Do you realize what you have been given? Do you realize why?


Do you realize there is a reason? Do you realize there is a plan? Do you realize there is a purpose? Do you realize the value? Do you realize the impact? Do you realize the influence? Do you realize the difference?

Are you on your guard? Are you getting prepared? Are you focused? Are you on track? Are you on mission? Are you aligned? Are you aware? Are you ready?


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


Will you be a good steward of your allotment? Will you trust God’s allotment with which He is trusting you? Will you live showing that you are worthy of what has been given to you? Will you live out your life in order to fulfill God’s purpose and plan for you and your life? Are you ready to receive what God has to offer you? Are you ready to accept what God has available to you? Will you receive and accept God’s offering of salvation? Are you willing to obey what He asks? Are you ready to seek Him in order to find Him? Are you ready to align with God’s ways and God’s thoughts? Will you produce good fruit? Will you prosper in doing His good work? Will you live out your life by the Holy Spirit? Will you act and speak by His power and wisdom and direction? Will you do things according God’s way and will, putting on your new nature? Will you forgive others? Will you live without allowing a bitter root to hold? Ask God for wisdom and discernment!

Are you ready for a change?


Had enough? Tired of being sick and tired? Sick of being sick and tired? Ready for a change? Ready for a change that will last? Looking for the answers? Looking for the way? Looking for something that can make a transformative difference? Are you ready for change?

Have you heard of Jesus? Have you heard that He is the way, the truth, and the life? Have you heard about the transformation that takes place when you receive Him into your life that makes you a new creation? Have you heard about the eternity that becomes available to you when you accept Him and ask Him into your life? He is the answer! He is the way! Why not make today the most important day of your life and invite Jesus into your heart?


Today’s reading begins in Leviticus 14.

‘And the Lord said to Moses, “The following instructions are for those seeking ceremonial purification from a skin disease. Those who have been healed must be brought to the priest, who will examine them at a place outside the camp. If the priest finds that someone has been healed of a serious skin disease, he will perform a purification ceremony, using two live birds that are ceremonially clean, a stick of cedar, some scarlet yarn, and a hyssop branch. The priest will order that one bird be slaughtered over a clay pot filled with fresh water. He will take the live bird, the cedar stick, the scarlet yarn, and the hyssop branch, and dip them into the blood of the bird that was slaughtered over the fresh water. The priest will then sprinkle the blood of the dead bird seven times on the person being purified of the skin disease. When the priest has purified the person, he will release the live bird in the open field to fly away. “The persons being purified must then wash their clothes, shave off all their hair, and bathe themselves in water. Then they will be ceremonially clean and may return to the camp. However, they must remain outside their tents for seven days. On the seventh day they must again shave all the hair from their heads, including the hair of the beard and eyebrows. They must also wash their clothes and bathe themselves in water. Then they will be ceremonially clean. “On the eighth day each person being purified must bring two male lambs and a one-year-old female lamb, all with no defects, along with a grain offering of six quarts of choice flour moistened with olive oil, and a cup of olive oil. Then the officiating priest will present that person for purification, along with the offerings, before the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle. The priest will take one of the male lambs and the olive oil and present them as a guilt offering, lifting them up as a special offering before the Lord . He will then slaughter the male lamb in the sacred area where sin offerings and burnt offerings are slaughtered. As with the sin offering, the guilt offering belongs to the priest. It is a most holy offering. The priest will then take some of the blood of the guilt offering and apply it to the lobe of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot of the person being purified. “Then the priest will pour some of the olive oil into the palm of his own left hand. He will dip his right finger into the oil in his palm and sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the Lord . The priest will then apply some of the oil in his palm over the blood from the guilt offering that is on the lobe of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot of the person being purified. The priest will apply the oil remaining in his hand to the head of the person being purified. Through this process, the priest will purify the person before the Lord . “Then the priest must present the sin offering to purify the person who was cured of the skin disease. After that, the priest will slaughter the burnt offering and offer it on the altar along with the grain offering. Through this process, the priest will purify the person who was healed, and the person will be ceremonially clean. “But anyone who is too poor and cannot afford these offerings may bring one male lamb for a guilt offering, to be lifted up as a special offering for purification. The person must also bring two quarts of choice flour moistened with olive oil for the grain offering and a cup of olive oil. The offering must also include two turtledoves or two young pigeons, whichever the person can afford. One of the pair must be used for the sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. On the eighth day of the purification ceremony, the person being purified must bring the offerings to the priest in the Lord ’s presence at the entrance of the Tabernacle. The priest will take the lamb for the guilt offering, along with the olive oil, and lift them up as a special offering to the Lord . Then the priest will slaughter the lamb for the guilt offering. He will take some of its blood and apply it to the lobe of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot of the person being purified. “The priest will also pour some of the olive oil into the palm of his own left hand. He will dip his right finger into the oil in his palm and sprinkle some of it seven times before the Lord . The priest will then apply some of the oil in his palm over the blood from the guilt offering that is on the lobe of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot of the person being purified. The priest will apply the oil remaining in his hand to the head of the person being purified. Through this process, the priest will purify the person before the Lord . “Then the priest will offer the two turtledoves or the two young pigeons, whichever the person can afford. One of them is for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering, to be presented along with the grain offering. Through this process, the priest will purify the person before the Lord . These are the instructions for purification for those who have recovered from a serious skin disease but who cannot afford to bring the offerings normally required for the ceremony of purification.”

Leviticus 14:1-32

Today’s reading then brings us wisdom through Proverbs 8.

‘Listen as Wisdom calls out! Hear as understanding raises her voice! On the hilltop along the road, she takes her stand at the crossroads. By the gates at the entrance to the town, on the road leading in, she cries aloud, “I call to you, to all of you! I raise my voice to all people. You simple people, use good judgment. You foolish people, show some understanding. Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you. Everything I say is right, for I speak the truth and detest every kind of deception. My advice is wholesome. There is nothing devious or crooked in it. My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge. Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it. “I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment. All who fear the Lord will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech. Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine. Because of me, kings reign, and rulers make just decrees. Rulers lead with my help, and nobles make righteous judgments. “I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me. I have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice. My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold, my wages better than sterling silver! I walk in righteousness, in paths of justice. Those who love me inherit wealth. I will fill their treasuries. “The Lord formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else. I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began. I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters. Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born— before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil. I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans. I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth. I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth’s foundations, I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence. And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family! “And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it. Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord . But those who miss me injure themselves. All who hate me love death.”’

Proverbs 8

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament where we get to read Mark 10.

‘Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do us a favor.” “What is your request?” he asked. They replied, “When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” But Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?” “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!” Then Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. God has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.” When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”’

Mark 10:35-45

Today’s reading continues with 2 Corinthians 1.

‘This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. I am writing to God’s church in Corinth and to all of his holy people throughout Greece. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.’

2 Corinthians 1:1-11

As we consider the questions. As we consider today’s Word. Let’s pray before finishing today’s reading in Psalms 80.

‘Please listen, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph’s descendants like a flock. O God, enthroned above the cherubim, display your radiant glory Turn us again to yourself, O God. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved. O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, how long will you be angry with our prayers? You have fed us with sorrow and made us drink tears by the bucketful. You have made us the scorn of neighboring nations. Our enemies treat us as a joke. Turn us again to yourself, O God of Heaven’s Armies. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved. You brought us from Egypt like a grapevine; you drove away the pagan nations and transplanted us into your land. You cleared the ground for us, and we took root and filled the land. Our shade covered the mountains; our branches covered the mighty cedars. We spread our branches west to the Mediterranean Sea; our shoots spread east to the Euphrates River. But now, why have you broken down our walls so that all who pass by may steal our fruit? The wild boar from the forest devours it, and the wild animals feed on it. Come back, we beg you, O God of Heaven’s Armies. Look down from heaven and see our plight. Take care of this grapevine that you yourself have planted, this son you have raised for yourself. For we are chopped up and burned by our enemies. May they perish at the sight of your frown. Strengthen the man you love, the son of your choice. Then we will never abandon you again. Revive us so we can call on your name once more. Turn us again to yourself, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved.’

