Is your faith great enough that you will trust God thru it all?


What if it impacted your finances? What if it impacted your health? What if it impacted your relationships? Will you still trust Him? Would you be willing to do a do-over? What if you had to restart because your financial situation? What if you had to fight through tough times in order to restart good health? What if you had to fight for a relationship in order to have a healthy restart? Do you believe? Will you remain obedient? Even if you have to face a trial or go through troubles?

Today’s reading begins in Exodus 19.

‘Exactly two months after the Israelites left Egypt, they arrived in the wilderness of Sinai. After breaking camp at Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and set up camp there at the base of Mount Sinai. Then Moses climbed the mountain to appear before God. The Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “Give these instructions to the family of Jacob; announce it to the descendants of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.” So Moses returned from the mountain and called together the elders of the people and told them everything the Lord had commanded him. And all the people responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded.” So Moses brought the people’s answer back to the Lord . Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will come to you in a thick cloud, Moses, so the people themselves can hear me when I speak with you. Then they will always trust you.” Moses told the Lord what the people had said. Then the Lord told Moses, “Go down and prepare the people for my arrival. Consecrate them today and tomorrow, and have them wash their clothing. Be sure they are ready on the third day, for on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai as all the people watch. Mark off a boundary all around the mountain. Warn the people, ‘Be careful! Do not go up on the mountain or even touch its boundaries. Anyone who touches the mountain will certainly be put to death. No hand may touch the person or animal that crosses the boundary; instead, stone them or shoot them with arrows. They must be put to death.’ However, when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, then the people may go up on the mountain. ” So Moses went down to the people. He consecrated them for worship, and they washed their clothes. He told them, “Get ready for the third day, and until then abstain from having sexual intercourse.” On the morning of the third day, thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a dense cloud came down on the mountain. There was a long, loud blast from a ram’s horn, and all the people trembled. Moses led them out from the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the Lord had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a brick kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently. As the blast of the ram’s horn grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God thundered his reply. The Lord came down on the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses climbed the mountain. Then the Lord told Moses, “Go back down and warn the people not to break through the boundaries to see the Lord , or they will die. Even the priests who regularly come near to the Lord must purify themselves so that the Lord does not break out and destroy them.” “But Lord ,” Moses protested, “the people cannot come up to Mount Sinai. You already warned us. You told me, ‘Mark off a boundary all around the mountain to set it apart as holy.’” But the Lord said, “Go down and bring Aaron back up with you. In the meantime, do not let the priests or the people break through to approach the Lord , or he will break out and destroy them.” So Moses went down to the people and told them what the Lord had said.’

Exodus 19

Will you remember all that God has done in your life so that your faith is strong enough for what is in front of you? Will you obey God and keep His covenant? Will you receive Jesus and be a part of the kingdom of princes no matter what job you have been given be it in the church or in the workplace? Will you be ready? Will you be prepared? Will you stay within the boundary God has put in position so that you can be blessed?

Today’s reading continues into Job 2.

‘One day the members of the heavenly court came again to present themselves before the Lord , and the Accuser, Satan, came with them. “Where have you come from?” the Lord asked Satan. Satan answered the Lord , “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.” Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil. And he has maintained his integrity, even though you urged me to harm him without cause.” Satan replied to the Lord , “Skin for skin! A man will give up everything he has to save his life. But reach out and take away his health, and he will surely curse you to your face!” “All right, do with him as you please,” the Lord said to Satan. “But spare his life.” So Satan left the Lord ’s presence, and he struck Job with terrible boils from head to foot. Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.” But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.

When three of Job’s friends heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him. Their names were Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to show their grief. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.’

Job 2

Don’t sacrifice your integrity! Don’t give up hope! Remember what you believe in!

Today’s reading continues into the New Testament continues in John 19.

‘Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.’

John 19:38-42

Today’s reading continues into John 20.

‘Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed— for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. Then they went home.’

John 20:1-10

If you get there first will you enter in or will you await the other person who will go in? If you don’t get there first are you prepared and willing to step into the situation? Is it out of faith? Is it out of courage? Is it out of fear? Is it out of worry? Is it out of humility? Is it out of pride? What is the motivation for which you respond in such a way?

Today’s reading takes us to 1 Corinthians 5.

‘I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you—something that even pagans don’t do. I am told that a man in your church is living in sin with his stepmother. You are so proud of yourselves, but you should be mourning in sorrow and shame. And you should remove this man from your fellowship. Even though I am not with you in person, I am with you in the Spirit. And as though I were there, I have already passed judgment on this man in the name of the Lord Jesus. You must call a meeting of the church. I will be present with you in spirit, and so will the power of our Lord Jesus. Then you must throw this man out and hand him over to Satan so that his sinful nature will be destroyed and he himself will be saved on the day the Lord returns. Your boasting about this is terrible. Don’t you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old “yeast” by removing this wicked person from among you. Then you will be like a fresh batch of dough made without yeast, which is what you really are. Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us. So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth. When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”’

1 Corinthians 5

Do you see how things are going around you? Are you seeing any small amount of yeast that is stirring up trouble? Are you seeing believers who aren’t living the way God has commanded? Are you embracing the behavior? Are you separating yourself from the behavior? Are you trying to help them realize the errors of their ways so that they will come back into alignment with God’s will? Are you living out your life in a way that will help unbelievers see and glorify God in heaven? Are you living out your life in a way that unbelievers can receive the joy of the Lord that is your strength and can have their lives transformed too by sharing the hope and truth of Jesus? How will you choose to live and respond with people who are saying they are believers but aren’t living it out? How will you choose to live and respond with people who are unbelievers?

Today’s reading concludes in with a psalm. Let’s come together and mediate over today’s psalm from Psalms 50 and bring thankfulness to God.

‘The Lord , the Mighty One, is God, and he has spoken; he has summoned all humanity from where the sun rises to where it sets. From Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines in glorious radiance. Our God approaches, and he is not silent. Fire devours everything in his way, and a great storm rages around him. He calls on the heavens above and earth below to witness the judgment of his people. “Bring my faithful people to me— those who made a covenant with me by giving sacrifices.” Then let the heavens proclaim his justice, for God himself will be the judge. Interlude “O my people, listen as I speak. Here are my charges against you, O Israel: I am God, your God! I have no complaint about your sacrifices or the burnt offerings you constantly offer. But I do not need the bulls from your barns or the goats from your pens. For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and everything in it. Do I eat the meat of bulls? Do I drink the blood of goats? Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” But God says to the wicked: “Why bother reciting my decrees and pretending to obey my covenant? For you refuse my discipline and treat my words like trash. When you see thieves, you approve of them, and you spend your time with adulterers. Your mouth is filled with wickedness, and your tongue is full of lies. You sit around and slander your brother— your own mother’s son. While you did all this, I remained silent, and you thought I didn’t care. But now I will rebuke you, listing all my charges against you. Repent, all of you who forget me, or I will tear you apart, and no one will help you. But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.”’

Psalms 50

Can you forgive them no matter what? What if they show that they have changed?


I have learned through a few experiences that forgiveness is more about my own well being than about the person being forgiven. I have learned that forgiveness is an opportunity to take back control and receive healing from some act that happened. I have learned the importance of forgiving them no matter what. It doesn’t mean they are right. It doesn’t mean you can trust them. It doesn’t mean you let them do it again. But it does mean you give it over to God to take care of. It does mean that you can let go of the bitterness and anger. It does mean you can receive the love, the grace, the mercy, and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. God’s Word tells us that we need to continue to forgive 7×70 times. I remember my first time when I really needed to learn this lesson and how it was the song 7×70 that came on the radio and was the trigger to bring healing back into my life breaking down and removing the bitterness and anger. It was such an incredible story that I have even taken the opportunity to share it with others at work when asked to give a testimony and then shared the video that was produced to be able to help others learn about one another as the company was continuing to grow.

Today’s reading about Joseph and his brother’s second return to Egypt made the power of forgiveness and using what others planned for evil and allowing God to turn it around and use it for good came to mind. We will get to watch this play out over a few more days until the reconciliation is complete. Today’s reading starts in Genesis 43.

‘But the famine continued to ravage the land of Canaan. When the grain they had brought from Egypt was almost gone, Jacob said to his sons, “Go back and buy us a little more food.” But Judah said, “The man was serious when he warned us, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ If you send Benjamin with us, we will go down and buy more food. But if you don’t let Benjamin go, we won’t go either. Remember, the man said, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother is with you.’” “Why were you so cruel to me?” Jacob moaned. “Why did you tell him you had another brother?” “The man kept asking us questions about our family,” they replied. “He asked, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ So we answered his questions. How could we know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?” Judah said to his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will be on our way. Otherwise we will all die of starvation—and not only we, but you and our little ones. I personally guarantee his safety. You may hold me responsible if I don’t bring him back to you. Then let me bear the blame forever. If we hadn’t wasted all this time, we could have gone and returned twice by now.” So their father, Jacob, finally said to them, “If it can’t be avoided, then at least do this. Pack your bags with the best products of this land. Take them down to the man as gifts—balm, honey, gum, aromatic resin, pistachio nuts, and almonds. Also take double the money that was put back in your sacks, as it was probably someone’s mistake. Then take your brother, and go back to the man. May God Almighty give you mercy as you go before the man, so that he will release Simeon and let Benjamin return. But if I must lose my children, so be it.” So the men packed Jacob’s gifts and double the money and headed off with Benjamin. They finally arrived in Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph. When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the manager of his household, “These men will eat with me this noon. Take them inside the palace. Then go slaughter an animal, and prepare a big feast.” So the man did as Joseph told him and took them into Joseph’s palace. The brothers were terrified when they saw that they were being taken into Joseph’s house. “It’s because of the money someone put in our sacks last time we were here,” they said. “He plans to pretend that we stole it. Then he will seize us, make us slaves, and take our donkeys.”

The brothers approached the manager of Joseph’s household and spoke to him at the entrance to the palace. “Sir,” they said, “we came to Egypt once before to buy food. But as we were returning home, we stopped for the night and opened our sacks. Then we discovered that each man’s money—the exact amount paid—was in the top of his sack! Here it is; we have brought it back with us. We also have additional money to buy more food. We have no idea who put our money in our sacks.” “Relax. Don’t be afraid,” the household manager told them. “Your God, the God of your father, must have put this treasure into your sacks. I know I received your payment.” Then he released Simeon and brought him out to them. The manager then led the men into Joseph’s palace. He gave them water to wash their feet and provided food for their donkeys. They were told they would be eating there, so they prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon. When Joseph came home, they gave him the gifts they had brought him, then bowed low to the ground before him. After greeting them, he asked, “How is your father, the old man you spoke about? Is he still alive?” “Yes,” they replied. “Our father, your servant, is alive and well.” And they bowed low again. Then Joseph looked at his brother Benjamin, the son of his own mother. “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?” Joseph asked. “May God be gracious to you, my son.” Then Joseph hurried from the room because he was overcome with emotion for his brother. He went into his private room, where he broke down and wept. After washing his face, he came back out, keeping himself under control. Then he ordered, “Bring out the food!” The waiters served Joseph at his own table, and his brothers were served at a separate table. The Egyptians who ate with Joseph sat at their own table, because Egyptians despise Hebrews and refuse to eat with them. Joseph told each of his brothers where to sit, and to their amazement, he seated them according to age, from oldest to youngest. And Joseph filled their plates with food from his own table, giving Benjamin five times as much as he gave the others. So they feasted and drank freely with him.’

