Let’s get ready!


Do you remember the plans God has for you? Are you ready? Do you remember how they are for good and not for evil? Do you remember how they are to give you a hope and a future? Do you remember how it will be more than we could ask or imagine? Are you digging in? Are you stepping in? Are you getting ready? Are you doing your part so that you will be prepared in and out of season to give a reason for the hope that is within you? How are you starting your day? How are you prioritizing the requests and pulls on your life? How are you deciding when to say yes and when to say no? Today is the first day of your future. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is unknown. Today is all we have so let’s receive it as the present that it is and live it to the full. Let’s get ready!


Use Me
Are you ready?

Today’s reading from God’s Word as we get started and prepared for today comes from 1 Kings 5:

‘King Hiram of Tyre had always been a loyal friend of David. When Hiram learned that David’s son Solomon was the new king of Israel, he sent ambassadors to congratulate him. Then Solomon sent this message back to Hiram: “You know that my father, David, was not able to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord his God because of the many wars waged against him by surrounding nations. He could not build until the Lord gave him victory over all his enemies. But now the Lord my God has given me peace on every side; I have no enemies, and all is well. So I am planning to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God, just as he had instructed my father, David. For the Lord told him, ‘Your son, whom I will place on your throne, will build the Temple to honor my name.’ “Therefore, please command that cedars from Lebanon be cut for me. Let my men work alongside yours, and I will pay your men whatever wages you ask. As you know, there is no one among us who can cut timber like you Sidonians!” When Hiram received Solomon’s message, he was very pleased and said, “Praise the Lord today for giving David a wise son to be king of the great nation of Israel.” Then he sent this reply to Solomon: “I have received your message, and I will supply all the cedar and cypress timber you need. My servants will bring the logs from the Lebanon mountains to the Mediterranean Sea and make them into rafts and float them along the coast to whatever place you choose. Then we will break the rafts apart so you can carry the logs away. You can pay me by supplying me with food for my household.” So Hiram supplied as much cedar and cypress timber as Solomon desired. In return, Solomon sent him an annual payment of 100,000 bushels of wheat for his household and 110,000 gallons of pure olive oil. So the Lord gave wisdom to Solomon, just as he had promised. And Hiram and Solomon made a formal alliance of peace. Then King Solomon conscripted a labor force of 30,000 men from all Israel. He sent them to Lebanon in shifts, 10,000 every month, so that each man would be one month in Lebanon and two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of this labor force. Solomon also had 70,000 common laborers, 80,000 quarry workers in the hill country, and 3,600 foremen to supervise the work. At the king’s command, they quarried large blocks of high-quality stone and shaped them to make the foundation of the Temple. Men from the city of Gebal helped Solomon’s and Hiram’s builders prepare the timber and stone for the Temple.’

1 Kings 5

‘This is the vision that the Sovereign Lord revealed to Obadiah concerning the land of Edom. We have heard a message from the Lord that an ambassador was sent to the nations to say, “Get ready, everyone! Let’s assemble our armies and attack Edom!” The Lord says to Edom, “I will cut you down to size among the nations; you will be greatly despised. You have been deceived by your own pride because you live in a rock fortress and make your home high in the mountains. ‘Who can ever reach us way up here?’ you ask boastfully. But even if you soar as high as eagles and build your nest among the stars, I will bring you crashing down,” says the Lord . “If thieves came at night and robbed you (what a disaster awaits you!), they would not take everything. Those who harvest grapes always leave a few for the poor. But your enemies will wipe you out completely! Every nook and cranny of Edom will be searched and looted. Every treasure will be found and taken. “All your allies will turn against you. They will help to chase you from your land. They will promise you peace while plotting to deceive and destroy you. Your trusted friends will set traps for you, and you won’t even know about it. At that time not a single wise person will be left in the whole land of Edom,” says the Lord . “For on the mountains of Edom I will destroy everyone who has understanding. The mightiest warriors of Teman will be terrified, and everyone on the mountains of Edom will be cut down in the slaughter. “Because of the violence you did to your close relatives in Israel, you will be filled with shame and destroyed forever. When they were invaded, you stood aloof, refusing to help them. Foreign invaders carried off their wealth and cast lots to divide up Jerusalem, but you acted like one of Israel’s enemies. “You should not have gloated when they exiled your relatives to distant lands. You should not have rejoiced when the people of Judah suffered such misfortune. You should not have spoken arrogantly in that terrible time of trouble. You should not have plundered the land of Israel when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have gloated over their destruction when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have seized their wealth when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have stood at the crossroads, killing those who tried to escape. You should not have captured the survivors and handed them over in their terrible time of trouble. “The day is near when I, the Lord , will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads. Just as you swallowed up my people on my holy mountain, so you and the surrounding nations will swallow the punishment I pour out on you. Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger and disappear from history. “But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape; it will be a holy place. And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance. The people of Israel will be a raging fire, and Edom a field of dry stubble. The descendants of Joseph will be a flame roaring across the field, devouring everything. There will be no survivors in Edom. I, the Lord , have spoken! “Then my people living in the Negev will occupy the mountains of Edom. Those living in the foothills of Judah will possess the Philistine plains and take over the fields of Ephraim and Samaria. And the people of Benjamin will occupy the land of Gilead. The exiles of Israel will return to their land and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath. The captives from Jerusalem exiled in the north will return home and resettle the towns of the Negev. Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem to rule over the mountains of Edom. And the Lord himself will be king!”’

Obadiah 1

‘Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money. Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them. All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! ‘

Acts 3:1-10

‘These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed. They scoff at things they do not understand, and like animals, they will be destroyed. Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have done. They love to indulge in evil pleasures in broad daylight. They are a disgrace and a stain among you. They delight in deception even as they eat with you in your fellowship meals. They commit adultery with their eyes, and their desire for sin is never satisfied. They lure unstable people into sin, and they are well trained in greed. They live under God’s curse. They have wandered off the right road and followed the footsteps of Balaam son of Beor, who loved to earn money by doing wrong. But Balaam was stopped from his mad course when his donkey rebuked him with a human voice. These people are as useless as dried-up springs or as mist blown away by the wind. They are doomed to blackest darkness. They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception. They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.”’

2 Peter 2:12-22

‘Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God. You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals!” For you, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours. You sweep people away like dreams that disappear. They are like grass that springs up in the morning. In the morning it blooms and flourishes, but by evening it is dry and withered. We wither beneath your anger; we are overwhelmed by your fury. You spread out our sins before you— our secret sins—and you see them all. We live our lives beneath your wrath, ending our years with a groan. Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away. Who can comprehend the power of your anger? Your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve. Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. O Lord , come back to us! How long will you delay? Take pity on your servants! Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!’

Psalms 90

Trust God even when the world feels like it is against you!


God will provide, even when the world is against you. Lean into what God says! Lean into what God directs you to do! Lean into what God has called you to do, no matter what! If God is calling you to step up then step up. If God is calling you to step out then step out. If God is calling you to stand firm then stand firm. Don’t lose hope in doing what God has called you to do and don’t lose focus on His purpose and His plan for your life. God knows the plan He has for you and it is for good and not for evil, it is a plan to give you a hope and a future. When you are getting prompted to do something, confirm it is part of God’s will and then go and do it. When you are hearing direction required to get there pursue it in order to accomplish it. When you hear confirmation from God that it is part of His plan then take hold of it and start moving into it. Even if you aren’t sure the specifics, do what you know how to do! Allow God to guide your steps! Allow God to guide your thoughts! Allow God to guide your plan! Acknowledge God and allow Him to make your path straight!