Psalms 80

How do you interpret things? How do you know what is real?


Do you have a source of truth that you can compare things to? How do you know if the news is real? Do you have a measuring stick that is able to help you interpret? How do you know if the reports are true? Do you have a cornerstone on which to be able to compare it and make sure it is on the level? Do you have a source of truth that doesn’t change that you can use to keep you from over-reacting to the news out there? Ever noticed how most of the news that gets reported is bad news? Who will you trust more? The news reports? God’s promises found in His Word – the Bible?

There is a battle going on for our souls! There is a battle of good vs evil! And depending on your source of truth and reality what you listen, watch, and read can impact how you feel going through life! With everything they report in the news be it on tv, the radio, the few papers that remain, and on the internet it is very possible to think that evil is winning or gaining ground if you don’t have a source of truth like the Bible to speak the truth in love about the realities! I’ve read the end of the book and a lot of what people forecast be it global warming, cooling, climate change, etc. align to the revelation shared in the Bible – so it is part of the plan of the end times but it seems people try to use it to manipulate or create fear in the populate in order to control them or get their own way. Even the fears or battles against terrorism and other such things might make people believe that evil is winning if they aren’t comparing what is being broadcasted against God’s Word as the measuring stick or voice of truth! What voice do you choose to listen to? Will it be the voice of God through the Holy Spirit? Will you listen to that still quiet voice who is comforter and our guide? The ultimate victory goes to Jesus the way, the truth, and the life! The ultimate victory goes to Jesus the name above all names!

8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

–from Philippians 2

So when we put the truth first and measure everything else against it we have something that we can lean on and trust in! In this battle between good and evil we get to choose how we will respond and make a difference! We can choose to help the good and be on the winning site! We can choose to sit back and pretend nothing is going on and allow evil to gain ground! We can choose to help evil take ground! We can make a difference in the here and now but the choice of making a difference in the lives of the people around us is ours to make!

When you walk into a room are you lighting up the place? Are you improving the room? Are you improving the atmosphere? Are you spreading the love and joy of the Lord? If not, why not? Why not fill yourself daily with the Holy Spirit and fill up your heart and mind with the Word of God so that wherever you go you can speak truth in love into the life of the people that come across your path?

This is the day that the Lord has made so let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s make a difference! Let’s be world changers! Let’s positive impact on the people around us! Let’s fill our circle of influence with love! Let’s be ambassadors of peace! Let’s allow our lights to shine into this dark world! Don’t try to overcome evil with evil but overcome it with love!

TODAY! Happy Today!


You Can Make a Difference

Day 345: Bible In One Year 2018

  1. Cry out to God for good to triumph …
    • 6I said to the Lord, “You are my God!”
      Listen, O Lord, to my cries for mercy!
      7O Sovereign Lord, the strong one who rescued me,
      you protected me on the day of battle.
      8Lord, do not let evil people have their way.
      Do not let their evil schemes succeed,
      or they will become proud.

      9Let my enemies be destroyed
      by the very evil they have planned for me.
      10Let burning coals fall down on their heads.
      Let them be thrown into the fire
      or into watery pits from which they can’t escape.
      11Don’t let liars prosper here in our land.
      Cause great disasters to fall on the violent.

      12But I know the Lord will help those they persecute;
      he will give justice to the poor.
      13Surely righteous people are praising your name;
      the godly will live in your presence.

      –from Psalms 140:6-13

  2. Be those who overcome evil with good …
    • 18“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Thyatira. This is the message from the Son of God, whose eyes are like flames of fire, whose feet are like polished bronze:
       
      19“I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things.
      20“But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols. 21I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality.
      22“Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering, and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds. 23I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.
      24“But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them—depths of Satan, actually). I will ask nothing more of you 25except that you hold tightly to what you have until I come. 26To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end,
       
      To them I will give authority over all the nations.
      27They will rule the nations with an iron rod
      and smash them like clay pots.
       
      28They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star!
      29“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

      –from Revelation 2:18-29

    • 1“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Sardis. This is the message from the one who has the sevenfold Spirit of God and the seven stars:
       
      “I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead. 2Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. 3Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.
      4“Yet there are some in the church in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes with evil. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.
      6“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

      –from Revelation 3:1-6

    • –> Live a holy life
      –> Be authentic

      –from Day 345: Bible In One Year 2018

  3. Watch God turn the tables on evil …
    • Joyce Meyer writes, ‘I believe that God has a great call and purpose for your life as he did for Esther’s. Your assignment may not be the deliverance of a nation, but whatever God has called you to is extremely significant. Whatever it is, be diligent to embrace the preparation process it requires so that you will be well-equipped when the time comes for you to act.’

      –from Day 345: Bible In One Year 2018

    • The King’s Banquet
      1These events happened in the days of King Xerxes, who reigned over 127 provinces stretching from India to Ethiopia. 2At that time Xerxes ruled his empire from his royal throne at the fortress of Susa. 3In the third year of his reign, he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. He invited all the military officers of Persia and Media as well as the princes and nobles of the provinces. 4The celebration lasted 180 days—a tremendous display of the opulent wealth of his empire and the pomp and splendor of his majesty.
      5When it was all over, the king gave a banquet for all the people, from the greatest to the least, who were in the fortress of Susa. It lasted for seven days and was held in the courtyard of the palace garden. 6The courtyard was beautifully decorated with white cotton curtains and blue hangings, which were fastened with white linen cords and purple ribbons to silver rings embedded in marble pillars. Gold and silver couches stood on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl, and other costly stones.
      7Drinks were served in gold goblets of many designs, and there was an abundance of royal wine, reflecting the king’s generosity. 8By edict of the king, no limits were placed on the drinking, for the king had instructed all his palace officials to serve each man as much as he wanted.
      9At the same time, Queen Vashti gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes.
      Queen Vashti Deposed
      10On the seventh day of the feast, when King Xerxes was in high spirits because of the wine, he told the seven eunuchs who attended him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas—11to bring Queen Vashti to him with the royal crown on her head. He wanted the nobles and all the other men to gaze on her beauty, for she was a very beautiful woman. 12But when they conveyed the king’s order to Queen Vashti, she refused to come. This made the king furious, and he burned with anger.
      13He immediately consulted with his wise advisers, who knew all the Persian laws and customs, for he always asked their advice. 14The names of these men were Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan—seven nobles of Persia and Media. They met with the king regularly and held the highest positions in the empire.
      15“What must be done to Queen Vashti?” the king demanded. “What penalty does the law provide for a queen who refuses to obey the king’s orders, properly sent through his eunuchs?”
      16Memucan answered the king and his nobles, “Queen Vashti has wronged not only the king but also every noble and citizen throughout your empire. 17Women everywhere will begin to despise their husbands when they learn that Queen Vashti has refused to appear before the king. 18Before this day is out, the wives of all the king’s nobles throughout Persia and Media will hear what the queen did and will start treating their husbands the same way. There will be no end to their contempt and anger.
      19“So if it please the king, we suggest that you issue a written decree, a law of the Persians and Medes that cannot be revoked. It should order that Queen Vashti be forever banished from the presence of King Xerxes, and that the king should choose another queen more worthy than she. 20When this decree is published throughout the king’s vast empire, husbands everywhere, whatever their rank, will receive proper respect from their wives!”
      21The king and his nobles thought this made good sense, so he followed Memucan’s counsel. 22He sent letters to all parts of the empire, to each province in its own script and language, proclaiming that every man should be the ruler of his own home and should say whatever he pleases.

