Stand up for what you believe in!

What do you believe? Do you believe something that is true or just believed to be? Do you believe something that has been proven or something that is temporary? Do you believe something that will last the test of time or something that continues to change? Consider the science we took in school and what parts of it have been disproven and now there are new facts? Consider the Word of God which remains the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow – now people may come up with different translations or paraphrases but the source hasn’t changed. Consider what is right and what is wrong, yes there are absolutes. Consider what is good and what is bad, yes there are absolutes. Is what you believe a truth or an opinion? Is what you believe a truth or a feeling? Is what you believe a truth or a myth? We need to make sure what we believe is a solid foundation rather than shifting sands that the wind and waves can wash away. We need to make sure what we believe is aligned with the cornerstone of life which is Jesus so that we stay on track. Consider the 10 commandments, Jesus didn’t make them go away but rather to accomplish them, He called us to a higher standard in order to be able to raise the bar. We need to take a stand so that the average doesn’t keep going down but instead can start going up. We need to take a stand so that love is poured out all around us. We need to take a stand so that people around us can have hope. We need to take a stand so that faith can abound and there will be renewing and rejuvenating of lives and relationships.

So what do you believe? Will you stand up for what you believe? Would you give your life for what you believe?

Today’s reading from God’s Word:

(Day 308 of 312)

Are you ready to step up? Are you ready to become who God is calling you to be? Are you ready to be who God created you to be? Are you ready to go beyond your comfort zone in order to be who God is calling you to be?

Are you keeping your truth a secret out of obedience or fear?

Is your safe place really safe or something that will be torn down?

Are you investing in things that are temporary or things that will last for eternity? Are you investing in stuff or souls that will last forever? Are you helping the poor? Are you helping the orphans? Are you helping the widows?

Are you believing in the king who rode in on a donkey?

Are you ready to be restored? Will you invite the Lord into your heart? Are you ready for your strength to be renewed?

Who will you believe? Will you take courage and do what God is calling you and trusting His Word?

Are you ready to live in the new rather than the old? Are you ready for your home to be with God? Or will you reject God and spend eternity apart from Him?

Will you walk with God as your helper? Will you take hold of His promises which are good and true? Are you walking in freedom that has been purchased through Jesus or walking in bondage to sin and the temptations of the devil?

Let’s close reading today’s psalm together:

‘Praise the Lord ! Let all that I am praise the Lord . I will praise the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath. Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them. But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever. He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The Lord frees the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down. The Lord loves the godly. The Lord protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked. The Lord will reign forever. He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations. Praise the Lord !’

Psalms 146

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

Let’s pray:

Are we ready for a reformation?

Throughout history when things got really bad and the people got sick and tired of being sick and tired, we found people turned back to God in large numbers. Throughout history we find that when people discover the Word of God, we found people turned back to God in even more powerful ways. An example of reformation is Martin Luther who felt the Word of God had to be in the hands of the people, in the language of the people, and through the process standardized the German language and the Bible using the Gutenberg press was able to get it out into the hands of the people. Martin Luther wrote the 95 theses which put many people in an uproar as he challenged the status quo. We see in and through that time a reformation take place. It didn’t come without challenge or threat, but it transformed a nation and the world.

Are you ready for a reformation? Are we ready for a reformation? Consider all the people who because of personal, political, social decision have removed the Word of God out of the hands of the people, there are so many people who are biblically illiterate and unaware of the promises and truths of God. There are so many people who don’t realize that even though over time words, science, nature, emotions, and feelings change the Word of God doesn’t and has stood the test and the challenges of time. Shouldn’t we be loving God and loving one another rather than watching people get attacked and bullied because of labels that have been put on or assigned to them? Ever noticed how the Bible was or has been removed from the educational system even though the education system including many of the colleges were setup to help train people up in the ministry? Ever noticed how the Bible is trying to get removed from politics and the implication it has had on how things are being done and run? Imagine if people in school received their own New Testament. Imagine if people in school took hold of the golden rule to love God and love one another how that would change the tone and the behavior in school. Imagine if people in government took hold of the golden rule to love God and love one another how that would change the tone and the behavior in government. Imagine the unity even across disagreements. Imagine the truth even across viewpoints. Imagine the transformation and the reformation it would make across the country and around the world.

Are you ready for a reformation?

Today’s reading gets us started in 2 Kings 23 where we learn about Josiah’s religious reforms:

‘Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. And the king went up to the Temple of the Lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the Lord ’s Temple. The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord ’s presence. He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant. Then the king instructed Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the Temple gatekeepers to remove from the Lord ’s Temple all the articles that were used to worship Baal, Asherah, and all the powers of the heavens. The king had all these things burned outside Jerusalem on the terraces of the Kidron Valley, and he carried the ashes away to Bethel. He did away with the idolatrous priests, who had been appointed by the previous kings of Judah, for they had offered sacrifices at the pagan shrines throughout Judah and even in the vicinity of Jerusalem. They had also offered sacrifices to Baal, and to the sun, the moon, the constellations, and to all the powers of the heavens. The king removed the Asherah pole from the Lord ’s Temple and took it outside Jerusalem to the Kidron Valley, where he burned it. Then he ground the ashes of the pole to dust and threw the dust over the graves of the people. He also tore down the living quarters of the male and female shrine prostitutes that were inside the Temple of the Lord , where the women wove coverings for the Asherah pole. Josiah brought to Jerusalem all the priests who were living in other towns of Judah. He also defiled the pagan shrines, where they had offered sacrifices—all the way from Geba to Beersheba. He destroyed the shrines at the entrance to the gate of Joshua, the governor of Jerusalem. This gate was located to the left of the city gate as one enters the city. The priests who had served at the pagan shrines were not allowed to serve at the Lord ’s altar in Jerusalem, but they were allowed to eat unleavened bread with the other priests. Then the king defiled the altar of Topheth in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, so no one could ever again use it to sacrifice a son or daughter in the fire as an offering to Molech. He removed from the entrance of the Lord ’s Temple the horse statues that the former kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were near the quarters of Nathan-melech the eunuch, an officer of the court. The king also burned the chariots dedicated to the sun. Josiah tore down the altars that the kings of Judah had built on the palace roof above the upper room of Ahaz. The king destroyed the altars that Manasseh had built in the two courtyards of the Lord ’s Temple. He smashed them to bits and scattered the pieces in the Kidron Valley. The king also desecrated the pagan shrines east of Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Corruption, where King Solomon of Israel had built shrines for Ashtoreth, the detestable goddess of the Sidonians; and for Chemosh, the detestable god of the Moabites; and for Molech, the vile god of the Ammonites. He smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. Then he desecrated these places by scattering human bones over them. The king also tore down the altar at Bethel—the pagan shrine that Jeroboam son of Nebat had made when he caused Israel to sin. He burned down the shrine and ground it to dust, and he burned the Asherah pole. Then Josiah turned around and noticed several tombs in the side of the hill. He ordered that the bones be brought out, and he burned them on the altar at Bethel to desecrate it. (This happened just as the Lord had promised through the man of God when Jeroboam stood beside the altar at the festival.) Then Josiah turned and looked up at the tomb of the man of God who had predicted these things. “What is that monument over there?” Josiah asked. And the people of the town told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and predicted the very things that you have just done to the altar at Bethel!” Josiah replied, “Leave it alone. Don’t disturb his bones.” So they did not burn his bones or those of the old prophet from Samaria. Then Josiah demolished all the buildings at the pagan shrines in the towns of Samaria, just as he had done at Bethel. They had been built by the various kings of Israel and had made the Lord very angry. He executed the priests of the pagan shrines on their own altars, and he burned human bones on the altars to desecrate them. Finally, he returned to Jerusalem.

King Josiah then issued this order to all the people: “You must celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, as required in this Book of the Covenant.” There had not been a Passover celebration like that since the time when the judges ruled in Israel, nor throughout all the years of the kings of Israel and Judah. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign, this Passover was celebrated to the Lord in Jerusalem. Josiah also got rid of the mediums and psychics, the household gods, the idols, and every other kind of detestable practice, both in Jerusalem and throughout the land of Judah. He did this in obedience to the laws written in the scroll that Hilkiah the priest had found in the Lord ’s Temple. Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since. Even so, the Lord was very angry with Judah because of all the wicked things Manasseh had done to provoke him. For the Lord said, “I will also banish Judah from my presence just as I have banished Israel. And I will reject my chosen city of Jerusalem and the Temple where my name was to be honored.” The rest of the events in Josiah’s reign and all his deeds are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, went to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah and his army marched out to fight him, but King Neco killed him when they met at Megiddo. Josiah’s officers took his body back in a chariot from Megiddo to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. Then the people of the land anointed Josiah’s son Jehoahaz and made him the next king.

Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. He did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight, just as his ancestors had done. Pharaoh Neco put Jehoahaz in prison at Riblah in the land of Hamath to prevent him from ruling in Jerusalem. He also demanded that Judah pay 7,500 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of gold as tribute.

Pharaoh Neco then installed Eliakim, another of Josiah’s sons, to reign in place of his father, and he changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. Jehoahaz was taken to Egypt as a prisoner, where he died. In order to get the silver and gold demanded as tribute by Pharaoh Neco, Jehoiakim collected a tax from the people of Judah, requiring them to pay in proportion to their wealth.’

2 Kings 23:1-35

Today’s reading then takes us into Ezekiel 29:

‘On January 7, during the tenth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, turn and face Egypt and prophesy against Pharaoh the king and all the people of Egypt. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord : “I am your enemy, O Pharaoh, king of Egypt— you great monster, lurking in the streams of the Nile. For you have said, ‘The Nile River is mine; I made it for myself.’ I will put hooks in your jaws and drag you out on the land with fish sticking to your scales. I will leave you and all your fish stranded in the wilderness to die. You will lie unburied on the open ground, for I have given you as food to the wild animals and birds. All the people of Egypt will know that I am the Lord , for to Israel you were just a staff made of reeds. When Israel leaned on you, you splintered and broke and stabbed her in the armpit. When she put her weight on you, you collapsed, and her legs gave way. “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will bring an army against you, O Egypt, and destroy both people and animals. The land of Egypt will become a desolate wasteland, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord . “Because you said, ‘The Nile River is mine; I made it,’ I am now the enemy of both you and your river. I will make the land of Egypt a totally desolate wasteland, from Migdol to Aswan, as far south as the border of Ethiopia. For forty years not a soul will pass that way, neither people nor animals. It will be completely uninhabited. I will make Egypt desolate, and it will be surrounded by other desolate nations. Its cities will be empty and desolate for forty years, surrounded by other ruined cities. I will scatter the Egyptians to distant lands. “But this is what the Sovereign Lord also says: At the end of the forty years I will bring the Egyptians home again from the nations to which they have been scattered. I will restore the prosperity of Egypt and bring its people back to the land of Pathros in southern Egypt from which they came. But Egypt will remain an unimportant, minor kingdom. It will be the lowliest of all the nations, never again great enough to rise above its neighbors. “Then Israel will no longer be tempted to trust in Egypt for help. Egypt’s shattered condition will remind Israel of how sinful she was to trust Egypt in earlier days. Then Israel will know that I am the Sovereign Lord .”

On April 26, the first day of the new year, during the twenty-seventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, the army of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon fought so hard against Tyre that the warriors’ heads were rubbed bare and their shoulders were raw and blistered. Yet Nebuchadnezzar and his army won no plunder to compensate them for all their work. Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He will carry off its wealth, plundering everything it has so he can pay his army. Yes, I have given him the land of Egypt as a reward for his work, says the Sovereign Lord , because he was working for me when he destroyed Tyre. “And the day will come when I will cause the ancient glory of Israel to revive, and then, Ezekiel, your words will be respected. Then they will know that I am the Lord .”’

Ezekiel 29:1-21

Today’s reading brings us into the New Testament starting in Acts 19:

‘God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles. When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled. A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered. The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored. Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices. A number of them who had been practicing sorcery brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars. So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.’

Acts of the Apostles 19:11-20

Today’s reading continues into Revelation 10:

‘Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, surrounded by a cloud, with a rainbow over his head. His face shone like the sun, and his feet were like pillars of fire. And in his hand was a small scroll that had been opened. He stood with his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land. And he gave a great shout like the roar of a lion. And when he shouted, the seven thunders answered. When the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write. But I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Keep secret what the seven thunders said, and do not write it down.” Then the angel I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand toward heaven. He swore an oath in the name of the one who lives forever and ever, who created the heavens and everything in them, the earth and everything in it, and the sea and everything in it. He said, “There will be no more delay. When the seventh angel blows his trumpet, God’s mysterious plan will be fulfilled. It will happen just as he announced it to his servants the prophets.” Then the voice from heaven spoke to me again: “Go and take the open scroll from the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel and told him to give me the small scroll. “Yes, take it and eat it,” he said. “It will be sweet as honey in your mouth, but it will turn sour in your stomach!” So I took the small scroll from the hand of the angel, and I ate it! It was sweet in my mouth, but when I swallowed it, it turned sour in my stomach. Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings.”’

Revelation 10:1-11

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 124:

‘What if the Lord had not been on our side? Let all Israel repeat: What if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us? They would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger. The waters would have engulfed us; a torrent would have overwhelmed us. Yes, the raging waters of their fury would have overwhelmed our very lives. Praise the Lord , who did not let their teeth tear us apart! We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free! Our help is from the Lord , who made heaven and earth.’