Today’s reading brings us back to David and his situation starting in 2 Samuel 16:

‘When David had gone a little beyond the summit of the Mount of Olives, Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, was waiting there for him. He had two donkeys loaded with 200 loaves of bread, 100 clusters of raisins, 100 bunches of summer fruit, and a wineskin full of wine. “What are these for?” the king asked Ziba. Ziba replied, “The donkeys are for the king’s people to ride on, and the bread and summer fruit are for the young men to eat. The wine is for those who become exhausted in the wilderness.” “And where is Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson?” the king asked him. “He stayed in Jerusalem,” Ziba replied. “He said, ‘Today I will get back the kingdom of my grandfather Saul.’” “In that case,” the king told Ziba, “I give you everything Mephibosheth owns.” “I bow before you,” Ziba replied. “May I always be pleasing to you, my lord the king.” As King David came to Bahurim, a man came out of the village cursing them. It was Shimei son of Gera, from the same clan as Saul’s family. He threw stones at the king and the king’s officers and all the mighty warriors who surrounded him. “Get out of here, you murderer, you scoundrel!” he shouted at David. “The Lord is paying you back for all the bloodshed in Saul’s clan. You stole his throne, and now the Lord has given it to your son Absalom. At last you will taste some of your own medicine, for you are a murderer!” “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?” Abishai son of Zeruiah demanded. “Let me go over and cut off his head!” “No!” the king said. “Who asked your opinion, you sons of Zeruiah! If the Lord has told him to curse me, who are you to stop him?” Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “My own son is trying to kill me. Doesn’t this relative of Saul have even more reason to do so? Leave him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to do it. And perhaps the Lord will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today.” So David and his men continued down the road, and Shimei kept pace with them on a nearby hillside, cursing and throwing stones and dirt at David. The king and all who were with him grew weary along the way, so they rested when they reached the Jordan River. Meanwhile, Absalom and all the army of Israel arrived at Jerusalem, accompanied by Ahithophel. When David’s friend Hushai the Arkite arrived, he went immediately to see Absalom. “Long live the king!” he exclaimed. “Long live the king!” “Is this the way you treat your friend David?” Absalom asked him. “Why aren’t you with him?” “I’m here because I belong to the man who is chosen by the Lord and by all the men of Israel,” Hushai replied. “And anyway, why shouldn’t I serve you? Just as I was your father’s adviser, now I will be your adviser!” Then Absalom turned to Ahithophel and asked him, “What should I do next?” Ahithophel told him, “Go and sleep with your father’s concubines, for he has left them here to look after the palace. Then all Israel will know that you have insulted your father beyond hope of reconciliation, and they will throw their support to you.” So they set up a tent on the palace roof where everyone could see it, and Absalom went in and had sex with his father’s concubines. Absalom followed Ahithophel’s advice, just as David had done. For every word Ahithophel spoke seemed as wise as though it had come directly from the mouth of God.’

2 Samuel 16

‘This is the message Jeremiah received concerning the Judeans living in northern Egypt in the cities of Migdol, Tahpanhes, and Memphis, and in southern Egypt as well: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: You saw the calamity I brought on Jerusalem and all the towns of Judah. They now lie deserted and in ruins. They provoked my anger with all their wickedness. They burned incense and worshiped other gods—gods that neither they nor you nor any of your ancestors had ever even known. “Again and again I sent my servants, the prophets, to plead with them, ‘Don’t do these horrible things that I hate so much.’ But my people would not listen or turn back from their wicked ways. They kept on burning incense to these gods. And so my fury boiled over and fell like fire on the towns of Judah and into the streets of Jerusalem, and they are still a desolate ruin today. “And now the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, asks you: Why are you destroying yourselves? For not one of you will survive—not a man, woman, or child among you who has come here from Judah, not even the babies in your arms. Why provoke my anger by burning incense to the idols you have made here in Egypt? You will only destroy yourselves and make yourselves an object of cursing and mockery for all the nations of the earth. Have you forgotten the sins of your ancestors, the sins of the kings and queens of Judah, and the sins you and your wives committed in Judah and Jerusalem? To this very hour you have shown no remorse or reverence. No one has chosen to follow my word and the decrees I gave to you and your ancestors before you. “Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I am determined to destroy every one of you! I will take this remnant of Judah—those who were determined to come here and live in Egypt—and I will consume them. They will fall here in Egypt, killed by war and famine. All will die, from the least to the greatest. They will be an object of damnation, horror, cursing, and mockery. I will punish them in Egypt just as I punished them in Jerusalem, by war, famine, and disease. Of that remnant who fled to Egypt, hoping someday to return to Judah, there will be no survivors. Even though they long to return home, only a handful will do so.” Then all the women present and all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to idols—a great crowd of all the Judeans living in northern Egypt and southern Egypt —answered Jeremiah, “We will not listen to your messages from the Lord ! We will do whatever we want. We will burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven just as much as we like—just as we, and our ancestors, and our kings and officials have always done in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For in those days we had plenty to eat, and we were well off and had no troubles! But ever since we quit burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and stopped worshiping her with liquid offerings, we have been in great trouble and have been dying from war and famine.” “Besides,” the women added, “do you suppose that we were burning incense and pouring out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven, and making cakes marked with her image, without our husbands knowing it and helping us? Of course not!” Then Jeremiah said to all of them, men and women alike, who had given him that answer, “Do you think the Lord did not know that you and your ancestors, your kings and officials, and all the people were burning incense to idols in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? It was because the Lord could no longer bear all the disgusting things you were doing that he made your land an object of cursing—a desolate ruin without inhabitants—as it is today. All these terrible things happened to you because you have burned incense to idols and sinned against the Lord . You have refused to obey him and have not followed his instructions, his decrees, and his laws.” Then Jeremiah said to them all, including the women, “Listen to this message from the Lord , all you citizens of Judah who live in Egypt. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You and your wives have said, “We will keep our promises to burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven,” and you have proved by your actions that you meant it. So go ahead and carry out your promises and vows to her!’ “But listen to this message from the Lord , all you Judeans now living in Egypt: ‘I have sworn by my great name,’ says the Lord , ‘that my name will no longer be spoken by any of the Judeans in the land of Egypt. None of you may invoke my name or use this oath: “As surely as the Sovereign Lord lives.” For I will watch over you to bring you disaster and not good. Everyone from Judah who is now living in Egypt will suffer war and famine until all of you are dead. Only a small number will escape death and return to Judah from Egypt. Then all those who came to Egypt will find out whose words are true—mine or theirs! “‘And this is the proof I give you,’ says the Lord , ‘that all I have threatened will happen to you and that I will punish you here.’ This is what the Lord says: ‘I will turn Pharaoh Hophra, king of Egypt, over to his enemies who want to kill him, just as I turned King Zedekiah of Judah over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.’”’

Jeremiah 44

‘“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.” But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler’s bag, or an extra pair of sandals, did you need anything?” “No,” they replied. “But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one! For the time has come for this prophecy about me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among the rebels.’#22:37 Isa 53:12. Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true.” “Look, Lord,” they replied, “we have two swords among us.” “That’s enough,” he said. Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.” He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.”’

Luke 22:31-46

‘Now may the God of peace— who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood— may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to pay attention to what I have written in this brief exhortation. I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released from jail. If he comes here soon, I will bring him with me to see you. Greet all your leaders and all the believers there. The believers from Italy send you their greetings. May God’s grace be with you all.’

Hebrews 13:20-25

‘I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help. Interlude You don’t let me sleep. I am too distressed even to pray! I think of the good old days, long since ended, when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and ponder the difference now. Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me? Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion? Interlude And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.” But then I recall all you have done, O Lord ; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations. By your strong arm, you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Interlude When the Red Sea saw you, O God, its waters looked and trembled! The sea quaked to its very depths. The clouds poured down rain; the thunder rumbled in the sky. Your arrows of lightning flashed. Your thunder roared from the whirlwind; the lightning lit up the world! The earth trembled and shook. Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters— a pathway no one knew was there! You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep, with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.’

Psalms 77

DREAM BIG: Never give up on the dream!


Remember the plans God has given you. Remember the plans God has for you. Seek God for the plans He has for you. Pursue God’s plan for you. Receive the plans God has for you. Start walking in the plans God has for you. It may not look like what you think so don’t lose hope and don’t give up on them. It may not happen when you think so don’t lose hope and don’t give up on them. It may require work or transformation process to get you there, so don’t lose hope and don’t give up. Dream Big! Dream God sized dreams! Remember that God’s dreams for you are good. Remember that God’s dreams for you are to give you a hope and a future.