      –from Esther 1

    • 1But after Xerxes’ anger had subsided, he began thinking about Vashti and what she had done and the decree he had made. 2So his personal attendants suggested, “Let us search the empire to find beautiful young virgins for the king. 3Let the king appoint agents in each province to bring these beautiful young women into the royal harem at the fortress of Susa. Hegai, the king’s eunuch in charge of the harem, will see that they are all given beauty treatments. 4After that, the young woman who most pleases the king will be made queen instead of Vashti.” This advice was very appealing to the king, so he put the plan into effect.
      5At that time there was a Jewish man in the fortress of Susa whose name was Mordecai son of Jair. He was from the tribe of Benjamin and was a descendant of Kish and Shimei. 6His family had been among those who, with King Jehoiachin of Judah, had been exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. 7This man had a very beautiful and lovely young cousin, Hadassah, who was also called Esther. When her father and mother died, Mordecai adopted her into his family and raised her as his own daughter.
      8As a result of the king’s decree, Esther, along with many other young women, was brought to the king’s harem at the fortress of Susa and placed in Hegai’s care. 9Hegai was very impressed with Esther and treated her kindly. He quickly ordered a special menu for her and provided her with beauty treatments. He also assigned her seven maids specially chosen from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maids into the best place in the harem.
      10Esther had not told anyone of her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had directed her not to do so. 11Every day Mordecai would take a walk near the courtyard of the harem to find out about Esther and what was happening to her.
      12Before each young woman was taken to the king’s bed, she was given the prescribed twelve months of beauty treatments—six months with oil of myrrh, followed by six months with special perfumes and ointments. 13When it was time for her to go to the king’s palace, she was given her choice of whatever clothing or jewelry she wanted to take from the harem. 14That evening she was taken to the king’s private rooms, and the next morning she was brought to the second harem, where the king’s wives lived. There she would be under the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch in charge of the concubines. She would never go to the king again unless he had especially enjoyed her and requested her by name.
      15Esther was the daughter of Abihail, who was Mordecai’s uncle. (Mordecai had adopted his younger cousin Esther.) When it was Esther’s turn to go to the king, she accepted the advice of Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the harem. She asked for nothing except what he suggested, and she was admired by everyone who saw her.
      16Esther was taken to King Xerxes at the royal palace in early winter of the seventh year of his reign. 17And the king loved Esther more than any of the other young women. He was so delighted with her that he set the royal crown on her head and declared her queen instead of Vashti. 18To celebrate the occasion, he gave a great banquet in Esther’s honor for all his nobles and officials, declaring a public holiday for the provinces and giving generous gifts to everyone.

      –from Esther 2:1-18

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

Will you make a difference today?


How will you make a difference today? What will you do to impact in a positive way someone who comes across your path? What will you say to impact in a positive way someone who comes across your path? What will you make happen today that will impact the lives of the people around you in a positive way? How will you make a difference today?

It may not be easy but it will be worth it - Make a difference

Do you realize that sometimes what we do makes a difference just not in the way we expected? Do you realize that sometimes what we say makes a difference just not in the way we were hoping? Do you think before you speak or act? Do you consider the outcome or the consequences of your decision before you speak or act? What type of a difference are you really trying to make? to society? to your family? to your friends? to your coworkers?

Imagine if your obituary was accidentally written and published before you died and you got to hear what would be said about you and how you would be remembered. What would it say? How would it impact the rest of your life? Would you need to change things up? Would you continue to live the same way? Would you be surprised by anything that would have gotten published? Would you be surprised by anything people would be saying or posting be it on the internet via social networks or the news or somewhere else? Might it shock you into changing? Might it give you peace because you learn that you actually made a positive impact on the world in and through your life? What would it say? What do you hope it would say? Is there anything that you would consider changing now before it was too late in order to make a difference through positively impacting the world around you?

Today’s devotional speaks about Alfred Nobel and how he made a change because just such a thing happened in order to turnaround the legacy he would leave behind…

Alfred Nobel (1833–1896) is best known for the Nobel Peace Prize. Less well known is the fact that Alfred Nobel also invented dynamite. As well as a chemist, engineer and innovator, he was a weapons’ manufacturer.

In 1888, Alfred’s brother Ludvig died. A French newspaper erroneously published Alfred’s obituary. It condemned him for his invention of dynamite, stating: ‘The merchant of death is dead… Dr Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.’

Alfred Nobel was devastated by the foretaste of how he would be remembered. His last will and testament set aside the bulk of his estate to establish the Nobel prizes. He gave the equivalent of US $250 million to fund such prizes. Alfred Nobel had the rare opportunity to evaluate his life near its end and live long enough to change that assessment.

Have you ever wondered what difference your life might make? How can your life bring blessing to other people? How can you change the world for the better? How can your life be of ultimate lasting value? How can we lead fruitful lives?

–from Day 246: Bible In One Year 2017

What legacy will you leave behind? What lasting value will it make on the world? What fruits will your life produce?

Consider the fruits of the spirit…

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So let’s live lives that won’t trip others up! Let’s live lives that are pure, with understanding, with patience, with kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by sincere love. Let’s live in honesty! Let’s live out our lives serving God as living sacrifices! Let’s live our lives as temples of the Holy Spirit! Let’s get rid of anything that will defile our body or spirit and so we can live lives that will glorify God and point others to Him!

Jesus made a difference, a difference that will last for eternity! Jesus is the vine and when we accepted Him, we have been grafted to it! Let Him and His love fill you to overflowing so that you will produce fruit that will make a difference to the world around you!

Is it worth it if you can make a difference in just one person’s life today? Does it matter if you can only make a difference in one person’s life today? It does to that one!

Starfish story ... you can make a difference
It makes a difference to that one


Make a Difference

Day 246: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Fruitfulness comes from faithfulness to God … Psalm 105:12-22
  2. Fruitfulness comes from the Holy Spirit … 2 Corinthians 6:3-7:1
  3. Fruitfulness comes from closeness to Jesus … Isaiah 3:1-5:7

Today’s morning reading comes from …

Need help? Will you invite Jesus into your situation? His presence makes a difference!


Are you trying to do it alone? Do you know of a leader whose presence makes a difference to the work of people around them? A person who when they are present makes an impact greater than 1? A person whose presence is contagious and raises the game of the people around them? A person who brings something to the table that is hard to describe but is felt by everyone around them?

When God is invited into our situation, things change! Consider inviting Jesus into your life and situations! Having the Holy Spirit leading and guiding you makes a difference! The satisfaction He brings to our lives! The gap He is able to fill makes a difference! There is that hole in our hearts that He is able to move into! That missing piece He is able to fill! We were made to be in relationship with God! God loves us so much that He won’t force us to love Him or have a relationship with Him, but until we choose to invite Him in that empty spot which is the need for Him will go unfilled! When we have invited Him into our lives and He walks it out with us, we need to make sure not to forget and not to take it for granted! We need to be telling people and sharing with people the truth of who He is and the impact He makes in and on our lives! When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior things change! By receiving Jesus, just like the believers in that upper room on the day of Pentecost, we are in a place to receive the baptism of Holy Spirit! By receiving Jesus, that hole in our hearts gets filled in as He moves in through the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and our guide! So ask Jesus into your life today and allow His presence to make a difference in the rest of your life!


The Power of His Presence

Day 214: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalms 90:1-10, Romans 15:14-33, 1 Chronicles 12:23-40, 1 Chronicles 13, 1 Chronicles 14

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/214

  1. His presence reveals our secret sins … Psalm 90:1-10
  2. His presence comes through the power of the Holy Spirit … Romans 15:14-33
    • His proclamation of the gospel was holistic. Like Jesus, his preaching with words was accompanied by a demonstration of the in-breaking of the kingdom of God. It involved three things:

        • Words
          The gospel is the most powerful message in the world. Paul proclaimed the gospel: ‘by what I have said…’ (v.18).
        • Works
          Fully proclaiming the gospel involves not only words but actions: ‘by what I have said and done’ (v.18). For example, Paul acted on behalf of the poor as we see here. He writes, ‘Take up a collection for the poor… to relieve their poverty’ (vv.26–27, MSG).
        • Wonders
          Paul’s proclamation of the gospel involved a demonstration of the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit: ‘by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit’ (v.19).