Genesis 43

Our reading brings us into 2 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles 14

‘When Abijah died, he was buried in the City of David. Then his son Asa became the next king. There was peace in the land for ten years. Asa did what was pleasing and good in the sight of the Lord his God. He removed the foreign altars and the pagan shrines. He smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. He commanded the people of Judah to seek the Lord , the God of their ancestors, and to obey his law and his commands. Asa also removed the pagan shrines, as well as the incense altars from every one of Judah’s towns. So Asa’s kingdom enjoyed a period of peace. During those peaceful years, he was able to build up the fortified towns throughout Judah. No one tried to make war against him at this time, for the Lord was giving him rest from his enemies. Asa told the people of Judah, “Let us build towns and fortify them with walls, towers, gates, and bars. The land is still ours because we sought the Lord our God, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they went ahead with these projects and brought them to completion. King Asa had an army of 300,000 warriors from the tribe of Judah, armed with large shields and spears. He also had an army of 280,000 warriors from the tribe of Benjamin, armed with small shields and bows. Both armies were composed of well-trained fighting men. Once an Ethiopian named Zerah attacked Judah with an army of 1,000,000 men and 300 chariots. They advanced to the town of Mareshah, so Asa deployed his armies for battle in the valley north of Mareshah. Then Asa cried out to the Lord his God, “O Lord , no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in you alone. It is in your name that we have come against this vast horde. O Lord , you are our God; do not let mere men prevail against you!” So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians in the presence of Asa and the army of Judah, and the enemy fled. Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar, and so many Ethiopians fell that they were unable to rally. They were destroyed by the Lord and his army, and the army of Judah carried off a vast amount of plunder. While they were at Gerar, they attacked all the towns in that area, and terror from the Lord came upon the people there. As a result, a vast amount of plunder was taken from these towns, too. They also attacked the camps of herdsmen and captured many sheep, goats, and camels before finally returning to Jerusalem.’

2 Chronicles 14

and 2 Chronicles 15.

‘Then the Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded, and he went out to meet King Asa as he was returning from the battle. “Listen to me, Asa!” he shouted. “Listen, all you people of Judah and Benjamin! The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you seek him, you will find him. But if you abandon him, he will abandon you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach them, and without the Law to instruct them. But whenever they were in trouble and turned to the Lord , the God of Israel, and sought him out, they found him. “During those dark times, it was not safe to travel. Problems troubled the people of every land. Nation fought against nation, and city against city, for God was troubling them with every kind of problem. But as for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded.” When Asa heard this message from Azariah the prophet, he took courage and removed all the detestable idols from the land of Judah and Benjamin and in the towns he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. And he repaired the altar of the Lord , which stood in front of the entry room of the Lord ’s Temple. Then Asa called together all the people of Judah and Benjamin, along with the people of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who had settled among them. For many from Israel had moved to Judah during Asa’s reign when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. The people gathered at Jerusalem in late spring, during the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign. On that day they sacrificed to the Lord 700 cattle and 7,000 sheep and goats from the plunder they had taken in the battle. Then they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord , the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. They agreed that anyone who refused to seek the Lord , the God of Israel, would be put to death—whether young or old, man or woman. They shouted out their oath of loyalty to the Lord with trumpets blaring and rams’ horns sounding. All in Judah were happy about this covenant, for they had entered into it with all their heart. They earnestly sought after God, and they found him. And the Lord gave them rest from their enemies on every side. King Asa even deposed his grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother because she had made an obscene Asherah pole. He cut down her obscene pole, broke it up, and burned it in the Kidron Valley. Although the pagan shrines were not removed from Israel, Asa’s heart remained completely faithful throughout his life. He brought into the Temple of God the silver and gold and the various items that he and his father had dedicated. So there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign.’

2 Chronicles 15

We need to draw closer to God. We need to walk in His ways. We need to turn back to Him if/when we get lost and ask Him for forgiveness. Jesus gave His life as the ultimate sacrifice in order that we can be reconciled back to God. Let’s live our lives faithfully to God for He is faithful to us.

Our reading continues into the New Testament starting in John 10.

‘Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.” Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!” Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen. But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs. If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.” Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” He did not say this on his own; as high priest at that time he was led to prophesy that Jesus would die for the entire nation. And not only for that nation, but to bring together and unite all the children of God scattered around the world. So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death. As a result, Jesus stopped his public ministry among the people and left Jerusalem. He went to a place near the wilderness, to the village of Ephraim, and stayed there with his disciples. It was now almost time for the Jewish Passover celebration, and many people from all over the country arrived in Jerusalem several days early so they could go through the purification ceremony before Passover began. They kept looking for Jesus, but as they stood around in the Temple, they said to each other, “What do you think? He won’t come for Passover, will he?” Meanwhile, the leading priests and Pharisees had publicly ordered that anyone seeing Jesus must report it immediately so they could arrest him.’

John 10:38-57

We learn how Jesus died once for all. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the only way to be reconciled back to God. Will you receive the gift of Jesus into your life? Have you received God’s forgiveness through Jesus? This reminds of how as I was driving after having forgiven others the words that came to my mind “as you forgive others, so I will forgive you”. I realized that He had prompted me for months to forgive and I rejected it with so many excuses and reasons and justifications why I shouldn’t and couldn’t and so started to ask Jesus to forgive me for my disobedience and my resistance to the truth. I remember the weight being lifted off my shoulders as I finished praying and talking to God. It was all gone. It was a miracle. It was amazing. No bitterness. No anger. Just peace!

Today’s reading continues into 1 Thessalonians 4.

‘Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more. For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before. God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more. Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.’

1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

As we close today’s reading, let’s meditate on today’s psalm – Psalms 31.

‘O Lord , I have come to you for protection; don’t let me be disgraced. Save me, for you do what is right. Turn your ear to listen to me; rescue me quickly. Be my rock of protection, a fortress where I will be safe. You are my rock and my fortress. For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger. Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me, for I find protection in you alone. I entrust my spirit into your hand. Rescue me, Lord , for you are a faithful God. I hate those who worship worthless idols. I trust in the Lord . I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to my enemies but have set me in a safe place. Have mercy on me, Lord , for I am in distress. Tears blur my eyes. My body and soul are withering away. I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness. Sin has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within. I am scorned by all my enemies and despised by my neighbors— even my friends are afraid to come near me. When they see me on the street, they run the other way. I am ignored as if I were dead, as if I were a broken pot. I have heard the many rumors about me, and I am surrounded by terror. My enemies conspire against me, plotting to take my life. But I am trusting you, O Lord , saying, “You are my God!” My future is in your hands. Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly. Let your favor shine on your servant. In your unfailing love, rescue me. Don’t let me be disgraced, O Lord , for I call out to you for help. Let the wicked be disgraced; let them lie silent in the grave. Silence their lying lips— those proud and arrogant lips that accuse the godly. How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues. Praise the Lord , for he has shown me the wonders of his unfailing love. He kept me safe when my city was under attack. In panic I cried out, “I am cut off from the Lord !” But you heard my cry for mercy and answered my call for help. Love the Lord , all you godly ones! For the Lord protects those who are loyal to him, but he harshly punishes the arrogant. So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord !’

Psalms 31

Imagine the struggle of having one and then getting two. Imagine the struggle of the two.


Ever been in a situation where you wanted something so bad but it wasn’t materializing? Ever gotten to the point of giving up but instead gave it up to God? Ever had the case of a double blessing? Imagine how that would have played out in today’s reading as we start in Genesis 25.

‘Abraham married another wife, whose name was Keturah. She gave birth to Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan. Dedan’s descendants were the Asshurites, Letushites, and Leummites. Midian’s sons were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. These were all descendants of Abraham through Keturah. Abraham gave everything he owned to his son Isaac. But before he died, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them off to a land in the east, away from Isaac. Abraham lived for 175 years, and he died at a ripe old age, having lived a long and satisfying life. He breathed his last and joined his ancestors in death. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite. This was the field Abraham had purchased from the Hittites and where he had buried his wife Sarah. After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac, who settled near Beer-lahai-roi in the Negev.

This is the account of the family of Ishmael, the son of Abraham through Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian servant. Here is a list, by their names and clans, of Ishmael’s descendants: The oldest was Nebaioth, followed by Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These twelve sons of Ishmael became the founders of twelve tribes named after them, listed according to the places they settled and camped. Ishmael lived for 137 years. Then he breathed his last and joined his ancestors in death. Ishmael’s descendants occupied the region from Havilah to Shur, which is east of Egypt in the direction of Asshur. There they lived in open hostility toward all their relatives.

This is the account of the family of Isaac, the son of Abraham. When Isaac was forty years old, he married Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan-aram and the sister of Laban the Aramean. Isaac pleaded with the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to have children. The Lord answered Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant with twins. But the two children struggled with each other in her womb. So she went to ask the Lord about it. “Why is this happening to me?” she asked. And the Lord told her, “The sons in your womb will become two nations. From the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals. One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son.” And when the time came to give birth, Rebekah discovered that she did indeed have twins! The first one was very red at birth and covered with thick hair like a fur coat. So they named him Esau. Then the other twin was born with his hand grasping Esau’s heel. So they named him Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when the twins were born.

As the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter. He was an outdoorsman, but Jacob had a quiet temperament, preferring to stay at home. Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating the wild game Esau brought home, but Rebekah loved Jacob. One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”) “All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.” “Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?” But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.’

Genesis 25

Do you realize what you were given? Have you taken it for granted? Are you willing to give it up for some physical benefit? What is more important the temporary or the eternal? What is more important the physical or the spiritual? Would you go against the instructions God has given to comfort you? Would you rather try to satisfy your own data driven attitude than the promises of God? Let’s see what happens in 1 Chronicles 21.

‘Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Take a census of all the people of Israel—from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north—and bring me a report so I may know how many there are.” But Joab replied, “May the Lord increase the number of his people a hundred times over! But why, my lord the king, do you want to do this? Are they not all your servants? Why must you cause Israel to sin?” But the king insisted that they take the census, so Joab traveled throughout all Israel to count the people. Then he returned to Jerusalem and reported the number of people to David. There were 1,100,000 warriors in all Israel who could handle a sword, and 470,000 in Judah. But Joab did not include the tribes of Levi and Benjamin in the census because he was so distressed at what the king had made him do.

God was very displeased with the census, and he punished Israel for it. Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt for doing this foolish thing.” Then the Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer. This was the message: “Go and say to David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will give you three choices. Choose one of these punishments, and I will inflict it on you.’” So Gad came to David and said, “These are the choices the Lord has given you. You may choose three years of famine, three months of destruction by the sword of your enemies, or three days of severe plague as the angel of the Lord brings devastation throughout the land of Israel. Decide what answer I should give the Lord who sent me.” “I’m in a desperate situation!” David replied to Gad. “But let me fall into the hands of the Lord , for his mercy is very great. Do not let me fall into human hands.” So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel, and 70,000 people died as a result. And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But just as the angel was preparing to destroy it, the Lord relented and said to the death angel, “Stop! That is enough!” At that moment the angel of the Lord was standing by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between heaven and earth with his sword drawn, reaching out over Jerusalem. So David and the leaders of Israel put on burlap to show their deep distress and fell face down on the ground. And David said to God, “I am the one who called for the census! I am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep—what have they done? O Lord my God, let your anger fall against me and my family, but do not destroy your people.”

Then the angel of the Lord told Gad to instruct David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. So David went up to do what the Lord had commanded him through Gad. Araunah, who was busy threshing wheat at the time, turned and saw the angel there. His four sons, who were with him, ran away and hid. When Araunah saw David approaching, he left his threshing floor and bowed before David with his face to the ground. David said to Araunah, “Let me buy this threshing floor from you at its full price. Then I will build an altar to the Lord there, so that he will stop the plague.” “Take it, my lord the king, and use it as you wish,” Araunah said to David. “I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, and the threshing boards for wood to build a fire on the altar, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give it all to you.” But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it for the full price. I will not take what is yours and give it to the Lord . I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing!” So David gave Araunah 600 pieces of gold in payment for the threshing floor. David built an altar there to the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. And when David prayed, the Lord answered him by sending fire from heaven to burn up the offering on the altar. Then the Lord spoke to the angel, who put the sword back into its sheath. When David saw that the Lord had answered his prayer, he offered sacrifices there at Araunah’s threshing floor. At that time the Tabernacle of the Lord and the altar of burnt offering that Moses had made in the wilderness were located at the place of worship in Gibeon. But David was not able to go there to inquire of God, because he was terrified by the drawn sword of the angel of the Lord .’

