As the day begins and I consider all that today means there are so many things. Today is commissioning day where the team and I will be prayed for in preparation for the camps this summer. Today is a Sunday and so I will get to hear the preaching of the Word of God. Today is Father’s Day and I am blessed to have a great dad who has been a great role model for me. I reflect back to the moment when I had the aha moment about having a relationship with my Heavenly Father. To thrive requires relationship building! Be it building relationships through reconciliation! Be it building relationships through forgiveness! Be it building relationships through spending time together! All successful ministries come through relationships!
So today, let’s thrive and make the most of our day, accomplishing the good works God has prepared in advance for us to accomplish for our good and His glory!
Today’s verse of the day:
‘As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; ‘
Are you needing compassion today? Are you needing to give it or receive it? Are you ready to accept it or offer it? Could today be the day to rekindle a relationship out of compassion? Could today be the day to strengthen or rebuild a relationship out of compassion? Could today be the day to start a relationship out of compassion?
Are you needing compassion? Are you needing reconciliation? Are you needing forgiveness? Let’s get it started today by inviting Jesus into our hearts and our lives! Let’s get it started by allowing the Holy Spirit to clean out the negativity and gunk of the past so that we can receive and give compassion! Let’s get it started by allowing the Holy Spirit to clean out the negativity and gunk of the past so that we can receive and give reconciliation! Let’s get it started by allowing the Holy Spirit to clean out the negativity and gunk of the past so that we can receive and give forgiveness!
If you pray today’s prayer with me feel free to let me know so I can pray with you and for you too. (If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment then you can always try email.
What was it? What is it? Is it something good? Is it something bad? Would sharing it be a good thing? Would sharing it be beneficial? Would sharing it make things better? Would sharing it be a bad thing? Would sharing it be detrimental? Would sharing it make things worse?
Is it a fact? Is it fiction? Is it news? Is it gossip? Is it truth? Is it false? What helps you know? What allows you to know if it is something you should keep, share, or throw away?
Are you getting it for a reason? Are you getting it for a purpose? Are you getting it to distract you? Are you getting it to confuse it? Are you getting it to receive clarity? Once you know this maybe it will help you know what to do with it if anything…
Let’s gather a bit more context around today’s verse using the Amplified translation and some verses around it:
‘So you, my son, be strong [constantly strengthened] and empowered in the grace that is [to be found only] in Christ Jesus. The things [the doctrine, the precepts, the admonitions, the sum of my ministry] which you have heard me teach in the presence of many witnesses, entrust [as a treasure] to reliable and faithful men who will also be capable and qualified to teach others. Take with me your share of hardship [passing through the difficulties which you are called to endure], like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service gets entangled in the [ordinary business] affairs of civilian life; [he avoids them] so that he may please the one who enlisted him to serve. And if anyone competes as an athlete [in competitive games], he is not crowned [with the wreath of victory] unless he competes according to the rules. The hard-working farmer [who labors to produce crops] ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. Think over the things I am saying [grasp their application], for the Lord will grant you insight and understanding in everything. Remember Jesus Christ [the ever-living Lord who has] risen from the dead, [as the prophesied King] descended from David [king of Israel], according to my gospel [the good news that I preach], for that [gospel] I am suffering even to [the point of] wearing chains like a criminal; but the word of God is not chained or imprisoned! For this reason I [am ready to] patiently endure all things for the sake of those who are the elect (God’s chosen ones), so that they too may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it the reward of eternal glory. This is a faithful and trustworthy saying: If we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He will also deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful [true to His word and His righteous character], for He cannot deny Himself. ‘
Do you realize that every good and perfect gift comes from God?
So where do you think all the great ideas come from?
Do you think they are new?
Do you think it was some really smart person?
Ever checked out the Bible and realized how many of the thoughts, ideas, plans that have come up show up there?
Like viral marketing… Take a look at today’s reading and we see Paul was using the idea thousands of years ago.
Do you remember that old shampoo commercial with the “and they told two friends, and so on and so on…”?
That phenomena is viral marketing, where it creates such a buzz, an energy, and enthusiasm that people start to share it and pass it on.
This is not only how products or services gain momentum but also how the truth about Jesus works too.
So are you investing your time and effort into someone today?
Are you making sure that you are investing into someone who is faithful?
Are you making sure that you are investing into someone who will be able to share it with others?
Paul invested time and energy and resources into Timothy.
Paul invested leadership skills, faith skills, praying skills, and modeled the truth!
Are you modeling the truth in how you live today?
Are you modeling the truth in a way that not only can it be passed on from you but also that it won’t stop at 1 degree of separation but will continue to expand and extend?
Are you setting and holding your life up to a high standard?
You know that metaphysical bar people talk about? Well if we let it keep lowering, eventually the standards will be so bad and life will become horrible.
Do you have people you invest in who are “faithful” and will be able to both receive and pass it on?
Do you have people who have a heart and skills to teach others?
And this is where the and so on and so on comes into place as we need to make sure they have the same standards of finding other leaders in whom the truths of God can be given and shared and then passed on.
So what is it going to take for everyone to hear the Good News?
So what is it going to take for everyone to be able to receive the Good News?
So will you be faithful, skilled, passionate about Jesus?
Will you pass it on?
Will you help this go viral?
Who were the faithful, skilled, and passion people who told you about Jesus before you grabbed it?
Will you decide to be one of those people today for someone else?
Are you paying it forward? Are you moving it on? Are you passing it on?
DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
Why is it important to select faithful people to invest our time in?
How are you doing in imparting faith to faithful people? Explain your answer.
So where are you at today? Have you had it passed on to you? Have you been passing it on to others? Are you still looking for it? Are you still waiting for it? Why not take it today and be transformed? Why not receive it today and be able to share it with others? Let’s make today count! Let’s pass on what God has given to us! Let’s give it away! Let’s pray:
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?
Let’s feel love for them. Let’s fell kindness for them. Let’s be responsive to their situation and needs. Let’s be tender hearted towards them.
It is interesting how God gives us such a commandment of how to live life as we find in Luke 6:36 which says: “So be merciful (sympathetic, tender, responsive, and compassionate) even as your Father is [all these].” In another translation, we capture how Jesus says that we must, it’s not an optional thing but just as our Heaven Father who has these feelings for us, we need to feel and be compassionate to others. The NLT translation says it this way: “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” So today, let’s go out there and in every encounter and in every situation let’s be compassionate to others. Let’s show them mercy. Let’s feel love and kindness towards them in the very situation they are in. Compassion goes beyond just a command but into feelings. So let’s not just go thru the motions but rather let’s truly feel for the people God brings into our lives. Let’s pray and ask Jesus us to help us have true compassion for those He brings us. Let’s ask Him to help us to have the same feeling for them that the Father has for us. Let’s live out today in a way that will bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name.
Before we jump into today’s devotional, let’s take a moment and listen to a song…
The 49 week challenge has 6 days in which to notice a promise to trust, a command to obey, a truth to embrace, a warning to heed, or an encouragement to rest in and 1 day to reflect on what you’re learning and to share it with others, to think back over the week’s readings, to see connections between the various passages of the week. Each day we have time to talk to God and contemplate what is being said through His Word, and even more so on the 7th day.
How interested are you in what will happen today? How interested are you in what will be required of you today? How interested are you in what decisions you will need to make today? How interested are you in hearing from God today? How interested are you in accomplishing what God is calling you to do today? What if it were life and death decision? What if it were everlasting life and everlasting death decision? What if the decision that you make today will determine how you will spend the rest of eternity? Would it make a difference?