Will you have to deal with trials and troubles? Yes, but don’t lose hope and walk thru it with joy.


Today’s reading gets us started in 1 Samuel 27…

‘But David kept thinking to himself, “Someday Saul is going to get me. The best thing I can do is escape to the Philistines. Then Saul will stop hunting for me in Israelite territory, and I will finally be safe.” So David took his 600 men and went over and joined Achish son of Maoch, the king of Gath. David and his men and their families settled there with Achish at Gath. David brought his two wives along with him—Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, Nabal’s widow from Carmel. Word soon reached Saul that David had fled to Gath, so he stopped hunting for him. One day David said to Achish, “If it is all right with you, we would rather live in one of the country towns instead of here in the royal city.” So Achish gave him the town of Ziklag (which still belongs to the kings of Judah to this day), and they lived there among the Philistines for a year and four months. David and his men spent their time raiding the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites—people who had lived near Shur, toward the land of Egypt, since ancient times. David did not leave one person alive in the villages he attacked. He took the sheep, goats, cattle, donkeys, camels, and clothing before returning home to see King Achish. “Where did you make your raid today?” Achish would ask. And David would reply, “Against the south of Judah, the Jerahmeelites, and the Kenites.” No one was left alive to come to Gath and tell where he had really been. This happened again and again while he was living among the Philistines. Achish believed David and thought to himself, “By now the people of Israel must hate him bitterly. Now he will have to stay here and serve me forever!”’

1 Samuel 27

‘About that time the Philistines mustered their armies for another war with Israel. King Achish told David, “You and your men will be expected to join me in battle.” “Very well!” David agreed. “Now you will see for yourself what we can do.” Then Achish told David, “I will make you my personal bodyguard for life.” Meanwhile, Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him. He was buried in Ramah, his hometown. And Saul had banned from the land of Israel all mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. The Philistines set up their camp at Shunem, and Saul gathered all the army of Israel and camped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the vast Philistine army, he became frantic with fear. He asked the Lord what he should do, but the Lord refused to answer him, either by dreams or by sacred lots or by the prophets. Saul then said to his advisers, “Find a woman who is a medium, so I can go and ask her what to do.” His advisers replied, “There is a medium at Endor.” So Saul disguised himself by wearing ordinary clothing instead of his royal robes. Then he went to the woman’s home at night, accompanied by two of his men. “I have to talk to a man who has died,” he said. “Will you call up his spirit for me?” “Are you trying to get me killed?” the woman demanded. “You know that Saul has outlawed all the mediums and all who consult the spirits of the dead. Why are you setting a trap for me?” But Saul took an oath in the name of the Lord and promised, “As surely as the Lord lives, nothing bad will happen to you for doing this.” Finally, the woman said, “Well, whose spirit do you want me to call up?” “Call up Samuel,” Saul replied. When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed, “You’ve deceived me! You are Saul!” “Don’t be afraid!” the king told her. “What do you see?” “I see a god coming up out of the earth,” she said. “What does he look like?” Saul asked. “He is an old man wrapped in a robe,” she replied. Saul realized it was Samuel, and he fell to the ground before him. “Why have you disturbed me by calling me back?” Samuel asked Saul. “Because I am in deep trouble,” Saul replied. “The Philistines are at war with me, and God has left me and won’t reply by prophets or dreams. So I have called for you to tell me what to do.” But Samuel replied, “Why ask me, since the Lord has left you and has become your enemy? The Lord has done just as he said he would. He has torn the kingdom from you and given it to your rival, David. The Lord has done this to you today because you refused to carry out his fierce anger against the Amalekites. What’s more, the Lord will hand you and the army of Israel over to the Philistines tomorrow, and you and your sons will be here with me. The Lord will bring down the entire army of Israel in defeat.” Saul fell full length on the ground, paralyzed with fright because of Samuel’s words. He was also faint with hunger, for he had eaten nothing all day and all night. When the woman saw how distraught he was, she said, “Sir, I obeyed your command at the risk of my life. Now do what I say, and let me give you a little something to eat so you can regain your strength for the trip back.” But Saul refused to eat anything. Then his advisers joined the woman in urging him to eat, so he finally yielded and got up from the ground and sat on the couch. The woman had been fattening a calf, so she hurried out and killed it. She took some flour, kneaded it into dough and baked unleavened bread. She brought the meal to Saul and his advisers, and they ate it. Then they went out into the night.’

1 Samuel 28

‘Jeremiah wrote a letter from Jerusalem to the elders, priests, prophets, and all the people who had been exiled to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. This was after King Jehoiachin, the queen mother, the court officials, the other officials of Judah, and all the craftsmen and artisans had been deported from Jerusalem. He sent the letter with Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah when they went to Babylon as King Zedekiah’s ambassadors to Nebuchadnezzar. This is what Jeremiah’s letter said: This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let your prophets and fortune-tellers who are with you in the land of Babylon trick you. Do not listen to their dreams, because they are telling you lies in my name. I have not sent them,” says the Lord . This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord . “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord . “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” You claim that the Lord has raised up prophets for you in Babylon. But this is what the Lord says about the king who sits on David’s throne and all those still living here in Jerusalem—your relatives who were not exiled to Babylon. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “I will send war, famine, and disease upon them and make them like bad figs, too rotten to eat. Yes, I will pursue them with war, famine, and disease, and I will scatter them around the world. In every nation where I send them, I will make them an object of damnation, horror, contempt, and mockery. For they refuse to listen to me, though I have spoken to them repeatedly through the prophets I sent. And you who are in exile have not listened either,” says the Lord . Therefore, listen to this message from the Lord , all you captives there in Babylon. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says about your prophets—Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah—who are telling you lies in my name: “I will turn them over to Nebuchadnezzar for execution before your eyes. Their terrible fate will become proverbial, so that the Judean exiles will curse someone by saying, ‘May the Lord make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon burned alive!’ For these men have done terrible things among my people. They have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives and have lied in my name, saying things I did not command. I am a witness to this. I, the Lord , have spoken.” The Lord sent this message to Shemaiah the Nehelamite in Babylon: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: You wrote a letter on your own authority to Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, the priest, and you sent copies to the other priests and people in Jerusalem. You wrote to Zephaniah, “The Lord has appointed you to replace Jehoiada as the priest in charge of the house of the Lord . You are responsible to put into stocks and neck irons any crazy man who claims to be a prophet. So why have you done nothing to stop Jeremiah from Anathoth, who pretends to be a prophet among you? Jeremiah sent a letter here to Babylon, predicting that our captivity will be a long one. He said, ‘Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce.’” But when Zephaniah the priest received Shemaiah’s letter, he took it to Jeremiah and read it to him. Then the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: “Send an open letter to all the exiles in Babylon. Tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite: Since he has prophesied to you when I did not send him and has tricked you into believing his lies, I will punish him and his family. None of his descendants will see the good things I will do for my people, for he has incited you to rebel against me. I, the Lord , have spoken!’”’

Jeremiah 29

‘One day Jesus said to his disciples, “There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting! It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin. So watch yourselves! “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Show us how to increase our faith.” The Lord answered, “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you! “When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, ‘Come in and eat with me’? No, he says, ‘Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.’ And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not. In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’” As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”’

Luke 17:1-19

‘But when God found fault with the people, he said: “The day is coming, says the Lord , when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt. They did not remain faithful to my covenant, so I turned my back on them, says the Lord . But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord : I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord .’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already. And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.’

Hebrews 8:8-13

‘O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings! Interlude For you have heard my vows, O God. You have given me an inheritance reserved for those who fear your name. Add many years to the life of the king! May his years span the generations! May he reign under God’s protection forever. May your unfailing love and faithfulness watch over him. Then I will sing praises to your name forever as I fulfill my vows each day.’

