Category Archives: Character

JOHN HUS…(The Bible’s Impact on Trade and Taxes [June 27])

When the pressure is on and things are getting hot, what is on the inside bubbles out. So what does it say about your character? What does it say about your faith? What does it say about your heart? Are you trying to just put on a good front or has your heart truly changed and so when the pressure or heat get turned up does your hope, your faith, your trust, and your character that shows up reinforce what you have been saying and living?

Today’s reading comes to us from John 14

I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life

1″Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4And you know the way to where I am going.” 5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
8Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
12″Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

15″If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
18″I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
25″These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you.26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.

from John 14

Do you believe in the words of Jesus? Are you doing Jesus’ work? Are you asking in Jesus’ name? Are you living a life of love? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you through every day of your life? So don’t worry because who can get anything out of worrying? Lean in on Jesus! Trust in Jesus! Believe His Words are true! Will you take hold of Jesus’ Words and pursue Him and His way? Will you receive the gift of Jesus and the exclusivity of His words and promises? Will you take the narrow road?

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of Trade and Taxes speaks to us about John Hus a forerunner to Martin Luther. We learn about how Martin Luther and other Reformers were greatly influenced by Hus’s strength of character and his faith in the face of the church’s brutality. We also learn how many of the key themes that came through the Reformation had already been being taught by Hus a century earlier. We read in today’s devotional about how Hus was burned alive as a heretic. We read in today’s devotional about how Hus in the midst of the pressure and the heat of the situation said “God almighty will strengthen the hearts of His faithful ones whom He hath chosen before the foundation of the world that they may receive an incorruptible crown.

Let’s Pray…

Salvation Prayer Example

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

Heavenly Father,
This is the day that You have made, so I will rejoice and be glad in it. As I close up the week in preparations for the works You have for me the rest of the week, please give me eyes to see and ears to hear that I may complete the work You have prepared in advance for me to accomplish in a way that I will be a good steward and get to hear You say “Well done my good and faithful servant”. Lord, I ask all this so that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.


What are you known for?

At home, what are you known for? In your neighborhood, what are you known for? In your workplace, what are you known for? In your school, what are you known for? In your team, what are you known for? In your group, what are you known for?

Is it what you really want to be known for? Do you want to be known for being the happiest person? Do you want to be known as the most inspiring person? Do you want to be known as the most encouraging person? Do you want to be known as the most loving person? Do you want to be known as the most caring person? Do you want to be known as the most sharing person? Do you want to be known as the most welcoming person? Do you want to be known as the most authentic person? Do you want to be known as a generous person? Do you want to be known as a praying person? Do you want to be known as the most forgiving person? Do you want to be known as the most difficult person? Do you want to be known as the most disruptive person? Do you want to be known as the most annoying person? Do you want to be known as the most phony person? … What do you really want to be known for?

So how are you living today? How would that have to change (if it does) for you to be known for what you want to be known for? How would that impact you and your world? How would that change things? How would that make a difference?

Today’s reading comes out of Acts 10 and kicks off talking about Cornelius and speaks to what he was known for…

Peter and Cornelius

‘At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.” When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who attended him, and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa. ‘

Peter’s Vision

‘The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven. Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood at the gate and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there. And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.” And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?” And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.” So he invited them in to be his guests. The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.” And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” ‘

Gentiles Hear the Good News

‘So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” ‘

The Holy Spirit Falls on the Gentiles

‘While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days. ‘

–from Acts 10:1-48

What type of character are you known for? What type of attitude are you known for? What type of personality are you known for?

Today’s devotional comes from Acts 10:34-35…

‘So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. ‘ — Acts 10:34-35

Are you known as being impartial? Today’s devotional speaks of G.W. Offley and how the Bible supported arguments against slavery. It points even to his autobiography “A Narrative of the Life and Labors of the Rev. G.W. Offley” and quotes…

Therefore we may be oppressed by man, but never morally degraded, only as we are made willing subjects to do sinful acts against what we know or have the power to know is wrong in the sight of God and man.