Psalms 124:1-8

There is only so much we can do in our own strength. Even if we do all that we can it won’t be enough to save the world. God knows that and is why He sent Jesus to pay the price once for all so that all we need to do is receive the gift of grace which is Jesus Christ so that we can be saved. We are saved by works so that nobody can boast. We are saved by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world but rather that through Him the world can be saved. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a part in God’s plans, it means that we live by faith and because of our faith do we do works. As Martin Luther put it with the 5 Solas:

Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.

Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.

Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.

Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.

Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.

The Five Solas are five Latin phrases (or slogans) that emerged during the Reformation to summarize the Reformers’ theological convictions about the essentials of Christianity.

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

Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for Your Word that is a lamp unto my feet and alight unto my path. I thank You Lord that Your Word isn’t stale or outdated but rather is alive and true. Help me today Lord to make it all about You in the words I use, the tone I use, the actions I take, the responses I make so that in and through it all Lord I can be salt and light into the world around me, bringing truth and love and joy into all the people You bring across my path. Help me Lord with wisdom and discernment to see beyond the surface, beyond the tone and the words that are used and into the core of the situation in order to speak life and truth in love for each situation, conversation, and decision. Help me Lord I pray to live out my Happy Today in a way that will bring You praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

What kind of leader will you choose to be?

Leadership Word Cloud

Do you have a true north that will stand? Do you have a foundation on which to build? Are you leading rather than managing? Are you macromanaging rather than micromanging? Are you giving people the freedom to run and the guidance to keep them from hitting a wall? Are you sharing your faith with them while showing that you trust them and believe in them? Are you sharing their great work with others?

Are you leading people in the right direction? Are you leading people into the right attitude and behaviors? Are you leading people to become better versions of themselves? Are you leading people to help them grow and develop in the right ways? Are you leading people towards God’s will and plan and purpose or away from them? Are you a leader people want to follow? Are you a leader that leads with love rather than fear? Are you a leader who leads with service rather than wanting to be served? Are you a leader who leads with compassion rather than indifference or heartlessness? What can be done when the direction is wrong? What can be done when the direction is bad? What would you do? What will you do? Will you speak up and speak out? Will you have enough faith to do what you are being called to do? How great is your faith? If you were the widow and son, how many jugs would you gather to fill? If you were the king and Elisha told you to hit your arrows against the grown, how many times would you have struck the ground?

Are you leading or are you just going on a walk?

Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started in 2 Kings 13:

‘Jehoahaz son of Jehu began to rule over Israel in the twenty-third year of King Joash’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria seventeen years. But he did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight. He followed the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, continuing the sins that Jeroboam had led Israel to commit. So the Lord was very angry with Israel, and he allowed King Hazael of Aram and his son Ben-hadad to defeat them repeatedly. Then Jehoahaz prayed for the Lord ’s help, and the Lord heard his prayer, for he could see how severely the king of Aram was oppressing Israel. So the Lord provided someone to rescue the Israelites from the tyranny of the Arameans. Then Israel lived in safety again as they had in former days. But they continued to sin, following the evil example of Jeroboam. They also allowed the Asherah pole in Samaria to remain standing. Finally, Jehoahaz’s army was reduced to 50 charioteers, 10 chariots, and 10,000 foot soldiers. The king of Aram had killed the others, trampling them like dust under his feet. The rest of the events in Jehoahaz’s reign—everything he did and the extent of his power—are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. When Jehoahaz died, he was buried in Samaria. Then his son Jehoash became the next king. Jehoash son of Jehoahaz began to rule over Israel in the thirty-seventh year of King Joash’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria sixteen years. But he did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. The rest of the events in Jehoash’s reign and everything he did, including the extent of his power and his war with King Amaziah of Judah, are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. When Jehoash died, he was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel. Then his son Jeroboam II became the next king. When Elisha was in his last illness, King Jehoash of Israel visited him and wept over him. “My father! My father! I see the chariots and charioteers of Israel!” he cried. Elisha told him, “Get a bow and some arrows.” And the king did as he was told. Elisha told him, “Put your hand on the bow,” and Elisha laid his own hands on the king’s hands. Then he commanded, “Open that eastern window,” and he opened it. Then he said, “Shoot!” So he shot an arrow. Elisha proclaimed, “This is the Lord ’s arrow, an arrow of victory over Aram, for you will completely conquer the Arameans at Aphek.” Then he said, “Now pick up the other arrows and strike them against the ground.” So the king picked them up and struck the ground three times. But the man of God was angry with him. “You should have struck the ground five or six times!” he exclaimed. “Then you would have beaten Aram until it was entirely destroyed. Now you will be victorious only three times.” Then Elisha died and was buried. Groups of Moabite raiders used to invade the land each spring. Once when some Israelites were burying a man, they spied a band of these raiders. So they hastily threw the corpse into the tomb of Elisha and fled. But as soon as the body touched Elisha’s bones, the dead man revived and jumped to his feet! King Hazael of Aram had oppressed Israel during the entire reign of King Jehoahaz. But the Lord was gracious and merciful to the people of Israel, and they were not totally destroyed. He pitied them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And to this day he still has not completely destroyed them or banished them from his presence. King Hazael of Aram died, and his son Ben-hadad became the next king. Then Jehoash son of Jehoahaz recaptured from Ben-hadad son of Hazael the towns that had been taken from Jehoash’s father, Jehoahaz. Jehoash defeated Ben-hadad on three occasions, and he recovered the Israelite towns.’

2 Kings 13:1-25

Today’s reading continues into Ezekiel 19:

‘“Sing this funeral song for the princes of Israel: “What is your mother? A lioness among lions! She lay down among the young lions and reared her cubs. She raised one of her cubs to become a strong young lion. He learned to hunt and devour prey, and he became a man-eater. Then the nations heard about him, and he was trapped in their pit. They led him away with hooks to the land of Egypt. “When the lioness saw that her hopes for him were gone, she took another of her cubs and taught him to be a strong young lion. He prowled among the other lions and stood out among them in his strength. He learned to hunt and devour prey, and he, too, became a man-eater. He demolished fortresses and destroyed their towns and cities. Their farms were desolated, and their crops were destroyed. The land and its people trembled in fear when they heard him roar. Then the armies of the nations attacked him, surrounding him from every direction. They threw a net over him and captured him in their pit. With hooks, they dragged him into a cage and brought him before the king of Babylon. They held him in captivity, so his voice could never again be heard on the mountains of Israel. “Your mother was like a vine planted by the water’s edge. It had lush, green foliage because of the abundant water. Its branches became strong— strong enough to be a ruler’s scepter. It grew very tall, towering above all others. It stood out because of its height and its many lush branches. But the vine was uprooted in fury and thrown down to the ground. The desert wind dried up its fruit and tore off its strong branches, so that it withered and was destroyed by fire. Now the vine is transplanted to the wilderness, where the ground is hard and dry. A fire has burst out from its branches and devoured its fruit. Its remaining limbs are not strong enough to be a ruler’s scepter. “This is a funeral song, and it will be used in a funeral.”’

Ezekiel 19:1-14

Today’s reading next brings us into the the New Testament into Acts 15:

‘While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers : “Unless you are circumcised as required by the law of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Paul and Barnabas disagreed with them, arguing vehemently. Finally, the church decided to send Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, accompanied by some local believers, to talk to the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent the delegates to Jerusalem, and they stopped along the way in Phoenicia and Samaria to visit the believers. They told them—much to everyone’s joy—that the Gentiles, too, were being converted. When they arrived in Jerusalem, Barnabas and Paul were welcomed by the whole church, including the apostles and elders. They reported everything God had done through them. But then some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and insisted, “The Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses.” So the apostles and elders met together to resolve this issue. At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: “Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe. God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith. So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.” Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. When they had finished, James stood and said, “Brothers, listen to me. Peter has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people for himself. And this conversion of Gentiles is exactly what the prophets predicted. As it is written: ‘Afterward I will return and restore the fallen house of David. I will rebuild its ruins and restore it, so that the rest of humanity might seek the Lord , including the Gentiles— all those I have called to be mine. The Lord has spoken— he who made these things known so long ago.’ “And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood. For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.”’

Acts of the Apostles 15:1-21

We are saved by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ! It is not by works so that nobody can boast. We can learn and be corrected and be directed through the Word of God! We are to make our lives aligned with God’s Word and live our lives by grace through faith in Jesus Christ for the glory of God! And so let our faith been seen through the works we accomplish for the glory of God in Jesus’s name.

Today’s reading then brings us into Revelation 5:

‘Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: “Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it. Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it. But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth. He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne. And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.”’

Revelation 5:1-10

Jesus is enough! We only need Jesus, we don’t need Jesus plus! Jesus is worthy and able to do excedingly, abundantly more than we can ever ask or imagine.

Today’s reading concludes in Psalms 119:

‘I lie in the dust; revive me by your word. I told you my plans, and you answered. Now teach me your decrees. Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds. I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word. Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions. I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations. I cling to your laws. Lord , don’t let me be put to shame! I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding. Teach me your decrees, O Lord ; I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart. Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found. Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money! Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you. Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good. I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness. Lord , give me your unfailing love, the salvation that you promised me. Then I can answer those who taunt me, for I trust in your word. Do not snatch your word of truth from me, for your regulations are my only hope. I will keep on obeying your instructions forever and ever. I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments. I will speak to kings about your laws, and I will not be ashamed. How I delight in your commands! How I love them! I honor and love your commands. I meditate on your decrees.’

Psalms 119:25-48

THE IMPORTANCE OF SCIENCE…(The Bible’s Impact on Scientific Discovery [July 28])

Where do you get your power from? Who or what do you give your power to? Is there a reason why you do? Is there a source that allows you to know? Is it something you can be confident in? Does it change? Does it stay the same? Can you trust it? Can you believe it?

Today’s reading comes to us from Mark 12

The Parable of the Tenants

1And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. 2When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. 5And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed.6He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. 9What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10Have you not read this Scripture:
“‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
11 this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

12And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away.

Paying Taxes to Caesar

13And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. 14And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” 15But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 17Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”And they marveled at him.

The Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection

18And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, 19″Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. 21And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. 22And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. 23In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”
24Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?25For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?27He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.”

The Great Commandment

28And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Whose Son Is the Christ?

35And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet.”‘
37David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.

Beware of the Scribes

38And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces 39and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 40who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

The Widow’s Offering

41And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.44For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

–from Mark 12

If you don’t have a source of truth how will you know? If you don’t have something that never changes then how will you have something solid to stand upon? If you don’t have something you can lean on when things get shaky how will you find support?

For me it is God and His Word. All things are able to be compared against the Word of God to prove their truth. Do you have a method to test what is true?

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on scientific discovery brings us the topic of The Importance of Science. It starts on the subject of the English author and politician Francis Bacon who wrote about science, religion, and philosophy. We learn about the time in which he lived and how it was considered the Scientific Revolution in Europe and how he argued that we need to take careful observations of nature in order to advance our knowledge of nature. Today’s devotional points this as being the reason that many considered him to be the father of the scientific method. We read how many of Bacon’s writings about science and philosophy made reference to the Bible. He believed that the Bible should be integrated with scientific knowledge which is captured in his book. He even quotes from today’s reading in Mark, Mark 12:24 in his book The Advancement of Learning in his defense of the importance of science:

For our Saviour saith, “You err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God;” laying before us two books or volumes to study, if we will be secured from error: first the Scriptures, revealing the will of God, and then the creatures expressing His power; whereof the latter is a key unto the former: not only opening our understanding to conceive the true sense of the Scriptures by the general notions of reason and rules of speech, but chiefly opening our belief, in drawing us into a due meditation of the omnipotency of God, which is chiefly signed and engraven upon His works. Thus much therefore for divine testimony and evidence concerning the true dignity and value of learning.

–from The Advancement of Learning

Francis Bacon’s core belief of the combination of the Bible and Science are revealed through this. How about you? Is the Bible your source of truth? Is Jesus your rock and your foundation? Is He the cornerstone of your life?

Let’s pray…

Sample Sinners Prayer

For those who prayed this for the first time or as a recommitment to God, I celebrate with the angels in heaven that you made the greatest decision of your life. Will you leave a comment so that I know and pray for you? Will you leave a comment or question so we can have a conversation? Look for a local church that is a Bible believing, Bible preaching church that will be able to come alongside you and help you in this journey called life.

Heavenly Father,
I thank You that the battle belongs to You and that You have already won the battle. I thank You for incredible leaders You have surrounded me with who know how to lean into You and praise You. I thank You for worshippers. I thank You for teachers. I thank You for prayers. And Lord as I prepare for this day and the days ahead, I lift You up and ask in Jesus’s name that You will be with me – giving me wisdom and directing my every step. Help me Lord to glorify You and lift You up in the words I use, the thoughts I have, and the actions I take. Help us Lord to live out today in a way that will plant seeds, water seeds, that we may trust You to make them grow. Help us Lord to be the archers that shoot the arrows and that You allow to pierce the hearts of men that their lives will be touched by the message and the truth of Jesus so that their lives will be transformed and so that they too will be adopted into Your family and Your kingdom. I ask all this in Jesus’s name so that You Lord will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

God in me!

God is in me since when I invited Jesus into my heart! God is in you if you have already invited Jesus into your heart! Instead of needing to go or to find God, thanks to Jesus, we can find Jesus no matter where we are at because Jesus is Immanuel, God with us!

In this world, we will have troubles but thanks to Jesus we have hope because Jesus has overcome it this world! He took on the form of a man and was beaten and crucified for our sins but that wasn’t the end, He conquered the power of sin and death and then rose again three days later!

Thanks to Jesus, when we started our lifelong relationship our future changed and opens ourselves to spend eternity with God in heaven.

