Are you dealing with it in order to give God the glory? Will you give up your yoke in exchange for Jesus’?


In this world we will have troubles. In this world we will face trials of many kinds. Are you in a situation where you are having to do work without pay?

What about in the workplace? Do you treat your boss with honor? Do you live a life that will make sure that God’s Word and God’s work won’t be criticized in an abusive manner or angrily in an insulting manner?

How are you living your life so that God’s light shines through and so that He will get the praise, the honor, and the glory? When trouble comes your way are you able to have a positive and encouraging attitude because you know that Jesus has overcome the world? When you face trials of any kind are you able to consider it pure joy because you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness and that when you allow steadfastness to have its full effect that you will be complete and lacking nothing?

Today’s Word comes from 1 Timothy 6…

‘Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these things.

False Teachers and True Contentment

‘Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

Fight the Good Fight of Faith

‘But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.

— 1 Timothy 6 

Today’s devotional from the Global Impact Bible (from the Museum of the Bible) is based off of 1 Timothy 6:1

‘Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled.

— 1 Timothy 6:1 

and speaks to the yoke in African American literature. It speaks to what they went through  like in the 1973 poem “Afrian Revolution” by Amiri Baraka and also in the poem “Manuela Come Out the Kitchen” by Wanda Coleman. They both speak of the suffering and misery. They both speak being under the yoke. They both speak of the future effects it has on the generations to come.

Feb 26 - 1 Timoth 6_1 - The Yoke in African American Literature - Global Impact Bible

Looking for links to these two pieces of literature, I found The Pastoral Epistles Through the Centuries By Jay Twomey.

We can’t neglect what has happened in the past. We can’t let the past hold us back from the future God has in store for us. We need to come together in love for one another. We need to stand strong for one another. We need to become unified in Christ standing up for one another. Let’s allow today to be the first day of the rest of our lives so that in and through our lives our heavenly Father can receive all the praise, the honor, and the glory, in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I praise You Lord for being greater than our circumstances. I praise You Lord for giving me strength through Your joy. I praise You Lord for Your Word that never returns void and can help us to have joy when we face trials of many kinds and have hope when we face troubles. Thank You for giving us the answer which is Jesus. Thank You for being our hope and comfort in times of need. Help me today Lord to live a life that shines for You so that in and through it all, I can live a life that will bring You all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

How do you read the word “content”?


It’s funny that this is the word for today as I put “content?” on my whiteboard at word and asked people how they say it.

Some read it as [ˈkäntent] – which with the fact that we work on content delivery on the website and via email makes sense. I would then ask them if they were sure. Most then said [kənˈtent] – which was what I was going for when I wrote it out.

Let’s consider the definitions…

con·tent
[kənˈtent]

ADJECTIVE
  1. in a state of peaceful happiness:
    “he seemed more content, less bitter”
    synonyms: contented · satisfied · pleased · gratified · fulfilled · happy · cheerful · glad · unworried · untroubled · at ease · at peace · tranquil · serene
    antonyms: discontented · dissatisfied
    • satisfied with a certain level of achievement, good fortune, etc., and not wishing for more:
      “he had to be content with third place” · “the duke was content to act as Regent”
VERB
contents (third person present) · contented (past tense) · contented (past participle) · contenting(present participle)
  1. satisfy (someone):
    “nothing would content her”
    synonyms: satisfy · please · soothe · pacify · placate · appease · mollify
    • (content oneself with)
      accept as adequate despite wanting more or better:
      “we contented ourselves with a few small purchases”
NOUN
  1. a state of satisfaction:
    “the greater part of the century was a time of content”
  2. a member of the British House of Lords who votes for a particular motion.
ORIGIN
late Middle English: via Old French from Latin contentus ‘satisfied,’ past participle of continere (see contain).
con·tent
[ˈkäntent]

NOUN
contents (plural noun) · contents (plural noun)
  1. the things that are held or included in something:
    “he unscrewed the top of the flask and drank the contents” · “he picked up the correspondence and scanned the contents”
    • the amount of a particular constituent occurring in a substance:
      “milk with a low-fat content”
      synonyms: amount · proportion · quantity
    • a list of the titles of chapters or sections contained in a book or periodical:
      “the contents page”
      synonyms: constituents · ingredients · components · elements
    • information made available by a website or other electronic medium:
      “online content providers”
  2. the substance or material dealt with in a speech, literary work, etc., as distinct from its form or style:
    “the outward form and precise content of the messages”
    synonyms: subject matter · subject · theme · argument · thesis · message · thrust · substance · matter · material · text · ideas
ORIGIN
late Middle English: from medieval Latin contentum (plural contenta ‘things contained’), neuter past part. of continere (see contain).

I added a word that I wrote up on my window “contentment”.  There are so many words in the English language which are written the same but unless you have context can be very confusing since they have different meanings or in some cases tenses of the verbs (like “read”).

What is important to you? What is most important in your life? Are you too concerned with stuff that you would give up your life? Are you so concerned with this life that you would miss out on the one to come? What would it take for you to be content no matter what you have? What would it take for you to find or receive or accept contentment? What is your motivation? What is your purpose? What is driving you?

Have you come to that moment of meeting Jesus and realizing that it’s not about religion or rituals but that it is all about having a living relationship with Jesus? God isn’t out there somewhere, He is right here and wanting to be a part of everything in your life! He immanuel God with us! For so many years I had walked out my life knowing there was a God but never realizing that He wanted a relationship with me. It was like going through the motions — more about doing religion and rituals than building a real relationship with God. Even at that one point where I felt Him calling me to go through communion I somehow in and through it all missed out on that important detail. Without it things become about doing good deeds to balance out the bad ones. Without it things become about trying to pay your way into heaven rather than receiving the gift of eternal life through a relationship with Jesus! He paid the price! He paid once for all! He did what nobody else would be able or is able to do! He is the one and only way to eternity with God rather than eternity apart from God! Have you asked Jesus to be your Savior? Have you asked Jesus to be your Lord? Are you living out your life with Him as your best friend and serving Him as your Lord and Savior?

So what will you choose? What is most important to you? Your relationship with God or your stuff?

24“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. –from Matthew 6:24

That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t make money or have money, that we should have things, but it is about what is the main thing? What is your top priority? What is the motivation for what you do each day? Are you seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then letting God take care of the rest? Are you being a good steward of what God has given you? We need to remember that the Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it and with that in mind live out this life as good stewards! God wants us to be able to enjoy our lives! He wants us to be able to live our lives with contentment! We need to be leaning into God throughout our lives and our days, no matter the circumstances and situation! We can’t control what comes our way, but we can control how we respond to it! Consider what Paul spoke about his life and how it applies to our word of the “content”:

 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. — from Philippians 4

We need to put all our hope in God rather than money and stuff! We need to be putting first things first! As we read in Matthew 6:33 putting God first! We need to take hold of the truth and the power of God’s Word – which is the inspired Word of God! We can’t be selective but we need to draw closer to God in and through it all! Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world but that through Him, it would be and could be saved! Ever considered what is said in 1 Timothy 6:17 on the subject of being wealthy?

