Category Archives: Control

How much can you trust?


So you wanted vision or visibility or insight… So you got some, now what? Did it help you or did it cause more questions to get raised? Did it clarify the things you wondered about or did it generate more questions? Who will you put your trust in? Will you trust that if God brought you to it that He will bring you through it? Will you trust that God is in control? Will you trust that God puts the people who are in authority into authority? Will you trust Him even when it doesn’t make sense? Will you trust Him even when it seems to go against what you had been told? Will you trust Him? Now ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and discernment about the plans being made around you. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and discernment if you are in need to speak up or speak out or even just question. Ask the Holy Spirit to cover you with His peace that surpasses all understanding. Be still and know that God is God! Listen carefully for the still and quiet voice. Walk in alignment and obedience to God’s instruction and direction.


Day 221: 2020 Hindsight
— The 49-Week Challenge – Day 22 —

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 22 link above or want to join link here to join me and sign up.

Let’s share our takeaways from today’s reading! Did you catch and promises to trust? Did you catch any commands to obey? Did you catch any truths to embrace? Did you catch any warnings to heed? Did you catch any encouragement to rest in? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the world? What verse stood out most to you today?

If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.


Today’s reading from God’s Word – the Bible comes to us from: (I have chosen to use NIV translation, but feel free to choose whichever version you feel more comfortable with)


My Notes:

  • Do you realize the power of Jesus to change the situation or circumstance?
  • Do you realize the wisdom of Jesus to know where you are at and know what you have need of before you even ask?
  • Do you trust Jesus in the middle of the storm?
  • Do you trust Jesus in the midst of the waves?
  • Do you trust that God’s timing is perfect?
  • Do you trust that God won’t give you more than He knows you can handle?
  • Do you realize that Jesus isn’t out there somewhere but He is right here with us?
  • Are you willing to do whatever Jesus tells you to do?
  • Will you trust Him enough to do it even if it seems like more than you can do?
  • Will you stand up for what is right? Will you stand up for what is just?
  • Will you choose to speak up and speak out for justice and righteousness?
  • Will you believe in Jesus?
  • What signs do people see that you are a follower of Jesus?
  • What does the dream mean? Are you able to interpret the vision? Are you able to interpret the plans?
  • Don’t lose hope even if you have to wait for you will be remembered.
  • Point people to God for wisdom and interpretation.
  • Receive what God is telling you to do. Do it!
  • God has a purpose and a plan for you!
  • Be prompt in doing what God is telling you to do, don’t wait and be ruined, instead allow the Spirit of God in you to lead and guide you so that God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name.
  • Remember what you have learned!
  • Walk with humility and wisdom
  • Forget all your troubles and remember how God has made you fruitful.
  • Live out your today as a living sacrifice to God
  • Live out your day with Jesus as your Lord and Savior for He gave up His life in order that you can be saved and reconciled back to God
  • We are the children of the Lord our God
  • God so loves us that He sent Jesus to make a way when we couldn’t make a way in our own strength or power
  • Be generous! Walk in a spirit of generosity! Whatever you give, do so joyfully for God loves a cheerful giver.
  • God’s plan for you is for good and not for evil. God’s plan is to give you a hope and a future. God’s plan was so filled with love that He sent Jesus to pay the price and make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way. We need to remember what we have learned and so walk out our lives with wisdom in humility. God knows right where you are at and even knows what you have need of before you ask. So trust in God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and pursue Him and His will every step of the day! Let’s delight ourselves in the Lord in order that we can receive the desires of our heart!

As day 22 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not join me in this prayer?

Did you pray with me? Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision? Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Today’s devotional comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit www.life.church — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through Bible.com

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


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


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

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 13 link above or want to join link here to join me and sign up.

Let’s share our takeaways from today’s reading! Did you catch and promises to trust? Did you catch any commands to obey? Did you catch any truths to embrace? Did you catch any warnings to heed? Did you catch any encouragement to rest in? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the world? What verse stood out most to you today?

If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.


Today’s reading from God’s Word – the Bible comes to us from: (I have chosen to use NIV translation, but feel free to choose whichever version you feel more comfortable with)


My Notes:

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

As day 13 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not join me in this prayer?

Did you pray with me? Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision? Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Today’s devotional comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit www.life.church — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through Bible.com

Merry Christmas Everyone…


The Book of Job. – Day 43

As this day begins I consider back over 2000 years to the time when the gift of hope, peace, and love were given by God to a world in need, a gift to last for all of eternity, a gift that would provide a message from angels to shepherds of joy, a gift that would provide us with hope beyond our circumstances, a gift that would bring us peace that surpasses all understanding, and a gift of love, so great a love that God sent His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life!

No matter where you are at, God loves you. No matter what you have done, God loves you. No matter who you are, God loves you. No matter when you decide to accept the gift of God, God loves you. No matter why you did, God loves you. No matter how you came to the realization and reality, God loves you. He created you on purpose, with purpose, for a purpose. He created you with a freewill so that without force and without coercion, you can decide if you will choose to receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. When you consider the laws of the land, it is interesting to see how many point back to God’s will and plans. God created us in His own image! God has given us freewill to choose what we will do with our lives, how will we live our lives, and where we will spend eternity when our time on earth is complete.

So today on this time when the world celebrates Christmas, will you make the decision freely to choose to receive the gift of eternal life with God by receiving Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Are you ready to hear what God has to say about where you are at today? Are you ready to ask Him to help you understand? Are you ready to wait on Him no matter what your so called friends have to say? Are you ready to trust Him even when it is beyond your own understanding and acknowledge Him?

Will you listen for the still quiet voice? Will you shrug it off till you need to hear the big booming voice? What would or will it take for God to get your attention? Do you hear what I hear? Do you see what I see? Do you know what I know? Will you allow God to be God and live out your life with purpose, on purpose, and for His purpose? Will you trust Him enough to not worry or doubt or fear what is taking place through man made actions, behaviors, plans, and behaviors? Will you trust God even when you don’t understand what is taking place around you?


Today’s reading from God’s Word: Job 38

‘Then the L ord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, “Who is this that darkens counsel [questioning my authority and wisdom] By words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me! Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you know and have understanding. Who determined the measurements [of the earth], if you know? Or who stretched the [measuring] line on it? On what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God (angels) shouted for joy? “Or who enclosed the sea with doors When it burst forth and went out of the womb; When I made the clouds its garment And thick darkness its swaddling band, And marked for it My [appointed] boundary And set bars and doors [defining the shorelines], And said, ‘This far you shall come, but no farther; And here your proud waves shall stop’?

“ Since your days began, have you ever commanded the morning, And caused the dawn to know its place, So that light may take hold of the corners of the earth And shake the wickedness out of it? The earth is changed like clay into which a seal is pressed; And the things [of the earth] stand out like a [multi-colored] garment. Their light is withheld from the wicked, And the uplifted arm is broken. “Have you entered and explored the springs of the sea Or [have you] walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been revealed to you, Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? Have you understood the expanse of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this. “Where is the way where light dwells? And as for darkness, where is its place, That you may take it to its territory And that you may know the paths to its house? You [must] know, since you were born then, And because you are so extremely old! Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, Or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, Which I have reserved for the time of trouble, For the day of battle and war? Where is the way that the light is distributed, Or the east wind scattered over the earth? “Who has prepared a channel for the torrents of rain and for the flood, Or a path for the thunderbolt, To bring rain on the uninhabited land, And on the desert where no man lives, To satisfy the barren and desolate ground And to make the seeds of grass to sprout? Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew? Out of whose womb has come the ice? And the frost of heaven, who has given it birth? Water becomes like stone [and hides itself], And the surface of the deep is frozen and imprisoned. “Can you bind the chains of [the cluster of stars called] Pleiades, Or loose the cords of [the constellation] Orion? Can you lead forth a constellation in its season, And guide [the stars of] the Bear with her sons? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens, Or [can you] establish their rule over the earth? “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, So that an abundance of water will cover you? Can you send forth lightnings that they may go And say to you, ‘Here we are’? Who has put wisdom in the innermost being [of man, or in the layers of clouds] Or given understanding to the mind [of man, or to the heavenly display]? Who can count the clouds by [earthly] wisdom, Or pour out the water jars of the heavens, When the dust hardens into a mass And the clods stick together [because of the heat]? “Can you [Job] hunt the prey for the lion, Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions When they crouch in their dens And lie in wait in their lair? Who provides prey for the raven When its young cry to God And wander about without food?’

— Job 38:1-41

Today’s study includes information from:


Study Notes:

Today’s summary from the study notes: Job Chapter 38 Explained (visit the links above to dig in deeper verse by verse):

Verses 38:1 – 40:2: Job had called on many occasions for God to appear. Finally, He does appear in a whirlwind, but not with the answers Job desired. Rather, God comes with questions. There are a total of 39 questions (in chapter 38), which easily ranks it as the chapter with the most questions in all the Bible. When added to the 20 questions (in 39:1 – 40:2), the total comes to 59 questions that God asked Job in the first cycle of interrogation. The second cycle (40:6 – 41:34), contains another 24 questions. The significant thing about these questions is that Job cannot answer a single one! God was driving home the point that Job must let God be God, the sovereign and omnipotent Creator who answers to no one.