As Romans 18:8 tells us

“[But what of that?] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us!”

— from Romans 8:18 AMPC

How will you respond or answer in times of suffering? How will you respond to the pain? Will you invite Jesus and mourn with those who mourn? How will you respond to celebrations? Will you invite Jesus and rejoice with those who are rejoicing?

We as believers are to be the body! We as believers are to be the living stones! The new temple is made of living stones with Jesus as the foundation and the cornerstone. So it is no longer necessary to go to a place to meet with God, we can meet with God directly and intimately, right where we are at.

So let’s put God first in our lives! Let’s seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness! Thanks to Jesus all we have to do is turn back to God and invite Him into our very situation.

God is no longer out there somewhere thanks to Jesus! He is with us when we invite Jesus into our hearts! For those who won’t receive Jesus, He is a stumbling stone and trips them up from starting the eternal relationship God so wants with all of us because God is love! God is good all the time! All the time, God is good! So make Jesus to be your cornerstone and put all your trust in Him!

We are to be God’s spiritual house! We are to be the body going into this world and making a difference! We are to love God and love people! Let’s be God’s hands and arms! Let’s share God’s love with the world around us! Let’s let them know that He is alive! Let’s let them know how loved they are!

Where is God?

Day 327: Bible in One Year 2017

  1. Find God’s home … Psalms 132
  2. Find God in Jesus … 1 Peter 2:4-25
  3. Find God in ‘the house’ of the Lord … Ezekiel 43, 44

How will you start the rebuilding?

Will there be a time of separation? Will there be a time of realignment? Will there be a time of justice? Will there be a time of confession? Will there be a time of mercy? Will there be a time of humility? Will there be a time of cleansing? Will there be a time of decision? Will there be a time of seeking? Will there be a time of asking? Will there be a time of knocking? Will there be a time of forgiveness? Will there be a time of freedom?

What does rebuilding look like to you? Do you have a firm foundation to build upon? Do you have a cornerstone to align to? Do you have the right material to be able to start building up? Do you have the right wisdom and perspective to start? Do you have the perseverance to complete the work? Do you have the boldness to withstand the attacks? Do you have the courage to resist the enemy? Are you ready to make a difference?

How can we reset to get rid of the bad, the wrong, the mistakes? How will we realign with God’s Word and do what He asks of us? How will we be transformed by receiving Jesus into our hearts? How will we changed by building up our relationship with God? How will our faith be built up? How will we confess our sins and give them up to God in humility? Let’s humble ourselves and pray! Let’s ask for forgiveness! Let’s forgive those who have sinned against us! Let’s praise God! Let’s align and bring forth heaven on earth to the world around us! Let’s ask and trust in God to be our provider! Let’s walk with God and not go from the way!

Need help getting started? Need help coming up with a plan? Need help executing the plan? Need help? Turn to God and ask Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine!

We need to fill our hearts to overflowing with love! We need to remove any hatred by overflowing this love into the lives of the people God brings around us! He is our salvation! Yes, it is true that not everyone will be willing to hear and receive the Good News, but we can still share it! Yes, it is true that there is such thing as good and evil and as such some will not be interested in hearing the good news, but we can till the soil of hard hearts, we can plant seeds of hope and water it with grace, and maybe our work will not return void and many lives will be saved and transformed thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

So let’s consider this as we complete today’s reading with the chapters from the New Testament…

The Tongue

1My friends, not many of you should become teachers. As you know, we teachers will be judged with greater strictness than others. 2 All of us often make mistakes. But if a person never makes a mistake in what he says, he is perfect and is also able to control his whole being. 3We put a bit into the mouth of a horse to make it obey us, and we are able to make it go where we want. 4Or think of a ship: big as it is and driven by such strong winds, it can be steered by a very small rudder, and it goes wherever the pilot wants it to go. 5So it is with the tongue: small as it is, it can boast about great things.
Just think how large a forest can be set on fire by a tiny flame! 6 And the tongue is like a fire. It is a world of wrong, occupying its place in our bodies and spreading evil through our whole being. It sets on fire the entire course of our existence with the fire that comes to it from hell itself. 7We humans are able to tame and have tamed all other creatures—wild animals and birds, reptiles and fish. 8But no one has ever been able to tame the tongue. It is evil and uncontrollable, full of deadly poison. 9 We use it to give thanks to our Lord and Father and also to curse other people, who are created in the likeness of God. 10Words of thanksgiving and cursing pour out from the same mouth. My friends, this should not happen! 11No spring of water pours out sweet water and bitter water from the same opening. 12A fig tree, my friends, cannot bear olives; a grapevine cannot bear figs, nor can a salty spring produce sweet water.

The Wisdom from Above

13 Are there any of you who are wise and understanding? You are to prove it by your good life, by your good deeds performed with humility and wisdom. 14But if in your heart you are jealous, bitter, and selfish, don’t sin against the truth by boasting of your wisdom. 15Such wisdom does not come down from heaven; it belongs to the world, it is unspiritual and demonic. 16Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is also disorder and every kind of evil. 17But the wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle, and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy. 18And goodness is the harvest that is produced from the seeds the peacemakers plant in peace.

–James 3

We need to use our words to praise God! We need to be giving thanksgiving and sharing the good news! We need to bear good fruit! We need to produce good fruit through wisdom from God! Keep allowing Jesus to clean out and fill your heart with love, for from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks! Look for ways to be filled up daily with God’s love and God’s Word so that no matter the trials or the troubles or the sorrows, we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world! Let’s be filled with the love and the hope of the Lord so that when we face trials of many kinds, we can consider it pure joy and allow faith and perseverance to work in and through us so that in the end we will be complete and lacking nothing! Let’s allow God’s grace to have it’s way in us and share them with others! Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings! Let’s do our best to add goodness to our faith; to our goodness add knowledge; to our knowledge add self-control; to our self-control add endurance; to our endurance add godliness; to our godliness add Christian affection; and to our Christian affection add love. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak in you and thru you so that you will be encouraged and so that those God has brought into your life can similarly be encouraged and directed into His presence!

1From Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ—
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have been given a faith as precious as ours:
2May grace and peace be yours in full measure through your knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

God’s Call and Choice

3God’s divine power has given us everything we need to live a truly religious life through our knowledge of the one who called us to share in his own glory and goodness. 4In this way he has given us the very great and precious gifts he promised, so that by means of these gifts you may escape from the destructive lust that is in the world, and may come to share the divine nature. 5For this very reason do your best to add goodness to your faith; to your goodness add knowledge; 6to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add endurance; to your endurance add godliness; 7to your godliness add Christian affection; and to your Christian affection add love. 8These are the qualities you need, and if you have them in abundance, they will make you active and effective in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if you do not have them, you are so shortsighted that you cannot see and have forgotten that you have been purified from your past sins.
10So then, my friends, try even harder to make God’s call and his choice of you a permanent experience; if you do so, you will never abandon your faith. 11In this way you will be given the full right to enter the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12And so I will always remind you of these matters, even though you already know them and are firmly grounded in the truth you have received. 13I think it only right for me to stir up your memory of these matters as long as I am still alive. 14I know that I shall soon put off this mortal body, as our Lord Jesus Christ plainly told me. 15I will do my best, then, to provide a way for you to remember these matters at all times after my death.

Eyewitnesses of Christ’s Glory

16We have not depended on made-up stories in making known to you the mighty coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. With our own eyes we saw his greatness. 17 We were there when he was given honor and glory by God the Father, when the voice came to him from the Supreme Glory, saying, “This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased!” 18We ourselves heard this voice coming from heaven, when we were with him on the holy mountain.
19So we are even more confident of the message proclaimed by the prophets. You will do well to pay attention to it, because it is like a lamp shining in a dark place until the Day dawns and the light of the morning star shines in your hearts. 20Above all else, however, remember that none of us can explain by ourselves a prophecy in the Scriptures. 21For no prophetic message ever came just from the human will, but people were under the control of the Holy Spirit as they spoke the message that came from God.

–2 Peter 1


Today's Reading: Ezra 9, Ezra 10, Psalm 28, James 3, 2 Peter 1

How has the country been living?

Has it been living to higher standards or lowering them to the lowest common denominator? Has it been helping people up or holding them down? Has it been walking with integrity or has it turned its back and being corrupt? Has it been calling people to better ways or has it been trying to suppress them? Have words said one things and actions shown another? Are there people who seem to be thinking they are above the law? Are there people who seem to be thinking the law doesn’t apply to them? Is it a top down issue? Is it a systemic issue? Is it a legislative, judicial, and/or executive level issue?

Has it been walking away from it’s roots? Has it been trying to shake up a solid foundation? Has it been trying to pull its roots out from God? Has it been trying to do the opposite to His ways?

Have you noticed the impact? Have you noticed the implications? Have you noticed the pivot point we are at? There is a choice at hand and it will impact the country for generations to come! It goes beyond what will happen this year to decades and generations to come. What kind of country do you want to leave to the next generation? What kind of country do you want to grow old in? What kind of country do you want to experience? Consider the choices! Consider the implications! Consider the direction!

Consider God’s Word! Do you want this country to be aligned with God’s Word? Do you want this country to have to deal with the problems that come from being out from the cover and protection of the Lord? Consider the decisions that need to be made and which direction they will take us as a country!

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light! Jesus tells we will have troubles, but do we need to make decisions to expand or increase them? Jesus tells us we will have trials, but do we need to self-inflict them?

We all have a decision to make! Choose wisely! For the near term! For the longer term! For eternity! Choose Jesus and His way! We need to turn back to God! We need to humble ourselves! We need to ask for forgiveness! We need to forgive others! We need to turn from our wicked ways!

Today’s reading continues with the message from Jeremiah…

Unfaithful Israel

1The Lord says, “If a man divorces his wife, and she leaves him and becomes another man’s wife, he cannot take her back again. This would completely defile the land. But, Israel, you have had many lovers, and now you want to return to me! 2Look up at the hilltops. Is there any place where you have not acted like a prostitute? You waited for lovers along the roadside, as an Arab waits for victims in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution. 3That is why the rains were held back, and the spring showers did not come. You even look like a prostitute; you have no shame.
4“And now you say to me, ‘You are my father, and you have loved me ever since I was a child. 5You won’t always be angry; you won’t be mad at me forever.’ Israel, that is what you said, but you did all the evil you could.”

Israel and Judah Must Repent

6 When Josiah was king, the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what Israel, that unfaithful woman, has done? She has turned away from me, and on every high hill and under every green tree she has acted like a prostitute. 7I thought that after she had done all this, she would surely return to me. But she did not return, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it all. 8Judah also saw that I divorced Israel and sent her away because she had turned from me and had become a prostitute. But Judah, Israel’s unfaithful sister, was not afraid. She too became a prostitute 9and was not at all ashamed. She defiled the land, and she committed adultery by worshiping stones and trees. 10And after all this, Judah, Israel’s unfaithful sister, only pretended to return to me; she was not sincere. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
11Then the Lord told me that, even though Israel had turned away from him, she had proved to be better than unfaithful Judah. 12He told me to go and say to Israel, “Unfaithful Israel, come back to me. I am merciful and will not be angry; I will not be angry with you forever. 13Only admit that you are guilty and that you have rebelled against the Lord, your God. Confess that under every green tree you have given your love to foreign gods and that you have not obeyed my commands. I, the Lord, have spoken.
14“Unfaithful people, come back; you belong to me. I will take one of you from each town and two from each clan, and I will bring you back to Mount Zion. 15I will give you rulers who obey me, and they will rule you with wisdom and understanding. 16Then when you have become numerous in that land, people will no longer talk about my Covenant Box. They will no longer think about it or remember it; they will not even need it, nor will they make another one. 17When that time comes, Jerusalem will be called ‘The Throne of the Lord,’ and all nations will gather there to worship me. They will no longer do what their stubborn and evil hearts tell them. 18Israel will join with Judah, and together they will come from exile in the country in the north and will return to the land that I gave your ancestors as a permanent possession.”

The Idolatry of God’s People

19The Lord says,
“Israel, I wanted to accept you as my child
and give you a delightful land,
the most beautiful land in all the world.
I wanted you to call me father
and never again turn away from me.
20But like an unfaithful wife,
you have not been faithful to me.
I, the Lord, have spoken.”
21A noise is heard on the hilltops:
it is the people of Israel crying and pleading
because they have lived sinful lives
and have forgotten the Lord their God.
22Return, all of you who have turned away from the Lord;
he will heal you and make you faithful.
You say, “Yes, we are coming to the Lord because he is our God. 23We were not helped at all by our pagan worship on the hilltops. Help for Israel comes only from the Lord our God. 24But the worship of Baal, the god of shame, has made us lose flocks and herds, sons and daughters—everything that our ancestors have worked for since ancient times. 25We should lie down in shame and let our disgrace cover us. We and our ancestors have always sinned against the Lord our God; we have never obeyed his commands.”

–from Jeremiah 3

Do you want the land to be healed? We need to change as a nation! We need to turn from our wicked ways! We need to humble ourselves and pray! Then God will hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land!

So we need to turn back to God! We need to stop doing the things that go against God’s will! And we need to move back under the covering of God!

Do we want to rush to the end? For those who know and follow Jesus, we know where that will take us, but God’s will is that nobody would perish — that is why He sent Jesus! God’s will is that His Word would be known everywhere so that everyone gets the chance to make a choice! Are you helping or hindering that plan? that desire? that will?

Do you hear the hopelessness being spoken around you? Do you hear the joy being snuffed out? Do you hear the desires of people’s heart for hope? Do you hear the pain being felt?

