Category Archives: Discernment

How much can you trust?


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


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

Hindsight is 2020

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

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

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


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


My Notes:

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

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

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

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


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

What will you do when you do not know what is going on? What will you do when you do not know what to do?


Are you ready? How do you get ready when you aren’t sure what is around the corner? Do you start in God’s Word? Do you start with prayer? Do you just wing it? Where will your hope come from? Where will your help come from? My hope comes from the Lord! My help comes from the Lord! So I will start in God’s Word to get wisdom and allow the comforter and counselor (the Holy Spirit) to guide and guard my heart and mind. I will not lean on my own understanding but rather I will put my trust in God! I wait upon the Lord for I know that through Him I can receive a peace that surpasses all understanding. I know that God is a way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, and light in the darkness.


Would you consider the 3 day challenge in order to be ready to accomplish the plans of God who put you right here and right now for such a day and such a time as this? What if it meant giving up something for those 3 days? What if it meant you had to give them up starting tomorrow? Would it have to be significant for you to even consider it? Would it have to be person for you to do it?

Day 6: 2020 Hindsight
The 49-Week ChallengeDay 6

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 6 link above or want to join link here to join me and sign up.

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

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


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


My Notes:

  • Do you realize the impact you can have on the future?
  • Do you realize the impact of your decisions on history?
  • Do you realize the legacy that you can produce?
  • Consider the story of Ruth and its impact on the legacy that led to Jesus.
  • Consider the story of Ruth and its impact on the legacy that led to King David.
  • Consider the story of Ruth and the impact on the legacy that led to King Solomon.
  • How will you deal with loss? How will you respond to trials, troubles, and challenges?
  • Consider the response after such catastrophic loss and how Orpah responded to Naomi.
  • Consider the response after such catastrophic loss and how Ruth responded to Naomi.
  • Is it better to go back or to press on?
  • Is it better to turn away or to turn back?
  • Will you go it alone? Will you cling to God in the midst of it all?
  • Will you choose to go where God sends you and to stay where God sends you?
  • Is God’s plan to work in and through you by pressing on and going into the unknown with Him?
  • Will you choose to be like Ruth who went with Naomi, into the unknown but knowing who you are following?
  • Will you choose to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and build a relationship with Him and make your life on top of Him as your rock and your foundation? Aligning your life with Him as your cornerstone?
  • Where will you find favor? In whom will you find favor? Will you go there and work for the glory of God in order to provide for the needs of your family?
  • Will you trust God and ask, praying God’s favor will lead and guide you? Will Ask, Seek, and Knock until that door opens and you are able to accomplish God’s will and plan and His purpose?
  • Do you realize that God is going before you to prepare in advance the good work He has for you to accomplish?
  • Will you live your life out with humility because of the favor You have found thanks to God?
  • Will God’s peace that surpasses all understanding come over you in order that you are put at ease through His Words in order to be able to step up and step out and be everything that He has purposed and created you to be?
  • Give credit where credit is due.
  • Bless those that God has brought across your path to bless.
  • Stay in the protection of the Lord!
  • God has a plan and it is for good, He blessed you so that you can be a blessing to others.
  • God has a purpose for you, He has positioned you for such a day and such a time as this.
  • God has a way that is better than our own way, decide to follow His way and to pursue His plan and purpose for your life so that in and through your life He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in order that the legacy He desires for you may be fulfilled.
  • Don’t allow fear to rob you of what God has prepared for you.
  • Allow faith to lead and guide you and to overcome any fear that may come your way so that in and through your faith and obedience, God’s plan will be accomplished.
  • It is amazing when you study God’s Word how we can see the connection of the past revealed in more recent times. We see how what we read about the genealogy of Jesus we can find in more details in the story of Ruth. We can see how through Ruth and Boaz, a son is board Obed who was the father of Jesse who happens to be the father of David who becomes King David.
  • It is amazing to see how important genealogy is in the Bible and how through out the generations and the centuries how God’s Word, God’s purposes, and God’s plans is captured and revealed to us.
  • Let’s do what we are to do according to God’s will. Don’t delay! Don’t put it off! Today, let’s do what God tells us to do!

Questions to consider:

  • What do you learn about God, about yourself, or about the world?
  • Is there one verse or thought that stands out to you today?

As day 6 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

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

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


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

Deciding isn't the end of the journey but the beginning!


The Book of Job. – Day 29

Decided. Now to step up and step into what that will mean. The reality is that the definition isn’t fully clear and yet I know where I will be. My expectations are that as we continue through our ready that by the end of it more the questions will get answered and more clarity will come. My peace in this comes through my trust in God! Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be my comforter and my guide. God’s peace which surpasses all understanding guards my heart through this process. We may not know why but we do know that God works all things for good for those who love Him. We may not know when it will end but we do know that God’s timing is perfect! We may not know how, but we know that in the end God wins and that Jesus broke the devils power through the birth (why we celebrate Christmas), the sacrifice (why we celebrate Good Friday), and the resurrection and overcoming death (why we celebrate Easter) so that we not only will get to walk in that victory when we get to heaven but God has opened the door for us to walk in faith in that victory while we are still here on earth.

It is interesting what you can learn from what people don’t say. It is interesting what you can learn from what people do. It is interesting what you can learn from how people treat others. It is interesting what you can learn by being present. It is interesting what you can learn by listening. It is interesting to learn what is known and what is unknown and how with the favor of God people open up and share. It is interesting how there are times when we wonder why something goes on so long and then we can reflect on God’s Words that says love is long suffering, God’s will is that nobody would perish but that everyone would come to eternal life through Jesus Christ. In the old and new testaments we see God’s desire for the people to turn back to Him. It is interesting when you are present and people know that you care how they will turn to you in the midst of questions and concerns, issues and challenges, relationships and work. When you live out your life in love, being Jesus with skin on to the world around you, you will find some people are drawn to you and others want to reject you, just like what happened to Jesus.


Today’s reading comes to us from Job 24.

‘“Why does the Almighty not set seasons for judgment? Why do those who know Him not see His days [for punishment of the wicked]? Some remove the landmarks; They [violently] seize and pasture flocks [appropriating land and flocks openly]. They drive away the donkeys of the orphans; They take the widow’s ox for a pledge. They crowd the needy off the road; The poor of the land all hide themselves. Behold, as wild donkeys in the desert, The poor go to their work, diligently seeking food; As bread for their children in the desert. They harvest their fodder in a field [that is not their own], And glean the vineyard of the wicked. They spend the night naked, without clothing, And have no covering against the cold. They are wet from the rain of the mountains And cling to the rock for lack of shelter. Others snatch the fatherless [infants] from the breast [to sell or make them slaves], And against the poor they take a pledge [of clothing]. They cause the poor to go about naked without clothing, And they take away the sheaves [of grain] from the hungry. Within the walls [of the wicked] the poor make [olive] oil; They tread [the grapes in] the wine presses, but thirst. From the [populous and crowded] city men groan, And the souls of the wounded cry out for help; Yet God [seemingly] does not pay attention to the wrong [done to them]. “Others have been with those who rebel against the light; They do not want to know its ways Nor stay in its paths. The murderer rises at dawn; He kills the poor and the needy, And at night he becomes a thief. The eye of the adulterer waits for the twilight, Saying, ‘No eye will see me,’ And he covers his face. In the dark they dig into [the penetrable walls of] houses; They shut themselves up by day; They do not know the light [of day]. For the morning is the same to him as the thick darkness [of midnight]; For he is familiar with the terrors of thick darkness. “They are insignificant on the surface of the water; Their portion is cursed on the earth; They do not turn toward the vineyards. Drought and heat consume the snow waters; So does Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) [consume] those who have sinned. A mother will forget him; The worm feeds on him until he is no longer remembered. And wickedness will be broken like a tree [which cannot be restored]. He preys on the barren (childless) woman And does no good for the widow. Yet God draws away the mighty by His power; He rises, but no one has assurance of life. God gives them security, and they are supported; And His eyes are on their ways. They are exalted for a little while, and then they are gone; Moreover, they are brought low and like everything [they are] gathered up and taken out of the way; Even like the heads of grain they are cut off. And if this is not so, who can prove me a liar And make my speech worthless?”’

Job 24:1-25

Today’s study includes information from:


Study Notes:

God knows the appointed times. We do not. We need to lean not on our own understanding but rather trust in God! God knows what He is doing. We need to acknowledge Him in all our ways and He will make our path straight! We need to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and allow Him to take care of everything else!

Today’s study summary:

Verses 2-12: This is one of the most graphic pictures of oppression and the “poor” found in the Bible. Job wondered how the wicked can live this way and still escape divine justice (Psalm 10:8)

Verses 18:25: Job angrily denounced the wicked. Compare his words to those found in Psalms (e.g., Psalms Chapters 35, 69, 109, 140). Within his soul, Job still believed that God would judge evildoers in His time.

(In verses 18-21), again Job referred to the opinions of his counselors, saying that if their view were correct, all the wicked should be experiencing punishment. But it is obvious they were not.

Verses 22-25: Job’s view was that their punishment would come eventually (“exalted for a little while”). Retribution needed the timing of God’s wisdom, when He determined wrongs would be made right. Job was totally confident that his point could not be refuted.

Book of Job ExplainedChapter 24

So where are you at today? How will you respond to the offer from God of grace, mercy, and salvation? Are you ready to lean into all that God has for you? Are you ready to persevere and trust and have your faith built up? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

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

Let's check our heart and out minds and turn to God for the answer so as to accomplish His perfect plan and will.


The Story of Job. – Day 27

A new day of a new week of work. A new day with new plans to make. Last full sprint begins. Two day offsite begins. People traveling. Discussions to be had. Discerning to be required to know who is who. Discerning the messages in order to realize where it is God wants me. Trying to understand how to get there. Trying to understand the motives. Trying to understand the messages. Trying to understand the purpose. Trying to understand the value. Trying to parse through the messages. I know I have value to God and He has a plan and a purpose for me. When someone shares that I am not giving myself enough credit for the value I have, how to I hold that. When someone shares that people like me where I am at but don’t see it being a higher level role, how do I hold that. When you like doing things that help people and want to make sure you not only make a scratch or a dent but that you can actually move the dial and make a difference, where will that put you? How do you take in the various feedback or input and make the right decision that will keep you aligned with God’s purpose and plans while adding value to the company and the people who depend on or use the company resources? They key is to keep leaning into God in the midst of the messages from your friends. The key is to keep asking God in the midst of each conversation you have with your friends. The key is to not try to go it alone but to allow the Holy Spirit to bring a peace of the right decision so that you can step into it and become who God created you to be. Remember, you are alive and no matter what happens the joy of the Lord is your strength and so “Happy Today!”

