Will you give God what you have?


Do you realize that when you have God, you have all that you need? Do you have Jesus in your life or are you trying to make it through life on your own? Do you realize you can’t out give God? Do you realize that the only thing God asks us to test Him in is giving? Do you realize how much God is willing to give to us? God so loves us that He gave us Jesus who sacrificed everything, to the point of dying on the cross in order to pay our debt and make a way for us to be reconciled unto God! Do you realize how valued you are to God? Do you realize that it isn’t about the amount but rather a matter of your heart. What does it mean when something is a matter of the heart? It means you love. It means you trust. It means you believe. It means it is central to life. It means it is the essence of life. It means what our motives and intentions are. God doesn’t need our money, He desires a relationship with us and hence our hearts. So imagine a poor women who gives her all of two cents vs a rich man who gives $100 dollars, which has given more to God? If we consider it as a percentage of their financial net worth, the poor women gave 100% and the rich person gave a fraction of a percent. So which one trusts God more? Which one gave with all their heart? Which one gave with all their soul? Which one gave with all their strength?

Do you realize that your faith times what you have multiplies out to more than you can imagine? So how much will you trust God? Will you live your life as a living sacrifice? Will you give God your all? Will you live out your life in a way that will point people to Jesus and allow Jesus to shine in and through you? Will you give God what you have? Will you trust God with what you have? How large is your faith? Will you allow your faith to grow and enable you to keep pouring out into the lives of those God brings into your life? Will you allow your faith to grow and for more vessels to be brought into your life for you to be able to pour into them? How big will you let your faith grow? How many vessels will you be able to pour into? Are you prepared to trust God and watch what He will do in and through you? God knows what you have need of, even before we ask. Are you willing to ask? Are you willing to receive it? How much will you trust God?

Will you lean into God so much that you won’t go without Him? Will you lean into God so much so that you need God to come with you, God to lead you, God to show you? We aren’t supposed to go and do it alone. Jesus wants a relationship with us. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and our guide. Jesus teaches us to love God and love one another. Even in the beginning God speaks how it is not good to be alone. We learn from Jesus how it is important to not be alone and the benefits of not being alone. So let us walk with God! Let’s be in relationship with Jesus! Let’s live out our today in a way that will bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Jesus is Emmanuel – God with us. He will never leave us nor abandon us. So don’t walk away or abandon Him either. Let’s join together with Jesus and be Christians. Let’s share the hope that is within us so that others may also become Christians.


Today’s reading from God’s Words gets started in 2 Kings 4 and speaks of a widow, a poor widow who has an encounter with God and has to decide how much she will trust God…

‘One day the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the Lord . But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.” “What can I do to help you?” Elisha asked. “Tell me, what do you have in the house?” “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” she replied. And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” So she did as she was told. Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another. Soon every container was full to the brim! “Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons. “There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing. When she told the man of God what had happened, he said to her, “Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on what is left over.” One day Elisha went to the town of Shunem. A wealthy woman lived there, and she urged him to come to her home for a meal. After that, whenever he passed that way, he would stop there for something to eat. She said to her husband, “I am sure this man who stops in from time to time is a holy man of God. Let’s build a small room for him on the roof and furnish it with a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp. Then he will have a place to stay whenever he comes by.” One day Elisha returned to Shunem, and he went up to this upper room to rest. He said to his servant Gehazi, “Tell the woman from Shunem I want to speak to her.” When she appeared, Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tell her, ‘We appreciate the kind concern you have shown us. What can we do for you? Can we put in a good word for you to the king or to the commander of the army?’” “No,” she replied, “my family takes good care of me.” Later Elisha asked Gehazi, “What can we do for her?” Gehazi replied, “She doesn’t have a son, and her husband is an old man.” “Call her back again,” Elisha told him. When the woman returned, Elisha said to her as she stood in the doorway, “Next year at this time you will be holding a son in your arms!” “No, my lord!” she cried. “O man of God, don’t deceive me and get my hopes up like that.” But sure enough, the woman soon became pregnant. And at that time the following year she had a son, just as Elisha had said. One day when her child was older, he went out to help his father, who was working with the harvesters. Suddenly he cried out, “My head hurts! My head hurts!” His father said to one of the servants, “Carry him home to his mother.” So the servant took him home, and his mother held him on her lap. But around noontime he died. She carried him up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and left him there. She sent a message to her husband: “Send one of the servants and a donkey so that I can hurry to the man of God and come right back.” “Why go today?” he asked. “It is neither a new moon festival nor a Sabbath.” But she said, “It will be all right.” So she saddled the donkey and said to the servant, “Hurry! Don’t slow down unless I tell you to.” As she approached the man of God at Mount Carmel, Elisha saw her in the distance. He said to Gehazi, “Look, the woman from Shunem is coming. Run out to meet her and ask her, ‘Is everything all right with you, your husband, and your child?’” “Yes,” the woman told Gehazi, “everything is fine.” But when she came to the man of God at the mountain, she fell to the ground before him and caught hold of his feet. Gehazi began to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone. She is deeply troubled, but the Lord has not told me what it is.” Then she said, “Did I ask you for a son, my lord? And didn’t I say, ‘Don’t deceive me and get my hopes up’?” Then Elisha said to Gehazi, “Get ready to travel ; take my staff and go! Don’t talk to anyone along the way. Go quickly and lay the staff on the child’s face.” But the boy’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I won’t go home unless you go with me.” So Elisha returned with her. Gehazi hurried on ahead and laid the staff on the child’s face, but nothing happened. There was no sign of life. He returned to meet Elisha and told him, “The child is still dead.” When Elisha arrived, the child was indeed dead, lying there on the prophet’s bed. He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the Lord . Then he lay down on the child’s body, placing his mouth on the child’s mouth, his eyes on the child’s eyes, and his hands on the child’s hands. And as he stretched out on him, the child’s body began to grow warm again! Elisha got up, walked back and forth across the room once, and then stretched himself out again on the child. This time the boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes! Then Elisha summoned Gehazi. “Call the child’s mother!” he said. And when she came in, Elisha said, “Here, take your son!” She fell at his feet and bowed before him, overwhelmed with gratitude. Then she took her son in her arms and carried him downstairs. Elisha now returned to Gilgal, and there was a famine in the land. One day as the group of prophets was seated before him, he said to his servant, “Put a large pot on the fire, and make some stew for the rest of the group.” One of the young men went out into the field to gather herbs and came back with a pocketful of wild gourds. He shredded them and put them into the pot without realizing they were poisonous. Some of the stew was served to the men. But after they had eaten a bite or two they cried out, “Man of God, there’s poison in this stew!” So they would not eat it. Elisha said, “Bring me some flour.” Then he threw it into the pot and said, “Now it’s all right; go ahead and eat.” And then it did not harm them. One day a man from Baal-shalishah brought the man of God a sack of fresh grain and twenty loaves of barley bread made from the first grain of his harvest. Elisha said, “Give it to the people so they can eat.” “What?” his servant exclaimed. “Feed a hundred people with only this?” But Elisha repeated, “Give it to the people so they can eat, for this is what the Lord says: Everyone will eat, and there will even be some left over!” And when they gave it to the people, there was plenty for all and some left over, just as the Lord had promised.’