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 fromGOD’S WORD – THE BIBLE comes to us from:
‘Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats ; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.’ — 1 Peter 3:1-22
‘I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord ; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord , and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord , you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord . Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to blot out their name from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.’ — Psalms 34:1-22
‘But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible. After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him. By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry. Then God said to Noah, “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.” So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds—everything that moves on land—came out of the ark, one kind after another. Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”’ — Genesis 8:1-22
‘In the eighteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijah became king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem three years. His mother’s name was Maakah daughter of Abishalom. He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been. Nevertheless, for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son to succeed him and by making Jerusalem strong. For David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord ’s commands all the days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite. There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam throughout Abijah’s lifetime. As for the other events of Abijah’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. And Abijah rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. And Asa his son succeeded him as king. In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa became king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty-one years. His grandmother’s name was Maakah daughter of Abishalom. Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord , as his father David had done. He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his ancestors had made. He even deposed his grandmother Maakah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. Asa cut it down and burned it in the Kidron Valley. Although he did not remove the high places, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life. He brought into the temple of the Lord the silver and gold and the articles that he and his father had dedicated. There was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel throughout their reigns. Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the territory of Asa king of Judah. Asa then took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the Lord ’s temple and of his own palace. He entrusted it to his officials and sent them to Ben-Hadad son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, the king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus. “Let there be a treaty between me and you,” he said, “as there was between my father and your father. See, I am sending you a gift of silver and gold. Now break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so he will withdraw from me.” Ben-Hadad agreed with King Asa and sent the commanders of his forces against the towns of Israel. He conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maakah and all Kinnereth in addition to Naphtali. When Baasha heard this, he stopped building Ramah and withdrew to Tirzah. Then King Asa issued an order to all Judah—no one was exempt—and they carried away from Ramah the stones and timber Baasha had been using there. With them King Asa built up Geba in Benjamin, and also Mizpah. As for all the other events of Asa’s reign, all his achievements, all he did and the cities he built, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? In his old age, however, his feet became diseased. Then Asa rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the city of his father David. And Jehoshaphat his son succeeded him as king. Nadab son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord , following the ways of his father and committing the same sin his father had caused Israel to commit. Baasha son of Ahijah from the tribe of Issachar plotted against him, and he struck him down at Gibbethon, a Philistine town, while Nadab and all Israel were besieging it. Baasha killed Nadab in the third year of Asa king of Judah and succeeded him as king. As soon as he began to reign, he killed Jeroboam’s whole family. He did not leave Jeroboam anyone that breathed, but destroyed them all, according to the word of the Lord given through his servant Ahijah the Shilonite. This happened because of the sins Jeroboam had committed and had caused Israel to commit, and because he aroused the anger of the Lord , the God of Israel. As for the other events of Nadab’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? There was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel throughout their reigns. In the third year of Asa king of Judah, Baasha son of Ahijah became king of all Israel in Tirzah, and he reigned twenty-four years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord , following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit.’ — 1 Kings 15:1-34
‘See now, the Lord, the Lord Almighty, is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support: all supplies of food and all supplies of water, the hero and the warrior, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder, the captain of fifty and the man of rank, the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter. “I will make mere youths their officials; children will rule over them.” People will oppress each other— man against man, neighbor against neighbor. The young will rise up against the old, the nobody against the honored. A man will seize one of his brothers in his father’s house, and say, “You have a cloak, you be our leader; take charge of this heap of ruins!” But in that day he will cry out, “I have no remedy. I have no food or clothing in my house; do not make me the leader of the people.” Jerusalem staggers, Judah is falling; their words and deeds are against the Lord , defying his glorious presence. The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves. Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done. Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. My people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path. The Lord takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people. The Lord enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of his people: “It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?” declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty. The Lord says, “The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, strutting along with swaying hips, with ornaments jingling on their ankles. Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; the Lord will make their scalps bald.” In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, the earrings and bracelets and veils, the headdresses and anklets and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, the signet rings and nose rings, the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls. Instead of fragrance there will be a stench; instead of a sash, a rope; instead of well-dressed hair, baldness; instead of fine clothing, sackcloth; instead of beauty, branding. Your men will fall by the sword, your warriors in battle. The gates of Zion will lament and mourn; destitute, she will sit on the ground.’ — Isaiah 3:1-26
As day 268 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 today and the blessing to get to live out the rest of the year 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?
Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to save myself. I confess my complete helplessness to forgive my own sin or to work my way to heaven. At this moment I trust Christ alone as the One who bore my sin when He died on the cross. I believe that He did all that will ever be necessary for me to stand in your holy presence. I thank you that Christ was raised from the dead as a guarantee of my own resurrection. As best as I can, I now transfer my trust to Him. I am grateful that He has promised to receive me despite my many sins and failures. Father, I take you at your word. I thank you that I can face death now that you are my Savior. Thank you for the assurance that you will walk with me through the deep valley. Thank you for hearing this prayer. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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?
Matthew 9:36 says “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”.
Matthew 14:14 says “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”.
Luke 7:13 says “When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.””.
Through the examples we see how much God cares about us. Even when in the midst of trials and challenges, trust God because He cares for you. In Ephesians 3:18-19 we read “18may have power, together with all the LORD’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”. God loves you and cares for you. His plans for you are good. So trust in the Lord with all your hear, all your mind, all your strength. Don’t lean on your own understanding based on what you see, hear, and feel, instead put your hope and trust in God. God is love and He loves you. God so loves you that He sent Jesus to give Himself to pay the price necessary for reconciliation and forgiveness. So receive the love of God today through faith in Jesus.
With June in the rear view mirror, let’s share our takeaways from today’s reading! Did you catch and promises to trust? Did you catch any commands to obey? Did you catch any truths to embrace? Did you catch any warnings to heed? Did you catch any encouragement to rest in? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the world? What verse stood out most to you today?
If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.
Today’s reading from God’s Word – the Bible comes to us from:
‘By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do. So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it. I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.” Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present. We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you. We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ. Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory. But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.’ — 2 Corinthians 10:1-18
Today’s reading brings us to related Old Testament readings start with Jeremiah 9:
‘Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people. Oh, that I had in the desert a lodging place for travelers, so that I might leave my people and go away from them; for they are all adulterers, a crowd of unfaithful people. “They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies; it is not by truth that they triumph in the land. They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me,” declares the Lord . “Beware of your friends; do not trust anyone in your clan. For every one of them is a deceiver, and every friend a slanderer. Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning. You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,” declares the Lord . Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says: “See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people? Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceitfully. With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors, but in their hearts they set traps for them. Should I not punish them for this?” declares the Lord . “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?” I will weep and wail for the mountains and take up a lament concerning the wilderness grasslands. They are desolate and untraveled, and the lowing of cattle is not heard. The birds have all fled and the animals are gone. “I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals; and I will lay waste the towns of Judah so no one can live there.” Who is wise enough to understand this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it? Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross? The Lord said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law. Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.” Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “See, I will make this people eat bitter food and drink poisoned water. I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have known, and I will pursue them with the sword until I have made an end of them.” This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come; send for the most skillful of them. Let them come quickly and wail over us till our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids. The sound of wailing is heard from Zion: ‘How ruined we are! How great is our shame! We must leave our land because our houses are in ruins.’ ” Now, you women, hear the word of the Lord ; open your ears to the words of his mouth. Teach your daughters how to wail; teach one another a lament. Death has climbed in through our windows and has entered our fortresses; it has removed the children from the streets and the young men from the public squares. Say, “This is what the Lord declares: “ ‘Dead bodies will lie like dung on the open field, like cut grain behind the reaper, with no one to gather them.’ ” This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord , who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord . “The days are coming,” declares the Lord , “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh— Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the wilderness in distant places. For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.”’ — Jeremiah 9:1-26
‘These were the men who came to David at Ziklag, while he was banished from the presence of Saul son of Kish (they were among the warriors who helped him in battle; they were armed with bows and were able to shoot arrows or to sling stones right-handed or left-handed; they were relatives of Saul from the tribe of Benjamin): Ahiezer their chief and Joash the sons of Shemaah the Gibeathite; Jeziel and Pelet the sons of Azmaveth; Berakah, Jehu the Anathothite, and Ishmaiah the Gibeonite, a mighty warrior among the Thirty, who was a leader of the Thirty; Jeremiah, Jahaziel, Johanan, Jozabad the Gederathite, Eluzai, Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shemariah and Shephatiah the Haruphite; Elkanah, Ishiah, Azarel, Joezer and Jashobeam the Korahites; and Joelah and Zebadiah the sons of Jeroham from Gedor. Some Gadites defected to David at his stronghold in the wilderness. They were brave warriors, ready for battle and able to handle the shield and spear. Their faces were the faces of lions, and they were as swift as gazelles in the mountains. Ezer was the chief, Obadiah the second in command, Eliab the third, Mishmannah the fourth, Jeremiah the fifth, Attai the sixth, Eliel the seventh, Johanan the eighth, Elzabad the ninth, Jeremiah the tenth and Makbannai the eleventh. These Gadites were army commanders; the least was a match for a hundred, and the greatest for a thousand. It was they who crossed the Jordan in the first month when it was overflowing all its banks, and they put to flight everyone living in the valleys, to the east and to the west. Other Benjamites and some men from Judah also came to David in his stronghold. David went out to meet them and said to them, “If you have come to me in peace to help me, I am ready for you to join me. But if you have come to betray me to my enemies when my hands are free from violence, may the God of our ancestors see it and judge you.” Then the Spirit came on Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and he said: “We are yours, David! We are with you, son of Jesse! Success, success to you, and success to those who help you, for your God will help you.” So David received them and made them leaders of his raiding bands. Some of the tribe of Manasseh defected to David when he went with the Philistines to fight against Saul. (He and his men did not help the Philistines because, after consultation, their rulers sent him away. They said, “It will cost us our heads if he deserts to his master Saul.”) When David went to Ziklag, these were the men of Manasseh who defected to him: Adnah, Jozabad, Jediael, Michael, Jozabad, Elihu and Zillethai, leaders of units of a thousand in Manasseh. They helped David against raiding bands, for all of them were brave warriors, and they were commanders in his army. Day after day men came to help David, until he had a great army, like the army of God. These are the numbers of the men armed for battle who came to David at Hebron to turn Saul’s kingdom over to him, as the Lord had said: from Judah, carrying shield and spear—6,800 armed for battle; from Simeon, warriors ready for battle—7,100; from Levi—4,600, including Jehoiada, leader of the family of Aaron, with 3,700 men, and Zadok, a brave young warrior, with 22 officers from his family; from Benjamin, Saul’s tribe—3,000, most of whom had remained loyal to Saul’s house until then; from Ephraim, brave warriors, famous in their own clans—20,800; from half the tribe of Manasseh, designated by name to come and make David king—18,000; from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do—200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command; from Zebulun, experienced soldiers prepared for battle with every type of weapon, to help David with undivided loyalty—50,000; from Naphtali—1,000 officers, together with 37,000 men carrying shields and spears; from Dan, ready for battle—28,600; from Asher, experienced soldiers prepared for battle—40,000; and from east of the Jordan, from Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, armed with every type of weapon—120,000. All these were fighting men who volunteered to serve in the ranks. They came to Hebron fully determined to make David king over all Israel. All the rest of the Israelites were also of one mind to make David king. The men spent three days there with David, eating and drinking, for their families had supplied provisions for them. Also, their neighbors from as far away as Issachar, Zebulun and Naphtali came bringing food on donkeys, camels, mules and oxen. There were plentiful supplies of flour, fig cakes, raisin cakes, wine, olive oil, cattle and sheep, for there was joy in Israel.’ — 1 Chronicles 12:1-40
‘Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar logs, stonemasons and carpenters to build a palace for him. And David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and that his kingdom had been highly exalted for the sake of his people Israel. In Jerusalem David took more wives and became the father of more sons and daughters. These are the names of the children born to him there: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Elpelet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Beeliada and Eliphelet. When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went out to meet them. Now the Philistines had come and raided the Valley of Rephaim; so David inquired of God: “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?” The Lord answered him, “Go, I will deliver them into your hands.” So David and his men went up to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, God has broken out against my enemies by my hand.” So that place was called Baal Perazim. The Philistines had abandoned their gods there, and David gave orders to burn them in the fire. Once more the Philistines raided the valley; so David inquired of God again, and God answered him, “Do not go directly after them, but circle around them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move out to battle, because that will mean God has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” So David did as God commanded him, and they struck down the Philistine army, all the way from Gibeon to Gezer. So David’s fame spread throughout every land, and the Lord made all the nations fear him.’ — 1 Chronicles 14:1-17
As day 207 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?
“Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to save myself. I confess my complete helplessness to forgive my own sin or to work my way to heaven. At this moment I trust Christ alone as the One who bore my sin when He died on the cross. I believe that He did all that will ever be necessary for me to stand in your holy presence. I thank you that Christ was raised from the dead as a guarantee of my own resurrection. As best as I can, I now transfer my trust to Him. I am grateful that He has promised to receive me despite my many sins and failures. Father, I take you at your word. I thank you that I can face death now that you are my Savior. Thank you for the assurance that you will walk with me through the deep valley. Thank you for hearing this prayer. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.” —The Sinner’s 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 commenton my blog, why not email or text me instead?
Ever been in the middle of two very drastic and opposite experiences? Ever had a touch personal situation and at the same time needed to deliver good news? Ever had a traumatic experience personally and then had to celebrate someone else? Where do you put your focus in order to make both possible? How do you position yourself so that you are able to handle both situations with the right heart and mind? Are you able to compartmentalize enough to make it happen? Are you able to guard your heart and your mind so that you are able to walk thru it? Are you able to distinguish between what is on the outside and what is on the inside so that the outside will just pass thru bu the things in your heart will be good and from the overflow of your heart, your mouth will speak? Do you have some other way to deal with it? What if that was your situation today?
Ever considered Jesus’ situation where He was being persecuted and put to death and yet the message He was delivering was one of hope and grace to the world. You may feel the pain and go through the suffering. You get to choose where you will focus and the reasons and the purpose behind why you would good through it.
With January in the rear view mirror, let’s share our takeaways from today’s reading! Did you catch and promises to trust? Did you catch any commands to obey? Did you catch any truths to embrace? Did you catch any warnings to heed? Did you catch any encouragement to rest in? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the world? What verse stood out most to you today?
If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.
Today’s reading from God’s Word – the Bible comes to us from:
(I have chosen to use NIV translation, but feel free to choose whichever version you feel more comfortable with)
So to be defiled would require your heart overflow things like: sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
Will you pursue God, His purpose, and His will all the days of your life?
How will you know how you are to respond?
How will you know how to decide?
Will you live out of love or out of fear?
Will you live in a way that is pleasing to God?
Will you elevate the word of God?
Will you celebrate the word of God?
Will you allow the word of God to bring conviction?
Will you allow the word of God to bring transformation?
As day 55 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?
As we become compassionate for others we also become more compatible with them. Ever noticed that we have a low tolerance for suffering and tend to close our eyes or walk away? Consider where people focus on Easter weekend and how people try to get by Good Friday’s suffering in order to get to Sunday’s victory and celebration.
Let’s consider some Bible verses that teach and show us how…
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.
16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. 21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
There are a lot of people with a lot of ideas and we find no action is being taken because they aren’t willing to compromise and look at the needs of those in need. We need people to come together on a personal level in order to meet people’s needs where they are at. We need to bring both the “cup of cold water” to meet the physical needs as well as the “living water” to meet their spiritual needs. We need to look them in the eyes so they know that we see them and that they matter to us. We need to give them our hearts so that they realize they matter to us. We need to look at meeting both the practical and spiritual needs. We need to remember it isn’t about us, it is all about them. Put another way “it’s not about you”. It’s not about putting on a show, it is about meeting the needs of others and being Jesus with skin on into their lives. By making it about them and giving the outcome to God even when it doesn’t play out as we had hoped, we can hope that it is part of God’s plan to move them forward. Sometimes we may get credit or a thank you for something others have done before us or we may not get a thank you for what we have done. Remember it isn’t about us, it is about doing our part in their lives. Let’s check our hearts and make sure that we aren’t doing it for show and our own egos. Let’s remember we are to be salt and light as well who we are representing by what we do. We need to realize what God has put into our hands to be able to be compassionate. We need to ask God to help us see it and use it for His glory in serving those in need. Some may need for you to be present (like when they have to go to the doctors). Some may need you to share practical life skills (like setting up a budget). Some may need you to be that safe person where they can find peace and relaxation. Some may need you to be a point person (like a mailing address so they can have something to put on application forms).
We need to make sure we don’t count ourselves out of the equation!
Look up -look at people and show them they matter
Look in -ask God what He wants, don’t lose hope, serve others
Look out -what have you put in my hands that I can do
Today’s reading comes to us from God’s Word:
‘In the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a severe famine came upon the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah left his home and went to live in the country of Moab, taking his wife and two sons with him. The man’s name was Elimelech, and his wife was Naomi. Their two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in the land of Judah. And when they reached Moab, they settled there. Then Elimelech died, and Naomi was left with her two sons. The two sons married Moabite women. One married a woman named Orpah, and the other a woman named Ruth. But about ten years later, both Mahlon and Kilion died. This left Naomi alone, without her two sons or her husband. Then Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had blessed his people in Judah by giving them good crops again. So Naomi and her daughters-in-law got ready to leave Moab to return to her homeland. With her two daughters-in-law she set out from the place where she had been living, and they took the road that would lead them back to Judah. But on the way, Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back to your mothers’ homes. And may the Lord reward you for your kindness to your husbands and to me. May the Lord bless you with the security of another marriage.” Then she kissed them good-bye, and they all broke down and wept. “No,” they said. “We want to go with you to your people.” But Naomi replied, “Why should you go on with me? Can I still give birth to other sons who could grow up to be your husbands? No, my daughters, return to your parents’ homes, for I am too old to marry again. And even if it were possible, and I were to get married tonight and bear sons, then what? Would you wait for them to grow up and refuse to marry someone else? No, of course not, my daughters! Things are far more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord himself has raised his fist against me.” And again they wept together, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi. “Look,” Naomi said to her, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same.” But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more. So the two of them continued on their journey. When they came to Bethlehem, the entire town was excited by their arrival. “Is it really Naomi?” the women asked. “Don’t call me Naomi,” she responded. “Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?” So Naomi returned from Moab, accompanied by her daughter-in-law Ruth, the young Moabite woman. They arrived in Bethlehem in late spring, at the beginning of the barley harvest.’
