Category Archives: Comeback

New Day! New Week! New snow day! No matter which it is for you, put your hope and trust in God!


So getting back on schedule, getting back on task, getting back to things as we start this new year with a full week. I wake up rested after traveling thru different time zones, waking up way early in the other time zone, and dealing with the challenges of my stay while yet being able to spend time and have fun with family. I prepare for this new week after an incredible week of wisdom and hearing from God during my 3 day journey of fasting and prayer week. God is good! Even when the world may try to slip you up or slow you down, God is always good, God is always in control, and God always has a plan.


Day 13: 2020 Hindsight
— The 49-Week Challenge – Day 13 —

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 13 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:

  • Who is leading? Who is preparing the way?
  • God has gone before you preparing in advance the good works He has for you to accomplish.
  • Who are you leading? Who are you preparing the way for? Where are you pointing people? Are you leading in the right direction?
  • Are your words speaking to people the right messages?
  • Are you turning back and turning others back to God?
  • Are you producing good fruit?
  • Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit?
  • Are you able to obey God in order to accomplish God’s will and fulfill His purpose and plans?
  • Have you received Jesus as Your Lord and Savior and received His directions and instructions?
  • Jesus is able to take away our disgrace, will you let Him?
  • Have you been grafted onto the branch of God?
  • Are you now a part of the family of God?
  • As some have been pruned or cut off from the branch and thrown into the fire, others will be grafted onto the branch and become a part of God’s branch.
  • Will you receive the comfort of God? Will you allow the peace of God that surpasses all understanding to comfort you?
  • Will you make the most of your short time on this earth? God’s Word endures forever.
  • Do you realize that God gently leads those that have young? Do you realize that God carries the lams close to His heart?
  • Do you realize your value in the God?
  • Do you realize that there is nothing we can compare God to?
  • Do you realize that since there is nothing that compares to God that there is no reason or way to create any image of Him?
  • Live with humility.
  • Put your hope in the Lord and have your strength renewed.
  • Allow the Lord to lift you up while you are low so that you can soar on wings like eagles.
  • Allow the Lord to be your strength and endurance so that you can run and not grow weary and you can walk and not become faint.
  • So let us praise the Lord in the ways we have available to us.
  • Let us praise the faithfulness of the Lord
  • Let us praise the love of the Lord
  • Let us praise how He makes us glad
  • Let us praise Him with joy for all that His hands have done
  • Let us praise the works of the Lord!

As day 13 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

Passion (Day #4)


Don’t be deceived! Don’t be fooled! Don’t be tricked! Jesus tells us that He won’t be back till the end times. Jesus tells us that people are going to say they are the messiah to trick and lead people away! He came once for all! He gave His life once as the ultimate sacrifice for all! He doesn’t have to come back to do more! He fulfilled all the prophesies! He accomplished all the work He came to do! And right before He gave up His spirit on the cross, remember what He said? “IT IS FINISHED!” So don’t be fooled by stories that He is back or He came back! He will be back, but when He comes back it will be obvious and nobody will be able to miss it because everyone will see it! Don’t be fooled by stories that He has come back! When He comes back it will be the end times, sure people will have visions and dreams, but His actual return can’t be missed! Consider the words of Revelation…

“Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen.

–from Revelation 1:7

He will ride in from the heavens on a white horse. He won’t be missed! Everyone around the world will be able to see Him! Will you choose to follow Him before that happens? Before it is too late? His plan is more than just to spend eternity in heaven with you, He wants to spend your life on earth together too! He wants to walk with you through each day! He wants to celebrate on the mountain tops with you! He wants to walk through the valleys with you! He wants to be in relationship with you now! It’s a matter of choice, your choice! You have to decide! You have to choose! Will you accept Him now? Will you receive Him now? Will you without seeing Him ask Him into your heart? Will you choose to believe in Him now before it is too late? Will you turn back to God? The choice is yours! He won’t force you to be in relationship with Him! If you will choose to ask Him into your life, He will stick closer than a brother. We can overcome because Jesus did!

Will receive the passion? Will you accept the passion? Will you choose to receive it? Will you ask? Will you seek? Will you knock?

Are you following Him? Have you received Him? Will you choose Him? His plan when Jesus came to the earth wasn’t to condemn it, but to save it! The next time, the second coming will be judgment time! So why not receive Him now before it’s too late? Will you be about His work? Will you be answering His call? Will you be faithful to the call He has put on your life?