Let’s discern what we are being told in order that we won’t be stuck in analysis paralysis but do something about it. Let’s listen for the voice of truth in and thru the words being spoken and shared. Let’s listen to what God’s Word has to say to us today…


Today’s reading comes to use from Job 22:

‘Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said, “Can a vigorous man be of use to God, Or a wise man be useful to himself? Is it any pleasure or joy to the Almighty that you are righteous? Or is it of benefit to Him that you make your ways perfect? Is it because of your fear of Him that He corrects you, That He enters into judgment against you? Is not your wickedness great, And your sins without end? For you have taken pledges of your brothers without cause, And stripped men naked. You have not given water to the weary to drink, And you have withheld bread from the hungry. But the land is possessed by the man with power, And the favored and honorable man dwells in it. You have sent widows away empty-handed, And the arms (strength) of the fatherless have been broken. Therefore snares surround you, And sudden dread terrifies and overwhelms you; Or darkness, so that you cannot see, And a flood of water covers you. “Is not God in the height of heaven? And behold the distant stars, how high they are! You say, ‘What does God know [about me]? Can He judge through the thick darkness? Thick clouds are a hiding place for Him, so that He cannot see, And He walks on the vault (circle) of the heavens.’ Will you keep to the ancient path That wicked men walked [in the time of Noah], Men who were snatched away before their time, Whose foundations were poured out like a river? They said to God, ‘Depart from us! What can the Almighty do for us or to us?’ Yet He filled their houses with good things; But the counsel of the wicked and ungodly is far from me. The righteous see it and are glad; And the innocent mock and laugh at them, saying, ‘Surely our adversaries are cut off and destroyed, And fire has consumed their abundance.’ “Now yield and submit yourself to Him [agree with God and be conformed to His will] and be at peace; In this way [you will prosper and great] good will come to you. Please receive the law and instruction from His mouth And establish His words in your heart and keep them. If you return to the Almighty [and submit and humble yourself before Him], you will be built up [and restored]; If you remove unrighteousness far from your tents, And place your gold in the dust, And the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks [considering it of little value], And make the Almighty your gold And your precious silver, Then you will have delight in the Almighty, And you will lift up your face to God. You will pray to Him, and He will hear you, And you will pay your vows. You will also decide and decree a thing, and it will be established for you; And the light [of God’s favor] will shine upon your ways. When you are cast down and humbled, you will speak with confidence, And the humble person He will lift up and save. He will even rescue the one [for whom you intercede] who is not innocent; And he will be rescued through the cleanness of your hands.”’

Job 22:1-30

Today’s study includes information from:


Study Notes:

Today’s reading is an interesting combination of pointing out flaws (real or not) in order to point Job back to God. As I meditate on that before jumping into the study I consider what others have been pointing out to me (real or not – yet to be decided) in order to ensure I decide in accordance to God’s perfect will and God’s perfect plan. How will I respond to differing opinions all looking to exhort me to make that decision. When people are speaking to your their truth, what is the best way to parse through it and get the real truth from it? Will you be persuaded by the truth or by the urge · encourage · call on · enjoin · adjure · charge · try to persuade · press · pressure · put pressure on · use pressure on · pressurize · lean on · push · egg on · spur · incite · goad · bid · appeal to · entreat · implore · beseech · advise · counsel · admonish · warn? I am to be salt and light into the world around me. I am to be love and Jesus’s hands extended into the lives around me. I am to point people to the reason for the season and the source of all my joy and hope and love.

Today’s study summary:

Verses 1-30: In his final speech (that goes to 27:23), Eliphaz blasts Job with his most vicious attack. Beginning with the assumption that wickedness brings only God’s judgment (verses 1-5). Eliphaz complies a catalog of sins of which Job must be guilty (verses 6-20). Finally, in a beautiful passage on the forgiveness of God, he appeals to Job to repent (verses 21-30), though he directs it toward the wrong person. Eliphaz’s last speech got nasty with Job, as his frustration rose.

Verses 1-30: Within a string of specific accusations in his third speech, “Eliphaz” included Job among those committed to the ways of “wickedness” who believe God does not see or know their sin. All these accusations were refuted by both Job (29:11-17; 31:13-22), and God (1:8; 42:7-8).

Verses 2-4 and 12-14: This counselor repeated the emphasis on the almighty nature of God, saying that God was so lofty and transcendent that He had no direct concern at all with Job. God didn’t care personally about his complaints and claims to righteousness. God was not involved in the trivia of his life.

Verses 5-11: This miserable comforter accused Job of wickedness that was great, naming various sins against humanity as the reasons for Job’s trouble (verses 10-11).

Verses 7-9: Eliphaz unfairly charged Job with callous sins against the needy, characterizing his friend the way many people do the wealthy today.

Verses 15-19: Again, the fate of the wicked was expressed in the simplistic idea that all suffering comes from sin. Contrary to what Job had argued, the wicked characteristically die prematurely, and Job’s claim that God prospered them (verse 18a), was counsel that Eliphaz rejected (verses 18b-20).

Verses 21-30: Eliphaz painted a picture of the life of blessing in store for Job if only he would return to God and repent of his sin (verse 23), emphasizing again that he did not believe Job was innocent (verse 30). “Stop all the speeches and complaints, repent, and everything will be fine,” he thought.

Verses 21-27: Job was urged to repent with the promise that God would then answer his prayers. This was not an admonishment to pursue righteousness for its own sake, however, but a temptation to respond to God only because of the benefits Job might receive.

Book of Job ExplainedChapter 22

God wants a relationship with us. Our faith in Him isn’t because we can get something from him but because of love and trust in Him. God so loves the world that He gave us Jesus, He sent Jesus in order that we could be saved for He doesn’t want anyone to perish but to have everlasting life with Him. It requires a choice, a decision to receive the gift of Jesus though. It requires that we go beyond the ebbs and flow of life and step into a real relationship with Jesus. Yes, we have all missed the mark and are not perfect but God has made a way when there didn’t seem to be a way in order for us to be reconciled back unto Him and it is Jesus!

Imagine a life experience where you need to stick closer to God to get thru it. Luke 1:26-38

We need to receive and embrace what God has for you. We need to step into it even when those around you may not be encouraging you. We get to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds. Joy comes out of relationship with God. Luke 1:26-38

No matter what I am going thru because I know that God is in it. It is difficult and challenging, God has given me strength, my relationship brings joy into the situation. Taking hold of Philippians 4:6.

Just like Mary, we can find joy and our own song in the midst of great trials and challenges. Luke 1:46-55


So where are you at today? How will you respond to the offer from God of grace, mercy, and salvation? Are you ready to lean into all that God has for you? Are you ready to persevere and trust and have your faith built up? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

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

Do you realize the responsibility that comes with leadership?


Consider the impact of leading people to the top and the responsibility you have and had to get them there, the skills, the trials, the perseverance to get there. Consider the impact of leading people off track and leading to their demise and the responsibility you have and had in getting them there, the lies, the guilt, the threats, the deception to get them there. Consider the consequences of such a leadership decision for you and for them. Are you leading by good example? Are you being a servant leader? Are you pointing people in the right direction? Are you being salt and light as a leader? Are you leading people closer and closer to God? Are you leading people away from behaviors and attitudes that are detrimental to their health? physically and spiritually? Are you providing them with opportunities and avenues to grow and develop into more blessed and accomplished people? Are you listening in order to understand and know what they want or need from you? Are you taking time to discuss where they are at and where they want to go? Will you let your light shine and point them towards God in order that they may see the truth and reject the lies?

Imagine being a leader who leads people into a bottomless pit. Imagine being a leader who leads people to a destination they can never return from with weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. Imagine being a leader responsible for leading people to the pinnacle of success. Imagine being a leader responsible for leading people through the gates of heaven into the presence of God to spend eternity. Imagine what it will mean and it will take for you to be the type of leader who will make a positive impact on those around you. Are you willing and ready to do it?

Do you realize the responsibility you have as the one who lead them? Do you realize the consequences you have as the one who lead them? So choose wisely the type of leader you will be and the direction you will give people.


Today’s reading gets us started with leaders who led people away from God in 2 Kings 16:

‘Ahaz son of Jotham began to rule over Judah in the seventeenth year of King Pekah’s reign in Israel. Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. He did not do what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord his God, as his ancestor David had done. Instead, he followed the example of the kings of Israel, even sacrificing his own son in the fire. In this way, he followed the detestable practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the pagan shrines and on the hills and under every green tree. Then King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah of Israel came up to attack Jerusalem. They besieged Ahaz but could not conquer him. At that time the king of Edom recovered the town of Elath for Edom. He drove out the people of Judah and sent Edomites to live there, as they do to this day. King Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria with this message: “I am your servant and your vassal. Come up and rescue me from the attacking armies of Aram and Israel.” Then Ahaz took the silver and gold from the Temple of the Lord and the palace treasury and sent it as a payment to the Assyrian king. So the king of Assyria attacked the Aramean capital of Damascus and led its population away as captives, resettling them in Kir. He also killed King Rezin. King Ahaz then went to Damascus to meet with King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria. While he was there, he took special note of the altar. Then he sent a model of the altar to Uriah the priest, along with its design in full detail. Uriah followed the king’s instructions and built an altar just like it, and it was ready before the king returned from Damascus. When the king returned, he inspected the altar and made offerings on it. He presented a burnt offering and a grain offering, he poured out a liquid offering, and he sprinkled the blood of peace offerings on the altar. Then King Ahaz removed the old bronze altar from its place in front of the Lord ’s Temple, between the entrance and the new altar, and placed it on the north side of the new altar. He told Uriah the priest, “Use the new altar for the morning sacrifices of burnt offering, the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offering and grain offering, and the burnt offerings of all the people, as well as their grain offerings and liquid offerings. Sprinkle the blood from all the burnt offerings and sacrifices on the new altar. The bronze altar will be for my personal use only.” Uriah the priest did just as King Ahaz commanded him. Then the king removed the side panels and basins from the portable water carts. He also removed the great bronze basin called the Sea from the backs of the bronze oxen and placed it on the stone pavement. In deference to the king of Assyria, he also removed the canopy that had been constructed inside the palace for use on the Sabbath day, as well as the king’s outer entrance to the Temple of the Lord . The rest of the events in Ahaz’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. When Ahaz died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. Then his son Hezekiah became the next king.’