Psalms 61

Don’t forget the dream!


If God calls you to it, He will get you thru it! Just because you face trials after receiving the dream doesn’t mean you aren’t still in progress towards it. Consider Joseph who eventually became second in command of Egypt and saved his family but had to go thru the betrayal of his brothers, being thrown in a pit, sold into slavery, being accused of rape, being thrown in prison, being forgotten by pharaoh’s staff until that day when pharaoh had a dream. Consider David anointed king as a child and all that he went thru being chased and attacked by Saul before eventually becoming king. Sometimes in our current state or shape we aren’t ready to be the key for that door and so we need to go thru experiences that will nick at the key and create the right marks to make us be the perfect fit to be able to unlock and open the door in order to fulfill God’s plans and purposes for our lives. God’s plans are to give us hope and a future. Others may get jealous or vindictive but God can use what they planned for evil to accomplish His good. So don’t forget the dream God gave you! Don’t forget the calling He has put on your life! Remember how God has a plan for you which is for good and not for evil and it is to give you hope and a future!


Today’s reading from God’s Word starts us out in 1 Samuel 18…


What will be your legacy? What will be your message?


With all God has done in and through you, what legacy will you be leaving behind? How many lives have been impact and will be impacted because of the way you chose to follow God and live your life? How have you provided for this generation? How are you giving to the next? How will you pass it along? What will your message be? How will you deliver it? Who will you give it to? Will you give it in a way that can be shared? Will you give it in a way that can be passed along? Will you give it in a way that can go on into the future? How will you choose to gift it?

Take hold of God’s plan which is to give us a hope and a future. Take hold of God’s plan which required giving His one and only Son Jesus so that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life. Take hold of God’s love letter found in the Bible that speaks to us God’s wisdom and God’s Word in a way that is able to be passed along and is able to continue generation after generation. Take hold of God’s example as a servant leader. Take hold of God’s example of stewardship. Take hold of God’s promises for they are true. Finish strong! Be careful to complete the works that God has prepared in advance for you to accomplish.


Today’s reading from God’s Word:


So let us pray with an alert mind and a thankful heart! Be careful to love God to the end of your life! Trust God in and through it all! Do not worry! Do not fear! Be bold and courageous! Just Believe! Receive His forgiveness! Accept His grace! Live shining light and being salt! Live your life in the peace that surpasses all understanding and comes from God! The power of salvation comes thru forgiveness. The power to break strongholds and bitter and anger is thru forgiveness. So forgive first! Let’s make the most out of every situation!


‘Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.’

Colossians 4:6

When did the light turn on and you realized God’s plans and purposes are good?


What did it take for you to take a hold of what God’s plans are? What did it take for you to take hold of what God’s purposes are? Did you hear someone speak it or did you read it?


For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

Was it when you heard or read about the definition of love and that God is love?

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Are you still searching? Are you still seeking? Are you still asking? Are you still knocking? Don’t give up and keep pressing in for God’s Word tells us:


7“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7

Today’s reading gets us started in Numbers 24 continuing the story of Balaam and king Balak

‘By now Balaam realized that the Lord was determined to bless Israel, so he did not resort to divination as before. Instead, he turned and looked out toward the wilderness, where he saw the people of Israel camped, tribe by tribe. Then the Spirit of God came upon him, and this is the message he delivered: “This is the message of Balaam son of Beor, the message of the man whose eyes see clearly, the message of one who hears the words of God, who sees a vision from the Almighty, who bows down with eyes wide open: How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob; how lovely are your homes, O Israel! They spread before me like palm groves, like gardens by the riverside. They are like tall trees planted by the Lord , like cedars beside the waters. Water will flow from their buckets; their offspring have all they need. Their king will be greater than Agag; their kingdom will be exalted. God brought them out of Egypt; for them he is as strong as a wild ox. He devours all the nations that oppose him, breaking their bones in pieces, shooting them with arrows. Like a lion, Israel crouches and lies down; like a lioness, who dares to arouse her? Blessed is everyone who blesses you, O Israel, and cursed is everyone who curses you.” King Balak flew into a rage against Balaam. He angrily clapped his hands and shouted, “I called you to curse my enemies! Instead, you have blessed them three times. Now get out of here! Go back home! I promised to reward you richly, but the Lord has kept you from your reward.” Balaam told Balak, “Don’t you remember what I told your messengers? I said, ‘Even if Balak were to give me his palace filled with silver and gold, I would be powerless to do anything against the will of the Lord .’ I told you that I could say only what the Lord says! Now I am returning to my own people. But first let me tell you what the Israelites will do to your people in the future.”

This is the message Balaam delivered: “This is the message of Balaam son of Beor, the message of the man whose eyes see clearly, the message of one who hears the words of God, who has knowledge from the Most High, who sees a vision from the Almighty, who bows down with eyes wide open: I see him, but not here and now. I perceive him, but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob; a scepter will emerge from Israel. It will crush the heads of Moab’s people, cracking the skulls of the people of Sheth. Edom will be taken over, and Seir, its enemy, will be conquered, while Israel marches on in triumph. A ruler will rise in Jacob who will destroy the survivors of Ir.” Then Balaam looked over toward the people of Amalek and delivered this message: “Amalek was the greatest of nations, but its destiny is destruction!” Then he looked over toward the Kenites and delivered this message: “Your home is secure; your nest is set in the rocks. But the Kenites will be destroyed when Assyria takes you captive.” Balaam concluded his messages by saying: “Alas, who can survive unless God has willed it? Ships will come from the coasts of Cyprus ; they will oppress Assyria and afflict Eber, but they, too, will be utterly destroyed.” Then Balaam left and returned home, and Balak also went on his way.’

Numbers 24

and continues into Numbers 25.

‘While the Israelites were camped at Acacia Grove, some of the men defiled themselves by having sexual relations with local Moabite women. These women invited them to attend sacrifices to their gods, so the Israelites feasted with them and worshiped the gods of Moab. In this way, Israel joined in the worship of Baal of Peor, causing the Lord ’s anger to blaze against his people. The Lord issued the following command to Moses: “Seize all the ringleaders and execute them before the Lord in broad daylight, so his fierce anger will turn away from the people of Israel.” So Moses ordered Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death the men under your authority who have joined in worshiping Baal of Peor.” Just then one of the Israelite men brought a Midianite woman into his tent, right before the eyes of Moses and all the people, as everyone was weeping at the entrance of the Tabernacle. When Phinehas son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest saw this, he jumped up and left the assembly. He took a spear and rushed after the man into his tent. Phinehas thrust the spear all the way through the man’s body and into the woman’s stomach. So the plague against the Israelites was stopped, but not before 24,000 people had died. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Phinehas son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest has turned my anger away from the Israelites by being as zealous among them as I was. So I stopped destroying all Israel as I had intended to do in my zealous anger. Now tell him that I am making my special covenant of peace with him. In this covenant, I give him and his descendants a permanent right to the priesthood, for in his zeal for me, his God, he purified the people of Israel, making them right with me. ” The Israelite man killed with the Midianite woman was named Zimri son of Salu, the leader of a family from the tribe of Simeon. The woman’s name was Cozbi; she was the daughter of Zur, the leader of a Midianite clan. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Attack the Midianites and destroy them, because they assaulted you with deceit and tricked you into worshiping Baal of Peor, and because of Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader, who was killed at the time of the plague because of what happened at Peor.”’

Numbers 25

Today’s reading then brings us back into Amos 7

‘The Sovereign Lord showed me a vision. I saw him preparing to send a vast swarm of locusts over the land. This was after the king’s share had been harvested from the fields and as the main crop was coming up. In my vision the locusts ate every green plant in sight. Then I said, “O Sovereign Lord , please forgive us or we will not survive, for Israel is so small.” So the Lord relented from this plan. “I will not do it,” he said.

