How often do you make time for that special someone?


We all have but 24 hours in a day. Making time isn’t about fabricating more but rather prioritizing your time. Making time goes one step further as someone special deserves more than just the leftovers of your time but the best quality time.

So how are you doing with that? I know I need to work on that. I know I make time after a busy day to have a date night on Wednesday but how high quality is it? I know I have been blessed to get a few days away to go to a wedding and enjoy some time away and it makes me consider how it is supposed to be when it is quality time.

If we consider 10pm to 6am off the table. If we consider 8am-5pm off the table weekdays. That leaves us 5pm-10pm weekdays and longer on weekends. How can we creatively make quality time during these windows? It requires thought and preparation. It requires prioritization of things like serving and supporting our family.

How about you? Ever mapped it out? Do you setup safe and firm boundaries for that time to keep it for those special in your heart? Spouse? Kids? Family? Friends?


How often do you make time for that special someone?


God’s Word for today comes from:

  • Ezra 8
  • Ezekiel 38
  • Ezekiel 39:1-24
  • Acts 21:37-40
  • Acts 22:1-11
  • Revelation 14:6-13
  • Psalms 132

How do you make sure you remember? Remember events like a wedding or trips like a few days away in Mexico or birthdays or plans? Do you have tools and plans to help? Do you have a process or routine? Do you have a log or blog or something?

How do you make sure that you are in the right state of mind? How do you make sure you are bringing your best? How are you making sure that it is more than leftovers but is quality? Why not seek God’s plan and purpose so that in and they it all, He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory, in Jesus’s name.

We need to remember when we face a trial or problem that we are not alone? We need to remember that the battle belongs to the Lord. We need to remember not to attack each other but instead to come together and focus on solving or breaking down the problem. Jesus has won victory over sin and death. Jesus will be the victor in the end when eternity will either have us with God or apart from God depending on if we decided to follow Jesus and allow Him to be our Savior and Lord. I choose to live out eternity with God.

We need to address the situation in a way that can be received. We need to make time to complete the good works God has prepared in advance for us to accomplish. We need to follow after God who makes a way even when there doesn’t seem to be a way. Will you share your story and testimony with those God brings across your path? Share it for victory comes through the blood of the lamb and the words of our testimony. Will you share the Good News to all those God brings across your path? Will you helped them turn from ways that go against God? Will you point them to love, hope, truth and away from deception, immortality, and selfishness?

Let us persevere! Let’s take hold of our faith in Jesus. Let’s meditate on today’s reading and remember words like:

“This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!””

‭‭Revelation‬ ‭14:12-13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

So let’s make time for God. Let’s invite Him into our heart home. Let’s celebrate God with praise and honor.


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

Let’s pray:

Are you ready to be done?


Consider all the time. Consider all the effort. Consider all the investment. Consider all the work. Consider the purpose. Consider the plan. Consider the calling. Consider the joy. Consider the satisfaction. Consider the peace. Consider the realization of all of it. Consider how it will be used. Consider how it will be a blessing to so many. Consider how it will be so much more than anything you could have asked or imagined. Consider what all of this has prepared you for. Consider what all of this has done for those around you. Consider the good works that God had prepared in advance for you to accomplish. Consider the celebration. Consider the multiplication. Consider how much you have grown. Consider how much you have learned. Consider how much you have developed. Consider what it has done to prepare for what is next. Are you ready for the review and the inspection? Are you ready for the judging? Are you ready to be done? Are you ready for the blessing?


Today’s reading starts for us with Exodus 39.

‘The craftsmen made beautiful sacred garments of blue, purple, and scarlet cloth—clothing for Aaron to wear while ministering in the Holy Place, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Bezalel made the ephod of finely woven linen and embroidered it with gold and with blue, purple, and scarlet thread. He made gold thread by hammering out thin sheets of gold and cutting it into fine strands. With great skill and care, he worked it into the fine linen with the blue, purple, and scarlet thread. The ephod consisted of two pieces, front and back, joined at the shoulders with two shoulder-pieces. The decorative sash was made of the same materials: finely woven linen embroidered with gold and with blue, purple, and scarlet thread, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. They mounted the two onyx stones in settings of gold filigree. The stones were engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel, just as a seal is engraved. He fastened these stones on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod as a reminder that the priest represents the people of Israel. All this was done just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Bezalel made the chestpiece with great skill and care. He made it to match the ephod, using finely woven linen embroidered with gold and with blue, purple, and scarlet thread. He made the chestpiece of a single piece of cloth folded to form a pouch nine inches square. They mounted four rows of gemstones on it. The first row contained a red carnelian, a pale-green peridot, and an emerald. The second row contained a turquoise, a blue lapis lazuli, and a white moonstone. The third row contained an orange jacinth, an agate, and a purple amethyst. The fourth row contained a blue-green beryl, an onyx, and a green jasper. All these stones were set in gold filigree. Each stone represented one of the twelve sons of Israel, and the name of that tribe was engraved on it like a seal. To attach the chestpiece to the ephod, they made braided cords of pure gold thread. They also made two settings of gold filigree and two gold rings and attached them to the top corners of the chestpiece. They tied the two gold cords to the rings on the chestpiece. They tied the other ends of the cords to the gold settings on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod. Then they made two more gold rings and attached them to the inside edges of the chestpiece next to the ephod. Then they made two more gold rings and attached them to the front of the ephod, below the shoulder-pieces, just above the knot where the decorative sash was fastened to the ephod. They attached the bottom rings of the chestpiece to the rings on the ephod with blue cords. In this way, the chestpiece was held securely to the ephod above the decorative sash. All this was done just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Bezalel made the robe that is worn with the ephod from a single piece of blue woven cloth, with an opening for Aaron’s head in the middle of it. The opening was reinforced with a woven collar so it would not tear. They made pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and attached them to the hem of the robe. They also made bells of pure gold and placed them between the pomegranates along the hem of the robe, with bells and pomegranates alternating all around the hem. This robe was to be worn whenever the priest ministered before the Lord , just as the Lord had commanded Moses. They made tunics for Aaron and his sons from fine linen cloth. The turban and the special head coverings were made of fine linen, and the undergarments were also made of finely woven linen. The sashes were made of finely woven linen and embroidered with blue, purple, and scarlet thread, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. Finally, they made the sacred medallion—the badge of holiness—of pure gold. They engraved it like a seal with these words: Holy to the Lord . They attached the medallion with a blue cord to Aaron’s turban, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

And so at last the Tabernacle was finished. The Israelites had done everything just as the Lord had commanded Moses. And they brought the entire Tabernacle to Moses: the sacred tent with all its furnishings, clasps, frames, crossbars, posts, and bases; the tent coverings of tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather; the inner curtain to shield the Ark; the Ark of the Covenant and its carrying poles; the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement; the table and all its utensils; the Bread of the Presence; the pure gold lampstand with its symmetrical lamp cups, all its accessories, and the olive oil for lighting; the gold altar; the anointing oil and fragrant incense; the curtain for the entrance of the sacred tent; the bronze altar; the bronze grating and its carrying poles and utensils; the washbasin with its stand; the curtains for the walls of the courtyard; the posts and their bases; the curtain for the entrance to the courtyard; the ropes and tent pegs; all the furnishings to be used in worship at the Tabernacle; the beautifully stitched garments for the priests to wear while ministering in the Holy Place—the sacred garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments for his sons to wear as they minister as priests. So the people of Israel followed all of the Lord ’s instructions to Moses. Then Moses inspected all their work. When he found it had been done just as the Lord had commanded him, he blessed them.’

