THRIVE: Even with everything that’s taken place, until it is over there is still more to do.


If you are reading this then you are here and as such you have things to do and get done. This is the day that the Lord has made and so let’s rejoice and be glad in it! God has prepared in advance good works for us to accomplish today and it is up to get it done! So let’s be about the work of the Father and getting done those good works! Let’s focus on the things He has for us to get done today including making plans for what is next. Let’s not try to go it alone but instead choose to work on things together! We were never meant to go it alone and hence why God gave us one another! We were never meant to go it alone and hence why God sent the Holy Spirit! God cares too much to leave us on our own and promises to never leave us nor forsake/abandon us! So today let’s make sure we lean into God and cast all our cares upon Him because He cares for us! Let’s choose to listen to the prompting and directing of the Holy Spirit in order to be able to accomplish all that God has planned for us! Let’s remember God’s plans for us are for good and not for evil, they are to give us hope and a future! Yes, in this world we will have troubles but we don’t have to worry or mope about it because we know that Jesus overcame the world! Yes in this world we will face trials too but don’t fret or worry about that because we know that we should consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because we know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. We know that when we let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. So today, let us choose to lean in on God and trust Him, pursuing His plans, His purposes, and His calling on our lives!


Today’s Verse of the Day:

‘Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. ‘

1 Chronicles 16:34

Today’s post from Be The Dads is Just For Dads: Be A Positive Christian Role Model – Day 13


Are you ready for today? Do you have a to-do list? Do you know what you need to do? Invite Jesus into your heart and life today to lead and guide us in every good work!

If you pray today’s prayer with me feel free to let me know so I can pray with you and for you too. (If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment then you can always try email.

Let’s Pray!

Prayer Of Salvation
"Oh Father God, I believe with all of my heart that Jesus died on the cross for my sake and has risen from the dead. Lord, I receive Your Word and I repent of my sins. I renounce the past. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. I receive my forgiveness. I receive the new birth, cleansed and washed in the Word and in the precious blood of Jesus. Fill me with Your Spirit, in Jesus' name. Amen."

THRIVE: What will make it click and take off?


So you get to listen and try to absorb. You get to participate and ask questions. You get to see people in action. Now it is time to go deeper from knowledge to understanding so that this understanding comes will be the triggering mechanism to help things rocket off, finding the power to propel us forward and thrive for the glory of God! Understanding is so powerful as it can help us get to forgiveness when needed! Understanding is so powerful because it can help us respect and honor others better! Understanding is so powerful because it can bring joy and happiness! So today, let’s lean into what God has to say and make sure we don’t just know about God but rather we know God and live to understand Him intimately! Let’s lean into what God is speaking to us so that we aren’t just people who are hearers or readers of the Word but rather people who understand and become doers of the Word!


Verse of the Day:

‘Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. ‘

John 13:14

Feet in the sand… Photo by Athena on Pexels.com

Today’s post from Be The Dads is
What The Father Says – Day 2


So are you ready to wait upon God so that He can renew your strength? Are you ready to abide with and in God? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your life in order to make the choice to grow closer and closer to God? Are you ready for today to be the day your life is transformed for the glory of God?

If you pray today’s prayer with me feel free to let me know so I can pray with you and for you too. (If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment then you can always try email or text.

Let’s Pray!

Prayer Of Salvation
"Oh Father God, I believe with all of my heart that Jesus died on the cross for my sake and has risen from the dead. Lord, I receive Your Word and I repent of my sins. I renounce the past. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. I receive my forgiveness. I receive the new birth, cleansed and washed in the Word and in the precious blood of Jesus. Fill me with Your Spirit, in Jesus' name. Amen."

THRIVE: When you don’t know what to do, do what you know to do.


When things don’t seem clear and you aren’t sure what to do, do what you know to do. God has given you directions so do that. God has given you wisdom so do that. God has given you hope so do that. God has a plan so do that. God has a purpose so do that. And in God’s timing, which is perfect, you will know what to do and then you can step up, step out, and do it. Be it at work! Be it at home! Be it somewhere in between! Let’s capture what God has for us to do today in the midst of the world being shaken and do it! Let’s capture what God has for us to do today so that we are doing the right things when the only thing left is unshakable and do it!

For me, that means I get to be the dad my wife needs me to be. For me, that means I get to be the dad my kids need me to be. For me, that means I get to focus on preparing for what is yet to come like scripts, decks, and videos that speak to men, youth, and kids about the importance and the responsibility of being the dads this world needs.



Verse of the Day:

‘Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. ‘

1 John 3:18

Today’s post from Be The Dads is Killing Sin – Day 2


Where are you today? Are you ready to lean in on God to be able to do what you know to do in the midst of uncertain times? Are you ready to lean in on God to be able to do what you know to do in the midst of shaky times? Are you not sure what to do? Are you not sure how to do it? The answer is to turn back to God and lean in on Him for wisdom and discernment, direction and instruction, so that in everything you do He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory and it will be for your good.

If you pray today’s prayer with me feel free to let me know so I can pray with you and for you too. (If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment then you can always try email or text.

Let’s Pray!

Dear God
I admit I am a sinner and need your forgiveness; I believe that Jesus Christ died in my place paying the penalty for my sins. I am willing right now to turn from my sin and accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord. I commit myself to you and ask you to send the Holy Spirit into my life, to fill me and take control, and to help me become the kind of person you want me to be. Thank You Father for loving me. In Jesus' name. 
Amen.

THRIVE: Do what you know to do when you don’t know what to do. Finish strong!


I am so grateful for a loving and caring God. I am so thankful that He knows what I need even before I can ask. I am so thankful that He loves me so much that He gave me His Word. I am so thankful that He loves me so much that He gave His one and only Son. I am so thankful that He loves me so much that He doesn’t want me to go it alone and so He not only give me one another but also His Holy Spirit to be my comforter and my guide. So, what to do when you don’t know what to do? You do what you know how to do and turn to God and ask for His wisdom and discernment, for His leading and guiding, so that you can move forward for the glory of His kingdom.

Can you believe it is the end of the workweek already? Let’s finish the week strong! Let’s give our day into God’s hand to help us navigate not only the information that will come our way but also the time we spend today with others, on projects, etc. Let’s choose to live today in a way that will glorify God! Let’s trust God knowing that whatever is going on it will be for His glory and our good! Let’s persevere as we move forward not giving up and not giving in to the lies or tricks of the devil. Let’s work for unity in health so that in and through it all God will be lifted up and glorified and others will see it and glorify our Father in heaven.


Today’s Verse of the Day:

‘But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. ‘

John 14:26

Today’s post from Be The Dads is Father Like The Father – Day 2


So are you ready to finish the week strong? Are you looking to figure out what to do? Are there many open questions? Is there uncertainty taking place? Let’s lean in on God! Let’s trust in God! Let’s not think we can figure it all out but instead turn to God and ask the Holy Spirit to help us! Let’s invite God into our life situation.

If you pray today’s prayer with me feel free to let me know so I can pray with you and for you too. (If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment then you can always try email or text.

Let’s Pray!

Dear God
I admit I am a sinner and need your forgiveness; I believe that Jesus Christ died in my place paying the penalty for my sins. I am willing right now to turn from my sin and accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord. I commit myself to you and ask you to send the Holy Spirit into my life, to fill me and take control, and to help me become the kind of person you want me to be. Thank You Father for loving me. In Jesus' name. 
Amen.


Let’s Read the Bible Together (February)

THRIVE: What to do when you don’t know what to do?


The short answer is: Do what you know to do.

Today, as I enjoy the weekend with my family the workweek, has finished and yet the news/answers didn’t come. So what is going to happen? Don’t know! What will we do? Don’t know! Where will we be? Don’t know! But I do know what my team does and so we will keep doing that to the best of our abilities in order to not only support the various teams across the company but also produce the best-localized content we can for our customers, shoppers, and visitors.

So are you having to deal with unknowns? Are you having to deal with uncertainties? Are you having to deal with changes? Are you having to deal with obstacles? Are you having to deal lack of clarity? Are you having to deal with a lack of direction? So what are you going to do?

Do what you know how to do! Invite God into the situation and do what you know how to do!


Today’s Verse of the Day:

‘Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. ‘

Proverbs 13:20

Today’s post from Be The Dads is The Daring Dad – Day 1.


So what are you dealing with today? Is God your go-to? Is God where you turn when you are facing uncertain times? Is God where you turn when you are facing challenging times? Is God where you turn when you are facing change? Are you ready to open that door to start a conversation and relationship with God so that not only can you be engaged to the world but allow God to engage with you in the midst of the trials, the troubles, the challenges, and the change? Let’s invite Jesus into our situation and walk it out with Him! God doesn’t want us to leave Him out of it but rather He desires to be with us, He is going before us, He is walking with us, He will never leave us nor forsake us, and so we just need to invite Him.

Let’s Pray!

Dear God
I admit I am a sinner and need your forgiveness; I believe that Jesus Christ died in my place paying the penalty for my sins. I am willing right now to turn from my sin and accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord. I commit myself to you and ask you to send the Holy Spirit into my life, to fill me and take control, and to help me become the kind of person you want me to be. Thank You Father for loving me. In Jesus' name. 
Amen.

Today’s Reading from God’s Word:

Do you realize the similarity of response between when God calls and Nike?


When calls you to something you should just do it. When God calls you to do something you should just do it. I know from my own experiences that isn’t always an easy task because the call may not be easy to do. I know from my own experiences that if God calls you to it and you don’t think you are qualified to do it, you should trust God and just do it as I have learned God doesn’t call the qualified but He qualifies the called. I know from my own experiences that if God asks you to do it then it is for your good and His glory! So like the Nike slogan, when God calls you to do something, you should just do it. I remember resisting and coming up with so many reason why I shouldn’t and couldn’t because I wasn’t qualified and it took an ultimatum from God (“you will be president or nothing, you choose!”) for me to accept it, whereas I could have started earlier and avoided the back and forth on the subject. So are you ready to be what God created you to be? Are you ready to do what God is calling you to do? Are you ready to fulfill the purpose God created you for? The choice is yours! He won’t force you to do it! Are you ready and willing to just do it if God calls you to it? What if it were to begin by helping someone who is poor? who is in need? who is needing a hand up? What if God prompts you today on your journey to help, will you just do it?


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard 
for April 14th


What goes around comes around


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY: Psalms 41:1

‘Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.’


POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Ever heard of “the law of the harvest“?
  • Ever heard of the saying “what goes around comes around”?
  • Ever heard of the saying “you reap what you sow”?
  • Ever seen it happen when you get angry or frustrated and snap at people and then they snap back?
  • Ever seen it happen when you come to the help of someone in need who later is able to come and help you?
  • Consider what today’s verse says and how by doing something for someone who would be unable to pay you back will have God looking to help you out.
  • Imagine the blessings of God because we were generous to that person on the corner in need, that family with bills pilling up in need, helping someone who is unable to reciprocate but is in need.
  • God sees what we do, even when nobody else does and when we do what He asks, He blesses that and multiplies both the blessing to the others and the blessing over our lives.
  • Remember what Jesus said on this topic in Luke 14?
    • ‘ Jesus also said to the man who had invited Him, When you give a dinner or a supper, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, lest perhaps they also invite you in return, and so you are paid back. But when you give a banquet or a reception, invite the poor, the disabled, the lame, and the blind. Then you will be blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied), because they have no way of repaying you, and you will be recompensed at the resurrection of the just (upright).’ — Luke 14:12-14
  • God loves it when we give to those who are unable to pay us back!
  • Let’s be aware of those around us!
  • Let’s be aware of those in need!
  • Don’t be so sheltered that you can’t help!
  • Don’t be so sheltered that you would mock them!
  • Let’s see them through God’s eyes and respond how God asks of us in the moment!
  • Let’s consider their circumstances so that we can truly care for them!
  • Let’s care enough to do something!
  • When God calls you, just do it!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
Consider the poor. Who are they? What are their lives like?
  • Moms, Dads, Kids
  • Families
  • Homeless
  • Unemployed
  • Living in tents, under bridges, in the woods, in their cars
What is one thing you can do to care for one of them?
  • Stop, talk, and give
  • Find an organization that focuses on them who can help with their needs (like Union Gospel Mission)
  • Find an organization that focuses on meeting their needs locally and then around around the world.

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

God’s boomerang of blessing occurs when we do something for someone else who can do absolutely nothing for us in return.”

Ike Reighard

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


Are you ready to just do it? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your heart and your life to be your Lord and Savior? Are you ready to be transformed from the inside out for the glory of God?

