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: It’s that time of the week and the hump in the week is feeling steeper, so let’s dig deeper in order to use it as a ramp to get us farther!


Can you believe it is the middle of the week again? Where does the time go? Yesterday my son finished his first year of high school and today my younger daughter finishes her senior year of classes. Today is the first day of the second 25 years of marriage as we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary yesterday. And there is still so much to get done. So today the focus is on accelerating up the hill, over the hump in order to use it as a ramp for getting more done and landing further ahead. It’s time to make it happen, no excuses, no delays, just get it done! As Knight Rider would say “turbo boost K.I.T.T.”.

It’s time to get ahead and get it done so we can be prepared. So let’s make today count! Let’s grab hold of what the definition of thrive really is:

Definition of thrive
intransitive verb
1: to grow vigorously : FLOURISH
2: to gain in wealth or possessions : PROSPER
3: to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances -- often used with on // thrives on conflict

So today, let’s choose to thrive for the glory of God!


Today’s Verse of the Day:

‘Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. ‘

1 Peter 5:6

Today’s post from Be The Dads is Just For Dads: Be A Positive Christian Role Model – Day 7


Let’s choose to live our lives humbly submitted to God! Let’s choose to live our lives with humility and allow God to lift us up at the right time rather than walking around with pride and arrogance and being brought down! Let’s ask Jesus into our hearts in order to receive a new heart and be able to live our lives in alignment and in relationship with God! Could today be your day for this new beginning? Could today be your day to live differently? Invite Jesus into your heart! Invite Jesus into your life and situation! Pursue Him with all you have and see God’s hand lead and guide you beyond anything you could ever ask or imagine!

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: Let’s get it done!


As I wake up this morning I see a list of todos in front of me with excitement and energy. As I look ahead and see how busy work is and how busy life is I am excited to see God’s hand at work across all the areas of my life. Be it work with planning and preparing, meeting and learning, driving and executing. Be it life with training plans, camp plans, college plans, family plans, travel plans, and graduation plans. Both are busy and as I like to joke with people it helps me stay balanced. So as we get today going, let’s be focused, putting first things first, seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness so that we can get it done in alignment and accordance with His perfect will and plan and purpose for our lives and allow God to help carry the load and get it done for His glory!


Today’s Verse of the Day:

‘The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. ‘

Proverbs 18:21

Today’s post from Be The Dads is
UNCOMMEN: Dads 2 – Day 1


Are you ready to go beyond just being a hearer of the Word to being a doer for the Word? Are you ready to get your to-dos into to-dones? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your situation and ask Him for wisdom to help you live your life to the full as He desires? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your heart and allow Him to lead and guide you through your day?

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: So there is a change in direction and so you provide input, …


The first day of the workweek is behind us. I grabbed the concept, the direction, the idea and produced recommendations to support it. So much change is taking place and yet with the final update published my final destination (from a reporting structure) is unclear. The good news is that my final destination (for eternity has been decided). So I lean into God for wisdom and direction! I lean into God for strength the press in and persevere. I lean into God to know what’s next and trust in Him for the perfect answer in the perfect timing and that He will help me walk through each day till the timing is right. In the new world, who can I talk to? In this new world even though I have a past and a history with people does this new change mean I have to hold back or stop reaching out to help? In this new world with so much decided and yet feeling like I am missing the why. When we consider what has been and is now taking place in this world, the words of the book of Hebrews comes to mind where it says:

‘At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”’

Hebrews 12:26-29

Even in looking up and looking at “everything that can be shaken will be shaken” another scripture showed up:

‘“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘

Haggai 2:6-7

Do you feel the shaking taking place in and around your life? What things do you need to let go of or give away? What things do you need to hold onto? Ever considered what things really matter and will last? It’s not the stuff! It’s the people! Even when we consider the gifts of God faith, hope, and love will last and the greatest of these is love. As we consider and contemplate this today will it change the way we choose to live out our today? No matter the struggles that come our way we need to remember that our struggles aren’t against flesh and blood but rather against powers and principalities of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. We can’t lose hope when we face these struggles but instead, we need to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds remembering that it is building our faith and that when we persevere and allow perseverance to finish its work we will be complete and lacking nothing. Struggles aren’t for the few but rather Jesus even warned us that “in this world we will have troubles” but He also provides us with a word of hope and He says “but take heart for I have overcome the world“.

So it’s the second day of the workweek. There is an emergency to take care of. There is change and shaking taking place. So let’s not lose hope but instead persevere! Let’s not lose hope but instead put our trust in and lean on God! Let’s not lose hope but instead choose unity at the speed of health to ensure we can all make it through this together.


Verse of the Day:

‘She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. ‘

Proverbs 31:20

Today’s post from Be The Dads is Killing Sin – Day 1


So what are you facing today? Are you ready to turn it over to God? Are you ready to go it His way?

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: Workweek is over and still decisions to be made…


Let us take hold of the reality of what we have learned through the book of Exodus when it comes to THRIVING and allow God’s Word to help us as we look ahead and into the future of this life. We learned about risk-taking, getting out of the boat, and allowing God to do new things in our lives, God answers prayer, and God is near to His people. We learned that God’s deepest work can come out through our trials, troubles, and pain. We learned how we are closer to a breakthrough than we think even during what we are going through. Just like the turbulence right before breaking through the sound barrier, life can get bumpy right before the breakthrough. During the struggle, we need to trust God and His choice of us for this calling and purpose rather than thinking we are the wrong choice. We need to trust God even when we do not understand. We need to keep turning to God when we do not know what to do or where to go. We need to fight our way through the pain, fear, and unbelief. God is in control! Do not give up! Lean in, kneel, and call out to God. We have learned the importance of picking our battles. We need to choose to fight the fight of trust – that God is good even when our circumstances are not. We need to choose to fight the fight of perseverance – to keep going and not quit (do not give in to the doubts and fears the devil is trying to use to get you to quit). We need to choose to fight the fight for unity – to move forward at the speed of health. We learned the why! It is important to know why! Why did God put Egypt through the plagues? Because He wanted to answer Pharoah’s question “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.” Egypt had a god for everything, and the plagues demonstrated that God was over and of them because they were not real gods. We need to understand WHY. Could simplification be the answer? What does that say and what does that mean for and to you? We learned the importance of leaving the things behind us to move forward to the things God has for us. We learned the importance of leaving the mistakes and trials of the past behind us. We learned the need to let go of the struggles and pains of the past. We learned the importance to instruct our kids. We learned God is so for you – taking you right where you are and leading you into a new beginning. We cannot get stuck in the past and not step up and step out into what God has planned for us. We need to do what we have to do to get where God needs us to be. We learned that we need to wake up to the reality of what is taking place instead of getting stuck we need to act. We need to pray and call on God rather than absorbing or accepting failure around us. We need to be able to accept success and breakthroughs when it is right in front of us. We cannot allow the fear of the unknown or the future to become our master again. We learned how we must let God make the change and take hold of the reality that God is able to exceedingly, abundantly more than you can ask or imagine. We learned how God wants to forgive you so much He came after you. He did all the work himself. Just needed to accept the gift. Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. We learned how God gave the cloud and the fire to comfort them. Do not let your heart be troubled. God has a change and a new way for you. God will stand between you and the enemy. We learned how today by faith in Christ you can be forgiven and start the journey with Him. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will lead you and guide you. He will come behind you to watch your back. We learned that we need to do what God is telling us to do. We need to stop going backward. We need to stop surrendering when we are on the verge of a breakthrough. Start moving towards what God is calling you to. Dare to sow, to pray, to give your best. The things you can do so do it. We learned how God had the wind stack up the water into walls and dried the ground. Let us keep our eyes on the Lord and keep moving towards what He is showing us and telling us. Pharaoh woke up to a supply chain issue – he questioned why he let them go and just because one day their eyes may be opened to the reality of the situation, it does not mean that we should not be moving forward into the promised land and glory had prepared in advance for us to step into. God does not send you to hell, He opened the door to forgiveness and heaven, and we need to choose the final destination. You are the only one who can keep you from eternal life with God and forgiveness. 