No difference how poor we are, if we are respectable, honest, and upright, with God, ourselves, and our fellow man. For St. Peter declares, Acts 10, 34-35, that God is no respecter of persons. But in every nation, he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. And if any man is accepted with his God, then oppression, nor prejudice, or prisons, or chains, or whips, or anything formed by man, cannot degrade us. No, we must voluntarily subscribe to some mean act before we can be mean or low in the sight of our dear Lord and Master.

— above grabbed from

Jesus wasn’t selective! Jesus died for everyone! So the opportunity is available for everyone to receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Imagine someone asking you if you are religious. I replied “what do you mean by religious?” I explained about how I had learned it isn’t about rituals and routines. It isn’t about have too but it is about get to. It isn’t about need to but it is about want to. It isn’t about about following rules but it is about a relationship with Jesus. It was when that moment and realization happened that I was changed. We got interrupted and so I never got to finish answering the next question which was “how did that happen?”

In my case, God got me out of my comfort zone – the normal, the usual, the day to day was changing. In this new environment I then received an invitation to attend a Christmas church production/service. I felt so at home compared to past church experiences. It felt different and the pastor was preaching from the Bible. At the end of the service he mentioned about inviting Jesus into our hearts and receiving him as our Lord and Savior and starting a relationship with Him. It was the aha that I was missing. God took me that day and started to bring the full picture together. I learned about baptism. I learned about the importance of being part of the body. I learned about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I learned about the Bible by attending Wednesday night Bible studies. I went to Cleansing Stream which helped break strongholds and chains from my past. God took me right where I was and helped me move forward towards who He created me to be. He’s not done yet and neither am I — seeing as I am still here — but it was the change I needed and the truth I needed in order to receive Jesus and start my life journey with Him — in a true and living relationship where I can move out in faith and allow Him to lead me and guide me, granting me wisdom and peace, courage and boldness, to do and become the man of God He desires for me to be. I am hoping we will get to continue our conversation. There is a program at our church now called Alpha which I believe will help bridge the gap too. It didn’t exist at the church when I started but it is a great way to help people learn and understand God and His Word and who Jesus is and what it is all about.

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I pray Lord that You will renew my strength and help me Lord to be who You created me to be and to do what You prepared in advance for me to accomplish. Help me Lord to be known as Your child. Help me Lord to be known as Your light. Help me Lord to be known as Your salt. Help me to be known as a good steward of all that You have given me. And may in all that I say, think, and do, lift You up and glorify You and praise You in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

So do you realize the calling on your life?

Do you realize the number of people who are watching you? Do you realize the number of people who are looking to see what makes you tick? Do you realize the importance of how you live your life? Do you realize that you are being followed?

Be it at home. Be it in your neighborhood. Be it in your community. Be it at work.

So what are you doing to improve your leadership skills? How are you fine tuning them? How are you getting better? How are you preparing for what is yet to come?

Do you realize leadership skills is about serving others? Do you realize leadership skills are about being humble? Do you realize leadership skills require training up others to lead? Do you realize leadership skills require you to pour into the lives of others?

Do you remember General Norman Schwarzkopf? He speaks to leadership this way:

“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.” –General Norman Schwarzkopf

So as leaders we need to be of good character!  Let’s consider and ponder some verses from God’s Word on the subject of character…

3Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. –from Romans 5

How is the fruit in your life displaying your character?

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. –from Galatians 5

How are you responding in every situation so others may see your character?

12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the LORD forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. –Colossians 3

It’s not about stuff! It’s a matter of the heart! We need to live out our lives right!

6Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse.

–from Proverbs 28

Do you realize that it matters who you surround yourself with?

33Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

–from 1 Corinthians 15

So let’s love God and love people! Let’s live lives that align with Jesus’ calling on our lives! Lets step up and stand up for what is right and what we believe in! Let’s take hold of the responsibilities that God has given us to live out! Let’s be examples to the people around us of Jesus! Let’s allow the joy of the Lord to radiate in our lives! Let’s allow the love of God that overflows from our lives to pour into the lives of those around us! Let’s be transformed by Jesus and then live out our lives at a new level!