Today’s reading comes from Matthew 24 as we continue the pursuit of the week of passion…

1Now when Yeshua went out and was going away from the Temple, His disciples came up to point out to Him the Temple buildings. 2“Don’t you see all these?” He responded to them. “Amen, I tell you, not one stone will be left here on top of another—every one will be torn down!”

Signs of the End of Time

3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen? What will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” 4Yeshua answered them, “Be careful that no one leads you astray! 5For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will lead many astray. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must happen but it is not yet the end. 7For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8But all these things are only the beginning of birth pains. 9“Then they will hand you over to persecution and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations because of My name. 10And then many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one other. 11Many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. 13But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14This Good News of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. 15“So when you see ‘the abomination of desolation,’ which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the Holy Place (let the reader understand), 16then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. 17The one on the roof must not go down to take what is in his house, 18and the one in the field must not turn back to get his coat. 19Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20Pray that your escape will not happen in winter, or on Shabbat. 21For then there will be great trouble, such as has not happened since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. 22And unless those days were cut short, no one would be delivered. But for the sake of the chosen, those days will be cut short. 23“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here’s the Messiah,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe it. 24For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and show great signs and wonders so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen. 25See, I have told you beforehand. 26“So if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. Or, ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27For just as lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so also will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28For wherever the carcass is, there the vultures will gather. 29“But immediately after the trouble of those days, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light and the stars will fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.’ 30Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the land will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory. 31He will send out His angels with a great shofar, and they will gather together His chosen from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Watching for Messiah’s Return

32“Now learn the parable from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33So also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, at the door. 34Amen, I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things happen. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. 36But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven nor the Son, except the Father alone. 37“For just as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38For in those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. 39And they did not understand until the flood came and swept them all away. So shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40Then two men will be in the field, one taken and one left. 41Two women will be grinding at the mill, one taken and one left. 42Therefore stay alert; for you do not know what day your Lord is coming. 43But know this, that if the master of the house had known what time the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and not let his house be broken into. 44So you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

The Faithful Servant

45“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master put in charge of his household to give them food at the proper time? 46Blessed is that servant whose master finds him so doing when he comes. 47Amen, I tell you, his master will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48But if that wicked servant says in his heart, ‘My master is taking a long time,’ 49and he begins to beat his fellow servants, and he eats and drinks with drunkards, 50the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know. 51And he will cut him in two and assign his place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
–from Matthew 24

Have you been touched? Have you been able to keep quiet? Have you been able to keep it to yourself?


Has your life had a divine encounter? Has your life been transformed? Have you had your eyes opened to the truth? Are you able to see things more clearly because of the transformation? Are you keeping it all to yourself? Are you not sharing the good news with others? How have you been able to keep it to yourself? What is keeping you from sharing?

God had a plan for me and when I moved thousands of miles away from my comfort zone, He provided a divine encounter. He provided a special invitation to a Christmas pageant/production at a near by church. He provided a powerful encounter of worship and preaching that drew us even closer. He provided incredible teaching from God’s Word that opened my eyes to the truth. He provided divine appointments where not only was I able to learn about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but also to experience it. He provided divine appointments where I didn’t only learn about freedom through Cleansing Stream, but also had been freed from years of violent responses when I was hit in the head through the power of forgiveness. Not only did I get to hang out with a bunch of men at a men’s retreat, but God spoke to me about how He wanted me to get more involved in my community where I was called into a higher level of leadership within my homeowners association. It also got me plugged into serving at the church where I was involved in productions – acting, signing on the stage as well as off stage with media, and production. It has impacted me at work and my interactions with others to the point where I even started to blog about it. My plan was a private site but God called me to open it up and to share my time with Him with others that His Word would be heard and be a testimony to many others. So to say the least, I haven’t been able to keep quiet. Today’s Word triggered this thought and topic to me because the two men who had a divine encounter with Jesus couldn’t keep it to themselves either.

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

27Jesus left that place, and as he walked along, two blind men started following him. “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” they shouted.
28When Jesus had gone indoors, the two blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I can heal you?”
“Yes, sir!” they answered.
29Then Jesus touched their eyes and said, “Let it happen, then, just as you believe!”— 30and their sight was restored. Jesus spoke sternly to them, “Don’t tell this to anyone!”
31But they left and spread the news about Jesus all over that part of the country.
— from Matthew 9 (GNT)

When we are freed and start to speak of what God has done in and through our lives, there will be people who try to play it down or call it something else. Jesus even faced that type of doubt and fear…

Jesus Heals a Man Who Could Not Speak

32As the men were leaving, some people brought to Jesus a man who could not talk because he had a demon. 33But as soon as the demon was driven out, the man started talking, and everyone was amazed. “We have never seen anything like this in Israel!” they exclaimed.
34 But the Pharisees said, “It is the chief of the demons who gives Jesus the power to drive out demons.”
— from Matthew 9 (GNT)

There are many people who don’t know. There are many people who have never heard. There are people held back by fear. There are people held back by doubt. But what can you do? What can you say to speak hope and life to those God brings into your life? You may be the only experience they have ever had and so you need to speak up and speak out. You need to provide a hand up rather than just a handout. Today, let’s make a difference!