So, what is next for you? What will you decide? Are you ready to accept the change and move from surviving into thriving? Are you ready to receive what God has prepared in advance for you to do. Are you ready to accomplish the good works God has prepared in advance for you to do. Will you accept the calling? Will you step up and step out for the glory of God? The choice is yours! We have freewill and we can choose to be used by God or to abdicate our responsibility and calling. Remember the story of Esther and how she was called to save her people? Remember the story of when the people were praising Jesus and when told to tell them to stop, He answered that if they stopped the rocks would cry out


Today’s Verse of the Day:

‘Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. ‘

Proverbs 29:25

Today’s post from Be The Dads is 10 Challenges Every Dad Must Conquer – Day 3


Where are you today? What decisions are you facing? What challenges are you facing? What struggles are you facing? What opportunities are you facing? What will you do about it? Where will you turn for wisdom and advice? What will you do about the answer you receive? Will you go? Will you do it? Will you trust Him? Let’s give it up to God! Let’s go to Him for wisdom and advice! Let’s be obedient to His instruction and go do it!

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: 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:

Whatcha going to do?


This is a new day. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. So what are you going to do with your today?

What needs to be done? What needs to be done by you?

What are the needs? How will you fill them?

The Bible provides many examples of things we can do by faith. What are you going to do with your today?

The Bible isn’t just a book of stories, it is an instruction manual to help us be able to live productive lives. What are you going to do with your today?

The Bible is a love letter from God that helps you know how to live a life that can be blessed. What are you going to do with your today?

If we take the key element from the Bible which is LOVE, and how we are to LOVE God and LOVE people, how will that change the way you decide to do your today?

Are you ready to live, to love, and to serve? Are you ready to make a difference with your today? Are willing to make your today a Happy Today fueled by the joy of the Lord?


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for August 25th


Don’t Kid Yourself


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. ‘

James 1:22
POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Are you a good listener?
  • Are you a good understander?
  • Are you a good implementer?
  • Are you a good planner?
  • Are you a good doer?
  • Sitting in a class doesn’t make you a student.
  • Sitting in a garage doesn’t make us a car.
  • Sitting in a church doesn’t make us a Christian.
  • Have you had an encounter with Jesus? Have you been transformed and started a real relationship with Him?
  • How often to you go and hear something but later when asked about it you realize you weren’t listening very well?
  • How often do you go and hear something committed to learning and obeying and finding that you listened and have something you can now apply?
  • Being committed to obeying opens the door to sharpen our minds.
  • Being committed to obeying opens the door to being able to put the truth into action.
  • Are you ok with just knowing what you are supposed to do?
  • Are you ok with being able to apply that knowledge in the world around you?
  • Do you prefer to be a hearer or a doer?
  • Are you ready to absorb the truth in order to allow it to transform your life?
  • Are you ready to absorb the truth in order to allow your response to life to change?
  • Are you ready to commit to doing what you learn about the truth?
  • Are you ready to do what you are being called to do?
  • Are you ready to take that knowledge and apply it in the world you live today?
  • Let’s decide to be doers of the Word today rather than just hearers of it!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • Are you a doer or only a hearer? Explain your answer.
  • Have you made the decision to represent Christ? How does (or will) that decision change how you listen to truth?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“The last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right deed for the wrong reason.”

T. S. Eliot

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


So where are you at today? What is your view of the truth? What is your reason or as I’ve heard some say “raison d’être“? Are you living out your life as a doer of the Word? Are you living out your life as a hearer of the Word? Have you decided to receive Jesus into your heart? Have you chosen to go beyond hearing and reading about Jesus to starting a real relationship with Him? Could today be your day? Let’s pray:

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?


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?


Do you know what to stop? Do you know what to avoid?


As I was starting my day the verse of the day jumped out at me with an interesting statement. I started with 6 things God hates and 7 that He detests. It brought to mind what things are being done that should be stopped? It also brought to mind what things are being done that should be avoided. After the last couple of days speaking to what we need and should be doing all founded on love, it was interesting to me to read today’s verse of the day. If we just love God and love people, we won’t find ourselves doing what God hates nor what He detests. So as we consider the DOs and how we can live out our lives with AGAPE or UNCONDITIONAL love and live our lives loving our neighbors as ourselves and as we learn through the story of the Good Samaritan – it means we need to love everyone! God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to give His life once for all in order to make a way to pay for our rebellion and rejection, put another way out sin, so that we can and are able to turn back to God and receive forgiveness, put another way repent of our wicked ways and be forgiven. And yet, here we are today and loving everyone isn’t the way the world is moving forward. It isn’t fake love but unconditional love that we are to be living. We are to be living AGAPE love not just PHILEO or EROS type of love which are temporary or can sway or change over time. AGAPE is something where even if you don’t like someone, you can still love them. You wouldn’t have PHILEO love nor EROS love for someone you don’t like. So today, let’s get our day started with and in love!


Today’s reading from God’s Word comes from the book of Proverbs:

‘ These six things the Lord hates, indeed, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look [the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others], a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, [Ps. 120:2, 3.] A heart that manufactures wicked thoughts and plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who breathes out lies [even under oath], and he who sows discord among his brethren.’
Proverbs 6:16-19

So first let’s look to remove pride for we know that pride comes before the fall. Let’s eliminate the spirit that makes us overestimate ourselves and underestimate others. Second, let’s be truth seekers and truth tellers and remove a lying tongue. Third, let’s be justice and righteous and stop causing or instigating or creating situation that will cause the shedding of innocent blood. Forth, let’s bring our minds under the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help us purify and sanctify and cleanse our minds, taking captive every thought and making it obedient to Christ so as to stop the creation and the speaking and the acting of manufactured wicked thoughts and plans. Fifth, let’s turn back to God, let’s turn from wickedness and evil, let’s humble ourselves keeping our feet from running to evil and getting tripped up by the lies of the devil who is trying to rob, kill, and destroy us. Sixth, we need to be seeking truth and justice, keeping ourselves from making up stories and being false witnesses or gossips. Seventh, let’s be people who live their lives to produce love, hope, truth, and unity, people who are trying to draw people together and towards God by the words we speak, the thoughts we think, and the way we live our lives keeping from sowing discord among others.

Are you with me? Are you willing to try and be doers of God’s Word? Are you willing to be ambassadors of peace? Are you willing to be salt and light? Are you willing to lead with love even when it is hard and you may not be in agreement with others? Will you put God first, loving God? Will you put people second, loving your neighbor as yourself? Just these two love commands will make such an impact to the world around you for the glory of God, in Jesus’ name.


Let’s choose the way that leads to life! Let’s choose to live our lives in a way that produces good fruit! Let’s choose to live in a way that will produce life!


With September in the rearview mirror how will you live out your today?
With September in the rearview mirror how will you live out your today? Another work week complete. Less than a week away from a new year beginning. Taking record of the lessons learned this year and how to use them to improve the year ahead that will start in a week. They say hindsight is 2020, let’s learn from it and not repeat the mistake nor increase the pain, let’s choose to be salt and light, being good stewards, and producing good fruits by the Spirit of God!

The 49 week challenge
Day 298

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 298 link to join me and sign up. It is never too late. The 49 week challenge has 6 days in which to notice a promise to trust, a command to obey, a truth to embrace, a warning to heed, or an encouragement to rest in and 1 day to reflect on what you’re learning and to share it with others, to think back over the week’s readings, to see connections between the various passages of the week. Each day we have time to talk to God and contemplate what is being said through His Word, and even more so on the 7th day.

How interested are you in what will happen today? How interested are you in what will be required of you today? How interested are you in what decisions you will need to make today? How interested are you in hearing from God today? How interested are you in accomplishing what God is calling you to do today? What if it were life and death decision? What if it were everlasting life and everlasting death decision? What if the decision that you make today will determine how you will spend the rest of eternity? Would it make a difference?