— Ruth 1
‘During the reign of King Josiah, the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what fickle Israel has done? Like a wife who commits adultery, Israel has worshiped other gods on every hill and under every green tree. I thought, ‘After she has done all this, she will return to me.’ But she did not return, and her faithless sister Judah saw this. She saw that I divorced faithless Israel because of her adultery. But that treacherous sister Judah had no fear, and now she, too, has left me and given herself to prostitution. Israel treated it all so lightly—she thought nothing of committing adultery by worshiping idols made of wood and stone. So now the land has been polluted. But despite all this, her faithless sister Judah has never sincerely returned to me. She has only pretended to be sorry. I, the Lord , have spoken!” Then the Lord said to me, “Even faithless Israel is less guilty than treacherous Judah! Therefore, go and give this message to Israel. This is what the Lord says: “O Israel, my faithless people, come home to me again, for I am merciful. I will not be angry with you forever. Only acknowledge your guilt. Admit that you rebelled against the Lord your God and committed adultery against him by worshiping idols under every green tree. Confess that you refused to listen to my voice. I, the Lord , have spoken! “Return home, you wayward children,” says the Lord , “for I am your master. I will bring you back to the land of Israel — one from this town and two from that family— from wherever you are scattered. And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will guide you with knowledge and understanding. “And when your land is once more filled with people,” says the Lord , “you will no longer wish for ‘the good old days’ when you possessed the Ark of the Lord ’s Covenant. You will not miss those days or even remember them, and there will be no need to rebuild the Ark. In that day Jerusalem will be known as ‘The Throne of the Lord .’ All nations will come there to honor the Lord . They will no longer stubbornly follow their own evil desires. In those days the people of Judah and Israel will return together from exile in the north. They will return to the land I gave your ancestors as an inheritance forever. “I thought to myself, ‘I would love to treat you as my own children!’ I wanted nothing more than to give you this beautiful land— the finest possession in the world. I looked forward to your calling me ‘Father,’ and I wanted you never to turn from me. But you have been unfaithful to me, you people of Israel! You have been like a faithless wife who leaves her husband. I, the Lord , have spoken.” Voices are heard high on the windswept mountains, the weeping and pleading of Israel’s people. For they have chosen crooked paths and have forgotten the Lord their God. “My wayward children,” says the Lord , “come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts.” “Yes, we’re coming,” the people reply, “for you are the Lord our God. Our worship of idols on the hills and our religious orgies on the mountains are a delusion. Only in the Lord our God will Israel ever find salvation. From childhood we have watched as everything our ancestors worked for— their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters— was squandered on a delusion. Let us now lie down in shame and cover ourselves with dishonor, for we and our ancestors have sinned against the Lord our God. From our childhood to this day we have never obeyed him.”’
— Jeremiah 3:6-25
‘“O Israel,” says the Lord , “if you wanted to return to me, you could. You could throw away your detestable idols and stray away no more. Then when you swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ you could do so with truth, justice, and righteousness. Then you would be a blessing to the nations of the world, and all people would come and praise my name.” This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns. O people of Judah and Jerusalem, surrender your pride and power. Change your hearts before the Lord , or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire because of all your sins.’
‘On the other side of the lake the crowds welcomed Jesus, because they had been waiting for him. Then a man named Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come home with him. His only daughter, who was about twelve years old, was dying. As Jesus went with him, he was surrounded by the crowds. A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” ‘
‘This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls. This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.’
— 1 Peter 1:1-12
‘Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither. Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord , and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord . Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the Lord , and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm. For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land. Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone. The lowly will possess the land and will live in peace and prosperity. The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance. But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming. The wicked draw their swords and string their bows to kill the poor and the oppressed, to slaughter those who do right. But their swords will stab their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich. For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the Lord takes care of the godly. Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever. They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough. But the wicked will die. The Lord ’s enemies are like flowers in a field— they will disappear like smoke. The wicked borrow and never repay, but the godly are generous givers. Those the Lord blesses will possess the land, but those he curses will die. The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread. The godly always give generous loans to others, and their children are a blessing. Turn from evil and do good, and you will live in the land forever. For the Lord loves justice, and he will never abandon the godly. He will keep them safe forever, but the children of the wicked will die. The godly will possess the land and will live there forever. The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong. They have made God’s law their own, so they will never slip from his path. The wicked wait in ambush for the godly, looking for an excuse to kill them. But the Lord will not let the wicked succeed or let the godly be condemned when they are put on trial. Put your hope in the Lord . Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you by giving you the land. You will see the wicked destroyed. I have seen wicked and ruthless people flourishing like a tree in its native soil. But when I looked again, they were gone! Though I searched for them, I could not find them! Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace. But the rebellious will be destroyed; they have no future. The Lord rescues the godly; he is their fortress in times of trouble. The Lord helps them, rescuing them from the wicked. He saves them, and they find shelter in him.’
Are you able to live passionately? Are you able to live out your passions? What is motivating you? What are your motives?
How do you know which way to go? How do you know where to turn? Do you have an internal compass that leads and directs you? How do you know if it is right or wrong? How do you know if you should or you shouldn’t? What is it that helps you make decisions? What will be you mission? What will be your profession/ What will be your vocation?
Today’s reading gets us started in Deuteronomy:
‘“Suppose there are prophets among you or those who dream dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, and the predicted signs or miracles occur. If they then say, ‘Come, let us worship other gods’—gods you have not known before— do not listen to them. The Lord your God is testing you to see if you truly love him with all your heart and soul. Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him. The false prophets or visionaries who try to lead you astray must be put to death, for they encourage rebellion against the Lord your God, who redeemed you from slavery and brought you out of the land of Egypt. Since they try to lead you astray from the way the Lord your God commanded you to live, you must put them to death. In this way you will purge the evil from among you. “Suppose someone secretly entices you—even your brother, your son or daughter, your beloved wife, or your closest friend—and says, ‘Let us go worship other gods’—gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known. They might suggest that you worship the gods of peoples who live nearby or who come from the ends of the earth. But do not give in or listen. Have no pity, and do not spare or protect them. You must put them to death! Strike the first blow yourself, and then all the people must join in. Stone the guilty ones to death because they have tried to draw you away from the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of slavery. Then all Israel will hear about it and be afraid, and no one will act so wickedly again. “When you begin living in the towns the Lord your God is giving you, you may hear that scoundrels among you are leading their fellow citizens astray by saying, ‘Let us go worship other gods’—gods you have not known before. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find that the report is true and such a detestable act has been committed among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the open square and burn it. Burn the entire town as a burnt offering to the Lord your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the Lord will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a large nation, just as he swore to your ancestors. “The Lord your God will be merciful only if you listen to his voice and keep all his commands that I am giving you today, doing what pleases him.’
‘“Since you are the people of the Lord your God, never cut yourselves or shave the hair above your foreheads in mourning for the dead. You have been set apart as holy to the Lord your God, and he has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be his own special treasure. “You must not eat any detestable animals that are ceremonially unclean. These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat, the addax, the antelope, and the mountain sheep. “You may eat any animal that has completely split hooves and chews the cud, but if the animal doesn’t have both, it may not be eaten. So you may not eat the camel, the hare, or the hyrax. They chew the cud but do not have split hooves, so they are ceremonially unclean for you. And you may not eat the pig. It has split hooves but does not chew the cud, so it is ceremonially unclean for you. You may not eat the meat of these animals or even touch their carcasses. “Of all the marine animals, you may eat whatever has both fins and scales. You may not, however, eat marine animals that do not have both fins and scales. They are ceremonially unclean for you. “You may eat any bird that is ceremonially clean. These are the birds you may not eat: the griffon vulture, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, the kite, the falcon, buzzards of all kinds, ravens of all kinds, the eagle owl, the short-eared owl, the seagull, hawks of all kinds, the little owl, the great owl, the barn owl, the desert owl, the Egyptian vulture, the cormorant, the stork, herons of all kinds, the hoopoe, and the bat. “All winged insects that walk along the ground are ceremonially unclean for you and may not be eaten. But you may eat any winged bird or insect that is ceremonially clean. “You must not eat anything that has died a natural death. You may give it to a foreigner living in your town, or you may sell it to a stranger. But do not eat it yourselves, for you are set apart as holy to the Lord your God. “You must not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.
“You must set aside a tithe of your crops—one-tenth of all the crops you harvest each year. Bring this tithe to the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored—and eat it there in his presence. This applies to your tithes of grain, new wine, olive oil, and the firstborn males of your flocks and herds. Doing this will teach you always to fear the Lord your God. “Now when the Lord your God blesses you with a good harvest, the place of worship he chooses for his name to be honored might be too far for you to bring the tithe. If so, you may sell the tithe portion of your crops and herds, put the money in a pouch, and go to the place the Lord your God has chosen. When you arrive, you may use the money to buy any kind of food you want—cattle, sheep, goats, wine, or other alcoholic drink. Then feast there in the presence of the Lord your God and celebrate with your household. And do not neglect the Levites in your town, for they will receive no allotment of land among you. “At the end of every third year, bring the entire tithe of that year’s harvest and store it in the nearest town. Give it to the Levites, who will receive no allotment of land among you, as well as to the foreigners living among you, the orphans, and the widows in your towns, so they can eat and be satisfied. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all your work.’