1 Chronicles 21

What would you do to make it right? Would you be willing to receive something or would you have to give something? Would you choose to put your punishment in the hands of God or man? How does that compare to what David did? Are you willing to prepare things that you won’t get to finish? Are you willing to give to something you will never witness? Are you willing to be generous because of your love and trust in God? Will you provide wisdom and guidance to your next generation? Let’s continue in today’s reading into 1 Chronicles 22.

‘Then David said, “This will be the location for the Temple of the Lord God and the place of the altar for Israel’s burnt offerings!”

So David gave orders to call together the foreigners living in Israel, and he assigned them the task of preparing finished stone for building the Temple of God. David provided large amounts of iron for the nails that would be needed for the doors in the gates and for the clamps, and he gave more bronze than could be weighed. He also provided innumerable cedar logs, for the men of Tyre and Sidon had brought vast amounts of cedar to David. David said, “My son Solomon is still young and inexperienced. And since the Temple to be built for the Lord must be a magnificent structure, famous and glorious throughout the world, I will begin making preparations for it now.” So David collected vast amounts of building materials before his death. Then David sent for his son Solomon and instructed him to build a Temple for the Lord , the God of Israel. “My son, I wanted to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God,” David told him. “But the Lord said to me, ‘You have killed many men in the battles you have fought. And since you have shed so much blood in my sight, you will not be the one to build a Temple to honor my name. But you will have a son who will be a man of peace. I will give him peace with his enemies in all the surrounding lands. His name will be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel during his reign. He is the one who will build a Temple to honor my name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will secure the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’ “Now, my son, may the Lord be with you and give you success as you follow his directions in building the Temple of the Lord your God. And may the Lord give you wisdom and understanding, that you may obey the Law of the Lord your God as you rule over Israel. For you will be successful if you carefully obey the decrees and regulations that the Lord gave to Israel through Moses. Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid or lose heart! “I have worked hard to provide materials for building the Temple of the Lord —nearly 4,000 tons of gold, 40,000 tons of silver, and so much iron and bronze that it cannot be weighed. I have also gathered timber and stone for the walls, though you may need to add more. You have a large number of skilled stonemasons and carpenters and craftsmen of every kind. You have expert goldsmiths and silversmiths and workers of bronze and iron. Now begin the work, and may the Lord be with you!” Then David ordered all the leaders of Israel to assist Solomon in this project. “The Lord your God is with you,” he declared. “He has given you peace with the surrounding nations. He has handed them over to me, and they are now subject to the Lord and his people. Now seek the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. Build the sanctuary of the Lord God so that you can bring the Ark of the Lord ’s Covenant and the holy vessels of God into the Temple built to honor the Lord ’s name.”’

1 Chronicles 22

God tells us many times throughout His Word to be bold and courageous, so lets’ live out our faith boldly in the world in which God has sent us. Will you turn back to God? Will you seek the Lord with all your heart and soul?


Today’s reading continues into the New Testament. As we jump into it let’s ask the Holy Spirit to speak to us and instruct in how it will apply to our lives today. Let’s allow Him to lead us and guide us, strengthen us and grant us that peace that surpasses all understanding. Let’s start in John 7.

‘After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death. But soon it was time for the Jewish Festival of Shelters, and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles! You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!” For even his brothers didn’t believe in him. Jesus replied, “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime. The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil. You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.” After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee.

But after his brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view. The Jewish leaders tried to find him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen him. There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some argued, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud who deceives the people.” But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders. Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach. ‘

John 7:1-14

What will your response be to mocking or disbelief? Will you do what you are supposed to do? Will you be led by the Spirit to respond in according to His will and plan? Let’s continue in Galatians 3.

‘Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God. What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would make the Gentiles right in his sight because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.” So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith. But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.” But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.’

Galatians 3:1-14

So let’s put our faith and trust in God. Let’s take hold of the reason we have been made right through Jesus’ sacrifice. Let’s put all our trust in what Jesus has already done. So let’s take hold of Jesus’s instruction of loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Let’s not be held back by the lies of the devil but instead believe the promise and direction of the Holy Spirit in order to live out our today. Victory is ours, not because of anything we have done but because of all that Jesus has already done. We have been rescued through Jesus. It is by grace through faith that we have been saved. So let’s not allow lies of the devil, influences of our culture to take us or draw us away from all that God has planned and purposed for our lives. Let’s live out our today with the joy of the Lord being our strength. Let’s share the grace, the hope, the love of Jesus with the people around us. We may be the only church they will ever encounter. The church isn’t a building, it is us, the body of believers. So let’s be Jesus with skin on into the environment we go into today. Let’s shine the love, the joy, the hope, the faith we have as a bright light into the world around us. Don’t hide it but rather life up high so it can’t be hidden like a city on a hill.

As we close today’s let us come together and meditate on today’s Psalm from Psalms 17.

‘O Lord , hear my plea for justice. Listen to my cry for help. Pay attention to my prayer, for it comes from honest lips. Declare me innocent, for you see those who do right. You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night. You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong. I am determined not to sin in what I say. I have followed your commands, which keep me from following cruel and evil people. My steps have stayed on your path; I have not wavered from following you. I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies. Guard me as you would guard your own eyes. Hide me in the shadow of your wings. Protect me from wicked people who attack me, from murderous enemies who surround me. They are without pity. Listen to their boasting! They track me down and surround me, watching for the chance to throw me to the ground. They are like hungry lions, eager to tear me apart— like young lions hiding in ambush. Arise, O Lord ! Stand against them, and bring them to their knees! Rescue me from the wicked with your sword! By the power of your hand, O Lord , destroy those who look to this world for their reward. But satisfy the hunger of your treasured ones. May their children have plenty, leaving an inheritance for their descendants. Because I am righteous, I will see you. When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied.’

Psalms 17

TODD BEAMER AND 9/11…(The Bible’s Impact on Trade and Taxes [June 13])


Where does your trust come from? Where does your hope come from? Where does your fulfillment come from? Where does your peace come from? Where does your wisdom come from? Where does your direction come from? Where does your courage come from? Where does your confidence come from? Where does your provision come from? Where does your protection come from? Where does your help come from?

Is it because of whom you believe? Is it because of where you know you are going? Is it because you know who is in control? Is it because you know who is leading you? Is it because you know who is comforting you? Is it because you know who is instructing and correcting you?

Today’s reading comes to us from Psalm 23

The Lord Is My Shepherd
A Psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

from Psalm 23

Do you have the trust of David in who God is? Do you have the faith to believe that God will do what He says He will do? Do you have the faith to trust God no matter what happens? Do you have faith that God already has a place for you in his house in heaven so walking out in obedience His plans on earth is easier to do? Do you have faith that allows you to consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds? Do you have faith that allows you to take heart when you face troubles?

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the subject of the Bible’s impact on Trade and taxes brings us to the event of Sept 11, 2001 (I remember sitting in front of the TV before leaving for work wondering what was going on as it looked like an airplane was sticking out of a building, while still confused another plane flew into the second tower. Wow!) and in this case shares the story of Todd Beamer who was a passenger on the United flight 93. It was the plane where the passengers learned about the attacks and were not going to allow that to happen with their plane and so stormed the cockpit and stopped the hijackers. We learn in today’s devotional something about what happened before the storming of the cockpit. We learned that Todd Beamer called the United Airlines’ telephone service and went through Psalm 23 with the operator who answered his call. We learn that the last words the operator heard from Todd were “Let’s Roll!” which became inspirational for many. They saved the target, they stopped the hijackers, but through it they all sacrificed and lost their lives in the field near Shanksville, PA. We learn how “Let’s Roll!” was cited in the 2002 presidential State of the Union as is the title of his wife’s book reflecting on his life and that fateful day in American and world history.

June 13 - Psalm 23 - Freedom is not free - Sacrifice and HeroismJune 13 - Psalm 23 - Crew and Passengers of flight UA94

Have you received the forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ? Are you sure where you will be in the end? Will we meet in heaven  in the house of the Lord? Will you choose to invite Jesus into your heart so that you can find comfort and peace? Will you choose to invite Jesus into your heart so that you can be confident of where you will end up? Will you choose to invite Jesus into your heart so that through this journey called life you will have His rod and His staff to guide and correct you? Will you make time to meditate on His Word daily for wisdom and discernment? Will you be transformed into the new you God desires for you to be?

Let’s pray…

Sample Sinners Prayer

For those who prayed this for the first time or as a recommitment to God, I celebrate with the angels in heaven that you made the greatest decision of your life. Will you leave a comment so that I know and pray for you? Will you leave a comment or question so we can have a conversation? Look for a local church that is a Bible believing, Bible preaching church that will be able to come alongside you and help you in this journey called life.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this day and for the words of encouragement through Your Word and today’s devotional. Help me today to walk out my life with the confidence and boldness that comes through my relationship with You. Help me Lord to live out this day reflecting the light of Jesus into the lives of the people You bring into my life. Help me Lord to to not worry – for worry changes nothing but to pray without ceasing living in continuous relationship with You. Help me Lord to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Help me Lord to be obedient to Your will. I ask all of this Lord so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Be who you were created to be!


You were create unique for a unique purpose! You were created to be different from everyone else! You were created on purpose! You were created with purpose! You were created for a purpose!

Don’t compare yourself with others! Don’t compare what you have to what others have!

We are called to be more like Jesus! We are called to raise the average! We are called to be in the world, but not of the world!

We are supposed to be the same, we were created to be different!

We are supposed to be different from this world by being more like Jesus!

Don’t fall into the lies of what the world says is desirable! Let’s focus on things that will last! Love, Faith, and Hope, where the greatest is love! But not the world’s love but the unconditional love! Let’s be salt and light into this world around us! Let’s allow our lights to shine! Let’s be aware and wakeful of what is going on around us! Let’s be self controlled and not be tempted into the darkness! Let’s be encouraging and uplifting! Let’s be patient! Let’s look for the best in everyone and trying to pull it out of everyone! Let’s be joyful and help the world to learn how to be thankful!


Dare to be Different

Day 285: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Be a ‘stranger’ on earthPsalm 119:17-24
  2. Live differently1 Thessalonians 5:1-28
  3. Speak differentlyJeremiah 25:15-26:24

Today’s reading in God’s word comes from…

Psalms 119:17-24

1 Thessalonians 5

Jeremiah 25:15-38

Jeremiah 26

What if you were hand selected for a purpose…


What if your life was saved? What if you were taken away from your family and friends? What if you were being trained and groomed for a higher calling? What if they tried to change you? What if they tried to change how you eat? What if they tried to change your values? What if they tried to change your behavior? What if they tried to change your name? What if the food they were trying to make you eat was food you had been forbidden to eat? What if the acts they were trying to make you perform were against your beliefs?

What would you do? How would you respond? Would you look for alternatives? Would you look for opportunities to speak up? How much do you stand for what you believe in? How much do you stick to your guns and not go against the principles?

Imagine being Daniel…He had a proposal to keep his diet from being messed up (some call it a Daniel’s fast now)…

Danielʼs Training in Babylon

1In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god.
3Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the kingʼs service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the kingʼs palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. 5The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the kingʼs table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the kingʼs service.
6Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
8But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
11Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
15At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.
17To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
18At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the kingʼs service. 20In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
21And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.