17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. –from 1 Timothy 6:17

We need to be moving closer to God rather than apart from Him! The further society gets from the Bible and God, the more confusion and distortion appears! When you look through history you find the pendulum where society walks to and with God as well as where society walks away from God. Consider what is taking place around the world today! Consider the confusion taking place! Consider the distortion that is taking place! Consider how so many are trying to take God out of the society while at the same time they are wanting better things for their children and the next generation. If you don’t have a solid foundation then you find that whatever you build on it will not be very stable or sturdy. When you build on a solid foundation then you know that you can build something that will last. We should build our lives on the foundation that is Jesus with the cornerstone that will help us keep the building aligned which is Jesus!

When we build our lives on stuff or money then we are on shaky ground and instead of being able to live our lives with a peace we live our lives with worry and fear about our stuff. It creates perpetual insecurity because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring! When we build our lives based on God, His Word, and a relationship with Jesus, we can allow the Holy Spirit to bring us a peace that goes beyond all understanding, a joy unspeakable that we just can’t explain, and a hope for what is yet to come! We know that this life isn’t the end and that we will get to spend eternity with God when this life is over! When troubles come we can take heart because we know that Jesus has already overcome the world! When trials come we can consider it pure joy 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

So it isn’t that it is bad to have money and wealth, it is just an issue of what is first! Some have been blessed with wealth in order to fund the things of God and to bless the needy. Today’s devotional speaks to this as follows:

He does not command them to give all their money away, but not to put their hope in it. If you get your attitude towards money sorted out, it will help sort out almost every other area of your life. Paul gives five ways to sort out our attitude to money (vv.17–18):

  • Don’t be full of yourself
    One of the dangers attached to wealth is arrogance: ‘Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves’ (v.17, MSG).
  • Don’t put your security in wealth
    ‘We enter the world penniless and we will leave it penniless’ (v.7, MSG). Wealth provides only a false security. ‘Quit… being so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow’ (v.17, MSG). The real measure of our wealth is how much we would be worth if we lost all our money.
  • Put God first
    Put your hope in God, who richly provides you with everything for your enjoyment (v.17). There is nothing wrong with enjoying the good things of life. God provides all good things for our enjoyment. But recognise that it all comes from him and it all belongs to him.
  • Do all the good you can
    Paul urges the wealthy to ‘do good’ and to ‘be rich in helping others’ (v.18, MSG). Don’t focus on how much money you can make, but how much good you can do. It is possible to be materially rich but spiritually poor. Equally it is possible to be materially poor but ‘rich in good deeds’ (v.18).
  • Share your resources

    John Wesley said, ‘When I have money, I get rid of it quickly, lest it find a way into my heart.’ Generosity is the way to break the hold of money in our lives. ‘Be extravagantly generous’ (v.18, MSG).

— from Day 294: Bible In One Year 2017

Today’s devotional closed with the following truth and so I am including it and sharing it with you here:

Ultimately, contentment only comes from putting your hope in God: ‘godliness with contentment is great gain’. The promise of God’s word is that those who ‘put their hope in God’ (v.17) find ‘a firm foundation’ and ‘take hold of the life that is truly life’ (v.19). — from Day 294: Bible In One Year 2017


Living Content

Day 294: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Hope in God’s word and invest your time in it … Psalm 119:73-80
  2. Hope in God and not in wealth … 1 Timothy 6:3-21
  3. Hope in the Lord and not in powerful people … Jeremiah 46:1-47:7

Today’s reading from God’s Word comes from:

Are you content in every situation?


Despite or in spite of what going on around you and in your life, can you be happy?

Despite or in spite of what going on around you and in your life, can you be satisfied?

Despite or in spite of what going on around you and in your life, can you be fulfilled?

Despite or in spite of what going on around you and in your life, can you be at peace?

If yes, what is the key for you in being able to live that way?

For me it is a relationship and trust in God.

Ever read what Paul wrote on the subject?

10 How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

–from Philippians 4:10-13

It takes a relationship with Jesus! In Him and through Him, we can do all thing! In Him and through Him, He strengthens me! We need to live based on our position in Jesus rather than allowing the ebbs and flow of our feelings to manipulate us! We need to take hold of the truth of God’s love letter (Father’s Love Letter) to us (the Bible) and consider Ephesians 1:3 which says “Praise be to the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” since God has provided us with a loving Father and the Holy Spirit who is our comforter and our guide. Media, society, and the devil keep trying to tempt you for more, never being satisfied because there is always something newer, bigger or even better to buy! It bigger than today! Consider the victory you have thanks to Jesus! Consider the position you have as co-heir with Christ! I read the end of the book and Jesus wins! I read the New Testament and Jesus conquered the grave and broke the chains and power of sin over our lives! So with all the good, the truth, and the love, we can be filled and choose to be content in every situation! The choice is ours! It was given to us from the beginning! Will we choose to go with God or against God? We each have to make that decision for ourselves! We can set an example but it is up to others to pick up the baton and finish their race for themselves! Some will work the hard ground! Some will till the soil! Some will pull up the weeds! Some will plant seeds! Some will water! God will make it grow!

Let’s take hold of Matthew 6:25 which says…

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

–from Matthew 6:25

Let’s seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness rather than worrying…

32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

–from Matthew 6:32-33

Worry changes nothing whereas prayer changes everything!

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

–from Philippians 4:6

So as we begin today, let’s take hold of Hebrews 13 where it says..

Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

–from Hebrews 13:5-6

Want to win? Choose Jesus to be your Lord and Savior! Choose that He will be both in your life! And then live out this life on earth content no matter what circumstances come your way!

Today’s reading from Philippians gives us this piece of information to take hold of…

4Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.
6Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
8And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

–from Philippians 4

Today’s reading from God’s Word:


The Key to Contentment

Day 276: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Find soul satisfaction in God’s wisdom … Proverbs 24:5-14
  2. Find the secret in Christ Jesus … Philippians 4:2-23
  3. Find soul rest on God’s paths … Jeremiah 6:1-7:29

 

The power to make it thru everyday the right way!


Can you make it thru a full day without losing it? Do you realize you weren't made to be like a plant without water that throughout the day wilts? Consider what it takes to keep a plant from wilting…

  1. Good soil
  2. Good nutrients
  3. Water
  4. Sunlight

So how could we follow this model in our lives be it at work or at home?
Do you take time to make sure your day is started off in good soil? For me that means spending time in God's Word and hearing wisdom so that I can be filled up for the day. How about throughout your day? God is available 24/7 and God's Word says to pray without ceasing. When we do that we get watered throughout the day as well as staying in the Sonlight. By staying filled throughout the day we don't run the risk of wilting and having a bad attitude.

God and work can coexist. They shouldn't be separated or else you will make each day a drain and if you don't fill up enough for everything that is coming your way by getting a good night sleep and fueling up in the morning you will end up running out before the day is over.

With work being rough or tough sometimes, depending on your company or team or coworkers or clients, if you aren't prepared and setting yourself up for success you are sure to struggle part way through your day. I've been places and seen places where people seem to against each other trying to get ahead or even worse a dog eat dog or cut throats type of environment which makes it harder by more important to be filled up and connected to God.