A Call to Repentance

1The Lord says, “People of Israel, if you want to turn, then turn back to me. If you are faithful to me and remove the idols I hate, 2it will be right for you to swear by my name. Then all the nations will ask me to bless them, and they will praise me.”
3 The Lord says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem, “Plow up your unplowed fields; do not plant your seeds among thorns. 4Keep your covenant with me, your Lord, and dedicate yourselves to me, you people of Judah and Jerusalem. If you don’t, my anger will burn like fire because of the evil things you have done. It will burn, and there will be no one to put it out.”

Judah Is Threatened with Invasion

5Blow the trumpet throughout the land!
Shout loud and clear!
Tell the people of Judah and Jerusalem
to run to the fortified cities.
6Point the way to Zion!
Run for safety! Don’t delay!
The Lord is bringing disaster
and great destruction from the north.
7Like a lion coming from its hiding place,
a destroyer of nations has set out.
He is coming to destroy Judah.
The cities of Judah will be left in ruins,
and no one will live in them.
8So put on sackcloth, and weep and wail
because the fierce anger of the Lord
has not turned away from Judah.
9The Lord said, “On that day kings and officials will lose their courage; priests will be shocked and prophets will be astonished.”
10Then I said, “Sovereign Lord, you have completely deceived the people of Jerusalem! You have said there would be peace, but a sword is at their throats.”
11The time is coming when the people of Jerusalem will be told that a scorching wind is blowing in from the desert toward them. It will not be a gentle wind that only blows away the chaff— 12the wind that comes at the Lord’s command will be much stronger than that! It is the Lord himself who is pronouncing judgment on his people.

Judah Is Surrounded by Enemies

13Look, the enemy is coming like clouds. Their war chariots are like a whirlwind, and their horses are faster than eagles. We are lost! We are doomed!
14Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart, so that you may be saved. How long will you go on thinking sinful thoughts?
15Messengers from the city of Dan and from the hills of Ephraim announce the bad news. 16They have come to warn the nations and to tell Jerusalem that enemies are coming from a country far away. These enemies will shout against the cities of Judah 17and will surround Jerusalem like men guarding a field, because her people have rebelled against the Lord. The Lord has spoken.
18Judah, you have brought this on yourself by the way you have lived and by the things you have done. Your sin has caused this suffering; it has stabbed you through the heart.

Jeremiah’s Sorrow for His People

19The pain! I can’t bear the pain!
My heart! My heart is beating wildly!
I can’t keep quiet;
I hear the trumpets
and the shouts of battle.
20One disaster follows another;
the whole country is left in ruins.
Suddenly our tents are destroyed;
their curtains are torn to pieces.
21How long must I see the battle raging
and hear the blasts of trumpets?
22The Lord says, “My people are stupid;
they don’t know me.
They are like foolish children;
they have no understanding.
They are experts at doing what is evil,
but failures at doing what is good.”
Jeremiah’s Vision of the Coming Destruction
23I looked at the earth—it was a barren waste;
at the sky—there was no light.
24I looked at the mountains—they were shaking,
and the hills were rocking back and forth.
25I saw that there were no people;
even the birds had flown away.
26The fertile land had become a desert;
its cities were in ruins
because of the Lord’s fierce anger.
( 27The Lord has said that the whole earth will become a wasteland, but that he will not completely destroy it.)
28The earth will mourn;
the sky will grow dark.
The Lord has spoken
and will not change his mind.
He has made his decision
and will not turn back.
29At the noise of the cavalry and archers
everyone will run away.
Some will run to the forest;
others will climb up among the rocks.
Every town will be left empty,
and no one will live in them again.
30Jerusalem, you are doomed!
Why do you dress in scarlet?
Why do you put on jewelry and paint your eyes?
You are making yourself beautiful for nothing!
Your lovers have rejected you
and want to kill you.
31I heard a cry, like a woman in labor,
a scream like a woman bearing her first child.
It was the cry of Jerusalem gasping for breath,
stretching out her hand and saying,
“I am doomed!
They are coming to kill me!”

–from Jeremiah 4

Are you living to the highest calling? Are you living with everything available to you? Are you living with the power promised? Are you ready for what is yet to come? Will you be obedient to the prompting of the Spirit? Will you allow Him to guide your steps and your words and your direction and your decisions?

Paul in Ephesus

1While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior of the province and arrived in Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?”
“We have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit,” they answered.
3“Well, then, what kind of baptism did you receive?” Paul asked.
“The baptism of John,” they answered.
4 Paul said, “The baptism of John was for those who turned from their sins; and he told the people of Israel to believe in the one who was coming after him—that is, in Jesus.”
5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6Paul placed his hands on them, and the Holy Spirit came upon them; they spoke in strange tongues and also proclaimed God’s message. 7They were about twelve men in all.
8Paul went into the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly with the people, holding discussions with them and trying to convince them about the Kingdom of God. 9But some of them were stubborn and would not believe, and before the whole group they said evil things about the Way of the Lord. So Paul left them and took the believers with him, and every day he held discussions in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10This went on for two years, so that all the people who lived in the province of Asia, both Jews and Gentiles, heard the word of the Lord.

The Sons of Sceva

11God was performing unusual miracles through Paul. 12Even handkerchiefs and aprons he had used were taken to the sick, and their diseases were driven away, and the evil spirits would go out of them. 13Some Jews who traveled around and drove out evil spirits also tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus to do this. They said to the evil spirits, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches.” 14Seven brothers, who were the sons of a Jewish High Priest named Sceva, were doing this.
15But the evil spirit said to them, “I know Jesus, and I know about Paul; but you—who are you?”
16The man who had the evil spirit in him attacked them with such violence that he overpowered them all. They ran away from his house, wounded and with their clothes torn off. 17All the Jews and Gentiles who lived in Ephesus heard about this; they were all filled with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was given greater honor. 18Many of the believers came, publicly admitting and revealing what they had done. 19Many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in public. They added up the price of the books, and the total came to fifty thousand silver coins. 20In this powerful way the word of the Lord kept spreading and growing stronger.

The Riot in Ephesus

21After these things had happened, Paul made up his mind to travel through Macedonia and Achaia and go on to Jerusalem. “After I go there,” he said, “I must also see Rome.” 22So he sent Timothy and Erastus, two of his helpers, to Macedonia, while he spent more time in the province of Asia.
23It was at this time that there was serious trouble in Ephesus because of the Way of the Lord. 24A certain silversmith named Demetrius made silver models of the temple of the goddess Artemis, and his business brought a great deal of profit to the workers. 25So he called them all together with others whose work was like theirs and said to them, “Men, you know that our prosperity comes from this work. 26Now, you can see and hear for yourselves what this fellow Paul is doing. He says that hand-made gods are not gods at all, and he has succeeded in convincing many people, both here in Ephesus and in nearly the whole province of Asia. 27There is the danger, then, that this business of ours will get a bad name. Not only that, but there is also the danger that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will come to mean nothing and that her greatness will be destroyed—the goddess worshiped by everyone in Asia and in all the world!”
28As the crowd heard these words, they became furious and started shouting, “Great is Artemis of Ephesus!” 29The uproar spread throughout the whole city. The mob grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus, two Macedonians who were traveling with Paul, and rushed with them to the theater. 30Paul himself wanted to go before the crowd, but the believers would not let him. 31Some of the provincial authorities, who were his friends, also sent him a message begging him not to show himself in the theater. 32Meanwhile the whole meeting was in an uproar: some people were shouting one thing, others were shouting something else, because most of them did not even know why they had come together. 33Some of the people concluded that Alexander was responsible, since the Jews made him go up to the front. Then Alexander motioned with his hand for the people to be silent, and he tried to make a speech of defense. 34But when they recognized that he was a Jew, they all shouted together the same thing for two hours: “Great is Artemis of Ephesus!”
35At last the city clerk was able to calm the crowd. “Fellow Ephesians!” he said. “Everyone knows that the city of Ephesus is the keeper of the temple of the great Artemis and of the sacred stone that fell down from heaven. 36Nobody can deny these things. So then, you must calm down and not do anything reckless. 37You have brought these men here even though they have not robbed temples or said evil things about our goddess. 38If Demetrius and his workers have an accusation against anyone, we have the authorities and the regular days for court; charges can be made there. 39But if there is something more that you want, it will have to be settled in a legal meeting of citizens. 40For after what has happened today, there is the danger that we will be accused of a riot. There is no excuse for all this uproar, and we would not be able to give a good reason for it.” 41After saying this, he dismissed the meeting.

–from Acts 19

Can you trust what you are standing on?

What do you believe? What is your foundation? What is the basis for your belief? Is it solid? Is it dependable? Is it reliable? Can you trust it? Can it hold you up? Can you align to it? Are you able to walk out life because of it? Are you able to know how to live because of it? Are you able to get answers? Are you able to find hope? Are you expectant of what is yet to come? Does it set a standard that is high? Does it raise the bar? Are you able to call out? Are you able to know that the best is yet to come for you?

Is your foundation Jesus Christ? Is your cornerstone Jesus Christ?

Today’s reading begins in Isaiah…

Trust the Rock of Ages

1In that day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city. He appoints salvation as its walls and ramparts. 2Open the gates! Let the righteous nation enter— one that keeps faith. 3You keep in perfect peace one whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. 4Trust in Adonai forever, for the Lord Adonai is a Rock of ages. 5For He humbles those dwelling on high, leveling the lofty city, leveling it to the ground, bringing it down to the dust. 6Feet will trample it down, feet of the afflicted, the footsteps of the poor. 7The way of the righteous is straight. Upright One, You make smooth the path of the righteous. 8Yes, in the way of Your judgments, Adonai, we have waited for You. Your Name and Your remembrance is the desire of our soul. 9My soul longs for You at night, yes, my spirit within me seeks You. For when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. 10Though grace is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness. Even in a land of uprightness he will act wrongly, not perceiving the majesty of Adonai. 11Adonai, Your hand is lifted up, yet they do not see it; They will see Your zeal for the people and be put to shame. Yes, fire will devour Your enemies.

Your Dead Will Live!

12Adonai, You will establish shalom for us, for all our works You have done for us. 13Adonai Eloheinu, other lords beside You have had dominion over us, but we remember Your Name alone. 14The dead do not live— dead souls do not rise. Thus You punished and destroyed them and wiped out all memory of them. 15You have increased the nation, Adonai, You have increased the nation. You are glorified as You have expanded all the borders of the land. 16Adonai, they sought You in distress, they poured out a whispered prayer when Your discipline was upon them. 17As a pregnant woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pain, so we were before You, Adonai. 18We have been with child, we have been in pain, yet we gave birth to wind. We are accomplishing no deliverance for the earth, nor are inhabitants of the world coming to life. 19Yet it will be: “Your dead will live! My corpses will rise! Awake and shout for joy, you who dwell in the dust! Your dew is like the dew of the dawn. The land of dead souls will come to life! 20Go, my people, enter your rooms, and shut your doors behind you. Hide for a little while, until the wrath is past. 21For behold, Adonai is coming out from His place to punish inhabitants of the earth for iniquity. The earth will disclose her bloodshed, no longer covering up her slain.

–from Isaiah 26

Who do you depend on? Who do you rely on? Who are you leaning on? Are you leaning on God rather than your own understanding? Is your hope and trust in God? Is God your strength? Do you realize that in your weakness God will be your strength? Jesus is coming back! God’s plan is one of redemption for those who choose to follow Him! God’s plan is one of forgiveness for those who choose to follow Him! Will you choose to follow Jesus? Will you invite Him into your heart?

Leviathan the Dragon

1In that day Adonai will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent with His fierce, great, strong sword, Leviathan the twisted serpent! He will slay the dragon in the sea.

Second Song of the Vineyard

2“In that day sing to her, ‘A vineyard of delight!’ 3I, Adonai, watch over it, I water it every moment. I guard it day and night, so that no one may harm it. 4It is not that I have wrath. Who would give me thorns and thistles? Into battle I would march against them! I would burn them up altogether! 5Rather let them rely on My strength. Let them make peace with Me— make peace with Me.”

Israel Will Blossom Again

6In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and bud and fill the face of the world with fruit. 7Did He strike Israel as He struck those who struck them? Or were they slain as their slayers were slain? 8You contended with her by banishing her, by driving her away. With His fierce wind He expelled them on the day of the east wind. 9So by this will Jacob’s sin be atoned and this the full price to remove his sin: When he makes all the altar stones like shattered chalk stones, so that the Asherah poles and incense rise no more. 10The fortified city is a lonely habitation, forlorn and forsaken like the desert. There the calf will graze, there lie down and consume its branches. 11When the boughs are withered, they will be broken off. Women come and set them on fire, for it is a people of no understanding. Therefore their Maker will show them no mercy—He who formed them will give them no grace. 12It will come about in that day, Adonai will thresh from the channel of the River to the Wadi of Egypt, and you will be gathered one by one, Bnei-Yisrael. 13It will also come about in that day, a great shofar will be blown. Those perishing in the land of Assyria and the exiles in the land of Egypt will come and worship Adonai on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.

–from Isaiah 27

Do you realize the importance of the cornerstone in building up? It ensures that everything is aligned! It ensures everything is in its right place! It ensure that you can build up in strength on that solid foundation! Jesus is the Lion and the Lamb! He came as the sacrificial lamb to give His all that we might be saved! He came as the lamb who showed us how to live a servant’s life! He came to be an example for us to follow! He is coming back as the Lion to finish things off! He will come back to complete the work! He has already won the battle against death! He will come back as we read in the book of Revelation so that the new heaven and the new earth will come! He will come back as we read in the book of Revelation and we will all live together in harmony with Him!