Jesus Has Pity for the People

35 Jesus went around visiting all the towns and villages. He taught in the synagogues, preached the Good News about the Kingdom, and healed people with every kind of disease and sickness. 36 As he saw the crowds, his heart was filled with pity for them, because they were worried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 So he said to his disciples, “The harvest is large, but there are few workers to gather it in. 38Pray to the owner of the harvest that he will send out workers to gather in his harvest.”
— from Matthew 9 (GNT)

Not everyone is going to want to hear! Not everyone is going to want to respond! But don’t fear, just believe and put your trust in God! God has greater plans for you! God’s plan for you and those around you isn’t that anyone should perish, but that through Jesus Christ we will all have eternal life with Him! So don’t stop sharing because some people don’t what to hear. Don’t stop sharing because some people threaten you. Press in to what God calls you to and get it done! It’s incredible what God can do in and through us if we open up and allow Him to flow through us into the lives of those He brings into our lives. But don’t allow pride to trip you up. Don’t allow others to lift you up but point them all to Jesus. There is a risk when people are able to see and experience God working through you that they may get misdirected and think it is about you, but we need to make sure we point them to the true source and the true savior of the world … Jesus!

In Iconium

1The same thing happened in Iconium: Paul and Barnabas went to the synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of Jews and Gentiles became believers. 2But the Jews who would not believe stirred up the Gentiles and turned them against the believers. 3The apostles stayed there for a long time, speaking boldly about the Lord, who proved that their message about his grace was true by giving them the power to perform miracles and wonders. 4The people of the city were divided: some were for the Jews, others for the apostles.
5Then some Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, decided to mistreat the apostles and stone them. 6When the apostles learned about it, they fled to the cities of Lystra and Derbe in Lycaonia and to the surrounding territory. 7There they preached the Good News.

In Lystra and Derbe

8In Lystra there was a crippled man who had been lame from birth and had never been able to walk. 9He sat there and listened to Paul’s words. Paul saw that he believed and could be healed, so he looked straight at him 10and said in a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” The man jumped up and started walking around. 11When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they started shouting in their own Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us!” 12They gave Barnabas the name Zeus, and Paul the name Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13The priest of the god Zeus, whose temple stood just outside the town, brought bulls and flowers to the gate, for he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifice to the apostles.
14When Barnabas and Paul heard what they were about to do, they tore their clothes and ran into the middle of the crowd, shouting, 15 “Why are you doing this? We ourselves are only human beings like you! We are here to announce the Good News, to turn you away from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven, earth, sea, and all that is in them. 16In the past he allowed all people to go their own way. 17But he has always given evidence of his existence by the good things he does: he gives you rain from heaven and crops at the right times; he gives you food and fills your hearts with happiness.” 18Even with these words the apostles could hardly keep the crowd from offering a sacrifice to them.
19Some Jews came from Antioch in Pisidia and from Iconium; they won the crowds over to their side, stoned Paul and dragged him out of the town, thinking that he was dead. 20But when the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he and Barnabas went to Derbe.

The Return to Antioch in Syria

21Paul and Barnabas preached the Good News in Derbe and won many disciples. Then they went back to Lystra, to Iconium, and on to Antioch in Pisidia. 22They strengthened the believers and encouraged them to remain true to the faith. “We must pass through many troubles to enter the Kingdom of God,” they taught. 23In each church they appointed elders, and with prayers and fasting they commended them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
24After going through the territory of Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25There they preached the message in Perga and then went to Attalia, 26and from there they sailed back to Antioch, the place where they had been commended to the care of God’s grace for the work they had now completed.
27When they arrived in Antioch, they gathered the people of the church together and told them about all that God had done with them and how he had opened the way for the Gentiles to believe. 28And they stayed a long time there with the believers.
— from Acts 14 (GNT)

Let’s sing songs of praise to God! Let’s celebrate the incredible things He is and has and will do in and through our lives! Let’s make each day so filled with joy because He is with us that it will be hard for others to hold back or to get down, let’s give us a reason for the joy that is within us! Let’s not allow our circumstances to direct our attitudes and actions. Let’s allow Jesus working in us to drive our attitude and responses to everything that comes our way!