Is your lifestyle aligned with Jesus and setting you up to be ready for leadership?

Is your character strong enough for the test and trials of leadership?

Will you model Jesus’ calling to the world around you?

If not you then who? If not now then when? If not here then where? If not this then what? If not for God’s purposes and plans then why?

Live your life with good character and godliness!

Start your day seeking God so that you will be prepared and filled up to be able to lead others!

We can’t control the things that will come our way but we can control our responses and people are watching to see how you will handle yourself! Be prepared! Your actions will speak louder than your words! So think about what you are going to do and if it will glorify God or chase people away from Him!

We need to be capable of guiding and nurturing with wisdom, love, and faithfulness!

Key requirements to be someone in leadership include:

  • a life is above reproach
  • be faithful
  • exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation
  • enjoy having guests in his home
  • be able to teach
  • not be a heavy drinker
  • not be violent
  • must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money
  • not walk in pride
  • be well respected and have integrity
  • must not be heavy drinkers or dishonest with money
  • committed to the mystery of the faith
  • must live with a clear conscience
  • must be respected and must not slander others
  • must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do

The Life of a Leader

Day 291: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Worship leaders … Psalm 119:57-64
  2. Church leaders … 1 Timothy 3:1-16
  3. Prophetic leaders … Jeremiah 38:1-40:6

Today’s Reading from God’s Word…




Benefits of alignment with God…

Do you realize there is such thing as absolute truth? Do you realize there is such thing as right and wrong? Do you realize there is such thing as good and evil? Do you realize that we all get to choose? Do you realize that our choices have outcomes? Do you realize that our decisions and our actions have consequences? Do you realize that your thoughts do matter? Do you realize that your beliefs do matter? Do you realize that your actions are driven by them both?

So when you think about your life, how are you aligned? What is the impact of that alignment on yourself and on the world around you?

Are you being fair to one another? Are you taking advantage of others? Are you worshipping people or things that won’t help and are leading you down a trail to destruction? Are you putting your trust in things that will return void? will have no return? Are you living a life that being deceptive? stealing? killing? committing adultery? lying under oath? Do you see this being done by others? If you see something, do you say something?

Why not turn to God and align with Him by being obedient to His commands?

What will happen if you get what you want?

Will be the outcomes and consequences?

Let’s consider what Jeremiah has to share today as there are many parallels throughout time with what is taking place right now…

Jeremiah Speaks at the Temple

1The lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2“Go to the entrance of the lord’s Temple, and give this message to the people: ‘O Judah, listen to this message from the lord! Listen to it, all of you who worship here! 3This is what the lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says:
“‘Even now, if you quit your evil ways, I will let you stay in your own land. 4But don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the lord’s Temple is here. They chant, “The lord’s Temple is here! The lord’s Temple is here!” 5But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice; 6only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols. 7Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever.
8“‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! 9Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, 10and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? 11Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the lord, have spoken!
12“‘Go now to the place at Shiloh where I once put the Tabernacle that bore my name. See what I did there because of all the wickedness of my people, the Israelites. 13While you were doing these wicked things, says the lord, I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer. 14So just as I destroyed Shiloh, I will now destroy this Temple that bears my name, this Temple that you trust in for help, this place that I gave to you and your ancestors. 15And I will send you out of my sight into exile, just as I did your relatives, the people of Israel.’

Judah’s Persistent Idolatry

16“Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don’t beg me to help them, for I will not listen to you. 17Don’t you see what they are doing throughout the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18No wonder I am so angry! Watch how the children gather wood and the fathers build sacrificial fires. See how the women knead dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. And they pour out liquid offerings to their other idol gods! 19Am I the one they are hurting?” asks the lord. “Most of all, they hurt themselves, to their own shame.”
20So this is what the Sovereign lord says: “I will pour out my terrible fury on this place. Its people, animals, trees, and crops will be consumed by the unquenchable fire of my anger.”
21This is what the lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Take your burnt offerings and your other sacrifices and eat them yourselves! 22When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them. 23This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’
24“But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward. 25From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets—day in and day out. 26But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful—even worse than their ancestors.
27“Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond. 28Say to them, ‘This is the nation whose people will not obey the lord their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips. 29Shave your head in mourning, and weep alone on the mountains. For the lord has rejected and forsaken this generation that has provoked his fury.’