Where are you at today? Are you looking for guidance? Are you wondering where to turn? Are you at the end of your rope and needing help? Are you ready for some help? Are you ready to turn to God and ask? seek? knock? Let’s pray together

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

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?

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?

What makes you do it?


If someone asked you “why do you do it?” or “why did you do it?” or “what makes you keep doing it?”, how would you answer? Is there a motive behind why you do what you do? Is there a purpose behind why you do what you do? Is there a plan behind why you do what you do?

Was it something in the past? Was it someone from the past? Was it through some inspiration? Was it triggered by some event?

Ever heard people say “the devil made me do it”? Ever heard people say “it’s because I love…”? Ever heard people say “it is because of an encounter with Jesus”? Ever heard people say “it is something on my heart”? Ever heard people say “it is because I like to serve”?

When you consider motivators people have, they tend to get bucketed into groups like money and rewards, desire to be the best, helping others, power and fame, recognition, and passion.

So how about you? What do you do? How do you do it? When do you do it? What makes you do it?


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard 
for April 9th


Christ in you


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY: Galatians 2:20

‘I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. ‘


POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • It’s not about a self-help program
  • It’s not a workout routine to help us get results
  • It’s a process from the inside out when we invite Jesus into our hearts.
  • When we invite Jesus into our hearts we are saved
  • When we live our lives with Jesus in our lives we live out the process of sanctification.
  • As we live with Christ in us, we need to allow Him to increase and us to decrease as we become more and more like Jesus.
  • Let’s take hold of the new perspective of life and death that Jesus provides us
  • Let’s put our old ways to death, nailing the sins to the cross
  • Let’s allow Jesus to transform us and our hearts day by day
  • We need to make a decision, choose every time a moment of choice appears that we can choose life or death and choose Christ over our own selfish desires.
  • Don’t lose hope or give up because you miss the mark, just reset and get back on track asking God to forgive you and start moving forward from where you are now
  • Let’s allow God’s character to fill us up with love, humility, and hope.
  • Let’s remember the promise and the power of the resurrection.

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Describe what it means for Christ to live in you.

  • We invite Jesus into our hearts, and we start to live our lives putting God’s will first and leaning on the Holy Spirit to help lead and guide us and to resist the temptations of the devil in order to live lives that will be pleasing and glorifying to God.

What’s your responsibility for change, and what’s Christ’s responsibility to change you?

  • We need to realize when and take responsibility when selfish motives and actions come up and nail them to the cross, considering them dead – the old is gone and the new has come
  • Let’s replace those selfish thing with God honoring thoughts and behaviors
  • We need to pick life over death
  • We need to pick eternity with God rather than eternity apart from God.

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

People who are crucified with Christ have three distinct marks:
1. they are facing only one direction,
2. they can never turn back, and
3. they no longer have plans of their own.

Aiden Wilson Tozer

When your number one goal in life is to die to yourself and put God first, you can rest assured you have a goal that will last a lifetime.”

Zig Ziglar

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


So what is going to be your motivator?

Where are you at today? Are you looking for guidance? Are you wondering where to turn? Are you at the end of your rope and needing help? Are you ready for some help? Are you ready to turn to God and ask? seek? knock? Let’s pray together.

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

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?

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?


At a crossroads? Wondering how you can choose? Trust God rather than leaning on your own understanding!


As today begins and the direction is seemingly becoming clear, don’t worry. Cast your worries, cares, and anxieties upon he Lord because He cares for you. Take hold of God’s Word where the verse for today is:

“[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” — Philippians‬ ‭2:13‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

Did you feel the draw? Did you feel the desire? Did you find yourself back where you started but this time setup to do or accomplish more? Consider how God has created connections. Consider how God has given you wisdom and knowledge. Now consider how pursuing the pleasures and satisfaction of God is so much better than merely the satisfaction of man. God has brought you and positioned you right here and now for such a day and such a time as this. Ask for God’s wisdom in and through today’s reading and today’s meetings so that you can choose your path and walk it out in a way that will bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name.


Life changing is part of God’s plan. He is in the transformation business. With the craziness or craziest year that I can remember 2020 has brought many challenges and changes and opportunities to learn and grow. Be it at home, at work, as a society, as a nation, as a neighborhood, there is an opportunity to have 2020 be a year of lessons learned. A year where going God’s way rather than going with the flow can bring great revelation and direction. Waiting on God to help renew your strength and refresh your mind. Be it a week away at the beach with family. Be it a week away spending time both meditating on God’s Word as well as reading a devotional like Chase the Lion. Coming back, unaware of the crossroads that would appear on the first mourning back and needing to decide. The excitement and energetic response of being ready thanks to God to respond and to decide to let go and let God work in and thru the process. It may look similar but God has bigger and greater plans for what is ahead. He will give wisdom and discernment along with clarity of vision with he lessons learned from the hindsight of 2020. Are you willing to go it God’s way? Let’s do it.


So let’s allow God to will and to work in and thru us for His good pleasure. In Jesus we don’t just have the motivation but also the power to act and accomplish His purpose and plans. From the beginning God has been planning and preparing the good works He has for you to accomplish. We are full of good works to accomplish! We can’t just be packed with potential, we need to go beyond that. We need to transform that potential energy into kinetic energy and get it moving into explosive power of and from God. Let’s move into the miraculous power of God in and thru us. Let’s allow God’s purpose and plan to explode out of us, moving things forward for the glory of His kingdom. So let’s do the works God has called and created us to do. Let’s go beyond the ability and into the action of doing and accomplishing the good works He prepared in advance for us to accomplish. Let’s be doers of the Word. When we aren’t doing what we are full of from God we end up full of it. Let’s not be full of it but rather instead let’s be doers for the glory of God. Let’s be working as unto the Lord.


August is in the rearview mirror
August is in the rearview mirror and just over a quarter of the year remains. Are you willing to wait upon the Lord who will renew your strength and direct your steps? Are you ready some clarity of vision for what is ahead from what you have learned from the lessons of 2020? If hindsight is 2020 then how will you take the lessons learned into your future? Have you written down your lessons? What you did right? What you did wrong? There is no such thing as failure as long as you learn from the mistakes, then there is successes and lessons.

The 49 week challenge – Day 259

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 259 link to join me and sign up.

With August in the rear view mirror, let’s reflect on what we have learned in the past 6 days as we meditate on God’s Word this 7th day. Do you have any highlights or insights from what we have read in the past 6 days? What connections have you made or can you make in relations to our readings from God’s Word? Have you made time to speak with God through your reading time? Have you made time to speak with God as a part of your daily schedule? Are you prioritizing God enough that He gets prime time with you? Have you missed the mark this week and need to turn back to God and confess it and ask Him for forgiveness? Have you taken time to thank and praise Him for the forgiveness that has already been paid for through the blood of Jesus? Have you taken time to thank Him for all the other blessings in your life? Have you taken time to thank Him for all the answered prayers? Do you have any worries? Are you taking hold of His promise not to worry but to give it up into His hands? Let’s ask God for wisdom and guidance for this day! Let’s put our trust in Him!

In a time of change, will you share what God is doing and saying in and through your life with others?

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:

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

My Notes:

  • 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
    28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
    Matthew 6:25-34
  • Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
    1 Peter 5:6-7
  • Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
    — Psalm 55:22
  • Reviewing this scripture thru the Bible commentary: John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible – Philippians 4:

Verse 6

Be careful for nothing,…. This must be understood not in the most extensive sense, but with a limitation and restriction. There are many things that saints are to be careful for, as men and Christians; they are to be careful of their bodies, as well as of their souls; of the health of them, which is to be preserved by all lawful means, and not exposed to unnecessary danger; and for their families, to provide things honest for them, proper food and raiment, and the necessaries of life; for whoever does not do that, denies the faith, and is worse than an infidel; and even for the things of this world in a moderate way, using all diligence and industry in obtaining them; men ought to be careful to discharge the duties of their calling in civil life, and to care and concern themselves for the honour of God, the interest of religion, and the support of the Gospel; and that they offend not God, by sinning against him: but the carefulness the apostle speaks of, is an anxious solicitude for worldly things, an immoderate concern for the things of life, arising from diffidence, or negligence, of the power, providence, and faithfulness of God: saints should not be anxiously, or in a distressing manner concerned for the things of this world, but be content, whether they have less or more; nor be over much pressed with what befalls them, but should cast their care upon the Lord, and carry every case to him, and leave it there:

but in everything. The Syriac and Ethiopic versions render it, “in every time”: always, constantly, every day, as often as there is opportunity, and need requires. The Vulgate Latin and Arabic versions join it with the following clause, “in every prayer and supplication”; but the grammatical construction of the words will not admit of such a version; it is best to understand it of every thing, or case, which should be brought to God; whether it be of a temporal or spiritual kind, relating to body or soul, to ourselves or others, to our families, relations, and acquaintance, the church, or the world:

by prayer and supplication: which may include all sorts of prayer, mental or vocal, private or public, ordinary or extraordinary, and every part of prayer: prayer may design petition, or asking for good things that are wanted; and “supplication”, a deprecating of evils that are feared; though these two are often used together for the same thing, for prayer in general: which ought always to be accompanied

with thanksgiving; for mercies received; for a man can never come to the throne of grace, to ask for grace and mercy, but he has mercies to bless God for, and so to do is very acceptable to God; nor can a person expect to succeed in the enjoyment of future mercies, when he is not thankful for past and present ones: in this manner therefore, at all times, upon every occasion, in a way of humble petition and supplication, joined with thankfulness for all favours,

let your requests be made known to God; not to men; fly not to an arm of flesh, but to God, to him only, and that in the most private mariner, as not to be known by men; and put up such requests, as there may be reason to hope and believe God will “know” and approve of; such as are agreeable to his will, to the covenant of his grace, and the declaration of his word: use familiarity with God, tell him as you would do a friend, freely and fully, all your case, pour out your souls and your complaints before him. This God would have his people do, and he expects it from them; and though he knows all their wants, and what are their desires before they express them, yet he will seem not to know them, or take any notice of them, until they open them to him in some way or other; either by vocal prayer, or mental; by ejaculations, or sighs and groans, by chattering as a crane or a swallow, all which he understands: and be the case made known in what way or manner soever, with ever so much weakness, so be it, it is made known, it is enough, it shall be regarded and not despised.

Verse 7

And the peace of God which passeth all understanding,…. Not that peace which God calls his people to among themselves in their effectual calling; and which he requires of them to cultivate and maintain; and which he encourages in them by the promise of his gracious presence among them; and which indeed he is the author of, and therefore is so called, Colossians 3:15; and which may be said to surpass or exceed all speculative knowledge, and understanding; for the one puffs up and profits nothing, but the other edifies; and much less that peace which God has in himself, who is all peace and love, and which passes all understanding, human and angelic; but either that peace which is made with God by the blood of Christ, and is published in the Gospel of peace, which passes and surprises all understanding of men and angels, that it should be; that the thoughts of God should be concerning it from everlasting; that a council of peace should be called and held between the eternal Three, and a covenant of peace entered into; that Christ should be appointed the peace maker, and the chastisement of it laid on him; that he should make it by the blood of his cross, and for men, while enemies to God and to himself: or else that peace of conscience, which arises from a view of peace made by Christ; of justification by his righteousness, and atonement by his sacrifice; and which may be called “the peace of Christ”, as the Alexandrian copy reads; both because it is founded upon, and springs from him, and is what he is the donor of: and this is what passes the understanding of every natural man; he knows nothing of this peace, what this tranquility of mind means; he intermeddles not with this joy; it is unaccountable to him how it should be, that such then should have peace, who have so much trouble, are so much reproached, afflicted, and persecuted, and yet have peace in Christ, while they have tribulation in the world; which

shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ, or “in Christ Jesus”: some read these words prayer wise, or as a wish, “let it”, or “may it keep”, so the Vulgate Latin; but they are rather a promise, encouraging the saints to the discharge of the above duties; as rejoicing always in the Lord, showing their moderation to all men, avoiding anxious care, and betaking themselves at all times, on all occasions, to prayer to God; in which way they may expect peace, and such as will be of that see vice to them, as here expressed; that is, be a means of their final perseverance; for the peace of God, in either sense, is a preservation of the saints: peace made with God secures them in Christ from all condemnation by the law, sin, Satan, the world, or their own hearts; and peace in their own souls, on so good a foundation as it is, keeps them through Christ as in a garrison, from being overset with the troubles of the world, or the temptations of Satan; and is a means of preserving them from being carried away with the errors and heresies of the wicked, having a witness to truth within themselves; and from every evil way and work, from profaneness and immorality; the grace of God teaching them, and the love of Christ constraining them, which is shed abroad in their hearts, to live and act otherwise.