‘Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot— yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord . He will delight in obeying the Lord . He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay. He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment. In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm. Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord . In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to bring back the remnant of his people— those who remain in Assyria and northern Egypt; in southern Egypt, Ethiopia, and Elam; in Babylonia, Hamath, and all the distant coastlands. He will raise a flag among the nations and assemble the exiles of Israel. He will gather the scattered people of Judah from the ends of the earth. Then at last the jealousy between Israel and Judah will end. They will not be rivals anymore. They will join forces to swoop down on Philistia to the west. Together they will attack and plunder the nations to the east. They will occupy the lands of Edom and Moab, and Ammon will obey them. The Lord will make a dry path through the gulf of the Red Sea. He will wave his hand over the Euphrates River, sending a mighty wind to divide it into seven streams so it can easily be crossed on foot. He will make a highway for the remnant of his people, the remnant coming from Assyria, just as he did for Israel long ago when they returned from Egypt.’
‘In that day you will sing: “I will praise you, O Lord ! You were angry with me, but not any more. Now you comfort me. See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation! In that wonderful day you will sing: “Thank the Lord ! Praise his name! Tell the nations what he has done. Let them know how mighty he is! Sing to the Lord , for he has done wonderful things. Make known his praise around the world. Let all the people of Jerusalem shout his praise with joy! For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you.”’
Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament with Matthew:
‘On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked him, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the Temple tax?” “Yes, he does,” Peter replied. Then he went into the house. But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?” “They tax the people they have conquered,” Peter replied. “Well, then,” Jesus said, “the citizens are free! However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.”’
‘About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf#18:5 Greek in my name. is welcoming me. But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. “What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting. So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. “Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.’
‘I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them. Even so, I have been bold enough to write about some of these points, knowing that all you need is this reminder. For by God’s grace, I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit. So I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God. Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me, bringing the Gentiles to God by my message and by the way I worked among them. They were convinced by the power of miraculous signs and wonders and by the power of God’s Spirit. In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum. My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says, “Those who have never been told about him will see, and those who have never heard of him will understand.” In fact, my visit to you has been delayed so long because I have been preaching in these places.’
As we reflect on our passions, our purposes, our plans, let’s reflect on God’s plan which created us on purpose, with purpose and for a purpose. Let’s reflect on God’s purpose for our lives which has given us passion for the lost, the lonely, and the unloved. Let’s reflect on God’s passion that has given us a plan to seek and save the lost by pointing them through the way we live our lives and the sharing of our testimonies back to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. In Jeremiah 29:11 we read: “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. So let’s allow the love God poured out on us to overflow into the lives of all the people God has surrounded us with each and every day. In John 3:16-17, we read: “16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”.
Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 132:
‘Lord , remember David and all that he suffered. He made a solemn promise to the Lord . He vowed to the Mighty One of Israel, “I will not go home; I will not let myself rest. I will not let my eyes sleep nor close my eyelids in slumber until I find a place to build a house for the Lord , a sanctuary for the Mighty One of Israel.” We heard that the Ark was in Ephrathah; then we found it in the distant countryside of Jaar. Let us go to the sanctuary of the Lord ; let us worship at the footstool of his throne. Arise, O Lord , and enter your resting place, along with the Ark, the symbol of your power. May your priests be clothed in godliness; may your loyal servants sing for joy. For the sake of your servant David, do not reject the king you have anointed. The Lord swore an oath to David with a promise he will never take back: “I will place one of your descendants on your throne. If your descendants obey the terms of my covenant and the laws that I teach them, then your royal line will continue forever and ever.” For the Lord has chosen Jerusalem ; he has desired it for his home. “This is my resting place forever,” he said. “I will live here, for this is the home I desired. I will bless this city and make it prosperous; I will satisfy its poor with food. I will clothe its priests with godliness; its faithful servants will sing for joy. Here I will increase the power of David; my anointed one will be a light for my people. I will clothe his enemies with shame, but he will be a glorious king.”’
Don’t be useless! Appreciate what you have! Be thankful! What are you thankful for today? What are you thankful about today? What is the reason for your thankfulness?
Will you share it? Will you tell others about it? Will you speak of it?
You don’t want to be cut off from the vine! You want to allow the provision that flows from it to flow into and thru your life! You want to allow the purpose and the plans that flows from it to flow into and thru your life! You want to allow the promises that flows from it to flow into and thru your life! So don’t close up and hold onto it for yourself, but rather pass it along so that you can be used as a conduit to others!
You were created on purpose with a purpose for a purpose! So take that purpose and be useful! Don’t waste what you have been given, but rather take it and be a good steward of it so that you can multiply it and grow it and share it with those around you to the glory of God!
Let’s be faithful with the gifts we have been given! Let’s use them for unselfish purposes! Let’s focus on how we can use it to expand God’s kingdom! Let’s focus on how we can share God’s love with the world around us! Let’s take our thankfulness and share it so that other can also be thankful! Let’s take our joy and pass it on so that others can have joy! Let’s be ambassadors of peace so that others can find peace in the midst of everything going on in their lives! Let’s be faithful so that others can receive the good news and share in the blessings of God in and thru our lives and the life of the church!
Will you have compassion for those around you? Do you see a need? What will you do about it? Are you so focused on yourself that you are missing out on what God has enabled and empowered you to do for others? Will you put your trust in God rather than yourself? Don’t miss out on the truth and the hope so that you also miss out on why you can be thankful! God so loves the world that He sent His one and only Son, so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life! Will you receive the gift of Jesus into your life? Will you accept it with thanksgiving and praise? Will you lift Him up in a way that will give God all the praise, the honor, and the glory?
Don’t waste the gift you have been given! Don’t sell yourself and lose out on the most incredible gift of God! Don’t sell yourself and miss out the reality that you have already been bought for a price when Jesus went to the cross for you. Don’t waste or mutilate the incredible gifts of God and then miss out on the truth, the hope, and the love He has for you. Turn from your wicked ways and turn back to God! Humble yourself and pray! Seek God with all of your heart, all of your mind, all of your soul, and all of your strength! He will then hear from heaven, forgive your sins, and heal your land!
Do you really want to risk the anger of God against you? Do you really want to walk out from underneath His covering? Do you really want to go and try to do it all on your own?
Do you think it would be worth selling your soul and losing out on real life?
Do you think allowing lust and exposure to rob you of God’s real plan and purpose for your life?
Do you think you can trust them more than you could trust God? Do you realize what they are and will do to you?
Don’t be arrogant! Don’t be unconcerned! Instead, help the needy and the poor!
Consider your behavior and your acts for you don’t want to be humiliated!
Let’s conclude and consider how our reading ends today with Galatians 1…
1Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2and all the brothers and sisters with me,
To the churches in Galatia:
3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
No Other Gospel
6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under Godʼs curse! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under Godʼs curse!
10Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Paul Called by God
11I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
13For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15But when God, who set me apart from my motherʼs womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus.
18Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. 19I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lordʼs brother. 20I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.
21Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24And they praised God because of me.
Are you being faithful as He is faithful to you? Are you sticking with Him as He sticks near to you? Are you loving as He is love? Are you being truthful as He is truth?
Are you walking away from Him? Are you turning your back on Him? Are you worshipping someone or something else? Are you going the wrong way? What about at a higher level? What about your family? What about your community? What about your corporation? What about your country?
It’s great if you are. How can we help the others to come along on the journey?
Today’s reading gets us started into Hosea…
The Unfaithful Wife
1The word of Adonai that came to Hosea son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam son of Joash, king of Israel. 2When Adonai first spoke with Hosea, Adonai said to Hosea: “Go, get yourself a prostitute as a wife and children with a prostitute! For the land is an unfaithful prostitute, far from following after Adonai.” 3So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. 4Then Adonai said to him: “Name him Jezreel for in yet a little while I will visit the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and I will destroy the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5In that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.” 6Then she conceived again, and bore a daughter. And He said to him: “Name her Lo-ruhamah— for no longer will I have compassion on the house of Israel that I should ever pardon them. 7But on the house of Judah I will have compassion and deliver them by Adonai, their God, yet not by bow, sword or battle, nor by horses and horsemen.” 8After she weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. 9Then He said: “Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not My people and I am not yours.”
–from Hosea 1
Do you realize how much God loves you? Do you realize how much He has done to provide a way for you to be reconciles to Him? Do you realize that God loves you so much that He sent Jesus to bring hope, love, forgiveness, and reconciliation? He created you on purpose for a purpose! He has good and great plans for you! Will you choose to be a part of them?