Jobs complaints that he had no mediator between himself and God are met in Yahweh’s first speech as the Lord counters with the truth of Job’s comparable insignificance. The glory of the story is that God Himself did prepare the very Mediator that Job requested, in the Incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ (see notes on 9:32-35).

God appeared and engaged in His first interrogation of Job, who had raised some accusations against Him. God had His day in court with Job.

(In verses 1-3), Job received his audience with God, and now he would be subject to divine cross-examination. The tempest he feared (in 9:17), had appeared, but rather than an object of judgment, it was God answering Job’s questions “out of the whirlwind”, just as He spoke to Moses (Exodus 19:16-17). Likewise, Ezekiel saw the glory of God in the storm (Ezek. Chapters 1-2).

Verses 38:4-38: The questions cover a wide range of the marvels of God’s creation, with the emphasis placed on the inanimate world: earth (verses 4-7), sea (verses 8-11), the dawn (“dayspring” verses 12-15), unseen wonders (verses 16-21), weather phenomena (verses 22-30), and heavenly bodies (verses 31-38). God asked Job if he participated in creation as He did. That was a crushing, humbling query with an obvious “no” answer.

Verses 4-11: God challenged Job’s wisdom immediately with an inquiry about Job’s lack of omnipotence and omnipresence. (Proverbs 3:19-20 and 8:22-31), reveal the connection between God’s wisdom and creation.

In verses 4-7: Creation is spoken of using the language of building construction.

Verses 8-11: God’s power over the sea by raising the continents is described, along with the thick clouds that draw up its water to carry rain to the land.

Verses 8-9: God constrains and clothes even the most powerful forces of “the sea”, far beyond anything a mere mortal can do

Verses 12-41: The steady flow of questions has obvious answers, exposing Job’s folly in presuming he could set God straight. The Creator-creature distinction is undisputable.

In verses 12-13 the dawn rises, and as it spreads light over the earth, it exposes the wicked, like shaking the corners of a cloth exposes dirt.

Verses 22-30: The earlier logic of Job and his friends suggested that weather occurs in direct relationship to good or evil actions. God exposed the flawed thinking of the retribution principle by asking about “rain” in places that are uninhabited.

Verses 31-32: Pleiades … Orion … Arcturus”: Stellar constellations (compare Job 9:9), are in view.

Verses 32-33: “Or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?” Referring to the constellation Ursa Major. God questioned Job’s knowledge of the operations of the heavens, further exposing Job’s inability to speak to how the world operates.

Verses 38:39 – 39:30: God asked Job the humiliating questions about whether he could take care of the animal kingdom. Job must have been feeling less and less significant under the crushing indictment of such comparisons with God.

The next series of questions emphasizes the marvels of the animal world: the “lion” (38:39-40), the “raven” (38:41 – 39:4), the wild donkey (39:5-8), the “unicorn,” or better, the wild ox (39:9-12), the “peacock” (the stork), and the “ostrich” (39:13-18), the “horse” (39:19-25), the “hawk” (39:26), and the “eagle” (39:27-30).

God switches His discourse from His control of the cosmos to His provision for even the wild animals (Matt. 6:26).

Job Chapter 38 Explained

So where are you at today? How will you respond to the offer from God of grace, mercy, and salvation? Are you ready to lean into all that God has for you? Are you ready to persevere and trust and have your faith built up? 

My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you.  Are you ready for forgiveness and peace?

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

Reply with a comment to let me know of your decision so that I can pray with you. Respond to God’s prompting on your heart.

Take time to hear from God today. Take time to be with God today. Take time to respond to God today!

Let’s pray:

^^^^^^^^^^^Will you be willing to put your name there today

How would you respond if someone tried to take control? take from you?


What if you were in charge and someone tried to go or work around you? What if you were next in line and someone tried to go or jump in front of you? What if you were promised something and someone else tried to claim it? What if you get to decide and have the final word in it all?

How would you respond? How will you respond? How did you respond? Did you or would you respond rather than just reacting?

Will you turn to God for wisdom? Will you live it out in a way that will bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory? Will you respond in a way that points people to God rather than reacting and drawing all the attention to yourself? Will you respond in love rather than reacting out of anger? Will you respond in love rather than reacting out of bitterness?

What will you do? How will you do it? What will be the outcome? Will there be a benefit?


Today’s reading gets us started in God’s Word in 1 Kings 1:

‘King David was now very old, and no matter how many blankets covered him, he could not keep warm. So his advisers told him, “Let us find a young virgin to wait on you and look after you, my lord. She will lie in your arms and keep you warm.” So they searched throughout the land of Israel for a beautiful girl, and they found Abishag from Shunem and brought her to the king. The girl was very beautiful, and she looked after the king and took care of him. But the king had no sexual relations with her. About that time David’s son Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, began boasting, “I will make myself king.” So he provided himself with chariots and charioteers and recruited fifty men to run in front of him. Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, “Why are you doing that?” Adonijah had been born next after Absalom, and he was very handsome. Adonijah took Joab son of Zeruiah and Abiathar the priest into his confidence, and they agreed to help him become king. But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David’s personal bodyguard refused to support Adonijah. Adonijah went to the Stone of Zoheleth near the spring of En-rogel, where he sacrificed sheep, cattle, and fattened calves. He invited all his brothers—the other sons of King David—and all the royal officials of Judah. But he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the king’s bodyguard or his brother Solomon. Then Nathan went to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, and asked her, “Haven’t you heard that Haggith’s son, Adonijah, has made himself king, and our lord David doesn’t even know about it? If you want to save your own life and the life of your son Solomon, follow my advice. Go at once to King David and say to him, ‘My lord the king, didn’t you make a vow and say to me, “Your son Solomon will surely be the next king and will sit on my throne”? Why then has Adonijah become king?’ And while you are still talking with him, I will come and confirm everything you have said.” So Bathsheba went into the king’s bedroom. (He was very old now, and Abishag was taking care of him.) Bathsheba bowed down before the king. “What can I do for you?” he asked her. She replied, “My lord, you made a vow before the Lord your God when you said to me, ‘Your son Solomon will surely be the next king and will sit on my throne.’ But instead, Adonijah has made himself king, and my lord the king does not even know about it. He has sacrificed many cattle, fattened calves, and sheep, and he has invited all the king’s sons to attend the celebration. He also invited Abiathar the priest and Joab, the commander of the army. But he did not invite your servant Solomon. And now, my lord the king, all Israel is waiting for you to announce who will become king after you. If you do not act, my son Solomon and I will be treated as criminals as soon as my lord the king has died.” While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. The king’s officials told him, “Nathan the prophet is here to see you.” Nathan went in and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. Nathan asked, “My lord the king, have you decided that Adonijah will be the next king and that he will sit on your throne? Today he has sacrificed many cattle, fattened calves, and sheep, and he has invited all the king’s sons to attend the celebration. He also invited the commanders of the army and Abiathar the priest. They are feasting and drinking with him and shouting, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ But he did not invite me or Zadok the priest or Benaiah or your servant Solomon. Has my lord the king really done this without letting any of his officials know who should be the next king?” King David responded, “Call Bathsheba!” So she came back in and stood before the king. And the king repeated his vow: “As surely as the Lord lives, who has rescued me from every danger, your son Solomon will be the next king and will sit on my throne this very day, just as I vowed to you before the Lord , the God of Israel.” Then Bathsheba bowed down with her face to the ground before the king and exclaimed, “May my lord King David live forever!” Then King David ordered, “Call Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.” When they came into the king’s presence, the king said to them, “Take Solomon and my officials down to Gihon Spring. Solomon is to ride on my own mule. There Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet are to anoint him king over Israel. Blow the ram’s horn and shout, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ Then escort him back here, and he will sit on my throne. He will succeed me as king, for I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah.” “Amen!” Benaiah son of Jehoiada replied. “May the Lord , the God of my lord the king, decree that it happen. And may the Lord be with Solomon as he has been with you, my lord the king, and may he make Solomon’s reign even greater than yours!” So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the king’s bodyguard took Solomon down to Gihon Spring, with Solomon riding on King David’s own mule. There Zadok the priest took the flask of olive oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon with the oil. Then they sounded the ram’s horn and all the people shouted, “Long live King Solomon!” And all the people followed Solomon into Jerusalem, playing flutes and shouting for joy. The celebration was so joyous and noisy that the earth shook with the sound. Adonijah and his guests heard the celebrating and shouting just as they were finishing their banquet. When Joab heard the sound of the ram’s horn, he asked, “What’s going on? Why is the city in such an uproar?” And while he was still speaking, Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest arrived. “Come in,” Adonijah said to him, “for you are a good man. You must have good news.” “Not at all!” Jonathan replied. “Our lord King David has just declared Solomon king! The king sent him down to Gihon Spring with Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, protected by the king’s bodyguard. They had him ride on the king’s own mule, and Zadok and Nathan have anointed him at Gihon Spring as the new king. They have just returned, and the whole city is celebrating and rejoicing. That’s what all the noise is about. What’s more, Solomon is now sitting on the royal throne as king. And all the royal officials have gone to King David and congratulated him, saying, ‘May your God make Solomon’s fame even greater than your own, and may Solomon’s reign be even greater than yours!’ Then the king bowed his head in worship as he lay in his bed, and he said, ‘Praise the Lord , the God of Israel, who today has chosen a successor to sit on my throne while I am still alive to see it.’” Then all of Adonijah’s guests jumped up in panic from the banquet table and quickly scattered. Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, so he rushed to the sacred tent and grabbed on to the horns of the altar. Word soon reached Solomon that Adonijah had seized the horns of the altar in fear, and that he was pleading, “Let King Solomon swear today that he will not kill me!” Solomon replied, “If he proves himself to be loyal, not a hair on his head will be touched. But if he makes trouble, he will die.” So King Solomon summoned Adonijah, and they brought him down from the altar. He came and bowed respectfully before King Solomon, who dismissed him, saying, “Go on home.”’