Will you choose to spend eternity with God? Will you choose to spend eternity apart from God?

Will you choose to align with Jesus? Will you let Jesus be your solid foundation? Will you listen to His instruction? Will you align to His way? Will you live a transformed life?

A Cornerstone of Zion

1Oy , the proud crown of Ephraim’s drunks! Its glorious beauty is a fading flower, which is at the head of the fertile valleys of those overcome with wine! 2Behold, Adonai is strong and mighty, like a hailstorm, a destructive tempest, like a downpour of overflowing water, He hurls it down to earth with His hand. 3The proud crown of Ephraim’s drunks will be trampled underfoot. 4The glorious beauty is a fading flower which is at the head of the fertile valley, like a first-ripe fig before summer— whoever sees it, swallows it up while it is still in his palm. 5In that day Adonai-Tzva’ot will be a crown of glory, a diadem of beauty to the remnant of His people, 6a spirit of judgment for him who sits on the judgment seat, and strength for those turning back the battle at the gate. 7But these also reel from wine and stagger from strong drink —the kohen and the prophet reel from strong drink— are confused because of wine, they stagger because of strong drink, they are muddled in vision, they stumble in judgment. 8Since all the tables are full of the filth of vomit, no place is left. 9To whom will He teach knowledge? To whom will He explain the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just taken from the breast? 10For it must be ‘precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.’ 11For through stammering lips and a foreign tongue He will speak to this people, 12To whom He said, “Here is rest, give rest to the weary, here is repose”— but they would not listen. 13So the word of Adonai is to them ‘precept on precept, precept on precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.’ So they walk, and fall backward, and are broken, trapped, and captured. 14Therefore hear the word of Adonai, you scoffers, who rule this people who are in Jerusalem: 15“Because you have said, ‘We cut a covenant with death, we made a pact with Sheol, so when the overflowing scourge passes through, it won’t come for us, for we have made lies our refuge, and hid ourselves in falsehood’— 16Therefore thus says Adonai Elohim: ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone, a firm foundation— whoever trusts will not flee in haste. 17But I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line. Hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and water will overflow the hiding place. 18Your covenant with death is annulled, and your pact with Sheol will not stand. An overflowing scourge will pass through and you will be its trampling place. 19 As often as it passes through, it will seize you—morning by morning, by day and by night passing through. It will be sheer terror to understand the message.’” 20For too short is the bed to stretch on, too narrow the blanket to wrap up in. 21For Adonai will rise up as at Mount Perazim, He will quake with awe as at the valley of Gibeon, to do His deed, His strange deed, and to work His work, His extraordinary work. 22So now, stop your scoffing, lest your shackles be strengthened! For I have heard from Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot of destruction determined upon the whole land. 23Give ear and hear my voice! Pay attention and hear my words. 24Does a plowman plow all day to sow the seed? Does he continually break open and harrow his ground? 25No! When he has leveled its surface, he scatters dill and sows cumin, plants wheat in rows, places barley, and rye on its border. 26For his God teaches him judgment, instructing him. 27For dill is not threshed with a sledge, nor is a cart wheel rolled over cumin. Rather, dill is beaten out with a staff, and cumin with a rod. 28Bread grain is crushed, but not endlessly. Rumbling cart wheels and horses over it would only crush it to powder. 29This also comes from Adonai-Tzva’ot: Wonderful is His counsel, great is His wisdom.

–from Isaiah 28

So will you stop to listen? Will you actively listen to what God is saying to you? Will you receive it? Will you accept it? Will you set it as your foundation? Will you align to the cornerstone? Will you build your life up upon it? Will you be different? Will you live different from the ways of the world? Will you make a difference in the world around you?

Will you follow after Jesus? Will you obey His command? Will you live the life of a servant? When you lead will you lead as a servant? When you work will you work as a servant? When you go, will you go as a servant? Will you stand firm on the foundation that is Jesus Christ? Will you choose to believe? Will you choose to obey? Will you choose to serve and be Jesus’ hands extended to the world around you?

Will you walk in the light? Will you be like the moon who we see because it reflects the light of the sun? Will you reflect the light of the Son to the world around you?

The Faithful Hear the Shepherd’s Voice

1“Amen, amen I tell you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2But he who enters through the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice. The shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4“When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them; and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6Yeshua told them this parable, but they did not understand what He was telling them. 7So Yeshua said again, “Amen, amen I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All those who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate! If anyone comes in through Me, he will be saved. He will come and go and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal, slaughter, and destroy. I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly! 11“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12The hired worker is not the shepherd, and the sheep are not his own. He sees the wolf coming and abandons the sheep and flees. Then the wolf snatches and scatters the sheep. 13The man is only a hired hand and does not care about the sheep. 14“I am the Good Shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me, 15just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that are not from this fold; those also I must lead, and they will listen to My voice. So there shall be one flock, one Shepherd. 17“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life, so that I may take it up again. 18No one takes it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it up again. This command I received from My Father.” 19Again a division arose among the Judeans because of these words. 20Many of them were saying, “He has a demon. He’s insane! Why listen to Him?” 21Others said, “These are not the sayings of someone who is plagued by a demon. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can it?”

Some Despise the Light and Harden

22Then came Hanukkah; it was winter in Jerusalem. 23Yeshua was walking in the Temple around Solomon’s Colonnade.24Then the Judean leaders surrounded Him, saying, “How long will You hold us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us outright!” 25Yeshua answered them, “I told you, but you don’t believe! The works I do in My Father’s name testify concerning Me. 26But you don’t believe, because you are not My sheep. 27My sheep hear My voice. I know them, and they follow Me. 28I give them eternal life! They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. And no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30I and the Father are one.” 31Again the Judean leaders picked up stones to stone Him. 32Yeshua answered them, “I’ve shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone Me?” 33The Judean leaders answered, “We aren’t stoning you for a good work, but for blasphemy. Though You are a man, You make Yourself God!” 34Yeshua answered them, “Isn’t it written in your Writings, ‘I have said you are gods’? 35If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the Word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36do you say of Him, the One the Father set apart and sent into the world, ‘You speak blasphemy,’ because I said, ‘I am Ben-Elohim’? 37“If I don’t do the works of My Father, don’t believe Me! 38But if I do, even if you don’t trust Me, trust the deeds. Then you may come to know and continue to understand that the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father.” 39Therefore they tried to capture Him again, but He escaped from their hand. 40Again He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first started immersing, and He stayed there. 41Many people came to Him and were saying, “John performed no sign, but all John said about this man was true.” 42And many trusted in Him there.

–from John 10







Truth and Integrity!

How important is truth to you? Is it important enough that you share it? Is it important enough that you require it? Is it the standard you expect everyone to be working at? Is it an absolute?

The truth will set you free!

People with integrity walk safely!

How important is integrity to you? How about the integrity in your relationships? How about the integrity of your workplace? How about the integrity of your vehicles? How about the integrity of your family?

What are the consequences?


define truth – Bing

  1. truth


    1. the quality or state of being true:
      “he had to accept the truth of her accusation”
      antonyms: dishonesty · falseness
      • (the truth)
        that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality:

        “tell me the truth” ·

        “she found out the truth about him”

        synonyms: what actually happened · the case · so ·

        the gospel (truth) · the honest truth · fact(s) · reality · real life · actuality
        antonyms: lies · fiction
      • a fact or belief that is accepted as true:
        “the emergence of scientific truths”
        synonyms: fact · verity · certainty · certitude · law · principle
        antonyms: lie · falsehood


    Old English trīewth, trēowth ‘faithfulness, constancy’ (see true, -th2).


    truth (noun)
    Powered by Oxford Dictionaries · © Oxford University Press · Translation by Bing Translator

But that definition uses the TRUE…
So let’s look up that word…


  1. [tro͞o]


    1. in accordance with fact or reality:

      “a true story” ·

      “of course it’s true” · “that is not true of the people I am talking about”

      synonyms: correct · accurate · right · verifiable ·[more]

      in accordance with the facts · what actually/really happened · well documented · the case · so · literal · factual · unelaborated · unvarnished
      antonyms: untrue · false · fallacious
    2. accurate or exact:
      “it was a true depiction”

      synonyms: accurate · true to life · faithful · telling it like it is ·[more]

      antonyms: inaccurate
      • (of a note) exactly in tune.
      • (of a compass bearing) measured relative to true north:
        “steer 085 degrees true”
      • correctly positioned, balanced, or aligned; upright or level.
    3. loyal or faithful:
      “he was a true friend”
      antonyms: disloyal · faithless
      • (true to)
        accurately conforming to (a standard or expectation); faithful to:
        “this entirely new production remains true to the essence of Lorca’s play”
    4. archaic
      “we appeal to all good men and true to rally to us”


    1. literary
      “Hobson spoke truer than he knew”
    2. accurately or without variation.


    1. bring (an object, wheel, or other construction) into the exact shape, alignment, or position required.


    Old English trēowe, trȳwe ‘steadfast, loyal’; related to Dutch getrouw, German treu, also to truce.


    true (adjective)
    truer (comparative adjective)
    truest (superlative adjective)
    true (adverb)
    true (verb)
    trues (third person present)
    trued (past tense)
    trued (past participle)
    truing (present participle)
    trueing (present participle)
    Powered by Oxford Dictionaries · © Oxford University Press · Translation by Bing Translator

Today’s reading begins in Proverbs…What will it take for a generation to learn or to get it?

What is The Name of His Son?

1The words of Agur son of Jakeh— an oracle this man declared to Ithiel, to Ithiel and to Ucal: 2“Surely I am more stupid than any man and do not have a man’s understanding. 3I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One. 4Who has gone up into heaven, and come down? Who has gathered the wind in the palm of His hand? Who has wrapped the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name and what is the name of His son—if you know?” 5Every word of God is purified. He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. 6Do not add to His words, or else He will rebuke You and prove you a liar. 7Two things I ask of You— do not refuse me before I die: 8Keep falsehood and lies far from me. Give me neither poverty nor riches, but feed me with my allotted bread, 9lest I become satisfied and deny You and say, “Who is Adonai?” Or lest I become poor, and steal and profane the Name of my God.

A Filthy, Haughty Generation

10Do not slander a servant to his master, or he will curse you, and you pay for it. 11There is a generation that curses its father and does not bless its mother. 12There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, and yet is not cleansed from its filth. 13There is a generation whose eyes are so haughty, whose eyelids are lifted up disdainfully. 14There is a generation whose teeth are swords and whose molars are knives, to devour the poor from the earth and the needy from among humanity. 15The leech has two daughters: “Give! Give!” Three things are never satisfied, four never say, “Enough!”— 16Sheol, a barren womb, land that is not satisfied with water, and fire that never says, “Enough!” 17The eye that mocks a father and scorns obeying a mother— will be pecked out by ravens of the valley and eaten by young vultures! 18Three things are too amazing for me, four I do not understand: 19the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent upon a rock, the way of a ship in the heart of the sea, and the way of a man with a maiden. 20Such is the way of an adulteress: she eats, wipes her mouth and says, “I have done nothing wrong.” 21Under three things the earth trembles, and under four it cannot bear up: 22under a slave when he becomes a king, a fool when he is stuffed with food, 23an unloved woman when she is married, and a handmaid when she displaces her mistress.

Lessons from Creatures

24Four things on earth are small, yet they are exceedingly wise: 25ants are creatures with little strength, yet they store up their food in summer; 26coneys are creatures with little power, yet they make their homes in the cliffs; 27locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks; 28a lizard you can catch with the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces. 29Three things are stately in their stride, four that move with stately bearing: 30a lion, mighty among beasts, who never backs down from anything; 31a strutting rooster, a male-goat, and a king with his army around him. 32If you have acted foolishly, exalting yourself, or if you have planned evil, put your hand over your mouth. 33For as churning milk produces butter, and twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.

–from Proverbs 30

Is there a standard or a standard bearer that you are using to measure with? So what do you see? What do you hear? What are you learning?

Do you realize the blessing of the godly women in your life? Your grandmother? Your mom? Your wife?

A Mother’s Warning

1The words of King Lemuel, an oracle that his mother taught him: 2O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows, 3do not give your vigor to women, or your ways to what ruins kings. 4It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to crave strong drink, 5lest they drink, forget what is decreed, and pervert justice for all the oppressed. 6Give strong drink to one who is dying, and wine to those who are bitterly distressed— 7let him drink, forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. 8Open your mouth on behalf of those unable to speak, for the justice of all who are destitute. 9Open your mouth, judge righteously, plead the cause of the poor and needy.

A Woman of Valor

10An accomplished woman who can find? Her value is far beyond rubies. 11Her husband’s heart trusts in her, and he lacks nothing valuable. 12She brings him good and not harm all the days of her life. 13She selects wool and flax and her hands work willingly. 14She is like merchant ships, bringing her sustenance from afar. 15She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and portions for her servant girls. 16She considers a field and buys it. From the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 17She girds herself with strength and invigorates her arms. 18She discerns that her business is good. Her lamp never goes out at night. 19She extends her hands to the spindle and her palm grasps the spinning wheel. 20She spreads out her palms to the poor, and extends her hands to the needy. 21She is not afraid of snow for her house, for her whole household is clothed in scarlet wool. 22She makes her own luxurious coverings. Her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23Her husband is respected at the city gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. 24She makes linen garments and sells them and supplies sashes to the merchants. 25Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the days to come. 26She opens her mouth with wisdom— a lesson of kindness is on her tongue. 27She watches over the affairs of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28Her children arise and bless her, her husband also praises her: 29“Many daughters have excelled, but you surpass them all.” 30Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears Adonai will be praised. 31Give her the fruit of her hands. Let her deeds be her praise at the gates.