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:

My Notes:

  • Consider all that we have to be thankful for
  • Remember your calling
  • Remember the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline
  • Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
  • Be strong in grace
  • Entrust to reliable people who will teach others
  • Let’s live according to the rules
  • Let’s endure for Jesus!
  • Let’s be faithful to God!
  • Let’s be a worker who handles the word of truth
  • Let’s build our lives on God’s solid foundation!
  • Let’s decide to invite Jesus into our hearts and become His
  • Let’s be useful to God and be ready to do the good work He prepares in advance for us to accomplish.
  • Do not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
  • Don’t be a gossip or troublemaker
  • Don’t be grumblers against God
  • Don’t be a grumbler against God’s plan and will
  • What would it take to get your attention? How severely would it have to be? Would it require the ground swallowing it or you up? Would it require a plague?
  • How long does it take for you to forget what God has done and you start grumbling?
  • God can take what the enemy meant for evil and turn it around and use it for good.
  • Don’t lose hope or faith in the midst of trials and troubles. Trust in God!
  • Remember the experiences of the past, the trials and troubles, and how God used it and turned it around for His glory and promised you Job 42:12
  • Lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge God who will make your path straight!

As day 298 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?

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?

Today’s devotional that I am following is The 49-Week Challenge comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit www.life.church — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through Bible.com

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?

Are you ready to make things right?


If you learn of a wrong, will you do something to make it right? If you learn of a wrong you made, will you do something to make it right? If you learn of a wrong done by someone else, will you do something to make it right? Will you think about it or actually do something? Will you be someone who plans or someone who does? Will you ask the wronged party what reconciliation would require? Will you go beyond your thoughts and ideas and ask those who were impacted? Will you respond immediately or will you have to ponder it? Does it matter how you found out? Does it matter who did the wrong? Does it matter when it happened? Are you ready to make things right? Are you ready to take care of it right now?


Today’s reading gets us started in God’s Word with 2 Samuel 21 showing us how David responds to just such an occasion…

‘There was a famine during David’s reign that lasted for three years, so David asked the Lord about it. And the Lord said, “The famine has come because Saul and his family are guilty of murdering the Gibeonites.” So the king summoned the Gibeonites. They were not part of Israel but were all that was left of the nation of the Amorites. The people of Israel had sworn not to kill them, but Saul, in his zeal for Israel and Judah, had tried to wipe them out. David asked them, “What can I do for you? How can I make amends so that you will bless the Lord ’s people again?” “Well, money can’t settle this matter between us and the family of Saul,” the Gibeonites replied. “Neither can we demand the life of anyone in Israel.” “What can I do then?” David asked. “Just tell me and I will do it for you.” Then they replied, “It was Saul who planned to destroy us, to keep us from having any place at all in the territory of Israel. So let seven of Saul’s sons be handed over to us, and we will execute them before the Lord at Gibeon, on the mountain of the Lord . ” “All right,” the king said, “I will do it.” The king spared Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, who was Saul’s grandson, because of the oath David and Jonathan had sworn before the Lord . But he gave them Saul’s two sons Armoni and Mephibosheth, whose mother was Rizpah daughter of Aiah. He also gave them the five sons of Saul’s daughter Merab, the wife of Adriel son of Barzillai from Meholah. The men of Gibeon executed them on the mountain before the Lord . So all seven of them died together at the beginning of the barley harvest. Then Rizpah daughter of Aiah, the mother of two of the men, spread burlap on a rock and stayed there the entire harvest season. She prevented the scavenger birds from tearing at their bodies during the day and stopped wild animals from eating them at night. When David learned what Rizpah, Saul’s concubine, had done, he went to the people of Jabesh-gilead and retrieved the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan. (When the Philistines had killed Saul and Jonathan on Mount Gilboa, the people of Jabesh-gilead stole their bodies from the public square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hung them.) So David obtained the bones of Saul and Jonathan, as well as the bones of the men the Gibeonites had executed. Then the king ordered that they bury the bones in the tomb of Kish, Saul’s father, at the town of Zela in the land of Benjamin. After that, God ended the famine in the land. Once again the Philistines were at war with Israel. And when David and his men were in the thick of battle, David became weak and exhausted. Ishbi-benob was a descendant of the giants ; his bronze spearhead weighed more than seven pounds, and he was armed with a new sword. He had cornered David and was about to kill him. But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue and killed the Philistine. Then David’s men declared, “You are not going out to battle with us again! Why risk snuffing out the light of Israel?” After this, there was another battle against the Philistines at Gob. As they fought, Sibbecai from Hushah killed Saph, another descendant of the giants. During another battle at Gob, Elhanan son of Jair from Bethlehem killed the brother of Goliath of Gath. The handle of his spear was as thick as a weaver’s beam! In another battle with the Philistines at Gath, they encountered a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in all, who was also a descendant of the giants. But when he defied and taunted Israel, he was killed by Jonathan, the son of David’s brother Shimea. These four Philistines were descendants of the giants of Gath, but David and his warriors killed them.’

2 Samuel 21

‘The Lord gave Jeremiah the prophet this message concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians. This is what the Lord says: “Tell the whole world, and keep nothing back. Raise a signal flag to tell everyone that Babylon will fall! Her images and idols will be shattered. Her gods Bel and Marduk will be utterly disgraced. For a nation will attack her from the north and bring such destruction that no one will live there again. Everything will be gone; both people and animals will flee. “In those coming days,” says the Lord , “the people of Israel will return home together with the people of Judah. They will come weeping and seeking the Lord their God. They will ask the way to Jerusalem and will start back home again. They will bind themselves to the Lord with an eternal covenant that will never be forgotten. “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray and turned them loose in the mountains. They have lost their way and can’t remember how to get back to the sheepfold. All who found them devoured them. Their enemies said, ‘We did nothing wrong in attacking them, for they sinned against the Lord , their true place of rest, and the hope of their ancestors.’ “But now, flee from Babylon! Leave the land of the Babylonians. Like male goats at the head of the flock, lead my people home again. For I am raising up an army of great nations from the north. They will join forces to attack Babylon, and she will be captured. The enemies’ arrows will go straight to the mark; they will not miss! Babylonia will be looted until the attackers are glutted with loot. I, the Lord , have spoken! “You rejoice and are glad, you who plundered my chosen people. You frisk about like a calf in a meadow and neigh like a stallion. But your homeland will be overwhelmed with shame and disgrace. You will become the least of nations— a wilderness, a dry and desolate land. Because of the Lord ’s anger, Babylon will become a deserted wasteland. All who pass by will be horrified and will gasp at the destruction they see there. “Yes, prepare to attack Babylon, all you surrounding nations. Let your archers shoot at her; spare no arrows. For she has sinned against the Lord . Shout war cries against her from every side. Look! She surrenders! Her walls have fallen. It is the Lord ’s vengeance, so take vengeance on her. Do to her as she has done to others! Take from Babylon all those who plant crops; send all the harvesters away. Because of the sword of the enemy, everyone will run away and rush back to their own lands. “The Israelites are like sheep that have been scattered by lions. First the king of Assyria ate them up. Then King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon cracked their bones.” Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Now I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, just as I punished the king of Assyria. And I will bring Israel home again to its own land, to feed in the fields of Carmel and Bashan, and to be satisfied once more in the hill country of Ephraim and Gilead. In those days,” says the Lord , “no sin will be found in Israel or in Judah, for I will forgive the remnant I preserve. “Go up, my warriors, against the land of Merathaim and against the people of Pekod. Pursue, kill, and completely destroy them, as I have commanded you,” says the Lord . “Let the battle cry be heard in the land, a shout of great destruction. Babylon, the mightiest hammer in all the earth, lies broken and shattered. Babylon is desolate among the nations! Listen, Babylon, for I have set a trap for you. You are caught, for you have fought against the Lord . The Lord has opened his armory and brought out weapons to vent his fury. The terror that falls upon the Babylonians will be the work of the Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Yes, come against her from distant lands. Break open her granaries. Crush her walls and houses into heaps of rubble. Destroy her completely, and leave nothing! Destroy even her young bulls— it will be terrible for them, too! Slaughter them all! For Babylon’s day of reckoning has come. Listen to the people who have escaped from Babylon, as they tell in Jerusalem how the Lord our God has taken vengeance against those who destroyed his Temple. “Send out a call for archers to come to Babylon. Surround the city so none can escape. Do to her as she has done to others, for she has defied the Lord , the Holy One of Israel. Her young men will fall in the streets and die. Her soldiers will all be killed,” says the Lord . “See, I am your enemy, you arrogant people,” says the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “Your day of reckoning has arrived— the day when I will punish you. O land of arrogance, you will stumble and fall, and no one will raise you up. For I will light a fire in the cities of Babylon that will burn up everything around them.” This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “The people of Israel and Judah have been wronged. Their captors hold them and refuse to let them go. But the one who redeems them is strong. His name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. He will defend them and give them rest again in Israel. But for the people of Babylon there will be no rest! “The sword of destruction will strike the Babylonians,” says the Lord . “It will strike the people of Babylon— her officials and wise men, too. The sword will strike her wise counselors, and they will become fools. The sword will strike her mightiest warriors, and panic will seize them. The sword will strike her horses and chariots and her allies from other lands, and they will all become like women. The sword will strike her treasures, and they all will be plundered. A drought will strike her water supply, causing it to dry up. And why? Because the whole land is filled with idols, and the people are madly in love with them. “Soon Babylon will be inhabited by desert animals and hyenas. It will be a home for owls. Never again will people live there; it will lie desolate forever. I will destroy it as I destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns,” says the Lord . “No one will live there; no one will inhabit it. “Look! A great army is coming from the north. A great nation and many kings are rising against you from far-off lands. They are armed with bows and spears. They are cruel and show no mercy. As they ride forward on horses, they sound like a roaring sea. They are coming in battle formation, planning to destroy you, Babylon. The king of Babylon has heard reports about the enemy, and he is weak with fright. Pangs of anguish have gripped him, like those of a woman in labor. “I will come like a lion from the thickets of the Jordan, leaping on the sheep in the pasture. I will chase Babylon from its land, and I will appoint the leader of my choice. For who is like me, and who can challenge me? What ruler can oppose my will?” Listen to the Lord ’s plans against Babylon and the land of the Babylonians. Even the little children will be dragged off like sheep, and their homes will be destroyed. The earth will shake with the shout, “Babylon has been taken!” and its cry of despair will be heard around the world.’