1 Kings 1

‘The Lord in his anger has cast a dark shadow over beautiful Jerusalem. The fairest of Israel’s cities lies in the dust, thrown down from the heights of heaven. In his day of great anger, the Lord has shown no mercy even to his Temple. Without mercy the Lord has destroyed every home in Israel. In his anger he has broken down the fortress walls of beautiful Jerusalem. He has brought them to the ground, dishonoring the kingdom and its rulers. All the strength of Israel vanishes beneath his fierce anger. The Lord has withdrawn his protection as the enemy attacks. He consumes the whole land of Israel like a raging fire. He bends his bow against his people, as though he were their enemy. His strength is used against them to kill their finest youth. His fury is poured out like fire on beautiful Jerusalem. Yes, the Lord has vanquished Israel like an enemy. He has destroyed her palaces and demolished her fortresses. He has brought unending sorrow and tears upon beautiful Jerusalem. He has broken down his Temple as though it were merely a garden shelter. The Lord has blotted out all memory of the holy festivals and Sabbath days. Kings and priests fall together before his fierce anger. The Lord has rejected his own altar; he despises his own sanctuary. He has given Jerusalem’s palaces to her enemies. They shout in the Lord ’s Temple as though it were a day of celebration. The Lord was determined to destroy the walls of beautiful Jerusalem. He made careful plans for their destruction, then did what he had planned. Therefore, the ramparts and walls have fallen down before him. Jerusalem’s gates have sunk into the ground. He has smashed their locks and bars. Her kings and princes have been exiled to distant lands; her law has ceased to exist. Her prophets receive no more visions from the Lord . The leaders of beautiful Jerusalem sit on the ground in silence. They are clothed in burlap and throw dust on their heads. The young women of Jerusalem hang their heads in shame. I have cried until the tears no longer come; my heart is broken. My spirit is poured out in agony as I see the desperate plight of my people. Little children and tiny babies are fainting and dying in the streets. They cry out to their mothers, “We need food and drink!” Their lives ebb away in the streets like the life of a warrior wounded in battle. They gasp for life as they collapse in their mothers’ arms. What can I say about you? Who has ever seen such sorrow? O daughter of Jerusalem, to what can I compare your anguish? O virgin daughter of Zion, how can I comfort you? For your wound is as deep as the sea. Who can heal you? Your prophets have said so many foolish things, false to the core. They did not save you from exile by pointing out your sins. Instead, they painted false pictures, filling you with false hope. All who pass by jeer at you. They scoff and insult beautiful Jerusalem, saying, “Is this the city called ‘Most Beautiful in All the World’ and ‘Joy of All the Earth’?” All your enemies mock you. They scoff and snarl and say, “We have destroyed her at last! We have long waited for this day, and it is finally here!” But it is the Lord who did just as he planned. He has fulfilled the promises of disaster he made long ago. He has destroyed Jerusalem without mercy. He has caused her enemies to gloat over her and has given them power over her. Cry aloud before the Lord, O walls of beautiful Jerusalem! Let your tears flow like a river day and night. Give yourselves no rest; give your eyes no relief. Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children, for in every street they are faint with hunger. “O Lord , think about this! Should you treat your own people this way? Should mothers eat their own children, those they once bounced on their knees? Should priests and prophets be killed within the Lord’s Temple? “See them lying in the streets— young and old, boys and girls, killed by the swords of the enemy. You have killed them in your anger, slaughtering them without mercy. “You have invited terrors from all around, as though you were calling them to a day of feasting. In the day of the Lord ’s anger, no one has escaped or survived. The enemy has killed all the children whom I carried and raised.”’

Lamentations 2

‘Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, a distance of half a mile. When they arrived, they went to the upstairs room of the house where they were staying. Here are the names of those who were present: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the zealot), and Judas (son of James). They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus. During this time, when about 120 believers were together in one place, Peter stood up and addressed them. “Brothers,” he said, “the Scriptures had to be fulfilled concerning Judas, who guided those who arrested Jesus. This was predicted long ago by the Holy Spirit, speaking through King David. Judas was one of us and shared in the ministry with us.” (Judas had bought a field with the money he received for his treachery. Falling headfirst there, his body split open, spilling out all his intestines. The news of his death spread to all the people of Jerusalem, and they gave the place the Aramaic name Akeldama, which means “Field of Blood.”) Peter continued, “This was written in the book of Psalms, where it says, ‘Let his home become desolate, with no one living in it.’ It also says, ‘Let someone else take his position.’ “So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus— from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us. Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.” So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they all prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven.’

Acts 1:12-26

‘Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila and those living in the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus stayed at Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick at Miletus. Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus sends you greetings, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers and sisters. May the Lord be with your spirit. And may his grace be with all of you.’

2 Timothy 4:19-22

‘Bend down, O Lord , and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need your help. Protect me, for I am devoted to you. Save me, for I serve you and trust you. You are my God. Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am calling on you constantly. Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to you. O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord ; hear my urgent cry. I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me. No pagan god is like you, O Lord. None can do what you do! All the nations you made will come and bow before you, Lord; they will praise your holy name. For you are great and perform wonderful deeds. You alone are God. Teach me your ways, O Lord , that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you. With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever, for your love for me is very great. You have rescued me from the depths of death. O God, insolent people rise up against me; a violent gang is trying to kill me. You mean nothing to them. But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. Look down and have mercy on me. Give your strength to your servant; save me, the son of your servant. Send me a sign of your favor. Then those who hate me will be put to shame, for you, O Lord , help and comfort me.’

Psalms 86

Will you accept Jesus into your heart? Will you invite Him into your heart? Will you be new and allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you, comfort and direct your steps? Will you make today a new beginning? Let’s pray together…

Guard your eyes. Guard your heart.


What would make you not go and do what you are supposed to do? What would make you take a second look? What would make you take that step? What would cause you to try and cover it up? What would cause you to escalate the issue? Was it fear? Was it pride? Was it power? What will make you stop spinning out of control? What will you get you back on track? How can you keep yourself from getting into that situation? What can you do to make sure you don’t put yourself in such a position? Turn to God! Always inquire of Him when it is time to go and do something not only to make sure you know how but to affirm that you should. So guard your eyes from being tempted. Guard your heart from being deceived. We need to resist the lust of the eyes. We need to resist the lust of the flesh. We need to resist the pride of life. Instead we need to be pursuing God in Spirit and in Truth.


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started with 2 Samuel 11…

‘In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem. Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her. She had just completed the purification rites after having her menstrual period. Then she returned home. Later, when Bathsheba discovered that she was pregnant, she sent David a message, saying, “I’m pregnant.” Then David sent word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent him to David. When Uriah arrived, David asked him how Joab and the army were getting along and how the war was progressing. Then he told Uriah, “Go on home and relax. ” David even sent a gift to Uriah after he had left the palace. But Uriah didn’t go home. He slept that night at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard. When David heard that Uriah had not gone home, he summoned him and asked, “What’s the matter? Why didn’t you go home last night after being away for so long?” Uriah replied, “The Ark and the armies of Israel and Judah are living in tents, and Joab and my master’s men are camping in the open fields. How could I go home to wine and dine and sleep with my wife? I swear that I would never do such a thing.” “Well, stay here today,” David told him, “and tomorrow you may return to the army.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next. Then David invited him to dinner and got him drunk. But even then he couldn’t get Uriah to go home to his wife. Again he slept at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard. So the next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and gave it to Uriah to deliver. The letter instructed Joab, “Station Uriah on the front lines where the battle is fiercest. Then pull back so that he will be killed.” So Joab assigned Uriah to a spot close to the city wall where he knew the enemy’s strongest men were fighting. And when the enemy soldiers came out of the city to fight, Uriah the Hittite was killed along with several other Israelite soldiers. Then Joab sent a battle report to David. He told his messenger, “Report all the news of the battle to the king. But he might get angry and ask, ‘Why did the troops go so close to the city? Didn’t they know there would be shooting from the walls? Wasn’t Abimelech son of Gideon killed at Thebez by a woman who threw a millstone down on him from the wall? Why would you get so close to the wall?’ Then tell him, ‘Uriah the Hittite was killed, too.’” So the messenger went to Jerusalem and gave a complete report to David. “The enemy came out against us in the open fields,” he said. “And as we chased them back to the city gate, the archers on the wall shot arrows at us. Some of the king’s men were killed, including Uriah the Hittite.” “Well, tell Joab not to be discouraged,” David said. “The sword devours this one today and that one tomorrow! Fight harder next time, and conquer the city!” When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. When the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives. Then she gave birth to a son. But the Lord was displeased with what David had done.’