–from Proverbs 31

Are you living for God? Are you a living sacrifice where your life is an offering to God? Are your words praise to God? Are you actions offerings up to God? Why do you do what you do? Why do you say what you say? What is the motivating factor? What is the driving factor?

Sing a New Song

1Sing to Adonai a new song! Sing to Adonai, all the earth. 2Sing to Adonai, bless His Name. Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. 3Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples. 4For great is Adonai, and greatly to be praised. He is to be feared above all gods. 5For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but Adonai made the heavens. 6Splendor and majesty are before Him. Strength and beauty are in His Sanctuary. 7Ascribe to Adonai, O families of peoples. Ascribe to Adonai glory and strength. 8Ascribe to Adonai the glory of His Name. Bring an offering and come into His courts. 9Bow down to Adonai in holy splendor. Tremble before Him, all the earth. 10Say among the nations: “Adonai reigns!” The world is firmly established— it will not move. He will judge the peoples with fairness. 11Let the heavens be glad, let the earth rejoice. Let the sea roar—and all that fills it. 12Let the land exult—and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy— 13before Adonai, for He is coming! For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples in His faithfulness.

–from Psalms 96

Jesus is the answer! Jesus is the standard! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! Jesus is the light in this dark world! Jesus is the hope for the hopeless! Jesus is the foundation that is rock solid on which to build your life!

God’s Manifested Word of Life

1What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of life— 2the life was revealed, and we have seen and testify and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us. 3What we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so you may have fellowship with us. Indeed, our fellowship is with the Father and His Son, Yeshua the Messiah. 4These things we write so our joy may be full.

God’s Light Dispels Darkness

5Now this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you—that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6If we say we have fellowship with Him and keep walking in the darkness, we are lying and do not practice the truth. 7But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of His Son Yeshua purifies us from all sin.

Cleansing Begins with Confessing

8If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

–from 1 John 1


Will you invest in the future?

Will you plant seeds that you won’t see grow? Will you water even though you won’t see the fruit? Will you prepare the resources for the generation to come? Will you provide the wisdom of what needs to happen so they know what to do? Will you give it up to God so that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory? Will you invest in the future? Are you ready to leave a legacy? Are you willing to set up the legacy for the generation to come? Will you store up your treasures in heaven where rust can’t destroy? where thieves can steal? where moths can’t eat them? Will you be sensitive to the prompting of the Spirit? Will you be willing to let it go and give it up to Him? Will you be willing to make it more about God and less about yourself? How will you choose to invest in the future? Even doing nothing is a choice, but is it the choice you would like to have as your final one? So…will you invest in the future?

So let’s set our hearts and soul to God’s plan and God’s purpose! Let’s bring light and hope and love into this world around us! Let’s allow Him to work in and through us in a way that will transform the world around us! Let’s get back to basics! Let’s get back to the truth! Let’s get back to absolutes! Let’s stop the wavering that is allowing bad things and wrong things to be done because of relativism! Let’s come together loving God and loving people! Let’s come together unified as a people, for divided we’ll fall! We need to get back to basics! We need to get back to the beginning! Let’s build on a strong foundation! Let’s build with Jesus as our cornerstone! We need it now more than ever! We need to unite for the common good with Jesus as the center for a cord of three strands is not easily broken and with Jesus in the middle and with all of us going to Him, we will find peace that goes beyond understanding, we will find strength to move forward, we will find grace to forgive, we will find hope for tomorrow! Do you want to leave this world a better place for the next generation than what it was when we got it? So, how will you invest in the future?

1Then David said, “This is the place where the House of Adonai Elohim will be, along with the altar for burnt sacrifices for Israel.”

Preparing for the Temple

2David gave orders to assemble the foreigners in the land of Israel, and assigned them to be masons to quarry stones to build the House of God. 3David supplied an abundance of iron for nails for the doors of the gates and for the joints, so much bronze that it could not be weighed, 4and cedar logs without number, for the Zidonians and the Tyrians brought an abundance of cedar logs to David. 5David said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced and the House that is to be built for Adonai must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all the nations. Therefore I will make preparation for it.” So David made extensive preparations before his death. 6Then He called for Solomon his son, and charged him to build a House for Adonai, the God of Israel. 7David said to Solomon, “My son, I had it in my heart to build a House for the name of Adonai my God. 8But the word of Adonai came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and fought many battles. You will not build a House for My Name because you have shed much blood before Me on the earth. 9Behold, a son will be born to you who will be a man at rest. I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon and I will confer shalom and quietness on Israel in his days. 10He will build a House for My name; he will be My son and I will be His Father. I will establish his royal throne over Israel forever.’ 11“Now, my son, may Adonai be with you, and may you succeed in building the House of Adonai your God as He spoke concerning you. 12Only may Adonai give you insight and understanding when He gives you charge over Israel so that you may observe the Torah of Adonai your God. 13Then you will prosper, if you carefully observe the statutes and the ordinances that Adonai commanded Moses concerning Israel. Chazak! And be courageous! Do not be afraid or dismayed. 14“Now behold, with great pain I have provided for the House of Adonai 100,000 talents of gold, a million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond weighing for there is so much of it. I have also prepared wood and stone, and you must add to them. 15 Moreover, you have an abundance of workmen: stonecutters, masons, carpenters and every kind of craftsmen skilled in every kind of material— 16in gold, silver, bronze and iron—beyond number. Arise and work! May Adonai be with you.” 17David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son, 18“Is not Adonai your God with you? Has He not given you rest on every side? For He has delivered the inhabitants of the land into my hand and the land is subdued before Adonai and before His people. 19Now set your hearts and souls to seek after Adonai your God. Rise up and build the Sanctuary of Adonai Elohim so that you can bring the Ark of the Covenant of Adonai and the holy vessels of God into the House built for the Name of Adonai.”

–from 1 Chronicles 22

How will you help? What will be your part? What do you have to bring? What do you have to offer? What skills and talents will help you to prepare and pass it along?

Census of Levites

1When David was old and full of days, he made his son Solomon king over Israel. 2He also gathered together all the leaders of Israel along with the kohanim and the Levites. 3The Levites 30 years old or more were counted; their head count was 38,000 men. 4Of these, there were 24,000 to oversee the work of the House of Adonai, 6,000 officers and judges, 5 4,000 gatekeepers, and 4,000 for praising Adonai “with the instruments which I made for giving praise.” 6David organized them into divisions: The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari. 7Of the Gershonites: Ladan and Shimei. 8The sons of Ladan: Jehiel the leader, Zetham and Joel—three. 9The sons of Shimei: Shelomith, Haziel and Haran—three. These were the heads of the clans of Ladan. 10The sons of Shimei: Jahath, Zina, Jeush and Beriah. These were the sons of Shimei—four. 11Jahath was the first and Zizah the second, but Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons, so they were enrolled together as a single clan. 12The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel—four. 13The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses. Aaron, along with his descendants, was set apart to be consecrated as most holy forever, to burn incense before Adonai, to minister to Him, and to bless in His name forever. 14But as for Moses the man of God, his sons are named among the tribe of Levi. 15The sons of Moses: Gershom and Eliezer. 16The sons of Gershom: Shebuel, the leader. 17The sons of Eliezer: Rehabiah the chief. Eliezer had no other sons, but the sons of Rehabiah were very numerous. 18The sons of Izhar: Shelomith the leader. 19The sons of Hebron: Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third and Jekameam the fourth. 20The sons of Uzziel: Micah the first and Isshiah the second. 21The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Mahli: Eleazar and Kish. 22Eleazar died having no sons but only daughters; the sons of Kish, their kinsmen, took them as wives. 23The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder, and Yeremot—three. 24These were the sons of Levi by clans, with the heads of clans as they were enrolled and with a list of their names by heads who carried out the task of avodah in the House of Adonai from 20 years old and upward. 25For David said: “Adonai, the God of Israel, has given His people rest and He dwells in Jerusalem forever. 26Therefore, the Levites need not carry the Tabernacle and all the vessels for avodah.” 27For according to David’s final instructions, the Levites 20 years old and upward were counted. 28For their duty was to help the descendants of Aaron in the avodah of Adonai’s House concerning the courtyards and rooms, the purification of all holy things and the performance of the avodah of God’s House, 29the rows of bread, the fine flour for the grain offering, the matzot , the cake baked on the griddle or mixed and every measure of capacity and length, 30and to stand every morning to thank and praise Adonai. They also did this in the evening 31and whenever burnt offerings were offered to Adonai on Shabbatot, New Moons and the moadim. They were to serve regularly before Adonai, according to the proper number in the manner prescribed for them. 32They were to keep watch over the Tent of Meeting, the Holy Place and the sons of Aaron their kinsmen for avodah in the House of Adonai.

–from 1 Chronicles 23


1Now these were the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron were Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 2But Nadab and Abihu died before their father and had no children, so Eleazar and Ithamar served as kohanim. 3David, with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, divided them into their offices according to their avodah. 4More leading men were found among the sons of Eleazar than among the sons of Ithamar, so they divided them: the sons of Eleazar had 16 leaders of clans and the sons of Ithamar had eight leaders of clans. 5Thus, they were impartially divided by lot for there were officials of the Holy Place and officials of God, both from the sons of Eleazar and from the sons of Ithamar. 6The scribe Shemaiah, son of Nethanel from the Levites, recorded them in the presence of the king, the princes, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech son of Abiathar, and the leaders of the clans of the kohanim and of the Levites: one clan taken for Eleazar and one for Ithamar. 7Now the first lot came for Jehoiarib, the second for Jedaiah, 8the third for Harim, the fourth for Seorim, 9the fifth for Malchijah, the sixth for Mijamin, 10the seventh for Hakkoz, the eighth for Abijah, 11the ninth for Jeshua, the tenth for Shecaniah, 12the eleventh for Eliashib, the twelfth for Jakim, 13the thirteenth for Huppah, the fourteenth for Heshebeab, 14the fifteenth for Bilgah, the sixteenth for Immer, 15the seventeenth for Hezir, the eighteenth for Hapizzez, 16the nineteenth for Petahiah the twentieth for Jehezkel, 17the twentyfirst for Jachin, the twentysecond for Gamul, 18the twentythird for Delaiah, the twentyfourth for Maaziah. 19These were their duties for their avodah upon entering into the House of Adonai according to the ordinance given to them by the hand of Aaron their father, just as Adonai the God of Israel had commanded him. 20As for the rest of the sons of Levi: from the sons of Amram: Shubael; from the sons of Shubael: Jehdeiah. 21As for Rehabiah, from the sons of Rehabiah Isshiah was the first. 22From the Izharites: Shelomoth; from the sons of Shelomoth: Jahath. 23The sons of Hebron: Jeriah, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, Jekameam the fourth. 24The sons of Uzziel: Micah; from the sons of Micah: Shamir. 25The brother of Micah, Ishiah; from the sons of Ishiah: Zechariah. 26The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi; the sons of Jaaziah: Beno. 27The sons of Merari: from Jaaziah: Beno, Shoham, Zaccur and Ibri. 28From Mahli: Eleazar, who had no sons. 29From Kish, the sons of Kish: Jerahmeel. 30The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder and Jerimoth. These were the sons of the Levites by their clans. 31These also cast lots even as their kinsmen the sons of Aaron did in the presence of King David, Zadok, Ahimelech and the heads of the clans of the kohanim and the Levites—the families of the oldest just like those of his youngest brother.

–from 1 Chronicles 24

Jesus will be coming back – the book of Revelation tells us of that. Jesus came to be our savior so that we could have life to the full! What are we doing together today to help the future be ready? What we we doing together today to help the next generation to be ready and prepared what is yet to come? Are we you making sure we have a solid foundation of faith for them to stand upon? Are we making sure that we have a cornerstone that is Jesus so that we have a situation that is lined up in truth? Will we plant and demonstrate righteousness and hate lawlessness? Will we help people know the difference between right and wrong? Will we pour our grace and forgiveness as Jesus did for us?

Let’s humble ourselves and pray! Let’s ask Jesus to intervene in what is taking place! Let’s ask God to help us to bring reconciliation and peace and hope and joy and love to this country! Let’s stand up! Let’s stand in the gap! Let’s bridge the gap and help start the reconciliation! Let’s not allow lawlessness to have a root! Let’s not allow bitterness and anger to eat and tear us up from the inside out! Let’s move towards forgiveness in order to have life, truth, justice and liberty for all!

Superiority of the Son

1At many times and in many ways, God spoke long ago to the fathers through the prophets. 2In these last days He has spoken to us through a Son, whom He appointed heir of all things and through whom He created the universe. 3This Son is the radiance of His glory and the imprint of His being, upholding all things by His powerful word. When He had made purification for our sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. 4Thus He became as far above the angels as the name He has inherited is more excellent than theirs. 5For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are My Son. Today I have become Your Father”? And again, “I will be to Him a Father, and He will be to Me a Son”? 6And again, when He brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” 7And regarding the angels He says, “He makes His angels winds, and His servants a flame of fire.” 8But regarding the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and a scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions.” 10And, “In the beginning, Adonai, You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands. 11They shall pass away, but You remain. And they will all wear out like clothing. 12And like a robe You will roll them up, and like clothing they will be changed; but You are the same, and Your years shall never end.” 13But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet”? 14Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out for service to those about to inherit salvation?