John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible – Philippians 4

As day 259 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 today and the blessing to get to live out the rest of the year 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?

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to save myself. I confess my complete helplessness to forgive my own sin or to work my way to heaven. At this moment I trust Christ alone as the One who bore my sin when He died on the cross. I believe that He did all that will ever be necessary for me to stand in your holy presence. I thank you that Christ was raised from the dead as a guarantee of my own resurrection. As best as I can, I now transfer my trust to Him. I am grateful that He has promised to receive me despite my many sins and failures. Father, I take you at your word. I thank you that I can face death now that you are my Savior. Thank you for the assurance that you will walk with me through the deep valley. Thank you for hearing this prayer. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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?

Do you need to be involved with everything?


Do you need to be involved in everything? What if it is what you have been doing for years and a new person comes in and starts wanting to change thing? What if it is what you have owned? It might be better or it might just cause more angst with others who depend on you. How to respond? How to react? Do you inject yourself? Do you step back with a wait and see type of view? Do you talk to others? When it is related to the questions you have been asking and wondering about to no avail, does that impact your response? You can’t control what others will do to or for you but you can control how you respond. So knowing what I know and having seen what I saw, how to respond?

Should you have a seat at the table? Do you let the wrangling continue and see where the dust settles? Do you let the politics rage on? Do you try to take control even when you aren’t sure what that means? Do you re-evaluate your role and your position? Do you need to know everything? How does it make you feel when it looks like people are doing things behind your back? How does it make you feel when things are so unclear and others are looking to create the path without a bunch of the background and insight? Does it matter who they are? Do they deserve for you to just shut up and fade away?

What is it that makes you tick? What is it that makes you be better? What is it that makes you feel valuable? What is it that you like to do? What do you do with the next 3 days before you go back to face the reality of the situation? If you are willing to let go and were even considering letting go but the situation made it so that what you were considering letting it go for was wrong then what should you be reaching out to or grabbing hold of?

What will help you grow? What is it that you would like to learn? Has going with the flow caused you to fall back by flowing down stream instead of fighting the stream and the flow in order to keep moving forward?


Day 18: 2020 Hindsight
— The 49-Week Challenge – Day 18 —

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 18 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:

  • Is the struggle because you are being tempted to try and go and do it in your own strength?
  • Is the struggle because you are hearing things that sound believable but yet are missing key elements of the truth?
  • Is the struggle because you are being tempted to try and go and do it your own way?
  • Remember God’s Ways are not our ways!
  • Remember God’s Ways are better than our ways!
  • Remember God knows the beginning and the end!
  • Remember God knows beyond the thoughts to the heart and the motivation!
  • What if it was going to take you fasting and praying for a long time to get answers?
  • What if it was going to be a time to test you?
  • Will you sensitive to the Spirit and walk in alignment with His directions and instructions?
  • Do you hear that still quiet voice? What is it telling you to do?
  • Where will you be rejected? Where will you be accepted? Does it mean you need to go?
  • Will you speak with authority? Will you speak authoritatively?
  • Will you rebuke what is bad? what is wrong? what is evil?
  • Will you make time to be alone with God?
  • Will you follow God’s command?
  • Will your testing reveal your humility and reveal your heart?
  • Obey God’s disciplining
  • God’s preparing a place for you where you will be blessed
  • Praise God for all He is and has and will be doing for you
  • Don’t forget what God has done for you
  • Don’t allow yourself to become proud because of all that God has already done for, in and through you.
  • Don’t allow yourself to be proud, remain humble so that things will go well with you.
  • God is how we are able to produce wealth.
  • After you enter into the land and you give offering and sacrifices from all that you have received in and through it.
  • Make time to rest and glorify God.
  • Provide things that will continuously remind you of God and put your focus on God and keep your focus on God.
  • Do not love the world or anything in it. Love God! Don’t be fooled or drawn into the world’s way that includes the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life for they are not from our Heavenly Father but from the world.
  • Turn to God! Confess with your mouth! Believe in your heart!
  • Will you trust God’s instruction even if it isn’t some big magnificent ask?
  • Will you trust God’s instruction even if it isn’t some huge ask?
  • Don’t go behind the back of your boss and mislead others with lies.

As day 18 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

Amid it all, what will you believe and where will you turn?


The Story of Job. – Day 28

Look to understand where you are at. Remember your value to God and to others. Remember what your true motivation really is. Are you doing it for the money or because it is a calling? Are you doing it for prestige or because God told you to? Are you doing it for recognition or because God called you to walk on water? Are you doing it for yourself or because there is a greater purpose? Will you take direction and instruction from people or from God?

Is God calling you away? If not then don’t leave. If yes then get moving. Is God calling you out of the boat? If not stay in the boat. If yes then get moving. Be lead by God! Be lead by the Holy Spirit’s prompting! Don’t bite at the temptations! Don’t be tempted into doing something that could steel your hope and your joy! Don’t allow your eyes to deceive you! Don’t allow your pride to deceive you! Don’t allow your thoughts to deceive you! Lean not on your own understanding but rather put your full trust in God! Let’s long for God’s purpose and plan! Let’s long for God’s presence and wisdom! Let’s allow God’s purpose and plan to be fulfilled in and through us! Let’s be focusing on the things that will last forever rather than the things that are temporary, can erode, be destroyed and stolen. Let’s be living our lives with the focus on pointing people to Jesus and allow Him to touch and transform their hearts!

This is the day that the Lord has made,
so let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Where does your worth come from? How do you value your worth? Is it by the words of man or the Word of God? Remember who God says you are!

Remember that even when you don’t feel God, He is there. Remember that even when you don’t hear God, He is there. He will never leave you and never abandon you and so you just need to keep on keeping on, believing and trusting in Him!


Today’s reading from God’s Word: Job 23

‘Then Job answered and said, “Even today my complaint is contentious; His hand is heavy despite my groaning. Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, That I might [even] come to His seat! I would present my cause before Him And fill my mouth with arguments. I would learn the words which He would answer, And understand what He would say to me. Would He contend against me with His great power? No, surely He would give attention to me. There the righteous and upright could reason with Him; So I would be acquitted forever by my Judge. “Behold, I go forward (to the east), but He is not there; I go backward (to the west), but I cannot perceive Him; To the left (north) He turns, but I cannot behold Him; He turns to the right hand (south), but I cannot see Him. But He knows the way that I take [and He pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I will come forth as [refined] gold [pure and luminous]. My feet have carefully followed His steps; I have kept His ways and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have kept the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. But He is unique and unchangeable, and who can turn Him? And what His soul desires, that He does. For He performs what is planned (appointed) for me, And He is mindful of many such things. Therefore I would be terrified at His presence; When I consider [all of this], I tremble in dread of Him. For God has made my heart faint, And the Almighty has terrified me, But I am not silenced by the darkness [of these woes that fell on me], Nor by the thick darkness which covers my face.’

— Job 23:1-17

Today’s study includes information from:


Study Notes:

It is interesting to get to hear Job’s heart today without interjection by his friends and without the preview reading having been them trying to put him down. His desire to understand by seeking God and pleading his case. He doesn’t realize what his troubles speaks of who God is in the moment but later will realize the benefits of trusting and pursuing God’s will in his life.

Today’s study summary:

Verses 23:1 – 24:25: Job’s reply to Eliphaz’s third speech was not a rebuttal, but express Job’s longing for fellowship with God, so he could experience God’s love and goodness and hear from Him the meaning of all his suffering.

This section, featuring Job’s response to Eliphaz, is expressive of Job’s deeply discouraged state, God’s sovereignty is not a comfort to him but a terror. Echoes of his initial sadness in his opening soliloquy (3:1-26), are found here.

(In verses 1-12), we find that in spite of Job’s anger toward Eliphaz, his dispute was not with humans but with God, the only One who knew the truth of his integrity (Psalm 17:3).

Verses 6-7: “Plead”. Engage in court debate over evidence, witnesses, etc. Job knew God was not going to enter a contest with him to determine, as in a court case, who was right. But he wanted God to at least listen to him, so confident was he that he could make his case, and be delivered by his just Judge (compare 1:8; 2:3).

Verses 8-12: Even though Job couldn’t sense God’s presence, he believed He was present and affirmed his commitment to God’s purpose in this test (verse 10), and his continued obedience to God’s Word, which were the most important issues in his life (verses 11-12).

Verses 13-17: Understandably, Job considered a sovereign God unpredictable, which can be a fearful thing. In reality, God’s seeming unpredictability is balanced by His unchanging faithfulness to His children.

Book of Job ExplainedChapter 23

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?

Will you go beyond doing what is right to getting rid of what is wrong?


Do you think just doing what is right in your own life is enough? Do you think making sure that your behavior and attitude are good is enough? Do you think your actions and your responses are enough?

What about the things around you that are wrong? Are you willing to speak up and speak out against them? Are you willing to go and do something about them? Are you willing to stand up to the evils of this world? Are you willing to stand for the removal and abolishing of what is wrong?

What about slavery? Is slavery something that should be stopped and abolished? Do you think it still exists? Do you realize that it still exists? Do you realize that the at risk people in our society are most at risk of becoming the prey of these people? Do you realize that they could be right around you and you could be doing something about it? Do you realize that there is a hotline you can use to report it if and when you see something that might be it? Do you realize that if you do something and it isn’t then no harm and no foul, but if you don’t say something and it is then that person is entrapped in slavery. Do you realize the statistics around slavery taking place? Have you heard of or learned of the new term for it? Have you heard of human trafficking? Human trafficking can be defined as “the action or practice of illegally transporting people from one country or area to another, typically for the purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation. ” Put another way from the dhs.gov website, “Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.” And if you check out the U.N. you find “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation“. So now that you know what it is and that it exists, what does that mean for you? Do you know what to look for or how to identify it is you if you see it? There is an organization called A21 that has a campaign going on call “Can You See Me?” They share scenarios like child trafficking, labor trafficking, and domestic servitude. They share stats like millions are currently trapped in this (potentially 29-40 million from what I have heard), the average age of missing children who are exploited thru sex trafficking are 15, it is happening in all the states of the USA as well as around the globe, victims identified in the U.K. came from over 116 countries and many more... Can you imagine if there are more people in slavery today than at any point in human history?

For those reading from the U.S., here is a link about the U.S. campaign. For those in Australia, here is a link about the Australian campaign. For those in the UK, here is a link about the U.K. campaign.

What to learn more, check them out. Want to do more or get involved, check out their social media and posters and indicators.

Remember to let the police handle the situation as you don’t want to put yourself or the other person in more danger by stepping into it on your own. Remember there are hotlines and ways to report it – if you see something, say something, do something. From the U.S. A21 site, you will find information and videos on things like:

So back to our topic from today’s devotional: Will you go beyond doing what is right to getting rid of what is wrong? Do you think just doing what is right in your own life is enough? Do you think making sure that your behavior and attitude are good is enough? Do you think your actions and your responses are enough? What about the things around you that are wrong? Are you willing to speak up and speak out against them? Are you willing to go and do something about them? Are you willing to stand up to the evils of this world? Are you willing to stand for the removal and abolishing of what is wrong?