–Daniel 1

So what if God gave you a gift to interpret visions and dreams? But you were in the same position described above and to add to it all new threats appeared from people who started seeing you as a threat. Would you speak up? Would you speak out? Would you be the voice of God into that very difficult situation? Would you answer the call and step up and step into that difficult situation? Imagine if the outcome of your obedience and courage was favor? Let’s read what happened to Daniel…

Nebuchadnezzarʼs Dream

1In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep. 2So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed. When they came in and stood before the king, 3he said to them, “I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means.”
4Then the astrologers answered the king, “May the king live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it.”
5The king replied to the astrologers, “This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. 6But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.”
7Once more they replied, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it.”
8Then the king answered, “I am certain that you are trying to gain time, because you realize that this is what I have firmly decided: 9If you do not tell me the dream, there is only one penalty for you. You have conspired to tell me misleading and wicked things, hoping the situation will change. So then, tell me the dream, and I will know that you can interpret it for me.”
10The astrologers answered the king, “There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. 11What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans.”
12This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. 13So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.
14When Arioch, the commander of the kingʼs guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. 15He asked the kingʼs officer, “Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. 16At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.
17Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20and said:
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
21He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
22He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.
23I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

Daniel Interprets the Dream

24Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, “Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him.”
25Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, “I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means.”
26The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), “Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?”
27Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, 28but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you were lying in bed are these:
29“As Your Majesty was lying there, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen. 30As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.
31“Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.
36“This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. 37Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; 38in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.
39“After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. 40Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
44“In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.
“The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
46Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. 47The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.”
48Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. 49Moreover, at Danielʼs request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court.

–Daniel 2

Don’t lose hope in the midst of your circumstances! Don’t give up because you are going through tough times! Don’t give in to pressures for all sides! Yes in this world we will have troubles, but take heart for Jesus has overcome the world! Yes there will be pressure but we can stand on the promises

8We are pressed on all sides, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. –from 2 Corinthians 4

We are told to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because the work it is doing in us while we don’t give up and we persevere will make us mature, complete, and lacking nothing! So don’t lose hope! Put your trust in God!

Today’s reading shares this Psalm prior to us getting to our close in Philippians.

1By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
2There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
3for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4How can we sing the songs of the Lord
while in a foreign land?
5If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.
6May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.
7Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
“tear it down to its foundations!”
8Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.
9Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.

–Psalm 137

Paul speaks to us in Philippians about having hope beyond our circumstances! We need to trust in God! We need to lean into God! We need to stop leaning into our own understanding and put our trust in God! We need lean into God, trusting in Him, so that He can make our path straight! So don’t lose hope! Have faith! Trust God! Let’s come together with fellow believers! Let’s unify and encourage one another no matter what is taking place around us! Let’s allow our lives to shine for Jesus and point people to Him as the Lord and Savior they need!

Closing Appeal for Steadfastness and Unity

1Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
2I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Final Exhortations

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Thanks for Their Gifts

10I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
14Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
20To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Final Greetings
21Greet all Godʼs people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22All Godʼs people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesarʼs household.
23The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

–Philippians 4

 

 

What’s your calling?


Have you been called to do something? How did you respond? Did you accept it? Did you reject it? Did you fight it? Did you argue it?

What’s you calling? How will you respond?

I know in my life so far God has called me to many things. Some I received open armed like being a husband and a father! Some I fought and argued against because I didn’t think I was qualified enough! I remember being a crossroads where someone was offering me 2 opportunities and asked me what I thought. I started telling the story (linked to above) which then lead me to the right decision God had for me. I remember the entire time saying to myself “Why am I telling this story? God I pray you will let me in on it too!”

So what is it God has called you to today that you are living out?

What decision are you needing to make? How will you answer the call? How long will it take for you to answer it? Do you realize the importance of accepting it? Do you realize the impact it will have not only on your life and story but on the lives God will bring across your path? It may not be easy, but it will be worth it! He will be with you in it and thru it when He has called you to it! Be it with hiring! Be it with making financial decisions! Be it with people conflicts! God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine! So put your trust in Him and step out in faith believing that He who has started a good work in you will continue to perfect till the day of Christ Jesus’ return!

We can’t allow fear to hold us back from our calling! I know in my story of not thinking I was qualified enough that the enemy was trying to keep me from being able to accomplish everything God needed and desired for me to have my faith built up in and thru. The devil will try to bring up fear and doubt to keep us from answering the call! The devil will give us reasons to worry what will or would or could happen if we stepped in or stepped up! But we need to take hold of God’s promises! We need to grab hold of His Word “Fear Not, Just Believe!” Let’s remember when they were walking into the promised land how Moses called them to “Be bold and courageous”. Courage isn’t the absence of fear, courage is judgment that something else is more important than fear! Its pressing forward despite fear! It’s moving from who you think you are and who you think you can be!

Today’s reading when Ezekiel is being called, we see that God knows that fear is going to show up when He says:

6And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.

–from Ezekiel 2

Do you ever realize how sometimes it is easier to convince a complete stranger than to convince someone you know well? Ever find that people you don’t know can receive information better than people who would seem to have fewer boundaries? Family? Old friends? etc?

Today’s reading we see how God warns Ezekiel of such challenges…

4He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them. 5You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and strange language, but to the people of Israel— 6not to many peoples of obscure speech and strange language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7But the people of Israel are not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate. 8But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. 9I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.”

–from Ezekiel 3

But whether they will hear and listen or not, we are to be watchmen and tell them what we are seeing, what is coming, what is about to be and they can choose how they will listen and respond. Ezekiel was called to be a watchman!

Ezekielʼs Task as Watchman

16At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: 17“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
20“Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 21But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”
22The hand of the Lord was on me there, and he said to me, “Get up and go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you.” 23So I got up and went out to the plain. And the glory of the Lord was standing there, like the glory I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown.
24Then the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet. He spoke to me and said: “Go, shut yourself inside your house. 25And you, son of man, they will tie with ropes; you will be bound so that you cannot go out among the people. 26I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be silent and unable to rebuke them, for they are a rebellious people. 27But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you shall say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ Whoever will listen let them listen, and whoever will refuse let them refuse; for they are a rebellious people.

–from Ezekiel 3

Some will hear what you have to say and listen but others will refuse it! Take a look around and see what is going on! Do some seem hard hearted? Do some seem rebellious? Do some seem to be more interested in stirring up division that fostering unifying behaviors and unity?

How can you tell the story? How can you try to get the message across? How can you speak the truth in a way that some will hear it and receive it? Some learn by hearing! Some learn by seeing! Some learn by doing! Let’s take a look at what Ezekiel tried…

Siege of Jerusalem Symbolized

1“Now, son of man, take a block of clay, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. 2Then lay siege to it: Erect siege works against it, build a ramp up to it, set up camps against it and put battering rams around it. 3Then take an iron pan, place it as an iron wall between you and the city and turn your face toward it. It will be under siege, and you shall besiege it. This will be a sign to the people of Israel.
4“Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the people of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. 5I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the people of Israel.
6“After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the people of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year. 7Turn your face toward the siege of Jerusalem and with bared arm prophesy against her. 8I will tie you up with ropes so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have finished the days of your siege.
9“Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the 390 days you lie on your side. 10Weigh out twenty shekels of food to eat each day and eat it at set times. 11Also measure out a sixth of a hin of water and drink it at set times. 12Eat the food as you would a loaf of barley bread; bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement for fuel.” 13The Lord said, “In this way the people of Israel will eat defiled food among the nations where I will drive them.”
14Then I said, “Not so, Sovereign Lord! I have never defiled myself. From my youth until now I have never eaten anything found dead or torn by wild animals. No impure meat has ever entered my mouth.”
15“Very well,” he said, “I will let you bake your bread over cow dung instead of human excrement.”
16He then said to me: “Son of man, I am about to cut off the food supply in Jerusalem. The people will eat rationed food in anxiety and drink rationed water in despair, 17for food and water will be scarce. They will be appalled at the sight of each other and will waste away because of their sin.

–Ezekiel 4

How do you think they would respond? Do you think people would get the memo? What do you think it would or will take to share the message God has for you with others and to have them not only hear it but receive it? Do you see what is going on around you?

Don’t you desire that everyone make it to be in heaven? Do you desire that you get to spend eternity with everyone so you can praise God together? Will you align your heart to God’s heart who doesn’t want anyone to perish but that everyone would have everlasting life! God’s not slow in keeping His promises! He is patient with us! He doesn’t want anyone to perish but that everyone would come to repentance, turning their lives back to Him! We all have free will though! We all have to make the choice for ourselves! And even with our best attempts there are some that will still not turn back to God! Even when God has blessed the nation so much, there are many who reject Him! Walk to talk about irony, there are missionaries from around the world where former missionaries had visited and raised up a people who are now going back to the countries where those missionaries had come from to preach the Good News there. There is no place on earth that doesn’t need to have the Good News preached and shared! Try different ways to share it! Say it! Show it! Do it!

Let’s review what God says to Ezekiel…

Godʼs Razor of Judgment

1“Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barberʼs razor to shave your head and your beard. Then take a set of scales and divide up the hair. 2When the days of your siege come to an end, burn a third of the hair inside the city. Take a third and strike it with the sword all around the city. And scatter a third to the wind. For I will pursue them with drawn sword. 3But take a few hairs and tuck them away in the folds of your garment. 4Again, take a few of these and throw them into the fire and burn them up. A fire will spread from there to all Israel.
5“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. 6Yet in her wickedness she has rebelled against my laws and decrees more than the nations and countries around her. She has rejected my laws and has not followed my decrees.
7“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: You have been more unruly than the nations around you and have not followed my decrees or kept my laws. You have not evenconformed to the standards of the nations around you.
8“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself am against you, Jerusalem, and I will inflict punishment on you in the sight of the nations. 9Because of all your detestable idols, I will do to you what I have never done before and will never do again. 10Therefore in your midst parents will eat their children, and children will eat their parents. I will inflict punishment on you and will scatter all your survivors to the winds. 11Therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your vile images and detestable practices, I myself will shave you; I will not look on you with pity or spare you. 12A third of your people will die of the plague or perish by famine inside you; a third will fall by the sword outside your walls; and a third I will scatter to the winds and pursue with drawn sword.
13“Then my anger will cease and my wrath against them will subside, and I will be avenged. And when I have spent my wrath on them, they will know that I the Lord have spoken in my zeal.
14“I will make you a ruin and a reproach among the nations around you, in the sight of all who pass by. 15You will be a reproach and a taunt, a warning and an object of horror to the nations around you when I inflict punishment on you in anger and in wrath and with stinging rebuke. I the Lord have spoken. 16When I shoot at you with my deadly and destructive arrows of famine, I will shoot to destroy you. I will bring more and more famine upon you and cut off your supply of food. 17I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will leave you childless. Plague and bloodshed will sweep through you, and I will bring the sword against you. I the Lord have spoken.”

–Ezekiel 5

Consider how you would, will, are or have respond/responded to the results of an election. Was it in alignment to God’s plans? Do you realize that there is no authority except that which is given by God? Do you realize that there were put there for a purpose? (When I was positioned to be President of the homeowners association, God had a plan and I didn’t fully grasp it till that time was completed!) So how will you respond? Will you revolt? Will you stand your ground? Will you be paid to go and create trouble? Will you stand up for what you believe in? (Like Daniel and his friends) Will you do what is right? Will you do what is just? Will you do what is good? Consider where you are at! Consider what has happened! Consider how you will respond! Consider how you should respond! Consider how God desires for you to respond!

If we take a look at today’s reading, we can learn that government was set in place for our good. Let’s review it together now…

Submission to Governing Authorities

1Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4For the one in authority is Godʼs servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are Godʼs servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are Godʼs servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

–from Romans 13

So why not live out our lives in love! So why not live out our lives in righteousness! Love is the answer to succeeding in life! Love is the way to a successful life! Love is …

Love Fulfills the Law

8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

–from Romans 13

So let’s not lose time! Let’s not waste our time and efforts on things that won’t help! Let’s not waste our time and effort on things that won’t produce good fruit! We want to draw people closer to God since each day we are getting closer to Jesus’ return! So let’s live as light into the dark world around us! Let’s shine the light of Jesus reflecting from us into the world around us!

The Day Is Near

11And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

–from Romans 13

So no matter what has or is taking place, how will you choose to live? Today’s reading concludes with that message also given to the Colossians…

Living as Those Made Alive in Christ

1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12Therefore, as Godʼs chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Instructions for Christian Households

18Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.

–Colossians 3

 


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 2, 3, 4, 5, Romans 13, Colossians 3

Crucial conversations!