2 Samuel 11

‘In January of the ninth year of King Zedekiah’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with his entire army to besiege Jerusalem. Two and a half years later, on July 18 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, a section of the city wall was broken down. All the officers of the Babylonian army came in and sat in triumph at the Middle Gate: Nergal-sharezer of Samgar, and Nebo-sarsekim, a chief officer, and Nergal-sharezer, the king’s adviser, and all the other officers of the king of Babylon. When King Zedekiah of Judah and all the soldiers saw that the Babylonians had broken into the city, they fled. They waited for nightfall and then slipped through the gate between the two walls behind the king’s garden and headed toward the Jordan Valley. But the Babylonian troops chased them and overtook Zedekiah on the plains of Jericho. They captured him and took him to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who was at Riblah in the land of Hamath. There the king of Babylon pronounced judgment upon Zedekiah. The king of Babylon made Zedekiah watch as he slaughtered his sons at Riblah. The king of Babylon also slaughtered all the nobles of Judah. Then he gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him in bronze chains to lead him away to Babylon. Meanwhile, the Babylonians burned Jerusalem, including the royal palace and the houses of the people, and they tore down the walls of the city. Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took as exiles to Babylon the rest of the people who remained in the city, those who had defected to him, and everyone else who remained. But Nebuzaradan allowed some of the poorest people to stay behind in the land of Judah, and he assigned them to care for the vineyards and fields. King Nebuchadnezzar had told Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, to find Jeremiah. “See that he isn’t hurt,” he said. “Look after him well, and give him anything he wants.” So Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard; Nebushazban, a chief officer; Nergal-sharezer, the king’s adviser; and the other officers of Babylon’s king sent messengers to bring Jeremiah out of the prison. They put him under the care of Gedaliah son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, who took him back to his home. So Jeremiah stayed in Judah among his own people. The Lord had given the following message to Jeremiah while he was still in prison: “Say to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I will do to this city everything I have threatened. I will send disaster, not prosperity. You will see its destruction, but I will rescue you from those you fear so much. Because you trusted me, I will give you your life as a reward. I will rescue you and keep you safe. I, the Lord , have spoken!’”’

Jeremiah 39

‘Then Jesus presented them with a question. “Why is it,” he asked, “that the Messiah is said to be the son of David? For David himself wrote in the book of Psalms: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.’#20:42-43 Ps 110:1. Since David called the Messiah ‘Lord,’ how can the Messiah be his son?” Then, with the crowds listening, he turned to his disciples and said, “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.”’

Luke 20:41-47

‘While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”’

Luke 21:1-4

‘How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.’

Hebrews 11:32-40

‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. ‘

Hebrews 12:1-2

‘Give your love of justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the king’s son. Help him judge your people in the right way; let the poor always be treated fairly. May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful. Help him to defend the poor, to rescue the children of the needy, and to crush their oppressors. May they fear you as long as the sun shines, as long as the moon remains in the sky. Yes, forever! May the king’s rule be refreshing like spring rain on freshly cut grass, like the showers that water the earth. May all the godly flourish during his reign. May there be abundant prosperity until the moon is no more. May he reign from sea to sea, and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth. Desert nomads will bow before him; his enemies will fall before him in the dust. The western kings of Tarshish and other distant lands will bring him tribute. The eastern kings of Sheba and Seba will bring him gifts. All kings will bow before him, and all nations will serve him. He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them. He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to him. Long live the king! May the gold of Sheba be given to him. May the people always pray for him and bless him all day long. May there be abundant grain throughout the land, flourishing even on the hilltops. May the fruit trees flourish like the trees of Lebanon, and may the people thrive like grass in a field. May the king’s name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun shines. May all nations be blessed through him and bring him praise. Praise the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does such wonderful things. Praise his glorious name forever! Let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and amen! (This ends the prayers of David son of Jesse.)’

Psalms 72

How will you respond?


The one thing we can control in life is how we respond. So how will you respond to the situation that is coming your way? Will it matter who delivers it? Will it matter where it is delivered? Will it matter how it is delivered? Will it matter what gets delivered? Will it matter when it is delivered? Will it matter why it is delivered? What if it is about someone who had been chasing or bugging or annoying you? What it was from someone who had been chasing or bugging or annoying you? Will your response vary by the circumstances? Will your response be based on what you think? How will you respond?

We can’t control what will happen to us but we can control how we will respond. We know that in this world we will have troubles but we also know that Jesus says to take heart because He has overcome the world. We know that we will face trials of many kinds but we also know that Jesus tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because we know that the testing of our faith develops perseverance and that perseverance must finish its work so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

So before you respond, turn to God and ask Him how He would have you respond. Ask the Holy Spirit for the right response in that moment and situation that will allow you to respond in a way that will bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory. Ask Jesus to make your response something that will glorify God and not blow up all the work you have been doing to this point. How will you respond?


Today’s reading from God’s Word starts in 2 Samuel 1 where David learns of the death of Saul and Jonathan…

‘After the death of Saul, David returned from his victory over the Amalekites and spent two days in Ziklag. On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s army camp. He had torn his clothes and put dirt on his head to show that he was in mourning. He fell to the ground before David in deep respect. “Where have you come from?” David asked. “I escaped from the Israelite camp,” the man replied. “What happened?” David demanded. “Tell me how the battle went.” The man replied, “Our entire army fled from the battle. Many of the men are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.” “How do you know Saul and Jonathan are dead?” David demanded of the young man. The man answered, “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear with the enemy chariots and charioteers closing in on him. When he turned and saw me, he cried out for me to come to him. ‘How can I help?’ I asked him. “He responded, ‘Who are you?’ “‘I am an Amalekite,’ I told him. “Then he begged me, ‘Come over here and put me out of my misery, for I am in terrible pain and want to die.’ “So I killed him,” the Amalekite told David, “for I knew he couldn’t live. Then I took his crown and his armband, and I have brought them here to you, my lord.” David and his men tore their clothes in sorrow when they heard the news. They mourned and wept and fasted all day for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the Lord ’s army and the nation of Israel, because they had died by the sword that day. Then David said to the young man who had brought the news, “Where are you from?” And he replied, “I am a foreigner, an Amalekite, who lives in your land.” “Why were you not afraid to kill the Lord ’s anointed one?” David asked. Then David said to one of his men, “Kill him!” So the man thrust his sword into the Amalekite and killed him. “You have condemned yourself,” David said, “for you yourself confessed that you killed the Lord ’s anointed one.”

Then David composed a funeral song for Saul and Jonathan, and he commanded that it be taught to the people of Judah. It is known as the Song of the Bow, and it is recorded in The Book of Jashar. Your pride and joy, O Israel, lies dead on the hills! Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen! Don’t announce the news in Gath, don’t proclaim it in the streets of Ashkelon, or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice and the pagans will laugh in triumph. O mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew or rain upon you, nor fruitful fields producing offerings of grain. For there the shield of the mighty heroes was defiled; the shield of Saul will no longer be anointed with oil. The bow of Jonathan was powerful, and the sword of Saul did its mighty work. They shed the blood of their enemies and pierced the bodies of mighty heroes. How beloved and gracious were Saul and Jonathan! They were together in life and in death. They were swifter than eagles, stronger than lions. O women of Israel, weep for Saul, for he dressed you in luxurious scarlet clothing, in garments decorated with gold. Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen in battle! Jonathan lies dead on the hills. How I weep for you, my brother Jonathan! Oh, how much I loved you! And your love for me was deep, deeper than the love of women! Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen! Stripped of their weapons, they lie dead.’

2 Samuel 1

‘“The day is coming,” says the Lord , “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the Lord . “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord . “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord .’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord . “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” It is the Lord who provides the sun to light the day and the moon and stars to light the night, and who stirs the sea into roaring waves. His name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and this is what he says: “I am as likely to reject my people Israel as I am to abolish the laws of nature!” This is what the Lord says: “Just as the heavens cannot be measured and the foundations of the earth cannot be explored, so I will not consider casting them away for the evil they have done. I, the Lord , have spoken! “The day is coming,” says the Lord , “when all Jerusalem will be rebuilt for me, from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. A measuring line will be stretched out over the hill of Gareb and across to Goah. And the entire area—including the graveyard and ash dump in the valley, and all the fields out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far as the Horse Gate—will be holy to the Lord . The city will never again be captured or destroyed.”’

Jeremiah 31:31-40

‘One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him. Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’” The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich. When Jesus saw this, he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?” He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” Peter said, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.” “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”’

Luke 18:15-30

‘That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals. For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice. And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.’

Hebrews 9:23-28

‘O God, listen to my complaint. Protect my life from my enemies’ threats. Hide me from the plots of this evil mob, from this gang of wrongdoers. They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their bitter words like arrows. They shoot from ambush at the innocent, attacking suddenly and fearlessly. They encourage each other to do evil and plan how to set their traps in secret. “Who will ever notice?” they ask. As they plot their crimes, they say, “We have devised the perfect plan!” Yes, the human heart and mind are cunning. But God himself will shoot them with his arrows, suddenly striking them down. Their own tongues will ruin them, and all who see them will shake their heads in scorn. Then everyone will be afraid; they will proclaim the mighty acts of God and realize all the amazing things he does. The godly will rejoice in the Lord and find shelter in him. And those who do what is right will praise him.’