Then the Sovereign Lord showed me another vision. I saw him preparing to punish his people with a great fire. The fire had burned up the depths of the sea and was devouring the entire land. Then I said, “O Sovereign Lord , please stop or we will not survive, for Israel is so small.” Then the Lord relented from this plan, too. “I will not do that either,” said the Sovereign Lord .

Then he showed me another vision. I saw the Lord standing beside a wall that had been built using a plumb line. He was using a plumb line to see if it was still straight. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” I answered, “A plumb line.” And the Lord replied, “I will test my people with this plumb line. I will no longer ignore all their sins. The pagan shrines of your ancestors will be ruined, and the temples of Israel will be destroyed; I will bring the dynasty of King Jeroboam to a sudden end.”

Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent a message to Jeroboam, king of Israel: “Amos is hatching a plot against you right here on your very doorstep! What he is saying is intolerable. He is saying, ‘Jeroboam will soon be killed, and the people of Israel will be sent away into exile.’” Then Amaziah sent orders to Amos: “Get out of here, you prophet! Go on back to the land of Judah, and earn your living by prophesying there! Don’t bother us with your prophecies here in Bethel. This is the king’s sanctuary and the national place of worship!” But Amos replied, “I’m not a professional prophet, and I was never trained to be one. I’m just a shepherd, and I take care of sycamore-fig trees. But the Lord called me away from my flock and told me, ‘Go and prophesy to my people in Israel.’ Now then, listen to this message from the Lord : “You say, ‘Don’t prophesy against Israel. Stop preaching against my people. ’ But this is what the Lord says: ‘Your wife will become a prostitute in this city, and your sons and daughters will be killed. Your land will be divided up, and you yourself will die in a foreign land. And the people of Israel will certainly become captives in exile, far from their homeland.’”’

Amos 7

and continuing into Amos 8.

‘Then the Sovereign Lord showed me another vision. In it I saw a basket filled with ripe fruit. “What do you see, Amos?” he asked. I replied, “A basket full of ripe fruit.” Then the Lord said, “Like this fruit, Israel is ripe for punishment! I will not delay their punishment again. In that day the singing in the temple will turn to wailing. Dead bodies will be scattered everywhere. They will be carried out of the city in silence. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!” Listen to this, you who rob the poor and trample down the needy! You can’t wait for the Sabbath day to be over and the religious festivals to end so you can get back to cheating the helpless. You measure out grain with dishonest measures and cheat the buyer with dishonest scales. And you mix the grain you sell with chaff swept from the floor. Then you enslave poor people for one piece of silver or a pair of sandals. Now the Lord has sworn this oath by his own name, the Pride of Israel : “I will never forget the wicked things you have done! The earth will tremble for your deeds, and everyone will mourn. The ground will rise like the Nile River at flood time; it will heave up, then sink again. “In that day,” says the Sovereign Lord , “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth while it is still day. I will turn your celebrations into times of mourning and your singing into weeping. You will wear funeral clothes and shave your heads to show your sorrow— as if your only son had died. How very bitter that day will be! “The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign Lord , “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the Lord . People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from border to border searching for the word of the Lord , but they will not find it. Beautiful girls and strong young men will grow faint in that day, thirsting for the Lord ’s word. And those who swear by the shameful idols of Samaria— who take oaths in the name of the god of Dan and make vows in the name of the god of Beersheba — they will all fall down, never to rise again.”’

Amos 8

Today’s reading next brings us into the New Testament starting with Matthew 8

‘Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.” Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.” But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour.

When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him. That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick. This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said, “He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases.”’

Matthew 8:1-17

and continuing into Romans 5

‘When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’

Romans 5:12-21

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 114.

‘When the Israelites escaped from Egypt— when the family of Jacob left that foreign land— the land of Judah became God’s sanctuary, and Israel became his kingdom. The Red Sea saw them coming and hurried out of their way! The water of the Jordan River turned away. The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs! What’s wrong, Red Sea, that made you hurry out of their way? What happened, Jordan River, that you turned away? Why, mountains, did you skip like rams? Why, hills, like lambs? Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob. He turned the rock into a pool of water; yes, a spring of water flowed from solid rock.’

Psalms 114

So don’t lose hope. If you have received Jesus into your heart and received the love and grace and salvation of God then why not leave a comment to praise Him? If you are still seeking and have questions about Jesus and asking Him into your heart then why not leave a comment to get support and encouragement?

Are you ready for a fresh start?


When you walk out that door into the new year, a world that has changed while you were away for all those days will be awaiting, are you ready for that fresh start? Are you mentally, emotionally, and physically prepared for what will be there when you walk out that door? Don’t forget that God hasn’t changed, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever and so we don’t have to worry or stress about it but rather we can just put our trust in Him. Today’s reading will bring us back to post flood and we can see how things had changed for Adam and Eve and their family in Genesis 8. Will you use the right thing to know the status of things? Would you send out a raven which doesn’t know to come back or would you use a dove that will come back if the destination it was to go to wasn’t available? Would you be patient enough to wait to open the door till the time is right? Would you walk it out in accordance to God’s Word? Will you remember the second chance God gave man through Adam and Eve whenever you see the rainbow? Will you decide to be a good steward and multiply what God has given to you? We continue to read from Genesis 9 where God instructs them as they leave the ark and receive the instruction to be fruitful and multiply. Never forget God’s covenant from God in Genesis 9 whenever you see the rainbow and the eternal covenant we can receive through Jesus Christ with the cross!

As we walk out today as the temple of the Holy Spirit let us reflect on 1 Chronicles 6 and the priests and Levites story considering what position God would give us to live out in our lives and in this world today. Also lets consider each of these priests as we reach through the Psalms through and how they each play a part in God’s great plan.

We need to remember that every good and perfect gift comes from God. We need to remember our role and our place in God’s plan and purpose for our lives. We need to remember to become less and less and allow Jesus to become more in and through our lives and how we live it out. We need to take hold of and receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus. Let’s reflect on that as we read from today’s reading from John 3:22-36:

‘Then Jesus and his disciples left Jerusalem and went into the Judean countryside. Jesus spent some time with them there, baptizing people. At this time John the Baptist was baptizing at Aenon, near Salim, because there was plenty of water there; and people kept coming to him for baptism. (This was before John was thrown into prison.) A debate broke out between John’s disciples and a certain Jew over ceremonial cleansing. So John’s disciples came to him and said, “Rabbi, the man you met on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you identified as the Messiah, is also baptizing people. And everybody is going to him instead of coming to us.” John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven. You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’ It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the bridegroom’s friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. “He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else. He testifies about what he has seen and heard, but how few believe what he tells them! Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true. For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit. The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands. And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”’

John 3:22-36

We need to remember that we each have our own role and that we shouldn’t do more or take on more than walk God has planned and purposed for us. We need to learn to control our tongues for words have power to build and tear down. We need to consider how the bit can control a big horse and so what might we need to do to be able to control the words we speak. We need to be living our lives using words the demonstrate we are filled with God’s Spirit and that the words that come out of us align with this. Let’s allow our words testify that God is in us and is working through us. Let’s reflect on the words from our reading today from James 3:1-12:


‘Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.’

James 3:1-12

Finding it hard to do this? Turn to God and cry out to Him and ask Him for what you have need of. Will you pour out your grief and sadness and needs to God and trust Him to answer your prayers? Will you trust God and not allow those who attack or come against you to sway you from the truth and love and hope of God? Let’s close with the last of today’s reading from Psalms 6:


‘O Lord , don’t rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage. Have compassion on me, Lord , for I am weak. Heal me, Lord , for my bones are in agony. I am sick at heart. How long, O Lord , until you restore me? Return, O Lord , and rescue me. Save me because of your unfailing love. For the dead do not remember you. Who can praise you from the grave? I am worn out from sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears. My vision is blurred by grief; my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies. Go away, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord will answer my prayer. May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified. May they suddenly turn back in shame.’

Psalms 6

How desperate are you for an intimate relationship with God?