They may not be easy to have, but they essential to have. They may not be easy to hear, but they are essential to have. They may are important messages to communicate. They are critical conversations to have. So having a way to frame it and communicate is helpful. These conversation take place when the stakes are high! These conversations take place when the people have opposing opinions! These conversations take place when there is strong emotions! Have you needed to have a crucial conversation?

Imagine God sending you to have a crucial conversation with the king or the president or the prime minister of your country. Today’s reading begins with Jeremiah having to have a crucial conversation with the king. It had high stakes! It had opposing opinions! It had strong emotions! And God had a message that needed to be given to Zedekiah…

Warning to Zedekiah

1While Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army and all the kingdoms and peoples in the empire he ruled were fighting against Jerusalem and all its surrounding towns, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Go to Zedekiah king of Judah and tell him, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. 3You will not escape from his grasp but will surely be captured and given into his hands. You will see the king of Babylon with your own eyes, and he will speak with you face to face. And you will go to Babylon.
4“ ‘Yet hear the Lordʼs promise to you, Zedekiah king of Judah. This is what the Lord says concerning you: You will not die by the sword; 5you will die peacefully. As people made a funeral fire in honor of your predecessors, the kings who ruled before you, so they will make a fire in your honor and lament, “Alas, master!” I myself make this promise, declares the Lord.’ ”
6Then Jeremiah the prophet told all this to Zedekiah king of Judah, in Jerusalem, 7while the army of the king of Babylon was fighting against Jerusalem and the other cities of Judah that were still holding out—Lachish and Azekah. These were the only fortified cities left in Judah.

Freedom for Slaves

8The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to proclaim freedom for the slaves. 9Everyone was to free their Hebrew slaves, both male and female; no one was to hold a fellow Hebrew in bondage. 10So all the officials and people who entered into this covenant agreed that they would free their male and female slaves and no longer hold them in bondage. They agreed, and set them free. 11But afterward they changed their minds and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again.
12Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 13“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I made a covenant with your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I said, 14‘Every seventh year each of you must free any fellow Hebrews who have sold themselves to you. After they have served you six years, you must let them go free.’ Your ancestors, however, did not listen to me or pay attention to me. 15Recently you repented and did what is right in my sight: Each of you proclaimed freedom to your own people. You even made a covenant before me in the house that bears my Name. 16But now you have turned around and profaned my name; each of you has taken back the male and female slaves you had set free to go where they wished. You have forced them to become your slaves again.
17“Therefore this is what the Lord says: You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom to your own people. So I now proclaim ‘freedom’ for you, declares the Lord—‘freedom’ to fall by the sword, plague and famine. I will make you abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth. 18Those who have violated my covenant and have not fulfilled the terms of the covenant they made before me, I will treat like the calf they cut in two and then walked between its pieces. 19The leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the court officials, the priests and all the people of the land who walked between the pieces of the calf, 20I will deliver into the hands of their enemies who want to kill them. Their dead bodies will become food for the birds and the wild animals.
21“I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah and his officials into the hands of their enemies who want to kill them, to the army of the king of Babylon, which has withdrawn from you. 22I am going to give the order, declares the Lord, and I will bring them back to this city. They will fight against it, take it and burn it down. And I will lay waste the towns of Judah so no one can live there.”

–Jeremiah 34

Are you being prompted by God to have a crucial conversation with someone? Is there something that needs to be discussed? Is there a conversation God is prompting you to have with someone? Will you be obedient and have it? Will you allow God to give you the words to speak? Will you allow Him to guide your words and your actions in this situation so that it will turn out the way God has planned?

You can find favor by speaking the truth in love! You can have a conversation that won’t escalate but will become a conversation rather than an argument! You can come to an agreement!

Jeremiah in Prison

1Zedekiah son of Josiah was made king of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; he reigned in place of Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim. 2Neither he nor his attendants nor the people of the land paid any attention to the words the Lord had spoken through Jeremiah the prophet.
3King Zedekiah, however, sent Jehukal son of Shelemiah with the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah to Jeremiah the prophet with this message: “Please pray to the Lord our God for us.”
4Now Jeremiah was free to come and go among the people, for he had not yet been put in prison. 5Pharaohʼs army had marched out of Egypt, and when the Babylonians who were besieging Jerusalem heard the report about them, they withdrew from Jerusalem.
6Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet: 7“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of me, ‘Pharaohʼs army, which has marched out to support you, will go back to its own land, to Egypt. 8Then the Babylonians will return and attack this city; they will capture it and burn it down.’
9“This is what the Lord says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, ‘The Babylonians will surely leave us.’ They will not! 10Even if you were to defeat the entire Babylonian army that is attacking you and only wounded men were left in their tents, they would come out and burn this city down.”
11After the Babylonian army had withdrawn from Jerusalem because of Pharaohʼs army, 12Jeremiah started to leave the city to go to the territory of Benjamin to get his share of the property among the people there. 13But when he reached the Benjamin Gate, the captain of the guard, whose name was Irijah son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah, arrested him and said, “You are deserting to the Babylonians!”
14“Thatʼs not true!” Jeremiah said. “I am not deserting to the Babylonians.” But Irijah would not listen to him; instead, he arrested Jeremiah and brought him to the officials. 15They were angry with Jeremiah and had him beaten and imprisoned in the house of Jonathan the secretary, which they had made into a prison.
16Jeremiah was put into a vaulted cell in a dungeon, where he remained a long time. 17Then King Zedekiah sent for him and had him brought to the palace, where he asked him privately, “Is there any word from the Lord?”
“Yes,” Jeremiah replied, “you will be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon.”
18Then Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “What crime have I committed against you or your attendants or this people, that you have put me in prison? 19Where are your prophets who prophesied to you, ‘The king of Babylon will not attack you or this land’? 20But now, my lord the king, please listen. Let me bring my petition before you: Do not send me back to the house of Jonathan the secretary, or I will die there.”
21King Zedekiah then gave orders for Jeremiah to be placed in the courtyard of the guard and given a loaf of bread from the street of the bakers each day until all the bread in the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard.

–Jeremiah 37

So will you speak out the truth in love? Will you trust God’s wisdom and direction? Will you trust God to provide you with discernment? Will you be obedient to His commands?

What if the conversation was one of life or death? Would that be enough to step out and have a crucial conversation? What if it was so important that it would let them know they have a choice to make — the stakes are high — but because you love and care for them so much that you have to let them know? What if the outcome for you wouldn’t end up being good (even if just temporarily, even if long duration) — would you obey God’s command and speak it? Would you be like Jonah and try to run from it till God would be able to persuade you? Would you be like Jeremiah who discussed it with God and then did it? How would you respond to being asked to go and have such a conversation? Would you be like Gideon who just needed to make sure and have some proof to convince Him?

Jeremiah was speaking the truth in love to the people wanting them to live rather than die. He was speaking the truth provided by God that if they stay in the city they would die either by sword, famine, or plague and warning them to flee and live. This message wasn’t being well received by the authorities. Let’s see how that plays out…would you trust God in and through the trials and the troubles? Will you trust God enough to answer truthfully when asked? Even if it happens to be bad news? at least bad from the recipient’s perspective…

Jeremiah Thrown Into a Cistern

1Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jehukal son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malkijah heard what Jeremiah was telling all the people when he said, 2“This is what the Lord says: ‘Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague, but whoever goes over to the Babylonians will live. They will escape with their lives; they will live.’ 3And this is what the Lord says: ‘This city will certainly be given into the hands of the army of the king of Babylon, who will capture it.’ ”
4Then the officials said to the king, “This man should be put to death. He is discouraging the soldiers who are left in this city, as well as all the people, by the things he is saying to them. This man is not seeking the good of these people but their ruin.”
5“He is in your hands,” King Zedekiah answered. “The king can do nothing to oppose you.”
6So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the kingʼs son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud.
7But Ebed-Melek, a Cushite, an official in the royal palace, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern. While the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate, 8Ebed-Melek went out of the palace and said to him, 9“My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all they have done to Jeremiah the prophet. They have thrown him into a cistern, where he will starve to death when there is no longer any bread in the city.”
10Then the king commanded Ebed-Melek the Cushite, “Take thirty men from here with you and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.”
11So Ebed-Melek took the men with him and went to a room under the treasury in the palace. He took some old rags and worn-out clothes from there and let them down with ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern. 12Ebed-Melek the Cushite said to Jeremiah, “Put these old rags and worn-out clothes under your arms to pad the ropes.” Jeremiah did so, 13and they pulled him up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard.

Zedekiah Questions Jeremiah Again

14Then King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah the prophet and had him brought to the third entrance to the temple of the Lord. “I am going to ask you something,” the king said to Jeremiah. “Do not hide anything from me.”
15Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I give you an answer, will you not kill me? Even if I did give you counsel, you would not listen to me.”
16But King Zedekiah swore this oath secretly to Jeremiah: “As surely as the Lord lives, who has given us breath, I will neither kill you nor hand you over to those who want to kill you.”
17Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “This is what the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, your life will be spared and this city will not be burned down; you and your family will live. 18But if you will not surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, this city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians and they will burn it down; you yourself will not escape from them.’ ”
19King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Jews who have gone over to the Babylonians, for the Babylonians may hand me over to them and they will mistreat me.”
20“They will not hand you over,” Jeremiah replied. “Obey the Lord by doing what I tell you. Then it will go well with you, and your life will be spared. 21But if you refuse to surrender, this is what the Lord has revealed to me: 22All the women left in the palace of the king of Judah will be brought out to the officials of the king of Babylon. Those women will say to you:
“ ‘They misled you and overcame you—
those trusted friends of yours.
Your feet are sunk in the mud;
your friends have deserted you.’
23“All your wives and children will be brought out to the Babylonians. You yourself will not escape from their hands but will be captured by the king of Babylon; and this city will be burned down.”
24Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Do not let anyone know about this conversation, or you may die. 25If the officials hear that I talked with you, and they come to you and say, ‘Tell us what you said to the king and what the king said to you; do not hide it from us or we will kill you,’ 26then tell them, ‘I was pleading with the king not to send me back to Jonathanʼs house to die there.’ ”
27All the officials did come to Jeremiah and question him, and he told them everything the king had ordered him to say. So they said no more to him, for no one had heard his conversation with the king.
28And Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard until the day Jerusalem was captured.
This is how Jerusalem was taken:

Want to know what happens? What to read ahead? Check out Jeremiah 39.

God’s ways are not our ways! God’s ways are better than our ways! His ways are higher than our ways! As far as the heaven is above the earth, that is how much higher His ways are from our ways!

How will God be lifted up in these times? How will God be given the glory in these times? How can you be used? How can I be used? How can the leaders be used? How can the government be used? Trust in God in and thru it all! Ask Jesus into your heart and into your life! Allow Him to be your king no matter who else is leading in your part of the world! Allow Jesus to be your Lord and Savior! Be transformed! Allow Jesus to create a new heart in you! Allow Jesus to cleanse your mind! It goes beyond our actions, it goes beyond our heritage, it goes beyond our generation, it is a matter of faith! We need to believe in Jesus!

Paulʼs Anguish Over Israel

1I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.

Godʼs Sovereign Choice

6It is not as though Godʼs word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abrahamʼs children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 8In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are Godʼs children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abrahamʼs offspring. 9For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”
10Not only that, but Rebekahʼs children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. 11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that Godʼs purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
14What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15For he says to Moses,

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

16It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on Godʼs mercy. 17For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
19One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ” 21Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
22What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25As he says in Hosea:

“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”

26and,

“In the very place where it was said to them,
‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ ”

27Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:

“Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea,
only the remnant will be saved.
28For the Lord will carry out
his sentence on earth with speed and finality.”

29It is just as Isaiah said previously:

“Unless the Lord Almighty
had left us descendants,
we would have become like Sodom,
we would have been like Gomorrah.”

Israelʼs Unbelief

30What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33As it is written:

“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

–Romans 9

Difficult Conversations


Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 34, 3738, Romans 9

Additional Reference: Crucial Conversations

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

 

What are you investing in?


Are you investing in something that will last? Are you investing in something that is trustworthy? Are you investing in something that has a good return? Are your investments a sign of good stewardship? Are your investments into things that will last? Are you investments into the right areas?