Restoring the Covenant Promises
1“Yet the number of Bnei-Yisrael will be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or counted. Instead of ‘You are not My people’ being said to them, they will be called ‘Children of the living God.’ 2Then the descendants of Judah and descendants of Israel will be gathered together. They will appoint themselves one head And they will go up from the land. For the day of Jezreel will be great. 3Say you to your brothers, ‘Ammi’ and to your sisters, ‘Ruhamah’. 4Contend with your mother, contend! For she is not My wife nor I her husband. Let her put away her fornications from her face and her adulteries from between her breasts. 5Or else I will strip her naked and expose her as on the day she was born. Then I will make her like a wilderness. Yes, I will make her like desert land, and I will let her die of thirst. 6I will have no compassion for her children, for they are children of prostitution. 7For their mother has practiced prostitution. She who conceived them has been shameful. For she said, ‘Let me go after my lovers, who are giving me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ 8Therefore see, I will hedge her in with thorns, and I will build a wall around her so she cannot find her paths. 9Then she will chase after her lovers, but she will not overtake them. She will seek them, but not find. Then she will say: ‘Let me go and return to my first husband, for was it better for me then, than now.’ 10But she did not realize that I Myself gave her the grain, the wine and the fresh oil. I lavished on her silver, also gold— which they made into Baal. 11Therefore I will return and take back My grain in its season, and My new wine at its appointed time, and I will snatch away My wool and My linen for covering her nakedness. 12So now I will uncover her lewdness to the eyes of her lovers, and no one will rescue her from My hand. 13I will also put an end to all her rejoicing— her feasts, her New Moon, her Shabbat, and all her moadim. 14I will also devastate her vines and her fig trees, of which she said: ‘These are my payment that my lovers have given to me.’ But I will turn them into a thicket and beasts of the field will devour them. 15Then I will punish her for the days of the Baalim to whom she would burn incense— adorning herself with her rings and jewelry, going after her lovers— but Me she forgot.” It is a declaration of Adonai.
Compassion and Covenant Love
16“So then, I Myself will entice her, I will bring her into the wilderness and speak to her heart. 17I will give her back her vineyards from there and make the valley of Achor a door of hope. She will respond there— as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of the land of Egypt. 18In that day—it is a declaration of Adonai— you will proclaim, ‘My husband,’ and never again call Me, ‘My Baal.’ 19Then I will remove the names of the Baalim out of her mouth, no longer to be mentioned by their name. 20In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the flying creatures in the sky, and the creeping things on the ground. I will break into pieces the bow and sword and warfare from the land, and I will cause them to lie down securely. 21Then I will betroth you to Me forever—yes, I will betroth you to Me with righteousness, justice, covenant loyalty and compassion. 22I will betroth you to Me with faithfulness, and you will know Adonai. 23So it will be in that day, I will respond —it is a declaration of adonai— I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth, 24and the earth will respond with grain, new wine, and fresh oil— and they will respond with ‘Jezreel!’ 25I will sow her in the land for Myself. I will have compassion on Lo-ruhamah. I will say to Lo-ammi, ‘You are My people!’ and they will say, ‘My God!’”
–from Hosea 2
What will it take for the world to come to see and know and believe and realize how much God desires a relationship with them?
Buying Back His Wife
1Then Adonai said to me: “Go again! Love a woman who is loved by a companion and committing adultery—just as Adonai has loved the Bnei-Yisrael, while they were turning to other gods and loving raisin cakes.” 2So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and an omer and a half of barley. 3Then I said to her: “For many days you must stay with me. You must not practice prostitution. You must not have a man, and I will be the same toward you.” 4For Bnei-Yisrael will remain for many days without king, without prince, without sacrifice, without sacred pillar, and without ephod or teraphim. 5Afterwards, Bnei-Yisrael will return, and they will seek Adonai their God and David their king. Then they will turn in awe to Adonai and to His goodness in the last days.
–from Hosea 3
So will you praise Him? Will you worship Him? Will you ask Jesus into your heart? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you, instruct you and correct you?
It Is Good to Praise
1A psalm, a song for the Shabbat. 2It is good to praise Adonai and to make music to Your Name, Elyon, 3to declare Your love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night, 4with a ten-string harp, with resounding music on the lyre. 5For You made me glad, Adonai, by Your deeds. I sing for joy at the works of Your hands. 6How great are Your works, Adonai! How profound are Your thoughts! 7A brutish man does not know, nor does a fool understand. 8Though the wicked spring up like grass, and all evildoers flourish, it is only to be ruined forever. 9But You, Adonai, are exalted forever. 10For behold, Your enemies, Adonai —behold Your enemies perish— all evildoers are scattered. 11But You exalted my horn like that of a wild ox. I am anointed with fresh oil. 12My eye can gaze on those lying in wait for me. My ears hear about evildoers rising up against me. 13The righteous will flourish like a palm tree. He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 14Planted in the House of Adonai, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 15They will still yield fruit in old age. They will be full of sap and freshness. 16They declare, “Adonai is upright, my Rock —there is no injustice in Him.”
–from Pslams 92
How obedient will you be to God’s will and God’s plan? What if He asks you to do something? What if He asks you to say something? What if He asks you to stop doing something? What if He asks you not to speak? What if…
Will you be faithful to Him? Will you trust Him? Will you be obedient to Him?
If someone asked you why do you do what you do? Why do you act like you do? Why do you talk like you do? Will you point to the author and perfector of your faith? Will you tell them about Jesus?
Ben-David Enters Jerusalem
1Now as they draw near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, to the Mount of Olives, Yeshua sends two of His disciples 2and says to them, “Go into the village ahead of you. Right away as you enter it, you will find a colt tied up that no one has ever sat upon. Untie it and bring it. 3If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Master needs it.’ And right away he will send it back here.” 4They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a door. And they untied it. 5Some people standing there began saying to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6They answered just as Yeshua had told them, and the people let them go. 7And they brought the colt to Yeshua and laid their cloaks on it, and He sat on it. 8Many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread branches cut from the fields. 9Those going before and those following kept shouting, “Hoshia-na! Baruch ha-ba b’shem Adonai! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! 10Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hoshia-na in the highest!” 11And He entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around at everything, He went out to Bethany with the Twelve, since it was already late.
The Fruit of the Faithful
12The next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. 13Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if He would find any fruit on it. When He came up to it, He found nothing except leaves, because it wasn’t the season for figs. 14And He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening. 15Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the Temple and started to drive out those selling and buying in the Temple. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those selling doves, 16and He wouldn’t let anyone carry goods through the Temple. 17And He began to teach them, saying, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” 18The ruling kohanim and Torah scholars heard this and began looking for a way to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, because the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching. 19Whenever evening came, Yeshua and His disciples would leave the city. 20As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree shriveled from the roots. 21Peter remembered and said to Yeshua, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree You cursed has shriveled up!” 22And Yeshua answered, saying to them, “Have faith in God! 23Amen, I tell you, if someone says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but trusts that what he says is happening, so shall it be for him. 24For this reason I say to you, whatever you pray and ask, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your transgressions.” 26[footnote: Some mss. add: But if you don’t forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions.]
A Question for a Question
27Again they come to Jerusalem. While Yeshua was walking in the Temple, the ruling kohanim, Torah scholars, and elders come up to Him. 28And they start saying to Him, “By what authority are You doing these things? Who gave You this authority to do these things?” 29Yeshua said to them, “I will put one question to you. Answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30The immersion of John—was it from heaven or from men? Answer Me!” 31They began to dialogue among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32But if we say, ‘From men’…?” They were afraid of the crowd, for all held that John really was a prophet. 33So answering Yeshua, they say, “We don’t know.” And Yeshua tells them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Ever done something you regretted? Ever done something bad? Ever been confronted with a situation that seemed to be more than you can handle?
Turn to God! Ask Jesus into your situation! Give it all up to Him!
Do you realize all He has already done for you? Do you realize that He has paid it all so that we can be forgiven? Do you realize that He has paid it all so that we can be reconciled? Do you realize He has paid it all when He gave up His innocent life for us?
So don’t lose hope today! Don’t despair! Put all your hope and trust in Jesus!
Today’s reading …
Purging Innocent Blood
1“Suppose a slain person is found fallen in a field, on the land Adonai your God is giving you to possess—who struck him is unknown. 2Then your elders and judges must come out and measure the distance to the towns that are around the slain one. 3Now the town nearest to the slain one—the elders of that city are to take from the herd a heifer that has not been used for work or pulled a yoke. 4Then the elders of that city are to bring the heifer down to a flowing wadi that has not been plowed or sown, and break the heifer’s neck there in the wadi. 5The kohanim, the sons of Levi, will come forward—for Adonai your God has chosen them to serve Him and pronounce blessings in His Name, and by their mouth every dispute and assault is to be settled. 6All the elders of that city nearest to the slain one will wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the wadi. 7Then they will answer and say, ‘Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see. 8Grant atonement for Your people Israel whom You have redeemed, Adonai, and do not put innocent blood on Your people Israel.’ Then atonement will be granted to them for the blood. 9So you will purge the guilt of innocent blood from your midst, when you do what is right in Adonai’s sight.