Life can keep us busy! Life can keep us focused! Life can keep us engaged! Life can turn then what? It depends on your foundation! It depends on your source of wisdom and strength! It depends on your purpose! It depends if you have built your trust up!

Where are you at today?

Each morning I turn to God’s Word knowing that He wants to speak to me through His Word! My day isn’t the same if I can’t start it out with God’s Word! The Lord fills me up each morning in preparation for today! He knows my very situation! He knows what I am going through and He knows what is coming too! When I learned this truth about having a relationship with Jesus and how important it is for me to start my day with Him, it impacts the way I am able to live out the rest of my day!

17How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!
18I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! 19O God, if only you would destroy the wicked! Get out of my life, you murderers! 20They blaspheme you; your enemies misuse your name.
21O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you? Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you? 22Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for your enemies are my enemies. 23Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
–from Psalm 139
Each day I know that without God’s filling, there will be a hole, an emptiness, a lack. Without God filling up my heart, my attitude and my words and my actions are off. I need Him to fill me up! I need Him to search my heart in order to make sure anything that will keep me from accomplishing His purpose and plans can be removed out of the way!
Without His truth there would be no absolutes! Without absolutes then things sway back and forth like getting tossed around like the waves! We need to hear from God! We need to stand on the truth! We need absolutes! Through Jesus we are called to go beyond average and raise the bar so that instead of the average moving to the lowest common denominator God’s desire is for us to grow and become more like Jesus!
When we know the truth, the truth sets us free and we won’t be lead astray! There are many who would try to deceive and lead us astray! The devil’s plan is to rob, kill, and destroy us and anyway he can find to instrument he will do it in order to draw us from God and the truth of God and the eternity with God that is offered to us through a relationship with Jesus! So beware of false teachers! Compare what they say against what God’s Word says!

Greetings from Jude

1This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.
I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.
2May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.

The Danger of False Teachers

3Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. 4I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. 6And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. 7And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.
8In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings. 9But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) 10But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. 11What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion.
12When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. 13They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness.
14Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones 15to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
16These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.

A Call to Remain Faithful

17But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. 18They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. 19These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.
20But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
22And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

A Prayer of Praise

24Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. 25All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.
–from Jude 1
So let’s allow the Holy Spirit working in us and through us to become who God desires us to be! Let’s make sure that it is the sins that we hate and not the people! Let’s love people and hate sin! Let’s be ambassadors of peace! Let’s speak truth in love to the people around us!
Today’s devotional summarizes Jude’s points as follows:

Jude gives a description of the characteristics of false teachers and false teaching. Typically, cults will display at least one of these:

  • They are deceptive. They ‘have secretly slipped in among you’ (v.4)
  • They reject authority. They want to replace ‘sheer grace’ with ‘sheer license’ (v.4, MSG)
  • They deny Jesus Christ ‘as our one and only Master’ (v.4, MSG)
  • They look down on and ‘sneer at anything they can’t understand’ (v.10, MSG)
  • They ‘do whatever they feel like doing’ (v.10, MSG)
  • They are immoral: ‘carousing shamelessly’ (v.12, MSG)
  • They grumble, complain and find fault (v.16)
  • They grab for themselves ‘the biggest piece of the pie’ (v.16, MSG)
  • They are ambitious, ‘saying anything they think will get them ahead’ (v.16, MSG).
    God’s people are encouraged to be desperate for God’s truth. The beginning and the end of the letter speak of an intimacy with God and how to live as those desperate for God’s truth.

I love the way that Jude begins this letter. He sees himself as ‘a servant of Jesus Christ’ (v.1). There is no higher calling or a more liberating job than to see every day as an opportunity to serve Jesus Christ.

He then reassures his readers that they are ‘called’ and ‘loved’ by God the Father ‘and kept by Jesus Christ’ (v.1). This is true of every Christian. What he wants for his readers is ‘mercy’, ‘peace’ and ‘love in abundance’ (v.2). If these were the only verses we had in the whole Bible, we could meditate on them for the rest of our lives.

He ends by urging them to:

  • Study the truth: ‘Build yourselves up in your most holy faith’ (v.20)
  • Pray: ‘Pray in the Holy Spirit’ (v.20). The Holy Spirit will guide us into the truth
  • Stay close to God: ‘Keep yourselves in God’s love’ (v.21)
  • Be merciful: ‘Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin’ (v.23, MSG)

–from Day 342: Bible In One Year 2018

So let’s live out our lives in a way that will glorify God! Let’s live out lives that will show truth and love to the world around us! Let’s seek God’s purpose and God’s plan! Let’s pursue lives that will align with God’s justice in hopes of living within His overwhelming blessings! It doesn’t mean that everything will be easy but it does mean it will be worth it! Let’s live lives that point people to Jesus so that we can spend eternity in heaven with them with God! Let’s be ambassadors of Jesus who want them to avoid the final judgement in order to find true freedom with Jesus! Share the truth in love for the truth shall set them free!

A Flying Scroll

1I looked up again and saw a scroll flying through the air.
2“What do you see?” the angel asked.
“I see a flying scroll,” I replied. “It appears to be about 30 feet long and 15 feet wide.”
3Then he said to me, “This scroll contains the curse that is going out over the entire land. One side of the scroll says that those who steal will be banished from the land; the other side says that those who swear falsely will be banished from the land. 4And this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: I am sending this curse into the house of every thief and into the house of everyone who swears falsely using my name. And my curse will remain in that house and completely destroy it—even its timbers and stones.”

A Woman in a Basket

5Then the angel who was talking with me came forward and said, “Look up and see what’s coming.”
6“What is it?” I asked.
He replied, “It is a basket for measuring grain, and it’s filled with the sins of everyone throughout the land.”
7Then the heavy lead cover was lifted off the basket, and there was a woman sitting inside it. 8The angel said, “The woman’s name is Wickedness,” and he pushed her back into the basket and closed the heavy lid again.
9Then I looked up and saw two women flying toward us, gliding on the wind. They had wings like a stork, and they picked up the basket and flew into the sky.
10“Where are they taking the basket?” I asked the angel.
11He replied, “To the land of Babylonia, where they will build a temple for the basket. And when the temple is ready, they will set the basket there on its pedestal.”
–from Zechariah 5
Don’t lie! Don’t steal! Don’t cheat! Turn to God and pursue His ways! As the end draws near the purpose to make Jesus known grows! As the end draws near the need to share to hope and truth of Jesus and how we are created to have an intimate relationship with Him is necessary! As the end draws near lets share the reality and not sugar coat it! The reality that there is a real heaven and there is a real hell and that based on our choice one of them will be the final destination! Choose Jesus! Invite Jesus into your heart and follow Him all the days of your life! Spend time in God’s Word! Pray to Him throughout your day! Take time to hear what He desires of you and how He wants you to live out today! This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Four Chariots

1Then I looked up again and saw four chariots coming from between two bronze mountains. 2The first chariot was pulled by red horses, the second by black horses, 3the third by white horses, and the fourth by powerful dappled-gray horses. 4“And what are these, my lord?” I asked the angel who was talking with me.
5The angel replied, “These are the four spirits of heaven who stand before the Lord of all the earth. They are going out to do his work. 6The chariot with black horses is going north, the chariot with white horses is going west, and the chariot with dappled-gray horses is going south.”
7The powerful horses were eager to set out to patrol the earth. And the Lord said, “Go and patrol the earth!” So they left at once on their patrol.
8Then the Lord summoned me and said, “Look, those who went north have vented the anger of my Spirit there in the land of the north.”

The Crowning of Jeshua

9Then I received another message from the Lord: 10“Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah will bring gifts of silver and gold from the Jews exiled in Babylon. As soon as they arrive, meet them at the home of Josiah son of Zephaniah. 11Accept their gifts, and make a crown from the silver and gold. Then put the crown on the head of Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 12Tell him, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Here is the man called the Branch. He will branch out from where he is and build the Temple of the Lord. 13Yes, he will build the Temple of the Lord. Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne, and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles.’
14“The crown will be a memorial in the Temple of the Lord to honor those who gave it—Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Josiah son of Zephaniah.”
15People will come from distant lands to rebuild the Temple of the Lord. And when this happens, you will know that my messages have been from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. All this will happen if you carefully obey what the Lord your God says.
–from Zechariah 6
 Have you heard of the four horsemen? Have you read it in Zechariah or Revelation? There are many terms or sayings in life and without the wisdom of God you won’t realize the source and the truth of such things! God didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world when He first came! God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but would have everlasting life!