Investments…what does that mean to you? Time? Money? Effort? People? Property? Stocks? Stuff?

where-will-you-invest-and-spend-effort-time-money

Are you investing in things that will last forever? An example of such an investment is to invest in people – eternal souls. Are you investing in things that will glorify God? An example of such an investment is to be salt and light to the world around you. Another example is to walk in love. Another example is to be sharing the fruits of the spirit. Are you investing in things that will make a difference? Are you building a legacy?

How are you investing your time, energy, and money? 


Today’s reading brings us into Isaiah again which triggered the above questions…ponder them as you read through today’s reading and see what God has to say to you…

No Profit in Casting Idols

1“But now listen, Jacob My servant, Israel, whom I have chosen.” 2Thus says Adonai who made you, and formed you from the womb, who will help you: “Do not fear, Jacob My servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. 3For I will pour water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground. I will pour My Spirit on your offspring, and My blessing on your descendants. 4They will spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams. 5This one will say, ‘I am Adonai’s.’ That one will be called by the name Jacob. Another will write on his hand, ‘Adonai’s’ and will take the name Israel.”

First and Last

6Thus says Adonai, Israel’s King and his Redeemer, Adonai-Tzva’ot: “I am the first, and the last, and there is no God beside Me. 7Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and announce it! Let him arrange it in order for Me— as I established the ancient nation. Let them declare to them what is coming and future events. 8Do not dread or be afraid. Have I not told you and declared it long ago? So you are My witnesses! Is there any God beside Me? Is there any other Rock? I know of none.

Folly of Idols

9Those who fashion idols are empty. Their precious things do not profit. Their witnesses do not see or know, so they will be put to shame. 10Who fashions a god or casts an idol for no profit? 11Behold, all his friends will be ashamed, for the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble. Let them stand up. Let them dread. Let them be put to shame together. 12The blacksmith takes a tool and works with it over the coals, fashioning it with hammers and working it with his strong arm. Yet when he is hungry, his strength fails. When he drinks no water, he gets tired. 13A carpenter stretches out a line; he marks it with a pencil; he shapes it with planes; he marks it with a compass; he shapes it like the figure of a man —like the beauty of a man— so that it may sit in a shrine. 14He chops down cedars for himself, or he takes a cypress or an oak. He lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a pine and rain nourishes it. 15Then it is something for a man to burn. so he takes one of them and warms himself. He also makes a fire to bake bread. He also makes a god and worships it. He makes an idol and bows before it. 16He burns half of it in the fire. With this half, he eats meat. He roasts a roast and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm, I have seen the fire.” 17Yet with the rest he makes a god, his carved image. He falls down before it and worships. He even prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!” 18They do not know or understand! For He smeared over their eyes, so they cannot see, and their hearts, so they cannot understand. 19No one reflects in his heart, with no knowledge or discernment to say, “I burned half of it in the fire and I also baked bread on its coals. I roasted meat and ate—and then I make the rest of it an abomination? Should I bow before a block of wood?” 20He is feeding on ashes. A deceived heart has led him astray, so he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, “Isn’t what is in my right hand a fraud?” 21Remember these things, Jacob, and Israel, for you are My servant. I formed you, you are My servant. Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me! 22I have blotted out your transgressions like a thick cloud and your sins like a mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.” 23Sing, O heavens, for Adonai has done it! Shout, depths of the earth! Break forth into singing, mountains, forest, and every tree in it! For Adonai has redeemed Jacob and will be glorified through Israel. 24Thus says Adonai, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am Adonai, Maker of all things, stretching out the heavens alone, spreading the earth abroad by Myself, 25causing the omens of boasters to fail, making fools of diviners, turning wise men backward and making their knowledge foolish, 26while confirming the word of His servant, fulfilling the counsel of His messengers, saying of Jerusalem, “She will be lived in” and of the cities of Judah, “They will be built, and I will raise up their ruins,” 27while saying to the deep, “Be dry, I will dry up your rivers,” 28while saying of Cyrus, “He is My shepherd, and he shall fulfill all My purpose” while saying to Jerusalem, “You will be built” and to the Temple, “Your foundation will be laid.”

–from Isaiah 44

God knows your name! God knows your every thought! God sees each tear that falls! God hears you when you call! God created you on purpose with purpose for a purpose! So let’s be good stewards of all we have – time, money, effort. Let’s use it to glorify God and point others to Him! Let’s be Jesus with skin on to those who have yet to meet Jesus! Let’s allow the Spirit to work in and thru us for to glory of God! Let’s be strengthen by the Lord to do the work He has prepared in advance for us to do! Let’s keep our eyes on God and the work He has for us to do today! How will we invest our time? Will it make a difference to the people around us? Will their lives be impacted because we are there?

Cyrus the Anointed

1Thus says Adonai to His anointed, Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him, to loose the belts of kings, to open doors before him so that gates may not be shut. 2I will go before you and make crooked places straight. I will shatter bronze doors and cut through iron bars. 3I will give you treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, so you may know that I am Adonai, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. 4For the sake of Jacob My servant, and Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by name, I have given you a title of honor, though you have not known Me. 5I am Adonai—there is no other. Besides Me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not known Me, 6so they may know, from the rising to the setting of the sun, that there is no one besides Me. I am Adonai—there is no other. 7I form light and create darkness. I make shalom and create calamity. I, Adonai, do all these things. 8“Rain down, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds pour down justice. Let the earth open up, let salvation sprout, and righteousness spring up with it. I, Adonai, have created it.” 9Oy , to one who quarrels with his Maker, like a pot among the pots of the earth! Shall the clay say to the potter, “What have you made?” Or does your work say, “It has no handles”? 10Oy , to him who says to his father, “What have you begotten?” Or to a woman, “What have you born?” 11Thus says Adonai, the Holy One of Israel and its Maker, “Ask Me about the things to come upon My children. Then you will commit to Me the work of My hands. 12I made the earth and created man on it. My hands stretched out the heavens and I commanded all their host. 13“I stirred Cyrus up in righteousness and I will level all his roads. He will build My city and set My exiles free, with no price or bribe,” says Adonai-Tzva’ot. 14Thus says Adonai: “Egypt’s toil, Ethiopia’s merchandise, and the tall Sabeans will come over to you and be yours. They will walk behind you in chains. They will bow down to you, and pray, saying, ‘Surely God is with you!’ There is none else— no other God!”

Mystery of Creation

15Truly You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior! 16All of them will be ashamed, disgraced— idol-makers go in dishonor together. 17Israel has been saved by Adonai with an everlasting salvation. You will not be put to shame or disgraced, for ever and ever. 18For thus says Adonai— He is God who fashioned the heavens, who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it desolate but formed it to be inhabited— “I am Adonai—there is no other!” 19“I have not spoken in secret, in a place of a land of darkness. I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in desolation.’ I, Adonai, speak righteousness, declaring uprightly.”

No Other God and Savior

20“Assemble yourselves and come, draw near together, fugitives of the nations! Those who carry their wooden idols have no knowledge, praying to a god who cannot save. 21Declare and present your case, Indeed, let them consult together. Who foretold this from ancient time? Who has declared it of old? Is it not I, Adonai? There is no other God beside Me —a righteous God and a Savior— there is none besides Me! 22Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God—there is no other. 23By Myself I have sworn— the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness, and is irrevocable: that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear. 24They will say of Me, ‘Only in Adonai is righteousness and strength.’ All who have raged against Him will come to Him and be put to shame. 25In Adonai all the seed of Israel will be justified and give praise.”

–from Isaiah 45

Ask the Spirit to fill you up. Ask the Spirit to give you divine appointments today. Ask the Spirit to give you words of encouragement, words of instruction, words of direction so that you can invest into everyone God brings across your path today. Ask the Spirit to give you eyes to see beyond the surface. Ask the Spirit to give you ears to be sensitive to what is really going on so that you can hear it. Ask the Spirit to help you be bold and courageous to not only hear what is being said, but to be able to speak the words He gives you to speak as He did with Peter.

The Ruach Fills the Disciples

1When the day of Shavuot had come, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3And tongues like fire spreading out appeared to them and settled on each one of them. 4They were all filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh and began to speak in other tongues as the Ruach enabled them to speak out. 5Now Jewish people were staying in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6And when this sound came, the crowd gathered. They were bewildered, because each was hearing them speaking in his own language. 7And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “All these who are speaking—aren’t they Galileans? 8How is it that we each hear our own birth language? 9Parthians and Medes and Elamites and those living in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and parts of Libya toward Cyrene, and visitors from Rome 11(both Jewish people and proselytes), Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring in our own tongues the mighty deeds of God!” 12And they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to each other, “What does this mean?” 13Others, poking fun, were saying, “They are full of sweet new wine!”

Peter Speaks to the Shavuot Crowd

14But Peter, standing with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: “Fellow Judeans and all who are staying in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and pay attention to my words. 15These men are not drunk, as you suppose—for it’s only the third hour of the day! 16But this is what was spoken about through the prophet Joel: 17‘And it shall be in the last days,’ says God, ‘that I will pour out My Ruach on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18Even on My slaves, male and female, I will pour out My Ruach in those days, and they shall prophesy. 19And I will give wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth beneath— blood, and fire, and smoky vapor. 20The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and glorious Day of Adonai comes. 21And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of Adonai shall be saved.’ 22“Men of Israel, hear these words! Yeshua ha-Natzrati—a Man authenticated to you by God with mighty deeds and wonders and signs God performed through Him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23this Yeshua, given over by God’s predetermined plan and foreknowledge, nailed to the cross by the hand of lawless men, you killed. 24But God raised Him up, releasing Him from the pains of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held by it. 25For David says about Him, ‘I saw Adonai always before me, for He is at my right hand so that I might not be shaken. 26Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced; moreover, my body also will live in hope, 27because You will not abandon my soul to Sheol or let Your Holy One see decay. 28You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence.’ 29“Brothers, I can confidently tell you that the patriarch David died and was buried—his tomb is with us to this day. 30So because he was a prophet and knew God had sworn with an oath to him to seat one of his descendants on his throne, 31David saw beforehand and spoke of Messiah’s resurrection—that He was not abandoned to Sheol, and His body did not see decay. 32“This Yeshua God raised up—we all are witnesses! 33Therefore, being exalted to the right hand of God and receiving from the Father the promise of the Ruach ha-Kodesh, He poured out this—what you now see and hear. 34For David did not ascend into the heavens; yet he himself says, ‘Adonai said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, 35until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”’ 36“Therefore let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him—this Yeshua whom you had crucified—both Lord and Messiah!”

Teshuvah—Thousands Immersed

37Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the emissaries, “Fellow brethren, what shall we do?” 38Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be immersed in the name of Messiah Yeshua for the removal of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Ruach ha-Kodesh. 39For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away—as many as Adonai our God calls to Himself.” 40With many other words he warned them and kept urging them, saying, “Save yourselves from this twisted generation!” 41So those who received his message were immersed, and that day about three thousand souls were added.

New Covenant Community Begins

42They were devoting themselves to the teaching of the emissaries and to fellowship, to breaking bread and to prayers. 43Fear lay upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were happening through the emissaries. 44And all who believed were together, having everything in common. 45They began selling their property and possessions and sharing them with all, as any had need. 46Day by day they continued with one mind, spending time at the Temple and breaking bread from house to house. They were sharing meals with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord was adding to their number those being saved.

–from Acts 2

Have you already received Jesus? Have you already asked Jesus for forgiveness and turned back to God? Have you already been baptized in the name of Jesus?

What’s holding you back? It’s worth the investment!

Let’s be looking for the opportunity because God’s Word doesn’t return void and to this very day there are people being saved! How will you be investing into the lives who have received Him? How will you be investing into the lives who are yet to receive Him?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can have anything. What would you ask for?


How would you answer? What would you say? Are you ready?

Would you ask for material things? House? Car? Clothe?

Would you ask for wealth? Money? Stocks? Gold and precious metals?