The Valley of Slaughter

30“The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes,” says the lord. “They have set up their abominable idols right in the Temple that bears my name, defiling it. 31They have built pagan shrines at Topheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing! 32So beware, for the time is coming,” says the lord, “when that garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. They will bury the bodies in Topheth until there is no more room for them. 33The bodies of my people will be food for the vultures and wild animals, and no one will be left to scare them away. 34I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in the streets of Jerusalem. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard in the towns of Judah. The land will lie in complete desolation.

–from Jeremiah 7

Do you hear what the news is telling you? Do you hear how it varies by source? Do you know what is truth? Do you realize which is truth and which is deception? Do you realize what is truth and what is false?

Do you see where you are at? Did you fall down? Will you get back up? Are you on the wrong road? Will you turn around in order to get back on track?

I really don’t want to see history repeat itself and watch people walk away from God and not turn back. I don’t want them to fall and not get back up. I don’t want them to be clueless of where they are at. The truth will set them free — if they are willing to hear it and receive it!

Don’t be deceived by greed! Don’t be deceived by frauds!

Do you know Jesus? Or do you have a peace which really isn’t peaceful.

Do you know Jesus and even in the midst of chaos or craziness you are able to find a peace that goes beyond all understanding?

Do you know Jesus? Or do you have a hope that is more like wishing?

Do you know Jesus and even in the midst of trials and troubles you have hope beyond your circumstances?

1“In that day,” says the lord, “the enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people of Jerusalem. 2They will spread out their bones on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars—the gods my people have loved, served, and worshiped. Their bones will not be gathered up again or buried but will be scattered on the ground like manure. 3And the people of this evil nation who survive will wish to die rather than live where I will send them. I, the lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!

Deception by False Prophets

4“Jeremiah, say to the people, ‘This is what the lord says:
“‘When people fall down, don’t they get up again?
When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back?
5Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path?
Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back?
They cling tightly to their lies
and will not turn around.
6I listen to their conversations
and don’t hear a word of truth.
Is anyone sorry for doing wrong?
Does anyone say, “What a terrible thing I have done”?
No! All are running down the path of sin
as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle!
7Even the stork that flies across the sky
knows the time of her migration,
as do the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane.
They all return at the proper time each year.
But not my people!
They do not know the lord’s laws.
8“‘How can you say, “We are wise because we have the word of the lord,”
when your teachers have twisted it by writing lies?
9These wise teachers will fall
into the trap of their own foolishness,
for they have rejected the word of the lord.
Are they so wise after all?
10I will give their wives to others
and their farms to strangers.
From the least to the greatest,
their lives are ruled by greed.
Yes, even my prophets and priests are like that.
They are all frauds.
11They offer superficial treatments
for my people’s mortal wound.
They give assurances of peace
when there is no peace.
12Are they ashamed of these disgusting actions?
Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush!
Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered.
They will be brought down when I punish them,
says the lord.
13I will surely consume them.
There will be no more harvests of figs and grapes.
Their fruit trees will all die.
Whatever I gave them will soon be gone.
I, the lord, have spoken!’
14“Then the people will say,
‘Why should we wait here to die?
Come, let’s go to the fortified towns and die there.
For the lord our God has decreed our destruction
and has given us a cup of poison to drink
because we sinned against the lord.
15We hoped for peace, but no peace came.
We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror.’
16“The snorting of the enemies’ warhorses can be heard
all the way from the land of Dan in the north!
The neighing of their stallions makes the whole land tremble.
They are coming to devour the land and everything in it—
cities and people alike.
17I will send these enemy troops among you
like poisonous snakes you cannot charm.
They will bite you, and you will die.
I, the lord, have spoken!”