Exodus 39

Today’s reading then continues into Job 33.

‘“Listen to my words, Job; pay attention to what I have to say. Now that I have begun to speak, let me continue. I speak with all sincerity; I speak the truth. For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Answer me, if you can; make your case and take your stand. Look, you and I both belong to God. I, too, was formed from clay. So you don’t need to be afraid of me. I won’t come down hard on you. “You have spoken in my hearing, and I have heard your very words. You said, ‘I am pure; I am without sin; I am innocent; I have no guilt. God is picking a quarrel with me, and he considers me his enemy. He puts my feet in the stocks and watches my every move.’ “But you are wrong, and I will show you why. For God is greater than any human being. So why are you bringing a charge against him? Why say he does not respond to people’s complaints? For God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it. He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds. He whispers in their ears and terrifies them with warnings. He makes them turn from doing wrong; he keeps them from pride. He protects them from the grave, from crossing over the river of death. “Or God disciplines people with pain on their sickbeds, with ceaseless aching in their bones. They lose their appetite for even the most delicious food. Their flesh wastes away, and their bones stick out. They are at death’s door; the angels of death wait for them. “But if an angel from heaven appears— a special messenger to intercede for a person and declare that he is upright— he will be gracious and say, ‘Rescue him from the grave, for I have found a ransom for his life.’ Then his body will become as healthy as a child’s, firm and youthful again. When he prays to God, he will be accepted. And God will receive him with joy and restore him to good standing. He will declare to his friends, ‘I sinned and twisted the truth, but it was not worth it. God rescued me from the grave, and now my life is filled with light.’ “Yes, God does these things again and again for people. He rescues them from the grave so they may enjoy the light of life. Mark this well, Job. Listen to me, for I have more to say. But if you have anything to say, go ahead. Speak, for I am anxious to see you justified. But if not, then listen to me. Keep silent and I will teach you wisdom!”’

Job 33

Today’s reading then takes us into the New Testament where we start in Mark 6.

‘The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone. But many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them. Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.” But Jesus said, “You feed them.” “With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!” “How much bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and find out.” They came back and reported, “We have five loaves of bread and two fish.” Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish. A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed.’

Mark 6:30-44

Today’s reading next brings us into 1 Corinthians 12.

‘The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church: first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership, those who speak in unknown languages. Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? Do we all have the power to do miracles? Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not! So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts. But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all.’

1 Corinthians 12:21-31

As today’s reading comes to a close, lets meditate on today’s psalm from Psalms 68.

‘Rise up, O God, and scatter your enemies. Let those who hate God run for their lives. Blow them away like smoke. Melt them like wax in a fire. Let the wicked perish in the presence of God. But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy. Sing praises to God and to his name! Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds. His name is the Lord — rejoice in his presence! Father to the fatherless, defender of widows— this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. O God, when you led your people out from Egypt, when you marched through the dry wasteland, Interlude the earth trembled, and the heavens poured down rain before you, the God of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel. You sent abundant rain, O God, to refresh the weary land. There your people finally settled, and with a bountiful harvest, O God, you provided for your needy people. The Lord gives the word, and a great army brings the good news. Enemy kings and their armies flee, while the women of Israel divide the plunder. Even those who lived among the sheepfolds found treasures— doves with wings of silver and feathers of gold. The Almighty scattered the enemy kings like a blowing snowstorm on Mount Zalmon. The mountains of Bashan are majestic, with many peaks stretching high into the sky. Why do you look with envy, O rugged mountains, at Mount Zion, where God has chosen to live, where the Lord himself will live forever? Surrounded by unnumbered thousands of chariots, the Lord came from Mount Sinai into his sanctuary. When you ascended to the heights, you led a crowd of captives. You received gifts from the people, even from those who rebelled against you. Now the Lord God will live among us there. Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms. Interlude Our God is a God who saves! The Sovereign Lord rescues us from death. But God will smash the heads of his enemies, crushing the skulls of those who love their guilty ways. The Lord says, “I will bring my enemies down from Bashan; I will bring them up from the depths of the sea. You, my people, will wash your feet in their blood, and even your dogs will get their share!” Your procession has come into view, O God— the procession of my God and King as he goes into the sanctuary. Singers are in front, musicians behind; between them are young women playing tambourines. Praise God, all you people of Israel; praise the Lord , the source of Israel’s life. Look, the little tribe of Benjamin leads the way. Then comes a great throng of rulers from Judah and all the rulers of Zebulun and Naphtali. Summon your might, O God. Display your power, O God, as you have in the past. The kings of the earth are bringing tribute to your Temple in Jerusalem. Rebuke these enemy nations— these wild animals lurking in the reeds, this herd of bulls among the weaker calves. Make them bring bars of silver in humble tribute. Scatter the nations that delight in war. Let Egypt come with gifts of precious metals ; let Ethiopia bring tribute to God. Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth. Sing praises to the Lord. Interlude Sing to the one who rides across the ancient heavens, his mighty voice thundering from the sky. Tell everyone about God’s power. His majesty shines down on Israel; his strength is mighty in the heavens. God is awesome in his sanctuary. The God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!’

Psalms 68

Do you see what is going on?


Take a look around and consider. Don’t just trust what you see on TV. Don’t just trust what you hear on the radio. Consider what information is available and surfacing.

Search the market place! Search the political space! Search the social place!

Can you find someone who is doing what is right? Can you find someone who is doing what is faithful to God? Can you find someone who really means what they say?

Will getting good things help you realize what is going on? Will getting corrected help you realize what is going on? Will getting instructed help you realize what is going on? How bad would things have to get to wake you up and get your attention? How sensitive are you to what is taking place around you?

Do you see the behavior? Do you know what God requires? Do you realize that God is in charge? Do you realize He has authority? Do you refuse to obey Him? Do you realize the pain and suffering that is taking place because of all of the disobedience? Do you realize the pain and suffering people are causing because of their bad behaviors? Hurting people hurt people!

