—the blind, the lame, and the paralyzed. 5A man was there who had been sick for thirty-eight years. 6Jesus saw him lying there, and he knew that the man had been sick for such a long time; so he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
7The sick man answered, “Sir, I don’t have anyone here to put me in the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am trying to get in, somebody else gets there first.” 8Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your mat, and walk.” 9Immediately the man got well; he picked up his mat and started walking.

The day this happened was a Sabbath, 10so the Jewish authorities told the man who had been healed, “This is a Sabbath, and it is against our Law for you to carry your mat.” 11He answered, “The man who made me well told me to pick up my mat and walk.” 12They asked him, “Who is the man who told you to do this?” 13But the man who had been healed did not know who Jesus was, for there was a crowd in that place, and Jesus had slipped away. 14Afterward, Jesus found him in the Temple and said, “Listen, you are well now; so stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15Then the man left and told the Jewish authorities that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16So they began to persecute Jesus, because he had done this healing on a Sabbath. 17Jesus answered them, “My Father is always working, and I too must work.”

18This saying made the Jewish authorities all the more determined to kill him; not only had he broken the Sabbath law, but he had said that God was his own Father and in this way had made himself equal with God.

–from John 5

So what if people criticize or attack you for doing good or doing the right thing, will that deter you from doing it? Do you believe in it enough to be an instrument of God? Will you shine the light of Jesus into this world? Will you share the message of hope with those God has brought into your life? Is there anything that can hold you back? Fear Not, Just Believe!

So don’t hold back! Build up your relationship with God!

17You call him Father, when you pray to God, who judges all people by the same standard, according to what each one has done; so then, spend the rest of your lives here on earth in reverence for him. 18For you know what was paid to set you free from the worthless manner of life handed down by your ancestors. It was not something that can be destroyed, such as silver or gold; 19it was the costly sacrifice of Christ, who was like a lamb without defect or flaw. 20He had been chosen by God before the creation of the world and was revealed in these last days for your sake. 21Through him you believe in God, who raised him from death and gave him glory; and so your faith and hope are fixed on God. 22Now that by your obedience to the truth you have purified yourselves and have come to have a sincere love for other believers, love one another earnestly with all your heart. 23For through the living and eternal word of God you have been born again as the children of a parent who is immortal, not mortal. 24As the scripture says,
“All human beings are like grass, and all their glory is like wild flowers. The grass withers, and the flowers fall, 25but the word of the Lord remains forever.” This word is the Good News that was proclaimed to you.

–from 1 Peter 1

Don’t be focused on the short time, but on the future! Be focused on your eternity with God and how incredible that will be! Keep your eyes on Him and don’t be deceived or frightened or stressed about what is going on in life! Call to Him! Ask Him for wisdom for He will give it without finding fault! Seek Him and You will find Him when You seek Him with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of Your mind. Don’t give up! Don’t be afraid! Just Believe!

1So remember your Creator while you are still young, before those dismal days and years come when you will say, “I don’t enjoy life.” 2That is when the light of the sun, the moon, and the stars will grow dim for you, and the rain clouds will never pass away. 3Then your arms, that have protected you, will tremble, and your legs, now strong, will grow weak. Your teeth will be too few to chew your food, and your eyes too dim to see clearly. 4Your ears will be deaf to the noise of the street. You will barely be able to hear the mill as it grinds or music as it plays, but even the song of a bird will wake you from sleep. 5You will be afraid of high places, and walking will be dangerous. Your hair will turn white; you will hardly be able to drag yourself along, and all desire will be gone.
We are going to our final resting place, and then there will be mourning in the streets. 6The silver chain will snap, and the golden lamp will fall and break; the rope at the well will break, and the water jar will be shattered. 7Our bodies will return to the dust of the earth, and the breath of life will go back to God, who gave it to us. 8Useless, useless, said the Philosopher. It is all useless.

The Summing Up

9But because the Philosopher was wise, he kept on teaching the people what he knew. He studied proverbs and honestly tested their truth. 10The Philosopher tried to find comforting words, but the words he wrote were honest. 11The sayings of the wise are like the sharp sticks that shepherds use to guide sheep, and collected proverbs are as lasting as firmly driven nails. They have been given by God, the one Shepherd of us all. 12My child, there is something else to watch out for. There is no end to the writing of books, and too much study will wear you out. 13After all this, there is only one thing to say: Have reverence for God, and obey his commands, because this is all that we were created for. 14God is going to judge everything we do, whether good or bad, even things done in secret.

–from Ecclesiastes 12

Will you walk open handed and be a conduit?


What will you do with the little or the excess you have? What if all you had was 7 loaves of bread? What if you were in a crowd of thousands and people were wondering how everyone was going to eat? What if they asked around and you knew you have food in your bag? Would you share? Would you say “it’s only a little, it can’t help everyone” and so not help anyone? What if God was asking for people willing to be a part of a miracle? He can use even the little you have to bless. Be it like the times of the Old Testament with “a little oil” and faith to get enough jars

Elisha Helps a Poor Widow

1One day the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the lord. But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.”
2“What can I do to help you?” Elisha asked. “Tell me, what do you have in the house?”
“Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” she replied.
3And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. 4Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.”
5So she did as she was told. Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another. 6Soon every container was full to the brim!
“Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons.
“There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing.
7When she told the man of God what had happened, he said to her, “Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on what is left over.”
~from 2 Kings 4 (NLT)

or be it like today’s reading where the little was enough with God’s blessings that there was leftovers