Jeremiah 50

‘Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph. He was a member of the Jewish high council, but he had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other religious leaders. He was from the town of Arimathea in Judea, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come. He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock. This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation, as the Sabbath was about to begin. As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed. Then they went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint his body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law.’

Luke 20:50-56

‘But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” Then they remembered that he had said this. So they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women who told the apostles what had happened. But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it. However, Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings; then he went home again, wondering what had happened.’

Luke 24:1-12

‘You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires. (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.) These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith. But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres.’

2 Timothy 3:1-9

‘God presides over heaven’s court; he pronounces judgment on the heavenly beings: “How long will you hand down unjust decisions by favoring the wicked? Interlude “Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people. But these oppressors know nothing; they are so ignorant! They wander about in darkness, while the whole world is shaken to the core. I say, ‘You are gods; you are all children of the Most High. But you will die like mere mortals and fall like every other ruler.’” Rise up, O God, and judge the earth, for all the nations belong to you.’

Psalms 82

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

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 see what’s going on all around us?


Do you see the bickering? Do you see the bantering? Do you see the taunting? Do you see the lying? Do you see the deception? Do you see the plotting? Do you see the evil? Do you see the blame game? Do you see the violence? Do you see those trying to create division? Do you see miscarriage of justice? Do you see double standards? Do you see destruction? Do you see arguments? Do you see fighting? Do you see the law being paralyzed? Do you see wickedness?

Do you see the hope? Do you see the love? Do you see the good? Do you see the helping hands? Do you see the healing hands? Do you see the truth? Do you see the unity? Do you see the rest? Do you see a future?

So what are you doing about it? Where are you turning? How are you sharing? How are you caring? How are you daring? Are you calling? Are you listening?


This isn’t new, but there is an answer. Depending on how people choose to respond will impact which answer is required. Let’s go back and take a look at Habakkuk…

1This is the message that the prophet Habakkuk received in a vision.

Habakkuk’s Complaint

2How long, O lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save. 3Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. 4The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted.

The Lord’s Reply

5The lord replied, “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it. 6I am raising up the Babylonians, a cruel and violent people. They will march across the world and conquer other lands. 7They are notorious for their cruelty and do whatever they like. 8Their horses are swifter than cheetahs and fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their charioteers charge from far away. Like eagles, they swoop down to devour their prey. 9“On they come, all bent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind, sweeping captives ahead of them like sand. 10They scoff at kings and princes and scorn all their fortresses. They simply pile ramps of earth against their walls and capture them! 11They sweep past like the wind and are gone. But they are deeply guilty, for their own strength is their god.”

Habakkuk’s Second Complaint

12O lord my God, my Holy One, you who are eternal— surely you do not plan to wipe us out? O lord, our Rock, you have sent these Babylonians to correct us, to punish us for our many sins. 13But you are pure and cannot stand the sight of evil. Will you wink at their treachery? Should you be silent while the wicked swallow up people more righteous than they? 14Are we only fish to be caught and killed? Are we only sea creatures that have no leader? 15Must we be strung up on their hooks and caught in their nets while they rejoice and celebrate? 16Then they will worship their nets and burn incense in front of them. “These nets are the gods who have made us rich!” they will claim. 17Will you let them get away with this forever? Will they succeed forever in their heartless conquests?

–from Habakkuk 1

There will be correction till the end times when the final judgment will take place. Take a look around and consider the correction that is necessary based on what you are seeing. We need to be pointing people back to God! We need to be introducing them to Jesus! For there is only way and it is with and thru Jesus! We need to turn this place back to God! We need to get people to see through the charades and the lies and the tricks. We need to get people to truly desire real change not the false promises. We need to put the right people in place for the benefit of the people in alignment with the will of God so that there is a push for unity rather than division, love rather than hate, truth rather than lies, and hope rather than despair. God is patient with us! His hope is that nobody would perish but turn back and receive eternal life! God is just! The battle belongs to the Lord! So don’t worry or be anxious, put your trust in Him – lift your care up to Him! Do what He is telling you! Walk in alignment to His commands! Hear His voice and obey His direction and instructions! And watch Him take care of it!

1I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the lord says and how he will answer my complaint.

The Lord’s Second Reply

2Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. 3This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. 4“Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God. 5Wealth is treacherous, and the arrogant are never at rest. They open their mouths as wide as the grave, and like death, they are never satisfied. In their greed they have gathered up many nations and swallowed many peoples. 6“But soon their captives will taunt them. They will mock them, saying, ‘What sorrow awaits you thieves! Now you will get what you deserve! You’ve become rich by extortion, but how much longer can this go on?’ 7Suddenly, your debtors will take action. They will turn on you and take all you have, while you stand trembling and helpless. 8Because you have plundered many nations, now all the survivors will plunder you. You committed murder throughout the countryside and filled the towns with violence. 9“What sorrow awaits you who build big houses with money gained dishonestly! You believe your wealth will buy security, putting your family’s nest beyond the reach of danger. 10But by the murders you committed, you have shamed your name and forfeited your lives. 11The very stones in the walls cry out against you, and the beams in the ceilings echo the complaint. 12“What sorrow awaits you who build cities with money gained through murder and corruption! 13Has not the Lord of Heaven’s Armies promised that the wealth of nations will turn to ashes? They work so hard, but all in vain! 14For as the waters fill the sea, the earth will be filled with an awareness of the glory of the Lord. 15“What sorrow awaits you who make your neighbors drunk! You force your cup on them so you can gloat over their shameful nakedness. 16But soon it will be your turn to be disgraced. Come, drink and be exposed! Drink from the cup of the Lord’s judgment, and all your glory will be turned to shame. 17You cut down the forests of Lebanon. Now you will be cut down. You destroyed the wild animals, so now their terror will be yours. You committed murder throughout the countryside and filled the towns with violence. 18“What good is an idol carved by man, or a cast image that deceives you? How foolish to trust in your own creation— a god that can’t even talk! 19What sorrow awaits you who say to wooden idols, ‘Wake up and save us!’ To speechless stone images you say, ‘Rise up and teach us!’ Can an idol tell you what to do? They may be overlaid with gold and silver, but they are lifeless inside. 20But the Lord is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him.”