2 Kings 16:1-20

Today’s reading then continues into Ezekiel 22:

‘Now this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, are you ready to judge Jerusalem? Are you ready to judge this city of murderers? Publicly denounce her detestable sins, and give her this message from the Sovereign Lord : O city of murderers, doomed and damned—city of idols, filthy and foul— you are guilty because of the blood you have shed. You are defiled because of the idols you have made. Your day of destruction has come! You have reached the end of your years. I will make you an object of mockery throughout the world. O infamous city, filled with confusion, you will be mocked by people far and near. “Every leader in Israel who lives within your walls is bent on murder. Fathers and mothers are treated with contempt. Foreigners are forced to pay for protection. Orphans and widows are wronged and oppressed among you. You despise my holy things and violate my Sabbath days of rest. People accuse others falsely and send them to their death. You are filled with idol worshipers and people who do obscene things. Men sleep with their fathers’ wives and force themselves on women who are menstruating. Within your walls live men who commit adultery with their neighbors’ wives, who defile their daughters-in-law, or who rape their own sisters. There are hired murderers, loan racketeers, and extortioners everywhere. They never even think of me and my commands, says the Sovereign Lord . “But now I clap my hands in indignation over your dishonest gain and bloodshed. How strong and courageous will you be in my day of reckoning? I, the Lord , have spoken, and I will do what I said. I will scatter you among the nations and purge you of your wickedness. And when I have been dishonored among the nations because of you, you will know that I am the Lord .” Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, the people of Israel are the worthless slag that remains after silver is smelted. They are the dross that is left over—a useless mixture of copper, tin, iron, and lead. So tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you are all worthless slag, I will bring you to my crucible in Jerusalem. Just as silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin are melted down in a furnace, I will melt you down in the heat of my fury. I will gather you together and blow the fire of my anger upon you, and you will melt like silver in fierce heat. Then you will know that I, the Lord , have poured out my fury on you.’” Again a message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: In the day of my indignation, you will be like a polluted land, a land without rain. Your princes plot conspiracies just as lions stalk their prey. They devour innocent people, seizing treasures and extorting wealth. They make many widows in the land. Your priests have violated my instructions and defiled my holy things. They make no distinction between what is holy and what is not. And they do not teach my people the difference between what is ceremonially clean and unclean. They disregard my Sabbath days so that I am dishonored among them. Your leaders are like wolves who tear apart their victims. They actually destroy people’s lives for money! And your prophets cover up for them by announcing false visions and making lying predictions. They say, ‘My message is from the Sovereign Lord ,’ when the Lord hasn’t spoken a single word to them. Even common people oppress the poor, rob the needy, and deprive foreigners of justice. “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one. So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!”’

Ezekiel 22:1-31

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting with Acts 16:

‘Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas. That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there. We boarded a boat at Troas and sailed straight across to the island of Samothrace, and the next day we landed at Neapolis. From there we reached Philippi, a major city of that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. And we stayed there several days. On the Sabbath we went a little way outside the city to a riverbank, where we thought people would be meeting for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there. One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. She and her household were baptized, and she asked us to be her guests. “If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my home.” And she urged us until we agreed. One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit that enabled her to tell the future. She earned a lot of money for her masters by telling fortunes. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.” This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her. Her masters’ hopes of wealth were now shattered, so they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace. “The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!” they shouted to the city officials. “They are teaching customs that are illegal for us Romans to practice.” A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.’

Acts of the Apostles 16:6-24

Today’s reading continues into Revelation 6:

‘When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony. They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?” Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters —their fellow servants of Jesus who were to be martyred—had joined them. I watched as the Lamb broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake. The sun became as dark as black cloth, and the moon became as red as blood. Then the stars of the sky fell to the earth like green figs falling from a tree shaken by a strong wind. The sky was rolled up like a scroll, and all of the mountains and islands were moved from their places. Then everyone—the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person—all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?”’

Revelation 6:9-17

Today’s reading then closes with Psalms 119:

‘Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide. Yes, I have more insight than my teachers, for I am always thinking of your laws. I am even wiser than my elders, for I have kept your commandments. I have refused to walk on any evil path, so that I may remain obedient to your word. I haven’t turned away from your regulations, for you have taught me well. How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey. Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life. Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. I’ve promised it once, and I’ll promise it again: I will obey your righteous regulations. I have suffered much, O Lord ; restore my life again as you promised. Lord , accept my offering of praise, and teach me your regulations. My life constantly hangs in the balance, but I will not stop obeying your instructions. The wicked have set their traps for me, but I will not turn from your commandments. Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight. I am determined to keep your decrees to the very end. I hate those with divided loyalties, but I love your instructions. You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope. Get out of my life, you evil-minded people, for I intend to obey the commands of my God. Lord , sustain me as you promised, that I may live! Do not let my hope be crushed. Sustain me, and I will be rescued; then I will meditate continually on your decrees. But you have rejected all who stray from your decrees. They are only fooling themselves. You skim off the wicked of the earth like scum; no wonder I love to obey your laws! I tremble in fear of you; I stand in awe of your regulations.’

Psalms 119:97-120

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

Let’s pray:

Will you get involved without seeking wisdom?


Will you hear the ask and say “of course”? Will you hear the ask and say “I’m all in”? Will you hear the ask and say “let’s do it”? What would the question have to be to make you pause before answering? What would the question have to be to make you stop and think about it? What would the question have to be to make you look for wisdom outside of your own head before proceeding with an answer? What if it were a matter of life and death? What if it were a matter of finances? What if it were a matter of relationship?

Do you at least pause long enough to say a quick prayer so that the Holy Spirit can lead and guide you? Do you take time to hear from God if you don’t have a clear yes or no? What do you do if the answer you hear is “not yet”? Will you wait? Will you tell them you have to wait before you can answer? I know there can be a lot of pressure related to when people come to you … how will you choose to respond? We can’t control what comes our way but we can control how we respond! We can respond wildly without instruction and direction, letting our emotions lead the way, using human logic, and seek wisdom from God. We all get to choose so many decisions in this life. We get to choose if we will accept the gift of God that is eternal life through Jesus Christ. We get to choose if we will reject the gift of God and His promptings and His plan that nobody would perish but rather turn back and receive the gift of eternal life. Every day we will be face with choices, some are huge and others are small. Will you trust God with the big and the small? If you can’t trust God for the small ones then how will you be able to trust Him for the big ones? As I say that it reminds me of a time after lunch when we were heading back to the office and as I was looking for a parking spot I was praying and my friend questioned me (guess I got too quiet or something) “Are you praying?” I replied “Yes, if we can’t trust God for the little things how will we be able to trust Him with the big ones?” Just as we found a great place close to the door under the building.

God is good! God will never leave us nor abandon us! The only time we are away from God is if we choose to walk away. Even then, He loves us so much that all we need to do is stop and turn back and He will be there to receive us. So don’t try to go it alone! Don’t try to make your decisions based on emotions and feelings that change. Don’t try to make decisions based on your own knowledge as there is probably more to the big picture. Invite Jesus into the situation and ask Him for wisdom and what to do and how to respond. Then take what God give you and use it for His glory in Jesus’s name.


Today’s reading gets started in the last chapter of 1 Kings, chapter 22. Let’s see how that plays out with decisions being needed and made with Jehoshaphat and Ahab.