Today’s reading gets us started in 2 Kings 18:

Hezekiah Rules in Judah
1Hezekiah son of Ahaz began to rule over Judah in the third year of King Hoshea’s reign in Israel. 2He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 3He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his ancestor David had done. 4He removed the pagan shrines, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke up the bronze serpent that Moses had made, because the people of Israel had been offering sacrifices to it. The bronze serpent was called Nehushtan.”
5Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before or after his time. 6He remained faithful to the Lord in everything, and he carefully obeyed all the commands the Lord had given Moses. 7So the Lord was with him, and Hezekiah was successful in everything he did. He revolted against the king of Assyria and refused to pay him tribute. 8He also conquered the Philistines as far distant as Gaza and its territory, from their smallest outpost to their largest walled city.
9During the fourth year of Hezekiah’s reign, which was the seventh year of King Hoshea’s reign in Israel, King Shalmaneser of Assyria attacked the city of Samaria and began a siege against it. 10Three years later, during the sixth year of King Hezekiah’s reign and the ninth year of King Hoshea’s reign in Israel, Samaria fell. 11At that time the king of Assyria exiled the Israelites to Assyria and placed them in colonies in Halah, along the banks of the Habor River in Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. 12For they refused to listen to the Lord their God and obey him. Instead, they violated his covenant—all the laws that Moses the Lord’s servant had commanded them to obey.
Assyria Invades Judah
13In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign,18:13 The fourteenth year of Hezekiah’s reign was 701 b.c. King Sennacherib of Assyria came to attack the fortified towns of Judah and conquered them. 14King Hezekiah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: “I have done wrong. I will pay whatever tribute money you demand if you will only withdraw.” The king of Assyria then demanded a settlement of more than eleven tons of silver and one ton of gold. 15To gather this amount, King Hezekiah used all the silver stored in the Temple of the Lord and in the palace treasury. 16Hezekiah even stripped the gold from the doors of the Lord’s Temple and from the doorposts he had overlaid with gold, and he gave it all to the Assyrian king.
17Nevertheless, the king of Assyria sent his commander in chief, his field commander, and his chief of staff from Lachish with a huge army to confront King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. The Assyrians took up a position beside the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed. 18They summoned King Hezekiah, but the king sent these officials to meet with them: Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian.
Sennacherib Threatens Jerusalem
19Then the Assyrian king’s chief of staff told them to give this message to Hezekiah:
“This is what the great king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you so confident? 20Do you think that mere words can substitute for military skill and strength? Who are you counting on, that you have rebelled against me? 21On Egypt? If you lean on Egypt, it will be like a reed that splinters beneath your weight and pierces your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is completely unreliable!
22“But perhaps you will say to me, ‘We are trusting in the Lord our God!’ But isn’t he the one who was insulted by Hezekiah? Didn’t Hezekiah tear down his shrines and altars and make everyone in Judah and Jerusalem worship only at the altar here in Jerusalem?
23“I’ll tell you what! Strike a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria. I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find that many men to ride on them! 24With your tiny army, how can you think of challenging even the weakest contingent of my master’s troops, even with the help of Egypt’s chariots and charioteers? 25What’s more, do you think we have invaded your land without the Lord’s direction? The Lord himself told us, ‘Attack this land and destroy it!’”
26Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebna, and Joah said to the Assyrian chief of staff, “Please speak to us in Aramaic, for we understand it well. Don’t speak in Hebrew, for the people on the wall will hear.”
27But Sennacherib’s chief of staff replied, “Do you think my master sent this message only to you and your master? He wants all the people to hear it, for when we put this city under siege, they will suffer along with you. They will be so hungry and thirsty that they will eat their own dung and drink their own urine.”
28Then the chief of staff stood and shouted in Hebrew to the people on the wall, “Listen to this message from the great king of Assyria! 29This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you. He will never be able to rescue you from my power. 30Don’t let him fool you into trusting in the Lord by saying, ‘The Lord will surely rescue us. This city will never fall into the hands of the Assyrian king!’
31“Don’t listen to Hezekiah! These are the terms the king of Assyria is offering: Make peace with me—open the gates and come out. Then each of you can continue eating from your own grapevine and fig tree and drinking from your own well. 32Then I will arrange to take you to another land like this one—a land of grain and new wine, bread and vineyards, olive groves and honey. Choose life instead of death!
“Don’t listen to Hezekiah when he tries to mislead you by saying, ‘The Lord will rescue us!’ 33Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria? 34What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? And what about the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Did any god rescue Samaria from my power? 35What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? So what makes you think that the Lord can rescue Jerusalem from me?”
36But the people were silent and did not utter a word because Hezekiah had commanded them, “Do not answer him.”
37Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator; Shebna the court secretary; and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian, went back to Hezekiah. They tore their clothes in despair, and they went in to see the king and told him what the Assyrian chief of staff had said.

2 Kings 18

Today’s reading then continues into Ezekiel 24:

The Sign of the Cooking Pot
1On January 15, during the ninth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the Lord: 2“Son of man, write down today’s date, because on this very day the king of Babylon is beginning his attack against Jerusalem. 3Then give these rebels an illustration with this message from the Sovereign Lord:
“Put a pot on the fire,
and pour in some water.
4Fill it with choice pieces of meat—
the rump and the shoulder
and all the most tender cuts.
5Use only the best sheep from the flock,
and heap fuel on the fire beneath the pot.
Bring the pot to a boil,
and cook the bones along with the meat.
6“Now this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
What sorrow awaits Jerusalem,
the city of murderers!
She is a cooking pot
whose corruption can’t be cleaned out.
Take the meat out in random order,
for no piece is better than another.
7For the blood of her murders
is splashed on the rocks.
It isn’t even spilled on the ground,
where the dust could cover it!
8So I will splash her blood on a rock
for all to see,
an expression of my anger
and vengeance against her.
9“This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
What sorrow awaits Jerusalem,
the city of murderers!
I myself will pile up the fuel beneath her.
10Yes, heap on the wood!
Let the fire roar to make the pot boil.
Cook the meat with many spices,
and afterward burn the bones.
11Now set the empty pot on the coals.
Heat it red hot!
Burn away the filth and corruption.
12But it’s hopeless;
the corruption can’t be cleaned out.
So throw it into the fire.
13Your impurity is your lewdness
and the corruption of your idolatry.
I tried to cleanse you,
but you refused.
So now you will remain in your filth
until my fury against you has been satisfied.
14“I, the Lord, have spoken! The time has come, and I won’t hold back. I will not change my mind, and I will have no pity on you. You will be judged on the basis of all your wicked actions, says the Sovereign Lord.”
The Death of Ezekiel’s Wife
15Then this message came to me from the Lord: 16“Son of man, with one blow I will take away your dearest treasure. Yet you must not show any sorrow at her death. Do not weep; let there be no tears. 17Groan silently, but let there be no wailing at her grave. Do not uncover your head or take off your sandals. Do not perform the usual rituals of mourning or accept any food brought to you by consoling friends.”
18So I proclaimed this to the people the next morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did everything I had been told to do. 19Then the people asked, “What does all this mean? What are you trying to tell us?”
20So I said to them, “A message came to me from the Lord, 21and I was told to give this message to the people of Israel. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will defile my Temple, the source of your security and pride, the place your heart delights in. Your sons and daughters whom you left behind in Judah will be slaughtered by the sword. 22Then you will do as Ezekiel has done. You will not mourn in public or console yourselves by eating the food brought by friends. 23Your heads will remain covered, and your sandals will not be taken off. You will not mourn or weep, but you will waste away because of your sins. You will groan among yourselves for all the evil you have done. 24Ezekiel is an example for you; you will do just as he has done. And when that time comes, you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.”
25Then the Lord said to me, “Son of man, on the day I take away their stronghold—their joy and glory, their heart’s desire, their dearest treasure—I will also take away their sons and daughters. 26And on that day a survivor from Jerusalem will come to you in Babylon and tell you what has happened. 27And when he arrives, your voice will suddenly return so you can talk to him, and you will be a symbol for these people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

Ezekiel 24

Today’s reading then takes us into the New Testament where we read from Acts 17:

Paul Preaches in Thessalonica
1Paul and Silas then traveled through the towns of Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2As was Paul’s custom, he went to the synagogue service, and for three Sabbaths in a row he used the Scriptures to reason with the people. 3He explained the prophecies and proved that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead. He said, “This Jesus I’m telling you about is the Messiah.” 4Some of the Jews who listened were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with many God-fearing Greek men and quite a few prominent women.
5But some of the Jews were jealous, so they gathered some troublemakers from the marketplace to form a mob and start a riot. They attacked the home of Jason, searching for Paul and Silas so they could drag them out to the crowd. instead and took them before the city council. “Paul and Silas have caused trouble all over the world,” they shouted, “and now they are here disturbing our city, too. 7And Jason has welcomed them into his home. They are all guilty of treason against Caesar, for they profess allegiance to another king, named Jesus.”
8The people of the city, as well as the city council, were thrown into turmoil by these reports. 9So the officials forced Jason and the other believers to post bond, and then they released them.
Paul and Silas in Berea
10That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. 12As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.
13But when some Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God in Berea, they went there and stirred up trouble. 14The believers acted at once, sending Paul on to the coast, while Silas and Timothy remained behind. 15Those escorting Paul went with him all the way to Athens; then they returned to Berea with instructions for Silas and Timothy to hurry and join him.

Acts of the Apostles 17:1-15

Today’s reading then continues into Revelation 7:

Praise from the Great Crowd
9After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. 10And they were shouting with a great roar,
“Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne
and from the Lamb!”
11And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell before the throne with their faces to the ground and worshiped God. 12They sang,
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor
and power and strength belong to our God
forever and ever! Amen.”
13Then one of the twenty-four elders asked me, “Who are these who are clothed in white? Where did they come from?”
14And I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who knows.”
Then he said to me, “These are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white.
15“That is why they stand in front of God’s throne
and serve him day and night in his Temple.
And he who sits on the throne
will give them shelter.
16They will never again be hungry or thirsty;
they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun.
17For the Lamb on the throne
will be their Shepherd.
He will lead them to springs of life-giving water.
And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 7:9-17

Today’s reading concludes in Psalms 119:

145I pray with all my heart; answer me, Lord!
I will obey your decrees.
146I cry out to you; rescue me,
that I may obey your laws.
147I rise early, before the sun is up;
I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.
148I stay awake through the night,
thinking about your promise.
149In your faithful love, O Lord, hear my cry;
let me be revived by following your regulations.
150Lawless people are coming to attack me;
they live far from your instructions.
151But you are near, O Lord,
and all your commands are true.
152I have known from my earliest days
that your laws will last forever.
Resh
153Look upon my suffering and rescue me,
for I have not forgotten your instructions.
154Argue my case; take my side!
Protect my life as you promised.
155The wicked are far from rescue,
for they do not bother with your decrees.
156Lord, how great is your mercy;
let me be revived by following your regulations.
157Many persecute and trouble me,
yet I have not swerved from your laws.
158Seeing these traitors makes me sick at heart,
because they care nothing for your word.
159See how I love your commandments, Lord.
Give back my life because of your unfailing love.
160The very essence of your words is truth;
all your just regulations will stand forever.
Shin
161Powerful people harass me without cause,
but my heart trembles only at your word.
162I rejoice in your word
like one who discovers a great treasure.
163I hate and abhor all falsehood,
but I love your instructions.
164I will praise you seven times a day
because all your regulations are just.
165Those who love your instructions have great peace
and do not stumble.
166I long for your rescue, Lord,
so I have obeyed your commands.
167I have obeyed your laws,
for I love them very much.
168Yes, I obey your commandments and laws
because you know everything I do.
Taw
169O Lord, listen to my cry;
give me the discerning mind you promised.
170Listen to my prayer;
rescue me as you promised.
171Let praise flow from my lips,
for you have taught me your decrees.
172Let my tongue sing about your word,
for all your commands are right.
173Give me a helping hand,
for I have chosen to follow your commandments.
174O Lord, I have longed for your rescue,
and your instructions are my delight.
175Let me live so I can praise you,
and may your regulations help me.
176I have wandered away like a lost sheep;
come and find me,
for I have not forgotten your commands.

Psalms 119:145-176

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:

Prayer of salvation picture

Who is God to you?


Not asking who do you idolize. Not asking about who little g god is to you. Asking more when you think about or talk about God, who is He to you? what is He to you? How do you describe Him to others? How do you express who He is and what He has done in and through your life? What do you do to express your views and your thoughts and your feelings about God? Do you write? Do you sing? Do you pray? Do you praise? Can others tell? Do others know? Do you express it? Do you serve? Do you give? What do you do? How do you do it? Who is God to you?