Psalms 64

Things feeling like they are spinning out of control?


Being faced with challenges, struggles, issues, problems and wondering what is going on? No matter what they are don’t lose hope and don’t give up! Remember how much God loves you! Remember that He has a plan for you! So draw closer to Him and press in to what He has planned for you and His purpose for your life!

Remember when things seem like they are falling apart that they may just be aligning to fall into place! Then consider your part in going with it! What is required of you? What is it that God wants you to learn and grow in and through this time? How will you walk out stronger on the other side?

Let’s look beyond here and now! Let’s look up to eternity and how it will be! Let’s not lose hope when things get hard but rather let’s lean into God more and allow Him to work in and through us! Let’s lean in and be held by God! God know the beginning and the end! He is able to bring peace in the storm! He is able to calm our hearts within the storm! He is able to calm the storm! Either way don’t lose hope but trust in Him and lean in to Him and be held!

Jesus told us it wouldn’t be easy when we are living on this earth but He also encouraged us!

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

John 16:33 NLT

God’s Word tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because there is a plan and there is a purpose and it is for our good…

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

James 1:2-4 NLT

Today’s devotional closes with a quote from A. W. Tozer which I am going to include here too…

‘God is love and God is sovereign. His love disposes Him to desire our everlasting welfare, and His sovereignty enables Him to secure it.’

–from Day 341: Bible In One Year 2018


Is God Really in Control?

Day 341: Bible In One Year 2018

  1. The Lord reigns from conception to deathPsalms 139:11-16
  2. The Lord reigns over every area of your life3 John 1
  3. The Lord reigns over events and historyZechariah 1, Zechariah 2, Zechariah 3, Zechariah 4

Today’s reading from God’s Word…

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

Do you realize where it came from?


Are you so proud that you think it was all in your own strength? Are you so stubborn that you won’t be swayed? Do you realize that it was said before to make sure you couldn’t take full credit? Do you realize that it was said before to make sure you couldn’t give credit to someone else? Have you heard it? Have you listened? Have you considered?

God created everything! He spoke it into motion! God is eternal – He knows the beginning and the end! The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! When you read God’s Word, don’t you hear the fact that things aren’t that different? Human nature isn’t that different. God is Love! God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever!


Today’s reading begins in Isaiah 48…

Who Foretold These Things?

1Hear this, house of Jacob, who are called by the Name of Israel, who came from the wellspring of Judah, who swear by the Name of Adonai and confess the God of Israel— but not in truth or righteousness. 2For they call themselves by the holy city, and lean on the God of Israel, Adonai-Tzva’ot is His Name. 3“I foretold the former things long ago. They went forth from My mouth, and I caused them to be heard. Suddenly I acted, so they came about. 4For I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is iron sinew, and your forehead bronze. 5So I foretold it to you long ago. before it came about I made you hear, lest you should say, ‘My idol did them, my carved image, yes, my molded image commanded them.’ 6You have heard. See all of it. So will you not admit it? I proclaim to you new things from now on—hidden things that you have not known. 7They are created now, not long ago. Before today you had not heard them. So you will not say, ‘Sure, I knew them.’ 8You have not heard; you never knew; even from long ago your ear has not been open. For I knew that you are treacherous, and from birth were called a rebel. 9For My Name’s sake I defer My anger, for My praise I will restrain it for you— otherwise I would cut you off. 10Behold, I have refined you, though not as silver. I tested you in the furnace of affliction. 11For My own sake, for My own sake, I act. For how should I be profaned? I will not give My glory to another. 12Listen to Me, Jacob, Israel whom I called: I am He; I am the first; I am also the last. 13Surely My hand founded the earth, My right hand spread out the heavens. When I call to them, they stand together. 14Assemble, all of you, and listen! Who among them foretold these things? Adonai loves him. He will do His will against Babylon— His arm against the Chaldeans. 15I, I have spoken, yes I called him. I will bring him, so his ways will succeed. 16Draw near to Me, hear this: Since the beginning, I have not spoken in secret. From the time it existed, I was there. So now Adonai Elohim has sent Me, and His Ruach.” 17Thus says Adonai, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am Adonai your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go. 18If only you had listened to My commandments! then your peace would be like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. 19Your seed would have been like sand, and your offspring like its grains. Their name would never be cut off or destroyed from before Me.” 20“Get out of Babylon, flee from Chaldea! With a shout of joy, proclaim this, send it out to the end of the earth, say: ‘Adonai has redeemed His servant Jacob! 21They did not thirst when He led them through the deserts. He caused the water to flow out of the rock for them. He split the rock also, and the waters gushed out.’” 22“There is no shalom,” says Adonai, “for the wicked.”

–from Isaiah 48

Jesus came to save! Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, He came that through Him the world could be saved! Have you heard of Jesus? Have you asked Him into your heart? Has your life been transformed thanks to Jesus? Have your eyes been opened to all God has called you to be? Have your ears been opened to hear the still quiet voice of the Spirit who will lead you, guide you, instruct you, and direct you? Is today your day to ask Jesus into your life? Is today the day you make Jesus more than just a good teacher and a good example, but actually make Him Lord of your life? Is today the day you ask Jesus into your heart and allow Him to become the savior of your life?

Second Servant Song: Light of the Nations

1Listen, to Me, islands! Pay attention, peoples far away. Adonai called Me from the womb, from My mother’s belly He named Me. 2He made My mouth like a sharp sword. in the shadow of His hand He hid Me. He made Me a polished arrow, He has hidden Me in His quiver. 3He said to Me, “You are My servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” 4But I said, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and futility. Yet surely the justice due to me is with Adonai, and my reward with my God.” 5So now says Adonai, who formed Me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, to gather Israel back to Him. For I am honored in the eyes of Adonai and My God has become my strength. 6So He says, “It is too trifling a thing that You should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and restore the preserved ones of Israel. So I will give You as a light for the nations, that You should be My salvation to the end of the earth.” 7Thus says Adonai, the Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One, to the One despised, to the One the nation abhors, to a servant of rulers: “Kings will see and arise, princes will also bow down, because of Adonai who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You.”

Compassion on Zion’s Children

8Thus says Adonai: “In a time of favor I will answer you. in a day of salvation I will help you. I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, to restore the land, to make them possess its desolate inheritances, 9saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out!’ to those in darkness, ‘Be shown!’ Along the roads they will graze— their pasture will be on all the barren heights. 10They will not hunger or thirst, nor scorching wind or sun strike them, for their compassionate One will lead them, and will guide them by springs of water. 11I will make all My mountains a road, and My highways will be raised up. 12“Behold, these shall come from afar. behold, these from the north and from the west, and from the land of Sinim. 13Shout for joy, heavens! Rejoice, earth! Break forth into ringing shouts, O mountains! For Adonai has comforted His people and has compassion on His afflicted.” 14But Zion said: “Adonai has forsaken me, Adonai has forgotten me.” 15“Can a woman forget her nursing baby or lack compassion for a child of her womb? Even if these forget, I will not forget you. 16Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands. Your walls are continually before Me. 17Your children will come quickly. Your destroyers and devastators will go away from you. 18Lift up your eyes around and see: all of them will gather and come to you.” “As I live” —it is Adonai’s declaration— “you will wear them all as jewelry and bind them on like a bride.” 19For your waste and desolate places and your destroyed land will now be surely too small for the inhabitants, and those who swallowed you up will be far away. 20The children of your bereavement will yet say in your ears, “The place is too cramped for me! Make room for me to settle in.” 21Then you will say in your heart, “Who has borne these for me? Wasn’t I bereaved of my children— barren, an exile and wandering? So who has raised these? Behold, I was left alone— these, where were they?” 22Thus says Adonai Elohim: “Look, I will lift My hand to the nations, and raise My banner to the peoples! They will bring your sons on their chest, and carry your daughters on their shoulders. 23Kings will be your guardians, their princesses your nurses. They will bow down to you with their face to the ground, and lick the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am Adonai— those hoping in Me will not be ashamed.” 24Can plunder be taken from the mighty, or captives of the righteous freed? 25For thus says Adonai: “Yes, captives of the mighty will be taken and the prey of the tyrant will be freed. For I will oppose your adversary. I will save your children. 26I will feed your oppressors their flesh. They will be drunk with their blood as with sweet wine. Then all flesh will know that I, Adonai, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

–from Isaiah 49

Do you realize that even those who oppose you can open doors for you to testify of the greatness of God? Do you realize that even those who persecute you can ask questions they didn’t expect the answer to be Jesus? Do you realize that God goes before you preparing all the good works He has for you to do? Do you realize that God loves you? Right here! Right now! And He loves you too much to stop at that! He sees your potential! He sees beyond the here and the now into the what can be and what could be and what will be! Are you willing to become everything God has planned and purposed for you to be? Are you willing to give up the selfish things in order to step up and become who God created you to be? Are you willing to become a vessel that God can use to perform miracles through? If God can get it through you, He will get it to you! Pray today for wisdom! Pray today for courage! Pray today for an obedient spirit and heart to hear and then do! Let’s foster unity!