12Many enemies surround me like bulls;

they are all around me,
like fierce bulls from the land of Bashan.
13They open their mouths like lions,
roaring and tearing at me.
14My strength is gone,
gone like water spilled on the ground.
All my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like melted wax.
15My throat is as dry as dust,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
You have left me for dead in the dust.
16An evil gang is around me;
like a pack of dogs they close in on me;
they tear at my hands and feet.
17All my bones can be seen.
My enemies look at me and stare.
18  They gamble for my clothes
and divide them among themselves.
19O Lord, don’t stay away from me!
Come quickly to my rescue!
20Save me from the sword;
save my life from these dogs.
21Rescue me from these lions;
I am helpless before these wild bulls.
22  I will tell my people what you have done;
I will praise you in their assembly:
23“Praise him, you servants of the Lord!
Honor him, you descendants of Jacob!
Worship him, you people of Israel!
24He does not neglect the poor or ignore their suffering;
he does not turn away from them,
but answers when they call for help.”
25In the full assembly I will praise you for what you have done;
in the presence of those who worship you
I will offer the sacrifices I promised.
26The poor will eat as much as they want;
those who come to the Lord will praise him.
May they prosper forever!
27All nations will remember the Lord.
From every part of the world they will turn to him;
all races will worship him.
28The Lord is king,
and he rules the nations.
29All proud people will bow down to him;#

22.29: Probable text will bow down to him; Hebrew will eat and bow down.
all mortals will bow down before him.
30Future generations will serve him;
they will speak of the Lord to the coming generation.
31People not yet born will be told:
“The Lord saved his people.”
— from Psalm 22 (GNT)

So today as we get started, let’s put on the full armor of God and be prepared for what will be ahead of us. Let’s share the Good News of how God has worked in and through our lives and how He wants to make a difference in the lives of those around us. Yes, you reading this text, that is you. He wants to make a difference in your life because He loves you so much. Yes, you reading this, He wants to hear you sharing the Good News with others as you have been transformed and saved. Yes, you reading this text, if you want to hear more or talk more, please leave me a comment for me to respond to … feel free to read through other postings if that is more comfortable for you. Do a search about something that is on your mind.

 

You have to believe

There’s no if’s…it’s a matter of when!


Do you believe or not? Do you think it can be done or not? Consider your thoughts and your words! When you are going to say something consider what you are trying to say. Imagine if my previous statement has started with if the difference that makes to the comment. It’s not if, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when because you will say something, I believe that. So there is no if’s about it!

How many times do you hear people say “If …”? How many times have you started or thought “If…”? Now when this happens the next time consider stopping yourself when you are about to do it or when the other person is starting to do it, ask do you mean when? The main reason is that when you believe something it becomes when not if. When you aren’t sure or don’t know that is when you will hear people saying “If…”

We see this in today’s morning reading from Mark 9-10, Psalm 103 when Jesus is confronted by a man whose son needs a touch from God.

21-22He asked the boy’s father, “How long has this been going on?”
“Ever since he was a little boy. Many times it pitches him into fire or the river to do away with him. If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!”
23Jesus said, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.”
24No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!
25-27Seeing that the crowd was forming fast, Jesus gave the vile spirit its marching orders: “Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you—Out of him, and stay out!” Screaming, and with much thrashing about, it left. The boy was pale as a corpse, so people started saying, “He’s dead.” But Jesus, taking his hand, raised him. The boy stood up.
— Mark 9

All things are possible when we believe. Do you have doubt or fears and need help from God? Consider what this man said: “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!” As Jesus said: “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.“, it becomes a matter of when! God’s timing is perfect, He is never late, rarely early, and always on time! So where will you put your trust? What are you going to believe? Do you believe it’s possible? Do you believe it’s going to happen? Are you asking God to help you with your disbelief? Are you asking God to help you with your doubts?

What are you facing today? Are you trying to do it all in your own power? Are you trying to do it all in your own strength? Think about it a different way…Turn to God and talk to Him about it. Pray for wisdom and direction! Pray for power and strength in the name of Jesus to be able accomplish His will today! And walk it out trusting and believing in Him.