So where are you at today? Will you allow your work to be you calling from God and bring hope, love, truth in it with you? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to shine through your life and speak wisdom and discernment into every conversation and to direct your path? Will you allow the joy of the Lord to be your strength? Will you allow Jesus to work in and through your life so that the lives that God has brought into your life can also be touched and transformed?

Will you not only thrive in your day but make it contagious? This week was interesting as I met some new people at work and as part of my goodbye I told them to remember that every day stats with "Happy" and ends with "day" and then as I left work on Friday I wrote on the window behind my desk "Remember that every day starts with Happy and ends with day, so Happy Today!"


Working Without Wilting

Day 215: Bible in One Year 2017
https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/215

  1. Your work has lasting valuePsalm 90:11-17

  2. Give yourself fully to God’s work … Romans 16:1-27

  3. Imitate God in work and rest … 1 Chronicles 15:1-16:36

Are you ready?


What if today is the day, are you ready? What if this is the hour, are you ready? What if this is the time, are you ready? Are you prepared for what is to come? Is there something you need to do to get ready? Is there something you need to do to get prepared? Have you started? What are you waiting for?

Do you want to be surprised? Do you want to miss out? Will you be prepared? Are you ready?

Are you focus on doing what you’ve been called to do? Are you more concerned about how others are being treated? Are you OK to do what you agreed to? Will you be OK with the deal you made?

Are you OK to be first? Are you OK to be last? Is it most important to just be in?

Don’t grumble! Be happy with what you have received!

Why not just be happy that everyone got in rather than who is first and who is last or who serves and who is served? We’ve been called to lead by serving! Want to be greatest then become the least and serve others! Will you have faith enough to believe? Will you have faith enough to obey? Will you have faith enough to be prepared?

Today’s reading comes from 1 Chronicles and Matthew…

1The sons of Levi: Gershom, Kohath and Merari.
2These are the names of the sons of Gershom: Libni and Shimei.
3The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel.
4The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to their clans.
5Of Gershom: Libni his son, Jahath his son, Zimmah his son,
6 Joah his son, Iddo his son, Zerah his son and Jeatherai his son.
7The sons of Kohath: Amminadab his son, Korah his son, Assir his son,
8Elkanah his son, and Ebiasaph his son, Assir his son,
9Tahath his son, Uriel his son, Uzziah his son and Shaul his son.
10The sons of Elkanah: Amasai and Ahimoth,
11his son Elkanah, Zophai his son, Nahath his son,
12 Eliab his son, Jeroham his son, Elkanah his son.
13The sons of Samuel: his first-born Vashni, then Abiah.
14The sons of Merari: Mahli, Libni his son, Shimei his son, Uzzah his son,
15Shimea his son, Haggiah his son, Asaiah his son.
16Now these are the men David appointed to be in charge of the singing in the House of Adonai, after the Ark came to rest.
17They ministered with song in front of the Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting, until Solomon built the House of Adonai in Jerusalem. They carried out their avodah according to their regulations.
18These are the ones who took their station, with their sons. Of the sons of the Kohathites: Heman the singer, son of Joel, son of Samuel,
19son of Elkanah, son of Jeroham, son of Eliel, son of Toah,
20son of Zuph, son of Elkanah, son of Mahath, son of Amasai,
21son of Elkanah, son of Joel, son of Azariah, son of Zephaniah,
22son of Tahath, son of Assir, son of Ebiasaph, son of Korah,
23son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, son of Israel.
24His kinsman Asaph stood on his right—Asaph son of Berechiah, son of Shimea,
25son of Michael, son of Baaseiah, son of Malchijah,
26son of Ethni, son of Zerah, son of Adaiah,
27son of Ethan, son of Zimmah, son of Shimei,
28son of Jahath, son of Gershom, son of Levi.
29On the left hand their kinsmen the sons of Merari: Ethan son of Kishi, son of Abdi, son of Malluch,
30son of Hashabiah, son of Amaziah, son of Hilkiah,
31son of Amzi, son of Bani, son of Shemer,
32son of Mahli, son of Mushi, son of Merari, son of Levi.
33Their fellow Levites were appointed for all the avodah of the tabernacle of the House of God.
34But Aaron and his sons were the ones presenting offerings on the altar of burnt offering and on the altar of incense, for all the service of the Holy of Holies and to make atonement for Israel, according to all that Moses the servant of God had commanded.
35Now these are the sons of Aaron: Eleazar his son, Phineas his son, Abishua his son,
36Bukki his son, Uzzi his son, Zerahiah his son,
37Meraioth his son, Amariah his son, Ahitub his son,
38Zadok his son, Ahimaaz his son.

Towns and Lands for Levites

39Now these are their dwelling places according to their encampments in their territories. To Aaron’s sons of the Kohathite families (for theirs was the first lot),
40to them they assigned Hebron in the land of Judah, and the open land around it;
41but the fields of the city and the villages, they gave to Caleb son of Jephunneh.
42To sons of Aaron they gave the cities of refuge: Hebron, also Libnah with its open land, Jattir, Eshtemoa with its open land,
43Hilen with its open land, Debir with its open land,
44Ashan with its open land, and Beth-shemesh with its open land.
45From the tribe of Benjamin: Geba with its open land, and Alemeth with its open land, and Anathoth with its open land. They had 13 cities in all among their families.
46To the rest of the sons of Kohath ten cities were assigned by lot from the family of the half-tribe of Manasseh.
47To the sons of Gershom, according to their families, 13 cities were assigned from the tribe of Issachar, from the tribe of Asher, from tribe of Naphtali and from the tribe of Manasseh in Bashan.
48To the sons of Merari 12 cities were assigned by lot, according to their families, from the tribe of Reuben, from the tribe of Gad and from the tribe of Zebulun.
49So Bnei-Yisrael gave to the Levites the cities with their open land.
50They also assigned by lot from the tribe of the children of Judah, from the tribe of the children of Simeon, and from the tribe of the children of Benjamin, these cities that were mentioned by name.
51Some of the families of the sons of Kohath had cities of their territory from the tribe of Ephraim.
52They assigned to them as cities of refuge: Shechem in the hill-country of Ephraim with its open land, Gezer also with its open land,
53Jokmeam with its open land, Beth-horon with its open land
54Aijalon with its open land, and Gath-rimmon with its open land.
55Also from the half-tribe of Manasseh: Aner with its open land and Bileam with its open land, for the rest of the family of the sons of Kohath.
56To the sons of Gershom were assigned, from the family of the half-tribe of Manasseh, Golan in Bashan with its open land and Ashtaroth with its open land,
57and from the tribe of Issachar, Kedesh with its open land, Dobrath with its open land,
58Ramoth with its open land, and Anem with its open land,
59and from the tribe of Asher, Mashal with its open land, Abdon with its open land,
60Hukok with its open land, Rehob with its open land,
61and from the tribe of Naphtali, Kedesh in Galilee with its open land, Hammon with its open land and Kiriathaim with its open land.
62To the rest—the sons of Merari—were assigned, from the tribe of Zebulun, Rimmono with its open land, Tabor with its open land,
63and beyond the Jordan at Jericho, on the east side of the Jordan, from the tribe of Reuben, Bezer in the wilderness with its open land, Jahaz with its open land,
64Kedemoth with its open land, and Mephaath with its open land
65and from the tribe of Gad, Ramoth in Gilead with its open land, Mahanaim with its open land,
66Heshbon with its open land, and Jazer with its open land.