This morning’s reading gets us started hearing who David says God is in 2 Samuel 22:

‘David sang this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. He sang: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence. I called on the Lord , who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. “The waves of death overwhelmed me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path. But in my distress I cried out to the Lord ; yes, I cried to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry reached his ears. “Then the earth quaked and trembled. The foundations of the heavens shook; they quaked because of his anger. Smoke poured from his nostrils; fierce flames leaped from his mouth. Glowing coals blazed forth from him. He opened the heavens and came down; dark storm clouds were beneath his feet. Mounted on a mighty angelic being, he flew, soaring on the wings of the wind. He shrouded himself in darkness, veiling his approach with dense rain clouds. A great brightness shone around him, and burning coals blazed forth. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot arrows and scattered his enemies; his lightning flashed, and they were confused. Then at the command of the Lord , at the blast of his breath, the bottom of the sea could be seen, and the foundations of the earth were laid bare. “He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me. They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress, but the Lord supported me. He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me. The Lord rewarded me for doing right; he restored me because of my innocence. For I have kept the ways of the Lord ; I have not turned from my God to follow evil. I have followed all his regulations; I have never abandoned his decrees. I am blameless before God; I have kept myself from sin. The Lord rewarded me for doing right. He has seen my innocence. “To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. You rescue the humble, but your eyes watch the proud and humiliate them. O Lord , you are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness. In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall. “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord ’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the Lord ? Who but our God is a solid rock? God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. You have given me your shield of victory; your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping. “I chased my enemies and destroyed them; I did not stop until they were conquered. I consumed them; I struck them down so they did not get up; they fell beneath my feet. You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued my enemies under my feet. You placed my foot on their necks. I have destroyed all who hated me. They looked for help, but no one came to their rescue. They even cried to the Lord , but he refused to answer. I ground them as fine as the dust of the earth; I trampled them in the gutter like dirt. “You gave me victory over my accusers. You preserved me as the ruler over nations; people I don’t even know now serve me. Foreign nations cringe before me; as soon as they hear of me, they submit. They all lose their courage and come trembling from their strongholds. “The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock! May God, the Rock of my salvation, be exalted! He is the God who pays back those who harm me; he brings down the nations under me and delivers me from my enemies. You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies; you save me from violent opponents. For this, O Lord , I will praise you among the nations; I will sing praises to your name. You give great victories to your king; you show unfailing love to your anointed, to David and all his descendants forever.”’

2 Samuel 22

‘This is what the Lord says: “I will stir up a destroyer against Babylon and the people of Babylonia. Foreigners will come and winnow her, blowing her away as chaff. They will come from every side to rise against her in her day of trouble. Don’t let the archers put on their armor or draw their bows. Don’t spare even her best soldiers! Let her army be completely destroyed. They will fall dead in the land of the Babylonians, slashed to death in her streets. For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has not abandoned Israel and Judah. He is still their God, even though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.” Flee from Babylon! Save yourselves! Don’t get trapped in her punishment! It is the Lord ’s time for vengeance; he will repay her in full. Babylon has been a gold cup in the Lord ’s hands, a cup that made the whole earth drunk. The nations drank Babylon’s wine, and it drove them all mad. But suddenly Babylon, too, has fallen. Weep for her. Give her medicine. Perhaps she can yet be healed. We would have helped her if we could, but nothing can save her now. Let her go; abandon her. Return now to your own land. For her punishment reaches to the heavens; it is so great it cannot be measured. The Lord has vindicated us. Come, let us announce in Jerusalem everything the Lord our God has done. Sharpen the arrows! Lift up the shields! For the Lord has inspired the kings of the Medes to march against Babylon and destroy her. This is his vengeance against those who desecrated his Temple. Raise the battle flag against Babylon! Reinforce the guard and station the watchmen. Prepare an ambush, for the Lord will fulfill all his plans against Babylon. You are a city by a great river, a great center of commerce, but your end has come. The thread of your life is cut. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has taken this vow and has sworn to it by his own name: “Your cities will be filled with enemies, like fields swarming with locusts, and they will shout in triumph over you.” The Lord made the earth by his power, and he preserves it by his wisdom. With his own understanding he stretched out the heavens. When he speaks in the thunder, the heavens roar with rain. He causes the clouds to rise over the earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses. The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge! The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make, for their carefully shaped works are a fraud. These idols have no breath or power. Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies! On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed. But the God of Israel is no idol! He is the Creator of everything that exists, including his people, his own special possession. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name! “You are my battle-ax and sword,” says the Lord . “With you I will shatter nations and destroy many kingdoms. With you I will shatter armies— destroying the horse and rider, the chariot and charioteer. With you I will shatter men and women, old people and children, young men and young women. With you I will shatter shepherds and flocks, farmers and oxen, captains and officers. “I will repay Babylon and the people of Babylonia for all the wrong they have done to my people in Jerusalem,” says the Lord . “Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth! I am your enemy,” says the Lord . “I will raise my fist against you, to knock you down from the heights. When I am finished, you will be nothing but a heap of burnt rubble. You will be desolate forever. Even your stones will never again be used for building. You will be completely wiped out,” says the Lord . Raise a signal flag to the nations. Sound the battle cry! Mobilize them all against Babylon. Prepare them to fight against her! Bring out the armies of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz. Appoint a commander, and bring a multitude of horses like swarming locusts! Bring against her the armies of the nations— led by the kings of the Medes and all their captains and officers. The earth trembles and writhes in pain, for everything the Lord has planned against Babylon stands unchanged. Babylon will be left desolate without a single inhabitant. Her mightiest warriors no longer fight. They stay in their barracks, their courage gone. They have become like women. The invaders have burned the houses and broken down the city gates. The news is passed from one runner to the next as the messengers hurry to tell the king that his city has been captured. All the escape routes are blocked. The marshes have been set aflame, and the army is in a panic. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Babylon is like wheat on a threshing floor, about to be trampled. In just a little while her harvest will begin.” “King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has eaten and crushed us and drained us of strength. He has swallowed us like a great monster and filled his belly with our riches. He has thrown us out of our own country. Make Babylon suffer as she made us suffer,” say the people of Zion. “Make the people of Babylonia pay for spilling our blood,” says Jerusalem. This is what the Lord says to Jerusalem: “I will be your lawyer to plead your case, and I will avenge you. I will dry up her river, as well as her springs, and Babylon will become a heap of ruins, haunted by jackals. She will be an object of horror and contempt, a place where no one lives. Her people will roar together like strong lions. They will growl like lion cubs. And while they lie inflamed with all their wine, I will prepare a different kind of feast for them. I will make them drink until they fall asleep, and they will never wake up again,” says the Lord . “I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams and goats to be sacrificed. “How Babylon is fallen— great Babylon, praised throughout the earth! Now she has become an object of horror among the nations. The sea has risen over Babylon; she is covered by its crashing waves. Her cities now lie in ruins; she is a dry wasteland where no one lives or even passes by. And I will punish Bel, the god of Babylon, and make him vomit up all he has eaten. The nations will no longer come and worship him. The wall of Babylon has fallen! “Come out, my people, flee from Babylon. Save yourselves! Run from the Lord ’s fierce anger. But do not panic; don’t be afraid when you hear the first rumor of approaching forces. For rumors will keep coming year by year. Violence will erupt in the land as the leaders fight against each other. For the time is surely coming when I will punish this great city and all her idols. Her whole land will be disgraced, and her dead will lie in the streets. Then the heavens and earth will rejoice, for out of the north will come destroying armies against Babylon,” says the Lord . “Just as Babylon killed the people of Israel and others throughout the world, so must her people be killed. Get out, all you who have escaped the sword! Do not stand and watch—flee while you can! Remember the Lord , though you are in a far-off land, and think about your home in Jerusalem.” “We are ashamed,” the people say. “We are insulted and disgraced because the Lord ’s Temple has been defiled by foreigners.” “Yes,” says the Lord , “but the time is coming when I will destroy Babylon’s idols. The groans of her wounded people will be heard throughout the land. Though Babylon reaches as high as the heavens and makes her fortifications incredibly strong, I will still send enemies to plunder her. I, the Lord , have spoken! “Listen! Hear the cry of Babylon, the sound of great destruction from the land of the Babylonians. For the Lord is destroying Babylon. He will silence her loud voice. Waves of enemies pound against her; the noise of battle rings through the city. Destroying armies come against Babylon. Her mighty men are captured, and their weapons break in their hands. For the Lord is a God who gives just punishment; he always repays in full. I will make her officials and wise men drunk, along with her captains, officers, and warriors. They will fall asleep and never wake up again!” says the King, whose name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “The thick walls of Babylon will be leveled to the ground, and her massive gates will be burned. The builders from many lands have worked in vain, for their work will be destroyed by fire!” The prophet Jeremiah gave this message to Seraiah son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah, a staff officer, when Seraiah went to Babylon with King Zedekiah of Judah. This was during the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign. Jeremiah had recorded on a scroll all the terrible disasters that would soon come upon Babylon—all the words written here. He said to Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, read aloud everything on this scroll. Then say, ‘ Lord , you have said that you will destroy Babylon so that neither people nor animals will remain here. She will lie empty and abandoned forever.’ When you have finished reading the scroll, tie it to a stone and throw it into the Euphrates River. Then say, ‘In this same way Babylon and her people will sink, never again to rise, because of the disasters I will bring upon her.’” This is the end of Jeremiah’s messages.’

Jeremiah 51

‘That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago. “Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.” Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter. ” Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. ‘

Luke 24:13-35

‘But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.’

2 Timothy 3:10-17

‘O God, do not be silent! Do not be deaf. Do not be quiet, O God. Don’t you hear the uproar of your enemies? Don’t you see that your arrogant enemies are rising up? They devise crafty schemes against your people; they conspire against your precious ones. “Come,” they say, “let us wipe out Israel as a nation. We will destroy the very memory of its existence.” Yes, this was their unanimous decision. They signed a treaty as allies against you— these Edomites and Ishmaelites; Moabites and Hagrites; Gebalites, Ammonites, and Amalekites; and people from Philistia and Tyre. Assyria has joined them, too, and is allied with the descendants of Lot. Interlude Do to them as you did to the Midianites and as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the Kishon River. They were destroyed at Endor, and their decaying corpses fertilized the soil. Let their mighty nobles die as Oreb and Zeeb did. Let all their princes die like Zebah and Zalmunna, for they said, “Let us seize for our own use these pasturelands of God!” O my God, scatter them like tumbleweed, like chaff before the wind! As a fire burns a forest and as a flame sets mountains ablaze, chase them with your fierce storm; terrify them with your tempest. Utterly disgrace them until they submit to your name, O Lord . Let them be ashamed and terrified forever. Let them die in disgrace. Then they will learn that you alone are called the Lord , that you alone are the Most High, supreme over all the earth.’

Psalms 83

Have you had an encounter with Jesus yet? Have you invited Him into your heart? Have you encountered the Holy Spirit? Have you received His wisdom, guidance, and comfort? Do you allow God to be with you everywhere you go? He is Emmanuel, God with us, but we need to invite Him in. We need to make the choice for ourselves. We aren’t robots and so we need to choose with our freewill if we will invite God in and pursue Him with all of our lives, living it as a living sacrifice up to God.

Who is God to you?

Do you have enough compassion to make it right?


Do you realize it will cost you something? Do you realize that you have already been given what is required? Do you realize it means you have to be willing to do something? We need to go beyond being hearers of the Word to becoming doers of the Word. Will you pick up the call on your life and take hold of what James is speaking to us in James 1 about compassion and about suffering in order to share the love of God with the world around you? Will you have faith and endure? Will you listen and do? How will you serve the poor, the widows, and the orphans?


‘This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to the “twelve tribes”—Jewish believers scattered abroad. Greetings!

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements. God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.’

James 1

Today’s reading gets us started in Ruth 4 showing Boaz’s example with Ruth.

‘Boaz went to the town gate and took a seat there. Just then the family redeemer he had mentioned came by, so Boaz called out to him, “Come over here and sit down, friend. I want to talk to you.” So they sat down together. Then Boaz called ten leaders from the town and asked them to sit as witnesses. And Boaz said to the family redeemer, “You know Naomi, who came back from Moab. She is selling the land that belonged to our relative Elimelech. I thought I should speak to you about it so that you can redeem it if you wish. If you want the land, then buy it here in the presence of these witnesses. But if you don’t want it, let me know right away, because I am next in line to redeem it after you.” The man replied, “All right, I’ll redeem it.” Then Boaz told him, “Of course, your purchase of the land from Naomi also requires that you marry Ruth, the Moabite widow. That way she can have children who will carry on her husband’s name and keep the land in the family.” “Then I can’t redeem it,” the family redeemer replied, “because this might endanger my own estate. You redeem the land; I cannot do it.” Now in those days it was the custom in Israel for anyone transferring a right of purchase to remove his sandal and hand it to the other party. This publicly validated the transaction. So the other family redeemer drew off his sandal as he said to Boaz, “You buy the land.” Then Boaz said to the elders and to the crowd standing around, “You are witnesses that today I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelech, Kilion, and Mahlon. And with the land I have acquired Ruth, the Moabite widow of Mahlon, to be my wife. This way she can have a son to carry on the family name of her dead husband and to inherit the family property here in his hometown. You are all witnesses today.” Then the elders and all the people standing in the gate replied, “We are witnesses! May the Lord make this woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, from whom all the nation of Israel descended! May you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. And may the Lord give you descendants by this young woman who will be like those of our ancestor Perez, the son of Tamar and Judah.”