When You Go Out
10“When you go out to war against your enemies, and Adonai your God hands them over to you and you take them captive, 11suppose you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire her and would take her as a wife for yourself. 12Then you are to bring her into your house, and she must shave her head, trim her nails, 13and remove her captive’s clothing, then sit in your house and weep for her father and mother a full month. After that, you may go to her and become her husband and she will be your wife. 14Now if you are not pleased with her, then you may send her off wherever she wishes. But you must certainly not sell her for silver—you may not treat her as merchandise, since you have humiliated her. 15“Suppose a man has two wives—the one loved and the other unloved—and both the loved and the unloved bear him sons. But it happens that the firstborn son belongs to the unloved wife. 16Now on the day he lets his sons inherit what he has, he must not treat the loved one’s son as firstborn, in place of the unloved one’s son, who is the firstborn. 17Rather, he must acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the hated one, by giving him a double portion of all that he has. For he is the first of his vigor—the right of the firstborn is his. 18“Suppose a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not listen to the voice of his father or mother. They discipline him, but he does not listen to them. 19Then his father and mother are to grab hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city—to the gate of his place. 20They will say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious—he does not listen to our voice. He is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21Then all the men of his city are to stone him with stones to death. So you will purge the evil from your midst—and all Israel will hear and be afraid.
Hung on a Tree
22“Suppose a man is guilty of a sin with a death sentence and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree. 23His body is not to remain all night on the tree—instead you must certainly bury him the same day, for anyone hanged is a curse of God. You must not defile your land that Adonai your God is giving you as an inheritance.
–from Deuteronomy 21
Jesus was innocent, but was hung on a tree to pay the penalty of our sins! He willingly gave up His life that we could be reconciled and forgiven! So let’s give Him the praise, the honor, and the glory! Let’s live today in a way that will point people to Him and lift Him up for all that He has already done once for all! God loves us so much that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever would believe on Him would not perish but have everlasting life!
Love in Practice
1“You are not to watch your brother’s ox or sheep going astray and ignore them —you must certainly bring them back to your brother. 2If your brother is not near you or if you do not know him, then you should bring it into your house and it will remain with you until your brother comes searching for it and you return it to him. 3You are to do the same with his donkey or his coat or anything lost by your brother, that may be lost by him and you find—you may not ignore them. 4You must not watch your brother’s donkey or ox fall down on the road and ignore it—you must certainly help him lift it up again. 5“A man’s apparel is not to be on a woman, nor is a man to wear woman’s clothing—for whoever does these things is detestable to Adonai your God. 6“If there happens to be a bird’s nest in front of you along the road, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs and the hen sitting on the young or on the eggs, you are not to take the hen with the young. 7You must certainly let the hen go, but the young you may take for yourself so that it may go well with you and you may prolong your days. 8“When you build a new house, you are to make a guardrail for your roof, so that you do not bring the guilt of blood on your house if anyone falls from it. 9“You are not to plant your vineyard with two kinds of seed, or else the whole harvest will be forfeited —both the seed you plant and the produce of the vineyard. 10You are not to plow with an ox and a donkey together. 11You are not to wear a woven mixture , wool and linen together. 12You are to make for yourself twisted threads on the four corners of your garment in which you cover yourself. 13“Suppose a man takes a wife and goes t0 her and then dislikes her, 14accuses her of shameful things and gives her a bad reputation by saying, ‘I took this woman, but when I came near her, I didn’t find her virginity.’ 15Then the father of the young woman is to take her and her mother is to bring out the signs of the young woman’s virginity to the city elders at the gate. 16The young lady’s father is to tell the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man as a wife, but he hates her. 17Indeed, he has accused her of shameful things, saying, “I didn’t find your daughter’s virginity.” Yet these are the signs of my daughter’s virginity.’ They are to spread the wedding cloth before the elders of the city. 18The elders of that city are to take the man and punish him. 19Then they are to fine him 100 pieces of silver and give them to the father of the young woman, because he has brought an evil name on a virgin of Israel. Then she is to be his wife—he may not send her away all his days. 20“But if this thing is true—that the signs of virginity were not found in the young lady— 21then they are to bring the young woman out to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city are to stone her with stones to death, because she has done a disgraceful thing in Israel, to behave like a prostitute in her father’s house. So you are to purge the evil from your midst. 22“Suppose a man is found lying with a married woman. Then both of them are to die—the man who lay with the woman and the woman. So you are to purge the evil from Israel. 23“Suppose there is a young woman who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her. 24Then you are to bring them both out to the gate of that city and stone them with stones to death—the young woman because she did not cry out in the town, and the man because he humiliated his neighbor’s wife. So you are to purge the evil from your midst. 25“But if the man finds the engaged woman in the field, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her is to die. 26But to the young woman you are to do nothing—there is no sin in the young woman deserving of death. For this matter is the same as when a man rises against his neighbor and kills him— 27for he found her in the field, the engaged woman cried out, and there was no one to save her. 28“Suppose a man finds a young virgin who is not engaged, grabs her and lies with her, and they are discovered. 29Then the man who lay with her is to give to the young woman’s father 50 pieces of silver, and she is to be his wife, since he has humiliated her—he may not send her away all his days.
–from Deuteronomy 22
Let’s live out today in love! Let’s give love! Let’s share love! Let’s declare love! Let’s show what true love really means! Let’s bring God the glory, the honor, and the praise!
Glory of the Kingdom
1A psalm of praise. Of David. I will exalt You, my God, the King, and I will bless Your Name forever and ever. 2Every day I will bless You, and praise Your Name forever and ever! 3Great is Adonai, and greatly to be praised —His greatness is unsearchable. 4One generation will praise Your works to another and declare Your mighty acts. 5I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty and Your wonders. 6They will speak of the might of Your awesome deeds, and I will proclaim Your greatness. 7They will pour out the renown of Your great goodness, and sing joyfully of Your righteousness. 8Adonai is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. 9Adonai is good to all. He has compassion on all His creatures. 10All Your works praise You, Adonai, and Your kedoshim bless You. 11They declare the glory of Your kingdom and speak of Your might, 12to make known to the sons of men His mighty acts and the glory of the majesty of His kingdom. 13Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages, and Your dominion endures from generation to generation. 14Adonai upholds all who fall and raises up all who are bowed down. 15The eyes of all look to You and You give them their food on time. 16You open Your hand and satisfy every living thing with favor. 17Adonai is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds. 18Adonai is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. 19He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him. He will hear their cry and save them. 20Adonai watches over all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy. 21My mouth declares the praise of Adonai. Let all flesh bless His holy Name forever and ever!
–from Psalms 145
Let’s give God all the praise! Let’s lift up His name! Let’s share the testimonies of His greatness with those around us! Let’s share His love with them that they may turn back to Him! Let’s live in unity so that we can show His love and His power to the world around us!
1This is the third time I am coming to you. “By the testimony of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” 2I spoke a warning, when I was with you the second time. Though now I am away, I am again speaking a warning to those who have sinned before, as well as to all the rest, that if I come again, I will not spare anyone— 3since you are demanding proof that Messiah is speaking through me. He is not weak toward you, but powerful among you. 4For He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives through the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we shall live with Him by God’s power toward you. 5Test yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Examine yourselves! Or don’t you know yourselves—that Messiah Yeshua is in you? Unless of course you failed the test. 6But I hope that you will realize that we haven’t failed the test. 7Now we pray to God that you do no wrong—not so that we may appear to have passed the test, but in order that you may do what is right even if we may seem to have failed. 8For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth. 9For we rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. We also pray for this—your perfecting. 10For this reason I write these things while I am absent, so that when I am present I need not proceed harshly, according to the authority which the Lord gave me—for building up and not for tearing down.
11Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Aim for restoration, encourage one another, be of the same mind, live in shalom—and the God of love and shalom will be with you. 12Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the kedoshim greet you. 13The grace of the Lord Yeshua the Messiah and the love of God and the fellowship of the Ruach ha-Kodesh be with you all. Amen.
Ever heard people make comments like “I don’t know what they did, but it must have been bad for that to have happened to them”? Ever found people speaking blame based on what is going on without actually knowing what is going on? Consider the story of the man born blind and the question that was asked – “who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” Jesus’ response speaks to the fact/the truth that we can’t and shouldn’t jump to conclusions based on the situation, the circumstance, or the symptoms that are being shown when He says “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. This happened so that the works of God might be brought to light in him. ”
In today’s reading we see Job being accused again and Job’s rebuttable in Job 15 and 16. Yes, it is true we are in a fallen world and yes all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But we aren’t to be judging but rather we are to be loving and pointing people towards our Father in Heaven!
Rather than judge, let’s ask God for wisdom, discernment and how He would have us work in this situation. While we are here, there is something God has things for us to do. We see how Jesus spits in some dirt and then puts the mud on the man’s eyes and sends him away with specific instructions – “Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam” and he did and came back seeing…a life transformed by an encounter with Jesus. Because Jesus saw beyond the man’s circumstances and met him right where he was at and then touched him to miraculous results – a life transformed.
As I read Job’s closing statement, it reminds me and speaks to me about the advocate I have in Heaven, Jesus sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for me. Job puts it this way…
19Even now my witness is in heaven, my advocate is on high.