‘For three years there was no war between Aram and Israel. Then during the third year, King Jehoshaphat of Judah went to visit King Ahab of Israel. During the visit, the king of Israel said to his officials, “Do you realize that the town of Ramoth-gilead belongs to us? And yet we’ve done nothing to recapture it from the king of Aram!” Then he turned to Jehoshaphat and asked, “Will you join me in battle to recover Ramoth-gilead?” Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, “Why, of course! You and I are as one. My troops are your troops, and my horses are your horses.” Then Jehoshaphat added, “But first let’s find out what the Lord says.” So the king of Israel summoned the prophets, about 400 of them, and asked them, “Should I go to war against Ramoth-gilead, or should I hold back?” They all replied, “Yes, go right ahead! The Lord will give the king victory.” But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not also a prophet of the Lord here? We should ask him the same question.” The king of Israel replied to Jehoshaphat, “There is one more man who could consult the Lord for us, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but trouble for me! His name is Micaiah son of Imlah.” Jehoshaphat replied, “That’s not the way a king should talk! Let’s hear what he has to say.” So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, “Quick! Bring Micaiah son of Imlah.” King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah, dressed in their royal robes, were sitting on thrones at the threshing floor near the gate of Samaria. All of Ahab’s prophets were prophesying there in front of them. One of them, Zedekiah son of Kenaanah, made some iron horns and proclaimed, “This is what the Lord says: With these horns you will gore the Arameans to death!” All the other prophets agreed. “Yes,” they said, “go up to Ramoth-gilead and be victorious, for the Lord will give the king victory!” Meanwhile, the messenger who went to get Micaiah said to him, “Look, all the prophets are promising victory for the king. Be sure that you agree with them and promise success.” But Micaiah replied, “As surely as the Lord lives, I will say only what the Lord tells me to say.” When Micaiah arrived before the king, Ahab asked him, “Micaiah, should we go to war against Ramoth-gilead, or should we hold back?” Micaiah replied sarcastically, “Yes, go up and be victorious, for the Lord will give the king victory!” But the king replied sharply, “How many times must I demand that you speak only the truth to me when you speak for the Lord ?” Then Micaiah told him, “In a vision I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd. And the Lord said, ‘Their master has been killed. Send them home in peace.’” “Didn’t I tell you?” the king of Israel exclaimed to Jehoshaphat. “He never prophesies anything but trouble for me.” Then Micaiah continued, “Listen to what the Lord says! I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the armies of heaven around him, on his right and on his left. And the Lord said, ‘Who can entice Ahab to go into battle against Ramoth-gilead so he can be killed?’ “There were many suggestions, and finally a spirit approached the Lord and said, ‘I can do it!’ “‘How will you do this?’ the Lord asked. “And the spirit replied, ‘I will go out and inspire all of Ahab’s prophets to speak lies.’ “‘You will succeed,’ said the Lord . ‘Go ahead and do it.’ “So you see, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all your prophets. For the Lord has pronounced your doom.” Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah walked up to Micaiah and slapped him across the face. “Since when did the Spirit of the Lord leave me to speak to you?” he demanded. And Micaiah replied, “You will find out soon enough when you are trying to hide in some secret room!” “Arrest him!” the king of Israel ordered. “Take him back to Amon, the governor of the city, and to my son Joash. Give them this order from the king: ‘Put this man in prison, and feed him nothing but bread and water until I return safely from the battle!’” But Micaiah replied, “If you return safely, it will mean that the Lord has not spoken through me!” Then he added to those standing around, “Everyone mark my words!” So King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah led their armies against Ramoth-gilead. The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “As we go into battle, I will disguise myself so no one will recognize me, but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into battle. Meanwhile, the king of Aram had issued these orders to his thirty-two chariot commanders: “Attack only the king of Israel. Don’t bother with anyone else!” So when the Aramean chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat in his royal robes, they went after him. “There is the king of Israel!” they shouted. But when Jehoshaphat called out, the chariot commanders realized he was not the king of Israel, and they stopped chasing him. An Aramean soldier, however, randomly shot an arrow at the Israelite troops and hit the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. “Turn the horses and get me out of here!” Ahab groaned to the driver of his chariot. “I’m badly wounded!” The battle raged all that day, and the king remained propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans. The blood from his wound ran down to the floor of his chariot, and as evening arrived he died. Just as the sun was setting, the cry ran through his troops: “We’re done for! Run for your lives!” So the king died, and his body was taken to Samaria and buried there. Then his chariot was washed beside the pool of Samaria, and dogs came and licked his blood at the place where the prostitutes bathed, just as the Lord had promised. The rest of the events in Ahab’s reign and everything he did, including the story of the ivory palace and the towns he built, are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. So Ahab died, and his son Ahaziah became the next king. Jehoshaphat son of Asa began to rule over Judah in the fourth year of King Ahab’s reign in Israel. Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years. His mother was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi. Jehoshaphat was a good king, following the example of his father, Asa. He did what was pleasing in the Lord ’s sight. During his reign, however, he failed to remove all the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there. Jehoshaphat also made peace with the king of Israel. The rest of the events in Jehoshaphat’s reign, the extent of his power, and the wars he waged are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. He banished from the land the rest of the male and female shrine prostitutes, who still continued their practices from the days of his father, Asa. (There was no king in Edom at that time, only a deputy.) Jehoshaphat also built a fleet of trading ships to sail to Ophir for gold. But the ships never set sail, for they met with disaster in their home port of Ezion-geber. At one time Ahaziah son of Ahab had proposed to Jehoshaphat, “Let my men sail with your men in the ships.” But Jehoshaphat refused the request. When Jehoshaphat died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. Then his son Jehoram became the next king. Ahaziah son of Ahab began to rule over Israel in the seventeenth year of King Jehoshaphat’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria two years. But he did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight, following the example of his father and mother and the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had led Israel to sin. He served Baal and worshiped him, provoking the anger of the Lord , the God of Israel, just as his father had done.’

1 Kings 22

‘“Stand up, son of man,” said the voice. “I want to speak with you.” The Spirit came into me as he spoke, and he set me on my feet. I listened carefully to his words. “Son of man,” he said, “I am sending you to the nation of Israel, a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me. They and their ancestors have been rebelling against me to this very day. They are a stubborn and hard-hearted people. But I am sending you to say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says!’ And whether they listen or refuse to listen—for remember, they are rebels—at least they will know they have had a prophet among them. “Son of man, do not fear them or their words. Don’t be afraid even though their threats surround you like nettles and briers and stinging scorpions. Do not be dismayed by their dark scowls, even though they are rebels. You must give them my messages whether they listen or not. But they won’t listen, for they are completely rebellious! Son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not join them in their rebellion. Open your mouth, and eat what I give you.” Then I looked and saw a hand reaching out to me. It held a scroll, which he unrolled. And I saw that both sides were covered with funeral songs, words of sorrow, and pronouncements of doom.’

Ezekiel 2

‘The voice said to me, “Son of man, eat what I am giving you—eat this scroll! Then go and give its message to the people of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he fed me the scroll. “Fill your stomach with this,” he said. And when I ate it, it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. Then he said, “Son of man, go to the people of Israel and give them my messages. I am not sending you to a foreign people whose language you cannot understand. No, I am not sending you to people with strange and difficult speech. If I did, they would listen! But the people of Israel won’t listen to you any more than they listen to me! For the whole lot of them are hard-hearted and stubborn. But look, I have made you as obstinate and hard-hearted as they are. I have made your forehead as hard as the hardest rock! So don’t be afraid of them or fear their angry looks, even though they are rebels.” Then he added, “Son of man, let all my words sink deep into your own heart first. Listen to them carefully for yourself. Then go to your people in exile and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says!’ Do this whether they listen to you or not.” Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard a loud rumbling sound behind me. (May the glory of the Lord be praised in his place!) It was the sound of the wings of the living beings as they brushed against each other and the rumbling of their wheels beneath them. The Spirit lifted me up and took me away. I went in bitterness and turmoil, but the Lord ’s hold on me was strong. Then I came to the colony of Judean exiles in Tel-abib, beside the Kebar River. I was overwhelmed and sat among them for seven days. After seven days the Lord gave me a message. He said, “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately. If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me. “If righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.” Then the Lord took hold of me and said, “Get up and go out into the valley, and I will speak to you there.” So I got up and went, and there I saw the glory of the Lord , just as I had seen in my first vision by the Kebar River. And I fell face down on the ground. Then the Spirit came into me and set me on my feet. He spoke to me and said, “Go to your house and shut yourself in. There, son of man, you will be tied with ropes so you cannot go out among the people. And I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be speechless and unable to rebuke them, for they are rebels. But when I give you a message, I will loosen your tongue and let you speak. Then you will say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says!’ Those who choose to listen will listen, but those who refuse will refuse, for they are rebels.’

Ezekiel 3

‘There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas ). She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor. About this time she became ill and died. Her body was washed for burial and laid in an upstairs room. But the believers had heard that Peter was nearby at Lydda, so they sent two men to beg him, “Please come as soon as possible!” So Peter returned with them; and as soon as he arrived, they took him to the upstairs room. The room was filled with widows who were weeping and showing him the coats and other clothes Dorcas had made for them. But Peter asked them all to leave the room; then he knelt and prayed. Turning to the body he said, “Get up, Tabitha.” And she opened her eyes! When she saw Peter, she sat up! He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then he called in the widows and all the believers, and he presented her to them alive. The news spread through the whole town, and many believed in the Lord. And Peter stayed a long time in Joppa, living with Simon, a tanner of hides.’

Acts 9:36-43

‘In Caesarea there lived a Roman army officer named Cornelius, who was a captain of the Italian Regiment. He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God. One afternoon about three o’clock, he had a vision in which he saw an angel of God coming toward him. “Cornelius!” the angel said. Cornelius stared at him in terror. “What is it, sir?” he asked the angel. And the angel replied, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have been received by God as an offering! Now send some men to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter. He is staying with Simon, a tanner who lives near the seashore.” As soon as the angel was gone, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier, one of his personal attendants. He told them what had happened and sent them off to Joppa.’

Acts 10:1-8

‘I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. If you see a fellow believer sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death. We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life. Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.’

1 John 5:13-21

‘Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies. For he has gathered the exiles from many lands, from east and west, from north and south. Some wandered in the wilderness, lost and homeless. Hungry and thirsty, they nearly died. “ Lord , help!” they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress. He led them straight to safety, to a city where they could live. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom, imprisoned in iron chains of misery. They rebelled against the words of God, scorning the counsel of the Most High. That is why he broke them with hard labor; they fell, and no one was there to help them. “ Lord , help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom; he snapped their chains. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. For he broke down their prison gates of bronze; he cut apart their bars of iron. Some were fools; they rebelled and suffered for their sins. They couldn’t stand the thought of food, and they were knocking on death’s door. “ Lord , help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and sing joyfully about his glorious acts. Some went off to sea in ships, plying the trade routes of the world. They, too, observed the Lord ’s power in action, his impressive works on the deepest seas. He spoke, and the winds rose, stirring up the waves. Their ships were tossed to the heavens and plunged again to the depths; the sailors cringed in terror. They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits’ end. “ Lord , help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Let them exalt him publicly before the congregation and before the leaders of the nation. He changes rivers into deserts, and springs of water into dry, thirsty land. He turns the fruitful land into salty wastelands, because of the wickedness of those who live there. But he also turns deserts into pools of water, the dry land into springs of water. He brings the hungry to settle there and to build their cities. They sow their fields, plant their vineyards, and harvest their bumper crops. How he blesses them! They raise large families there, and their herds of livestock increase. When they decrease in number and become impoverished through oppression, trouble, and sorrow, the Lord pours contempt on their princes, causing them to wander in trackless wastelands. But he rescues the poor from trouble and increases their families like flocks of sheep. The godly will see these things and be glad, while the wicked are struck silent. Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord .’

Psalms 107

So are you hearing what God is saying? Are you hearing the invitation into relationship with Jesus? I was sharing yesterday how in a bunch of the church experiences I had before I was 30, the biggest message I missed and may not have heard was that I needed to have a relationship with Jesus. It is more than routines, rituals, and religion. It is about a living relationship with Jesus! My life was transformed when that light turned on and I started to hear and speak with Him! God is so good! God is so faithful! We read how when Jesus went up to Heaven, the Holy Spirit came down to be our comforter and our guide. So we don’t need to go it alone. We just need to take time to hear and listen to the still quiet voice who will lead us and guide us through our lives.

How about you? Is today your day? Are you ready to pray and receive Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior? Let’s pray together:

How will you respond when they show up?


Will you have the wisdom of God to be able to answer their questions? Will you have the character to show humility? Will you have the integrity to speak truthfully in love? Will you have the discernment to understand the intentions?

You realize they are watching you right? You realize they are trying to understand if you are for real or just putting on an act right? You realize that everywhere you go there are people watching to see who you are right? You realize that they could be getting ready to show up to you but want to get a feel for you first right? So who are you? How will you be seen? How will you be understood? How will you be judged? Will it cause them to engage or will it cause them to stay away? Will it draw them into conversation and relationship or will it repel them?