Jeremiah Weeps for Sinful Judah

18My grief is beyond healing;
my heart is broken.
19Listen to the weeping of my people;
it can be heard all across the land.
“Has the lord abandoned Jerusalem?” the people ask.
“Is her King no longer there?”
“Oh, why have they provoked my anger with their carved idols
and their worthless foreign gods?” says the lord.
20“The harvest is finished,
and the summer is gone,” the people cry,
“yet we are not saved!”
21I hurt with the hurt of my people.
I mourn and am overcome with grief.
22Is there no medicine in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why is there no healing
for the wounds of my people?

–from Jeremiah 8

Would you rather make a course correction or get corrected? Are you willing to do what is right no matter the consequences? Are you willing to be obedient to God no matter the warnings? Are you more interested in your eternity than your present?

Paul’s Journey to Jerusalem

1After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, we sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and then went to Patara. 2There we boarded a ship sailing for Phoenicia. 3We sighted the island of Cyprus, passed it on our left, and landed at the harbor of Tyre, in Syria, where the ship was to unload its cargo.
4We went ashore, found the local believers, and stayed with them a week. These believers prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem. 5When we returned to the ship at the end of the week, the entire congregation, including women and children, left the city and came down to the shore with us. There we knelt, prayed, 6and said our farewells. Then we went aboard, and they returned home.
7The next stop after leaving Tyre was Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed for one day. 8The next day we went on to Caesarea and stayed at the home of Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen to distribute food. 9He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy.
10Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. 11He came over, took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.’” 12When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
13But he said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” 14When it was clear that we couldn’t persuade him, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

Paul Arrives at Jerusalem

15After this we packed our things and left for Jerusalem. 16Some believers from Caesarea accompanied us, and they took us to the home of Mnason, a man originally from Cyprus and one of the early believers. 17When we arrived, the brothers and sisters in Jerusalem welcomed us warmly.
18The next day Paul went with us to meet with James, and all the elders of the Jerusalem church were present. 19After greeting them, Paul gave a detailed account of the things God had accomplished among the Gentiles through his ministry.
20After hearing this, they praised God. And then they said, “You know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they all follow the law of Moses very seriously. 21But the Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They’ve heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs. 22What should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come.
23“Here’s what we want you to do. We have four men here who have completed their vow. 24Go with them to the Temple and join them in the purification ceremony, paying for them to have their heads ritually shaved. Then everyone will know that the rumors are all false and that you yourself observe the Jewish laws.
25“As for the Gentile believers, they should do what we already told them in a letter: They should abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality.”

Paul Is Arrested

26So Paul went to the Temple the next day with the other men. They had already started the purification ritual, so he publicly announced the date when their vows would end and sacrifices would be offered for each of them.
27The seven days were almost ended when some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the Temple and roused a mob against him. They grabbed him, 28yelling, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who preaches against our people everywhere and tells everybody to disobey the Jewish laws. He speaks against the Temple—and even defiles this holy place by bringing in Gentiles.” 29(For earlier that day they had seen him in the city with Trophimus, a Gentile from Ephesus, and they assumed Paul had taken him into the Temple.)
30The whole city was rocked by these accusations, and a great riot followed. Paul was grabbed and dragged out of the Temple, and immediately the gates were closed behind him. 31As they were trying to kill him, word reached the commander of the Roman regiment that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32He immediately called out his soldiers and officers and ran down among the crowd. When the mob saw the commander and the troops coming, they stopped beating Paul.
33Then the commander arrested him and ordered him bound with two chains. He asked the crowd who he was and what he had done. 34Some shouted one thing and some another. Since he couldn’t find out the truth in all the uproar and confusion, he ordered that Paul be taken to the fortress. 35As Paul reached the stairs, the mob grew so violent the soldiers had to lift him to their shoulders to protect him. 36And the crowd followed behind, shouting, “Kill him, kill him!”

Paul Speaks to the Crowd

37As Paul was about to be taken inside, he said to the commander, “May I have a word with you?”
“Do you know Greek?” the commander asked, surprised. 38“Aren’t you the Egyptian who led a rebellion some time ago and took 4,000 members of the Assassins out into the desert?”
39“No,” Paul replied, “I am a Jew and a citizen of Tarsus in Cilicia, which is an important city. Please, let me talk to these people.” 40The commander agreed, so Paul stood on the stairs and motioned to the people to be quiet. Soon a deep silence enveloped the crowd, and he addressed them in their own language, Aramaic.