–from Habakkuk 2

So let’s praise God! Let’s glorify God! Let’s worship God! He knows what He is doing! He knows what is taking place and justice will be served! His timing is perfect! His ways are higher and better than our ways! So let’s just do what He is calling us to do and trust Him with the rest!

Habakkuk’s Prayer

1This prayer was sung by the prophet Habakkuk: 2I have heard all about you, Lord. I am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by. And in your anger, remember your mercy. 3I see God moving across the deserts from Edom, the Holy One coming from Mount Paran. His brilliant splendor fills the heavens, and the earth is filled with his praise. 4His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise. Rays of light flash from his hands, where his awesome power is hidden. 5Pestilence marches before him; plague follows close behind. 6When he stops, the earth shakes. When he looks, the nations tremble. He shatters the everlasting mountains and levels the eternal hills. He is the Eternal One! 7I see the people of Cushan in distress, and the nation of Midian trembling in terror. 8Was it in anger, Lord, that you struck the rivers and parted the sea? Were you displeased with them? No, you were sending your chariots of salvation! 9You brandished your bow and your quiver of arrows. You split open the earth with flowing rivers. 10The mountains watched and trembled. Onward swept the raging waters. The mighty deep cried out, lifting its hands in submission. 11The sun and moon stood still in the sky as your brilliant arrows flew and your glittering spear flashed. 12You marched across the land in anger and trampled the nations in your fury. 13You went out to rescue your chosen people, to save your anointed ones. You crushed the heads of the wicked and stripped their bones from head to toe. 14With his own weapons, you destroyed the chief of those who rushed out like a whirlwind, thinking Israel would be easy prey. 15You trampled the sea with your horses, and the mighty waters piled high. 16I trembled inside when I heard this; my lips quivered with fear. My legs gave way beneath me, and I shook in terror. I will wait quietly for the coming day when disaster will strike the people who invade us. 17Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, 18yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! 19The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.
(For the choir director: This prayer is to be accompanied by stringed instruments.)

–from Habakkuk 3

Are you going around as an encouragement to the world around you? Are you sharing the fact there is hope still with them? Are you sharing the fact there is love still with them? Are you sharing there is still joy with them? Are you sharing the good news? aka Good News! Will you be sensitive to the Spirit’s prompting? Will you go where He calls you? Will you obey His instructions? Will you align to the calling? It’s not always easy, but we have hope! Jesus told us that in this world we would have troubles but that we can take heart because He has overcome the world! Jesus told us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because they do a work in us – building up our faith, building up our endurance, working in us that in the end we will complete and lacking nothing! We have rights! So we are good to receive them and exercise them!

Paul’s Second Missionary Journey

1Paul went first to Derbe and then to Lystra, where there was a young disciple named Timothy. His mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek. 2Timothy was well thought of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium, 3so Paul wanted him to join them on their journey. In deference to the Jews of the area, he arranged for Timothy to be circumcised before they left, for everyone knew that his father was a Greek. 4Then they went from town to town, instructing the believers to follow the decisions made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. 5So the churches were strengthened in their faith and grew larger every day.

A Call from Macedonia

6Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. 7Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. 8So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas.
9That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” 10So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there.
Lydia of Philippi Believes in Jesus
11We boarded a boat at Troas and sailed straight across to the island of Samothrace, and the next day we landed at Neapolis. 12From there we reached Philippi, a major city of that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. And we stayed there several days.
13On the Sabbath we went a little way outside the city to a riverbank, where we thought people would be meeting for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there. 14One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. 15She and her household were baptized, and she asked us to be her guests. “If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my home.” And she urged us until we agreed.

Paul and Silas in Prison

16One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit that enabled her to tell the future. She earned a lot of money for her masters by telling fortunes. 17She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.”
18This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her.
19Her masters’ hopes of wealth were now shattered, so they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace. 20“The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!” they shouted to the city officials. 21“They are teaching customs that are illegal for us Romans to practice.”
22A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. 23They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. 24So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.
25Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. 26Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! 27The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. 28But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”
29The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” 32And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. 33Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. 34He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.
35The next morning the city officials sent the police to tell the jailer, “Let those men go!” 36So the jailer told Paul, “The city officials have said you and Silas are free to leave. Go in peace.”
37But Paul replied, “They have publicly beaten us without a trial and put us in prison—and we are Roman citizens. So now they want us to leave secretly? Certainly not! Let them come themselves to release us!”
38When the police reported this, the city officials were alarmed to learn that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. 39So they came to the jail and apologized to them. Then they brought them out and begged them to leave the city. 40When Paul and Silas left the prison, they returned to the home of Lydia. There they met with the believers and encouraged them once more. Then they left town.

–from Acts 16

 

Doing what is right!


Do you know the difference between right and wrong? Do you know what is hard than knowing what is right? Doing what is right!

What is your source of truth? Is your source of truth dependable? Does it change or fluctuate? If it fluctuates, how can you be sure if it is right, right now? Don’t you need something that doesn’t change in order to know if something is right? Don’t you need a source that doesn’t ebb and flow, but rather is solid and steady? How can things be relative and still be able to help you know if things are right or wrong?

With the fact that the truth will set you free, it points to the fact that to be set free, we need to know what is right! What is just! What is dependable!

Where do you get a set of standards to be able to measure against? Are standards in place to help make things better or worse? If better then why would anyone try to lower standards rather than trying to raise them?

What about average? Is the goal to raise the average or lower it? I would hope to raise it which helps everyone get better! The average shows that everyone or at least the majority of the group is getting better. When you consider it as a grade, like in school, you can only get 100% as a max right and so with 30 kids, if the average is 70% what does that mean for the rest of the class. Even if we consider the largest extremes where the upper part of the class gets 100% each that would mean 21 out of 30 get 100% and 9 out of 30 get 0%. Now if we set priorities so that we raise to the average just 1% what would that mean? At least 1 would have to go from being a 0% to something higher right? Mathematically we would need to add 30 points to the class … either 1 student goes from 0% to 30% or even better those 9 students split the 30% between them, raising the average. Now imagine if we only wanted to raise the average 5%, then we would find worst case scenario 5 of the students get 30% and the other 4 stay at 0%. Now that would be under the assumption that those 21 students kept doing their best and didn’t feel the need to stop trying and not caring about the mood or attitude in the class. It would mean the class as a whole was improving and this is based on using an extreme example. We know that that in a class of 30 it would be rare that 21 of them would get 100% and 9 would get 0% from our first example. So if we reduce the upper end down to 90% in these two scenarios let’s see what the numbers show. Well with the 90% vs 0% it would mean that 24 out of 30 get 90% (which actually adds up to 72% since we can’t have a half a studen. 23 out of 30 gets us close to 70% with a 69% but with the goal of 70% we need 24 students). So to get to 75% with those existing 24 students unchanged, it would mean to get that extra 3% we need to get a lift of 90 points across the remaining 6 students.

So how will we choose to live? Will we choose to live a life that raises the average? Will we choose to raise the bar in hopes that more people will step up and stand for what is right? Will we use a standard that is unchanging? Will we use a standard that is just? Knowing what is right, will that help set the tone and the temperature for society so that the average keeps going up?

Do you realize there is a standard? Do you realize it hasn’t changed in centuries? If we consider the first book ever printed using a printing press in the 1450’s happened to be the standard, it means it’s been around for quite a while.

When was the first Bible printed?

Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1450’s, and the first book to ever be printed was a Latin language Bible, printed in Mainz, Germany. Gutenberg’s Bibles were surprisingly beautiful, as each leaf Gutenberg printed was later colorfully hand-illuminated.

If we consider the best selling book of all time, it points to this same standard. Guinness put the Bible as the #1 non-fiction book.

So what your thoughts around raising the bar? What is your thought on raising the average? What is your thoughts on having standards to make things better? What do you think it is going to take for things to get better? Can’t we start living in a way to make good better and better best? What is your thought on having a reliable source of truth? What is your thought on knowing what is right? What is your thought on doing what is right?

Let’s turn back to God! Let’s point people back to God! Let’s help the world know what is right! Let’s help the world to do what is right!