We see how the disciples we having troubles and Jesus affirms what needs to happen:

28After arriving back home, his disciples cornered Jesus and asked, “Why couldn’t we throw the demon out?”
29He answered, “There is no way to get rid of this kind of demon except by prayer.” — Mark 9

When we walk with God, building up our relationships, He prepares us for what is ahead so that it won’t be such a surprise and that we won’t lose faith but remember what He said and keep our hope and trust in Him. Fear may shake us up, but joy comes in the morning. We may not always walk it out or listen, but when we get to a point, a pivot point, we will remember and turn back. Some walk away and when they hit rock bottom they come back. Some walk away and realize what is going on and turn back sooner. Have you walked away from Jesus? How far will you have to go before you will turn around and run back into the open and loving arms of Jesus? We see how much God is interested in finding and saving the lost in His Word! Today may be your day to go home to God and allow the angels to celebrate your return. There is a huge party because you were lost and now you are found, you were good as dead and now you are reborn and alive. It’s a matter of trusting and believing!

All things are possible for those who believe!


 

Where are you focusing today? Are you trying to get there first or help others also get there? Are you leading from the front or hurrying others from the back? Consider a shepherd or a sheepdog they try to keep everyone together and going in the right direction. If they went from the front, someone could sneak in from the back and try to lure them away. If you are leading from the front, it is possible that not everyone would make it in before the gate closed. If you are leading from the back, you are sure everyone got in! Are you a servant leader who is caring for others? Are you leading from a place of power demanding of others? Are you leading from a spirit of love?

I’ve taught my kids when I ask them if they want to go first or last and I have had situations where they are all asking to be last because God’s Word tells us that the first will go last and the last will go first.  This is how Jesus put it:

33They came to Capernaum. When he was safe at home, he asked them, “What were you discussing on the road?”
34The silence was deafening—they had been arguing with one another over who among them was greatest.
35He sat down and summoned the Twelve. “So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all.”
— Mark 9

So do you know how to treat others? Do you realize it has implications?

36-37He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said, “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me—God who sent me.”
38John spoke up, “Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t in our group.”
39-41Jesus wasn’t pleased. “Don’t stop him. No one can use my name to do something good and powerful, and in the next breath cut me down. If he’s not an enemy, he’s an ally. Why, anyone by just giving you a cup of water in my name is on our side. Count on it that God will notice.
42“On the other hand, if you give one of these simple, childlike believers a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck.
43-48“If your hand or your foot gets in God’s way, chop it off and throw it away. You’re better off maimed or lame and alive than the proud owner of two hands and two feet, godless in a furnace of eternal fire. And if your eye distracts you from God, pull it out and throw it away. You’re better off one-eyed and alive than exercising your twenty-twenty vision from inside the fire of hell.
49-50“Everyone’s going through a refining fire sooner or later, but you’ll be well-preserved, protected from the eternal flames. Be preservatives yourselves. Preserve the peace.” — Mark 9

So let’s persevere! Let’s press on! Let’s be peace makers! Let’s be lovers! Let’s shine the hope of Jesus to the lost around us! People are looking for a reason to hope and a reason to be loved. Will you point them to the source? Will you tell there is a way? What role will you play today?


Ever been faced in the situation where someone is trying to trip you up? Asking trick questions? Trying to trick you into saying something that they can use against you? Trying to get some leverage they can use? Consider God’s advice… Even a fool seems wise if he doesn’t say anything. We should ask God for wisdom and understanding when asked or confronted. We can then have the right questions to ask in return or the right words to speak if we should even speak. Jesus demonstrates such a situation in today’s reading:

1-2From there he went to the area of Judea across the Jordan. A crowd of people, as was so often the case, went along, and he, as he so often did, taught them. Pharisees came up, intending to give him a hard time. They asked, “Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife?”
3Jesus said, “What did Moses command?”
4They answered, “Moses gave permission to fill out a certificate of dismissal and divorce her.”
5-9Jesus said, “Moses wrote this command only as a concession to your hardhearted ways. In the original creation, God made male and female to be together. Because of this, a man leaves father and mother, and in marriage he becomes one flesh with a woman—no longer two individuals, but forming a new unity. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.”
10-12When they were back home, the disciples brought it up again. Jesus gave it to them straight: “A man who divorces his wife so he can marry someone else commits adultery against her. And a woman who divorces her husband so she can marry someone else commits adultery.” — Mark 10

Are you pointing people to God or away from God? Are you trying to get in the middle of it all? Are you trying to help them get there?