–from Acts 21









There is hope and chance for a change…

Going through history we watch the pendulum swing back and forth. We see it go from alignment with God to out of alignment with God…back and forth again. We see it go from doing what is right to going what is wrong…back and forth again. We see it go from joy and celebration to pain and suffering…back and forth again. Depending on where people are at in their lives they hop onto the pendulum on one end or the other, or somewhere in the swing. If it is going well but people aren’t reminded why they forget and start to take things for granted and get comfortable, stopping the swing and back it goes the other way.

Take a look around you. Consider the situation of things right now in your life and in the timeline of the world. Where is the pendulum? And what way do we need to start going?

Joy and Celebration
Pressing towards God

The pendulum goes back and forth

Out of alignment
Pain and Suffering
Walking away from God
Getting to comfortable Swing Realizing something is missing

So where are you at on the pendulum of life? What is needed? Reminders so we don’t forget and stay on that side? What is needed? Reminders to help get things back on track? Consider your choices and the impact they will have on the swing! Consider your decisions and how they will impact beyond your circle of influence! Consider your actions and how they will impact the world around you! It’s time to decide!

Today’s reading from 2 Kings 22 starts with Josiah…having the right leader in place makes a difference on a nation. Having the right leader with the right character is key to how it will play out! Having the right leader with integrity and a dependency on God will direct the nation! Look beyond the head to see the character of those managing things – are they honest and trustworthy? Look beyond candidates to the people they depend on! Now what would happen if they found that reminder of what was? How would they respond? Would they dig deeper or just cast it aside? Let’s see how Josiah responds and consider how life is today and the choices we are facing today…One generation can stop the upward swing on the wrong side! One generation can turn things around! One generation can start to make right for the wrongs of their predecessors! Will you be that generation? Will you make a difference?

God is just! Today people have an option that didn’t exist before…Jesus! Back then Jesus hadn’t come down from heaven to sacrifice Himself and turn the choices! Jesus came that we could have life and life to the full! Jesus came to make a permanent, once for all sacrifice in order to make a way where there wasn’t a way so that we can be reconciled back to God! Now receiving Jesus is a choice! Accepting the gift of grace is a choice! Asking Jesus into your life is a choice! And with freewill we each get to make that choice for ourselves! Imagine if we started to walk in alignment with Jesus and started raising the bar which would raise the average rather  than working towards the lowest common denominator which by design lowers the average. The choice is yours! The decision is yours! And your actions could impact things not only today, but for generations to come!

There is hope and time for a change but to fully receive it, we need to bring Jesus back into our lives! We need to put Him in the center in order that when we come together a cord of 3 strands is not easily broken! Be it in our marriage! Be in our business partnerships! Be in our community relationships! Be it in our national leadership! We need to get back to the truth! We need get back to the way Jesus pointed us to! We need to first love God! We need to then love people! Walking out these two will keep us on track to be everything God created us to be!

Josiah Rules in Judah

1Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah from Bozkath. 2He did what was pleasing in the lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right.
3In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent Shaphan son of Azaliah and grandson of Meshullam, the court secretary, to the Temple of the lord. He told him, 4“Go to Hilkiah the high priest and have him count the money the gatekeepers have collected from the people at the lord’s Temple. 5Entrust this money to the men assigned to supervise the restoration of the lord’s Temple. Then they can use it to pay workers to repair the Temple. 6They will need to hire carpenters, builders, and masons. Also have them buy the timber and the finished stone needed to repair the Temple. 7But don’t require the construction supervisors to keep account of the money they receive, for they are honest and trustworthy men.”