Today’s reading begins in 2 Kings…

1In the seventeenth year of Pekah son of Remaliah, Ahaz son of King Jotham of Judah, began to reign. 2Ahaz was 20 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. But he did not do what was right in the eyes of Adonai his God, as his father David had done. 3Instead he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and even made his son pass through the fire, like the abominations of the nations whom Adonai had dispossessed before Bnei-Yisrael. 4He offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every leafy tree. 5Then King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of King Remaliah of Israel marched against Jerusalem to wage war. They besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him. 6At that time King Rezin of Aram recovered Elath for Aram, and drove the Jews out of Elath. Then the Edomites came to Elath and settled there to this day. 7So Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your son. Come up and deliver me from the hand of the king of Aram and from the hand of the king of Israel, who are rising up against me.” 8Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the House of Adonai and in the treasuries of the royal palace, and sent them as a present to the king of Assyria. 9So the king of Assyria responded to him. The king of Assyria marched up against Damascus and captured it, and deported its inhabitants as captives to Kir and put Rezin to death.

Ahaz Remodels the Temple

10Then King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria and saw the altar that was at Damascus. So King Ahaz sent to Urijah the kohen the pattern of the altar and its model needed for its construction. 11Then Urijah the kohen built an altar according to all that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus, and Urijah the kohen finished it by the time King Ahaz returned from Damascus. 12When the king came back from Damascus and saw the altar, the king approached the altar and went up to it. 13Then he burned his burnt offering and his grain offering, poured his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his fellowship offerings on the altar. 14As for the bronze altar that was before Adonai, he moved it from the forefront of the House, from between his altar and the House of Adonai, and put it on the north side of his own altar. 15Then King Ahaz commanded Urijah the kohen saying, “Upon the great altar you will burn the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offering and his grain offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land and their grain offering and their drink offering. Also sprinkle on it all the blood of the burnt offering and all the blood of the sacrifices. But the bronze altar will be for me to inquire by.” 16Thus Urijah the kohen did everything just as King Ahaz commanded. 17Then King Ahaz cut off the borders of the stands and removed the laver from them. He also took down the sea from the bronze oxen that were under it and put it on a stone pavement. 18The covered passageway for Shabbat that they had built in the House as well as the outer entry for the king, he removed from the House of Adonai, because of the king of Assyria. 19Now the rest of the acts of Ahaz which he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 20Then Ahaz slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. Then his son Hezekiah became king in his place.

–from 2 Kings 16

 Ever heard people use the word sin? Do you know where that comes from? Do you realize it is an old English archery term that means to miss the mark? If you don’t hit the bullseye then you missed the mark. So when people use it to talk about ways people have missed the mark, we need to realize that we have all sinned! We have all missed the mark! It’s not about how much, it’s not about in what way, it’s about the fact that we have! So let’s be encouraging to others! Let’s be peacemakers!

Ahaz’s Sin in the Valley of Ben-hinnom

1Ahaz was 20 years old when he became king, and he reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. But he did not do what was right in the eyes of Adonai as his father David had done, 2but followed the ways of the kings of Israel, and even made molten images for the Baalim. 3Moreover, he burned incense in the valley of Ben-hinnom and burned his children in the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom Adonai had driven out before Bnei-Yisrael. 4He offered sacrifices and burned incense in the high places, on the hills and under every leafy tree. 5Therefore Adonai his God gave him into the hand of the king of Aram who defeated him and took away from him many prisoners and brought them to Damascus. He was also given into the hand of the king of Israel, who inflicted many casualties on him. 6In one day, Pekah the son of Remaliah killed 120,000 valiant soldiers of Judah—because they had forsaken Adonai, the God of their fathers.

Mercy Shown to Judah’s Captives

7Also Zichri, a warrior from Ephraim, killed Maaseiah the king’s son, Azrikam the official in charge of the palace and Elkanah the second to the king. 8Men of Israel carried away captive 200,000 of their kinsmen, women, sons and daughters. They also took away a great deal of plunder from them that they brought to Samaria. 9But a prophet of Adonai named Oded was there and he went out to meet the army on its return to Samaria. He said to them, “Behold, because Adonai, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, He has given them into your hand and you have slaughtered them in a rage that reaches to heaven. 10So now you intend to bring into bondage the children of Judah and Jerusalem as your male and female slaves? Are you not also guilty of transgressions against Adonai your God? 11So now, listen to me. Send back the prisoners you have captured from your kinsmen—for the fierce wrath of Adonai is upon you!” 12Then some of the leaders of the sons of Ephraim—Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berechiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai—confronted those coming from the campaign, 13and said to them, “Do not bring the captives in here, for that would cause us to trespass against Adonai. Do you intend to add to our sins and our guilt? For our guilt is already great, and his fierce anger is already against Israel.” 14So the soldiers released the captives and the plunder in the presence of the chieftains and the entire congregation. 15Then the men designated by name stood up and took the captives, and they clothed all who were naked from the plunder. They gave them clothes and sandals, food and drink, anointed them, led all the feeble ones on donkeys, and brought them back to their kinsmen at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria.

Ahaz Leads Judah Into Idolatry

16About that time King Ahaz sent to the kings of Assyria for help. 17Once again the Edomites had come and invaded Judah and taken captives, 18while the Philistines had raided the towns in the foothills and in the South of Judah. They captured and occupied Beth-shemesh, Aijalon and Gederot, as well as Soho, Timnah and Gimzo with their villages. 19For Adonai humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he threw off restraint in Judah and trespassed against Adonai. 20Tilgat-pilneser king of Assyria came against him and afflicted him instead of strengthening him— 21even though Ahaz plundered the House of Adonai, the house of the king and the princes, and gave it to the king of Assyria—it did not help him. 22In his time of distress, this same King Ahaz acted even more unfaithfully to Adonai. 23He even sacrificed to the gods of Damascus after he had been defeated, for he said, “Because the gods of the kings of Aram helped them, I will sacrifice to them and they will help me.” But they caused the downfall of him and all Israel. 24Ahaz even collected the utensils of the House of God and cut the utensils of the House of God into pieces. He shut the doors of the House of Adonai and made himself altars in every corner of Jerusalem. 25In every town of Judah he made high places to burn incense to other gods—provoking Adonai, the God of his fathers. 26Now the rest of his acts and all his ways, the first and the last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 27Then Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of Jerusalem, but he was not brought into the tombs of the kings of Israel. Hezekiah his son became king in his place.

–from 2 Chronicles 28

So will you praise God? Will you praise His Word? Will you praise His grace? Will you praise Him all the time?

From the Rising of the Sun

1Halleluyah! Praise, O servants of Adonai, praise the Name of Adonai. 2Blessed be the Name of Adonai from now and forever. 3From the rising of the sun to its going down the Name of Adonai is to be praised. 4Adonai is high above all nations, His glory is above the heavens. 5Who is like Adonai our God, enthroned on high, 6who brings Himself down to look upon heaven and upon earth? 7He raises the poor from the dust, lifts up the needy out of the dunghill, 8to seat him with princes, with the princes of His people. 9He settles the barren woman in her home as a joyful mother of children. Halleluyah!

.–from Psalms 113

Let’s turn to Jesus! Let’s allow Him to be our leader! Let’s follow after Him and His example so that we can help raise the bar as He has called us to do! He took the law and raised the bar on expectations! Let’s live out the life God created us to live! Let’s go beyond knowing what is right and start living and doing what is right! When you aren’t sure, call out to Jesus! Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and discernment! Read God’s Word!