13-16The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them. — Mark 10

Have you given everything to God? Is there anything in your life that you are holding back? Is there anything that you are holding onto and not allowing God to be ruler of all? He is either the savior of all or He is not savior at all. Just like so much of our lives and where we end up, we have to make a choice! What are we going to do with our free will? Will we give every part of our lives? For those who had nothing and walked with God to prosperity, they trust Him with all (the enemy tends to try and shake them up with fear though). For those who come to Him with or in prosperity  giving it all up into His hands can be a challenge. Jesus shares such a story with us in today’s reading. Nothing is impossible with God! It may be impossible without Him, but with God all things are possible!

17As he went out into the street, a man came running up, greeted him with great reverence, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?”
18-19Jesus said, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good, only God. You know the commandments: Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, honor your father and mother.”
20He said, “Teacher, I have—from my youth—kept them all!”
21Jesus looked him hard in the eye—and loved him! He said, “There’s one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me.”
22The man’s face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.
23-25Looking at his disciples, Jesus said, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who ‘have it all’ to enter God’s kingdom?” The disciples couldn’t believe what they were hearing, but Jesus kept on: “You can’t imagine how difficult. I’d say it’s easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for the rich to get into God’s kingdom.”
26That set the disciples back on their heels. “Then who has any chance at all?” they asked.
27Jesus was blunt: “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you let God do it.
28Peter tried another angle: “We left everything and followed you.”
29-31Jesus said, “Mark my words, no one who sacrifices house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, land—whatever—because of me and the Message will lose out. They’ll get it all back, but multiplied many times in homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land—but also in troubles. And then the bonus of eternal life! This is once again the Great Reversal: Many who are first will end up last, and the last first.”
32-34Back on the road, they set out for Jerusalem. Jesus had a head start on them, and they were following, puzzled and not just a little afraid. He took the Twelve and began again to go over what to expect next. “Listen to me carefully. We’re on our way up to Jerusalem. When we get there, the Son of Man will be betrayed to the religious leaders and scholars. They will sentence him to death. Then they will hand him over to the Romans, who will mock and spit on him, give him the third degree, and kill him. After three days he will rise alive.” — Mark 10

Be careful what you ask for! Are you sure you want that? You may get what you asked for just to learn that you don’t really want it! Or that it wasn’t everything you thought it would be! Consider what happens next in our reading…

35James and John, Zebedee’s sons, came up to him. “Teacher, we have something we want you to do for us.”
36“What is it? I’ll see what I can do.”
37“Arrange it,” they said, “so that we will be awarded the highest places of honor in your glory—one of us at your right, the other at your left.”
38Jesus said, “You have no idea what you’re asking. Are you capable of drinking the cup I drink, of being baptized in the baptism I’m about to be plunged into?”
39-40“Sure,” they said. “Why not?”
Jesus said, “Come to think of it, you will drink the cup I drink, and be baptized in my baptism. But as to awarding places of honor, that’s not my business. There are other arrangements for that.” — Mark 10

So do you want to be first or last? Do you want to serve or be served? Do you?

Do you want Jesus? Do you need Jesus? Will you let anyone get in the way of getting you to Him and into His presence? Will you allow anyone to detract or derail you from being with Him? What if people shushed you or tried to quiet you down?

46-48They spent some time in Jericho. As Jesus was leaving town, trailed by his disciples and a parade of people, a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, was sitting alongside the road. When he heard that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by, he began to cry out, “Son of David, Jesus! Mercy, have mercy on me!” Many tried to hush him up, but he yelled all the louder, “Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”
49-50Jesus stopped in his tracks. “Call him over.”
They called him. “It’s your lucky day! Get up! He’s calling you to come!” Throwing off his coat, he was on his feet at once and came to Jesus.
51Jesus said, “What can I do for you?”
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
52“On your way,” said Jesus. “Your faith has saved and healed you.”
In that very instant he recovered his sight and followed Jesus down the road.
— Mark 10

 

 

 

 

 

Do you know who is on your side? What side are you on?


What are you up against today? Where are you heading? What’s holding you back? What is driving you? How will you get through? How will you know what to do? Who can you trust? Where will you turn? How long and how far will you walk away before you stop and consider the alternative?

This morning’s reading triggered this truth and so I wanted to share some thoughts and revelations related to this topic.

  • If our God is for us who can be against us

31-39So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.