Hilkiah Discovers God’s Law

8Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the lord’s Temple!” Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan, and he read it.
9Shaphan went to the king and reported, “Your officials have turned over the money collected at the Temple of the lord to the workers and supervisors at the Temple.” 10Shaphan also told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.” So Shaphan read it to the king.
11When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. 12Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: 13“Go to the Temple and speak to the lord for me and for the people and for all Judah. Inquire about the words written in this scroll that has been found. For the lord’s great anger is burning against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this scroll. We have not been doing everything it says we must do.”
14So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to the New Quarter of Jerusalem to consult with the prophet Huldah. She was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, the keeper of the Temple wardrobe.
15She said to them, “The lord, the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you, 16‘This is what the lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this city and its people. All the words written in the scroll that the king of Judah has read will come true. 17For my people have abandoned me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done. My anger will burn against this place, and it will not be quenched.’
18“But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the lord and tell him: ‘This is what the lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: 19You were sorry and humbled yourself before the lord when you heard what I said against this city and its people—that this land would be cursed and become desolate. You tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the lord. 20So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city.’”
So they took her message back to the king.

–from 2 Kings 22

So let’s not turn away from what is right! Let’s not turn away from doing what is right! Let’s not turn away from speaking the truth in love! Let’s take hold of the truth for the truth will set us and those around us free!

What’s going on around you that needs to be changed? What’s going on around you that needs to be taken away? What’s going on around you that need to be torn down? What’s going on around you that needs to be fixed up? Who do we need to help get things back on track? Who do we need to ensure is aligned with God’s work? What measuring stick are you using to vet the choices that need to be made? What measuring stick are you using to make sure you pick the right people for the job?

Ever noticed that there are some who are trying to hide or tear down or take away the things of God? Ever noticed that there are some who are trying to God out of the fact that in God we trust? Ever noticed that there are some who are trying to take God out of the education system? Ever noticed that there are some who are trying to take God out of the workplace? Ever noticed that there are some who are trying to take God out of our everyday conversations? Will we make a choice that will cause people to draw closer to God or will it push them even further away? What reform is required?

The pendulum is at a point where what gets decided next will decide the direction and the height of the swing. Will it start to swing back towards the center or will it keep swinging away? Will it have implications other than back and forth like the foucault pendulum?

Josiah Rules in Judah

1Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. 2He did what was pleasing in the lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right.
3During the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David. Then in the twelfth year he began to purify Judah and Jerusalem, destroying all the pagan shrines, the Asherah poles, and the carved idols and cast images. 4He ordered that the altars of Baal be demolished and that the incense altars which stood above them be broken down. He also made sure that the Asherah poles, the carved idols, and the cast images were smashed and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5He burned the bones of the pagan priests on their own altars, and so he purified Judah and Jerusalem.
6He did the same thing in the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, even as far as Naphtali, and in the regions all around them. 7He destroyed the pagan altars and the Asherah poles, and he crushed the idols into dust. He cut down all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel. Finally, he returned to Jerusalem.
8In the eighteenth year of his reign, after he had purified the land and the Temple, Josiah appointed Shaphan son of Azaliah, Maaseiah the governor of Jerusalem, and Joah son of Joahaz, the royal historian, to repair the Temple of the lord his God. 9They gave Hilkiah the high priest the money that had been collected by the Levites who served as gatekeepers at the Temple of God. The gifts were brought by people from Manasseh, Ephraim, and from all the remnant of Israel, as well as from all Judah, Benjamin, and the people of Jerusalem.
10He entrusted the money to the men assigned to supervise the restoration of the lord’s Temple. Then they paid the workers who did the repairs and renovation of the Temple. 11They hired carpenters and builders, who purchased finished stone for the walls and timber for the rafters and beams. They restored what earlier kings of Judah had allowed to fall into ruin.
12The workers served faithfully under the leadership of Jahath and Obadiah, Levites of the Merarite clan, and Zechariah and Meshullam, Levites of the Kohathite clan. Other Levites, all of whom were skilled musicians, 13were put in charge of the laborers of the various trades. Still others assisted as secretaries, officials, and gatekeepers.