      People are more affected by what they see than by what they hear. It has been said, ‘One in the eye is worth two in the ear.’ Paul gives two (deeds and miracles) in the eye and only one in the ear (words).

      The coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost brought a great outpouring of the presence of God. God is present among his people now by the Holy Spirit. He is present in his gathered community (for example, in Matthew 18:20). He is present in your heart.

      –from Day 214: Bible In One Year 2017

  3. His presence requires respect … 1 Chronicles 12:23-14:17

Can you see it? Can you hear it?


Do you get it? Do you understand it?

Are you doing anything about it? Are you thinking about it? Are you considering it?

Do you get it?

Are you just looking or do you see? Are you just hearing or do you listen?

Do you understand?

The days are near when every vision will be fulfilled!

There will only be truth!

Until that day, what are you doing to be able to discern the difference between fact and fiction?

Until that day, what are you doing to be able to know the difference between right and wrong?

Until that day, what are you doing to be able to know the difference unity and division?

Until that day, what are you doing to be able to know which are for now and which are for the future?

Until that day, what will you do and how will you live?

Consider the words you are about to speak before they come out of your mouth! Consider if they are the true! Consider if they are helpful! Consider if they are inspiring! Consider if they are necessary! Consider if they are kind!

Don’t be found out to be someone who speaks false words or is a liar!

Don’t be someone who leads people astray or whitewashes messages!

Don’t let your imagination trick you into things! Don’t be fooled!

Will you try to disheartened the righteous? Will you encourage the wicked?

How do you want it to end for you? How do you expect to be found based on the way you are living?

What is most important to you? Will you turn back to God before it is too late? Will you follow after Jesus the rest of your life?

Do you think you can escape? Do you know the way? Do you know what is required? Will you make a choice before it is too late? Why not today?

Let’s come together and unify! Let’s come together and do what is right and what is just! Let’s come together and lead with love! Let’s come together and share the hope that is within us thanks to Jesus! Let’s face the troubles that come our way knowing that we don’t have to worry because Jesus has overcome the world and He has told us that in this world we will have troubles! Let’s consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds holding onto the hope that is within us because we have been told “that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Let’s stand firm! Let’s put on the full armor of God!

Let’s watch out for those who try to cause division! Let’s watch out for those who try to put stumbling blocks in the way! Let’s not be fooled by smooth talkers who try to flatter us and lead us astray!

25Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith— 27to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.

–from Romans 16

 


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 12, 13, 14, Romans 16

It’s time…to step up and lead!


People are watching you to see who you are. People are watching you to see if you are who you say you are. People are watching you to see what your character says about you. People are watching you to see how you will respond to the situations that come your way. People are watching you and how you act will impact their perception and actions towards and about you.

If we don’t step up and do what is right, it will create problems! If we don’t step up and lead, it will cause confusion and delays! If we don’t step up to do what we have been called to do, then someone else will be called to do the work! What will your legacy say about you? What will the memory of you mean to others? Will you be salt and light and make a difference in the lives of those around you? Do you see what is going on around you? How far down the slippery slope will you allow it to go before you will do something and get involved?

How do you want to be thought of? How do you want to be remembered? How are you going to live your life?

It’s time…to step up and lead!



Today’s reading starts with 1 Kings 16…

Zimri Ends Baasa’s Line

1Now the word of Adonai came to Jehu son of Hanani against Baasa, saying: 2“Since I raised you up from the dust and made you ruler over My people Israel, yet you have walked in the way of Jeroboam and have caused My people Israel to sin, vexing Me with their sins. 3I am about to consume Baasa and his house. I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat. 4Anyone of Baasa who dies in the city, the dogs will eat, and anyone of his who dies in the field, the birds of the sky will eat.” 5Now the rest of the deeds of Baasa and what he did and his might, are they not written in Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 6Then Baasa slept with his fathers and was buried in Tirzah, and his son Elah became king in his place. 7But the word of Adonai had already come by the hand of the prophet Jehu son of Hanani against Baasa and against his house, because of all the evil he had done in Adonai’s eyes, vexing Him with the work of his hands, becoming thus like the house of Jeroboam which He struck down. 8In the twenty-sixth year of King Asa of Judah, Elah son of Baasa became king over Israel in Tirzah, and reigned two years. 9Then his servant Zimri, commander of half his chariotry, conspired against him while he was in Tirzah, making himself drunk in the house of Arza, who was in charge of the palace in Tirzah. 10Then Zimri went in, struck him down and killed him, in the twenty-seventh year of King Asa of Judah, and became king in his place. 11It came about when he became king, as soon as he sat on the throne, he struck down all the household of Baasa, leaving him not even one man, nor his kinsmen nor his friend. 12So Zimri destroyed the entire house of Baasa, according to the word of Adonai which He spoke against Baasa by the prophet Jehu, 13for all the sins of Baasa and the sins of his son Elah, which they committed and caused Israel to commit, vexing Adonai God of Israel with their useless idols. 14Now the rest of the deeds of Elah and all that he did, are they not written in Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?

Rise of Omri

15In the twenty-seventh year of King Asa of Judah, Zimri reigned for seven days in Tirzah. Now the people were encamped against Gibbethon of the Philistines. 16When the people encamped heard it said, “Zimri has conspired and even struck down the king,” then all Israel proclaimed Omri—the commander of the army—king over Israel that very day in the camp. 17Then Omri and all Israel with him went up from Gibbethon and besieged Tirzah. 18When Zimri saw that the city was captured, he went into the citadel of the royal palace, and burned down the royal palace over him with fire. So he died too, 19because of the sins which he committed, doing what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, walking in the way of Jeroboam and in the sin which he had committed, making Israel sin. 20Now the rest of the deeds of Zimri and his treason that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 21Then the people of Israel were divided into two factions: half of the people followed Tibni son of Ginath, making him king, while the other half followed Omri. 22But the people following Omri prevailed against the people following Tibni son of Ginath. Tibni died, and Omri became king. 23In the thirty-first year of King Asa of Judah, Omri began to reign over Israel, and reigned 12 years, six years in Tirzah. 24Then he bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver, and built a city on the hill. He named the city that he built Samaria, based on the name Shemer, the owner of the hill. 25But Omri did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, and acted more wickedly than all who were before him. 26For he walked in all the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat and in the sins that he had caused Israel to commit, vexing Adonai God of Israel, with their useless idols. 27Now the rest of the deeds of Omri that he did and the valiant deeds that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 28So Omri slept with his fathers and was buried in Samaria. Then his son Ahab became king in his place.

Ahab Even Worse

29In the thirty-eighth year of King Asa of Judah, Ahab son of Omri began to reign over Israel; and Ahab son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria 22 years. 30But Ahab son of Omri did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, more than all who were before him. 31Now, as if it was a trifling thing to walk in the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, he also took as wife Jezebel the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshipped him. 32He also erected an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he had built in Samaria. 33Also Ahab made the Asherah pole. So Ahab did yet more to provoke the Adonai God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him.

Curse of Jericho Rebuilt

34During his days, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. At the cost of Abiram his firstborn, he laid its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son Segub, he set up its gates—according to the word of Adonai, which He had spoken through Joshua son of Nun.

–from 1 Kings 16

How bad does it really have to get before God will get your attention? How far away will you walk before you realize you are no longer under His covering? How bad do you want your own way that it ends up impacting a family, a community, a region, a country, the world? What’s it going to take for people to see what is really going on and grab a hold of the truth and then turn back to God? What’s it going to take?