Do you realize the power of forgiveness? The power of you forgiving others? The power of others forgiving you? The power of God’s forgiveness? Do you realize Jesus is the answer?

Will you turn back to God? Will you go back home to God? Will you ask Jesus into your heart? Will you stop rejecting God? Will you stop pushing Him away? Will you stop denying Him? Will you stop trying to be self sufficient? Will you stop trying to go it alone? Will you stop trying to do it all yourself?

Are you apart from God? Why did you leave God? Why haven’t you honored God? Why are you being stubborn? Why have you rebelled against God?

Do you realize there are good and bad people around you? The bad ones looking to trip you up? There is no limit or limits on what they are willing to do. Do you realize how they try to take away the rights of others? Do you realize they don’t provide justice or even equal justice to the oppressed? Do you hear lies from those you are supposed to trust? Do you hear lies from those who are supposed to be leading or in authority?

The battle belongs to the Lord! Vengeance is the Lord’s!

 


Today’s reading gets us started in Jeremiah…

The Sin of Jerusalem

1People of Jerusalem, run through your streets!
Look around! See for yourselves!
Search the marketplaces!
Can you find one person
who does what is right
and tries to be faithful to God?
If you can, the Lord will forgive Jerusalem.
2Even though you claim to worship the Lord,
you do not mean what you say.
3Surely the Lord looks for faithfulness.
He struck you, but you paid no attention;
he crushed you, but you refused to learn.
You were stubborn and would not turn from your sins.
4Then I thought, “These are only the poor and ignorant.
They behave foolishly;
they don’t know what their God requires,
what the Lord wants them to do.
5I will go to the people in power
and talk with them.
Surely they know what their God requires,
what the Lord wants them to do.”
But all of them have rejected the Lord’s authority
and refuse to obey him.
6That is why lions from the forest will kill them;
wolves from the desert will tear them to pieces,
and leopards will prowl through their towns.
If those people go out, they will be torn apart
because their sins are numerous
and time after time they have turned from God.
7The Lord asked, “Why should I forgive the sins of my people?
They have abandoned me
and have worshiped gods that are not real.
I fed my people until they were full,
but they committed adultery
and spent their time with prostitutes.
8They were like well-fed stallions wild with desire,
each lusting for his neighbor’s wife.
9Shouldn’t I punish them for these things
and take revenge on a nation such as this?
10I will send enemies to cut down my people’s vineyards,
but not to destroy them completely.
I will tell them to strip away the branches,
because those branches are not mine.
11The people of Israel and Judah
have betrayed me completely.
I, the Lord, have spoken.”

The Lord Rejects Israel

12The Lord’s people have denied him and have said, “He won’t really do anything. We won’t have hard times; we won’t have war or famine.” 13-14They have said that the prophets are nothing but windbags and that they have no message from the Lord. The Lord God Almighty said to me, “Jeremiah, because these people have said such things, I will make my words like a fire in your mouth. The people will be like wood, and the fire will burn them up.”
15People of Israel, the Lord is bringing a nation from far away to attack you. It is a strong and ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know. 16Their archers are mighty soldiers who kill without mercy. 17They will devour your crops and your food; they will kill your sons and your daughters. They will slaughter your flocks and your herds and destroy your vines and fig trees. The fortified cities in which you trust will be destroyed by their army.
18The Lord says, “Yet even in those days I will not completely destroy my people. 19When they ask why I did all these things, tell them, Jeremiah, that just as they turned away from me and served foreign gods in their own land, so they will serve strangers in a land that is not theirs.”

God Warns His People

20The Lord says, “Tell the descendants of Jacob, tell the people of Judah: 21 Pay attention, you foolish and stupid people, who have eyes, but cannot see, and have ears, but cannot hear. 22 I am the Lord; why don’t you fear me? Why don’t you tremble before me? I placed the sand as the boundary of the sea, a permanent boundary that it cannot cross. The sea may toss, but it cannot go beyond it; the waves may roar, but they cannot break through. 23But you people! You are stubborn and rebellious; you have turned aside and left me. 24You never thought to honor me, even though I send the autumn rains and the spring rains and give you the harvest season each year. 25Instead, your sins have kept these good things from you.
26“Evildoers live among my people; they lie in wait like those who lay nets to catch birds, but they have set their traps to catch people. 27Just as a hunter fills a cage with birds, they have filled their houses with loot. That is why they are powerful and rich, 28why they are fat and well fed. There is no limit to their evil deeds. They do not give orphans their rights or show justice to the oppressed.
29“But I, the Lord, will punish them for these things; I will take revenge on this nation. 30A terrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: 31prophets speak nothing but lies; priests rule as the prophets command, and my people offer no objections. But what will they do when it all comes to an end?”

–from Jeremiah 5

Do you see what is taking place? Do you see what is going on around you? Can you see beyond the physical realm into the real battle is is underway? Is there any message that would turn people and their hearts back to God? What do you think it would take nowadays?

Jerusalem Is Surrounded by Enemies

1People of Benjamin, run for safety! Escape from Jerusalem! Sound the trumpet in Tekoa and build a signal fire in Beth Haccherem. Disaster and destruction are about to come from the north. 2The city of Zion is beautiful, but it will be destroyed; 3kings will camp there with their armies. They will pitch their tents around the city, and each of them will camp wherever they want. 4They will say, “Prepare to attack Jerusalem! Get ready! We’ll attack at noon!” But then they will say, “It’s too late, the day is almost over, and the evening shadows are growing long. 5We’ll attack by night; we’ll destroy the city’s fortresses.”
6The Lord Almighty has ordered these kings to cut down trees and build mounds in order to besiege Jerusalem. He has said, “I will punish this city because it is full of oppression. 7As a well keeps its water fresh, so Jerusalem keeps its evil fresh. I hear violence and destruction in the city; sickness and wounds are all I see. 8People of Jerusalem, let these troubles be a warning to you, or else I will abandon you; I will turn your city into a desert, a place where no one lives.”