Standing Before the Sanhedrin

1As Peter and John were speaking to the people, the kohanim and the captain of the Temple and the Sadducees came up to them. 2They were indignant because Peter and John were teaching the people and announcing in Yeshua the resurrection of the dead. 3So they grabbed them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. 4But many who heard the message believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand. 5On the next day, the rulers and elders and Torah scholars were gathered together in Jerusalem. 6Annas the kohen gadol was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all those who were of high-priestly descent. 7When they had placed Peter and John in their midst, they began to inquire, “By what power or in what name did you do this?” 8Then Peter, filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people! 9If we are on trial today for a mitzvah done for a sick man, as to how this fellow was healed, 10let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Yeshua ha-Mashiach ha-Natzrati—whom you had crucified, whom God raised from the dead—this one stands before you whole. 11This Yeshua is ‘the stone—rejected by you, the builders—that has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved!” 13Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and figured out they were laymen without training, they were amazed. They began to realize that these men had been with Yeshua. 14But seeing the healed man standing with them, they had nothing to say in response. 15When they had ordered Peter and John to go out of the council chamber, they began to confer with one another, 16saying, “What shall we do with these men? For indeed, it’s obvious to everyone living in Jerusalem that a remarkable miracle has happened through them, and we cannot deny it. 17But so it won’t spread any further among the people, let’s warn them not to speak anymore to anyone in this name.” 18So they called them in and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Yeshua. 19But Peter and John replied, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you decide. 20For we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21After threatening them again, they let them go—finding no way they could punish them on account of the people, because they all were glorifying God for what had happened. 22For the man in whom this miracle of healing had happened was more than forty years old.

Prayer for Courage

23As soon as they were released, Peter and John went to their own people and reported all that the ruling kohanim and elders had said to them. 24When they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “O Sovereign Master, ‘You made heaven and earth and the sea, and everything in them.’ 25You said by the Ruach ha-Kodesh, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, ‘Why did the nations rage and the peoples plot foolish things? 26The kings of the earth took their stand and the rulers were gathered together against Adonai and against His Anointed One.’ 27“For truly both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, were gathered together in this city against Your holy Servant Yeshua, whom You anointed. 28They did whatever Your hand and Your purpose predetermined to happen. 29And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant Your servants to speak Your word with utmost courage— 30while You stretch out Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy Servant Yeshua.” 31When they had prayed, the place where they were gathered was shaken. And they were all filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

Ruach-Filled Community Life

32Now the whole group of those who believed was one in heart and mind. No one would say anything he owned was his own, but they had everything in common. 33With great power the emissaries were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Yeshua, and abundant favor was upon them all. 34No one among them was needy, for all who were owners of lands or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds 35and set them at the feet of the emissaries. And the proceeds were distributed according to the need each one had. 36Now Joseph, also called Barnabas by the emissaries (which is translated Son of Encouragement), was a Levite and native of Cyprus. 37He sold a field that he owned and brought the money and laid it at the feet of the emissaries.

–from Acts 4

Let’s pursue love today! Let’s desire the gifts from God! Let’s desire prophecy! Ever looked up prophecy?

miracle of knowledge, a declaration or description or representation of something future, beyond the power of human sagacity to foresee, discern, or conjecture

Today’s reading concludes on this subject…

Orderly Governing of the Gifts

1Pursue love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to people but to God—for no one understands, but in the Ruach he speaks mysteries. 3But one who prophesies speaks to people for building up, urging on, and uplifting. 4One who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but one who prophesies builds up the community. 5Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy. One who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues—unless he interprets, so that the community may be built up. 6But now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you—unless I speak to you by way of revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 7It is the same for lifeless things that make a sound—like a flute or a harp. If they make no distinction in the tones, how will what is played be recognized? 8For if the trumpet makes an unclear sound, who will prepare himself for battle? 9So also with you with your tongue—unless you utter speech that is intelligible, how will what is spoken be understood? For you will be talking to the wind! 10It may be that there are many kinds of languages in the world—and none without meaning. 11If then I do not understand the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker will be a foreigner to me. 12Likewise with you—since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, keep trying to excel for the building up of the community. 13Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 14For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15What is it then? I will pray in my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind. I will sing praises with my spirit, and I will also sing praises with my mind. 16Otherwise if you give thanks and praise in the spirit, how will one filling the place of the ungifted say the “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since he has no idea what you’re saying? 17For you certainly give thanks well, but the other person is not built up. 18I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19However, in Messiah’s community I would rather speak five words with my mind, so I may also instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue. 20Brothers and sisters, stop being children in your thinking—rather, be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 21In the Prophets it is written, “By those with strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people. And not even then will they listen to me,” says Adonai. 22Therefore tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers—but prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. 23So if Messiah’s whole community comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and uninstructed or unbelieving people come in, won’t they say that you are crazy? 24But if all are prophesying and some unbelieving or ungifted person comes in, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all. 25The secrets of his heart become known, and so he will fall down on his face and worship God, declaring, “God really is among you!” 26What is it then, brothers and sisters? Whenever you come together, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27If someone speaks in a tongue, let it be by two or at most three, and each in turn; and let one interpret. 28But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the community but speak to himself and to God. 29Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others evaluate. 30But if something is revealed to another sitting nearby, let the first one become silent. 31For you can all prophesy one by one, so all may learn and be encouraged. 32The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, 33for God is not a God of confusion, but shalom. As in all the communities of the kedoshim, 34let women keep silent in the communities, for it is not permitted for them to speak out. Rather let them be in order, as the Torah also says. 35If they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home—for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak out in the community. 36Did the word of God originate with you? Or did it reach you alone? 37If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that what I write to you is the Lord’s command. 38But if someone does not recognize it, he is not recognized. 39Therefore, brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40But let everything be done decently and in order.

–from 1 Corinthians 14

 

Where will you turn for wisdom?


In a situation where it feels too big or bigger than you thought? In a situation where you need help or wisdom? In a situation where you need answers? In a situation where you aren’t sure where to turn? Do you need to see it to believe it? Can you believe it without seeing it? So what are you going to do about it? Where will you turn for wisdom?

Today’s reading continues with Samson…

Riddle of the Lion

1Then Samson went down to Timnah and eyed in Timnah a woman, one of the daughters of the Philistines. 2So he came back and told his father and mother saying, “I have seen a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines. So now get her for me as a wife.” 3Then his father and his mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your kinsmen, or among all our people, that you are going to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is the right one in my eyes.” 4But his father and mother did not know that it was of Adonai, for He was seeking a pretext against the Philistines. For at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel. 5While his father and mother went down to Timnah, Samson went to the vineyards of Timnah, and behold, a young lion came roaring at him. 6Then the Ruach Adonai came mightily upon him, and he tore him apart as one would have split a young goat—yet he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. 7So he went down and talked with the woman, and she looked right in Samson’s eyes. 8After a while he returned to get her, but turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion; and behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass of the lion. 9So he scraped it into his hands and went on, eating as he went. Now when he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them and they ate it, though he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey from the carcass of the lion. 10Then his father went down to the woman, and Samson made a banquet there, for so the young men used to do. 11Now it came to pass, when they saw him, they brought 30 companions to be with him. 12Then Samson said to them, “Let me now propose a riddle to you. If you can indeed solve it for me during the seven days of the banquet, and figure it out, then I will give you 30 linen garments and 30 changes of clothes; 13but if you cannot solve it for me, then you must give me 30 linen garments and 30 changes of clothes.” “Propose your riddle,” they said to him. “Let’s hear it!” 14So he said to them, “Out of the eater came forth food, out of the strong came forth sweet.” But for three days they could not solve the riddle. 15Now on the seventh day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax your husband so that he will explain the riddle to us—or else we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us?” 16So Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “You only hate me! You don’t love me! You proposed a riddle to the sons of my people—yet you haven’t explained it to me!” “Look,” he said, “I haven’t explained it to my father or my mother, so should I explain it to you?” 17But she wept before him the seven days while their banquet lasted. So it was on the seventh day he told her, because she nagged him. Then she told the riddle to the sons of her people. 18So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day, before the sun went down, “What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?” But he responded to them, “If you hadn’t plowed with my heifer, you wouldn’t have solved my riddle.” 19Then the Ruach Adonai came mightily upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed 30 of their men, took their spoil, and gave the changes of clothes to those who solved the riddle. Since his rage was burning, he went up to his father’s house. 20But Samson’s wife was given to his companion who had been his best man.

–from Judges 14

Beware of temptation! Leave the honey alone! Don’t cheat! Don’t trick! Don’t lie! Do you really want to deal with the wrath of an injured man?  a hurt man? a cheated man?