Hilkiah Discovers God’s Law

14While they were bringing out the money collected at the lord’s Temple, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the lord that was written by Moses. 15Hilkiah said to Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the lord’s Temple!” Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan.
16Shaphan took the scroll to the king and reported, “Your officials are doing everything they were assigned to do. 17The money that was collected at the Temple of the lord has been turned over to the supervisors and workmen.” 18Shaphan also told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.” So Shaphan read it to the king.
19When the king heard what was written in the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. 20Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: 21“Go to the Temple and speak to the lord for me and for all the remnant of Israel and Judah. Inquire about the words written in the scroll that has been found. For the lord’s great anger has been poured out on us because our ancestors have not obeyed the word of the lord. We have not been doing everything this scroll says we must do.”
22So Hilkiah and the other men went to the New Quarter of Jerusalem to consult with the prophet Huldah. She was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, the keeper of the Temple wardrobe.
23She said to them, “The lord, the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you, 24‘This is what the lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this city and its people. All the curses written in the scroll that was read to the king of Judah will come true. 25For my people have abandoned me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done. My anger will be poured out on this place, and it will not be quenched.’
26“But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the lord and tell him: ‘This is what the lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: 27You were sorry and humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this city and its people. You humbled yourself and tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the lord. 28So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You yourself will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city and its people.’”
So they took her message back to the king.

Josiah’s Religious Reforms

29Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30And the king went up to the Temple of the lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the Levites—all the people from the greatest to the least. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the lord’s Temple. 31The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the lord’s presence. He pledged to obey the lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. He promised to obey all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll. 32And he required everyone in Jerusalem and the people of Benjamin to make a similar pledge. The people of Jerusalem did so, renewing their covenant with God, the God of their ancestors.
33So Josiah removed all detestable idols from the entire land of Israel and required everyone to worship the lord their God. And throughout the rest of his lifetime, they did not turn away from the lord, the God of their ancestors.

–from 2 Chronicles 34

So will you share the good news? Will you walk differently than what people expect in society? Will you be someone who tries to make an impact? Will you point people back to Jesus? Will you tell people of Jesus and the way He has changed your life? Will you be salt and light into this world? Will you give God the glory? Will you point people to Him!

Paul and Barnabas in Iconium

1The same thing happened in Iconium. Paul and Barnabas went to the Jewish synagogue and preached with such power that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers. 2Some of the Jews, however, spurned God’s message and poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas. 3But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord. And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders. 4But the people of the town were divided in their opinion about them. Some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles.
5Then a mob of Gentiles and Jews, along with their leaders, decided to attack and stone them. 6When the apostles learned of it, they fled to the region of Lycaonia—to the towns of Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding area. 7And there they preached the Good News.

Paul and Barnabas in Lystra and Derbe

8While they were at Lystra, Paul and Barnabas came upon a man with crippled feet. He had been that way from birth, so he had never walked. He was sitting 9and listening as Paul preached. Looking straight at him, Paul realized he had faith to be healed. 10So Paul called to him in a loud voice, “Stand up!” And the man jumped to his feet and started walking.
11When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in their local dialect, “These men are gods in human form!” 12They decided that Barnabas was the Greek god Zeus and that Paul was Hermes, since he was the chief speaker. 13Now the temple of Zeus was located just outside the town. So the priest of the temple and the crowd brought bulls and wreaths of flowers to the town gates, and they prepared to offer sacrifices to the apostles.
14But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening, they tore their clothing in dismay and ran out among the people, shouting, 15“Friends, why are you doing this? We are merely human beings—just like you! We have come to bring you the Good News that you should turn from these worthless things and turn to the living God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. 16In the past he permitted all the nations to go their own ways, 17but he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness. For instance, he sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts.” 18But even with these words, Paul and Barnabas could scarcely restrain the people from sacrificing to them.
19Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowds to their side. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of town, thinking he was dead. 20But as the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch of Syria

21After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, 22where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. 23Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. 24Then they traveled back through Pisidia to Pamphylia. 25They preached the word in Perga, then went down to Attalia.
26Finally, they returned by ship to Antioch of Syria, where their journey had begun. The believers there had entrusted them to the grace of God to do the work they had now completed. 27Upon arriving in Antioch, they called the church together and reported everything God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles, too. 28And they stayed there with the believers for a long time.

–from Acts 14