Rebellious Israel

9The Lord Almighty said to me, “Israel will be stripped clean like a vineyard from which every grape has been picked. So you must rescue everyone you can while there is still time.”
10I answered, “Who would listen to me if I spoke to them and warned them? They are stubborn and refuse to listen to your message; they laugh at what you tell me to say. 11Your anger against them burns in me too, Lord, and I can’t hold it in any longer.”
Then the Lord said to me, “Pour out my anger on the children in the streets and on the gatherings of the young people. Husbands and wives will be taken away, and even the very old will not be spared. 12Their houses will be given to others, and so will their fields and their wives. I am going to punish the people of this land. 13Everyone, great and small, tries to make money dishonestly; even prophets and priests cheat the people. 14 They act as if my people’s wounds were only scratches. ‘All is well,’ they say, when all is not well. 15 Were they ashamed because they did these disgusting things? No, they were not at all ashamed; they don’t even know how to blush. And so they will fall as others have fallen; when I punish them, that will be the end of them. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

Israel Rejects God’s Way

16The Lord said to his people, “Stand at the crossroads and look. Ask for the ancient paths and where the best road is. Walk in it, and you will live in peace.”
But they said, “No, we will not!” 17Then the Lord appointed sentries to listen for the trumpet’s warning. But they said, “We will not listen.”
18So the Lord said, “Listen, you nations, and learn what is going to happen to my people. 19Listen, earth! As punishment for all their schemes I am bringing ruin on these people, because they have rejected my teaching and have not obeyed my words. 20What do I care about the incense they bring me from Sheba, or the spices from a distant land? I will not accept their offerings or be pleased with their sacrifices. 21And so I will make these people stumble and fall. Parents and children will die, and so will friends and neighbors.”
Invasion from the North
22The Lord says, “People are coming from a country in the north; a mighty nation far away is preparing for war. 23They have taken up their bows and swords; they are cruel and merciless. They sound like the roaring sea, as they ride their horses. They are ready for battle against Jerusalem.”
24“We have heard the news,” say the people of Jerusalem, “and our hands hang limp; we are seized by anguish and pain like a woman in labor. 25We don’t dare go to the countryside or walk on the roads, because our enemies are armed and terror is all around us.”
26The Lord says to his people, “Put on sackcloth and roll in ashes. Mourn with bitter tears as you would for an only child, because the one who comes to destroy you will suddenly attack. 27Jeremiah, test my people, as you would test metal, and find out what they are like. 28They are all stubborn rebels, hard as bronze and iron. They are all corrupt, going around and spreading gossip. 29The furnace burns fiercely, but the waste metals do not melt and run off. It is useless to go on refining my people, because those who are evil are not taken away. 30They will be called worthless dross, because I, the Lord, have rejected them.”

–from Jeremiah 6

Oh Jesus, give us wisdom for today! Oh Jesus, help us to see beyond our circumstances! Oh Jesus, help to have hope for what is yet to come when we spend eternity with you! Oh Jesus, that you that we have hope beyond our circumstances! Oh Jesus, help us to know what we need to do here and now while we await your return so that in and through it we can give you the praise, the honor, and the glory in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!

We know it won’t be easy! We know that not everyone will be ready to hear it! We know that we will face trials! We know we will face troubles! But we have hope thanks to Jesus!

To Macedonia and Achaia

1After the uproar died down, Paul called together the believers and with words of encouragement said good-bye to them. Then he left and went on to Macedonia. 2He went through those regions and encouraged the people with many messages. Then he came to Achaia, 3where he stayed three months. He was getting ready to go to Syria when he discovered that there were Jews plotting against him; so he decided to go back through Macedonia. 4Sopater son of Pyrrhus, from Berea, went with him; so did Aristarchus and Secundus, from Thessalonica; Gaius, from Derbe; Tychicus and Trophimus, from the province of Asia; and Timothy. 5They went ahead and waited for us in Troas. 6We sailed from Philippi after the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and five days later we joined them in Troas, where we spent a week.

Paul’s Last Visit to Troas

7On Saturday evening we gathered together for the fellowship meal. Paul spoke to the people and kept on speaking until midnight, since he was going to leave the next day. 8Many lamps were burning in the upstairs room where we were meeting. 9A young man named Eutychus was sitting in the window, and as Paul kept on talking, Eutychus got sleepier and sleepier, until he finally went sound asleep and fell from the third story to the ground. When they picked him up, he was dead. 10But Paul went down and threw himself on him and hugged him. “Don’t worry,” he said, “he is still alive!” 11Then he went back upstairs, broke bread, and ate. After talking with them for a long time, even until sunrise, Paul left. 12They took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.

From Troas to Miletus

13We went on ahead to the ship and sailed off to Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. He had told us to do this, because he was going there by land. 14When he met us in Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. 15We sailed from there and arrived off Chios the next day. A day later we came to Samos, and the following day we reached Miletus. 16Paul had decided to sail on by Ephesus, so as not to lose any time in the province of Asia. He was in a hurry to arrive in Jerusalem by the day of Pentecost, if at all possible.

Paul’s Farewell Speech to the Elders of Ephesus

17From Miletus Paul sent a message to Ephesus, asking the elders of the church to meet him. 18When they arrived, he said to them, “You know how I spent the whole time I was with you, from the first day I arrived in the province of Asia. 19With all humility and many tears I did my work as the Lord’s servant during the hard times that came to me because of the plots of some Jews. 20You know that I did not hold back anything that would be of help to you as I preached and taught in public and in your homes. 21To Jews and Gentiles alike I gave solemn warning that they should turn from their sins to God and believe in our Lord Jesus. 22And now, in obedience to the Holy Spirit I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit has warned me that prison and troubles wait for me. 24 But I reckon my own life to be worth nothing to me; I only want to complete my mission and finish the work that the Lord Jesus gave me to do, which is to declare the Good News about the grace of God.
25“I have gone about among all of you, preaching the Kingdom of God. And now I know that none of you will ever see me again. 26So I solemnly declare to you this very day: if any of you should be lost, I am not responsible. 27For I have not held back from announcing to you the whole purpose of God. 28So keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock which the Holy Spirit has placed in your care. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he made his own through the blood of his Son. 29I know that after I leave, fierce wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. 30The time will come when some men from your own group will tell lies to lead the believers away after them. 31Watch, then, and remember that with many tears, day and night, I taught every one of you for three years.
32“And now I commend you to the care of God and to the message of his grace, which is able to build you up and give you the blessings God has for all his people. 33I have not wanted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34You yourselves know that I have worked with these hands of mine to provide everything that my companions and I have needed. 35I have shown you in all things that by working hard in this way we must help the weak, remembering the words that the Lord Jesus himself said, ‘There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.’”
36When Paul finished, he knelt down with them and prayed. 37They were all crying as they hugged him and kissed him good-bye. 38They were especially sad because he had said that they would never see him again. And so they went with him to the ship.

— from Acts 20

 


 

 

 

Ever considered that day when everything changed?


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

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

Consider a seed…

What a seed goes through

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

Saul Anointed King

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

–from 1 Samuel 10

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

Saul’s First Victory

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

–from 1 Samuel 11

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

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

Samuel Rebukes Israel

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

–from 1 Samuel 12

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

Righteous Living

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

Overcoming Worry with Trust

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

–from Matthew 6

 

There will always be people who question when you do something good for someone else.