Jesus Feeds Four Thousand People

(Matthew 15.32-39)
1Not long afterward another large crowd came together. When the people had nothing left to eat, Jesus called the disciples to him and said, 2“I feel sorry for these people, because they have been with me for three days and now have nothing to eat. 3If I send them home without feeding them, they will faint as they go, because some of them have come a long way.”
4His disciples asked him, “Where in this desert can anyone find enough food to feed all these people?”
5“How much bread do you have?” Jesus asked.
“Seven loaves,” they answered.
6He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves, gave thanks to God, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the crowd; and the disciples did so. 7They also had a few small fish. Jesus gave thanks for these and told the disciples to distribute them too. 8-9Everybody ate and had enough—there were about four thousand people. Then the disciples took up seven baskets full of pieces left over. Jesus sent the people away 10and at once got into a boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.
~from Mark 8 (GNT)

God is willing and able to take what you have, bless it, and multiply it based on our faith and obedience! Is your faith big enough to allow you to be used by God for the miraculous? God is more than enough! God is faithful! His plans for us are good!

So “Why?” you might ask. What would cause me or transform me into being someone who could do such a thing? And the short answer is LOVE! The longer answer comes from today’s reading…

Love
1I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell. 2I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains—but if I have no love, I am nothing. 3I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burned—but if I have no love, this does me no good.
4Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; 5love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; 6love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. 7Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.
8Love is eternal. There are inspired messages, but they are temporary; there are gifts of speaking in strange tongues, but they will cease; there is knowledge, but it will pass. 9For our gifts of knowledge and of inspired messages are only partial; 10but when what is perfect comes, then what is partial will disappear.
11When I was a child, my speech, feelings, and thinking were all those of a child; now that I am an adult, I have no more use for childish ways. 12What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face. What I know now is only partial; then it will be complete—as complete as God’s knowledge of me.
13Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love.
~from 1 Corinthians 13 (GNT)

From God’s Word, we know that God is love! That means God = Love, so we should be able to replace it in the definition. Let’s try and check it out:

GOD is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; GOD is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; GOD does not keep a record of wrongs; GOD is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. GOD never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail. GOD is eternal.

Now as we try to conform ourselves to God’s ways imagine the day when we could replace “Love is” with “I am”, “it is” with “I am “, “Love does” with “I do”, “Love never gives up” with “I never give up”…

I am patient and kind; I am not jealous or conceited or proud; I am not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; I do not keep a record of wrongs; I am not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. I never give up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail. I am eternal.

Imagine that day. Imagine a world with everyone able to say it because that is how we are all living it! Imagine the impact. Imagine the influence! Imagine the transforming power! So let’s not grow wearing in doing good works! Let’s allow our faith to work in us that each day we become more and more like LOVE AND GOD!

God is faithful and when He brings you to it, He will bring you through it! He will accomplish His plans and purposes! Will you choose to allow Him to do it in and through you?

God’s Promise to David

19In a vision long ago you said to your faithful servants,
“I have given help to a famous soldier;
I have given the throne to one I chose from the people.
20I have made my servant David king
by anointing him with holy oil.
21My strength will always be with him,
my power will make him strong.
22His enemies will never succeed against him;
the wicked will not defeat him.
23I will crush his foes
and kill everyone who hates him.
24I will love him and be loyal to him;
I will make him always victorious.
25I will extend his kingdom
from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates River.
26He will say to me,
‘You are my father and my God;
you are my protector and savior.’
27I will make him my first-born son,
the greatest of all kings.
28I will always keep my promise to him,
and my covenant with him will last forever.
29His dynasty will be as permanent as the sky;
a descendant of his will always be king.
30“But if his descendants disobey my law
and do not live according to my commands,
31if they disregard my instructions
and do not keep my commandments,
32then I will punish them for their sins;
I will make them suffer for their wrongs.
33But I will not stop loving David
or fail to keep my promise to him.
34I will not break my covenant with him
or take back even one promise I made him.
35“Once and for all I have promised by my holy name:
I will never lie to David.
36He will always have descendants,
and I will watch over his kingdom as long as the sun shines.
37It will be as permanent as the moon,
that faithful witness in the sky.”

Lament over the Defeat of the King

38But you are angry with your chosen king;
you have deserted and rejected him.
39You have broken your covenant with your servant
and thrown his crown in the dirt.
40You have torn down the walls of his city
and left his forts in ruins.
41All who pass by steal his belongings;
all his neighbors laugh at him.
42You have given the victory to his enemies;
you have made them all happy.
43You have made his weapons useless
and let him be defeated in battle.
44You have taken away his royal scepter#

89.44: Probable text royal scepter; Hebrew purity.
and knocked his throne to the ground.
45You have made him old before his time
and covered him with disgrace.

A Prayer for Deliverance

46Lord, will you hide yourself forever?
How long will your anger burn like fire?
47Remember how short my life is;
remember that you created all of us mortal!
48Who can live and never die?
How can we humans keep ourselves from the grave?
49Lord, where are the former proofs of your love?
Where are the promises you made to David?
50Don’t forget how I, your servant, am insulted,
how I endure all the curses of the heathen.
51Your enemies insult your chosen king, O Lord!
They insult him wherever he goes.
52Praise the Lord forever!
Amen! Amen!
~from Psalm 89 (GNT)