 A Call to Justice and Mercy

1On December 7 of the fourth year of King Darius’s reign, another message came to Zechariah from the Lord. 2The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regemmelech, along with their attendants, to seek the Lord’s favor. 3They were to ask this question of the prophets and the priests at the Temple of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: “Should we continue to mourn and fast each summer on the anniversary of the Temple’s destruction, as we have done for so many years?”
4The Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me this message in reply: 5“Say to all your people and your priests, ‘During these seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and in early autumn, was it really for me that you were fasting? 6And even now in your holy festivals, aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourselves? 7Isn’t this the same message the Lord proclaimed through the prophets in years past when Jerusalem and the towns of Judah were bustling with people, and the Negev and the foothills of Judah were well populated?’”
8Then this message came to Zechariah from the Lord: 9“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. 10Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.
11“Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing. 12They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had sent them by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why the Lord of Heaven’s Armies was so angry with them.
13“Since they refused to listen when I called to them, I would not listen when they called to me, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 14As with a whirlwind, I scattered them among the distant nations, where they lived as strangers. Their land became so desolate that no one even traveled through it. They turned their pleasant land into a desert.”
–from Zechariah 7
 So how will you share the truth of God that His blessings will be seen and He will be glorified? How will you be able to pour out God’s blessings if you aren’t filled first? So let’s take time and make time to be filled with God’s Spirit by spending time in His Word! Let’s allow His Word to speak truth! Nothing is impossible with God!

Promised Blessings for Jerusalem

1Then another message came to me from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: 2“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: My love for Mount Zion is passionate and strong; I am consumed with passion for Jerusalem!
3“And now the Lord says: I am returning to Mount Zion, and I will live in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City; the mountain of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will be called the Holy Mountain.
4“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Once again old men and women will walk Jerusalem’s streets with their canes and will sit together in the city squares. 5And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls at play.
6“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: All this may seem impossible to you now, a small remnant of God’s people. But is it impossible for me? says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
7“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: You can be sure that I will rescue my people from the east and from the west. 8I will bring them home again to live safely in Jerusalem. They will be my people, and I will be faithful and just toward them as their God.
9“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Be strong and finish the task! Ever since the laying of the foundation of the Temple of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, you have heard what the prophets have been saying about completing the building. 10Before the work on the Temple began, there were no jobs and no money to hire people or animals. No traveler was safe from the enemy, for there were enemies on all sides. I had turned everyone against each other.
11“But now I will not treat the remnant of my people as I treated them before, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 12For I am planting seeds of peace and prosperity among you. The grapevines will be heavy with fruit. The earth will produce its crops, and the heavens will release the dew. Once more I will cause the remnant in Judah and Israel to inherit these blessings. 13Among the other nations, Judah and Israel became symbols of a cursed nation. But no longer! Now I will rescue you and make you both a symbol and a source of blessing. So don’t be afraid. Be strong, and get on with rebuilding the Temple!
14“For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: I was determined to punish you when your ancestors angered me, and I did not change my mind, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 15But now I am determined to bless Jerusalem and the people of Judah. So don’t be afraid. 16But this is what you must do: Tell the truth to each other. Render verdicts in your courts that are just and that lead to peace. 17Don’t scheme against each other. Stop your love of telling lies that you swear are the truth. I hate all these things, says the Lord.”
18Here is another message that came to me from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 19“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: The traditional fasts and times of mourning you have kept in early summer, midsummer, autumn, and winter are now ended. They will become festivals of joy and celebration for the people of Judah. So love truth and peace.
20“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: People from nations and cities around the world will travel to Jerusalem. 21The people of one city will say to the people of another, ‘Come with us to Jerusalem to ask the Lord to bless us. Let’s worship the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I’m determined to go.’ 22Many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord of Heaven’s Armies and to ask for his blessing.
23“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: In those days ten men from different nations and languages of the world will clutch at the sleeve of one Jew. And they will say, ‘Please let us walk with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”
 So let’s live in the truth of God! For the truth will set you free! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and is our one and only way to the Father! God’s plan and hope for us isn’t that we are harmed but that we will have a hope and a future!


Desperate

Day 342: Bible In One Year 2018

  1. Desperate for God’s thoughts … Psalms 139:17-24
  2. Desperate for God’s truth … Jude 1
  3. Desperate for God’s Justice and God’s Blessing … Zechariah 5, Zechariah 6, Zechariah 7, Zechariah 8

 

Today’s reading from God’s Word:

What’s next? Only days away from the new year…


Ever wondered what’s next? Ever wondered how it is supposed to go? Ever questions how are things going to change? Ever considered that you have a choice? Ever thought of preparing in advance? So what’s next? Where are you at now? What have you been preparing for? What will it produce? And what will it mean for you? Twelve … what comes to mind when you think of the number 12?

12 is the natural number following 11 and preceding 13. The product of the first three factorials, twelve is a superior highly composite number, evenly divisible by 2, 3, 4, and 6. It is central to many systems of counting, including the Western calendar and units of time, and frequently appears in the Abrahamic religions. 12 (number) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

But what about 12 in the Bible? 12 disciples? 12 tribes? when Jesus turned 12? 12 stones on the breastplate? 12 in the book of Revelation? 12 as it relates to power and authority? 12 as a structural principle for organization? 12 children of Abraham from each mother – Sarah and Hagar?

So with only a few days left in the year, what’s next? What’s next for this blog? What’s  next for my devotionals? What next for my parenting? What’s next for my exercise routine? What’s next?

I know from God’s Word that He has a plan for me and it is good! I know that it is to give me a hope and a future! I know that Jesus came that I would have life and life to the full! I know that Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world but that through it we could be saved! I know that in this world we will have troubles, but I can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world! I know that I am to receive each trial that comes my way with pure joy, for you I that when my faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. I know that in making sure that my endurance carries me all the way without failing, so that I may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

So my hope and my trust are in God! No matter what’s next! My hope and in trust are in you Lord! Thank You Jesus for my family! Thank You for showing me how You have been to bless me! Thank You for teaching me that I can’t out give You Lord! You have taught me how when I give it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into my lap. For with the measure I used, it will be measured to me! Lord, You have even challenged me to test You in this habit of giving when you said:

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. –Malachi 3:10

So Lord, grant me wisdom! I ask, seek, and knock! I humble myself and as I ask for wisdom because I know that you will give it to me generously and without finding fault!

This is the Your day Lord, You made it, so I will rejoice and be glad in it!

And I know Lord that I am Your child, adopted into Your family. Engrafted to the vine (Jesus) as a branch. You know my name! You know my every thought!

So Lord, I know turn to Your Word for today as I know Your answers can be found there. I know I have but 12 days left after today’s reading. So I draw close to You and will listen to what Your Word will speak to me in Jesus’ name I pray.

Thank You God the Father! Thank You Jesus! Thank You Holy Spirit!


 

  • Time of restoration – Prayer for a nation’s restoration
  • Greater things are yet to come – Good, Better, Best
  • Draw near to God – thru Jesus we can go directly to God!
  • Sincere heart. Sure faith!
  • Start a group! Encourage one another!
  • Remember what you possess that will last forever! Do not lose courage!
  • Jesus is coming back! Be prepared! Don’t turn back! Have faith! Be saved!
  • Live the changed life!
  • Share the truth of Jesus with the people around us! Be a good steward!
  • Be glad! Hold tight to Jesus! Do what is right and what is good!
  • Judgment begins with us! Trust God with everything because He keeps His promise.