Ever noticed that people are suspicious of people who are doing good things. Suspecting that they are going to want something in return. Suspecting that it is a trick of some sort. Things have gotten so off track that doing nice or good things for others isn’t the norm but raises concerns in others. Does that mean we should stop? NO! It means we need to be doing it and helping others to do it too to help stop this trend. If more people weren’t scam artists or trickster, than more people would be appreciative and accepting of people doing nice things to and for them. Where are you at on this situation today? Are you suspicious? Are you doing nice things? Are you trying to manipulate others? Are you only doing in order to get something back in return? Are you being kind and generous because that is what we should do without any expectations of anything in return? Let’s reflect on this and predetermine what and how we are going to act and respond. Let’s respond with grace and gratitude when someone does something nice. Let’s do out of love for God and for others nice things that will give them a hand up, give them a word of encouragement, give them support and courage to press on. This is the day to start a new trend and get things going in the right direction.


Today’s reading is interesting because we see how others question Jesus. They question His actions. They question His authority. They question His character. They judge him even before they can see the miracle. He touched the mans heart and life and then his body to prove His intentions and His authority are all grounded in LOVE!

1Jesus got into the boat and went back across the lake to his own town, 2where some people brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a bed. When Jesus saw how much faith they had, he said to the paralyzed man, “Courage, my son! Your sins are forgiven.”

3Then some teachers of the Law said to themselves, “This man is speaking blasphemy!”
4Jesus perceived what they were thinking, and so he said, “Why are you thinking such evil things? 5Is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6I will prove to you, then, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, pick up your bed, and go home!”
7The man got up and went home. 8When the people saw it, they were afraid, and praised God for giving such authority to people.
— from Matthew 9

Let’s be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in every situation we are in today. Let’s share the marvels of God with those around us based on His leading and direction. Let’s speak what God wants us to say. Let’s do what God calls us to do. And let’s make sure that in and through it all, He receives the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name.

God isn’t looking for perfect vessels, but yielded vessels who are willing to walk with Him and follow after His ways. We see in many cases Jesus stepping into situations which the religious people of the time would have looked down on. He wants to be with people who need and desire Him. He wants us all to walk in that way. Can we walk in a way that points and brings people to Jesus? Will you decide and choose to be an ambassador for Jesus today and help to transform the world around you? One person at a time? Consider the encounter with Matthew…

9Jesus left that place, and as he walked along, he saw a tax collector, named Matthew, sitting in his office. He said to him, “Follow me.”

Matthew got up and followed him.

10  While Jesus was having a meal in Matthew’s house,#
9.10: in Matthew’s house; or in his (that is Jesus’) house.

many tax collectors and other outcasts came and joined Jesus and his disciples at the table. 11Some Pharisees saw this and asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such people?”

12Jesus heard them and answered, “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. 13 Go and find out what is meant by the scripture that says: ‘It is kindness that I want, not animal sacrifices.’ I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts.”
— from Matthew 9

Are you going to be someone who is giving a hand up rather than a hand out? Are you going to be someone is will help or someone who will enable? Jesus is clear and gives us an example to follow, so let’s take a grab of that today and follow after His ways so that we increase the average, change the temperature of the society, and help not only transform the world, but also point the world heavenly through Jesus Christ our Lord!

God’s put a calling on each of our lives. If God spoke to you to go, would you go? If God spoke to you to let others who you are closely tied to go, would you let them go? Would you go with a blessing or would you go in doubt? Would you let them go with a blessing or would you let them go with regret? Will you pray for them and encourage them to complete the work that God is calling them into? Will you be obedient to the prompting of the Spirit? We see what happens when the Spirit prompts them to send Barnabas and Saul…

1In the church at Antioch there were some prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon (called the Black), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (who had been brought up with Governor Herod), and Saul. 2While they were serving the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said to them, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul, to do the work to which I have called them.”

3They fasted and prayed, placed their hands on them, and sent them off.
— from Acts 13

We also see what happens when we are obedient to the prompting and the impact it can make not only on a generation but for multiple generations as the story has been captured and published to millions through the Bible.

In Cyprus

4Having been sent by the Holy Spirit, Barnabas and Saul went to Seleucia and sailed from there to the island of Cyprus. 5When they arrived at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues. They had John Mark with them to help in the work.
6They went all the way across the island to Paphos, where they met a certain magician named Bar-Jesus, a Jew who claimed to be a prophet. 7He was a friend of the governor of the island, Sergius Paulus, who was an intelligent man. The governor called Barnabas and Saul before him because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8But they were opposed by the magician Elymas (that is his name in Greek), who tried to turn the governor away from the faith. 9Then Saul—also known as Paul—was filled with the Holy Spirit; he looked straight at the magician 10and said, “You son of the Devil! You are the enemy of everything that is good. You are full of all kinds of evil tricks, and you always keep trying to turn the Lord’s truths into lies! 11The Lord’s hand will come down on you now; you will be blind and will not see the light of day for a time.”
At once Elymas felt a dark mist cover his eyes, and he walked around trying to find someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the governor saw what had happened, he believed; for he was greatly amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

In Antioch in Pisidia

13Paul and his companions sailed from Paphos and came to Perga, a city in Pamphylia, where John Mark left them and went back to Jerusalem. 14They went on from Perga and arrived in Antioch in Pisidia, and on the Sabbath they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15After the reading from the Law of Moses and from the writings of the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent them a message: “Friends, we want you to speak to the people if you have a message of encouragement for them.” 16Paul stood up, motioned with his hand, and began to speak:
“Fellow Israelites and all Gentiles here who worship God: hear me! 17 The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors and made the people a great nation during the time they lived as foreigners in Egypt. God brought them out of Egypt by his great power, 18and for forty years he endured them in the desert. 19 He destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan and made his people the owners of the land. 20 All of this took about 450 years.
“After this he gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. 21 And when they asked for a king, God gave them Saul son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin, to be their king for forty years. 22After removing him, God made David their king. This is what God said about him: ‘I have found that David son of Jesse is the kind of man I like, a man who will do all I want him to do.’ 23It was Jesus, a descendant of David, whom God made the Savior of the people of Israel, as he had promised. 24 Before Jesus began his work, John preached to all the people of Israel that they should turn from their sins and be baptized. 25And as John was about to finish his mission, he said to the people, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not the one you are waiting for. But listen! He is coming after me, and I am not good enough to take his sandals off his feet.’
— from Acts 13

But it doesn’t end there, there is more to this story (probably for me in tomorrow’s reading, but you can read on…). God’s got incredible plans for how you can do good in this world. He will not only bless you, but allow you to be a blessing in the lives of others that He will bring in and through your life. Seek wisdom through the Holy Spirit so that you can understand and know the intentions and the plans. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide and protect you and your actions. Let’s make today a great day of doing good for others…for no other reason than to glorify God! And let’s see what God will do in and through our lives!