Do you realize you don’t have to have a lot to make a difference? Do you realize all it takes is faith, obedience, and to give the little you do have up to God? Do you realize that the miracle is in proportion to the size of your faith? Do you realize the miracles that can happen when you believe and act out of obedience to God? Not the size of what you have but the size of your faith! (not the little flower and oil — the number of jars)

Elijah Proclaims Famine

1Now Elijah the Tishbite, one of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab: “As Adonai God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be no dew or rain these years, except at my word.” 2Then the word of Adonai came to him saying: 3“Leave this place, turn eastward, and hide yourself by the Wadi Cherith, east of the Jordan. 4It will come about that you will drink from the wadi. I have also commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 5So he went and did according to the word of Adonai—he went and lived by the Wadi Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 6The ravens kept bringing him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the wadi. 7Then it came to pass after a while that the wadi dried up, because there was no rain in the land. 8Then the word of Adonai came to him saying: 9“Arise, go to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have just commanded a widow there to provide for you.”

Miracle of Flour and Oil

10So he arose and went to Zarephath. Now when he came to the town gate, to his surprise, a widow was there gathering sticks. So he called her and said, “Please bring a little water in a jar that I may drink.” 11As she was going to fetch it, he called her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12So she said, “As Adonai your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in the jar, and a little oil in the jug. Now look, I am gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go in and prepare it for me and my son, that we may eat it and die.” 13Elijah said to her, “Fear not! Go and do as you said, but first make me a little cake from what you have there. Bring it out to me and afterwards, make some for you and for your son. 14For thus says Adonai God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be exhausted nor shall the jug of oil be empty until the day Adonai sends rain on the land.’” 15So she went and did according to the word of Elijah—and she and he, and her household ate for many days. 16The jar of flour was not exhausted, nor did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of Adonai which He spoke through Elijah.

Resurrection of a Boy

17After these things, it came to pass that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house fell sick, and his sickness was getting much worse until he had no breath left in him. 18So she said to Elijah, “What do I have to do with you, man of God? Have you come to me to remind me of my sin and kill my son?” 19He said to her, “Give me your son.” Then he took him from her arms, carried him up to the upper room where he was staying and laid him on his own bed. 20He cried out to Adonai and said, “Adonai my God, have You brought such evil even on the widow with whom I am staying, by causing her son to die?” 21Then he stretched himself upon the child three times. He cried out to Adonai and said, “Adonai my God, please let this child’s soul come back into his body!” 22Adonai listened to the cry of Elijah, so the soul of the child came back into his body and he was revived. 23Then Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. Elijah said, “See! Your son is alive.” 24Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word in your mouth is truth.”

–from 1 Kings 17

So will you turn back to God? Will you invite Him into your life? Will you walk with him out of reverence and obedience? Will you lift Him up and give Him praise? Let’s answer the call and do what He asks of us!

Who Can Stand in Your Presence?

1For the music director, on stringed instruments: a psalm of Asaph, a song. 2In Judah God is known. In Israel His Name is great. 3In Salem is His sukkah and His dwelling place in Zion. 4There He broke the fiery shafts of the bow, the shield, the sword, and the battle. Selah 5You are brilliant, more majestic than nourishing mountains. 6The valiant have been plundered— they slumbered in their sleep. The mighty could not lift their hands. 7At Your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both horse and rider lay dead asleep. 8You are awesome, yes You are! Who can stand in Your presence once You are angry? 9From heaven You pronounced judgment. The earth feared and was still— 10when God rose up to judgment, to save all the humble of the land. Selah 11For wrath upon man will bring You praise, a remnant of wrath You put on as a belt. 12Make vows to Adonai your God and fulfill them. Let all around Him bring tribute to the One who is to be feared. 13He cuts off the breath of princes. The kings of earth are in awe of Him.

–from Psalms 76

Do you want to be left behind? Do you want to have to deal with the pain and the suffering? Will you choose before He comes back? Will you wait till then and decide before the final judgment? What is holding you back? What would it take for God to get your attention? It’s time! He’s coming back soon! He needs those who believe to step up and lead! He needs those who believe to be salt and light! Let’s answer the call and step up and lead as God is calling us to do and to be who God is calling us to be.

144,000 Marked with a Seal

1After this, I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or against any tree. 2Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He cried out with a loud voice to the four angels who were permitted to harm the earth and the sea, 3saying, “Do no harm to the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” 4Now I heard the number of those marked with the seal: 144,000 from every tribe of Bnei-Yisrael— 5 12,000 from the tribe of Judah; 12,000 from the tribe of Reuben; 12,000 from the tribe of Gad; 6 12,000 from the tribe of Asher; 12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali; 12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh; 7 12,000 from the tribe of Simeon; 12,000 from the tribe of Levi; 12,000 from the tribe of Issachar; 8 12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun; 12,000 from the tribe of Joseph; 12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin.

Countless Worshipers Before the Throne

9After these things I looked, and behold, a vast multitude that no one could count—from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues—was standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands 10and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11And all the angels were standing around the throne, along with the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12saying, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might belong to our God forever and ever. Amen!” 13Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these dressed in white robes, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” 14Then he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15For this reason, they are before the throne of God, and they serve Him day and night in His Temple. The One seated on the throne will shelter them. 16They shall never again go hungry, nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not beat down on them, nor any scorching heat. 17For the Lamb in the midst of the throne shall shepherd them and guide them to springs of living water, and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

–from The Revelation 7

It’s not about how much you have, but what you do with the little you do have! Take a look around you! Do you see what is going on all around the world? Every time I go through the book of Revelation, I sense we are getting closer and closer! Consider what God’s Word says! Take a look around at what is going on around the world! And then consider how you will choose and respond!

Teaching in the Temple

1Then Yeshua looked up and saw the rich dropping their gifts into the treasury box. 2He also saw a poor widow dropping in two small copper coins. 3And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all the rest. 4For all these put in their gifts from their surplus. But she, out of her poverty, put in all she had to live on.” 5And while some were talking about the Temple, how it was decorated with beautiful stones and offerings, Yeshua said, 6“As for these things you are looking at, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another. Every one will be torn down!” 7And they questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, so when will these things happen? What will be the sign that these things are about to take place?” 8And He said, “Watch out that you are not led astray! For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He’ and ‘The time is near!’ Do not follow them. 9And when you hear of wars and chaos, do not be terrorized. For these things need to happen first, but the end will not come at once.” 10Then He continued telling them, “Nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11There will be great earthquakes along with famines and epidemics in various places, and there will be terrors along with great signs from heaven. 12But before all these things, they will grab you and persecute you, handing you over to the synagogues and prisons, and leading you away to kings and governors on account of My name. 13This will lead you to be a witness. 14So make up your minds not to prepare ahead of time to defend yourselves— 15for I Myself will give you speech and wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. 16But you will be handed over even by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—and they will put some of you to death. 17And you will be hated by all because of My name. 18Yet not a hair of your head will be lost. 19By your endurance, you will gain your souls. 20“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. 21Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those inside the city must get out, and those in the countryside must not enter her. 22For these are the days of punishment, to fulfill all that has been written. 23“Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath on this people. 24They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led away captive into all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 25“There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars. And upon the earth nations will be confused by the roaring of the sea and its waves. 26People will lose heart from fear and anticipation of what is overtaking the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to happen, stand straight and lift up your heads, because your salvation is near!” 29Then Yeshua told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30As soon as they sprout their leaves, you see it and you know at once that summer is near. 31So also, when you see these all these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. 32Amen, I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things happen. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. 34“But watch out so your hearts are not weighed down by carousing, strong drink, and the worries of life. Do not let that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35For it will come rushing upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36But stay alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things about to happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.” 37So during the days Yeshua was teaching in the Temple, but in the nights He went out and stayed on the Mount of Olives. 38And all the people would come early in the morning to hear Him in the Temple.

–from Luke 21

Is the world hearing the story through how you are living your life?