–from 1 Chronicles 6

God’s got a plan! Will you be ready to answer the call? Will you be ready to complete the work? Will you be ready to finish strong? Don’t lose hope and don’t give up!

Parable of the Day Laborers

1“For the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household, who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.
2Now when he had agreed with the workers for a denarius per day, he sent them into his vineyard.
3And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing in the marketplace, idle.
4And to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and I’ll give you whatever is right.’
5So they went. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour and did the same.
6And about the eleventh hour, he went out and found others standing around. And he said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle the whole day?’
7“‘Because no one hired us,’ they said to him. “He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard, too.’
8“Now when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning from the last to the first.’
9And those who had come about the eleventh hour each received a denarius.
10And when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; yet they too received a denarius.
11“But when they received it, they began to grumble against the master of the house,
12saying, ‘These last guys did one hour, and you’ve made them equal to us, who bore the burden and scorching heat of the day!’
13“But answering, he said to one of them, ‘Friend, I’m doing you no wrong. Didn’t you agree with me on a denarius?
14Take what is yours and go. But I want to give this last guy the same as you.
15Am I not permitted to do what I want with what belongs to me? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’
16“So the last will be first, and the first last.”

Third Prediction: Death and Resurrection

17Now as Yeshua was going up to Jerusalem, He took the Twelve aside privately; and on the way he told them,
18“Look, we’re going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the ruling kohanim and Torah scholars. They will condemn Him to death
19and hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify. Yet on the third day, He will be raised up.”

Leading by Serving

20Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came with her sons to Yeshua, and she was kneeling down and asking something from Him.
21“What do you want?” He said to her. She said to Him, “Declare that these two sons of mine might sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your kingdom.”
22But Yeshua replied, “You don’t know what you’re asking! Are you able to drink the cup I am about to drink?” “We are able,” they say to Him.
23He said to them, “You shall indeed drink My cup. But to sit on My right and left, this isn’t Mine to grant. Rather, it’s for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.”
24Now when the ten heard, they became indignant with the two brothers.
25But Yeshua called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the nations lord it over them, and their great ones play the tyrant over them.
26It shall not be this way among you. But whoever wants to be great among you shall be your servant,
27and whoever wants to be first among you shall be your slave—
28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

What Do You Want Me to Do for You?

29Now as they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him.
30And here two blind men sitting by the roadside, when they heard that Yeshua was passing by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Master, Ben-David!”
31The crowd warned them to be quiet, but they cried out all the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Master, Ben-David!”
32Yeshua stopped and called out to them. “What do you want Me to do for you?” He said.
33They said to Him, “Master, let our eyes be opened!”
34Moved with compassion, Yeshua touched their eyes. Instantly they regained their sight and followed Him.

–from Matthew 20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are you asking for? Do you realize what will happen if you get what you want?


Consider closely what you are asking for. Consider the consequences and the reason for the ask. Consider the benefits and the drawbacks. Consider how your priorities should be. Consider your needs vs your wants. What are you asking for? Do you realize what will happen if you get what you want? What is your heart in that area? What is your intent? What is your reason? What is your purpose?

Is God enough? Is there any reason you might try to do God plus? Is there any reason why you might try inserting someone else into part of the areas that God takes care of? Are you rejecting him?

Today’s reading start in 1 Samuel when the people of Israel are asking for a king…

Israel Demands a King

1Now when Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges over Israel. 2The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second Abijah—they were judges in Beersheba. 3His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain—they took bribes and perverted justice. 4Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, 5and said to him, “Behold, you have grown old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us—like all the nations.” 6But the matter was displeasing in Samuel’s eyes when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to Adonai. 7Then Adonai said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you. For they have not rejected you, rather they have rejected Me from being king over them. 8Like all the deeds that they have done since the day I brought them out of Egypt to this day—forsaking Me and worshiping other gods—so they are doing to you also. 9So now, listen to their voice. However, you must earnestly forewarn them, and declare to them the rulings of the king who will reign over them.” 10Now Samuel reported all the words of Adonai to the people who were asking him for a king. 11“This will be the practice of the king that will reign over you,” he said. “He will draft your sons and assign them as his charioteers and horsemen, and they will run before his chariots. 12He will appoint them as commanders of thousands and captains of fifties, also some to plow his fields, reap his harvest, make his weapons of war and the equipment for his chariots. 13Also he will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks and bakers. 14He will seize the best of your fields, vineyards and olive groves, and give them to his courtiers. 15He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage and give it to his officials and slaves. 16He will also take your male and female servants, your best young men and your donkeys and make them do his work. 17He will also take the tenth of your flocks. Then you yourselves will become his slaves. 18When the day comes and you cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, Adonai will not answer you on that day.” 19But the people refused to listen to Samuel, and they said, “No! But a king should be over us! 20So we may become like all the nations—having our king who will judge us, go out before us and fight our battles.” 21After Samuel heard all the words of the people, he reported them back in the hearing of Adonai. 22Adonai said to Samuel, “Listen to their voice and appoint a king to reign for them.” So Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Go, each one to his town.”

–from 1 Samuel 8

Consider the warning signs. Consider the consequences. Realize you will need to live with your decision. We all have free wills and as such we get to choose, so choose wisely!

Do you realize that in the midst of the daily things, God can raise you up? Do you realize within the mundane or boring tasks of a day, God can open up a door you didn’t even realize was available? God has a plan! God has a purpose! How will you respond? How will you act? How will you be? When you are wondering or having questions where do you turn? Will you turn and ask God? Will you ask a friend who has godly wisdom? Will you ask someone who has faith and will pray and give you an answer?