And then let’s celebrate the victories! Let’s celebrate with others who have breakthroughs! Let’s celebrate for the victories God has provided us! Let’s not forget the good work that He is and has done in and through our lives!

1The king is glad, O Lord, because you gave him strength;

he rejoices because you made him victorious.
2You have given him his heart’s desire;
you have answered his request.
3You came to him with great blessings
and set a crown of gold on his head.
4He asked for life, and you gave it,
a long and lasting life.
5His glory is great because of your help;
you have given him fame and majesty.
6Your blessings are with him forever,
and your presence fills him with joy.
7The king trusts in the Lord Almighty;
and because of the Lord‘s constant love
he will always be secure.
8The king will capture all his enemies;
he will capture everyone who hates him.
9He will destroy them like a blazing fire
when he appears.
The Lord will devour them in his anger,
and fire will consume them.
10None of their descendants will survive;
the king will kill them all.
11They make their plans, and plot against him,
but they will not succeed.
12He will shoot his arrows at them
and make them turn and run.
13We praise you, Lord, for your great strength!
We will sing and praise your power.
— from Psalm 21

When we consider that Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, we know that the final chapter speaks to the conclusion and the victory of Jesus. The devil goes around trying to trick people through lies, making plans and plots against Jesus, however, Jesus has already won the victory over death through His resurrection. So let’s be like the psalmist and praise the Lord, sing to Him, let’s worship Him for all He has already done and what He is yet to do in and through our lives and for the rest of eternity!


 

What are you doing to make LOVE GROW?


Are you thankful? Are you praying? Are you believing? Are you proclaiming? Are you filled with faith? Are you rejecting doubt? Are you helping others flourish? Are you loving not only much but well? Love sincerely! Love intelligently! Don’t make it all gushy and sentimental! Love in a way that is circumspect and exemplary! Love in a way that will make Jesus proud! Flourish in the fruits of the spirit! Live in a way that draws others towards God! Live right where you are at in this very moment in ways that will glorify God and draw others to Him! As long as we are still breathing there is more that we can do! Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Step up and step out in faith! Give others a hand up and a hand out to help them to learn and receive the gift of God! So let’s live that we are credits to the Message of Christ! Let’s let our conduct when people see and don’t see us be conduct that glorifies God! Let’s stand united! Let’s stand with the singular vision of Christ! Let’s content for the trust of others in the Message of Jesus! Let’s stand for the Good News! Don’t allow the enemy of our souls to try and keep us from achieving God’s plan in our lives. Living by faith the antidote of fear! In this world, we will face trials, challenges, conflicts, the key is how will we respond! Let’s consider it all joy when we face trials for:

2-4Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
5-8If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.
— James 1

As others are sharing the Good News of Jesus, don’t consider a competition, cheer them on! Jesus is being proclaimed! As we give our all for Jesus, we have a win-win situation. As we life continues we live and win, and when our time on earth is done, we get to join Him in heaven and have more life and win. So let’s let our conduct be a testimony to who Jesus is. So don’t give up! Don’t give in! Press on!

1-2Paul and Timothy, both of us committed servants of Christ Jesus, write this letter to all the followers of Jesus in Philippi, pastors and ministers included. We greet you with the grace and peace that comes from God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.

A Love That Will Grow

3-6Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
7-8It’s not at all fanciful for me to think this way about you. My prayers and hopes have deep roots in reality. You have, after all, stuck with me all the way from the time I was thrown in jail, put on trial, and came out of it in one piece. All along you have experienced with me the most generous help from God. He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does!
9-11So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.

They Can’t Imprison the Message

12-14I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here, and everyone else, too, found out that I’m in jail because of this Messiah. That piqued their curiosity, and now they’ve learned all about him. Not only that, but most of the followers of Jesus here have become far more sure of themselves in the faith than ever, speaking out fearlessly about God, about the Messiah.
15-17It’s true that some here preach Christ because with me out of the way, they think they’ll step right into the spotlight. But the others do it with the best heart in the world. One group is motivated by pure love, knowing that I am here defending the Message, wanting to help. The others, now that I’m out of the picture, are merely greedy, hoping to get something out of it for themselves. Their motives are bad. They see me as their competition, and so the worse it goes for me, the better—they think—for them.
18-21So how am I to respond? I’ve decided that I really don’t care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on!
And I’m going to keep that celebration going because I know how it’s going to turn out. Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.
22-26As long as I’m alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I’d choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better. But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it’s better for me to stick it out here. So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues. You can start looking forward to a great reunion when I come visit you again. We’ll be praising Christ, enjoying each other.
27-30Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. Let nothing in your conduct hang on whether I come or not. Your conduct must be the same whether I show up to see things for myself or hear of it from a distance. Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people’s trust in the Message, the good news, not flinching or dodging in the slightest before the opposition. Your courage and unity will show them what they’re up against: defeat for them, victory for you—and both because of God. There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting. You’re involved in the same kind of struggle you saw me go through, on which you are now getting an updated report in this letter.
— Philippians 1

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe! So to show that we are His: Agree with one another! Love each other! Be deep spirited friends! Don’t be pushy and try to get your own way! Don’t be a sweet talker trying to get your own way! Don’t be so self-centered that you miss the true calling. Help others get ahead! Give others a helping hand rather than trying to just go and get yourself to the top!

5-8Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
9-11Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.
— Philippians 2

So let’s rejoice together! Let’s be living lives that lift others up! Let’s be living a life that testifies of who God is!

12-13What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.
14-16Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.
17-18Even if I am executed here and now, I’ll rejoice in being an element in the offering of your faith that you make on Christ’s altar, a part of your rejoicing. But turnabout’s fair play—you must join me in my rejoicing. Whatever you do, don’t feel sorry for me.
19-24I plan (according to Jesus’ plan) to send Timothy to you very soon so he can bring back all the news of you he can gather. Oh, how that will do my heart good! I have no one quite like Timothy. He is loyal, and genuinely concerned for you. Most people around here are looking out for themselves, with little concern for the things of Jesus. But you know yourselves that Timothy’s the real thing. He’s been a devoted son to me as together we’ve delivered the Message. As soon as I see how things are going to fall out for me here, I plan to send him off. And then I’m hoping and praying to be right on his heels.
25-27But for right now, I’m dispatching Epaphroditus, my good friend and companion in my work. You sent him to help me out; now I’m sending him to help you out. He has been wanting in the worst way to get back with you. Especially since recovering from the illness you heard about, he’s been wanting to get back and reassure you that he is just fine. He nearly died, as you know, but God had mercy on him. And not only on him—he had mercy on me, too. His death would have been one huge grief piled on top of all the others.
28-30So you can see why I’m so delighted to send him on to you. When you see him again, hale and hearty, how you’ll rejoice and how relieved I’ll be. Give him a grand welcome, a joyful embrace! People like him deserve the best you can give. Remember the ministry to me that you started but weren’t able to complete? Well, in the process of finishing up that work, he put his life on the line and nearly died doing it.
— Philippians 2

 

 

 

 

When will you look beyond the material stuff, the feel good stuff, and the self promoting stuff?