Would you ask for favor? Lots of friends? Lots of people you know?

Would you ask for power? Control?

Would you ask for peace? No more violence? No more war? No more death?

Would you ask for things for yourself? for others?

Would you ask for something that only benefits you? would benefit a multitude of people?

Would you ask for revenge? Would you ask for justice? Would you ask for mercy? Would you ask for grace? Would you ask for love?

Would you ask for wisdom? Understanding? Insight? Direction?

Where is your heart at today? Are you in a good state of mind to be able to answer such a question? Today’s reading starts on just this subject when God asks Solomon what he wants…

Solomon Asks for Wisdom

1Then Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt by marriage, taking Pharaoh’s daughter, and bringing her to the city of David, until he finished building his own house, the House of Adonai, and the wall around Jerusalem. 2The people, however, were still sacrificing on the high places, because there was no House built for the Name of Adonai until those days. 3Now Solomon loved Adonai, walking in the statutes of his father David, except he kept sacrificing and burning incense on the high places. 4So the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. Upon this very altar Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings. 5At Gibeon Adonai appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said: “Ask for what should I give you?” 6Solomon said: “You have shown my father Your servant David great lovingkindness, as he walked before You in truth, righteousness and uprightness of heart toward You. Indeed, You have kept this great lovingkindness for him by giving him a son to sit on his throne, as it is today. 7So now, Adonai my God, You have made Your servant king in my father David’s place. I am but a youth. I don’t know how to go out or come in. 8Your servant is amid Your people, whom You have chosen—a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. 9So give Your servant a mind of understanding to judge Your people, to discern between good and evil—for who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” 10Now it was pleasing in the eyes of Adonai that Solomon requested this thing. 11So God said to him: “Because you asked for this thing—and have not asked for yourself long life, nor asked for yourself riches, nor asked for the life of your enemies, but asked for yourself understanding to discern justice— 12behold, I have done according to your words. I have given you a wise and discerning mind, so that there has been none like you before you, nor shall anyone like you arise after you. 13Moreover I have also given you what you did not request—both riches and honor—so that no one among the kings will be like you all your days. 14Furthermore, if you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” 15Then Solomon awoke and took note of the dream. So he went to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he made a feast for all his courtiers.

Judging Between Two Women

16Later two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17One woman said: “My lord, please! This woman and I live in the same house, and I delivered a child while she was in the house. 18On the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth to a child. While we were together with no one else with us in the house, just the two of us in the house, 19this woman’s child died during the night, because she lay on top of him. 20Then she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while your handmaid was asleep. She laid him at her breast and laid her dead child at my breast. 21When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, he had just died! But when I looked at him closely in the morning, I realized that he was not the son I had borne!” 22But the other woman said, “No! For the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son!” But the first woman said, “No! The dead one is your son and the living one is my son!” Thus they spoke before the king. 23Then said the king: “The one says, ‘This is my son who is living, and your son is the dead,’ while the other says, ‘No, but your son is the dead one and my son is the living one.’” 24Then the king said: “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword before the king. 25Then the king said: “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.” 26Then the woman whose son was the living one spoke up to the king—for her heart grew tender for her son—and said, “My lord, please! Give her the living child! Only don’t kill him!” But the other said, “It will be neither mine nor yours! Cut it in two!” 27Then the king responded by saying, “Give her the living child and certainly don’t kill him. She is the mother.” 28When all Israel heard of the verdict that the king had given, they were in awe of the king. For they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.

–from 1 Kings 3

Will you be selfless or selfish? Will you be asking our of love and purpose? Will you be asking in humility and grace? Will you ask for the intangible thing of wisdom and knowledge in order to be able to better do what God is calling you to do?

Solomon Asks for Wisdom at Gibeon

1Now Solomon the son of David firmly established himself over his kingdom. For Adonai his God was with him and made him exceedingly great. 2Solomon spoke to all Israel—to the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, to the judges and to every leader in all Israel, the leading patriarchs— 3and Solomon and the whole assembly with him went to the high place that was at Gibeon, for the Tent of Meeting of God was there, which Moses the servant of Adonai had made in the wilderness. 4Now David had brought up the Ark of God from Kiriath-jearim to the place that David had prepared for it because he had pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem. 5But the bronze altar that Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur had made was there in front of the Tabernacle of Adonai, and Solomon and the assembly inquired of Him there. 6So Solomon went up before Adonai to the bronze altar that was at the Tent of Meeting and offered 1,000 burnt offerings on it. 7That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask! What should I give you?” 8Solomon answered God, “You have shown great lovingkindness to my father David and now You have made me king in his place. 9Now, Adonai Elohim, let Your word to my father David be fulfilled for You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10Now give me wisdom and knowledge that I may go out and come in before this people. For who can govern this great people of Yours?” 11Then God said to Solomon, “Since this was in your heart and you have not asked for riches, possessions or honor, nor for the life of those who hate you and have not even asked for long life but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself—so you can govern My people over whom I have made you king— 12wisdom and knowledge will be given to you. Moreover, I will give you riches, possessions and honor, such as none of the kings who were before you ever had and none after you will have.” 13Then Solomon went to Jerusalem from the high place that was at Gibeon, from in front of the Tent of Meeting. So he reigned over Israel.

Horses and Chariots from Egypt

14Solomon accumulated chariots and horsemen. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, which he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. 15The king made silver and gold as plentiful in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars as plentiful as sycamores in the foothills. 16Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Keve—the king’s merchants purchased them from Keve at a price. 17They imported a chariot from Egypt for 600 talents of silver and a horse for 150. So by the same means they were exported to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram.

Solomon Prepares to Build

18Then Solomon vowed to build a House for the Name of Adonai, as well as a royal palace for himself.

–from 2 Chronicles 1

Would you ask for wisdom and knowledge? Would you ask to be righteous and just? Would you ask to be able to be just to everyone – from the richest to the poorest so that they all receive justice? Would you ask to get to be a servant? a helper?

A Powerful King for the Poor

1Of Solomon. Give the king Your judgments, O God, and Your righteousness to the king’s son. 2May he judge Your people with righteousness, and Your poor ones with justice. 3Let the mountains bring shalom to the people, and the hills righteousness. 4May he vindicate the poor of the people, save the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor. 5Let them fear You while the sun endures, and while the moon lasts, throughout all generations. 6May he be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the ground. 7Let the righteous flourish in his days. Let shalom abound till the moon is no more. 8May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. 9Let desert dwellers bow before him, and his enemies lick the dust. 10May kings of Tarshish and the islands bring tribute, kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts. 11So let all kings bow down before him, and all nations serve him. 12For he rescues the needy crying for help, also the poor and the one with no helper. 13He will take pity on the poor and needy, and the souls of the needy he will save. 14From oppression and violence he redeems their soul, for precious is their blood in his sight. 15Long may he live! May gold from Sheba be given to him. May he pray for him continually, and bless him all day. 16Let there be abundance of grain in the land. Let it sway on the top of the hills, let its fruit be like Lebanon, and let people of the city flourish like grass of the field. 17May his name endure forever. May his name increase before the sun, and may all nations be blessed by him and call him blessed. 18Blessed be Adonai Elohim, God of Israel, who alone does wonders. 19Blessed be His glorious Name forever. May all the earth be filled with His glory! Amen and Amen! 20The prayers of David son of Jesse are complete.

–from Psalms 72

If Jesus was willing to humble himself, why shouldn’t we? If Jesus was willing to lower himself to our level, why should we think we should be raised up?

Let’s be humble! Let’s serve! Let’s allow Jesus to be seen in and through us to the world around us! Let’s just trust God and His plan and His purpose! We knows it’s good, so let’s trust Him!

Let’s mature and move forward! Let’s not get stuck and remain as children without wisdom! Let’s receive God’s Word and let’s move forward believing and trusting in it! Let’s be living to do good! Let’s be living to overcome and overwhelm evil!

1For every kohen gadol taken from among men is appointed to act on behalf of people in matters relating to God, so that he may offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2He is able to empathize with the ignorant and deluded, since he himself also is subject to weakness. 3For this reason he has to make offerings for sins—just as for the people, so also for himself. 4And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when he is called by God, as Aaron was. 5So also Messiah did not glorify Himself to be made Kohen Gadol; rather, it was God who said to Him, “You are My Son; today I have become Your Father.” 6And He says in a different passage, “You are a kohen forever, according to the order of Melechizedek .” 7In the days of His life on earth, Yeshua offered up both prayers and pleas, with loud crying and tears, to the One able to save Him from death; and He was heard because of His reverence. 8Though He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered. 9And once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him— 10called by God Kohen Gadol “according to the order of Melechizedek .”

Moving on to Maturity

11About this subject there is much for us to say, and it is hard to explain since you have become sluggish in hearing. 12For although you ought to be teachers by this time, again you need someone to teach you the basics of God’s sayings. You have come to need milk, not solid food. 13For anyone living on milk is inexperienced with the teaching about righteousness—he is an infant. 14But solid food is for the mature, who through practice have their senses trained to discern both good and evil.

–from Hebrews 5

In this world we will have challenges! we will have troubles! But don’t fear! don’t lose hope! for Jesus has overcome the world! Stick with Him and follow after Him and His ways!

Temptation in the Wilderness

1Yeshua, now filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh, returned from the Jordan. He was led by the Ruach in the wilderness
2for forty days, being tested by the devil. Now He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He was hungry.
3The devil said to Him, “If You are Ben-Elohim, tell this stone to become bread.”
4Yeshua answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”
5And leading Him up, the devil showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in an instant.
6And the devil said to Him, “I’ll give to You all this authority along with its glory, because it has been handed over to me and I can give it to anyone I wish.
7Therefore, if you will worship before me, all this shall be Yours.”
8But answering, Yeshua told him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship Adonai your God, and Him only shall you serve.’”
9Then he brought Yeshua to Jerusalem and placed Him on the highest point of the Temple. He said to Him, “If You are Ben-Elohim, throw Yourself down from here.
10For it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you,’
11and ‘upon their hands they will lift you up, so that you may not strike your foot against a stone.’”
12But answering, Yeshua said to him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put Adonai your God to the test.’”
13And when the devil had completed every test, he departed from Him until another occasion.

Isaiah’s Prophecy Fulfilled in Natzeret

14Yeshua returned in the power of the Ruach to the Galilee, and news about Him went out through all the surrounding region.
15He taught in their synagogues, and everyone was praising Him.
16And He came to Natzeret, where He had been raised. As was His custom, He went into the synagogue on Shabbat, and He got up to read.
17When the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him, He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18“The Ruach Adonai is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed,
19and to proclaim the year of Adonai’s favor.”
20He closed the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue were focused on Him.
21Then He began to tell them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your ears.”
22All were speaking well of Him and marveling at the gracious words coming out of His mouth. And they were saying, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”
23But He said to them, “Doubtless you will say to Me this proverb, ‘Doctor, heal yourself!’ and ‘What we have heard was done at Capernaum, do as much here also in your hometown.’”
24But He said, “Truly, I tell you, ‘No prophet is accepted in his own hometown.’
25But with all truthfulness I say to you, that there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when heaven was closed for three and a half years and there came a great famine over all the land.
26Elijah was not sent to any of them, but only to Zarephath in the land of Sidon, to a widowed woman.
27There were many with tza’arat in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them were purified apart from Naaman the Syrian.”
28Now all in the synagogue were filled with rage upon hearing these things.
29Rising up, they drove Him out of the town and brought Him as far as the edge of the mountain on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him off the cliff.
30But passing through the middle of them, He went on His way.