Saul Meets Samuel

1Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish son of Abiel son of Zeror son of Becorath son of Aphiah son of a Benjamite. He was a mighty man of valor 2and he had a son whose name was Saul—young and handsome—there was no one among Bnei-Yisrael better than him. From his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people. 3Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. So Kish said to his son Saul, “Take now one of the servants with you, get up and look for the donkeys.” 4So he passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then he passed through the land of Benjamin, but still did not find them. 5When they arrived in the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant with him, “Come, let’s go back—otherwise my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and start worrying about us.” 6Then his servant said to him, “Behold now, there is a man of God in this town, and he is a man held in honor—everything he says is sure to come true. Now, let’s go there. Perhaps he’ll tell us the way we should go.” 7Then said Saul to his servant, “But look, if we go, what would we bring the man? For the bread is gone from our sacks, and there is nothing to bring to the man of God as a present. What do we have?” 8The servant answered Saul again and said, “Behold, I have in my hand a quarter of a shekel of silver. I will give it to the man of God and he will tell us our way.” 9(Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he said, “Come, let’s go to the seer”—for today’s prophet was formerly called a seer.) 10Then Saul said to his servant, “Well said. Come, let’s go!” So they went to the town where the man of God was. 11As they went up the hill to the town, they found some girls going out to draw water, and they asked them, “Is the seer here?” 12They answered them and said, “He is there, ahead of you. Hurry now, for he has come today to the town because people have a sacrifice at the high place today. 13As soon as you enter the town, you’ll find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. For the people will not eat until he comes, because he must first bless the sacrifice—afterward the guests can eat. So now, get up, for you will find him at once.” 14So they went up to the town. As they were entering the town, behold, Samuel was coming out toward them to go up to the high place. 15One day before Saul came, Adonai had revealed to Samuel saying: 16“Tomorrow about this time, I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you will anoint him ruler over My people Israel. He will deliver My people from the hand of the Philistines. I have observed My people, because their cry has come to Me.” 17When Samuel saw Saul, Adonai spoke to him, “Behold, this is the man I told you about. This one will govern My people.” 18Then Saul approached Samuel inside the gate and asked, “Tell me, please, where the seer’s house is?” 19Samuel answered Saul by saying, “I am the seer. Go up ahead of me to the high place. For today you will eat with me. In the morning when I send you off, I will tell you everything that is in your heart. 20As for the donkeys that you lost three days ago, don’t set your heart on them, for they have been found. Now, for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father’s household?” 21Saul answered by saying, “Am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my clan is the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? So why do you say such things to me?” 22Then Samuel took Saul and his servant and brought them into the hall, and gave them a place at the head of the guests, who numbered about 30 people. 23Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the portion that I gave you and told you to set aside.” 24So the cook took up the thigh, raised it, and set it before Saul. Then he said, “Here is what has been reserved! Set it before you and eat, because it has been kept until this appointed time for you, since I said, ‘I have invited the people.’” So Saul ate with Samuel that day. 25When they came down from the high place to the town, he spoke with Saul on the roof. 26They rose early, and at daybreak Samuel called to Saul on the roof saying, “Get up, so I may send you off.” So Saul got up, and both of them, he and Samuel, went outside. 27As they were going down toward the edge of town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell your servant to go ahead of us and pass on, but as for you, stand still awhile, so that I may proclaim to you the word of God.”

–from 1 Samuel 9

Don’t let success or position or power go to your head! Stay humble! Stay with a servant’s heart! Don’t try to go it alone, put your trust in God! Success can be one of the biggest challenges and struggles in life! So realize it, prepare for it, and press through it with God and in God’s way!

Do you realize how God’s views are different from those of the world! Do you realize the importance of attitude? Do you realize it is possible to be content in every situation? Do you realize that you have a purpose? Do you realize that you are to make a difference? Do you realize that you are supposed to be different? Do you realize that you are being called to a higher standard? Do you realize your response is supposed to be different? Do you realize you are to respond with love? Do you realize that means even if someone is attacking or hating you? So what will you do now that you do know?

Drash on the Mountain

1Now when Yeshua saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain. And after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.
2And He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.
8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.
12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great! For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Called to Be Salt and Light

13“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt should lose its flavor, how shall it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.
14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on a lampstand so it gives light to all in the house.
16In the same way, let your light shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Filling the Law to the Fullest

17“Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets! I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.
18Amen, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or serif shall ever pass away from the Torah until all things come to pass.
19Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever keeps and teaches them, this one shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees and Torah scholars, you shall never enter the kingdom of heaven!
21“You have heard it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever commits murder shall be subject to judgment.’
22But I tell you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca’ shall be subject to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be subject to fiery Gehenna.
23“Therefore if you are presenting your offering upon the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,
24leave your offering there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.
25“Make friends quickly with your opponent while you are with him on the way. Otherwise, your opponent may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the assistant, and you will be thrown into prison.
26Amen, I tell you, you will never get out of there until you have paid back the last penny!
27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
28But I tell you that everyone who looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29And if your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away! It is better for you that one part of your body should be destroyed, than that your whole body be thrown into Gehenna.
30And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away! It is better for you that one part of your body should be destroyed, than that your whole body go into Gehenna.
31“It was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’
32But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
33“Again, you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall carry out your oaths to Adonai.’
34But I tell you, do not swear at all—not by heaven, for it is the throne of God;
35or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.
36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black.
37But let your word ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’—anything more than this is from the evil one.”

Overcoming Evil with Good

38“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’
39But I tell you, do not resist an evildoer. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him also the other.
40And the one wanting to sue you and to take your shirt, let him also have your coat.
41Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
42Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they?
47And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than anyone else? Even the pagans do that, don’t they?
48Therefore be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

–from Matthew 5

 

 

 

Contentment!


Can you be happy? Can you be satisfied? Can you be at peace? Do you find pleasure in your work? Do you find fulfillment in your work? Can you be content no matter what is going on around you? Can you stand firm? or will you be swayed by the winds of the time? Can you be content no matter what is going on?

Today’s reading starts on this topic…

12I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

–from Philippians 4:12

Do you know what the key is? Do you know the source of making this possible? It’s called out verse 13 when it says “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.“.

When your source is bigger than you, it makes the smaller things small in comparison and allows you to be and remain content!

Do you realize the difference between contentment and complacency?

Contentment

Complacency

contentment complacency

Do you remember in a previous set of posts that spoke about the gifts and talents and how we need to be good stewards? Do you remember the one guy who just put his talent in the dirt so that he wouldn’t lose it? He allowed fear to keep him from fulfilling his calling and ended up being considered lazy!

God has given you talents in accordance to your abilities! His desire is for us (as we read in Genesis) is to be fruitful and multiply!

So be a good steward and use them to your full potential!

Today’s reading goes and revisits the parable of the talents told by Jesus so let’s consider what we have been given and how we can be good stewards of those gifts and talents in order to get to hear “well done my good and faithful servant”…

14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15To one he gave five talents,to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

–from Matthew 25

Consider the talents you have! Consider the gifts you have been given!

So will you accept Jesus and receive the transforming power of His love into your heart?

Will you allow Him to be your Lord and Savior? For He will be your strength! He will be your way – for all things are possible through Him!

Today’s devotional (day 5 from Finding Fulfillment in Work) talks to the subject as follows:

Finding Contentment

What does it mean to be content in your work? In seasons of prosperity, it’s much easier to be content than in seasons of dryness, despair, doubt, and wandering. Although, many people may find the perfect job and still find themselves wanting more. Finding fulfillment in difficult seasons often begins with being content where God has us. It’s important to remember, however, that contentment is not complacency.

In the parable of the talents, a master issues talents (a large sum of money) each to three servants according to their abilities. The servant who receives one talent is afraid to risk that which is given to him by the master, so he does not put his resources to work. The master rebukes him for his laziness.

In this parable, the lazy servant neglects the desires of the master to grow his investment. The servant’s satisfaction with one talent leads him to mismanage his resources. Contentment of this kind can also look like complacency, laziness, or idleness. Faithfully stewarding the gifts God has given us should always motivate us to create as much value as possible to his glory.

In Philippians, the Apostle Paul shares about contentment in a different light. His secret to finding contentment in any situation is to strive to do what God has called him to do. Real contentment is not being satisfied with what we have or where we are in life. It transcends any one situation or job. It is working diligently to glorify God, serve the common good, and further the kingdom of God in everything we do.