So Boaz took Ruth into his home, and she became his wife. When he slept with her, the Lord enabled her to become pregnant, and she gave birth to a son. Then the women of the town said to Naomi, “Praise the Lord , who has now provided a redeemer for your family! May this child be famous in Israel. May he restore your youth and care for you in your old age. For he is the son of your daughter-in-law who loves you and has been better to you than seven sons!” Naomi took the baby and cuddled him to her breast. And she cared for him as if he were her own. The neighbor women said, “Now at last Naomi has a son again!” And they named him Obed. He became the father of Jesse and the grandfather of David. This is the genealogical record of their ancestor Perez: Perez was the father of Hezron. Hezron was the father of Ram. Ram was the father of Amminadab. Amminadab was the father of Nahshon. Nahshon was the father of Salmon. Salmon was the father of Boaz. Boaz was the father of Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David.’

— Ruth 4

‘“Run up and down every street in Jerusalem,” says the Lord . “Look high and low; search throughout the city! If you can find even one just and honest person, I will not destroy the city. But even when they are under oath, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ they are still telling lies!” Lord , you are searching for honesty. You struck your people, but they paid no attention. You crushed them, but they refused to be corrected. They are determined, with faces set like stone; they have refused to repent. Then I said, “But what can we expect from the poor? They are ignorant. They don’t know the ways of the Lord . They don’t understand God’s laws. So I will go and speak to their leaders. Surely they know the ways of the Lord and understand God’s laws.” But the leaders, too, as one man, had thrown off God’s yoke and broken his chains. So now a lion from the forest will attack them; a wolf from the desert will pounce on them. A leopard will lurk near their towns, tearing apart any who dare to venture out. For their rebellion is great, and their sins are many. “How can I pardon you? For even your children have turned from me. They have sworn by gods that are not gods at all! I fed my people until they were full. But they thanked me by committing adultery and lining up at the brothels. They are well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for his neighbor’s wife. Should I not punish them for this?” says the Lord . “Should I not avenge myself against such a nation? “Go down the rows of the vineyards and destroy the grapevines, leaving a scattered few alive. Strip the branches from the vines, for these people do not belong to the Lord . The people of Israel and Judah are full of treachery against me,” says the Lord . “They have lied about the Lord and said, ‘He won’t bother us! No disasters will come upon us. There will be no war or famine. God’s prophets are all windbags who don’t really speak for him. Let their predictions of disaster fall on themselves!’” Therefore, this is what the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies says: “Because the people are talking like this, my messages will flame out of your mouth and burn the people like kindling wood. O Israel, I will bring a distant nation against you,” says the Lord . “It is a mighty nation, an ancient nation, a people whose language you do not know, whose speech you cannot understand. Their weapons are deadly; their warriors are mighty. They will devour the food of your harvest; they will devour your sons and daughters. They will devour your flocks and herds; they will devour your grapes and figs. And they will destroy your fortified towns, which you think are so safe. “Yet even in those days I will not blot you out completely,” says the Lord . “And when your people ask, ‘Why did the Lord our God do all this to us?’ you must reply, ‘You rejected him and gave yourselves to foreign gods in your own land. Now you will serve foreigners in a land that is not your own.’

“Make this announcement to Israel, and say this to Judah: Listen, you foolish and senseless people, with eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear. Have you no respect for me? Why don’t you tremble in my presence? I, the Lord , define the ocean’s sandy shoreline as an everlasting boundary that the waters cannot cross. The waves may toss and roar, but they can never pass the boundaries I set. But my people have stubborn and rebellious hearts. They have turned away and abandoned me. They do not say from the heart, ‘Let us live in awe of the Lord our God, for he gives us rain each spring and fall, assuring us of a harvest when the time is right.’ Your wickedness has deprived you of these wonderful blessings. Your sin has robbed you of all these good things. “Among my people are wicked men who lie in wait for victims like a hunter hiding in a blind. They continually set traps to catch people. Like a cage filled with birds, their homes are filled with evil plots. And now they are great and rich. They are fat and sleek, and there is no limit to their wicked deeds. They refuse to provide justice to orphans and deny the rights of the poor. Should I not punish them for this?” says the Lord . “Should I not avenge myself against such a nation? A horrible and shocking thing has happened in this land— the prophets give false prophecies, and the priests rule with an iron hand. Worse yet, my people like it that way! But what will you do when the end comes?’

— Jeremiah 5

‘One day Jesus left the crowds to pray alone. Only his disciples were with him, and he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other ancient prophets risen from the dead.” Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah sent from God!”

Jesus warned his disciples not to tell anyone who he was. “The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,” he said. “He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God.”

About eight days later Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly, two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared and began talking with Jesus. They were glorious to see. And they were speaking about his exodus from this world, which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem. Peter and the others had fallen asleep. When they woke up, they saw Jesus’ glory and the two men standing with him. As Moses and Elijah were starting to leave, Peter, not even knowing what he was saying, blurted out, “Master, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials —one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But even as he was saying this, a cloud overshadowed them, and terror gripped them as the cloud covered them. Then a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him.” When the voice finished, Jesus was there alone. They didn’t tell anyone at that time what they had seen.’

— Luke 9:18-36

‘So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. As the Scriptures say, “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.” Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.’

— 1 Peter 2:1-12

‘I said to myself, “I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue when the ungodly are around me.” But as I stood there in silence— not even speaking of good things— the turmoil within me grew worse. The more I thought about it, the hotter I got, igniting a fire of words: “ Lord , remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” Interlude We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. Rescue me from my rebellion. Do not let fools mock me. I am silent before you; I won’t say a word, for my punishment is from you. But please stop striking me! I am exhausted by the blows from your hand. When you discipline us for our sins, you consume like a moth what is precious to us. Each of us is but a breath. Interlude Hear my prayer, O Lord ! Listen to my cries for help! Don’t ignore my tears. For I am your guest— a traveler passing through, as my ancestors were before me. Leave me alone so I can smile again before I am gone and exist no more.’

–Psalms 39

What are you doing? Don’t you remember?


Consider the words you are using. Why are you using such words? Don’t you remember what was told on how to use your words? Consider your actions. Why are you acting that way? Don’t you remember what was told on how to act? What is your motivation for such things? What is your purpose for such things? What is your reason for such things?

Do you remember the wisdom of Proverbs 18:21?

The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

Proverbs 18:21

Do you remember the wisdom of James 3:5-6?

5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

–James 3:5-6–

What about your actions, do you remember what Matthew 7:1-6 says?

1“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

3 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

6 “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.

–Matthew 7:1-6–

Do you remember the wisdom of Colossians 3:17?

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father

–Colossians 3:17–

So consider what you are doing. Consider not only the what but the how and the why. Remember to promises and purposes of God. Don’t forget and stray. Draw closer to God and walk out the rest of your life with Jesus, allowing the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you, instruct you and comfort you.


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


We need to consider the history we receive and learn from in Judges. We need to take hold of the promises of Jesus through Isaiah. Take hold of the testimony about Jesus and John in Luke. Take hold of God’s grace shared through Paul in 1 Timothy 1. Let’s respond in accordance to the wisdom from Psalms 20.

Were you there? Did you see it? What can be done?


If you see something then we are supposed to say something, right? What might keep you from stepping up? What might keep you from speaking up? What might keep you from saying something? What might keep you from doing something? What if you weren’t around? Is there anything that can be done? What about with all the tech out there? Who can help? What can be done?


Today’s reading starts out with Deuteronomy 21:

‘“When you are in the land the Lord your God is giving you, someone may be found murdered in a field, and you don’t know who committed the murder. In such a case, your elders and judges must measure the distance from the site of the crime to the nearby towns. When the nearest town has been determined, that town’s elders must select from the herd a heifer that has never been trained or yoked to a plow. They must lead it down to a valley that has not been plowed or planted and that has a stream running through it. There in the valley they must break the heifer’s neck. Then the Levitical priests must step forward, for the Lord your God has chosen them to minister before him and to pronounce blessings in the Lord ’s name. They are to decide all legal and criminal cases. “The elders of the town must wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken. Then they must say, ‘Our hands did not shed this person’s blood, nor did we see it happen. O Lord , forgive your people Israel whom you have redeemed. Do not charge your people with the guilt of murdering an innocent person.’ Then they will be absolved of the guilt of this person’s blood. By following these instructions, you will do what is right in the Lord ’s sight and will cleanse the guilt of murder from your community.

“Suppose you go out to war against your enemies and the Lord your God hands them over to you, and you take some of them as captives. And suppose you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you are attracted to her and want to marry her. If this happens, you may take her to your home, where she must shave her head, cut her nails, and change the clothes she was wearing when she was captured. She will stay in your home, but let her mourn for her father and mother for a full month. Then you may marry her, and you will be her husband and she will be your wife. But if you marry her and she does not please you, you must let her go free. You may not sell her or treat her as a slave, for you have humiliated her.

“Suppose a man has two wives, but he loves one and not the other, and both have given him sons. And suppose the firstborn son is the son of the wife he does not love. When the man divides his inheritance, he may not give the larger inheritance to his younger son, the son of the wife he loves, as if he were the firstborn son. He must recognize the rights of his oldest son, the son of the wife he does not love, by giving him a double portion. He is the first son of his father’s virility, and the rights of the firstborn belong to him.

“Suppose a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or mother, even though they discipline him. In such a case, the father and mother must take the son to the elders as they hold court at the town gate. The parents must say to the elders, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious and refuses to obey. He is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his town must stone him to death. In this way, you will purge this evil from among you, and all Israel will hear about it and be afraid.

“If someone has committed a crime worthy of death and is executed and hung on a tree, the body must not remain hanging from the tree overnight. You must bury the body that same day, for anyone who is hung is cursed in the sight of God. In this way, you will prevent the defilement of the land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession.’

Deuteronomy 21

and then continues into Isaiah:

‘This message came to me concerning Damascus: “Look, the city of Damascus will disappear! It will become a heap of ruins. The towns of Aroer will be deserted. Flocks will graze in the streets and lie down undisturbed, with no one to chase them away. The fortified towns of Israel will also be destroyed, and the royal power of Damascus will end. All that remains of Syria will share the fate of Israel’s departed glory,” declares the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “In that day Israel’s glory will grow dim; its robust body will waste away. The whole land will look like a grainfield after the harvesters have gathered the grain. It will be desolate, like the fields in the valley of Rephaim after the harvest. Only a few of its people will be left, like stray olives left on a tree after the harvest. Only two or three remain in the highest branches, four or five scattered here and there on the limbs,” declares the Lord , the God of Israel. Then at last the people will look to their Creator and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. They will no longer look to their idols for help or worship what their own hands have made. They will never again bow down to their Asherah poles or worship at the pagan shrines they have built. Their largest cities will be like a deserted forest, like the land the Hivites and Amorites abandoned when the Israelites came here so long ago. It will be utterly desolate. Why? Because you have turned from the God who can save you. You have forgotten the Rock who can hide you. So you may plant the finest grapevines and import the most expensive seedlings. They may sprout on the day you set them out; yes, they may blossom on the very morning you plant them, but you will never pick any grapes from them. Your only harvest will be a load of grief and unrelieved pain. Listen! The armies of many nations roar like the roaring of the sea. Hear the thunder of the mighty forces as they rush forward like thundering waves. But though they thunder like breakers on a beach, God will silence them, and they will run away. They will flee like chaff scattered by the wind, like a tumbleweed whirling before a storm. In the evening Israel waits in terror, but by dawn its enemies are dead. This is the just reward of those who plunder us, a fitting end for those who destroy us.’

Isaiah 17

and

‘Listen, Ethiopia —land of fluttering sails that lies at the headwaters of the Nile, that sends ambassadors in swift boats down the river. Go, swift messengers! Take a message to a tall, smooth-skinned people, who are feared far and wide for their conquests and destruction, and whose land is divided by rivers. All you people of the world, everyone who lives on the earth— when I raise my battle flag on the mountain, look! When I blow the ram’s horn, listen! For the Lord has told me this: “I will watch quietly from my dwelling place— as quietly as the heat rises on a summer day, or as the morning dew forms during the harvest.” Even before you begin your attack, while your plans are ripening like grapes, the Lord will cut off your new growth with pruning shears. He will snip off and discard your spreading branches. Your mighty army will be left dead in the fields for the mountain vultures and wild animals. The vultures will tear at the corpses all summer. The wild animals will gnaw at the bones all winter. At that time the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will receive gifts from this land divided by rivers, from this tall, smooth-skinned people, who are feared far and wide for their conquests and destruction. They will bring the gifts to Jerusalem, where the Lord of Heaven’s Armies dwells.’