We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. — Romans 8

  • He will stick closer than a brother
24Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family. — Proverbs 18:24
  • If you seek Him, you will find Him, when you seek Him with all of your heart, mind, and soul

29-31But even there, if you seek God, your God, you’ll be able to find him if you’re serious, looking for him with your whole heart and soul. When troubles come and all these awful things happen to you, in future days you will come back to God, your God, and listen obediently to what he says. God, your God, is above all a compassionate God. In the end he will not abandon you, he won’t bring you to ruin, he won’t forget the covenant with your ancestors which he swore to them. — Deuteronomy 4

  • Jesus came to save, not bring judgment

16-18“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. — John 3:15-18

The verse from this morning’s reading that caused me to want to share the truth that God is on our side is:

4-6Jesus told them, “Go back and tell John what’s going on:
The blind see,
The lame walk,
Lepers are cleansed,
The deaf hear,
The dead are raised,
The wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side.
“Is this what you were expecting? Then count yourselves most blessed!” — Matthew 11:4-6
In life we have a choice, we have been given freewill so that we don’t just live as robots, we have been given a special opportunity. Choose wisely! Take a hold of the opportunity to receive Jesus into your heart and to live for God and realize that He is for you and how much He loves you.
Want to know what to do? Turn to God! Want to hear wisdom? Listen to God! Want to know where to go? Follow Jesus!
You don’t have to have it all together, you don’t have to know it all, you don’t have to be perfect before you turn to God!
25-26Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: “Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.” — Matthew 11:25-26
Are you feeling tired? Are you feeling over burdened?
28-30“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” — Matthew 11:28-30
Is your heart in the right position? Are you so tied up in routine, rituals, structure, that your heart is out of whack? Are your goals and your focus on the right things? Is it more about how it looks than what it accomplishes? We need to remember the priority order! We need to put first things first!
Look well at my handpicked servant;
I love him so much, take such delight in him.
I’ve placed my Spirit on him;
he’ll decree justice to the nations.
But he won’t yell, won’t raise his voice;
there’ll be no commotion in the streets.
He won’t walk over anyone’s feelings,
won’t push you into a corner.
Before you know it, his justice will triumph;
the mere sound of his name will signal hope, even
among far-off unbelievers. — Matthew 12

There is no neutral ground!

If you aren’t moving forward, you are falling backwards. If you aren’t for us, you are against us. Their is a real spiritual battle taking place. You can’t just be sitting on the beach and think it’s all good, because there is a battle taking place for your soul and the soul of everyone around you. We are all eternal beings and it is God’s desire that we spend it with Him in heaven, whereas, it’s the devil’s goal to make you send eternity apart from God. It all comes down to a choice, one that each one of us has to make individually.
22-23Next a poor demon-afflicted wretch, both blind and deaf, was set down before him. Jesus healed him, gave him his sight and hearing. The people who saw it were impressed—“This has to be the Son of David!”
24But the Pharisees, when they heard the report, were cynical. “Black magic,” they said. “Some devil trick he’s pulled from his sleeve.”
25-27Jesus confronted their slander. “A judge who gives opposite verdicts on the same person cancels himself out; a family that’s in a constant squabble disintegrates; if Satan banishes Satan, is there any Satan left? If you’re slinging devil mud at me, calling me a devil kicking out devils, doesn’t the same mud stick to your own exorcists?
28-29“But if it’s by God’s power that I am sending the evil spirits packing, then God’s kingdom is here for sure. How in the world do you think it’s possible in broad daylight to enter the house of an awake, able-bodied man and walk off with his possessions unless you tie him up first? Tie him up, though, and you can clean him out.
30“This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you’re not on my side, you’re the enemy; if you’re not helping, you’re making things worse.
31-32“There’s nothing done or said that can’t be forgiven. But if you deliberately persist in your slanders against God’s Spirit, you are repudiating the very One who forgives. If you reject the Son of Man out of some misunderstanding, the Holy Spirit can forgive you, but when you reject the Holy Spirit, you’re sawing off the branch on which you’re sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives.
33“If you grow a healthy tree, you’ll pick healthy fruit. If you grow a diseased tree, you’ll pick worm-eaten fruit. The fruit tells you about the tree.
34-37“You have minds like a snake pit! How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.” — Matthew 12
Jesus was willing to give His all for us. He went to the cross! He was buried and died for 3 days (similar to Jonah who was stuck in the belly of a whale)! He conquered the grave and the power of death and has been raised up to sit at the right hand of the father and is intervening, mediating, pleading, negotiating, and arbitrating for all those who have chosen to go His way! Will you decide to make the choice? There is no fence sitting. There is no neutral. You are in or you are out! Choose wisely!
38Later a few religion scholars and Pharisees got on him. “Teacher, we want to see your credentials. Give us some hard evidence that God is in this. How about a miracle?”
39-40Jesus said, “You’re looking for proof, but you’re looking for the wrong kind. All you want is something to titillate your curiosity, satisfy your lust for miracles. The only proof you’re going to get is what looks like the absence of proof: Jonah-evidence. Like Jonah, three days and nights in the fish’s belly, the Son of Man will be gone three days and nights in a deep grave.
41-42“On Judgment Day, the Ninevites will stand up and give evidence that will condemn this generation, because when Jonah preached to them they changed their lives. A far greater preacher than Jonah is here, and you squabble about ‘proofs.’ On Judgment Day, the Queen of Sheba will come forward and bring evidence that will condemn this generation, because she traveled from a far corner of the earth to listen to wise Solomon. Wisdom far greater than Solomon’s is right in front of you, and you quibble over ‘evidence.’
43-45“When a defiling evil spirit is expelled from someone, it drifts along through the desert looking for an oasis, some unsuspecting soul it can bedevil. When it doesn’t find anyone, it says, ‘I’ll go back to my old haunt.’ On return it finds the person spotlessly clean, but vacant. It then runs out and rounds up seven other spirits more evil than itself and they all move in, whooping it up. That person ends up far worse off than if he’d never gotten cleaned up in the first place.
“That’s what this generation is like: You may think you have cleaned out the junk from your lives and gotten ready for God, but you weren’t hospitable to my kingdom message, and now all the devils are moving back in.” — Matthew 12