A heavenly perspective changes the way we look at our work. With this perspective, it’s possible to find fulfillment in a job that isn’t a perfect fit. Recognizing that you can honor God, work diligently, and serve others no matter what you are doing frees you to look for God’s redemptive story in your life in every season.

Seasons of unemployment or underemployment can make it difficult to feel truly fulfilled. It’s important to remember that fulfillment and satisfaction can come in any job with the right heart and mind focused on God.

Pursuing a God-pleasing posture at work with the help of the Holy Spirit can powerfully change your heart and mind and in turn, change the way you view your work.

Are you content in your job? Are you using your gifts and talents to the best of your ability?

–from day 5 from Finding Fulfillment in Work

Let’s be thankful today for the gifts and talents God has given us!

Let’s be thankful today for all the people He has brought into our lives!

Let’s be thankful today that God send Jesus not to condemn the world, but to save it!

Let’s be thankful today that God opens doors of opportunity we would never have known about but that He has prepared in advance for us to walk through in order for us to accomplish His will!

Let’s be thankful today for the favor of God!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Do you believe?


Do you have to see it to believe it? If you saw it, would you recognize it and believe? If you saw it, would you receive it? Do you realize the benefits of receiving and believing?

Do you believe?


So let’s consider these questions with today’s Word…

The Word of Life

1In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2From the very beginning the Word was with God. 3Through him God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him. 4The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out. 6God sent his messenger, a man named John, 7who came to tell people about the light, so that all should hear the message and believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came to tell about the light. 9This was the real light—the light that comes into the world and shines on all people. 10The Word was in the world, and though God made the world through him, yet the world did not recognize him. 11He came to his own country, but his own people did not receive him. 12Some, however, did receive him and believed in him; so he gave them the right to become God’s children. 13They did not become God’s children by natural means, that is, by being born as the children of a human father; God himself was their Father. 14The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father’s only Son. 15John spoke about him. He cried out, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘He comes after me, but he is greater than I am, because he existed before I was born.’” 16Out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another. 17God gave the Law through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is the same as God and is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. –from John 1

Believing is what allows us to be children of God! It’s not natural, it’s spiritual birth into the kingdom of God! Jesus cam that we may have life and life to the full! Jesus came that we could spend eternity with God rather than separated because we miss the mark. So let’s grab a hold of Jesus and live our lives in relationship with Him.

Just because we believe and start the relationship, it doesn’t mean that we won’t face challenges and trials. In reality we’ve become a greater threat to the devil and he will try to knock us off course and keep us from sharing the incredible love and joy we find, not despite challenges, but in spite of challenges because we know Jesus and He helps us get through it. It doesn’t hold us back, but rather it prepares us so that we can be complete and lacking nothing! God will grant us the wisdom we need in and through it, if we will just ask. Or as James puts it, we should consider it pure joy when we face challenges of any kind. Let’s check out what he says as it is the next part of today’s reading…

1From James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ:Greetings to all God’s people scattered over the whole world.

Faith and Wisdom

2My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, 3for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. 4Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all. 6But when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind. 7-8If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord.

Poverty and Riches

9Those Christians who are poor must be glad when God lifts them up, 10and the rich Christians must be glad when God brings them down. For the rich will pass away like the flower of a wild plant. 11The sun rises with its blazing heat and burns the plant; its flower falls off, and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way the rich will be destroyed while they go about their business.

–from James 1

There is a reason and a hope that comes from living a life with God rather than apart from God! There is hope when you have a living relationship with Jesus that doesn’t exist apart from God! Trying to go it along without God will feel empty and lacking!

Let’s consider the words of Ecclesiastes…

Life Is Useless

1These are the words of the Philosopher, David’s son, who was king in Jerusalem. 2It is useless, useless, said the Philosopher. Life is useless, all useless. 3You spend your life working, laboring, and what do you have to show for it? 4Generations come and generations go, but the world stays just the same. 5The sun still rises, and it still goes down, going wearily back to where it must start all over again. 6The wind blows south, the wind blows north—round and round and back again. 7Every river flows into the sea, but the sea is not yet full. The water returns to where the rivers began, and starts all over again. 8Everything leads to weariness—a weariness too great for words. Our eyes can never see enough to be satisfied; our ears can never hear enough. 9What has happened before will happen again. What has been done before will be done again. There is nothing new in the whole world. 10“Look,” they say, “here is something new!” But no, it has all happened before, long before we were born. 11No one remembers what has happened in the past, and no one in days to come will remember what happens between now and then.

The Philosopher’s Experience

12I, the Philosopher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13I determined that I would examine and study all the things that are done in this world.God has laid a miserable fate upon us. 14I have seen everything done in this world, and I tell you, it is all useless. It is like chasing the wind. 15You can’t straighten out what is crooked; you can’t count things that aren’t there. 16I told myself, “I have become a great man, far wiser than anyone who ruled Jerusalem before me. I know what wisdom and knowledge really are.” 17I was determined to learn the difference between knowledge and foolishness, wisdom and madness. But I found out that I might as well be chasing the wind. 18The wiser you are, the more worries you have; the more you know, the more it hurts.

–from Ecclesiastes 1

It’s never too late to make a change!


Some may think they have gone too far, they have fallen too far, they have walked to far away to be able to recover or rebound. The Bible says that He will never leave you nor forsake you. The story of the lost son speaks to how much the father is looking for the son to come to his senses and come back. God is Love! God is Good, not just some times, but all the time! Some people are looking for the opportunity to reconcile. Some people are living the “good life” until it runs out and then wonder what happened and what can they do now. The reality is that when we turn back and begin to follow after Jesus, that is the beginning of the good life, the real good life. Is it easy? No, for God’s Word tells us that in this world we will have trouble, however, there is now hope for God’s Word doesn’t end there but continues with take heart for I have overcome the world. Jesus will provide us with wisdom and direction. Jesus allows us to have hope and not grow discouraged. It may not be easy, but it will definitely be worth it because we know the destination. God’s Word tells us (when you read the end of the book, the book of Revelation) that Jesus wins! The devil is defeated and then everything is different! No more pain! No more suffering! No more sickness! And when we turn back and give our lives over to Jesus, there is a peace that goes beyond all understanding. Jesus helps us to carry that weight on our shoulders. Jesus provides a reason for the hope that is within us. God provides “one another” so that we can come together and help each other through the tough times and to celebrate together in the victories. So no matter how far you have gone, how far you have fallen, don’t wait till you hit rock bottom before you turn back to God and cry out to Him and ask Him for help, ask Him for forgiveness, ask Him back into your life so that you can start the journey to recovery, restoration, and renewal.