Healing and Deliverance in Capernaum and Beyond

31Yeshua came down to Capernaum, a town in the Galilee. He was teaching them on Shabbat,
32and they were astounded at His teaching because His message had authority.
33In the synagogue was a man who had an unclean demonic spirit, and he cried out with a loud voice,
34“Ah! What have we to do with You, Yeshua of Natzeret? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are! You are the Holy One of God!”
35Yeshua rebuked him, saying, “Quiet! Come out of him!” And when the demon threw him down in their midst, it came out without hurting him.
36They were all amazed, and they spoke to one another, saying, “What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”
37So His reputation grew, spreading to every place in that region.
38After He left the synagogue, Yeshua entered Simon’s home. Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they petitioned Him concerning her.
39Then standing over her, He rebuked the fever and it left her. Immediately she arose to wait on them.
40When the sun was setting, they brought to Yeshua all who were sick with various diseases. And He was laying hands on each one and healing them.
41Even demons were coming out from many, shouting out and saying, “You are Ben-Elohim!” But He was rebuking them and not permitting them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Messiah.
42Now when it was day, He left and went to a desert place. The crowds were searching for Him, and they came to Him and were trying to keep Him from leaving them.
43But He said to them, “I must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God to the other towns also. It was for this purpose I was sent.”
44So He kept preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

–from Luke 4

 

 

It’s now into your hands. Be strong and courageous!


Ever had something get transitioned to you? Ever been given a new responsibility when someone leaves or moves on? Ever been given a new responsibility that was big and important? Ever been given a new role or title? Now it’s in your hands! How will handle it? What will you do? Be strong and courageous! Do not be overwhelmed! Do not fear! Put your hope and trust in God! Pursue after Him and follow His direction! Obey His instruction and don’t assume, but rather check with Him and build up your relationship with Him!

Today’s reading speaks into just such a situation where Joshua needs to pick up what has been given to him…

Chazak! Be strong!

1Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of Adonai that Adonai spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide saying: 2“My servant Moses is dead. So now, arise, you and all these people, cross over this Jordan to the land that I am giving to them—to Bnei-Yisrael. 3Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I am giving to you, as I spoke to Moses. 4From the wilderness and this Lebanon to the great river, the Euphrates River—all the land of the Hittites— to the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. 5No one will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not fail you or forsake you. 6Chazak! Be strong! For you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their fathers to give them. 7Only be very strong, and resolute to observe diligently the Torah which Moses, My servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so you may be successful wherever you go. 8This book of the Torah should not depart from your mouth—you are to meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. For then you will make your ways prosperous and then you will be successful. 9Have I not commanded you? Chazak! Be strong! Do not be terrified or dismayed, for Adonai your God is with you wherever you go.” 10Then Joshua commanded the officials of the people saying: 11“Go through the camp and charge the people saying: ‘Prepare provisions, for within three days you will be crossing over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which Adonai your God is giving you to possess it.’” 12Then Joshua spoke to the Reubenites, Gadites and half-tribe of Manasseh saying: 13“Remember the word that Moses the servant of Adonai commanded you saying: ‘Adonai your God has given you rest, and has assigned to you this land.’ 14Your wives, your little ones and your cattle will remain in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but you will cross over before your brothers armed, all the mighty men of valor, and will help them 15until Adonai gives your brothers rest, as He has given you, and they also possess the land that Adonai your God is giving them. Then you will return to the land of your inheritance, and possess what Moses the servant of Adonai gave you, beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.” 16Then they answered Joshua saying: “All that you have commanded us, we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may Adonai your God be with you as He was with Moses. 18Whoever rebels against your command and does not obey your words in all that you command him, he will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”

–from Joshua 1

God will put words of encouragement into others to encourage you to complete the work He has given you to do! He will provide words of wisdom to help you through the tough and rough times! Don’t lose hope and don’t lose faith! Put your trust in God and allow Him to guide your steps! Be good to your word! Allow God’s will to build you up with boldness, courage, and integrity to do what is right in His eyes.

Rahab’s Faith

1Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent out two spies from Shittim saying: “Go, explore the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came to the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab, and lodged there. 2The king of Jericho was told, “Some men from Bnei-Yisrael have just come here tonight to spy out the land.” 3So the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab saying: “Bring out the men who came to you, who entered your house—for they have come to spy out all the land.” 4But the woman took the two men and hid them, and said: “Yes, the men did come to me, but I didn’t know where they were from. 5So when it was time to shut the gate at dark, the men went out, and I don’t know where they went. Pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them.” 6But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax that she had spread out on the roof. 7So the men pursued them on the road to the fords of the Jordan. As soon as the pursuers had gone out, they shut the gate. 8Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, 9and she said to the men: “I know that Adonai has given you the land—dread of you has fallen on us and all the inhabitants of the land are melting in fear before you. 10For we have heard how Adonai dried up the water of the Sea of Reeds before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites that were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11When we heard about it, our hearts melted, and no spirit remained any more in anyone because of you. For Adonai your God, He is God, in heaven above and on earth beneath. 12So now, please swear to me by Adonai, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s house. Give me a true sign 13that you will spare the lives of my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters and all who belong to them, and save our lives from death.” 14The men said to her: “Our life for yours, if you don’t report this business of ours. Then it will be when Adonai gives us the land that we will deal kindly and loyally with you.” 15So she lowered them down by a rope through the window—for her house was in the wall; she was living in the wall. 16Then she said to them: “Go to the hill country, lest the pursuers meet you, and hide yourselves there for three days, until the pursuers return. Afterward, you may go your way.” 17Then the men said to her: “We will be released from this oath that you have made us swear, 18unless when we come into the land, you tie this line of scarlet thread in the window through which you lowered us down, and gather to yourself in the house your father, your mother, your brothers and all your father’s household— 19whoever goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood will be on his head and we will be innocent, but whoever is with you in the house, his blood will be on our head if any hand is laid on him. 20But if you divulge this business of ours, then we will be released from your oath you have made us swear.” 21So she said: “According to your words, so be it.” Then she sent them away. After they had gone, she tied the scarlet cord to the window. 22Then they departed and came to the hill country. They stayed there for three days until the pursuers returned. Now the pursuers had looked for them all along the road, but had not found them. 23Then the two men returned, came down from the hill country, crossed over and came to Joshua son of Nun. They reported to him all that had befallen them. 24“Surely Adonai has given all the land into our hands,” they said to Joshua. “Indeed, all the inhabitants of the land have melted in fear before us.”

–from Joshua 2

It’s always amazing what a good report can do for the spirit of the people! It’s amazing how when people are trusting in God how the perspective is clearer too! So don’t lose hope! Consider the positive side of where you are at! Yes it’s new! Yes it’s bigger than you! That’s why you need God and why He will help you through it all! So let’s call the people up! Let’s get them prepared for what God is about to do! And then let’s do what God is calling us to do!

Crossing the Jordan

1Then Joshua rose up early in the morning, and he and all Bnei-Yisrael set out from Shittim and came to the Jordan. They lodged there before crossing over. 2Now it came about after three days that the officials went through the camp 3and they charged the people saying, “When you see the ark of the covenant of Adonai your God and the Levitical kohanim carrying it, then you must set out from your place and follow it. 4Yet keep a distance between you and it of about 2,000 cubits by measure. Don’t come near it, so you may know the way by which you should go, for you haven’t travelled this way before.” 5Then Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow Adonai will do wonders in your midst.” 6Joshua spoke to the kohanim saying: “Take up the ark of the covenant and cross over ahead of the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went ahead of the people. 7Now Adonai said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. 8You are to command the kohanim who are carrying the ark of the covenant saying: ‘When you reach the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you are to stand still in the Jordan.’” 9So Joshua said to Bnei-Yisrael, “Come here, and listen to the words of Adonai your God.” 10Joshua said, “By this you will know that the living God is among you, and that He will certainly drive out from before you the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Hivite, the Perizzite, the Girgashite, the Amorite and the Jebusite. 11Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Sovereign of all the earth is advancing before you into the Jordan. 12So now, take for yourselves twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, one man for each tribe. 13It will come to pass when the soles of the feet of the kohanim who are carrying the ark of Adonai, Sovereign of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the Jordan’s waters will be cut off. The waters coming downstream will stand up in one heap.” 14So it came to pass. When the people set out from their tents to cross over the Jordan, the kohanim were carrying the ark of the covenant ahead of the people. 15Now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the harvest season. But as soon as those who were carrying the ark came into the Jordan and the feet of the kohanim carrying the ark dipped in the edge of the water, 16the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the town next to Zarethan. What was flowing down to the sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17Yet the kohanim carrying the ark of the covenant of Adonai stood firmly on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until the entire nation had finished crossing over the Jordan.

–from Joshua 3

When we go with God, we have nothing to fear! When we trust in Him, we have nothing to doubt! When we go it His way, we know where we are going – even when we don’t know the final destination! His plans are good! His plans are to give us a hope and a future! Fear Not, Just Believe!

He Will Not Abandon His People

1God of vengeance, Adonai, God of vengeance, shine forth! 2Rise up, O Judge of the earth! Pay back to the proud what they deserve. 3How long will the wicked, Adonai, how long will the wicked gloat? 4They gush out, they speak arrogance— all the evildoers keep boasting. 5They crush Your people, Adonai, and afflict Your heritage. 6They slay the widow and the outsider, and murder the fatherless. 7So they say: “Adonai does not see— the God of Jacob pays no attention.” 8Pay attention, stupid among the people! Fools, when will you comprehend?9He who planted the ear, does He not hear? He who formed the eye, does He not see? 10He who chastens nations, will He not rebuke— One who teaches humanity knowledge? 11Adonai knows human thoughts— they are but a breath. 12Blessed is the one You discipline, Adonai, and teach him from Your Torah, 13to give him rest from days of trouble —until a pit is dug for the wicked. 14For Adonai will not forsake His people. He will never abandon His inheritance. 15For rightness will be restored to justice, and all the upright in heart will follow it. 16Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will stand up for me against evildoers? 17Unless Adonai had been my help, my soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence. 18If I say: “My foot has slipped,” Your mercy, Adonai, will hold me up. 19When my troubling thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations comfort my soul. 20Can a throne of corruption be aligned with You—planning distress by decree? 21They band together against the life of the righteous, and condemn innocent blood. 22But Adonai has been my fortress and my God the rock of my refuge. 23He will repay them for their wickedness, and will annihilate them in their evil. Adonai our God will annihilate them.

–from Psalms 94

His grace is enough! His love is enough! His word is enough! His forgiveness is enough! His plan is enough! His purpose is enough! His salvation is enough! His power is enough! His name is enough!

Greetings

1Paul, an emissary of Messiah Yeshua by God’s will, To the kedoshim in Ephesus—those trusting in Messiah Yeshua: 2Grace and shalom to you, from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah!

God’s Glorious Grace

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Messiah. 4He chose us in the Messiah before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before Him in love. 5He predestined us for adoption as sons through Messiah Yeshua, in keeping with the good pleasure of His will— 6to the glorious praise of His grace, with which He favored us through the One He loves! 7In Him we have redemption through His blood—the removal of trespasses—in keeping with the richness of His grace 8that He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight, 9He made known to us the mystery of His will, in keeping with His good pleasure that He planned in Messiah. 10The plan of the fullness of times is to bring all things together in the Messiah—both things in heaven and things on earth, all in Him. 11In Him we also were chosen, predestined according to His plan. He keeps working out all things according to the purpose of His will— 12so that we, who were first to put our hope in Messiah, might be for His glorious praise. 13After you heard the message of truth—the Good News of your salvation—and when you put your trust in Him, you were sealed with the promised Ruach ha-Kodesh. 14He is the guarantee of our inheritance, until the redemption of His possession—to His glorious praise!

God’s Glorious Power Working in Us

15Therefore, ever since I heard of your trust in the Lord Yeshua and of your love for all the kedoshim, 16I never stop giving thanks for you as I mention you in my prayers— 17that the God of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, our glorious Father, may give you spiritual wisdom and revelation in knowing Him. 18I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what is the richness of His glorious inheritance in the kedoshim, 19and what is His exceedingly great power toward us who keep trusting Him—in keeping with the working of His mighty strength. 20This power He exercised in Messiah when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in heaven. 21He is far above any ruler, authority, power, leader, and every name that is named—not only in the olam ha-zeh but also in the olam ha-ba . 22God placed all things under Messiah’s feet and appointed Him as head over all things for His community— 23which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

–from Ephesians 1