How much stuff do you need? Money isn’t evil, the love of money is the root of all evil.

Is it more important to feel good than to do good?

Is it more important to self promote than to be a servant leader?


 

What will it take to grow up and look beyond this?

It’s not about planting or watering, it is about the reason behind it. It’s the fact that we are doing what we do out of obedience to God so that in all we do, He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory. One may plant the seed, another may water, but it is God that makes it grow! Let’s remember the solid foundation we have to be able to build upon, it is Jesus! Let’s make sure we are building our lives on top of this foundation with material that is good, that is just, that is right, that is of value, that will bring God all the praise, the honor, and the glory. Let’s make sure that when it is tested that it will stand the test! We are the temple of God, so take care of it! Let’s live by God’s rules for His ways are right and pure and just! Being God’s fool is better than being smart according to the world! Don’t brag or inflate yourself or others, everything you have is a gift from God!

Will you live your life as a servant to others? Will you lead through a servant lifestyle? Will you stop trying to make it all about you? Consider how you can help! Consider how you can serve! Be a guide rather than trying to be a guard! Be reliable! Be accurate in your knowledge! Don’t make it or allow it to become a popularity contest! Don’t be judgmental towards others! Be aware and smart about what you do and how you do it! God knows our heart and our mind, He sees our intentions, He knows our purposes, He hears our prayers, so don’t think you will get away with anything for one day it will all come out into the open. Are you willing to live a life where when you are done you will get to hear from God “Well done my good and faithful servant”? Perspective is key! It’s important to look at things through God’s perspective or point of view. Don’t let gossip or hearsay direct your actions or reactions! Don’t allow hearsay to inflate or deflate reputations! Do any of us really know it all? What’s in a person’s mind? What’s in a person’s heart? Is there anyone who really knows you or that you really know them? Is there anything that could be found out that we could actually take credit for? Isn’t everything just a gift from God? So why are you comparing yourself to others? Why are you competing against others? With God giving you everything you need and allowing you full access to Himself (more than you can handle) why not just focus on you and Him? Let’s come alongside one another as brothers and sisters in love! Let’s live our lives for God, so that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory. Not focusing on trying to make everyone feel good or making sure we have every new gadget that comes out or pumping ourselves up. We need to make sure we live a good life, not as spoiled children. There will be many who are looking to pop your balloon and drag you down, but live a life filled with the Father’s Love that helps us and other to grow up! Make the time! It’s important! Make the effort! It’s worth it! Don’t live life as a balloon full of hot air, but rather live a life of purpose that’s empowered by the Spirit of God!

What way would you want someone to come into your life to speak to you?

As a severe disciplinarian who makes you toe the mark? Or as a good friend and counselor who wants to share heart-to-heart with you? You decide. — from 1 Corinthians 4:21


Consider the road you are taking! Consider those around you that need you to step in, step up, and give them a hand up! Consider the love they need from you! Consider the hope that you can share! How will you show up today for those around you who are looking to you?

God won’t give you more than you can handle…are you adding more?


At lunch with a friend yesterday this very topic came up. He was sharing how God had spoken to him about not everything we get is from Him, but that we add to it ourselves. He mentioned about how insurance policies speak about “acts of God” and that how about 98% of the events can be traced back to somebody, leaving 2%. The example of New Orleans also came up in that the waves and the storms will come, but God never told anybody to build a city below sea level. In this morning’s reading from Matthew 19-20, Psalm 94, this topic was revealed to me as well when the Pharisee’s were questioning Jesus and His response to them was:

…a concession to your hard heartedness, but it is not part of God’s original plan. — Matthew 19

Everything we are facing isn’t always because it was God’s will or part of God’s original plan. So we need to seek wisdom first rather than trying to figure it out on own later. If we had of asked for wisdom first, it may not have been easy, but it would have been in alignment with God’s perfect plan and purpose. If He brings you to it then He will bring you through it.

God’s Word bring up the gateway to Heaven. We should be helping people get into His presence and not trying to prevent them or getting in the way.

13-15One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: “Let the children alone, don’t prevent them from coming to me. God’s kingdom is made up of people like these.” After laying hands on them, he left.
16Another day, a man stopped Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17Jesus said, “Why do you question me about what’s good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you.”
18-19The man asked, “What in particular?”
Jesus said, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself.”
20The young man said, “I’ve done all that. What’s left?”
21“If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.”
22That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.
23-24As he watched him go, Jesus told his disciples, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for the rich to enter God’s kingdom? Let me tell you, it’s easier to gallop a camel through a needle’s eye than for the rich to enter God’s kingdom.”
25The disciples were staggered. “Then who has any chance at all?”
26Jesus looked hard at them and said, “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.”
27Then Peter chimed in, “We left everything and followed you. What do we get out of it?”
28-30Jesus replied, “Yes, you have followed me. In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.”Matthew 19

Nothing is too difficult for God! Things that seem impossible to us – are in our own power – but with God nothing is impossible! It’s not God+, it’s just God that we need to have in our lives. The question, do you want to be first or last? Will you push to the front of the line and then realize they switch the direction and now you are at the end? Will you be willing to allow others ahead of yourself? Will you think of others before yourself? Selfless rather than selfish?

Are you going to be stingy or generous? Are people good to their word or will they try to get more?

1-2“God’s kingdom is like an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day, and went to work.
3-5“Later, about nine o’clock, the manager saw some other men hanging around the town square unemployed. He told them to go to work in his vineyard and he would pay them a fair wage. They went.
5-6“He did the same thing at noon, and again at three o’clock. At five o’clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, ‘Why are you standing around all day doing nothing?’
7“They said, ‘Because no one hired us.’
“He told them to go to work in his vineyard.
8“When the day’s work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, ‘Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.’
9-12“Those hired at five o’clock came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar. Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager, ‘These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.’
13-15“He replied to the one speaking for the rest, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn’t we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?’
16“Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.”Matthew 20

Don’t let power and influence go to your heads! Whatever influence you have received, use it to serve others! Be A Servant Leader!