 


Today's Reading: Zechariah 13, Zechariah 14, Psalm 80, Hebrews 10, 1 Peter 4

Don’t lose hope! Even if you feel you are part of the remnant!


Did you see what is going on around you? Do you see what is happening to people? Do you see what is being done to and trying to be taken away from people? Do you feel like part of the silent majority and concerned with what was, is, or may take place? Do you feel like you are part of the remnant? So what can you do? What will you do? Where will you turn? Who will you trust?

Will you turn to God? Will you cry out to God? Will you call out to God? Will you ask Him for wisdom? Will you walk in alignment and obedience to His direction and instruction? Will you obey what God tells you to do?

Do be anxious or worry! Be anxious for nothing, but by prayer and petition raise your asks, needs, concerns up to God!

Ever seen or heard people try to take things in their own hands when things are looking tough? Ever seen or heard people try to go it their own way rather than hearing God’s wisdom and instruction? Would you rather be obedient to God and trust in His justice or run from God and have to put your trust in the unknown and others you don’t know if you can trust? You don’t want to go from bad to worse do you?

Put your trust in God! Lean not on your own understanding! In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight!

How will you respond to the truth? Will you receive it? Will you accept it? Will you receive the benefits? Will you trust God and walk thru the troubles to be overcomers and thru trials consider those trials pure joy? Will you reject and disregard God’s instruction and have to deal with those consequences? Would you really want it to go from bad to worse?

Don’t walk away from God! Don’t flee from Him! Put your trust in Him! God’s plan is to give you a hope and a future!

Where does your hope come from? Do you see what is going on around the world? How will you share hope and love instead? How will you look to make a difference to the world around you? How will you pour into the lives that God has brought into your life? Lead with love! Lead with truth! Think before you speak! Think before you ask!

So let’s make sure we are aligned with God’s will and God’s plan! Let’s make sure we are prepared and equipped for the future!

So let’s reflect on the final part of today’s reading today out of the book of Ephesians…

1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
5Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
9And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

The Armor of God

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devilʼs schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lordʼs people. 19Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Final Greetings

21Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. 22I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.
23Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

–Ephesians 6

 

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Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 42, 43, 44, Ephesians 6

Know how to find hope beyond your circumstances?


There is war and treat of war! There are nations against nations and kingdom against kingdoms! There are famines and earthquakes! In the days of Jeremiah they were told that there would swords, famine, and plagues before the city would be given to Babylon! But in and thru it all there was still hope given by God!

36“You are saying about this city, ‘By the sword, famine and plague it will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon’; but this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 37I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. 38They will be my people, and I will be their God. 39I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them. 40I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. 41I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.
42“This is what the Lord says: As I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity I have promised them. 43Once more fields will be bought in this land of which you say, ‘It is a desolate waste, without people or animals, for it has been given into the hands of the Babylonians.’ 44Fields will be bought for silver, and deeds will be signed, sealed and witnessed in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the towns of the hill country, of the western foothills and of the Negev, because I will restore their fortunes, declares the Lord.”

–from Jeremiah 32

We need to see beyond today! We need to look beyond the here and the now! We need a vision for the future! As we read in Jeremiah 29:11, God’s plan is for us to have a hope and a future! We need to turn to Him, trust in Him, and walk aligned with Him in and thru the trials and troubles! We need to use the trials to build up our faith and persevere so that in the end we will be mature, complete and lacking nothing! God will restore! No matter what is going on! No matter what has happened! Don’t lose faith! Don’t lose hope! Don’t give up! Put your trust in God! Walk in His ways! Acknowledge Him so that He will make your path straight! It’s about finding unity within the body! It’s about coming together in unison rather than be remembered for our bickering and divisive ways! Let’s rejoice in the Lord! Let your gentleness be evident and obvious to everyone! Don’t be anxious about anything, instead pray and fellowship with God, petition and bring your needs before God, be thankful giving God the praise, the honor and the glory in Jesus’ name and give your requests into God’s hands! Now peace…allow God’s peace that goes beyond all understanding guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus! So if you are wondering what to do and how to live, consider what Paul says next…

8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

–from Philippians 4

Jeremiah gets a second reminder for hope in the future! A promise for restoration! God speaks to Him this way…

Promise of Restoration

1While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him a second time: 2“This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: 3‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ 4For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the houses in this city and the royal palaces of Judah that have been torn down to be used against the siege ramps and the sword 5in the fight with the Babylonians: ‘They will be filled with the dead bodies of the people I will slay in my anger and wrath. I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness.
6“ ‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. 7I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. 8I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. 9Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.’
10“This is what the Lord says: ‘You say about this place, “It is a desolate waste, without people or animals.” Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted, inhabited by neither people nor animals, there will be heard once more 11the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord, saying,

“Give thanks to the Lord Almighty,
for the Lord is good;
his love endures forever.”

For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the Lord.
12“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In this place, desolate and without people or animals—in all its towns there will again be pastures for shepherds to rest their flocks. 13In the towns of the hill country, of the western foothills and of the Negev, in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem and in the towns of Judah, flocks will again pass under the hand of the one who counts them,’ says the Lord.
14“ ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.
15“ ‘In those days and at that time
I will make a righteous Branch sprout from Davidʼs line;
he will do what is just and right in the land.
16In those days Judah will be saved
and Jerusalem will live in safety.
This is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’
17For this is what the Lord says: ‘David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of Israel, 18nor will the Levitical priests ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to present sacrifices.’ ”
19The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 20“This is what the Lord says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, 21then my covenant with David my servant—and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me—can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. 22I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars in the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.’ ”
23The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 24“Have you not noticed that these people are saying, ‘The Lord has rejected the two kingdoms he chose’? So they despise my people and no longer regard them as a nation. 25This is what the Lord says: ‘If I have not made my covenant with day and night and established the laws of heaven and earth, 26then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his sons to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and have compassion on them.’ ”

–from Jeremiah 33

Will you cry out to God for wisdom? Will you cry out to God for help? Will you turn to Him when you face trials and troubles? Will you put all your hope and trust in God?

Will you allow God to bring health and healing back into the country after such a divisive and tenuous event? Will you ask Him to come and heal your land? Will you humble yourself and pray? Will ask Him for forgiveness? Will you grab hold of the promise that if His people who are called by His name will humble themselves and pray, turning back to Him, seeking His face, turning away from their wicked ways, then He will hear from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land!

Will you see as God sees it? Will you see it as it will be rather than where it is today? Will you allow Him to give you eyes to see beyond today? Will you allow Him to give you hope beyond your circumstances?

So let’s grab hold of the truths of God! Let’s take hold of His promises! Let’s turn to Jesus and ask Him into our very situation so that He can intervene and intercede on our behalf!

Once we asked Jesus into our hearts, we were born again! We are new creation where the old is gone and the new has come! The great news is that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! So if you are feeling a spirit of condemnation rather than correction, it is not from God! Jesus paid it all! Jesus did what we couldn’t do for ourselves! We just have to receive it, the gift of life and of hope! We just need to believe it and live it! We just have to live with a different mindset! Yes we may have suffering in the present, but it will lead to future glory thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus! Because we are more than conquerors thru Jesus!

Let’s reflect on this as we read the final chapter of today’s reading from Romans…

Life Through the Spirit

1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to Godʼs law, nor can it do so. 8Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
9You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives lifebecause of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
12Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
14For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are Godʼs children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Present Suffering and Future Glory

18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for Godʼs people in accordance with the will of God.
28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

More Than Conquerors

31What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

–from Romans 8


Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 3233, Romans 8

Do you see what’s going on all around us?


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

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

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


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

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

Habakkuk’s Complaint

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

The Lord’s Reply

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

Habakkuk’s Second Complaint

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

–from Habakkuk 1

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

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

The Lord’s Second Reply

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

–from Habakkuk 2

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

Habakkuk’s Prayer

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

–from Habakkuk 3

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

Paul’s Second Missionary Journey

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

A Call from Macedonia

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

Paul and Silas in Prison

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

–from Acts 16