How will you respond when they show up? Who will they say you are? Ever considered who God says you are? Will you point them to God as your source? Will you walk in obedience to God’s direction thru wisdom and discernment?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started with just such an encounter when the queen of Sheba approaches and meets with king Solomon in 1 Kings 10…

‘When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, which brought honor to the name of the Lord , she came to test him with hard questions. She arrived in Jerusalem with a large group of attendants and a great caravan of camels loaded with spices, large quantities of gold, and precious jewels. When she met with Solomon, she talked with him about everything she had on her mind. Solomon had answers for all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba realized how very wise Solomon was, and when she saw the palace he had built, she was overwhelmed. She was also amazed at the food on his tables, the organization of his officials and their splendid clothing, the cup-bearers, and the burnt offerings Solomon made at the Temple of the Lord . She exclaimed to the king, “Everything I heard in my country about your achievements and wisdom is true! I didn’t believe what was said until I arrived here and saw it with my own eyes. In fact, I had not heard the half of it! Your wisdom and prosperity are far beyond what I was told. How happy your people must be! What a privilege for your officials to stand here day after day, listening to your wisdom! Praise the Lord your God, who delights in you and has placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord ’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king so you can rule with justice and righteousness.” Then she gave the king a gift of 9,000 pounds of gold, great quantities of spices, and precious jewels. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. (In addition, Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir, and they also brought rich cargoes of red sandalwood and precious jewels. The king used the sandalwood to make railings for the Temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and to construct lyres and harps for the musicians. Never before or since has there been such a supply of sandalwood.) King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba whatever she asked for, besides all the customary gifts he had so generously given. Then she and all her attendants returned to their own land. Each year Solomon received about 25 tons of gold. This did not include the additional revenue he received from merchants and traders, all the kings of Arabia, and the governors of the land. King Solomon made 200 large shields of hammered gold, each weighing more than fifteen pounds. He also made 300 smaller shields of hammered gold, each weighing nearly four pounds. The king placed these shields in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. Then the king made a huge throne, decorated with ivory and overlaid with fine gold. The throne had six steps and a rounded back. There were armrests on both sides of the seat, and the figure of a lion stood on each side of the throne. There were also twelve other lions, one standing on each end of the six steps. No other throne in all the world could be compared with it! All of King Solomon’s drinking cups were solid gold, as were all the utensils in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. They were not made of silver, for silver was considered worthless in Solomon’s day! The king had a fleet of trading ships of Tarshish that sailed with Hiram’s fleet. Once every three years the ships returned, loaded with gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks. So King Solomon became richer and wiser than any other king on earth. People from every nation came to consult him and to hear the wisdom God had given him. Year after year everyone who visited brought him gifts of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses, and mules. Solomon built up a huge force of chariots and horses. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. He stationed some of them in the chariot cities and some near him in Jerusalem. The king made silver as plentiful in Jerusalem as stone. And valuable cedar timber was as common as the sycamore-fig trees that grow in the foothills of Judah. Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Cilicia ; the king’s traders acquired them from Cilicia at the standard price. At that time chariots from Egypt could be purchased for 600 pieces of silver, and horses for 150 pieces of silver. They were then exported to the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram.’

1 Kings 10

‘One night during the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had such disturbing dreams that he couldn’t sleep. He called in his magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers, and he demanded that they tell him what he had dreamed. As they stood before the king, he said, “I have had a dream that deeply troubles me, and I must know what it means.” Then the astrologers answered the king in Aramaic, “Long live the king! Tell us the dream, and we will tell you what it means.” But the king said to the astrologers, “I am serious about this. If you don’t tell me what my dream was and what it means, you will be torn limb from limb, and your houses will be turned into heaps of rubble! But if you tell me what I dreamed and what the dream means, I will give you many wonderful gifts and honors. Just tell me the dream and what it means!” They said again, “Please, Your Majesty. Tell us the dream, and we will tell you what it means.” The king replied, “I know what you are doing! You’re stalling for time because you know I am serious when I say, ‘If you don’t tell me the dream, you are doomed.’ So you have conspired to tell me lies, hoping I will change my mind. But tell me the dream, and then I’ll know that you can tell me what it means.” The astrologers replied to the king, “No one on earth can tell the king his dream! And no king, however great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician, enchanter, or astrologer! The king’s demand is impossible. No one except the gods can tell you your dream, and they do not live here among people.” The king was furious when he heard this, and he ordered that all the wise men of Babylon be executed. And because of the king’s decree, men were sent to find and kill Daniel and his friends. When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, came to kill them, Daniel handled the situation with wisdom and discretion. He asked Arioch, “Why has the king issued such a harsh decree?” So Arioch told him all that had happened. Daniel went at once to see the king and requested more time to tell the king what the dream meant. Then Daniel went home and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah what had happened. He urged them to ask the God of heaven to show them his mercy by telling them the secret, so they would not be executed along with the other wise men of Babylon. That night the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven. He said, “Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power. He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light. I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength. You have told me what we asked of you and revealed to us what the king demanded.” Then Daniel went in to see Arioch, whom the king had ordered to execute the wise men of Babylon. Daniel said to him, “Don’t kill the wise men. Take me to the king, and I will tell him the meaning of his dream.” Arioch quickly took Daniel to the king and said, “I have found one of the captives from Judah who will tell the king the meaning of his dream!” The king said to Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar), “Is this true? Can you tell me what my dream was and what it means?” Daniel replied, “There are no wise men, enchanters, magicians, or fortune-tellers who can reveal the king’s secret. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the future. Now I will tell you your dream and the visions you saw as you lay on your bed. “While Your Majesty was sleeping, you dreamed about coming events. He who reveals secrets has shown you what is going to happen. And it is not because I am wiser than anyone else that I know the secret of your dream, but because God wants you to understand what was in your heart. “In your vision, Your Majesty, you saw standing before you a huge, shining statue of a man. It was a frightening sight. The head of the statue was made of fine gold. Its chest and arms were silver, its belly and thighs were bronze, its legs were iron, and its feet were a combination of iron and baked clay. As you watched, a rock was cut from a mountain, but not by human hands. It struck the feet of iron and clay, smashing them to bits. The whole statue was crushed into small pieces of iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold. Then the wind blew them away without a trace, like chaff on a threshing floor. But the rock that knocked the statue down became a great mountain that covered the whole earth. “That was the dream. Now we will tell the king what it means. Your Majesty, you are the greatest of kings. The God of heaven has given you sovereignty, power, strength, and honor. He has made you the ruler over all the inhabited world and has put even the wild animals and birds under your control. You are the head of gold. “But after your kingdom comes to an end, another kingdom, inferior to yours, will rise to take your place. After that kingdom has fallen, yet a third kingdom, represented by bronze, will rise to rule the world. Following that kingdom, there will be a fourth one, as strong as iron. That kingdom will smash and crush all previous empires, just as iron smashes and crushes everything it strikes. The feet and toes you saw were a combination of iron and baked clay, showing that this kingdom will be divided. Like iron mixed with clay, it will have some of the strength of iron. But while some parts of it will be as strong as iron, other parts will be as weak as clay. This mixture of iron and clay also shows that these kingdoms will try to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other through intermarriage. But they will not hold together, just as iron and clay do not mix. “During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever. That is the meaning of the rock cut from the mountain, though not by human hands, that crushed to pieces the statue of iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold. The great God was showing the king what will happen in the future. The dream is true, and its meaning is certain.” Then King Nebuchadnezzar threw himself down before Daniel and worshiped him, and he commanded his people to offer sacrifices and burn sweet incense before him. The king said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is the greatest of gods, the Lord over kings, a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this secret.” Then the king appointed Daniel to a high position and gave him many valuable gifts. He made Daniel ruler over the whole province of Babylon, as well as chief over all his wise men. At Daniel’s request, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be in charge of all the affairs of the province of Babylon, while Daniel remained in the king’s court.’

Daniel 2

‘All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need. For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.’

Acts 4:32-37

‘But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest. Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!” As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified. Then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet, and took him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?” “Yes,” she replied, “that was the price.” And Peter said, “How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this? The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door, and they will carry you out, too.” Instantly, she fell to the floor and died. When the young men came in and saw that she was dead, they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened.’

Acts 5:1-11

‘We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.’

– 1 John 1:1-4

‘Come, let us sing to the Lord ! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. The sea belongs to him, for he made it. His hands formed the dry land, too. Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today! The Lord says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah, as they did at Massah in the wilderness. For there your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw everything I did. For forty years I was angry with them, and I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts turn away from me. They refuse to do what I tell them.’ So in my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest.’”’

— Psalms 95

How are you going to do it?


Where will you start? Where does your hope come from? Where does your help come from? Will you try to go it your own way because you are smart enough? Will you try to do it in your own strength because you are strong enough? Will you try to do it on your own because you don’t need help? How do you think that will work out? If you try to do it on your own then you need to take ownership of what you are doing and not try to blame it on anyone else. If you try to do it on your own you need to take responsibility for the outcome. That’s right it means you get to own and be responsible for the credit or the blame for what takes place. How are you going to do it?

Why not go to God first before you start? Why not seek His plan, His will, His purpose? Why not go to Him rather than a symbol of Him? Why not ask God for wisdom and discernment in order to have a plan? God has given us access through Jesus Christ. God has given us a way through Jesus. God has provided us with the truth through Jesus. God has provided us with a way to have eternal life through Jesus. Will you remember to start there? Will you make Jesus the foundation for what you are about to do? Will you make Jesus the cornerstone to ensure things get lined up? Will you do it all for the glory of God rather than for the pride or credit of men? How are you going to do it?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gives us an example starting with Samuel 4.

‘At that time Israel was at war with the Philistines. The Israelite army was camped near Ebenezer, and the Philistines were at Aphek. The Philistines attacked and defeated the army of Israel, killing 4,000 men. After the battle was over, the troops retreated to their camp, and the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord allow us to be defeated by the Philistines?” Then they said, “Let’s bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord from Shiloh. If we carry it into battle with us, it will save us from our enemies.” So they sent men to Shiloh to bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who is enthroned between the cherubim. Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, were also there with the Ark of the Covenant of God. When all the Israelites saw the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord coming into the camp, their shout of joy was so loud it made the ground shake! “What’s going on?” the Philistines asked. “What’s all the shouting about in the Hebrew camp?” When they were told it was because the Ark of the Lord had arrived, they panicked. “The gods have come into their camp!” they cried. “This is a disaster! We have never had to face anything like this before! Help! Who can save us from these mighty gods of Israel? They are the same gods who destroyed the Egyptians with plagues when Israel was in the wilderness. Fight as never before, Philistines! If you don’t, we will become the Hebrews’ slaves just as they have been ours! Stand up like men and fight!” So the Philistines fought desperately, and Israel was defeated again. The slaughter was great; 30,000 Israelite soldiers died that day. The survivors turned and fled to their tents. The Ark of God was captured, and Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were killed.

