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?

Qualified vs Called

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