 

 

 

 

How important is your brand?


Do you realize how important your name is? Do you realize how important your character is? Do you realize how important having a good name = good reputation + good character?

When people see you what is their first response or reaction? Is it positive or negative? Is it to run to or run away from you? Is it to smile or to frown? Do they give you a warm welcome?

Are you a peacemaker? Are you an encourager? Are you a blessing? Are you sharing hope and love? Are you helper? Are you someone who steps up? Are you someone who helps get it done?

Today’s reading continues in Proverbs on this very topic…

1A good name is to be chosen rather than great wealth, and grace rather than silver or gold. 2Rich and poor have this in common— Adonai is the Maker of them all. 3A crafty person sees danger and hides, but the naïve keep going and suffer for it. 4The reward of humility and fear of Adonai is riches, honor and life. 5Thorns and snares are in the path of the perverse, but one who guards his soul stays far from them. 6Train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not turn from it. 7The rich rule over the poor, the borrower is a slave to the lender. 8One who sows injustice will reap trouble, and the rod of his fury will perish. 9One with a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor. 10Throw out a scoffer and strife will go out, quarreling and disgrace will cease. 11One who loves purity of heart and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend. 12The eyes of Adonai guard knowledge, but He undermines the words of the faithless. 13The slacker says, “There’s a lion outside! I’ll be killed in the streets.” 14The mouth of a seducing woman is a deep pit—into it will fall one with whom Adonai is angry. 15Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but a rod of discipline will drive it far from him. 16The one who oppresses the poor to increase his own gain, and the one who gives to the rich— both end in poverty. 17Incline your ear and listen to the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge. 18For it is delightful if you keep them within you, ready on your lips. 19So that your trust may be in Adonai, I made them known to you this day, even you. 20Have I not written to you thirty sayings of admonition and knowledge, 21to show you true and reliable words, that you may give a true answer to those who sent you? 22Do not rob a poor person because he is poor, nor crush the needy at the gate, 23for Adonai will plead their case, and rob life from those who plunder them. 24Do not be friends with one given to anger or associate with a hot-tempered person, 25lest you learn his ways, and entangle your soul in a snare. 26Do not be one who shakes hands or puts up security for debts. 27If you do not have enough to pay, why should your bed be taken from under you? 28Do not move an ancient boundary stone which your fathers set up. 29Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings. He will not stand before obscure people.

–from Proverbs 22

What do you hunger for? How much is that driving your actions and your decisions? How is that impacting your way of living? How is that impacting your brand image? How is it impacting your life? How is it impacting your family and friends? How is it impacting your workplace and neighborhood and community?

Don’t be greedy! Don’t be selfish! Don’t live in a way that isolates yourself and pushes others away! Share the love of God with the world around you! Consider the benefits of what you are doing or considering doing and what good it will cause or create!

Advice About Appetites

1When you sit down to dine with a ruler, consider carefully what is set before you, 2and put a knife to your throat if you possess a large appetite. 3Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive. 4Do not wear yourself out to get rich. Be wise enough to restrain yourself. 5When you cast your eyes 0n riches, it is gone; for it surely sprouts wings and flies off into the sky like an eagle. 6Do not eat the food of a stingy person, or desire his delicacies. 7For as he thinks within himself, so is he. “Eat and drink”, he says to you, but his heart is not with you. 8You will vomit up the morsel you ate, and will waste your pleasant words. 9Do not speak in the ears of a fool, for he will disdain the wisdom of your words. 10Do not move an ancient boundary stone, or encroach on fields of the fatherless, 11for their redeemer is strong. He will plead their case against you. 12Apply your heart to discipline and your ears to words of knowledge. 13Do not withhold correction from a child. If you strike him with a rod, he will not die. 14Punish him with a rod, and deliver his soul from Sheol.

Wisdom’s Path to the Future

15My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart also will be glad. 16Yes, my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right. 17Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be in the fear of Adonai. 18For surely there is a future, and your hope will never be cut off. 19Listen, my son, and be wise, and guide your heart in the right way. 20Do not join those drinking too much wine or gorging on meat, 21for both drunkards and gluttons will be impoverished— grogginess will clothe them with rags. 22Listen to your father who begot you and do not despise your mother when she is old. 23Acquire truth and do not sell it, acquire wisdom, instruction and understanding. 24The father of a righteous one rejoices greatly. Whoever fathers a wise child delights in him. 25Let your father and your mother be glad, let she who bore you rejoice! 26My son, give your heart to me, and let your eyes observe my ways. 27For a prostitute is a deep pit, an adulterous woman is a narrow pit. 28Indeed, she lies in wait like a robber, and increases the unfaithful among men.

Lingering Long Over Wine

29Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has fights? Who has complaining? Who has bruises for no reason? Who has red eyes? 30Those who linger long over wine, who go looking for mixed wine. 31Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it glides down smoothly. 32In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like a viper. 33Your eyes will see strange things. Your heart will utter perverse things. 34Then you will be like one lying down in the heart of the sea, or sprawled on the top of a mast. 35“They hit me! But I was not hurt. They beat me up! But I did not feel it. When will I wake up? I will look for another drink.”

–from Proverbs 23

Those with integrity walk safely! Where is integrity in your life? What are you doing to make sure that you have integrity? How are you living so that your brand and character are good?

Pledge of Integrity

1A psalm of David. I will sing of lovingkindness and justice. To You, Adonai, I will sing praises. 2I will behave wisely in the way of integrity —when will You come to me? I walk in my house with integrity in my heart. 3No base thing will I set before my eyes. Twisted behavior I hate— it will not cling to me. 4A perverse heart will depart from me. I will know nothing evil. 5Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret —him I will silence. Who has haughty eyes and a proud heart —him I will not tolerate. 6My eyes are on the trustworthy of the land, to be in my company. One walking in a blameless way will serve me. 7No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house. No one who utters lies will endure before my eyes. 8Each morning I silence all the land’s wicked ones— to cut off from Adonai’s city every evildoer.

–from Psalms 101

So will you lead by example? Will you lead with an attitude of humility? Will be a servant leader? Will you lead and look out for the wellbeing of those who are following? Will others see Jesus when they watch and follow after you? Will you make a difference to the world around by setting an example? How will your brand make an impact, make a difference, make a change to the world around you?

Shepherds Lead by Example

1Therefore I appeal to the elders among you—as a fellow elder and witness of Messiah’s sufferings, and a partaker also of the glory about to be revealed— 2shepherd God’s flock among you. Watch over it not under compulsion but willingly before God, not for dishonest gain but eagerly. 3Don’t lord it over those apportioned to you, but become examples to the flock. 4When the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5Likewise, you younger ones, submit yourselves to the elders. And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may lift you up at the appropriate time. 7Cast all your worries on Him, for He cares for you. 8Stay alert! Watch out! Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, searching for someone to devour. 9Stand up against him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being laid upon your brothers and sisters throughout the world. 10After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace—who has called you into His eternal glory in Messiah—will Himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. 11All power to Him forever! Amen.

Final Greetings

12Through Silvanus, whom I consider our faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it! 13Messiah’s community in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings. So does my son Mark. 14Greet one another with a kiss of love. Shalom to you all who are in Messiah. Amen.

–from 1 Peter 5

You have been put in such a place at such a time for a purpose and on purpose! Don’t let fear keep you from doing what is good, what is right, what is just! Let’s live as God is calling us to live! Let’s live as God created and made us to live in order to bring Him the praise, the honor, and the glory! Let’s allow our brand to glorify Him in heaven!