Victory with a Jawbone

1But after a while, during the time of wheat harvest, Samson visited his wife with a young goat. “I am going to my wife in her room,” he said. But her father would not let him enter. 2“I thought for sure you had utterly hated her,” her father said, “so I gave her to your best man. Her younger sister—isn’t she better than her? Please, let her be yours instead.” 3Then Samson said to them, “This time I am blameless from the Philistines when I do harm to them.” 4So Samson went and caught 300 foxes, and took torches, turned the foxes tail to tail and put one torch between every two tails. 5Then he set fire to the torches and released them into the standing grain of the Philistines, Thus he burned up both the stacks and the standing grain, along with vineyards and olive trees. 6Then the Philistines asked, “Who did this?” They were told, “Samson, son-in-law of the Timnite, because he took his wife and gave her to his best man.” So the Philistines came up and burnt her and her father with fire. 7Then Samson said to them, “Since you have acted like this, surely I will take revenge on you—after that I will quit.” 8So he struck them leg upon thigh with a great slaughter. Then he went down and stayed in the cleft of the rock of Etam. 9Then the Philistines went up and camped in Judah and spread out in Lehi. 10The men of Judah asked, “Why have you marched against us?” They replied, “We have come to arrest Samson—to do to him as he did to us.” 11Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Don’t you realize that the Philistines are ruling over us? So what is this that you have done to us?” He said to them, “As they did to me, so I have done to them.” 12“We have come down to bind you,” they said to him, “so that we may hand you over to the Philistines.” So Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you yourselves won’t kill me.” 13“No, we won’t kill you,” they said to him, “but we will bind you fast and hand you over to them.” So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock. 14When he arrived at Lehi, the Philistines shouted upon meeting him. But the Ruach Adonai came mightily upon him so that the ropes that were on his arms became like flax burned with fire and his bonds melted off his wrists. 15Then he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached out and took it, and killed a thousand men with it. 16Then Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, a heap … two heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey I struck down a thousand men.” 17As soon as he had finished speaking, he threw the jawbone from his hand. Then he named that place Ramat-lehi. 18Then he became very thirsty, so he called to Adonai and said, “You have granted this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant. So now, will I die of thirst and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?” 19But God split the hollow place that is in Lehi, and water came out of it. When he drank, he regained his strength and revived. Therefore he called it En-hakkore, which is in Lehi to this day. 20Then he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines for 20 years.

–from Judges 15

Can you trust them? Can they trust you? What will come of it? Consider your thoughts! Consider your actions! Consider the response or repercussions! Do you really want to tease? Do you really want to trick? What will that cause? Will you walk in the power of the Spirit or will you try to go it in your own strength? Do you realize the difference? Do you realize the risk? Do you realize the consequences? What are you going to do about it?

Delilah Betrays Samson

1Once Samson went to Gaza and eyed a prostitute there, so he went to her. 2The Gazites were told, “Samson has come here.” So they surrounded him, lay in ambush for him all night at the gate of the city, and kept quiet all night saying, “When morning light comes, then we kill him.” 3But Samson lay in bed till midnight, got up at midnight, grabbed the doors of the city gate along with the two gateposts and pulled them up bar and all. Then he put them on his shoulders and carried them up to the top of the mountain that is near Hebron. 4It came about afterward that he fell in love with a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5So the Philistine lords came up to her and said to her, “Coax him, see where his great strength comes from and by what we may overpower him, so we may bind him to subdue him—then we’ll each of us give you 1,100 pieces of silver.” 6So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me please, where does your great strength come from? How could you be bound to subdue you?” 7Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh cords that have never been dried, then I would be weak and be like any other man.” 8So the Philistine lords brought up to her seven fresh cords that had never been dried, and she bound him with them, 9while an ambush was waiting in an inner room. “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” she said to him. But he broke the cords just as a strand of straw snaps when it touches fire. So his strength remained unknown. 10Delilah said to Samson, “Oh, you deceived me! You lied to me! Now tell me please, how you can be bound?” 11He told her, “If they only bind me with new ropes never used for work, then I will be weak and be like any other man.” 12So Delilah took new ropes, tied him up with them and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” Yet while the ambush was waiting in the inner room, he snapped them from his arms like a thread. 13So Delilah said to Samson, “Up to now you’ve mocked me and told me lies! Tell me how you can be bound!” He told her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web of a loom.” 14So she pinned it with a pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled away the pin of the loom and the web. 15“How can you say, ‘I love you,’” she said to him, “when your heart is not with me? This is three times you’ve deceived me and not told me where your great strength comes from.” 16Now it came about when she nagged him daily with her speeches and kept bothering him, his soul was annoyed to death. 17So he divulged to her all his heart and said to her, “No razor has ever been upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will go from me, and I will be weak and be like any other man.” 18Now when Delilah realized that he had confided to her all his heart, she sent and called for the Philistine lords saying, “Come up this time, for he has told me all his heart.” So the Philistine lords came up to her and brought the silver in their hand. 19Then she made him sleep upon her knees, and she called for a man and had the seven locks of his head shaved off. She even began to humiliate him while his strength departed from him. 20Then she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” When he awoke from his sleep, he thought, “I’ll go out as at other times, and shake myself off.” He did not comprehend that Adonai had departed from him. 21Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes. They brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he became a grinder in the prison. 22However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it was shaved off.

Samson Avenged

23Now the Philistine lords gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, as they said, “Our god has given our enemy Samson into our hand.” 24When the people saw him, they praised their god, as they said, “Our god has given into our hand our enemy and the destroyer of our country, who has slain many of us.” 25Now it came about when their hearts were merry that they said, “Call for Samson, that he may amuse us.” So they called for Samson from the prison, and he did make them laugh, when they made him stand between the pillars. 26Then Samson said to the lad that held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the temple rests, so I may lean on them.” 27Now the temple was full of men and women. All the Philistine lords were there and about 3,000 men and women on the roof looking on while Samson was amusing them. 28Then Samson called out to Adonai and said, “My Lord Adonai, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, so that I may this once take revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29Then Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the temple rested and leaned on them, one with his right hand and the other with his left. 30Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” He bent with all his might so that the temple fell on the lords and on all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed during his life. 31Then his kinsmen and all his father’s household came down, lifted him, brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. For he had judged Israel 20 years.

–from Judges 16

What is your part in God’s plan? What’s your purpose in God’s plan? What is your calling?

Is your focus on the now and the temporary? Is your focus on the future and the eternal?

Greetings

1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the community of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah: 2Grace to you and shalom from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah!

Troubles From an Eternal Perspective

3We ought to always thank God for you, brothers and sisters, as is appropriate, because your faithfulness grows wonderfully, and the love of each one of you for one another continually increases. 4Therefore, we ourselves boast of you among the communities of God—about your perseverance and faithfulness through all the persecutions and troubles that you endure. 5This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, so that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. ( 6For after all, it is right in the sight of God to pay back trouble to those who trouble you, 7and relief to you who suffer trouble along with us. At the revelation of the Lord Yeshua from heaven with His mighty angels 8in flaming fire, He will command judgment on those who do not know God and do not heed the Good News of our Lord Yeshua. 9They will pay the price of eternal ruin, away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power— 10on that Day when He comes to be glorified among His kedoshim and marveled at by all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.) 11With this in mind, we pray for you constantly, that our God may consider you worthy of the calling and fulfill with power every good desire and work of faith, 12so the name of our Lord Yeshua may be glorified in you, and you in Him, in keeping with the grace of our God and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah.

–from 2 Thessalonians 1

Yes, things are looking tough and out of place! Yes, things are looking that they are spiraling out of control! But don’t lose hope and don’t lose faith, put your trust in God! We live by faith and not by sight! Let’s believe what God says rather than worry because of what we are seeing! Where does your hope come from? As for me and my house, our hope comes from the Lord!

The Man of Lawlessness

1Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, concerning the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah and our gathering together to Him, 2not to get shaken out of your mind or disturbed—either by a spirit or a word or a letter as if through us—as though the Day of the Lord has come. 3Let no one deceive you in any way, for the Day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the one destined to be destroyed. 4He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in the Temple of God, proclaiming himself that he is God. 5Don’t you remember that when I was still with you I was telling you these things? 6And you know what now holds back, for him to be revealed in his own time. 7For the mystery of lawlessness is already operating; only there is one who holds back just now, until he is taken out of the way. 8Then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Yeshua will slay him with the breath of His mouth and wipe him out with the appearance of His coming. 9The coming of the lawless one is connected to the activity of satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10and with every kind of wicked deception toward those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11For this reason God sends them a delusional force, to lead them to believe what is false, 12so that they may be judged—all those who did not believe the truth but delighted in wickedness.

Firstfruits of Salvation

13But we should always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits for salvation through sanctification by the Ruach and belief in the truth. 14He called you to this salvation through our proclaiming the Good News, for you to gain the glory of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 15So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold on to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by our letter. 16Now may our Lord Yeshua the Messiah Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, 17comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good deed and word.

–from 2 Thessalonians 2

Servant Leadership

Are you overbearing or controlling?


What type of leader are you? Are you a control freak where you have to have your finger in everything? Are you someone who empowers others? Are you overbearing? Are you able to delegate? Are you humble or domineering? Are you assertive or aggressive? Are you kind or mean?

Have you ever considered you might be the problem? Are you allowing fear and worry to make you that way? Do you realize the impact that your behavior has on the productivity of others? Do you realize the impact that your behavior also has an impact on the dynamics and stability of your team? Do you realize the how a change inward could have significant impact outwardly? Would you be willing to humble yourself? Would you be willing to be a servant leader? Would you be interested in seeing the incredible difference that would and will make?