Isaiah 18

Today’s reading takes us into the New Testament starting with Matthew 19:

‘Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” “Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” the man asked. And Jesus replied: “‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?” Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Then Peter said to him, “We’ve given up everything to follow you. What will we get?” Jesus replied, “I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Man sits upon his glorious throne, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.’

Matthew 19:16-30

and then Ephesians 1:

‘This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.’

Ephesians 1:1-14

As we consider and as we meditate on God’s Word for today, let us consider how we can receive it and put it into practice. Will we choose to live out our lives following after Jesus and trusting Him for through Him all things are possible. Will we choose to live out a life of service in the Lord’s name? Will we choose to live out our lives so that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name? Will we choose to give thanks to God?

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 136:

‘Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to him who made the heavens so skillfully. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to him who placed the earth among the waters. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights— His faithful love endures forever. the sun to rule the day, His faithful love endures forever. and the moon and stars to rule the night. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to him who killed the firstborn of Egypt. His faithful love endures forever. He brought Israel out of Egypt. His faithful love endures forever. He acted with a strong hand and powerful arm. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to him who parted the Red Sea. His faithful love endures forever. He led Israel safely through, His faithful love endures forever. but he hurled Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to him who led his people through the wilderness. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to him who struck down mighty kings. His faithful love endures forever. He killed powerful kings— His faithful love endures forever. Sihon king of the Amorites, His faithful love endures forever. and Og king of Bashan. His faithful love endures forever. God gave the land of these kings as an inheritance— His faithful love endures forever. a special possession to his servant Israel. His faithful love endures forever. He remembered us in our weakness. His faithful love endures forever. He saved us from our enemies. His faithful love endures forever. He gives food to every living thing. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His faithful love endures forever.’

Psalms 136

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

Be a doer!


We are each given skills and talents. We are each given opportunities. Are you prepared? Are you ready to use the skills and talents you have been given? Are you ready when the opportunity arises to use your skills and talents? Are you ready to be a doer? Being a doer isn’t the same for everyone. We haven’t all been created with the same skills and talents but we have all been created on purpose, with purpose and for a purpose. So what kind of a doer will you be today? We need to go beyond knowing and start doing. We need to do our part in order for the full thing to be accomplished. Do you know what skills you have? Are you being a good steward of them and growing them and maturing them? Do you know what talents you have? Are you being a good steward of them and growing them and maturing them? Do you know your purpose and is it what drives your life? Did you hear the call and answer it? Will you do what you were called to do even if there are people who oppose you? Will you do what you are called to do because of the part you are to play? To whom will you listen? To whom will you obey? Let’s plan and purpose that today we will be a doer!


Today’s reading starts off in Exodus 37 where we learn about doers.

‘Next Bezalel made the Ark of acacia wood—a sacred chest 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high. He overlaid it inside and outside with pure gold, and he ran a molding of gold all around it. He cast four gold rings and attached them to its four feet, two rings on each side. Then he made poles from acacia wood and overlaid them with gold. He inserted the poles into the rings at the sides of the Ark to carry it. Then he made the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—from pure gold. It was 45 inches long and 27 inches wide. He made two cherubim from hammered gold and placed them on the two ends of the atonement cover. He molded the cherubim on each end of the atonement cover, making it all of one piece of gold. The cherubim faced each other and looked down on the atonement cover. With their wings spread above it, they protected it.

Then Bezalel made the table of acacia wood, 36 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 27 inches high. He overlaid it with pure gold and ran a gold molding around the edge. He decorated it with a 3-inch border all around, and he ran a gold molding along the border. Then he cast four gold rings for the table and attached them at the four corners next to the four legs. The rings were attached near the border to hold the poles that were used to carry the table. He made these poles from acacia wood and overlaid them with gold. Then he made special containers of pure gold for the table—bowls, ladles, jars, and pitchers—to be used in pouring out liquid offerings.

Then Bezalel made the lampstand of pure, hammered gold. He made the entire lampstand and its decorations of one piece—the base, center stem, lamp cups, buds, and petals. The lampstand had six branches going out from the center stem, three on each side. Each of the six branches had three lamp cups shaped like almond blossoms, complete with buds and petals. The center stem of the lampstand was crafted with four lamp cups shaped like almond blossoms, complete with buds and petals. There was an almond bud beneath each pair of branches where the six branches extended from the center stem, all made of one piece. The almond buds and branches were all of one piece with the center stem, and they were hammered from pure gold. He also made seven lamps for the lampstand, lamp snuffers, and trays, all of pure gold. The entire lampstand, along with its accessories, was made from 75 pounds of pure gold.

Then Bezalel made the incense altar of acacia wood. It was 18 inches square and 36 inches high, with horns at the corners carved from the same piece of wood as the altar itself. He overlaid the top, sides, and horns of the altar with pure gold, and he ran a gold molding around the entire altar. He made two gold rings and attached them on opposite sides of the altar below the gold molding to hold the carrying poles. He made the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold. Then he made the sacred anointing oil and the fragrant incense, using the techniques of a skilled incense maker.’

Exodus 37

Today’s reading next brings us into Exodus 38.

‘Next Bezalel used acacia wood to construct the square altar of burnt offering. It was 7 1 / 2 feet wide, 7 1 / 2 feet long, and 4 1 / 2 feet high. He made horns for each of its four corners so that the horns and altar were all one piece. He overlaid the altar with bronze. Then he made all the altar utensils of bronze—the ash buckets, shovels, basins, meat forks, and firepans. Next he made a bronze grating and installed it halfway down the side of the altar, under the ledge. He cast four rings and attached them to the corners of the bronze grating to hold the carrying poles. He made the poles from acacia wood and overlaid them with bronze. He inserted the poles through the rings on the sides of the altar. The altar was hollow and was made from planks.

Bezalel made the bronze washbasin and its bronze stand from bronze mirrors donated by the women who served at the entrance of the Tabernacle.

Then Bezalel made the courtyard, which was enclosed with curtains made of finely woven linen. On the south side the curtains were 150 feet long. They were held up by twenty posts set securely in twenty bronze bases. He hung the curtains with silver hooks and rings. He made a similar set of curtains for the north side—150 feet of curtains held up by twenty posts set securely in bronze bases. He hung the curtains with silver hooks and rings. The curtains on the west end of the courtyard were 75 feet long, hung with silver hooks and rings and supported by ten posts set into ten bases. The east end, the front, was also 75 feet long. The courtyard entrance was on the east end, flanked by two curtains. The curtain on the right side was 22 1 / 2 feet long and was supported by three posts set into three bases. The curtain on the left side was also 22 1 / 2 feet long and was supported by three posts set into three bases. All the curtains used in the courtyard were made of finely woven linen. Each post had a bronze base, and all the hooks and rings were silver. The tops of the posts of the courtyard were overlaid with silver, and the rings to hold up the curtains were made of silver. He made the curtain for the entrance to the courtyard of finely woven linen, and he decorated it with beautiful embroidery in blue, purple, and scarlet thread. It was 30 feet long, and its height was 7 1 / 2 feet, just like the curtains of the courtyard walls. It was supported by four posts, each set securely in its own bronze base. The tops of the posts were overlaid with silver, and the hooks and rings were also made of silver. All the tent pegs used in the Tabernacle and courtyard were made of bronze.

This is an inventory of the materials used in building the Tabernacle of the Covenant. The Levites compiled the figures, as Moses directed, and Ithamar son of Aaron the priest served as recorder. Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made everything just as the Lord had commanded Moses. He was assisted by Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, a craftsman expert at engraving, designing, and embroidering with blue, purple, and scarlet thread on fine linen cloth. The people brought special offerings of gold totaling 2,193 pounds, as measured by the weight of the sanctuary shekel. This gold was used throughout the Tabernacle. The whole community of Israel gave 7,545 pounds of silver, as measured by the weight of the sanctuary shekel. This silver came from the tax collected from each man registered in the census. (The tax is one beka, which is half a shekel, based on the sanctuary shekel.) The tax was collected from 603,550 men who had reached their twentieth birthday. The hundred bases for the frames of the sanctuary walls and for the posts supporting the inner curtain required 7,500 pounds of silver, about 75 pounds for each base. The remaining 45 pounds of silver was used to make the hooks and rings and to overlay the tops of the posts. The people also brought as special offerings 5,310 pounds of bronze, which was used for casting the bases for the posts at the entrance to the Tabernacle, and for the bronze altar with its bronze grating and all the altar utensils. Bronze was also used to make the bases for the posts that supported the curtains around the courtyard, the bases for the curtain at the entrance of the courtyard, and all the tent pegs for the Tabernacle and the courtyard.’

Exodus 38

Today’s reading continues over into Job 32.

‘Job’s three friends refused to reply further to him because he kept insisting on his innocence. Then Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the clan of Ram, became angry. He was angry because Job refused to admit that he had sinned and that God was right in punishing him. He was also angry with Job’s three friends, for they made God appear to be wrong by their inability to answer Job’s arguments. Elihu had waited for the others to speak to Job because they were older than he. But when he saw that they had no further reply, he spoke out angrily. Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said, “I am young and you are old, so I held back from telling you what I think. I thought, ‘Those who are older should speak, for wisdom comes with age.’ But there is a spirit within people, the breath of the Almighty within them, that makes them intelligent. Sometimes the elders are not wise. Sometimes the aged do not understand justice. So listen to me, and let me tell you what I think. “I have waited all this time, listening very carefully to your arguments, listening to you grope for words. I have listened, but not one of you has refuted Job or answered his arguments. And don’t tell me, ‘He is too wise for us. Only God can convince him.’ If Job had been arguing with me, I would not answer with your kind of logic! You sit there baffled, with nothing more to say. Should I continue to wait, now that you are silent? Must I also remain silent? No, I will say my piece. I will speak my mind. For I am full of pent-up words, and the spirit within me urges me on. I am like a cask of wine without a vent, like a new wineskin ready to burst! I must speak to find relief, so let me give my answers. I won’t play favorites or try to flatter anyone. For if I tried flattery, my Creator would soon destroy me.’

Job 32

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament in Mark 6.

‘Herod Antipas, the king, soon heard about Jesus, because everyone was talking about him. Some were saying, “This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead. That is why he can do such miracles.” Others said, “He’s the prophet Elijah.” Still others said, “He’s a prophet like the other great prophets of the past.” When Herod heard about Jesus, he said, “John, the man I beheaded, has come back from the dead.” For Herod had sent soldiers to arrest and imprison John as a favor to Herodias. She had been his brother Philip’s wife, but Herod had married her. John had been telling Herod, “It is against God’s law for you to marry your brother’s wife.” So Herodias bore a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But without Herod’s approval she was powerless, for Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him. Herodias’s chance finally came on Herod’s birthday. He gave a party for his high government officials, army officers, and the leading citizens of Galilee. Then his daughter, also named Herodias, came in and performed a dance that greatly pleased Herod and his guests. “Ask me for anything you like,” the king said to the girl, “and I will give it to you.” He even vowed, “I will give you whatever you ask, up to half my kingdom!” She went out and asked her mother, “What should I ask for?” Her mother told her, “Ask for the head of John the Baptist!” So the girl hurried back to the king and told him, “I want the head of John the Baptist, right now, on a tray!” Then the king deeply regretted what he had said; but because of the vows he had made in front of his guests, he couldn’t refuse her. So he immediately sent an executioner to the prison to cut off John’s head and bring it to him. The soldier beheaded John in the prison, brought his head on a tray, and gave it to the girl, who took it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard what had happened, they came to get his body and buried it in a tomb.’

Mark 6:14-29

Next, today’s reading brings us to 1 Corinthians 12.

‘The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. ‘

1 Corinthians 12:12-20

Today’s reading then brings us into the book of Psalms with today’s psalm being Psalms 67. Let’s take a pause and meditate on God’s Word for today and all that is has spoken to us.

‘May God be merciful and bless us. May his face smile with favor on us. Interlude May your ways be known throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere. May the nations praise you, O God. Yes, may all the nations praise you. Let the whole world sing for joy, because you govern the nations with justice and guide the people of the whole world. Interlude May the nations praise you, O God. Yes, may all the nations praise you. Then the earth will yield its harvests, and God, our God, will richly bless us. Yes, God will bless us, and people all over the world will fear him.’

Psalms 67

A SERMON OF RESISTANCE…(The Bible’s Impact on Trade and Taxes [June 16])


So how are you living out your life? Are you loving your neighbor as yourself? Are you living out your life with justice and righteousness leading and guiding your decisioning? Are you standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves? Are you living out your life doing what is right? Are you living out your life doing no wrong and violence to resident aliens? Are you living out your life doing no wrong and violence to the fatherless? Are you living out your life doing no wrong and violence to widows?