A man from the tribe of Benjamin ran from the battlefield and arrived at Shiloh later that same day. He had torn his clothes and put dust on his head to show his grief. Eli was waiting beside the road to hear the news of the battle, for his heart trembled for the safety of the Ark of God. When the messenger arrived and told what had happened, an outcry resounded throughout the town. “What is all the noise about?” Eli asked. The messenger rushed over to Eli, who was ninety-eight years old and blind. He said to Eli, “I have just come from the battlefield—I was there this very day.” “What happened, my son?” Eli demanded. “Israel has been defeated by the Philistines,” the messenger replied. “The people have been slaughtered, and your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were also killed. And the Ark of God has been captured.” When the messenger mentioned what had happened to the Ark of God, Eli fell backward from his seat beside the gate. He broke his neck and died, for he was old and overweight. He had been Israel’s judge for forty years. Eli’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and near her time of delivery. When she heard that the Ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and husband were dead, she went into labor and gave birth. She died in childbirth, but before she passed away the midwives tried to encourage her. “Don’t be afraid,” they said. “You have a baby boy!” But she did not answer or pay attention to them. She named the child Ichabod (which means “Where is the glory?”), for she said, “Israel’s glory is gone.” She named him this because the Ark of God had been captured and because her father-in-law and husband were dead. Then she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the Ark of God has been captured.”’

Samuel 4

‘After the Philistines captured the Ark of God, they took it from the battleground at Ebenezer to the town of Ashdod. They carried the Ark of God into the temple of Dagon and placed it beside an idol of Dagon. But when the citizens of Ashdod went to see it the next morning, Dagon had fallen with his face to the ground in front of the Ark of the Lord ! So they took Dagon and put him in his place again. But the next morning the same thing happened—Dagon had fallen face down before the Ark of the Lord again. This time his head and hands had broken off and were lying in the doorway. Only the trunk of his body was left intact. That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor anyone who enters the temple of Dagon in Ashdod will step on its threshold. Then the Lord ’s heavy hand struck the people of Ashdod and the nearby villages with a plague of tumors. When the people realized what was happening, they cried out, “We can’t keep the Ark of the God of Israel here any longer! He is against us! We will all be destroyed along with Dagon, our god.” So they called together the rulers of the Philistine towns and asked, “What should we do with the Ark of the God of Israel?” The rulers discussed it and replied, “Move it to the town of Gath.” So they moved the Ark of the God of Israel to Gath. But when the Ark arrived at Gath, the Lord ’s heavy hand fell on its men, young and old; he struck them with a plague of tumors, and there was a great panic. So they sent the Ark of God to the town of Ekron, but when the people of Ekron saw it coming they cried out, “They are bringing the Ark of the God of Israel here to kill us, too!” The people summoned the Philistine rulers again and begged them, “Please send the Ark of the God of Israel back to its own country, or it will kill us all.” For the deadly plague from God had already begun, and great fear was sweeping across the town. Those who didn’t die were afflicted with tumors; and the cry from the town rose to heaven.’

Samuel 5

‘My grief is beyond healing; my heart is broken. Listen to the weeping of my people; it can be heard all across the land. “Has the Lord abandoned Jerusalem? ” the people ask. “Is her King no longer there?” “Oh, why have they provoked my anger with their carved idols and their worthless foreign gods?” says the Lord . “The harvest is finished, and the summer is gone,” the people cry, “yet we are not saved!” I hurt with the hurt of my people. I mourn and am overcome with grief. Is there no medicine in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why is there no healing for the wounds of my people?’

Jeremiah 8:18-22

‘If only my head were a pool of water and my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered. Oh, that I could go away and forget my people and live in a travelers’ shack in the desert. For they are all adulterers— a pack of treacherous liars.

“My people bend their tongues like bows to shoot out lies. They refuse to stand up for the truth. They only go from bad to worse. They do not know me,” says the Lord . “Beware of your neighbor! Don’t even trust your brother! For brother takes advantage of brother, and friend slanders friend. They all fool and defraud each other; no one tells the truth. With practiced tongues they tell lies; they wear themselves out with all their sinning. They pile lie upon lie and utterly refuse to acknowledge me,” says the Lord . Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “See, I will melt them down in a crucible and test them like metal. What else can I do with my people? For their tongues shoot lies like poisoned arrows. They speak friendly words to their neighbors while scheming in their heart to kill them. Should I not punish them for this?” says the Lord . “Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?” I will weep for the mountains and wail for the wilderness pastures. For they are desolate and empty of life; the lowing of cattle is heard no more; the birds and wild animals have all fled. “I will make Jerusalem into a heap of ruins,” says the Lord . “It will be a place haunted by jackals. The towns of Judah will be ghost towns, with no one living in them.” Who is wise enough to understand all this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it to others? Why has the land been so ruined that no one dares to travel through it? The Lord replies, “This has happened because my people have abandoned my instructions; they have refused to obey what I said. Instead, they have stubbornly followed their own desires and worshiped the images of Baal, as their ancestors taught them. So now, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Look! I will feed them with bitterness and give them poison to drink. I will scatter them around the world, in places they and their ancestors never heard of, and even there I will chase them with the sword until I have destroyed them completely.”

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “Consider all this, and call for the mourners. Send for the women who mourn at funerals. Quick! Begin your weeping! Let the tears flow from your eyes. Hear the people of Jerusalem crying in despair, ‘We are ruined! We are completely humiliated! We must leave our land, because our homes have been torn down.’” Listen, you women, to the words of the Lord ; open your ears to what he has to say. Teach your daughters to wail; teach one another how to lament. For death has crept in through our windows and has entered our mansions. It has killed off the flower of our youth: Children no longer play in the streets, and young men no longer gather in the squares. This is what the Lord says: “Bodies will be scattered across the fields like clumps of manure, like bundles of grain after the harvest. No one will be left to bury them.” This is what the Lord says: “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord , have spoken! “A time is coming,” says the Lord , “when I will punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit— the Egyptians, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, the people who live in the desert in remote places, and yes, even the people of Judah. And like all these pagan nations, the people of Israel also have uncircumcised hearts.”’

Jeremiah 9

‘“What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse. Yes, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you. And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead.” Then he said to the disciples, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.” When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!” “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”

At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way. “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then when they were alone, he turned to the disciples and said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you have seen. I tell you, many prophets and kings longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.”’

Luke 10:13-24

‘Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. So he went and preached to the spirits in prison— those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.’

1 Peter 3:18-22

‘Declare me innocent, O God! Defend me against these ungodly people. Rescue me from these unjust liars. For you are God, my only safe haven. Why have you tossed me aside? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies? Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!’

Psalms 43

Renew your covenant with God!


Let’s get this started on the right foot. Let’s get this started with a firm foundation. Let’s get this started with the right heart. Let’s get this started with the right mindset. Let’s get started with remembering the lessons of the past so as not to repeat them. Let’s keep the main thing the main thing. Let’s put first things first. Let’s raise the bar so that the average keeps moving up. Let’s pass on the learnings to the next generation. Let’s remind everyone how we got here. Let’s make God and His ways our priorities.


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


Will you choose for you and your house to serve the Lord? Will you do what is right and just? Will you live out your life in spirit and in truth? Will you live with a spirit of reconciliation? Will you live without fear but rather with faith? Will you live believing?

Beware of wolf in sheep’s clothing.


So you are walking out God’s purpose and plan for you life. Now you get faced with a new situation. How do you respond? If it sounds like an offer that is too good to be true, will you turn to God for wisdom? If it sounds like it could be a setup, will you turn to God for wisdom? If it sounds normal or expected, will you turn to God for wisdom? Can you tell which one it is? It may be harder than you think. What if they are lying or misleading you? Without asking God and following the prompting and direction of the Holy Spirit, you can be mislead and tricked into a deal that could haunt you for the rest of your life. So don’t assume, turn to God instead. Don’t accept, turn to God instead. Ask, Seek, Knock! Then do what God prompts and instructs you to do instead.


Today’s reading starts with the book of Joshua:

‘Now all the kings west of the Jordan River heard about what had happened. These were the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, who lived in the hill country, in the western foothills, and along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea as far north as the Lebanon mountains. These kings combined their armies to fight as one against Joshua and the Israelites. But when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they resorted to deception to save themselves. They sent ambassadors to Joshua, loading their donkeys with weathered saddlebags and old, patched wineskins. They put on worn-out, patched sandals and ragged clothes. And the bread they took with them was dry and moldy. When they arrived at the camp of Israel at Gilgal, they told Joshua and the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant land to ask you to make a peace treaty with us.” The Israelites replied to these Hivites, “How do we know you don’t live nearby? For if you do, we cannot make a treaty with you.” They replied, “We are your servants.” “But who are you?” Joshua demanded. “Where do you come from?” They answered, “Your servants have come from a very distant country. We have heard of the might of the Lord your God and of all he did in Egypt. We have also heard what he did to the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River—King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan (who lived in Ashtaroth). So our elders and all our people instructed us, ‘Take supplies for a long journey. Go meet with the people of Israel and tell them, “We are your servants; please make a treaty with us.”’ “This bread was hot from the ovens when we left our homes. But now, as you can see, it is dry and moldy. These wineskins were new when we filled them, but now they are old and split open. And our clothing and sandals are worn out from our very long journey.” So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the Lord . Then Joshua made a peace treaty with them and guaranteed their safety, and the leaders of the community ratified their agreement with a binding oath. Three days after making the treaty, they learned that these people actually lived nearby! The Israelites set out at once to investigate and reached their towns in three days. The names of these towns were Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. But the Israelites did not attack the towns, for the Israelite leaders had made a vow to them in the name of the Lord , the God of Israel. The people of Israel grumbled against their leaders because of the treaty. But the leaders replied, “Since we have sworn an oath in the presence of the Lord , the God of Israel, we cannot touch them. This is what we must do. We must let them live, for divine anger would come upon us if we broke our oath. Let them live.” So they made them woodcutters and water carriers for the entire community, as the Israelite leaders directed. Joshua called together the Gibeonites and said, “Why did you lie to us? Why did you say that you live in a distant land when you live right here among us? May you be cursed! From now on you will always be servants who cut wood and carry water for the house of my God.” They replied, “We did it because we—your servants—were clearly told that the Lord your God commanded his servant Moses to give you this entire land and to destroy all the people living in it. So we feared greatly for our lives because of you. That is why we have done this. Now we are at your mercy—do to us whatever you think is right.” So Joshua did not allow the people of Israel to kill them. But that day he made the Gibeonites the woodcutters and water carriers for the community of Israel and for the altar of the Lord —wherever the Lord would choose to build it. And that is what they do to this day.’