Today’s reading starts with a man named Levi who Jesus calls…

27After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting in his office. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” 28Levi got up, left everything, and followed him. 29Then Levi had a big feast in his house for Jesus, and among the guests was a large number of tax collectors and other people. 30Some Pharisees and some teachers of the Law who belonged to their group complained to Jesus’ disciples. “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and other outcasts?” they asked. 31Jesus answered them, “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. 32I have not come to call respectable people to repent, but outcasts.” –Luke 5:27-32

God is our healer! God is our savior! God is our everlasting hope in times of need! With Jesus, bodies can be healed, relationships can be healed, lives can be healed! There is hope! Don’t give up! Get up and turn back to God! Ask Jesus into your heart! He will forgive you if you will ask Him. He is the God of the 2nd chances. Know how many times we are supposed to forgive and it speaks to the number of times we can be forgiven? Not 7 times, but 7×70 times. So remember it’s not too late! Why not choose today?

For those who have turned back, shine your light! There is a dark world out there which doesn’t offer much hope to the world around it. But you can shine your light of hope and provide that glimmer of hope that others need. Wondering how to do that? Today’s reading speaks to this … stop complaining and arguing! offer a message of life and of hope! be glad and share your joy!

Shining as Lights in the World

12So then, dear friends, as you always obeyed me when I was with you, it is even more important that you obey me now while I am away from you. Keep on working with fear and trembling to complete your salvation, 13because God is always at work in you to make you willing and able to obey his own purpose. 14Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may be innocent and pure as God’s perfect children, who live in a world of corrupt and sinful people. You must shine among them like stars lighting up the sky, 16as you offer them the message of life. If you do so, I shall have reason to be proud of you on the Day of Christ, because it will show that all my effort and work have not been wasted. 17Perhaps my life’s blood is to be poured out like an offering on the sacrifice that your faith offers to God. If that is so, I am glad and share my joy with you all. 18In the same way, you too must be glad and share your joy with me.
–Philippians 2:12-17

So whether you need hope or you have hope there is something that you can and should be doing. Stick with God! Turn back to God! There is hope! Share that hope! Receive that hope! Grab onto the truth and hold onto that hope!

137You are righteous, Lord, and your laws are just.
138The rules that you have given are completely fair and right.
139My anger burns in me like a fire, because my enemies disregard your commands.
140How certain your promise is! How I love it!
141I am unimportant and despised, but I do not neglect your teachings.
142Your righteousness will last forever, and your law is always true.
143I am filled with trouble and anxiety, but your commandments bring me joy.
144Your instructions are always just; give me understanding, and I shall live.

–Psalm 119:137-144

Do you know Him? It’s the most important thing you can do!


It’s not about routine and rituals. It’s not about head knowledge. It’s not about hearing about Him. It’s not about reading about Him.

It’s all about knowing Him and building a relationship with Him!


Today’s reading comes from Philippians 3-4, Psalm 21:

To Know Him Personally

1And that’s about it, friends. Be glad in God!
I don’t mind repeating what I have written in earlier letters, and I hope you don’t mind hearing it again. Better safe than sorry—so here goes.
2-6Steer clear of the barking dogs, those religious busybodies, all bark and no bite. All they’re interested in is appearances—knife-happy circumcisers, I call them. The real believers are the ones the Spirit of God leads to work away at this ministry, filling the air with Christ’s praise as we do it. We couldn’t carry this off by our own efforts, and we know it—even though we can list what many might think are impressive credentials. You know my pedigree: a legitimate birth, circumcised on the eighth day; an Israelite from the elite tribe of Benjamin; a strict and devout adherent to God’s law; a fiery defender of the purity of my religion, even to the point of persecuting the church; a meticulous observer of everything set down in God’s law Book.
7-9The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.
10-11I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.

Focused on the Goal

12-14I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.
15-16So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.
17-19Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.
20-21But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.
— Philippians 3

It’s a journey not a stop!

So let’s not give up! Let’s press on! Let’s grow into everything God desires for us to be! Let’s keep moving forward and stop giving the past any power to stop us or keep us from being who God created us to be!


Let’s pray! Let’s be in constant contact and communication with God! Don’t worry, pray! Be content in every situation!

My dear, dear friends! I love you so much. I do want the very best for you. You make me feel such joy, fill me with such pride. Don’t waver. Stay on track, steady in God.

Pray About Everything

2I urge Euodia and Syntyche to iron out their differences and make up. God doesn’t want his children holding grudges.
3And, oh, yes, Syzygus, since you’re right there to help them work things out, do your best with them. These women worked for the Message hand in hand with Clement and me, and with the other veterans—worked as hard as any of us. Remember, their names are also in the Book of Life.
4-5Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!
6-7Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
8-9Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Content Whatever the Circumstances

10-14I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.
15-17You Philippians well know, and you can be sure I’ll never forget it, that when I first left Macedonia province, venturing out with the Message, not one church helped out in the give-and-take of this work except you. You were the only one. Even while I was in Thessalonica, you helped out—and not only once, but twice. Not that I’m looking for handouts, but I do want you to experience the blessing that issues from generosity.
18-20And now I have it all—and keep getting more! The gifts you sent with Epaphroditus were more than enough, like a sweet-smelling sacrifice roasting on the altar, filling the air with fragrance, pleasing God no end. You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes.
21-22Give our regards to every follower of Jesus you meet. Our friends here say hello. All the Christians here, especially the believers who work in the palace of Caesar, want to be remembered to you.
23Receive and experience the amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, deep, deep within yourselves.
— Philippians 4

A David Psalm

1-7Your strength, God, is the king’s strength.
Helped, he’s hollering Hosannas.
You gave him exactly what he wanted;
you didn’t hold back.
You filled his arms with gifts;
you gave him a right royal welcome.
He wanted a good life; you gave it to him,
and then made it a long life as a bonus.
You lifted him high and bright as a cumulus cloud,
then dressed him in rainbow colors.
You pile blessings on him;
you make him glad when you smile.
Is it any wonder the king loves God?
that he’s sticking with the Best?
8-12With a fistful of enemies in one hand
and a fistful of haters in the other,
You radiate with such brilliance
that they cringe as before a furnace.
Now the furnace swallows them whole,
the fire eats them alive!
You purge the earth of their progeny,
you wipe the slate clean.
All their evil schemes, the plots they cook up,
have fizzled—every one.
You sent them packing;
they couldn’t face you.
13Show your strength, God, so no one can miss it.
We are out singing the good news!
— Psalm 21

It doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference!


Do you have any? Even just a little bit? What are you going to do with it? What are you doing with it? Do you realize the potential is? Even if you only have a little bit? Don’t give up! Don’t quit! There is hope even when you only have a little! A little hope is huge! A little forgiveness is huge! A little faith is huge!