How can you make a difference? How can you step in and step up to help those who are unable to help themselves? What kind of a difference can you make in the lives of others? Can you serve them? Can you help them? Can you share with them? Can you give to them? Do you see the need? Do you understand the need? What can you do about the need? Do you know if what you tried is working? Do you tweak and adjust what you do in order to be more efficient and helpful? Do you see the difference you are making by stepping out and stepping up to help?

Today’s reading comes to us from Jeremiah 22

1Thus says the Lord: “Go down to the house of the king of Judah and speak there this word, 2and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah, who sits on the throne of David, you, and your servants, and your people who enter these gates. 3Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. 4For if you will indeed obey this word, then there shall enter the gates of this house kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their servants and their people. 5But if you will not obey these words, I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation. 6For thus says the Lord concerning the house of the king of Judah:

“‘You are like Gilead to me,
like the summit of Lebanon,
yet surely I will make you a desert,
an uninhabited city.
7 I will prepare destroyers against you,
each with his weapons,
and they shall cut down your choicest cedars
and cast them into the fire.

8″‘And many nations will pass by this city, and every man will say to his neighbor, “Why has the Lord dealt thus with this great city?” 9And they will answer, “Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and worshiped other gods and served them.”‘”

10 Weep not for him who is dead,
nor grieve for him,
but weep bitterly for him who goes away,
for he shall return no more
to see his native land.

Message to the Sons of Josiah

11For thus says the Lord concerning Shallum the son of Josiah, king of Judah, who reigned instead of Josiah his father, and who went away from this place: “He shall return here no more, 12but in the place where they have carried him captive, there shall he die, and he shall never see this land again.”

13 “Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness,
and his upper rooms by injustice,
who makes his neighbor serve him for nothing
and does not give him his wages,
14 who says, ‘I will build myself a great house
with spacious upper rooms,’
who cuts out windows for it,
paneling it with cedar
and painting it with vermilion.
15 Do you think you are a king
because you compete in cedar?
Did not your father eat and drink
and do justice and righteousness?
Then it was well with him.
16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy;
then it was well.
Is not this to know me?
declares the Lord.
17 But you have eyes and heart
only for your dishonest gain,
for shedding innocent blood,
and for practicing oppression and violence.”

18Therefore thus says the Lord concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah:

“They shall not lament for him, saying,
‘Ah, my brother!’ or ‘Ah, sister!’
They shall not lament for him, saying,
‘Ah, lord!’ or ‘Ah, his majesty!’
19 With the burial of a donkey he shall be buried,
dragged and dumped beyond the gates of Jerusalem.”
20 “Go up to Lebanon, and cry out,
and lift up your voice in Bashan;
cry out from Abarim,
for all your lovers are destroyed.
21 I spoke to you in your prosperity,
but you said, ‘I will not listen.’
This has been your way from your youth,
that you have not obeyed my voice.
22 The wind shall shepherd all your shepherds,
and your lovers shall go into captivity;
then you will be ashamed and confounded
because of all your evil.
23 O inhabitant of Lebanon,
nested among the cedars,
how you will be pitied when pangs come upon you,
pain as of a woman in labor!”

24″As I live, declares the Lord, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet ring on my right hand, yet I would tear you off 25and give you into the hand of those who seek your life, into the hand of those of whom you are afraid, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of the Chaldeans. 26I will hurl you and the mother who bore you into another country, where you were not born, and there you shall die. 27But to the land to which they will long to return, there they shall not return.”

28 Is this man Coniah a despised, broken pot,
a vessel no one cares for?
Why are he and his children hurled and cast
into a land that they do not know?
29 O land, land, land,
hear the word of the Lord!
30 Thus says the Lord:
“Write this man down as childless,
a man who shall not succeed in his days,
for none of his offspring shall succeed
in sitting on the throne of David
and ruling again in Judah.”

from Jeremiah 22

Don’t resist God! Don’t oppose God! You don’t want to deal with those consequence. Align with God’s will and His purposes! He doesn’t give us commandments to suppress us but rather through these rules we can live and live to the full. He gives us instruction so that we can do what is good, what is right, and what is just so that in and through it all there will be life and life to the full as we celebrate and give God all the praise, the honor, and the glory. Do you realize the pains and the troubles that come from disobeying God? do you see the results of what happens when people start to live against or apart from God? So let’s take hold of His commands and lets live our lives according to His will!

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the subject of the Bible’s impact on Trade and Taxes teaches us about “A Sermon of Resistance” which references Jeremiah 22:3

‘Thus says the Lord : Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. ‘

from Jeremiah 22:3

Do you remember hearing about what happened in Germany? Do you remember what took place thru the Nazis? Today’s devotional starts off with a reminder from Nov 9, 1938 when the night of broken glass (Kristallnacht) took place, destroying Jewish businesses, homes, schools, and synagogues throughout Germany and killing almost one hundred Jews and some 30,000 men to be arrested and put into concentration camps. We learn through today’s devotional about how pastor Julius von Jan the following Sunday delivered a sermon titled “O Land, Land, Land: Hear the World of the Lord!”

While most non-Jews acquiesced, or joined the mob, a few did not. A week after Kristallnacht, in Swabia, Pastor Julius von Jan preached to his congregation, “Houses of worship have been burned down with impunity. Men who served our nation and have done their duty have been thrown into concentration camps because they belong to a different race. Our nation’s infamy is bound to bring about divine punishment.” One week later, Pastor von Jan was brutally beaten and taken to a concentration camp. –from http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=lsKWLbPJLnF&b=4924937&ct=6346483 

Take a look around the world and see what is taking place today. Do we see people of God going into the leaders to speak God’s Word? We see in today’s devotional that at that time there was questioning taking place throughout the people wondering “Where is the prophet in German who is being sent into the king’s house to speak the word of God to him? Where is the man who calls out like Jeremiah: “Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.”? We hear how God had sent them but unfortunately most of them were in concentration camps or muzzled.

So let’s look at the countries of the world and contemplate the ones where God is the center for the people and the leaders and is being obeyed and pursued…

Are we seeing countries that are filled with light shining bright like a city on a hill?

Are we seeing countries that are dark because the light is being hidden under a bushel or being restrained?

We see how doing what is right and what is just may not be well received, but if God calls you to do it will you take the call and accomplish God’s plans and purpose in and through your life?

Today’s devotional concludes on pastor Julius von Jan speaking that for his criticism of the Nazis, he was severely beaten and thrown into jail. Nazis plastered his house with a sign that read Judenknecht or “Jew servant”. He was eventually found guilty of misusing the pulpit and treachery, for which he was imprisoned for 16 month.

Do you see countries in the world today where the Bible can’t be fully preached? Do you see countries that are considered free where such limitations are put on the church because of laws passed? Do you see countries that are considered closed or limited or restricted where people need to meet secretly in order to read and speak of the truths of the Word of God found in the Bible? Do you see countries that are somewhere in the middle? Are they hot? Are they cold? Are they lukewarm? Does it matter? Will it make a difference? What can we do? What impact can we make?

Today’s devotional speaks to pastor Julius von Jan’s courage to act so bravely in such a fear filled atmosphere. He like Jeremiah, who serves as his  model, cried out to his own people for the sake of justice.

So what about you? Ever heard the quote all it takes for evil to win is for good people to do nothing?


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for everything that is in it. I thank You Lord for the plans and the purposes You have for me. Help me today to not allow my life to go to waste or my time to not be used for Your glory. Help me Lord to have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a voice to speak Your truth, Your hope, and Your love into the world around me. Give me wisdom and ideas on things I can do to impact not only this generation but also the ones to come for the glory of Your Kingdom. I ask all this in Jesus’ name, so that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory. Amen.

Will you do what you are able to do? Will you do the right thing? Will you join forces?


If you are asked and are able, will you do it? If you are asked and can do it now, will you do it?

Will you do what is right? Will you do what is just? Will you do what is good?

Are you wanting and trying to be helpful? Are you or as one of the values at the company puts it “joining forces”?

How are you going to respond? Today’s reading comes from Proverbs 3 with the focus on verses 27-30 which say…

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you. Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you. Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm.’ Proverbs 3:27-30

How do you receive that? How do you interpret that? How will you respond to these words of wisdom?

Let’s consider each sentence for a moment…

Do you have what they need? Do you have it available? Will you give it to them? Will you do what is right? Will you do what is good? Will you do it when it is needed?

Do you have a good heart? Are your intentions pure? Are you taking hold of what Jesus said “love your neighbor as yourself“? Are you taking hold of what the Commandments say? ‘”You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” ‘ from Exodus 20:16-17?

Will you do what is right? Will you not hesitate to do what is good? Will you step up and step in to what is required of you?

Don’t stir up trouble! Don’t start an argument! Look at where you are at! Consider what you have! Do what is right!

Today’s devotional from the Global Impact Bible on the topic of human rights first points us to Proverbs 3 and then uses the example of Thabo Mbeki and how he used Proverbs 3:28-30 in the annual Nelson Mandela Lecture in 2006.

Mar 10 - Prov 3_28-30 - Thabo Mbeki - Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture in 2006

Today’s devotional points to how Thabo Mbeki in his speech said:

The Book of Proverbs assumes that as human
beings, we have the human capacity to do as it
says – not to withhold the good from them to whom
it is due, when it is in the power of (our) hand to do
it, and not to say NO to our neighbour, come again,
and we will give you something tomorrow, even
when we can give the necessary help today.
It assumes that we can be encouraged not to
devise evil against our neighbours, with whom we
otherwise live in harmony.
It assumes that we are capable of responding to the
injunction that we should not declare war against
anybody without cause, especially those who have
not caused us any harm.
It urges that in our actions, we should not seek to
emulate the demeanour of our oppressors, nor
adopt their evil practices.

–from NELSON MANDELA MEMORIAL LECTURE BY
PRESIDENT THABO MBEKI: UNIVERSITY OF
WITWATERSRAND, JULY 29, 2006.

So how will you live your today? Are the assumptions correct? Will you live a life that makes a difference in the world around you? Will you choose to receive and follow the example of Jesus and be salt and light into the world around you? Will you be all that God has created you to be? Will you live the way Jesus has shown you to live? Will you receive Jesus into your heart and be transformed from the inside out?


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this day and for Your Word that tells me that I should do what You have prepared in advance for me to do. I thank You for Your plans that are so much better and so much greater than my plans as You go before me preparing in advance the good works You have for me to accomplish. Grant me the wisdom, the boldness, and the courage Lord to not hold back but to step up and step in to every situation You have prepared for me. Help me also to know when it is and isn’t Your will for me to step into a situation so that only by Your wisdom and Your grace I may live a life that will bring You all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Would you stand by and do nothing?


If you see something, will you say something? If you see something, will you do something? If you hear something, will you listen? If you hear something, will you respond?

Would you stand by and do nothing?

do-something-vs-do-nothing

Have you ever heard the quote from Edmond Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

So what if you do something but they won’t listen? Will you still keep speaking?

So what if you do something but they won’t change? Will you stand firm?

When the mourning starts do you want to be able to say you did something, you tried?

Would you really want people to be able to say they didn’t know or didn’t realize?

So will you do something before it is too late? Will you sit on the sideline and do nothing?

do-something-vs-do-nothing

There is a war going on right now! It’s a war for the souls of everyone on earth!

Every soul that rejects Jesus will spend eternity apart from God! Every soul that received Jesus will spend eternity in heaven!

While we are alive there is still hope and still a chance! Once you die, you no longer have the change or the choice to change your mind!

So we need to speak now! We need to share now! We need to do something now before it is too late!

Don’t stand by and do nothing! Stand up and invest in the one thing that lasts beyond the stuff – the soul of the people around you!

Turn to God! Call out to Him! Humble yourself to Him! Ask Him for forgiveness! Ask Jesus into your heart! He will hear from heaven, forgive your sins, and heal your land!

Before it is too late, don’t be so proud that you miss out the truth! Don’t be so proud that you get tripped up! Don’t be so proud that you fall!

Is today your day?

Would you stand by and do nothing? How do you want to be remembered? How do you want to be received? How many lives will be changed because of Jesus in you being shared with them?

do-something-vs-do-nothing


Today’s reading starts in the book of Lamentation, continues into Obadiah, and then closes in Philippians.


Today’s Reading: Lamentations 4, 5, Obadiah 1, Philippians 3