Joshua 9

Today’s reading then continues into the book of Isaiah:

‘“But now, listen to me, Jacob my servant, Israel my chosen one. The Lord who made you and helps you says: Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, O dear Israel, my chosen one. For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children. They will thrive like watered grass, like willows on a riverbank. Some will proudly claim, ‘I belong to the Lord .’ Others will say, ‘I am a descendant of Jacob.’ Some will write the Lord ’s name on their hands and will take the name of Israel as their own.” This is what the Lord says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: “I am the First and the Last; there is no other God. Who is like me? Let him step forward and prove to you his power. Let him do as I have done since ancient times when I established a people and explained its future. Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago? You are my witnesses—is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock—not one!” How foolish are those who manufacture idols. These prized objects are really worthless. The people who worship idols don’t know this, so they are all put to shame. Who but a fool would make his own god— an idol that cannot help him one bit? All who worship idols will be disgraced along with all these craftsmen—mere humans— who claim they can make a god. They may all stand together, but they will stand in terror and shame. The blacksmith stands at his forge to make a sharp tool, pounding and shaping it with all his might. His work makes him hungry and weak. It makes him thirsty and faint. Then the wood-carver measures a block of wood and draws a pattern on it. He works with chisel and plane and carves it into a human figure. He gives it human beauty and puts it in a little shrine. He cuts down cedars; he selects the cypress and the oak; he plants the pine in the forest to be nourished by the rain. Then he uses part of the wood to make a fire. With it he warms himself and bakes his bread. Then—yes, it’s true—he takes the rest of it and makes himself a god to worship! He makes an idol and bows down in front of it! He burns part of the tree to roast his meat and to keep himself warm. He says, “Ah, that fire feels good.” Then he takes what’s left and makes his god: a carved idol! He falls down in front of it, worshiping and praying to it. “Rescue me!” he says. “You are my god!” Such stupidity and ignorance! Their eyes are closed, and they cannot see. Their minds are shut, and they cannot think. The person who made the idol never stops to reflect, “Why, it’s just a block of wood! I burned half of it for heat and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat. How can the rest of it be a god? Should I bow down to worship a piece of wood?” The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes. He trusts something that can’t help him at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?”

“Pay attention, O Jacob, for you are my servant, O Israel. I, the Lord , made you, and I will not forget you. I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.” Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done this wondrous thing. Shout for joy, O depths of the earth! Break into song, O mountains and forests and every tree! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob and is glorified in Israel. This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer and Creator: “I am the Lord , who made all things. I alone stretched out the heavens. Who was with me when I made the earth? I expose the false prophets as liars and make fools of fortune-tellers. I cause the wise to give bad advice, thus proving them to be fools. But I carry out the predictions of my prophets! By them I say to Jerusalem, ‘People will live here again,’ and to the towns of Judah, ‘You will be rebuilt; I will restore all your ruins!’ When I speak to the rivers and say, ‘Dry up!’ they will be dry. When I say of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,’ he will certainly do as I say. He will command, ‘Rebuild Jerusalem’; he will say, ‘Restore the Temple.’”’

Isaiah 44

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament with the book of Matthew:

‘Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away” When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”

And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people. The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.” So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss. Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.” Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear. “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?” Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.’

Matthew 26:36-56

Today’s reading continues into the book of Philippians:

‘Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith. Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!’

Philippians 3:1-11

Today’s reading then closes in the book of Psalms:

‘O Lord , hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you. Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord . Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked. Therefore, the proud may not stand in your presence, for you hate all who do evil. You will destroy those who tell lies. The Lord detests murderers and deceivers. Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house; I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe. Lead me in the right path, O Lord , or my enemies will conquer me. Make your way plain for me to follow. My enemies cannot speak a truthful word. Their deepest desire is to destroy others. Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with flattery. O God, declare them guilty. Let them be caught in their own traps. Drive them away because of their many sins, for they have rebelled against you. But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy. For you bless the godly, O Lord ; you surround them with your shield of love.’

Psalms 5

Have you made it thru?


Did you get back on track? Did you turn back to what got you there? Did you start to trust again? Did you start to believe again? Did you start to follow again? Are you still going around in circles trying to get it all figured out? Are you ready for a change? Are you ready to get back on track? Will you be the catalyst? Will you be the change? Will you be the lead? Will you make a difference?


Today’s reading begins in Deuteronomy.

‘“Then we turned around and headed back across the wilderness toward the Red Sea, just as the Lord had instructed me, and we wandered around in the region of Mount Seir for a long time. “Then at last the Lord said to me, ‘You have been wandering around in this hill country long enough; turn to the north. Give these orders to the people: “You will pass through the country belonging to your relatives the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. The Edomites will feel threatened, so be careful. Do not bother them, for I have given them all the hill country around Mount Seir as their property, and I will not give you even one square foot of their land. If you need food to eat or water to drink, pay them for it. For the Lord your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the Lord your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.”’ “So we bypassed the territory of our relatives, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. We avoided the road through the Arabah Valley that comes up from Elath and Ezion-geber. “Then as we turned north along the desert route through Moab, the Lord warned us, ‘Do not bother the Moabites, the descendants of Lot, or start a war with them. I have given them Ar as their property, and I will not give you any of their land.’” (A race of giants called the Emites had once lived in the area of Ar. They were as strong and numerous and tall as the Anakites, another race of giants. Both the Emites and the Anakites are also known as the Rephaites, though the Moabites call them Emites. In earlier times the Horites had lived in Seir, but they were driven out and displaced by the descendants of Esau, just as Israel drove out the people of Canaan when the Lord gave Israel their land.) Moses continued, “Then the Lord said to us, ‘Get moving. Cross the Zered Brook.’ So we crossed the brook. “Thirty-eight years passed from the time we first left Kadesh-barnea until we finally crossed the Zered Brook! By then, all the men old enough to fight in battle had died in the wilderness, as the Lord had vowed would happen. The Lord struck them down until they had all been eliminated from the community. “When all the men of fighting age had died, the Lord said to me, ‘Today you will cross the border of Moab at Ar and enter the land of the Ammonites, the descendants of Lot. But do not bother them or start a war with them. I have given the land of Ammon to them as their property, and I will not give you any of their land.’” (That area was once considered the land of the Rephaites, who had lived there, though the Ammonites call them Zamzummites. They were also as strong and numerous and tall as the Anakites. But the Lord destroyed them so the Ammonites could occupy their land. He had done the same for the descendants of Esau who lived in Seir, for he destroyed the Horites so they could settle there in their place. The descendants of Esau live there to this day. A similar thing happened when the Caphtorites from Crete invaded and destroyed the Avvites, who had lived in villages in the area of Gaza.) Moses continued, “Then the Lord said, ‘Now get moving! Cross the Arnon Gorge. Look, I will hand over to you Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and I will give you his land. Attack him and begin to occupy the land. Beginning today I will make people throughout the earth terrified because of you. When they hear reports about you, they will tremble with dread and fear.’”

Moses continued, “From the wilderness of Kedemoth I sent ambassadors to King Sihon of Heshbon with this proposal of peace: ‘Let us travel through your land. We will stay on the main road and won’t turn off into the fields on either side. Sell us food to eat and water to drink, and we will pay for it. All we want is permission to pass through your land. The descendants of Esau who live in Seir allowed us to go through their country, and so did the Moabites, who live in Ar. Let us pass through until we cross the Jordan into the land the Lord our God is giving us.’ “But King Sihon of Heshbon refused to allow us to pass through, because the Lord your God made Sihon stubborn and defiant so he could help you defeat him, as he has now done. “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Look, I have begun to hand King Sihon and his land over to you. Begin now to conquer and occupy his land.’ “Then King Sihon declared war on us and mobilized his forces at Jahaz. But the Lord our God handed him over to us, and we crushed him, his sons, and all his people. We conquered all his towns and completely destroyed everyone—men, women, and children. Not a single person was spared. We took all the livestock as plunder for ourselves, along with anything of value from the towns we ransacked. “The Lord our God also helped us conquer Aroer on the edge of the Arnon Gorge, and the town in the gorge, and the whole area as far as Gilead. No town had walls too strong for us. However, we avoided the land of the Ammonites all along the Jabbok River and the towns in the hill country—all the places the Lord our God had commanded us to leave alone.’

Deuteronomy 2

Today’s reading continues into Micah.

‘What sorrow awaits you who lie awake at night, thinking up evil plans. You rise at dawn and hurry to carry them out, simply because you have the power to do so. When you want a piece of land, you find a way to seize it. When you want someone’s house, you take it by fraud and violence. You cheat a man of his property, stealing his family’s inheritance. But this is what the Lord says: “I will reward your evil with evil; you won’t be able to pull your neck out of the noose. You will no longer walk around proudly, for it will be a terrible time.” In that day your enemies will make fun of you by singing this song of despair about you: “We are finished, completely ruined! God has confiscated our land, taking it from us. He has given our fields to those who betrayed us. ” Others will set your boundaries then, and the Lord ’s people will have no say in how the land is divided.

“Don’t say such things,” the people respond. “Don’t prophesy like that. Such disasters will never come our way!” Should you talk that way, O family of Israel? Will the Lord ’s Spirit have patience with such behavior? If you would do what is right, you would find my words comforting. Yet to this very hour my people rise against me like an enemy! You steal the shirts right off the backs of those who trusted you, making them as ragged as men returning from battle. You have evicted women from their pleasant homes and forever stripped their children of all that God would give them. Up! Begone! This is no longer your land and home, for you have filled it with sin and ruined it completely. Suppose a prophet full of lies would say to you, “I’ll preach to you the joys of wine and alcohol!” That’s just the kind of prophet you would like!