 

If we start with the story of a poppy seed or mustard seed – so small but a big example we read:

1-2He said to his disciples, “Hard trials and temptations are bound to come, but too bad for whoever brings them on! Better to wear a millstone necklace and take a swim in the deep blue sea than give even one of these dear little ones a hard time!
3-4“Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him. Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him.”
5The apostles came up and said to the Master, “Give us more faith.”
6But the Master said, “You don’t need more faith. There is no ‘more’ or ‘less’ in faith. If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a poppy seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it would do it.
7-10“Suppose one of you has a servant who comes in from plowing the field or tending the sheep. Would you take his coat, set the table, and say, ‘Sit down and eat’? Wouldn’t you be more likely to say, ‘Prepare dinner; change your clothes and wait table for me until I’ve finished my coffee; then go to the kitchen and have your supper’? Does the servant get special thanks for doing what’s expected of him? It’s the same with you. When you’ve done everything expected of you, be matter-of-fact and say, ‘The work is done. What we were told to do, we did.’”
11-13It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14-16Taking a good look at them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”
They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan.
17-19Jesus said, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” Then he said to him, “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.”
— Luke 17

In other versions it speaks of a mustard seed instead:

5 The apostles said to the Lord, Increase our faith (that trust and confidence that spring from our belief in God). 6 And the Lord answered, If you had faith (trust and confidence in God) even [so small] like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, Be pulled up by the roots, and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you.
–Luke 17 (AMP)

So have faith, allow that little bit of hope and faith within you to kindle a new fire, a revival fire within you that will prepare you to help transform the world around you. Don’t give up! There is so much more to come.

Don’t be fooled! In God’s Word, we know how Jesus is going to come back, so don’t allow frauds or fakes to trick you into thinking otherwise. Many will try to trick you, but stick with a good crew who are teaching God’s Word from God’s Word and not their own ideas! When the time comes, don’t turn back! As I say sometimes in my own house, no going back, only going forward! 🙂

20-21Jesus, grilled by the Pharisees on when the kingdom of God would come, answered, “The kingdom of God doesn’t come by counting the days on the calendar. Nor when someone says, ‘Look here!’ or, ‘There it is!’ And why? Because God’s kingdom is already among you.”
22-24He went on to say to his disciples, “The days are coming when you are going to be desperately homesick for just a glimpse of one of the days of the Son of Man, and you won’t see a thing. And they’ll say to you, ‘Look over there!’ or, ‘Look here!’ Don’t fall for any of that nonsense. The arrival of the Son of Man is not something you go out to see. He simply comes.
24-25You know how the whole sky lights up from a single flash of lightning? That’s how it will be on the Day of the Son of Man. But first it’s necessary that he suffer many things and be turned down by the people of today.
26-27The time of the Son of Man will be just like the time of Noah—everyone carrying on as usual, having a good time right up to the day Noah boarded the ship. They suspected nothing until the flood hit and swept everything away.
28-30It was the same in the time of Lot—the people carrying on, having a good time, business as usual right up to the day Lot walked out of Sodom and a firestorm swept down and burned everything to a crisp. That’s how it will be—sudden, total—when the Son of Man is revealed.
31-33“When the Day arrives and you’re out working in the yard, don’t run into the house to get anything. And if you’re out in the field, don’t go back and get your coat. Remember what happened to Lot’s wife! If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, you’ll lose it, but if you let that life go, you’ll get life on God’s terms.
34-35“On that Day, two men will be in the same boat fishing—one taken, the other left. Two women will be working in the same kitchen—one taken, the other left.”
37Trying to take all this in, the disciples said, “Master, where?”
He told them, “Watch for the circling of the vultures. They’ll spot the corpse first. The action will begin around my dead body.”
— Luke 17

Pray without ceasing! Don’t give up! Keep asking! Keep seeking! Keep knocking! Don’t give up!

1-3Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit. He said, “There was once a judge in some city who never gave God a thought and cared nothing for people. A widow in that city kept after him: ‘My rights are being violated. Protect me!’
4-5“He never gave her the time of day. But after this went on and on he said to himself, ‘I care nothing what God thinks, even less what people think. But because this widow won’t quit badgering me, I’d better do something and see that she gets justice—otherwise I’m going to end up beaten black-and-blue by her pounding.’”
6-8Then the Master said, “Do you hear what that judge, corrupt as he is, is saying? So what makes you think God won’t step in and work justice for his chosen people, who continue to cry out for help? Won’t he stick up for them? I assure you, he will. He will not drag his feet. But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?”
— Luke 18

Do you want to be right with God? Do you want to look all that or really be ok?

9-12He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’
13“Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’”
14Jesus commented, “This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.
15-17People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. “Let these children alone. Don’t get between them and me. These children are the kingdom’s pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.”
— Luke 18

Do you really want to have eternal life? Do you really want to live with God forever?

Where your treasure is so will your heart be. What’s impossible for man is possible with God! Don’t give up! There is still hope! Have faith even if it is small! Trust in Him!

18One day one of the local officials asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to deserve eternal life?”
19-20Jesus said, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good—only God. You know the commandments, don’t you? No illicit sex, no killing, no stealing, no lying, honor your father and mother.”
21He said, “I’ve kept them all for as long as I can remember.”
22When Jesus heard that, he said, “Then there’s only one thing left to do: Sell everything you own and give it away to the poor. You will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
23This was the last thing the official expected to hear. He was very rich and became terribly sad. He was holding on tight to a lot of things and not about to let them go.
24-25Seeing his reaction, Jesus said, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who have it all to enter God’s kingdom? I’d say it’s easier to thread a camel through a needle’s eye than get a rich person into God’s kingdom.”
26“Then who has any chance at all?” the others asked.
27“No chance at all,” Jesus said, “if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.”
28Peter tried to regain some initiative: “We left everything we owned and followed you, didn’t we?”
29-30“Yes,” said Jesus, “and you won’t regret it. No one who has sacrificed home, spouse, brothers and sisters, parents, children—whatever—will lose out. It will all come back multiplied many times over in your lifetime. And then the bonus of eternal life!”
— Luke 18

God wants us to get it! God wants us to understand! God wants to take that little seed of faith and help it grow! That’s why He gave us His Word!

31-34Then Jesus took the Twelve off to the side and said, “Listen carefully. We’re on our way up to Jerusalem. Everything written in the Prophets about the Son of Man will take place. He will be handed over to the Romans, jeered at, made sport of, and spit on. Then, after giving him the third degree, they will kill him. In three days he will rise, alive.” But they didn’t get it, could make neither heads nor tails of what he was talking about.
— Luke 18

Don’t just be quiet! Go after it like you can’t live without it! Allow that little seed of faith to prompt you and lead you and guide you! Allow your life to be transformed because you go after it like it matters!

35-37He came to the outskirts of Jericho. A blind man was sitting beside the road asking for handouts. When he heard the rustle of the crowd, he asked what was going on. They told him, “Jesus the Nazarene is going by.”
38He yelled, “Jesus! Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”
39Those ahead of Jesus told the man to shut up, but he only yelled all the louder, “Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”
40Jesus stopped and ordered him to be brought over. When he had come near, Jesus asked, “What do you want from me?”
41He said, “Master, I want to see again.”
42-43Jesus said, “Go ahead—see again! Your faith has saved and healed you!” The healing was instant: He looked up, seeing—and then followed Jesus, glorifying God. Everyone in the street joined in, shouting praise to God.
— Luke 18

So today is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s meditate on His Word daily! His Word will speak to us right where we are at! Don’t just sit on the side of the road, but let’s pursue after Him so that we can be touched and transformed so that we can live the life that He so planned and desired for us to live! It doesn’t take a lot, and we have to step out with what we have to allow His miraculous touch to transform our life and the lives of those around us. Don’t be held back by fear, rather step out in faith and see God’s hand work in and through your life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.