The Way to the Father’s House

1“Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. 2In My Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to Myself, so that where I am you may also be. 4And you know the way to where I am going.” 5Thomas said to Him, “Master, we don’t know where You are going. How can we know the way?” 6Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life! No one comes to the Father except through Me. 7If you have come to know Me, you will know My Father also. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.” 8Philip said to Him, “Master, show us the Father, and it is enough for us. 9Yeshua said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time, and you haven’t come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I say to you, I do not speak on My own; but the Father dwelling in Me does His works. 11Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me—or at least believe because of the works themselves. 12“Amen, amen I tell you, he who puts his trust in Me, the works that I do he will do; and greater than these he will do, because I am going to the Father. 13And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”

The Believer’s Helper

15“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper so He may be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him. You know Him, because He abides with you and will be in you. 18I will not abandon you as orphans; I will come to you. 19In a little while, the world will no longer behold Me, but you will behold Me. Because I live, you also will live! 20“In that day, you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. 21He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.” 22Judah (not the one from Kriot) said to Him, “Master, what has happened, that You are about to reveal Yourself to us and not the world?” 23Yeshua answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling with him. 24He who does not love Me does not keep My words. And the word you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. 25These things I have spoken to you while dwelling with you. 26But the Helper, the Ruach ha-Kodesh whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything and remind you of everything that I said to you. 27“Shalom I leave you, My shalom I give to you; but not as the world gives! Do not let your heart be troubled or afraid. 28You’ve heard Me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29I have told you now before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe! 30“I will not talk with you much longer, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has nothing on Me. 31But in order that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. “Get up, let’s go from here!”

–from John 14

So are there ways to help us to do what is right? Do you realize we can turn to God’s love letter to us for help? Do you realize that God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our paths?

Counsel About Marriage

1Now concerning the things about which you wrote to me, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2But because of much immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3Let the husband fulfill his obligation to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4The wife does not have the rights to her own body, but the husband. Likewise also the husband does not have the rights to his own body, but the wife. 5Do not deprive one another—except by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again, so that satan doesn’t tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6But this I say as a concession, not as a command. 7Yet I wish that all men were like me. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this way and another that. 8But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them to remain as I am. 9But if they do not have self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with desire. 10But to the married I command—not I, but the Lord—a wife is not to be separated from her husband 11(but if she gets separated, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband is not to divorce his wife. 12But to the rest I say—I, not the Lord—if any brother has a wife who is not a believer, and she agrees to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13And if any woman has a husband who is not a believer, and he agrees to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband is made holy through the wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15But if the unbeliever separates, let him be separated. The brother or the sister is not bound in such cases, but God has called you to shalom. 16For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Remain As You Were Called

17Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, let him walk in this way. I give this rule in all of Messiah’s communities. 18Was anyone called when he already had been circumcised? Let him not make himself uncircumcised. Has anyone been called while uncircumcised? Let him not allow himself to be circumcised. 19Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing—but keeping God’s commandments matters. 20Let each one remain in the calling in which he was called. 21Were you called as a slave? Don’t let that bother you—but if indeed you can become free, make the most of the opportunity. 22For the one who was called in the Lord as a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise the one who was called while free is Messiah’s slave. 23You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. 24Brothers and sisters, let each one—in whatever way he was called—remain that way with God. 25Now concerning virgins I have no command from the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26I think then, because of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27Are you bound to a wife? Don’t seek a divorce. Are you free from a wife? Don’t seek a wife. 28But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such people will have trouble in this fleshly life, and I am trying to spare you. 29But this I say, brothers and sisters—the time is short. From now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; 30and those who weep, as though not weeping; and those who rejoice, as though not rejoicing; and those who buy, as though not possessing; 31and those who use the world, as though not using it to the fullest. For the present form of this world is passing away. 32But I want you to be free from cares. An unmarried man cares about the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord; 33but the married man cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife— 34and he is divided. The unmarried woman, as well as the virgin, cares about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But the married woman cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. 35Now I say this for your own benefit—not to put a restraint on you, but to promote proper and constant service to the Lord without distraction. 36But if any man thinks that he is behaving inappropriately toward his virgin, if the time is ripe and it is meant to be, let him do what he decides. He does not sin. Let them marry. 37But he who stands firm in his heart—who has no pressure, but has power over his own will and has so determined in his own heart to keep her a virgin—he will do well. 38So then both he who marries the virgin does well, and he who doesn’t marry her does better. 39A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies, she is free to be married to anyone she wishes—only in the Lord. 40But in my judgment she is happier if she stays as she is—and I also think that I have the Ruach Elohim.

–from 1 Corinthians 7

Do you see what is happening?


Do you see what is taking place around you? Will you remain silent? Will you do nothing? Will you remember? Will you be a reminder? Do others see what has happened? Do you see what has happened? Do you see what could happen? Do you see what is potentially ahead?

Ever heard the quote that all it takes for evil to win is for good people to do nothing?

So… are you going to do something? are you going to say something? are you going to be someone who does something rather than letting things fall apart?

Need a refresher of other times in history when the pendulum swung?

Do you see what is happening?


Today’s reading brings us into the book of Joel…

1The word of Adonai that came to Joel the son of Pethuel:

Mourn the Land’s Destruction

2Hear this, elders! Give ear, all inhabitants of the land. Has this ever happened in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? 3Tell your children about it— your children to their children, their children to another generation. 4What the locust left, the swarming locust has eaten, and what the swarming locust left, the canker-worm has eaten, and what the canker-worm left, the caterpillar has eaten. 5Awake, drunkards, and weep! Wail, all you drinkers of wine— on account of sweet wine, for it is denied to your mouth! 6For a nation has invaded my land. Vast—yes, without number! Its teeth are lion’s teeth, with jaw-teeth of a lioness. 7He has turned my vine to waste and my fig tree to splinters. He has stripped off all the bark and flung it down— its branches are left white. 8Wail like a virgin dressed in sackcloth for the husband of her youth! 9Grain offering and drink offering are cut off from the House of Adonai. Kohanim—ministers of Adonai—mourn. 10The field is ruined, the land grieves, for the grain has been devastated, new wine is dried up, oil languishes. 11Be ashamed, O ploughmen; wail, O vinedressers, over wheat and over barley, for the harvest of the field is lost. 12The vine withered, the fig tree wilted. Pomegranate, palm and apple tree —all trees of the field— are withered, for joy has withered away from the children of men. 13Gird yourselves and weep, kohanim! Howl, ministers of the altar! Come, lie in sackcloth all night, ministers of my God. For grain and drink offering are withheld from the House of your God.

The Day is Near!

14Consecrate a fast. Proclaim a solemn assembly. Gather elders and all living in the land to the House of Adonai your God, and cry to Adonai. 15Ah, the day! The day of Adonai is near! As havoc from Shaddai it will come. 16Is food not cut off before our eyes— joy and gladness from God’s House? 17Seed has shriveled under the dirt clod. Storehouses are desolate, granaries are torn down, for the grain has withered. 18How the animals groan! The herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture. The flocks of sheep also suffer. 19To You, Adonai, I cry! For fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and flame has set ablaze all the trees of the field. 20Also beasts of the field pant toward You. For the water of wadis are dried up, and fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness.

–from Joel 1

Will you sound the alarm? Will you let others know? Will you show others what you see? Will you tell them what you are hearing? Will you warn them before it is too late? Will you point them to God as the answer to their problems? Will you point them to God as their savior?

1Blow the shofar in Zion! Sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all living in the land tremble— for the day of Adonai is coming— surely it is near! 2A day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, as blackness spreads over the mountains. A great and mighty people— from antiquity there was never anything like it, nor after it ever again from generation to generation. 3A fire devours before them and behind them flame blazes up. Like the Garden of Eden is the land before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness. Nothing at all ever escapes them. 4Their appearance is like the appearance of horses— they gallop like war horses. 5Like the clatter of chariots, they leap on the tops of mountains, like crackling flame of fire devouring stubble, like a mighty horde in battle array. 6Before them peoples are in anguish. All faces become ashen gray. 7They run like mighty men. They climb a wall like men of war. They each march in line, never deviating from their ways. 8One does not crowd another. Each one marches on his own highway. They plunge through the weapons, never breaking off. 9They rush on the city, they run on the wall, they climb up into the houses, coming through the windows like a thief. 10Before them land quakes, heaven trembles, sun and moon become dark, stars withdraw their brightness. 11Adonai utters His voice before His army. For His camp is very vast—for mighty is it that carries out His word. For great is the day of Adonai— very terrifying! Who can endure it?

Call for Teshuvah

12“Yet even now” —it is a declaration of Adonai— “turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping and lamenting.” 13Rend your heart, not your garments, and turn to Adonai, your God. For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abundant in mercy, and relenting about the calamity due. 14Who knows? He may turn and relent, and may leave a blessing behind Him —so there may be a grain offering and a drink offering for Adonai, your God.