“Someday, O Israel, I will gather you; I will gather the remnant who are left. I will bring you together again like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture. Yes, your land will again be filled with noisy crowds! Your leader will break out and lead you out of exile, out through the gates of the enemy cities, back to your own land. Your king will lead you; the Lord himself will guide you.”’

Micah 2

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting in Matthew.

‘“Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed. “‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”’

Matthew 13:18-30

Today’s reading continues into Romans.

‘I ask, then, has God rejected his own people, the nation of Israel? Of course not! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham and a member of the tribe of Benjamin. No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very beginning. Do you realize what the Scriptures say about this? Elijah the prophet complained to God about the people of Israel and said, “ Lord , they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” And do you remember God’s reply? He said, “No, I have 7,000 others who have never bowed down to Baal!” It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel have remained faithful because of God’s grace—his undeserved kindness in choosing them. And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved. So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have—the ones God has chosen—but the hearts of the rest were hardened. As the Scriptures say, “God has put them into a deep sleep. To this day he has shut their eyes so they do not see, and closed their ears so they do not hear.” Likewise, David said, “Let their bountiful table become a snare, a trap that makes them think all is well. Let their blessings cause them to stumble, and let them get what they deserve. Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see, and let their backs be bent forever.”’

Romans 11:1-10

Today’s reading brings us back to the book of Psalms.

‘I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord , who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.’

Psalms 121

So where are you at today? What decision have you made? Has it transformed your life? Are you ready for a difference? Are you ready to stop being sick and tired of being sick and tired? Are you ready to believe?

Let’s consider God’s Word from today’s reading and take hold of it and pray how we can put it into practice today and how it can make a difference both in our own lives as well as the lives of everyone God brings our way.

Do you usually understand it better the second time?


Ever been given instructions and tried to walk thru them and found you missed the mark? Ever tried again and found it felt so much easier? Was it that you understood it better? Was it that you had more context? Was it that you had more experience? Was it actually any easier? What it easier to understand at least? Do you have learn by going through everything yourself? Are you able to learn through the experiences of others? Do you need to feel the pain personally or can you learn through the pain of others?


Today’s reading gets us started with Deuteronomy 1.

‘These are the words that Moses spoke to all the people of Israel while they were in the wilderness east of the Jordan River. They were camped in the Jordan Valley near Suph, between Paran on one side and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Di-zahab on the other. Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, going by way of Mount Seir. But forty years after the Israelites left Egypt, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses addressed the people of Israel, telling them everything the Lord had commanded him to say. This took place after he had defeated King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon, and at Edrei had defeated King Og of Bashan, who ruled in Ashtaroth. While the Israelites were in the land of Moab east of the Jordan River, Moses carefully explained the Lord ’s instructions as follows.

“When we were at Mount Sinai, the Lord our God said to us, ‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It is time to break camp and move on. Go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all the neighboring regions—the Jordan Valley, the hill country, the western foothills, the Negev, and the coastal plain. Go to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, and all the way to the great Euphrates River. Look, I am giving all this land to you! Go in and occupy it, for it is the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to all their descendants.’”

Moses continued, “At that time I told you, ‘You are too great a burden for me to carry all by myself. The Lord your God has increased your population, making you as numerous as the stars! And may the Lord , the God of your ancestors, multiply you a thousand times more and bless you as he promised! But you are such a heavy load to carry! How can I deal with all your problems and bickering? Choose some well-respected men from each tribe who are known for their wisdom and understanding, and I will appoint them as your leaders.’ “Then you responded, ‘Your plan is a good one.’ So I took the wise and respected men you had selected from your tribes and appointed them to serve as judges and officials over you. Some were responsible for a thousand people, some for a hundred, some for fifty, and some for ten. “At that time I instructed the judges, ‘You must hear the cases of your fellow Israelites and the foreigners living among you. Be perfectly fair in your decisions and impartial in your judgments. Hear the cases of those who are poor as well as those who are rich. Don’t be afraid of anyone’s anger, for the decision you make is God’s decision. Bring me any cases that are too difficult for you, and I will handle them.’ “At that time I gave you instructions about everything you were to do.

“Then, just as the Lord our God commanded us, we left Mount Sinai and traveled through the great and terrifying wilderness, as you yourselves remember, and headed toward the hill country of the Amorites. When we arrived at Kadesh-barnea, I said to you, ‘You have now reached the hill country of the Amorites that the Lord our God is giving us. Look! He has placed the land in front of you. Go and occupy it as the Lord , the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged!’ “But you all came to me and said, ‘First, let’s send out scouts to explore the land for us. They will advise us on the best route to take and which towns we should enter.’ “This seemed like a good idea to me, so I chose twelve scouts, one from each of your tribes. They headed for the hill country and came to the valley of Eshcol and explored it. They picked some of its fruit and brought it back to us. And they reported, ‘The land the Lord our God has given us is indeed a good land.’

“But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God and refused to go in. You complained in your tents and said, ‘The Lord must hate us. That’s why he has brought us here from Egypt—to hand us over to the Amorites to be slaughtered. Where can we go? Our brothers have demoralized us with their report. They tell us, “The people of the land are taller and more powerful than we are, and their towns are large, with walls rising high into the sky! We even saw giants there—the descendants of Anak!”’ “But I said to you, ‘Don’t be shocked or afraid of them! The Lord your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt. And you saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’ “But even after all he did, you refused to trust the Lord your God, who goes before you looking for the best places to camp, guiding you with a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day. “When the Lord heard your complaining, he became very angry. So he solemnly swore, ‘Not one of you from this wicked generation will live to see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see this land because he has followed the Lord completely. I will give to him and his descendants some of the very land he explored during his scouting mission.’ “And the Lord was also angry with me because of you. He said to me, ‘Moses, not even you will enter the Promised Land! Instead, your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will lead the people into the land. Encourage him, for he will lead Israel as they take possession of it. I will give the land to your little ones—your innocent children. You were afraid they would be captured, but they will be the ones who occupy it. As for you, turn around now and go on back through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. ’ “Then you confessed, ‘We have sinned against the Lord ! We will go into the land and fight for it, as the Lord our God has commanded us.’ So your men strapped on their weapons, thinking it would be easy to attack the hill country. “But the Lord told me to tell you, ‘Do not attack, for I am not with you. If you go ahead on your own, you will be crushed by your enemies.’ “This is what I told you, but you would not listen. Instead, you again rebelled against the Lord ’s command and arrogantly went into the hill country to fight. But the Amorites who lived there came out against you like a swarm of bees. They chased and battered you all the way from Seir to Hormah. Then you returned and wept before the Lord , but he refused to listen. So you stayed there at Kadesh for a long time.’

Deuteronomy 1

Today’s reading continues into Micah 1.

‘The Lord gave this message to Micah of Moresheth during the years when Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah. The visions he saw concerned both Samaria and Jerusalem.

Attention! Let all the people of the world listen! Let the earth and everything in it hear. The Sovereign Lord is making accusations against you; the Lord speaks from his holy Temple. Look! The Lord is coming! He leaves his throne in heaven and tramples the heights of the earth. The mountains melt beneath his feet and flow into the valleys like wax in a fire, like water pouring down a hill. And why is this happening? Because of the rebellion of Israel — yes, the sins of the whole nation. Who is to blame for Israel’s rebellion? Samaria, its capital city! Where is the center of idolatry in Judah? In Jerusalem, its capital! “So I, the Lord , will make the city of Samaria a heap of ruins. Her streets will be plowed up for planting vineyards. I will roll the stones of her walls into the valley below, exposing her foundations. All her carved images will be smashed. All her sacred treasures will be burned. These things were bought with the money earned by her prostitution, and they will now be carried away to pay prostitutes elsewhere.” Therefore, I will mourn and lament. I will walk around barefoot and naked. I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl. For my people’s wound is too deep to heal. It has reached into Judah, even to the gates of Jerusalem. Don’t tell our enemies in Gath ; don’t weep at all. You people in Beth-leaphrah, roll in the dust to show your despair. You people in Shaphir, go as captives into exile—naked and ashamed. The people of Zaanan dare not come outside their walls. The people of Beth-ezel mourn, for their house has no support. The people of Maroth anxiously wait for relief, but only bitterness awaits them as the Lord ’s judgment reaches even to the gates of Jerusalem. Harness your chariot horses and flee, you people of Lachish. You were the first city in Judah to follow Israel in her rebellion, and you led Jerusalem into sin. Send farewell gifts to Moresheth-gath ; there is no hope of saving it. The town of Aczib has deceived the kings of Israel. O people of Mareshah, I will bring a conqueror to capture your town. And the leaders of Israel will go to Adullam. Oh, people of Judah, shave your heads in sorrow, for the children you love will be snatched away. Make yourselves as bald as a vulture, for your little ones will be exiled to distant lands.’

Micah 1

Today’s reading as we move into the New Testament starts with Matthew 13 learning about the hearts of people and our need to work on their hearts so that when their hearts are ready they will be able to receive the seed which is the Word of God and the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ…

‘Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?” He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes— so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’ “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.’

Matthew 13:1-17

and continues into Romans 10 where we need to share the seed of God as God is sending us out into the world. Without our obedience to share the Good News how will they hear it? Without them hearing how will they be able to have faith? We need to do our part.

‘For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands. But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” In fact, it says, “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “ Lord , who has believed our message?” So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. But I ask, have the people of Israel actually heard the message? Yes, they have: “The message has gone throughout the earth, and the words to all the world.” But I ask, did the people of Israel really understand? Yes, they did, for even in the time of Moses, God said, “I will rouse your jealousy through people who are not even a nation. I will provoke your anger through the foolish Gentiles.” And later Isaiah spoke boldly for God, saying, “I was found by people who were not looking for me. I showed myself to those who were not asking for me.” But regarding Israel, God said, “All day long I opened my arms to them, but they were disobedient and rebellious.”

Romans 10:5-21

As we bring today’s reading to a conclusion with Psalms 120, let’s take hold of the lesson God is giving us and try to take hold of it and put it into application in and through our lives today. Let’s take what we read and put it into our hearts and minds to help us shine for God and point people back to Him so that in and through it all He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

‘I took my troubles to the Lord ; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer. Rescue me, O Lord , from liars and from all deceitful people. O deceptive tongue, what will God do to you? How will he increase your punishment? You will be pierced with sharp arrows and burned with glowing coals. How I suffer in far-off Meshech. It pains me to live in distant Kedar. I am tired of living among people who hate peace. I search for peace; but when I speak of peace, they want war!’

Psalms 120