20It was about that time that the mother of the Zebedee brothers came with her two sons and knelt before Jesus with a request.
21“What do you want?” Jesus asked.
She said, “Give your word that these two sons of mine will be awarded the highest places of honor in your kingdom, one at your right hand, one at your left hand.”
22Jesus responded, “You have no idea what you’re asking.” And he said to James and John, “Are you capable of drinking the cup that I’m about to drink?”
They said, “Sure, why not?”
23Jesus said, “Come to think of it, you are going to drink my cup. But as to awarding places of honor, that’s not my business. My Father is taking care of that.”
24-28When the ten others heard about this, they lost their tempers, thoroughly disgusted with the two brothers. So Jesus got them together to settle things down. He said, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”Matthew 20

Jesus is the ultimate servant leader. He gave everything for the opportunity for us to be saved from the fiery pits of hell as our final destination. What type of leader do you want to be? What type of leader are you being? How does that align with the ultimate leader?

Do you want it? Do you really, really want it? What if there were resistance how would you respond? What if they were shushing you?

29-31As they were leaving Jericho, a huge crowd followed. Suddenly they came upon two blind men sitting alongside the road. When they heard it was Jesus passing, they cried out, “Master, have mercy on us! Mercy, Son of David!” The crowd tried to hush them up, but they got all the louder, crying, “Master, have mercy on us! Mercy, Son of David!”
32Jesus stopped and called over, “What do you want from me?”
33They said, “Master, we want our eyes opened. We want to see!”
34Deeply moved, Jesus touched their eyes. They had their sight back that very instant, and joined the procession. — Matthew 20

Will you go after it with faith, trusting and believing in God no matter what the naysayers have to say? Will you put all your hope and trust in Jesus because you know that He is the way, the truth, and the life, the only way to the Father? Will you get louder? Will you get more passionate? Will you care enough for others to help them get there too? Will be more interested in sharing the good news with others than with puffing yourself up? Will you be more interested in sharing the hope with the hopeless than keeping it to yourself? Every day we are faced with choices. Every day we have to make decisions. Make sure you have your bearings straight and your heart in the right place because others are watching you and needing you. Help reflect the love of Jesus into the lives of those around you so that in and through it all He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name.

Defining BLESSED.


Has anyone ever said “blessings to you”, “be blessed”, “I am blessed”, “you are blessed”? This morning’s reading starts out with the title “You’re Blessed“. We need to read on to see what that means. Before I dive into today’s Word from God, the dictionary gives us one perspective on being blessed: (used Bing and typed “define blessed”)

Definition of blessed (adj)

Bing Dictionary

bless·ed [ bléssəd ]

  1. holy: made holy
  2. beatified: declared holy by the pope, usually as the first stage toward being declared a saint
  3. bestowing joy: bringing happiness or good luck

synonyms: holy · sacred · sanctified · hallowed · consecrated · set apart

Now let’s go to the real meaning of being blessed from God’s Word:

3“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

4“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

5“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

6“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

7“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

8“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

9“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11-12“Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Being blessed is more than a feeling. Let’s not forget the truth behind these words. Let’s not allow the world to rob of what is real and what is eternal. Let’s hold onto God’s Word and truth and walk with Him, allowing God to work in and through us in ways where people will see us on the mountain tops and in the bottom of the valleys and still realized we are blessed. They will notice a difference and so we may be able to glorify God in and through it all.

We are blessed because we draw closer to God, we have more of Him and less of ourselves, we are living for the bigger picture of what He is calling us to do rather than being focused on ourselves, and we are content with what we already have.

 

Are you living for today? Does Justice matter to you? Are you walking in favor?


Is your focus on the present or the future? Is your focus on the temporary or the eternal? Is your focus on the now or never? What is your focus? If your focus is too close, are you sure that in the end you will be heading in the right direction? This morning’s reading starts with the sentence “Those Who Live Only for Today“. Don’t allow pride to think you are all that. Don’t be walking down the wrong way street to find out you are going down a dead-end street or even worse. Don’t think you are all that and as such should be served, rather, in your position of leadership you should be a servant leader just like the best leadership example, Jesus was. He didn’t come to be served, but to serve!

Is your focus on you or are you being considerate of the fate of those around you? It’s an interesting consideration. Do you care enough about what is going on around you to step up, to speak up, to put your hand to the work? If your neighborhood was going to ruin, would you do anything? If your city or town was going to ruin, would you do anything? If your state or province was going to ruin, would you do anything? If you country was going to ruin, would you do anything? Are you so focused inward, that you are missing the reality of everything that is taking place around you?

Does justice matter to you? Will you allow God into the conversation? Will you consider His Word? Will you seek His favor? Favor is an interesting word that was preached yesterday. Favor doesn’t mean easy street, it means walking in alignment with God’s will. For He will use it all for good. We see Noah had God’s favor, yet he had to deal with the challenge of building the arc for a flood that was coming in a dry desert land. We see Joseph had God’s favor, yet he had to deal being sold into slavery, then thrown in jail for something he didn’t do, then left there longer because he was forgotten by another inmate. We see Mary had God’s favor, yet she had to handle the challenge of trying to convince people she was a virgin and having a baby, and that the father of the baby was God. We Jesus has the favor of God, yet He went to the cross to give His all to reconcile us back to the Father, He was sweating blood it was so intense. So having the favor of God isn’t the easy street, but it is the good street. We need to be living with faith and hope and trust in the future promised by God’s Word. We see in the last book of the Bible, that Jesus Wins. So no matter what we have to go through, we know the He will never leave us nor abandon us, we know that He will use it all for good, and we know that we are on the right side if we are on His side because in the end He wins. So let’s live life through that perspective. Let’s look at life through the challenges, knowing we don’t have to give up or give in, because God is on our side. Thanks to Jesus, not because we are all that or good enough, we can live in God’s favor. There are so many examples of what God’s favor is, and the one that sticks with me is that God’s favor is a shield around me. No matter what I do through, He is with me. And He will use it all for good! Favor was just God bending over to give us a helping hand, He went beyond that and came down in the form of a child that He would lift us up, to give us a hand up rather than a hand out. So today, let’s live with the perspective God has given us. Let’s live with the truth and the love and the hope given to us by God.

Ever been confronted by others who didn’t like what you were saying? What if all you were doing was trying to warn them? What if all you were trying to do was help them? What if they asked you to stop doing what God was calling you to do? God’s Word tells us that we need to be speaking the truth in love. We need to be speaking the truth, for the truth will see you free.

What if everything isn’t fine? Will you keep quiet or speak up? If someone is taking more than they are giving, will you say something? If someone is walking over the weak, will you do something? If someone is mistreating the poor, will you say something? What you have been given, what will you do with it?

How far would you go to get to hear God’s Word spoken to you or spoken over you? What if you were going the wrong way and didn’t or couldn’t find it or hear it? Then what?

Consider a sieve. Sift the information against God’s Word! Sift the behaviors through God’s Word! If everything that exists were to be sifted and only the good would remain, how big of a pile would have gone through? How much would be left?

Are you ready? How much can you handle? How much can you contain? How much can you absorb? We know who wins. So let’s be ready!