–from Hebrews 1


Even through the valleys God will provide

Ever been going through tough times? Ever been in the valley? Going through tough times now? Going through the valley? Ever had people throw things or kick you while you were down? Beware of people who give you bad advice! Beware of people who are just pretending to care but don’t have your best interest at hand!

Keep your eyes on God! Turn to Him for counsel and advice! Let Him be your rock and your fortress! Don’t lose hope! God is with you! God will provide! God can turn what the enemy was planning for evil and use it for good! God can turn around cursing and turn it into blessings.

Be it encouragement! Be it wisdom! Be it protection! Be it safety! Be it direction! Be it instruction! God will provide!

Consider David while Saul was chasing him even though he was to be the next king. In today’s reading we see David’s own son revolting now. But God provides and David’s hope and faith help him get through it!

Don’t give up! Don’t lose hope! Turn to God and allow Him to direct your path and make it straight! From the lowest point in the valley to the mountain top experiences, don’t take your eyes off of Him or start thinking you are doing it all in your own strength.

Today’s reading starts here…

1Now when David had passed a little beyond the summit, there was Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth to meet him with a pair of saddled donkeys, and on them 200 loaves of bread, 100 clusters of raisins, 100 fig cakes and a bottle of wine. 2So the king asked Ziba, “What are you doing with these?” Ziba said, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and the figs are for the young men to eat, and the wine is for anyone who faints in the wilderness to drink.” 3Then the king asked, “And where is your master’s son?” “Well, he’s staying in Jerusalem,” Ziba said to the king, “for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will restore to me the kingdom of my father.” 4Then the king said to Ziba, “Behold, all that belongs to Mephibosheth is yours.” “I bow low,” Ziba said. “Let me find favor in your eyes, my lord the king.” 5When King David arrived at Bahurim, behold, just coming out from there was a man of the family of the house of Saul—his name was Shimei son of Gera. As he came out, he kept on cursing 6and flinging stones at David and at all King David’s servants, while all the people and all the mighty men were at his right hand and on his left. 7Thus Shimei said as he cursed, “Get out, get out! The man of bloodshed, the good-for-nothing! 8Adonai has returned on you all the blood of Saul’s house, in whose place you’ve reigned. Adonai has handed the kingdom over to your son Absalom—so see, your own evil has overtaken you, because you are a man of bloodshed.” 9Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why let this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over now and take off his head!” 10But the king said, “What have I to do with you, sons of Zeruiah? If he curses, it’s because Adonai has said to him, ‘Curse David!’ So who should say, ‘Why did you do so?’” 11Then David said to Abishai and to all his officials, “Look, my son who came from my own body is seeking my life—how much more this Benjamite? Leave him alone and let him curse, since Adonai has told him. 12Perhaps Adonai will look on my affliction and return good to me for his cursing this day.” 13So David and his men continued on the way, while Shimei kept walking alongside the hill parallel with him, cursing as he walked, casting stones at him and throwing dirt. 14Finally the king and all the people that were with him arrived weary, so he refreshed himself there.

Counselors Divided

15Meanwhile Absalom and all the people of the men of Israel arrived in Jerusalem. Ahithophel was with him. 16Now when David’s friend Hushai the Archite came to Absalom, Hushai said to Absalom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!” 17But Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?” 18“No!” said Hushai to Absalom. “For the one whom Adonai has chosen—as well as these people, all the men of Israel—his I will be and with him I will stay. 19Besides, whom should I serve? Shouldn’t I be in the presence of his son? As I have served in your father’s presence, so I will be in your presence.” 20Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give your counsel. What should we do?” 21So Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go to your father’s concubines whom he has left to take care of the palace. Then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself abhorrent to your father and the hands of all who are with you will also be strengthened.” 22So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and Absalom went to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel. 23Now in those days the counsel that Ahithophel gave was like inquiring for the word of God—so was all of Ahithophel’s counsel both with David and with Absalom.

–from 2 Samuel 16

Which advice is really best? How will you know? Is one person enough to ask? Will you ask 2? Do you need more than that? How will you know which is best?

1Moreover Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Let me now choose 12,000 men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight. 2I will attack him while he is weary and weak-handed, and terrify him so that all the people that are with him will flee. Then I will strike down the king when he is alone. 3Then I will bring all the people back to you—when all will have returned except the man you are seeking, then all the people will be at peace.” 4Now the plan seemed right in the eyes of Absalom and all the elders of Israel. 5Then Absalom said, “Call now Hushai the Archite also. Let’s hear what he has to say as well.” 6When Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom spoke to him saying, “This is what Ahithophel has advised. Should we follow his counsel? If not, you will speak.” 7So Hushai said to Absalom, “This time the counsel that Ahithophel has given is not good.” 8Hushai then added, “You know your father and his men. They are mighty men, and they are embittered in their souls like a bear robbed of her cubs in the wild. Your father is an expert in warfare, and won’t spend the night with the troops. 9Even now, he must be hiding in one of the caves or in some other place. So if he were to fall on them at first, whoever hears of it would say, ‘There’s a slaughter among the people following Absalom!’ 10Then even one who is valiant, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will utterly melt away—for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty warrior and those who are with him are valiant men. 11Instead, I counsel that all Israel be gathered altogether to you—from Dan to Beersheba, as abundant as the sand by the sea—and that you personally go into the battle. 12Then we will come upon him in one of the places where he can be found and we’ll fall upon him as dew falls on the ground. None will be left of all the men who are with him—not even one. 13Moreover if he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city and drag it into the valley until not even one small stone will be found there.” 14Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For Adonai had ordained to thwart Ahithophel’s good counsel, so that Adonai might bring evil upon Absalom. 15Then Hushai said to Zadok and Abiathar the kohanim, “This and that is what Ahithophel counseled Absalom and the elders of Israel, and this and that is what I advised. 16Now therefore send word quickly and tell David saying, ‘Don’t spend the night at the fords in the wilderness but by all means, cross over or else the king and all the people with him may be swallowed up.’” 17Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at En-rogel, and a maidservant used to go and pass information along to them. Then they would go and inform King David for they could not be seen entering the city. 18But a lad did see them and informed Absalom. So the two of them left quickly and arrived at the house of a man in Bahurim. He had a well in his courtyard; so they went down into it. 19Then the woman took the cover and spread it over the well’s mouth and scattered grain on top of it so that nothing was noticeable. 20When Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house and said, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” the woman said to them, “They crossed over the brook of water.” When they had searched and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem. 21After they had departed, they came up from the well, then went and informed King David, telling David, “Get up and cross over the water immediately, for thus has Ahithophel counseled against you.” 22Then David arose, and all the people who were with him, and they crossed over the Jordan. By morning light, not even one of them was left who had not crossed the Jordan. 23Now when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey, arose, went to his home in his hometown set his house in order, and hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father’s tomb. 24David had reached Mahanaim by the time Absalom crossed the Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him. 25Now Absalom had set Amasa over the army instead of Joab. (Now Amasa was son of a man whose name was Ithra the Israelite, who had gone to Abigal daughter of Nahash, sister to Zeruiah Joab’s mother.) 26Israel and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead. 27Now when David reached Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash of Rabbah of the children of Ammon, Machir son of Ammiel of Lo-debar and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim 28brought beds, basins, clay pots, wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, parched seeds, 29honey, curd, sheep and cheese from the herd for David and for the people who were with him to eat. For they said, “The people must be hungry, weary and thirsty in the wilderness.”

–from 2 Samuel 17

Things go best when people are really looking out for your best interest! People who are good to the core! Surround yourself with good people! Help them to be built up and encouraged and know the truth and love of God! Will you show love to everyone? Will you love your enemies? Will you pray for those who persecute you? Will you look for good in all?

Absalom’s Demise

1Then David mustered the people who were with him and set commanders of thousands and captains of hundreds over them. 2Then David sent out the troops, one third under the command of Joab, one third under the command of Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and one third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the troops, “I must certainly go out with you also.” 3But the troops said, “You must not go out! For if we were to flee, they would not care about us, even if half of us die, they still wouldn’t care about us—but you are worth 10,000 of us. Therefore now, it is better that you be ready to support us from the city.” 4Then the king said to them, “Whatever seems best to you I will do.” So the king stood beside the gate and all the troops went out by their hundreds and thousands. 5Then the king charged Joab, Abishai and Ittai saying, “Deal gently with the young man Absalom for my sake.” Now all the troops heard the king’s charge to all the commanders concerning Absalom. 6Then the troops went out to the field to confront Israel but the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. 7The people of Israel were defeated there before the followers of David, and the slaughter that day was great—20,000 men. 8For the battle there was spread over the face of the entire countryside and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured. 9Now Absalom encountered some of David’s servants. When Absalom was riding on his mule, the mule went under the thick branches of the great oak, and his head got caught in the oak, so that he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. 10Then a certain man saw it and told Joab saying, “Look, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” 11Then Joab said to his informant, “Look here, you saw him, so why didn’t you strike him there to the ground? I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a belt!” 12But the man said to Joab, “Even if I had 1,000 pieces of silver in my hand, I would not raise my hand against the king’s son; for in our hearing the king charged you, Abishai and Ittai saying, ‘Watch over the young man Absalom for me.’ 13Otherwise, I would have betrayed his soul—and nothing stays hidden from the king—and you yourself would have stood aloof.” 14“I won’t wait for you!” Joab said. So he took three darts in his hand and thrust them through Absalom’s heart while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak. 15Then ten young men who were Joab’s armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck and finished him off. 16Then Joab blew the shofar and the troops returned from pursuing Israel, for Joab held back the troops. 17They took Absalom and threw him into a deep pit in the forest and piled over him a very large heap of stones. Then all Israel fled, everyone to his tent. 18(Now Absalom, in his lifetime, had taken and set up for himself a pillar, which is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to preserve the memory of my name.” So he called the pillar by his name and it has been called Absalom’s Monument to this day.) 19Then Ahimaaz son of Zadok said, “Let me now run and bring the king news that Adonai has vindicated him against the hand of his enemies.” 20But Joab said to him, “You are not to be the bearer of news today. You may do it another day, but today you shall bear no news—for the king’s son is dead.” 21Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go tell the king what you have seen.” So the Cushite bowed to Joab and took off running. 22But Ahimaaz son of Zadok once again said to Joab, “Whatever happens, please let me also run after the Cushite.” “Why should you run, my son,” Joab said, “since you would have no news worth telling?” 23“Whatever may come of it, I want to run!” So he said to him, “Run!” Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and so passed the Cushite. 24Now David was sitting between the two gates. When the watchman on the roof over the gate walked over to the wall, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and all of a sudden, he saw a man running alone. 25The watchman cried out and told the king. The king said, “If he is alone, there is good news in his mouth.” So he came closer and closer. 26Then the watchman saw another man running, so the watchman called out to the gatekeeper and said, “Look, another man is running alone.” The king said, “He too is bringing good news.” 27Then the watchman said, “I can see that the running of the first one is like the running of Ahimaaz son of Zadok.” “This is a good man and he comes with good news,” the king replied. 28Then Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, “Shalom.” Then he prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground and said, “Blessed be Adonai your God, who has given over the men who lifted up their hand against my lord the king.” 29Then the king asked, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” Ahimaaz answered, “I saw a great tumult when the king’s servant Joab sent me, your servant, but I did not know what it was about.” 30“Step aside and stand here,” the king said. So he stepped aside and stood still. 31Then the Cushite arrived and said, “Let my lord the king receive good news for Adonai has vindicated you today against all who rose up against you.” 32Then the king asked the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” The Cushite answered, “Let the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be as that young man!”

–from 2 Samuel 18

Will you just give it up to God rather than overreacting? Will you turn to God in and through it all trusting in Him?

Adonai Magen

1A passionate song of David, which he sang to Adonai concerning Cush, a Benjamite. 2Adonai my God, in You I have taken refuge. Save me from each of my persecutors, and deliver me. 3Otherwise he will rip me apart like a lion, with no one to rescue me. 4Adonai my God, if I have done this— if there is guilt on my hands, 5if I have paid back evil to anyone at peace with me, or unjustly attacked my adversary, 6 then let the enemy chase me, overtake me, and trample me into the ground, leaving my honor in the dirt! Selah 7Arise, Adonai, in Your anger, arise against the fury of my enemies! Awake for me! You decreed justice. 8Let an assembly of peoples gather around You and return on high, above them. 9Adonai judges the peoples. Vindicate me, Adonai, according to my righteousness and integrity in me. 10Please, end the evil of the wicked and sustain the righteous. A just God examines hearts and minds. 11My shield is God— Savior of the upright in heart. 12God is a righteous judge, a God who is indignant every day. 13If He does not relent, He will sharpen His sword. He has bent His bow and made it ready. 14He prepares His own deadly weapons. He makes His fiery arrows. 15Look! The one pregnant with trouble conceives mischief and brings forth deceit. 16He digs a pit, scrapes it out, and then falls into the hole he has made. 17His mischief will turn on his own head. His violence will boomerang on his crown. 18I will praise Adonai for His justice. I sing praise to the Name of Adonai Elyon!

–from Psalms 7

Trust God! Turn to Him! Walk with Him! Talk with Him! He knows your name! He knows your every thought! He sees each tear that falls! He hears you when you call!