A Dinner Conversation on Shabbat

1Now when Yeshua went into the home of one of the leaders of the Pharisees to eat a meal on Shabbat, they were watching Him closely. 2And there before Him was a man swollen with fluid. 3So Yeshua said to the Torah lawyers and the Pharisees, “Is it permitted to heal on Shabbat, or not?” 4But they kept silent. So Yeshua took hold of him and healed him, and He sent him away. 5Then He said to them, “Which of you, with a son or an ox falling into a well on Yom Shabbat, will not immediately pull him out?” 6And they could not reply to these things. 7Yeshua began telling a parable to those who had been invited, when He noticed how they were choosing the seats of honor. He said to them, 8“When you are invited by someone to a wedding, don’t take the seat of honor, for someone more highly esteemed than you may have been invited by him. 9Then the one who invited both of you will come to you and say, ‘Give up this seat.’ And with shame, you would proceed to take the lowest seat. 10But when you are invited, go and recline in the lowest seat so that when the one who invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you shall be honored in the presence of all those who are dining with you. 11For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” 12Then Yeshua was also saying to the one who invited Him, “When you host a luncheon or dinner, don’t invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors. Otherwise they might invite you in return as your payback. 13But when you host a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind; 14and you will be blessed, since they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” 15Now hearing this, one of those dining with Yeshua said to Him, “Blessed is he who eats bread in the kingdom of God.” 16But Yeshua said to him, “A certain man was hosting a large banquet, and he invited many. 17At the time for the banquet, he sent his slave to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, everything is already prepared.’ 18“But every one of them began to beg off. The first said to him, ‘I bought a farm, and I’m obligated to go out to see it. I’m asking you to have me excused.’ 19Then another one said, ‘I’ve purchased five teams of oxen, and I’m going to check them out. I’m asking you to have me excused.’ 20Still another said, ‘I’ve married a wife, so I cannot come.’ 21“The slave came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house got angry and said to his slave, ‘Quickly go out into the squares and alleys of the city and bring here the poor, the maimed, the blind, and the lame.’ 22“And the slave said, ‘Master, I have done as you instructed, and still there is room.’ 23“So the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the thoroughfares and fenced areas, and press them to come in so my home may be filled. 24For I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my banquet.’”

Telling Parables Along the Road

25Now great crowds were traveling with Yeshua; and He turned and said to them, 26“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters—and yes, even his own life—he cannot be My disciple. 27Whoever does not carry his own cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple. 28“For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and figure out the cost, to see if he has enough to finish it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and isn’t able to finish everything, all who see it begin to mock him, 30saying, ‘This man began to build and wasn’t able to finish!’ 31“Or what king, going to make war against another king, won’t first sit down to consider whether he is able with ten thousand to confront the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32If not, while the other is still far away, he sends an ambassador and asks for peace. 33So in the same way, whoever does not renounce all that he has, cannot be My disciple. 34“Therefore, salt is good; but if the salt should lose its flavor, how shall it be made salty again? 35It is not suitable for the soil or for a manure heap—it is thrown out. The one who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

–from Luke 14

 

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


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

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

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

Israel Demands a King

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

–from 1 Samuel 8

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

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

Saul Meets Samuel

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

–from 1 Samuel 9

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

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

Drash on the Mountain

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

Called to Be Salt and Light

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

Filling the Law to the Fullest

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

Overcoming Evil with Good

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

–from Matthew 5

 

 

 

Where will you turn for wisdom?


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

Today’s reading continues with Samson…

Riddle of the Lion

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

–from Judges 14

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

Victory with a Jawbone

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

–from Judges 15

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

Delilah Betrays Samson

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

Samson Avenged

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

–from Judges 16

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

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

Greetings

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

Troubles From an Eternal Perspective

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

–from 2 Thessalonians 1

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

The Man of Lawlessness

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

Firstfruits of Salvation

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

–from 2 Thessalonians 2

Your past doesn’t have to define your future!


What you’ve gone through, what you’ve experience, how you were treated, who you were, where you’ve been – those are behind you. Yes they shaped you, but they don’t have to define you and your future! Those things people have said about you aren’t what you have to be or become! We all get to choose! We all have choice! The main reason is God’s plans for us is good! God is good and God is love! So we have to choose who we will be be. If we were good or thought we were and then had an encounter with Jesus that transformed us just like Paul. If we weren’t so good and got into trouble and then had an encounter with Jesus that transformed us. Where are you at right now? How will you choose to finish this race called life? Will you choose good? Will you choose faith? Will you choose obedience? Will you choose to finish strong? Your past doesn’t have to define your future!

Today’s reading gets us started in the book of Judges…

Jephthah’s Valor and Vow

1Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, but he was son of a prostitute, while Gilead was Jephthah’s father. 2But Gilead’s wife bore him sons, and when the wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You won’t inherit in our father’s house, for you are a son of another woman.” 3Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob. Some worthless fellows joined with Jephthah and went out with him. 4Now it came about after a while that the children of Ammon fought with Israel. 5When the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6They said to Jephthah, “Come and be our chief, so we may fight the children of Ammon.” 7Jephthah then said to the elders of Gilead, “Didn’t you hate me and drive me out of my father’s house? So why are you coming to me now that you’re in trouble?” 8“Here is why we’re now turning to you,” the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah. “Come with us, fight the children of Ammon, and then you will become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” 9So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you take me back home to fight the children of Ammon, and Adonai gives them over to me, I should become your head!” 10The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “Let Adonai be witness between us if we don’t do as you say.” 11Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and chief over them, after Jephthah repeated all his terms before Adonai at Mizpah. 12Then Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the children of Ammon saying, “What have you to do with me, that you have come to me to make war on my land?” 13The king of the children of Ammon answered the messengers of Jephthah, “Because Israel took away my land, when they came up from Egypt, from the Arnon to the Jabbok as far as the Jordan. Now therefore, return them peaceably.” 14But Jephthah sent messengers again to the king of the children of Ammon, 15and said to him, “Thus says Jephthah, ‘Israel did not take away the land of Moab or the land of the children of Ammon. 16For upon departing from Egypt, Israel traveled through the wilderness to the Sea of Reeds and came to Kadesh, 17then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom saying, “Please, let me pass through your land,” but the king of Edom would not consent. Similarly he sent word to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel, after staying at Kadesh, 18traveled through the wilderness, around the land of Edom and the land of Moab, came to the east side of the land of Moab and they camped on the other side of the Arnon. But they did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the border of Moab. 19Then Israel sent messengers to King Sihon of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, “Please, let us pass through your land to my place.” 20But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory. So Sihon gathered all his troops, camped in Jahaz and fought against Israel. 21But Adonai God of Israel gave Sihon and all his troops into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them. So Israel took possession of all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. 22Thus they possessed all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok, and from the wilderness as far as the Jordan. 23So now Adonai God of Israel dispossessed the Amorites from before His people Israel. So should you possess their land? 24Don’t you possess what Chemosh your god gives you to possess? Likewise, whatever Adonai our God has dispossessed from before us, this we will possess. 25Besides, are you any better than Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them? 26While Israel was living in Heshbon and its villages, in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities on both sides of the Arnon for 300 years, why didn’t you try to recover them all that time? 27So I myself have not transgressed against you, yet you are doing me harm by waging war against me. May Adonai, the Judge, judge today between Bnei-Yisrael and the children of Ammon.’” 28However, the king of the children of Ammon paid no attention to the words of Jephthah that he sent him. 29Then the Ruach Adonai came upon Jephthah, so he marched through Gilead and Manasseh, and passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he crossed over to the children of Ammon. 30Then Jephthah vowed a vow to Adonai and said, “If You will indeed give the children of Ammon into my hand, 31then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return safely from the children of Ammon, it will be Adonai’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” 32So Jephthah crossed over to the children of Ammon to fight against them, and Adonai gave them into his hand. 33So he utterly defeated them from Aroer until you come to Minnith—20 towns—and as far as Abel-cheramim. So the children of Ammon were subdued before Bnei-Yisrael. 34Now when Jephthah arrived at his home in Mizpah, behold, his daughter was coming out to meet him with tambourines and with dances. Now she was his only child. Besides her he had no son or daughter. 35Upon seeing her, he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You made me bow down in grief—you’ve made me miserable! For I have opened my mouth to Adonai, and I cannot take it back.” 36“My father, you have opened your mouth to Adonai,” she said to him. “Do to me what proceeded from your mouth—since Adonai brought vengeance on your enemies, the children of Ammon.” 37She said further to her father, “Let this thing be done for me. Let me be alone two months, so that I may go on the mountains and mourn my virginity, I and my companions.” 38“Go!” he said. So he sent her away for two months. So she left, she and her companions, and mourned on the mountains because of her virginity. 39Then at the end of two months she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow he had made—so she was never intimate with a man. So it became a custom in Israel, 40that the daughters of Israel would go annually to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.