Today’s devotional (Character Of A Great Leader – day 5) speaks to this very topic. Let’s jump into today’s reading and see what we can glean from it.

Come to Me, and I Will Give You Rest

25 At that time Jesus declared, I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
–from Matthew 11

Are you feeling the pressure of life? Are you feeling the weight of the world? There is an alternative option for you!  We just read it in the start of today’s reading where it says:

28Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

-from Matthew 11

Jesus is the answer! He will trade us that pressure and that weight! He will provide rest in the midst of a busy day! He will provide peace in the midst of the storm! He will provide a way even when there doesn’t appear to be one!

The decision is yours! He won’t force you to! He won’t make you do it! You get to choose! So…


 

 

 

Today’s reading continues…

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

47 While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” 49And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 50Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. 51And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” 55At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. 56But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.

Do you realize what happens when you get so tired? Do you realize what you are missing? Do you realize what is going on around you? Do you realize what you are a part of? Do you realize the impact you could have? Do you realize how much God loves you? Do you realize how much you have available to you? Are you willing to humble yourself and do it God’s way? Are you willing to shepherd those who follow you rather than try to control them? Are you willing to let them be creative? Are you willing to allow them to learn and grow and think? You don’t want them to just be robots right? Are you willing to let go and stop trying to control and manipulate everyone? Do you realize that it’s a matter of choice and we get to choose for ourselves? Will you choose to be prepared? Will you choose to be ready? Will you choose to answer the call? Will you choose to make a difference? Will you choose to receive forgiveness? Will you choose to give out forgiveness? The choice is yours! So…

 

 


 

Today’s devotional (Character Of A Great Leader – day 5) speaks to the topic of “” and uses these very verses…

“Great Leaders Are Not Controlling”

Letting go is never easy.

Many parents, for example, find it difficult to loosen the reins of control on their growing children — even in the face of startling statistics on the damage inflicted by controlling parents.

As adults, 96% of people who had controlling parents worry and ruminate over confrontations. Close to 91% are extra sensitive to criticism, while 82% become perfectionists who are rarely satisfied with themselves.

Control is unhealthy. It is unhealthy in relationships and it is extremely unhealthy in a workplace environment.

According to the survey by Harry Chambers, 79% of responding employees said they’ve been micromanaged in at least one point during their careers, and they single out micromanagement as the most significant barrier to productivity. Also, a study by the Journal of Experimental Psychology showed that employees who believe they are being watched perform at lower levels.

Yet, despite all the statistics and surveys, leaders still have a hard time letting go.

The results are constant turnovers, low productivity, frequent change of direction, lack of creativity, and so on. So what would Jesus teach us about control?

If there was ever a leader who had every right and the wherewithal to control not only His followers but also His entire movement, it was Jesus.

He could have come as a powerful king to establish His earthly Kingdom; instead, He came as a child and later endured ridicule and cruelty from the very people He came to save. He could have saved the life of John the Baptist. He could have prevented His followers from being persecuted for their faith. He could have fed the five thousand all by Himself by raining manna from heaven (after all, that’s how He fed Israel for 40 years) without using someone else’s fish and bread, but He didn’t. Finally, He could have said no to the cross, but, thank God, He did not.

The beauty of Jesus’ leadership lies not in the control He exerts over His followers, but in the gentle way He shepherds us so that we can experience His fullness.

His way is full of grace, forgiveness and second chances. He is a leader who never leaves nor forsakes; yet, when necessary, He corrects and reorients. He doesn’t demand or force His way. He invites and guides those committed to His cause. His preferred leadership style is freedom instead of control.

Trying to figure it all out on your own?


Are you trying to make sense of what is going on? Are you trying to make it your way? Are you trying to go it alone? Do you think you have it all figured out? Do you know where to turn? Do you know who to ask? Do you know who to trust? Do you know who to lean on? Will you humble yourself enough to let go of your pride and desire to control everything?

Today’s reading speaks an incredible truth to these questions:

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.

–from Proverbs 3

We need to trust Him! We don’t know it all! We won’t understand it in the moment! So we need to trust Him completely! Lean on God! Lean on God’s Word! Build up your trust and your wisdom through Him and His Word! Don’t allow your one sided understanding keep you from the greater things that are yet to come! Don’t allow your lack of understanding hold you back from doing what He is calling and asking you to do!

So going through a tough time? Acknowledge Him! So going through a good time? Acknowledge Him! So going through a rough time? Acknowledge Him! Don’t be so proud that you don’t! Don’t be so proud that you won’t! Don’t be so bitter that you can’t! His Word tells us that if we will acknowledge Him in all our ways (not the occasional way, all our ways) He will make our path straight! Remember how we want to walk on that straight path! The one that makes it through the narrow gate! The one that leads to everlasting life! So let’s not get so puffed up that we don’t acknowledge Him! Let’s keep from getting so sad that we won’t acknowledge Him! Let’s acknowledge Him in and through it all!

Realize that you don’t see it all! Realize there are things taking place that you aren’t aware of! Realize that there is a process going on! Realize you are going through the process! Realize that in the good and the bad and everywhere in between God is able to use it to accomplish His plan! Remember His plan for you is good! Remember His plan for you is to give you a hope and a future! Remember His plan included sending Jesus so that we could be reconciled back unto Him! Remember His plan shows how much He loves us because Jesus came and gave it all to complete it, even to the point of dying on a cross! So let’s trust God! Let’s honor God! Let’s glorify God! Let’s exalt God! Let’s fear God and do what is right! Let’s resist the devil so that He will flee! Let’s keep ourselves from evil! Let’s turn from it! Let’s flee temptation!

Not because we want to keep ourselves from fun, but rather to keep us healthy and safe! It will keep us healthy and strong! It will build us up rather than tear us down! So let’s step out today walking in trust of God!


Today’s devotional (day 6) speaks about today’s reading too.

Lessons from my GPS

A headline in the April 23, 2012 edition of The Atlantic recently grabbed my attention: 53% of Recent College Grads Are Jobless or Underemployed — How? Think about how alarming that statistic really is — more than half of all college students are graduating only to find there isn’t a job in their chosen field waiting for them. After four years of study, many have to set aside their plans to pursue their dreams, settling instead for flipping hamburgers, selling coffee or sweeping floors.

There’s nothing wrong with those tasks. In fact, I believe much can be learned by engaging in manual labor. Whether you’re reading this as one of those “under- employed” recent college grads or you’re a seasoned professional who has been forced to deliver pizza or stock supermarket shelves, I’m here to tell you that the path you’re on is part of God’s plan for your life. Let me illustrate with a personal example.

When I lost my job as a “big-time” executive, I had to humble myself and take whatever I could find to do just to keep some income coming in. That included freelancing as a locksmith for a very gracious brother from church. My task typically consisted of assisting people who had locked themselves out of their car. One particularly busy day I was on a roll with 14 calls in a 12-hour period. Those calls had me zigzagging from one end of the county to the other to rescue stranded drivers.

I recall thinking about the many times I passed by the same landmarks. I wondered why that person or this person couldn’t have locked themselves out just 40 minutes earlier when I was in their area! I began to retrace my routes in my mind and realized what a maze of turns and curves and overlaps had occurred through- out my travels. It was a MapQuest nightmare!

When I read the words in Proverbs 3:6 about how the Lord “will make your paths straight,” I was reminded of the haphazard route I had to take while working as a locksmith on that crazy, busy day — which, in turn, prompted me to think about my career path. Specifically, I reflected on how often I have worked at a job in which I had no idea how that role would fit into my future. As I reviewed my experiences in light of this verse, I realized that my assortment of jobs was not a maze of uncharted destinations. In fact, every bit of experience I have accumulated, in many different fields, I am using today. I have to believe that every job you have had has helped to mold you too.

You and I are a MapQuest trip “in process.” If you look closely, you can see how the Lord has mapped out your life and how seemingly unrelated job experiences really do fit together to formulate the Lord’s plan for you. The experiences of your life and career actually do make sense — you just might not see the big picture at the moment. Unfortunately, that’s because you and I are not privy to the directions beyond this very minute.

Although we still want to ask when this part of the journey will be over, and we still long to know where we will end up with our career, we can rest assured that God has a perfect plan for us. He will make your paths straight if you trust in him rather than in yourself. Why not take some time right now and look back over your road map? Isn’t it amazing how the Lord has worked, in all things, for your good? If you don’t see the straight road just yet, don’t worry. With his guidance, you will see how the road behind is part of the road ahead.

–from Why Did I Lose My Job If God Loves Me? (Day 6)

Wow! The road that continues, the landmarks, the plan, the purpose, the learnings!

Son/Brother/Grandson/Nephew/Friend — Baker — Waiter — Programmer — Support — Husband — Developer — Dad — Child of God — Intl PM — Camp Counselor — Evangelist — HOA Board– Build — Engineering system — Intl PM — Church Board — Camp Director — …

How about your road? The road behind you! Will it help you trust Him going forward? Do you need to ask Him into your life because you don’t know Him? It makes a difference! I know, it wasn’t till later in life that this aha moment came to me and it has transformed my outlook in the and through the good and the rough times! God never said it would be easy, but He did say He would never leave us nor abandon us! He also said to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds! He also said that in this world we will have troubles, but not to worry because He has overcome pure joythe world!