Even My Close Friend

1For the music director: a psalm of David. 2Blessed is the one who considers the wretched— Adonai will deliver him in the evil day. 3Adonai will protect him and keep him alive. He will be made blessed in the land. You will not give him over to the desire of his foes. 4Adonai will strengthen him on his sickbed. May You restore him completely from his bed. 5I said: “Adonai, have mercy on me. Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.” 6My enemies speak evil about me: “When will he die and his name perish?” 7And if someone of them comes to see me, he speaks falsely. He stores up evil in his heart, then he goes out and chatters. 8All who hate me whisper together about me They imagine the worst about me: 9“Something evil was poured into him— he will not get up again from the place where he lies.” 10Even my own close friend, whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. 11But You, Adonai, have mercy on me, and raise me up, so I may repay them. 12By this I know that You delight in me: that my enemy does not shout in triumph over me. 13You uphold me in my integrity and set me before Your face forever. 14Blessed be Adonai, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and amen!

–from Psalms 41

God cannot lie! There is no darkness in Him! We need to be of good character! The goal is to raise the bar! raise the average! It’s not to lower it to the lowest common denominator! So live it that way! Make a difference in this world you live in! Make a difference in your home, your neighborhood, and your community!


1Paul, a slave of God and an emissary of Messiah Yeshua, for the faith of God’s chosen and the knowledge of truth that is in keeping with godliness, 2based on the hope of eternal life. God—who cannot lie—promised this before the beginning of time. 3But in His own time He made His message known, through a proclamation with which I was entrusted, by the command of God our Savior. 4To Titus, a true child of our common faith: Grace and shalom from God the Father and Messiah Yeshua, our Savior!

Setting the Community in Order

5The reason I left you in Crete was so that you would set in order the things that remain and appoint elders in every city as I directed you— 6if anyone is blameless, the husband of one wife, having children of faith with no charge of wild living or rebellion. 7For the overseer must be blameless as God’s administrator—not arrogant, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not violent, not greedy for dishonest gain. 8Rather he must be hospitable, loving what is good, self-controlled, upright, devout, disciplined. 9He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message in keeping with the teaching, so he can both encourage by instruction that is sound and convict those who speak against it. 10For there are many who are rebellious, vain talkers and deceivers, especially those from the circumcision. 11They must be silenced—those who upset entire households by teaching what they should not, for the sake of dishonest gain. 12One of them, one of their own prophets, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13This testimony is true. For this reason rebuke them sharply, so they might be sound in the faith, 14not paying attention to Judaic myths and commands of men who turn away from the truth. 15To the pure all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure. Both their mind and conscience are defiled. 16They claim to know God but their deeds deny Him. They are despicable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

–from Titus 1


Do you realize you aren’t supposed to do it all?

Do you realize there are boundaries? Do you realize there are roles and responsibilities? Do you realize that we each have our part? Do you realize the consequences of walking outside of those lines? Are the consequences different between the roles and if you go out on different sides? What will be the impact? What will be the difference? What will be the outcome? Consider them closely! Consider them purposefully! Be willing to be patient! Be willing to be at peace! Be willing to go about things the right way! God’s timing is perfect! Wait for it! Wait for it! And when He gives you the green light … Go for it with all that you have! Otherwise you may find the consequences are greater than you would have ever expected. How will you measure up?

Do you realize you aren’t supposed to do everything?

Today’s reading gets us started with Saul, let’s check out what happens there…

Saul’s Misguided Sacrifice

1Saul was 30 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for 42 years over Israel. 2Now Saul chose for himself 3,000 men of Israel, of which 2,000 were with Saul in Michmas and in the hill country of Beth-el, and 1,000 were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. The rest of the troops he sent away, each one to his tent. 3Now Jonathan struck down the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. So Saul blew the shofar throughout the country, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear.” 4All Israel heard the news, “Saul had struck down the garrison of the Philistines, so Israel has become a stench to the Philistines.” Then the people were summoned to Saul at Gilgal. 5Meanwhile the Philistines assembled themselves to fight with Israel: 30,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen and troops as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They marched up and camped in Michmas, east of Beth-aven. 6When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble, because the people were hard-pressed, they hid in caves, thickets, cliffs, crevices and pits. 7Some of the Hebrews even crossed over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. But as for Saul, he was still in Gilgal, but all the people following him were trembling. 8So he waited seven days—the time set by Samuel—but Samuel had not come to Gilgal so the people began to scatter from him. 9Then Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings,” so he offered the burnt offering. 10But as soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and greet him. 11But Samuel asked, “What have you done?” Saul replied, “Because I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you had not come within the appointed days, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmas, 12I thought: ‘Now the Philistines are about to advance against me at Gilgal, but I have not yet entreated Adonai.’ So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering.” 13Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly by not keeping the commandment of Adonai your God which He commanded you. For now, Adonai would have established your kingship over Israel forever. 14But now your kingship will not last. Adonai has sought for Himself a man after His own heart. So Adonai will appoint him as ruler over His people—because you have not guarded what Adonai commanded you.” 15Samuel then departed and went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin. Then Saul numbered the troops that were with him, about 600 men. 16Now Saul and his son Jonathan and the people that were present with them were staying in Gibeah of Benjamin, while the Philistines encamped in Michmas. 17Raiders started to come out from the camp of the Philistines in three detachments: one detachment turned toward Ophrah, to the land of Shual, 18another detachment turned toward Beth-horon, and the third detachment turned toward the border road overlooking the Zeboim Wadi toward the wilderness. 19Now no blacksmith could be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” 20So all the Israelites had to go down to the Philistines, each to sharpen his plowshare, his sickle, his axe or his hoe. 21The price of sharpening was two-thirds of a shekel for the plowshares, the sickles, the three-pronged forks or the axes, or to set the oxgoads. 22So it came about on the day of battle, there was no sword or spear to be found in the hand of any of the troops that were with Saul and Jonathan—only Saul and his son Jonathan had them. 23Then the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmas.

–1 Samuel 13

Consider the risk vs reward of trying to go it your own way. Consider the risk vs the reward of not turning to God and awaiting His wisdom and guidance. What are you going to do? Will you give the deciding factor into God’s hands? Will you then respond based on His answer? Consider the benefit of doing it His way!

Jonathan’s Daring Valor

1One day Jonathan son of Saul said to the young man carrying his armor, “Come, let’s cross over to the Philistines’ garrison that’s on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. 2Now Saul was sitting on the outskirts of Gibeah under the pomegranate tree that is in Migron, and the troops with him were about 600 men. 3Ahijah son of Ahitub, the brother of Ichabod son of Phinehas son of Eli, the kohen of Adonai in Shiloh, was wearing an ephod. But the troops did not know that Jonathan was gone. 4Between the crossings by which Jonathan sought to cross over to the Philistines’ garrison, there was a rocky crag on one side and another rocky crag on the other side—one was called Bozez and the other Seneh. 5One crag was to the north near Michmas, and the other to the south near Geba. 6Then Jonathan said to the young man carrying his armor, “Come, let’s cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised ones. Perhaps Adonai will work for us, for nothing restrains Adonai from delivering whether by many or by few.” 7His armor-bearer answered him, “Do whatever is in your heart; go ahead—I’m with you whatever your heart decides.” 8Then Jonathan said, “Here, we’ll cross over to the men, then let them see us. 9If they say to us: ‘Wait till we come to you,’ then we’ll stand still in our place and will not go up to them. 10But if they say, ‘Come up to us!’ then we will go up, for Adonai has delivered them into our hand—that will be our sign.” 11So they both let themselves be seen by the Philistine garrison. “Look, some Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they were hiding,” the Philistines said. 12So the men of the garrison shouted down to Jonathan and his armor-bearer saying, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson!” Then Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Follow me, for Adonai has handed them over to Israel!” 13So Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer behind him. Then they fell before Jonathan, his armor-bearer behind him finishing them off. 14That first assault that Jonathan and his armor-bearer made struck down about 20 men within about half a furrow in an acre of land. 15Terror then spread through the camp, in the field, and among all the troops. Even the outposts and the raiders also trembled, when the earth quaked—it was a trembling from God. 16Now Saul’s watchmen in Gibeah of Benjamin saw the throng scattering away in every direction. 17So Saul said to the people who were with him, “Call the roll now and see who went from us.” When they called the roll, behold Jonathan and his armor-bearer were not there. 18Then Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God here.” For the ark of God at that time was with Bnei-Yisrael. 19But while Saul was talking to the kohen, the commotion in the Philistine camp kept increasing, so Saul said to the kohen, “Withdraw your hand.” 20Then Saul and all the people with him rallied and rushed into the battle. Behold, every man’s sword was against his fellow in utter confusion! 21Now there were Hebrews who had defected to the Philistines previously and had gone up with them to their camp round about—even they joined the Israelites that were with Saul and Jonathan. 22Also when all the men of Israel who had hidden themselves in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines had fled, they also chased after them in the battle. 23So Adonai delivered Israel that day. The battle spread as far as Beth-aven.

Saul’s Rash Vow

24Now the men of Israel were hard-pressed that day, for Saul put the people under oath saying, “Cursed be the man that eats any food before evening, until I have avenged myself on my enemies!” So none of the people tasted food. 25But when all the people of the land entered the forest, there was honey on the ground. 26When the people entered the forest, indeed, there was a flow of honey, but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. 27But Jonathan had not heard when his father made the people swear the oath. So he put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb, put his hand to his mouth—and his eyes brightened. 28Then, one of the soldiers told him, “Your father strictly put the people under oath saying: ‘Cursed be the man that eats food today.’ But the troops are exhausted.” 29Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the people. Just look how my eyes have brightened because I tasted a little of this honey. 30How much more, if only the troops had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies that they found? Wouldn’t the slaughter among the Philistines have then been greater?” 31That day they struck down the Philistines from Michmas to Aijalon, though the people were so weary. 32Then the people rushed greedily upon the plunder, took sheep, oxen and calves, butchered them on the ground, and the people ate them with the blood. 33Then they reported to Saul saying, “Behold, the people are sinning against Adonai by eating with the blood.” “You have acted faithlessly,” he said. “Roll a great stone towards me at once.” 34Then Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the people and tell them: ‘Each one of you bring me his ox or his sheep, and butcher them here and eat. Don’t sin against Adonai by eating with the blood.’” So all the people each brought his ox with him that night and butchered it there. 35Then Saul built an altar to Adonai; it was the first altar that he built to Adonai. 36Then Saul said, “Let’s go down after the Philistines by night and plunder them until the morning light, we won’t leave any survivors among them.” “Do whatever seems good in your eyes,” they replied. Then the kohen said, “Let us draw near to God here.” 37So Saul inquired of God, “Should I go down after the Philistines? Will You deliver them into the hand of Israel?” But He did not answer him that day. 38Then Saul said, “Draw near here, all you chiefs of the people; investigate and see how this sin was committed today. 39For as Adonai—Israel’s deliverer—lives, even if it was by my son Jonathan, he will surely die.” But not one among all the people answered him. 40So he said to all Israel, “You stand on one side, and I and my son Jonathan will stand on the other side.” “Do what seems good in your eyes,” said the people to Saul. 41So Saul said to Adonai, “God of Israel, grant a perfect lot.” Jonathan and Saul were chosen, but the people were cleared. 42Then Saul said, “Cast the lots between me and my son Jonathan,” and Jonathan was taken. 43Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you’ve done.” Jonathan told him saying, “I certainly did taste a little honey—with the end of the rod that was in my hand. Here I am—I must die!” 44“May God do so to me and even more,” Saul said. “You must surely die, Jonathan.” 45But the people said to Saul, “Must Jonathan die? It was he who brought about this great deliverance in Israel! Far be it! As Adonai lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground! For he has worked with God this day.” So the people rescued Jonathan and he did not die. 46Then Saul broke off pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own country. 47After Saul had secured his kingship over Israel, he waged war against all his enemies on every side—against Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he punished them. 48He did so with valor, ­defeating the Amalekites and delivering Israel from the hands of those who had plundered them. 49Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malchi-shua; and the names of his two daughters were: the name of the firstborn Merab and the name of the younger Michal. 50The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of his army was Abner son of Ner, Saul’s uncle. 51Kish was Saul’s father, and Abner’s father was Ner son of Abiel. 52Now there was bitter war against the Philistines all the days of Saul. So whenever Saul saw any mighty man or any son of valor, he would gather him to himself.

–from 1 Samuel 14

Will  you measure up? Will you use the right measure? Will you choose to do it the right way? Consider the value! Consider the importance! Consider the difference! Appreciate the value! Let’s build our lives on a solid foundation! Let’s anchor our lives to God’s purpose and God’s plan! Let’s make a difference for the glory of God! Let’s not build our lives on sinking sand! Let’s build upon a solid foundation!

Measuring Your Measure

1“Stop judging, so that you may not be judged.
2For with the judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3“Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the beam in your own eye?
4Or how will you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, the beam is in your own eye?
5Hypocrite, first take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
6“Do not give what is holy to dogs or throw your pearls before pigs; otherwise they will trample them under their feet, then turn and rip you to shreds.
7“Ask, and it shall be given to you. Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened to you.
8For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it shall be opened.
9“For what man among you, when his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
10Or when he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
11If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
12So in all things, do to others what you would want them to do to you—for this is the Torah and the Prophets.
13“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.
14How narrow is the gate and difficult the way that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

Judging the Fruit

15“Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
16You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes aren’t gathered from thorn bushes or figs from thistles, are they?
17Even so, every good tree produces good fruit, but the rotten tree produces bad fruit.
18A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree produce good fruit.
19Every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.
20So then, you will recognize them by their fruit.
21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, and drive out demons in Your name, and perform many miracles in Your name?’
23Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’”

Building on a Firm Foundation

24“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
25And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house; and yet it did not fall, for its foundation had been built on the rock.
26Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
27And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
28Now when Yeshua had finished these words, the crowds were astounded at His teaching,
29for He was teaching them as one having authority and not as their Torah scholars.

–from Matthew 7