Don’t desert God!


Where are you at today in your life journey? What is your guiding point? How do you know where to go? How do you know what to do? What direction are you heading? What purpose are you pursuing? Are you going the right way?

This morning’s reading brings up the question have you deserted God? Reading in 2 Chronicles 28-31, Psalm 82 we see how Ahaz turned his back on God and deserted Him. Have you turned your back on God? If you have where are you heading? For sure it is away from God, but if you are going away from God, why? where? how far? who are you going after? what is guiding you? when will you know you have arrived? Before I get into this morning’s reading, I want to share some hope in case you have walked away. It’s not to late to turn back, it’s not too late to go back, He is waiting for you with open arms as a loving Father who desires to have you home with Him. God’s Word tells us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. God’s Word tells us that we can hide from God. He does give us freewill to choose and if we choose to walk away from His covering, His love, His hope, His truth, that is a choice. If you are at rock bottom, look up, turn back, call out, seek Him and you will find Him if you seek Him with all of your heart, your mind, and your strength. There is always hope. God is LOVE. Without LOVE we are bankrupt. God’s Word tells us:

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. — 1 Corinthians 13

When we walk out from the protective covering from God, when we head into the spiritual battle that is all around us without God, we open ourselves up for things and to things that we shouldn’t have had to deal with in many cases. God will bring people into your life to speak wisdom and insight, but how will you receive it? You will get to the point of feeling you need help, but where will you turn? Will you look to those who look powerful around you or will you turn to the all powerful God who knows all things? They may be able to help for a little while, but how long will that last? Or they may just try to get something from you or out of your for their own benefit. They may see your weakness and try to take advantage of you, attack you, humiliate you, and bullying you. You don’t have enough to give away when you don’t have God to make that change. When you have God even the little you have can be used and multiplied for incredible blessings not only for you, but for others too so that the blessing will flow through you, not just to you. Some people learn and others just keep going on their way.

How will you choose? What is in your future? Will you try it God’s way? He has a plan and it is good, it’s a plan to give you a hope and a future.

A catalyst is what is needed for a change. Someone who will step up and call everyone to do what is right. Someone who will call people up from the grown and help them get back on their feet and headed in the right direction. Someone who has God in the center and is willing to follow after Him and His will. It’s enough to turn around a city or town, a province or state, a region or country. Are you following after God? Are you the leader who is supposed to or who is going to call people out of the darkness and back into the light? Are you the leader who is going to walk in alignment with God and call people back into relationship with Him? Will you help rebuild the people, the places, and the lives of those around you? It’s a matter of what’s on the inside. Start on the inside and get it cleaned out and work your way out. Get rid of the junk and the garbage. Remove the stuff that is in the way of being able to do and go where God has planned for you. In the old days many sacrifices were required for forgiveness of sin, today, we have the ultimate sacrifice in Jesus who gave it all that we could be reconciled to God and saved from our sins. Call on Jesus. Ask Him for forgiveness. And receive it. As He put it, do you see any of your accusers? Then go and sin no more. So let’s turn back to God and start our journey of walking with Him all the way into eternity.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Choose wisely how you will live it!