Blow the Shofar

15Blow the shofar in Zion! Sanctify a fast; proclaim an assembly. 16Gather the people; sanctify the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even those nursing at breasts. Let the bridegroom come out from his bedroom and the bride from her chamber. 17Between the porch and the altar let the kohanim, ministers of Adonai, weep, and let them say: “Have pity, Adonai, on Your people. Don’t make Your heritage a scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should the peoples say, ‘Where is their God?’” 18Adonai will be zealous for His land, and have compassion on His people. 19Adonai will answer and say to His people: “Behold, I will send you the grain, the new wine, and the fresh oil, and you will be satisfied with it. I will no longer make you a mockery among the nations. 20“But I will remove the northern invader far from you—yes, I will banish him to a dry and desolate land— his vanguard into the Eastern Sea and his rearguard into the Western Sea. His odor will go up— Yes, his stench will rise.” For He has done great things!

Rain and Restoration

21Do not fear, O land. Be glad! Rejoice! For Adonai has done great things. 22Do not be afraid, beasts of the field, for the desert pastures have sprouted, for the tree bears its fruit. Fig tree and vine yield their strength. 23So be glad, children of Zion, and rejoice in Adonai, your God. For He gives you the early rain for prosperity, Yes, He will bring down rain for you, the early and latter rain as before. 24The threshing floors will be full of grain and the vats will overflow with new wine and fresh oil. 25“I shall restore to you the years that the locust, the swarming locust, the canker-worm and the caterpillar have eaten— My great army that I sent among you.” 26“You will surely eat and be satisfied, and praise the Name of Adonai your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. Never again will My people be shamed 27You will know that I am within Israel. Yes, I am Adonai your God —there is no other— Never again will My people be shamed.”

–from Joel 2

Will you receive the Holy Spirit? Will you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Will you choose to follow God? Will you decide before it is too late?

Promise of the RuachAdonai

1“So it will be afterward, I will pour out My Ruach on all flesh: your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 2“Also on the male and the female servants will I pour out My spirit in those days. 3I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth— blood, fire and pillars of smoke. 4The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and awesome day of Adonai comes. 5Then all who call on Adonai’s Name will escape, for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be rescue, as Adonai has said, among the survivors whom Adonai is calling.”

–from Joel 3

Will you ask Jesus into your heart before it’s judgment day? Will you ask Jesus into your heart to help you through every day? Will you trust Him and believe Him and follow Him the rest of your life? Will you be an ambassador of peace and healing? Will you be an ambassador of hope and love? Will you be an ambassador of joy and truth? Will you be salt and light into this world? Don’t hide your light under a basket or your bed, shine it bright that others may see it and turn back to God and glorify your Heavenly Father!

1Then the angel showed me a river of the water of life—bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2down the middle of the city’s street. On either side of the river was a tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in the city, and His servants shall serve Him. 4They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. 5Night shall be no more, and people will have no need for lamplight or sunlight—for Adonai Elohim will shine on them. And they shall reign forever and ever!

Yeshua Is Coming

6He said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true! Adonai, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent His angel to show His servants what must happen soon. 7Behold, I am coming soon! How fortunate is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” 8I, John, am the one hearing and seeing these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel showing me these things. 9But he tells me, “See that you do not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets and those keeping the words of this book. Worship God!” 10Then he tells me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do righteousness, and the holy still be holy. 12Behold, I am coming soon, and My reward is with Me, to pay back each one according to his deeds. 13“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 14How fortunate are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the Tree of Life and may enter through the gates into the city. 15Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the sexually immoral and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. 16I, Yeshua, have sent My angel to testify these things to you for My communities. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” 17The Ruach and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come—let the one who wishes freely take the water of life! 18I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book. If anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his share in the Tree of Life and the Holy City, which are written in this book. 20The One giving testimony to these things says, “Yes! I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Yeshua! 21May the grace of the Lord Yeshua be with all!

–from The Revelation 22

Don’t wait! You won’t want to be late!

 

 

 

 

 

People are watching you! What are they seeing?


Whether you realize or not people are watching you. They want to know who you really are. They want to know what you believe. They want to know why you do what you do. They want to understand what is driving you and your actions. They want to see if you do what you say. They want to hear if you speech aligns with your actions. They want to see if you live out what you say you believe. Are you a living testimony of what you say you believe? Are you a living sacrifice to God? What is your motivation? Why do you do what you do? Are your words aligning to what your actions are saying? Are you actions aligning to what you say you believe?

People are checking you out so that they can try to figure you out in order to know if
they can trust you!


This morning’s reading has an interesting start with the statement “Try to be at peace with everyone, and try to live a holy life, because no one will see the Lord without it.” It speaks to the fact that how we live can be the source of how people come to know God. We need to be living testimonies! As some put it, we need to be Jesus with skin on to our communities! So let’s live lives that glorify God! Let’s live lives that align with what we believe! Let’s be the people God created us to be with purpose on purpose for a purpose! Our actions will speak louder than any words we speak. Know how it is said that a picture is worth a 1000 words? Our actions are like a video which is made up of thousands of pictures, so consider the impact!

Instructions and Warnings

12Lift up your tired hands, then, and strengthen your trembling knees! 13Keep walking on straight paths, so that the lame foot may not be disabled, but instead be healed. 14Try to be at peace with everyone, and try to live a holy life, because no one will see the Lord without it. 15Guard against turning back from the grace of God. Let no one become like a bitter plant that grows up and causes many troubles with its poison. 16Let no one become immoral or unspiritual like Esau, who for a single meal sold his rights as the older son. 17Afterward, you know, he wanted to receive his father’s blessing; but he was turned back, because he could not find any way to change what he had done, even though in tears he looked for it. 18You have not come, as the people of Israel came, to what you can feel, to Mount Sinai with its blazing fire, the darkness and the gloom, the storm, 19the blast of a trumpet, and the sound of a voice. When the people heard the voice, they begged not to hear another word, 20because they could not bear the order which said, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” 21The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling and afraid!” 22Instead, you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, with its thousands of angels. 23You have come to the joyful gathering of God’s first-born, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, who is the judge of all people, and to the spirits of good people made perfect. 24You have come to Jesus, who arranged the new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that promises much better things than does the blood of Abel. 25Be careful, then, and do not refuse to hear him who speaks. Those who refused to hear the one who gave the divine message on earth did not escape. How much less shall we escape, then, if we turn away from the one who speaks from heaven! 26His voice shook the earth at that time, but now he has promised, “I will once more shake not only the earth but heaven as well.” 27The words “once more” plainly show that the created things will be shaken and removed, so that the things that cannot be shaken will remain. 28Let us be thankful, then, because we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please him, with reverence and awe; 29because our God is indeed a destroying fire. –from Hebrews 12

It’s important how we live! It’s important how we speak! He is coming back, so let’s be living testimonies for the glory of His kingdom!

Not sure what to do? Turn to God! Not sure how to respond? Turn to God’s Word! Think you are going through something and not sure what to do? Turn to God for wisdom! Make sure you don’t try to go it alone! Stay connected to the source and the vine.

Today’s reading continues to speak wisdom through the book of Proverbs…

15Correction and discipline are good for children. If they have their own way, they will make their mothers ashamed of them. 16When evil people are in power, crime increases. But the righteous will live to see the downfall of such people. 17Discipline your children and you can always be proud of them. They will never give you reason to be ashamed. 18A nation without God’s guidance is a nation without order. Happy are those who keep God’s law! 19You cannot correct servants just by talking to them. They may understand you, but they will pay no attention. 20There is more hope for a stupid fool than for someone who speaks without thinking. 21If you give your servants everything they want from childhood on, some day they will take over everything you own. 22People with quick tempers cause a lot of quarreling and trouble. 23Arrogance will bring your downfall, but if you are humble, you will be respected. 24A thief’s partner is his own worst enemy. He will be punished if he tells the truth in court, and God will curse him if he doesn’t. 25It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord, you are safe. 26Everybody wants the good will of the ruler, but only from the Lord can you get justice. 27The righteous hate the wicked, and the wicked hate the righteous. –from Proverbs 29