–from Judges 11

Be careful what you say! Be careful what you promise! Make sure you are good to your word! Don’t lie! Don’t make promises you can’t keep! Don’t make promises you won’t keep! Consider your words carefully before you say them for you need to consider what could and would be rather than just jumping into it and getting put into a situation or position you may regret. We all get to choose if we will be faithful or not! We all get to choose if we will be obedient or not! So let’s choose life and life to the full! Let’s choose integrity and honesty! Let’s choose faith and obedience!

1Then the men of Ephraim were summoned and crossed over to Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, “Why did you cross over to fight against the children of Ammon without calling us to go with you? We will burn your house over you with fire.” 2So Jephthah responded to them, “I and my people were in a bitter conflict with the children of Ammon, yet when I called you, you didn’t deliver me from their hand. 3So when I saw that you weren’t going to deliver, I put my life in my hand and crossed over against the children of Ammon, and Adonai gave them into my hand. So why have you come up to me today, to fight me?” 4Then Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought Ephraim. The men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, because they said, “You Gileadites are just fugitives of Ephraim in the midst of Ephraim and in the midst of Manasseh.” 5The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan opposite Ephraim. So when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead would ask him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” 6then they would say to him, “Say now, ‘Shibboleth,’” and he said “Sibboleth” since he could not pronounce it right, then they would seize him and slay him at the fords of the Jordan. At that time 42,000 of Ephraim fell. 7Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in one of the towns of Gilead. 8After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. 9Now he had 30 sons, and 30 daughters—he sent them outside and brought in 30 girls from outside for his sons. He judged Israel seven years, 10then Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem. 11Then after him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel. He judged Israel ten years, 12then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun. 13After him Abdon son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel. 14He had 40 sons and 30 grandsons who rode on 70 donkeys, and he judged Israel eight years. 15Then Abdon son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.

–from Judges 12

Take a look at the world around you. Consider the roller coaster of life. The ups! The Downs! The twists! The turns! The loops! The good! The bad! The pattern seems to be turning to God and turning away from God! Where are you at? Have you chosen to follow God? Have you had a divine appointment that has changed your life and started your relationship Jesus? Take a look around you. Do you see where the people around you are heading? Your neighbors? Your town or city? Your state or province? Your country? What are the politicians doing? What the people doing? What are the judges doing? What are the leaders doing? Do we need a revival? Is your place in a revival? Are you desiring a revival where you are at? Will you be called to a higher standard? Will you live to that calling? Will you be obedient to the point of setting in a motion a legacy?

Birth of Samson

1Bnei-Yisrael again did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, and Adonai gave them into the hand of the Philistines for 40 years. 2Now there was a certain man from Zorah, from a Danite clan, whose name was Manoah. His wife was barren and bore no children. 3Then the angel of Adonai appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold now, you are barren and have not borne children, but you will conceive and bear a son. 4Now therefore be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. 5For behold, you will conceive and bear a son. Let no razor come upon his head, for the boy will be a Nazirite to God from the womb. He will begin to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” 6Then the woman came and told her husband saying, “A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome! But I did not ask him where he was from, nor did he tell me his name. 7He said to me, ‘Behold, you will conceive and bear a son. So, drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child will be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.” 8Then Manoah entreated Adonai and said, “My Lord, please let the man of God whom You have sent come to us again and teach us what we will do for the boy to be born.” 9God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she was sitting in the field, but her husband Manoah was not with her. 10So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, and said to him, “Look, the man that came to me the other day has appeared to me!” 11So Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he asked him, “Are you the one who spoke to the woman?” “I am,” he said. 12Then Manoah said, “Now may your words come about! What will be the child’s rule and his mission?” 13The angel of Adonai said to Manoah, “Let the woman abstain from all that I mentioned to her. 14She should not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, or drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. She must observe all that I commanded her.” 15Then Manoah said to the angel of Adonai, “Please, let us detain you so that we may prepare a young goat for you.” 16But the angel of Adonai said to Manoah, “If you could detain me, I would not eat your food. But if you present a burnt offering, then offer it to Adonai.” For Manoah did not realize that he was the angel of Adonai. 17Then Manoah asked the angel of Adonai, “What is your name, so that when your words come to pass we may honor you?” 18But the angel of Adonai said to him, “Why do you ask for my name? It is wonderful.” 19Manoah took the young goat with the meal offering and offered them on the rock to Adonai, and He did something wonderful as Manoah and his wife were watching. 20For it came about when the flame went up from off the altar toward heaven that the angel of Adonai ascended in the flame of the altar. Manoah and his wife were looking on, then they fell on their faces to the ground. 21But the angel of Adonai appeared no more to Manoah or to his wife. Then Manoah realized that he was the angel of Adonai. 22Manoah said to his wife, “We will surely die, because we have seen God.” 23But his wife said to him, “If Adonai had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a meal offering from our hand, nor would He have shown us all these things or let us hear such things as these at this time.” 24Then the woman bore a son, and called his name Samson. So the boy grew up and Adonai blessed him. 25The Ruach Adonai began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

–from Judges 13

Oh how will you make a difference. What will it take for you to listen and obey? Is today your day? As we move forward today, let’s walk trusting in God! As we move forward today, let’s walk in obedience to God’s calling! As we move forward today, let’s use our words wisely! As we move forward today, let’s be encouragers! As we move forward today, let’s correct those who need discipline! As we move forward today, let’s comfort the fainthearted! As we move forward today, let’s help the weak! As we move forward today, let’s be patient with everyone! As we move forward today, let’s pursue what is good for one another and for all! Rejoice always, pray constantly, in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Jesus! Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophetic messages, but test all things, hold fast to what is good, keep away from every kind of evil.

Keep Watch for the Day of the Lord

1Now concerning the times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. 2For you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night. 3When they are saying, “Shalom and safety,” sudden destruction comes upon them like a woman having birth pains in the womb—there is no way they will escape. 4But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the dark, so that the Day might overtake you like a thief. 5For you all are sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night or of darkness— 6so then, let us not sleep as the others do, but let us remain on the alert and sober-minded. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night; and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8But since we are of the day, let us be sober-minded—putting on the breastplate of faithfulness and love, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9For God did not destine us for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 10He died for us so that, whether we may be awake or asleep, we may live together with Him. 11Therefore encourage one another and build each other up—just as you in fact are doing.

Instructions for Community Life

12Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to recognize those who work hard among you and are over you in the Lord and correct you, 13and to esteem them beyond all measure in love because of their work. Keep shalom among yourselves. 14We urge you, brothers and sisters, correct the unruly, comfort the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15See that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. 16Rejoice always, 17pray constantly, 18in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Messiah Yeshua. 19Do not quench the Spirit, 20do not despise prophetic messages, 21but test all things, hold fast to what is good, 22keep away from every kind of evil. 23Now may the God of shalom Himself make you completely holy; and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept complete, blameless at the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 24Faithful is the One who calls you—and He will make it happen!

Closing Greetings

25Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26Greet all the brothers and sisters with a holy kiss. 27I charge you under oath, by the Lord, that this letter be read to all the brothers and sisters. 28The grace of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah be with you.

–from 1 Thessalonians 5