20My intercessor is my friend; as my eyes pour out tears to God;
21he contends with God on behalf of man as one pleads for a friend.
–from Job 16
So where are you at today? Are you in Job’s situation? Are you in the situation of one of his friends? What will you do about it? Will you keep your plea to Jesus for help? Will you not judge based on the situation, circumstance, or symptom, but rather show compassion like Jesus did?
Today’s reading continues into Luke 13. It shows how we need to turn back to God. There isn’t a scale of sinners from worst to best. Have you sinned? Yes or No? Do you know what the penalty of sin is? The penalty of sin is death! But that doesn’t have to be our final destination for Jesus came that we would have life and life to the full, so we need to turn back to God and ask Jesus into our hearts for the same scripture about the penalty also tells us “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” You may have heard the word we must “repent” – we must turn from our ways and turn back to God. Will you be good for something or will you be cast away? Will you bear good fruit or will you be cut down? Will you start to till the soil of your heart and add some Jesus fertilizer so that you will and can bear good fruit?
As a leader, will you lead by example? What example are people seeing as they watch you? Will your actions make a difference and cause people to turn to God praising Him because of what you have done? Is it against the law to do what is good, what is right, what is just? Don’t be a hypocrite!
Luke continues with the story of the mustard seed. It’s so small as a seed, but when it grows up it is a place of shade and rest for birds. So if we can or could just have the faith the size of a mustard seed, imagine what God can and will do in and through us. We see another example with flour and the impact of a little bit of yeast and how it can impact the entire quantity of flour. Even a little bit of sin can cause us and others to be impacted.
So do you want to be saved? Will you ask Jesus into your life? Will you open the door to your heart and ask Jesus in? He’s knocking! Will you answer the door? Will you live a life in relationship with Jesus? Or will you be someone who knows about Jesus? It makes a difference!
Jesus concludes here speaking to the Pharisees, speaking to what will happen to Him and that it must take place in Jerusalem. Where He will be tried and killed and how He will be back on the third day.
Today’s reading closes in Revelation 8. And it got quiet, too quiet. And then it began…incense offered up and prayers raised up to God. And then the noise began. The trumpets blew. The first trumpet triggered hail and fire mixed with blood thrown upon the earth and 1/3 burned up. The second trumpet triggered something like a huge mountain ablaze with fire was thrown into the sea and 1/3 of the ships were destroyed. The third trumpet triggered a great star to fall from heaven like a burning torch and it fell on the rivers and the springs and 1/3 of the waters became wormwood (bitter). The fourth trumpet triggered a 1/3 of the sun and 1/3 of the moon and 1/3 of the stars to stop shinning, darkening the sky both day and night. It closes with an angel sounding a warning to those who were still upon the earth as the remaining trumpets were about to go.
Ever had a dream when you were younger and wondered if it would ever come true? Thinking about where you are now and if it could ever happen? Two things come to mind as I consider these one is when I was an 8yr old boy and I remember having the dream of having a horse. But I did the math and I could have saved up and gotten a horse, but continuing the cost I couldn’t have kept up with the continuing payments (food, board, vet, etc.) with a paperboy’s salary so I let it go. Many years later, I am driving down the road and I say to God, if it was your crazy idea for me to have a horse, could you help me find a place within 20 minutes of the church? The response was a reminder of a sermon where they spoke about how it is easier to steer a car that is moving and realized I needed to start looking. 21 houses later we found it. A lady was already boarding her horses in the field and asked if we would mind allowing her to keep them there and I thought awesome, it will make the field look better and won’t cost me any extra. Eventually 1 horse passed away and she stopped showing up. Years later, I questioned God because during our time on the farm, my daughter was given a pony, but I never got a horse but He reminded me about that 1 horse who was left in my field that I was taking care of. I didn’t buy a horse, but he was my horse. God can turn what looks to be something bad and turn it around and use it for good.
Another time my daughter wanted to play football, but I told her no. So I am at a men’s breakfast and God gets my attention. He tells me He doesn’t want me to be a dream killer. If He puts a dream in my daughter’s head I am not supposed to kill it. So I went home and check to see if my daughter still wanted to play football, of course she said yes, she had only been asking for years. I told her she can play flag and if she makes the team, she can play high school football. She said “really?” I said yes. Everyone was asking me what happened and I shared the story of God getting my attention with them too.
Be it a dream or something else, God’s got the final word! God’s timing is perfect! All things are possible with God! God can take something you thought was dead and resurrect it! God is compassionate and cares about it! Don’t give up! Don’t lose hope! Don’t lose faith! Put all of your trust in Him!
Jesus the Resurrection and the Life
17When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had been buried four days before. 18Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19and many Judeans had come to see Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother’s death. 20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house. 21Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, Lord, my brother would not have died! 22But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask him for.” 23“Your brother will rise to life,” Jesus told her. 24“I know,” she replied, “that he will rise to life on the last day.”
25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die; 26and those who live and believe in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27“Yes, Lord!” she answered. “I do believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”
28After Martha said this, she went back and called her sister Mary privately. “The Teacher is here,” she told her, “and is asking for you.” 29When Mary heard this, she got up and hurried out to meet him. ( 30Jesus had not yet arrived in the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him.) 31The people who were in the house with Mary comforting her followed her when they saw her get up and hurry out. They thought that she was going to the grave to weep there. 32Mary arrived where Jesus was, and as soon as she saw him, she fell at his feet. “Lord,” she said, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died!” 33Jesus saw her weeping, and he saw how the people with her were weeping also; his heart was touched, and he was deeply moved. 34“Where have you buried him?” he asked them. “Come and see, Lord,” they answered. 35Jesus wept. 36“See how much he loved him!” the people said. 37But some of them said, “He gave sight to the blind man, didn’t he? Could he not have kept Lazarus from dying?”
Lazarus Is Brought to Life
38Deeply moved once more, Jesus went to the tomb, which was a cave with a stone placed at the entrance. 39“Take the stone away!” Jesus ordered. Martha, the dead man’s sister, answered, “There will be a bad smell, Lord. He has been buried four days!” 40Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believed?” 41They took the stone away. Jesus looked up and said, “I thank you, Father, that you listen to me. 42I know that you always listen to me, but I say this for the sake of the people here, so that they will believe that you sent me.” 43After he had said this, he called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44He came out, his hands and feet wrapped in grave cloths, and with a cloth around his face. “Untie him,” Jesus told them, “and let him go.”
–from John 11
Let’s be vessels God can use! Let’s be willing vessels! Let’s be shining and sharing love with all those God brings into our lives! It’s not all about us! It’s about what God can do in and through us! God loves you! He loves you so much He doesn’t want to leave you where He found you! He loves you so much He wants you to be a part of the family! He also wants you to love and share and shine so that others can be a part too! So let’s love one another!
Love One Another
11The message you heard from the very beginning is this: we must love one another. 12We must not be like Cain; he belonged to the Evil One and murdered his own brother Abel. Why did Cain murder him? Because the things he himself did were wrong, and the things his brother did were right. 13So do not be surprised, my friends, if the people of the world hate you. 14We know that we have left death and come over into life; we know it because we love others. Those who do not love are still under the power of death. 15Those who hate others are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life in them. 16This is how we know what love is: Christ gave his life for us. We too, then, ought to give our lives for others! 17If we are rich and see others in need, yet close our hearts against them, how can we claim that we love God? 18My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.
–from 1 John 3
It’s not easy, but it is what God wants! Consider the top 2 commandments…
1We are all born weak and helpless. All lead the same short, troubled life. 2We grow and wither as quickly as flowers; we disappear like shadows. 3Will you even look at me, God, or put me on trial and judge me? 4Nothing clean can ever come from anything as unclean as human beings. 5The length of our lives is decided beforehand—the number of months we will live. You have settled it, and it can’t be changed. 6Look away from us and leave us alone; let us enjoy our hard life—if we can. 7There is hope for a tree that has been cut down; it can come back to life and sprout. 8Even though its roots grow old, and its stump dies in the ground, 9with water it will sprout like a young plant. 10But we die, and that is the end of us; we die, and where are we then? 11Like rivers that stop running, and lakes that go dry, 12people die, never to rise. They will never wake up while the sky endures; they will never stir from their sleep. 13I wish you would hide me in the world of the dead; let me be hidden until your anger is over, and then set a time to remember me. 14If a man dies, can he come back to life? But I will wait for better times, wait till this time of trouble is ended. 15Then you will call, and I will answer, and you will be pleased with me, your creature. 16Then you will watch every step I take, but you will not keep track of my sins. 17You will forgive them and put them away; you will wipe out all the wrongs I have done. 18There comes a time when mountains fall and solid cliffs are moved away. 19Water will wear down rocks, and heavy rain will wash away the soil; so you destroy our hope for life. 20You overpower us and send us away forever; our faces are twisted in death. 21Our children win honor, but we never know it, nor are we told when they are disgraced. 22We feel only the pain of our own bodies and the grief of our own minds.