2 Kings 4

‘Then the Lord thundered, “Bring on the men appointed to punish the city! Tell them to bring their weapons with them!” Six men soon appeared from the upper gate that faces north, each carrying a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man dressed in linen, who carried a writer’s case at his side. They all went into the Temple courtyard and stood beside the bronze altar. Then the glory of the God of Israel rose up from between the cherubim, where it had rested, and moved to the entrance of the Temple. And the Lord called to the man dressed in linen who was carrying the writer’s case. He said to him, “Walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city.” Then I heard the Lord say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all—old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin right here at the Temple.” So they began by killing the seventy leaders. “Defile the Temple!” the Lord commanded. “Fill its courtyards with corpses. Go!” So they went and began killing throughout the city. While they were out killing, I was all alone. I fell face down on the ground and cried out, “O Sovereign Lord ! Will your fury against Jerusalem wipe out everyone left in Israel?” Then he said to me, “The sins of the people of Israel and Judah are very, very great. The entire land is full of murder; the city is filled with injustice. They are saying, ‘The Lord doesn’t see it! The Lord has abandoned the land!’ So I will not spare them or have any pity on them. I will fully repay them for all they have done.” Then the man in linen clothing, who carried the writer’s case, reported back and said, “I have done as you commanded.”’

Ezekiel 9

‘Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen’s death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to Jews. However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus. The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord. When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.) During this time some prophets traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up in one of the meetings and predicted by the Spirit that a great famine was coming upon the entire Roman world. (This was fulfilled during the reign of Claudius.) So the believers in Antioch decided to send relief to the brothers and sisters in Judea, everyone giving as much as they could. This they did, entrusting their gifts to Barnabas and Saul to take to the elders of the church in Jerusalem.’

Acts 11:19-30

‘I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus. It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.” When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. “Write down what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen. This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.’

Revelation 1:9-20

‘Praise the Lord ! I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord ! All who delight in him should ponder them. Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails. He causes us to remember his wonderful works. How gracious and merciful is our Lord ! He gives food to those who fear him; he always remembers his covenant. He has shown his great power to his people by giving them the lands of other nations. All he does is just and good, and all his commandments are trustworthy. They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity. He has paid a full ransom for his people. He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever. What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has! Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!’

Psalms 111

Today might be your day to invite Jesus into your heart. Today might be your day to recommit your life to Jesus. Today may be a day of intrigue and curiosity where you want to learn more. Let’s pray together the following prayer and please leave me a comment if you have any questions or have made a decision so I can celebrate with you or try to help your questions or comments.

Prayer of Salvation Example

If you knew that the words you were about to speak would be your last…


How would you say them? How would you capture them? How would you broadcast them? Who would you say them to? Who would you talk about? Who would you share it with? What would you say? What would be your purpose? Where would you say them? Where would you share them? When would you say them? Why would that be the statement? Why would those be the words? Why would those people need to hear it or receive it? Why haven’t you shared it before? Why would you have to wait till it was the end?


Today’s reading starts with the last words of David in 2 Samuel 23…

‘These are the last words of David: “David, the son of Jesse, speaks— David, the man who was raised up so high, David, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, David, the sweet psalmist of Israel. “The Spirit of the Lord speaks through me; his words are upon my tongue. The God of Israel spoke. The Rock of Israel said to me: ‘The one who rules righteously, who rules in the fear of God, is like the light of morning at sunrise, like a morning without clouds, like the gleaming of the sun on new grass after rain.’ “Is it not my family God has chosen? Yes, he has made an everlasting covenant with me. His agreement is arranged and guaranteed in every detail. He will ensure my safety and success. But the godless are like thorns to be thrown away, for they tear the hand that touches them. One must use iron tools to chop them down; they will be totally consumed by fire.”

These are the names of David’s mightiest warriors. The first was Jashobeam the Hacmonite, who was leader of the Three —the three mightiest warriors among David’s men. He once used his spear to kill 800 enemy warriors in a single battle. Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah. Once Eleazar and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled. He killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the Lord gave him a great victory that day. The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder! Next in rank was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. One time the Philistines gathered at Lehi and attacked the Israelites in a field full of lentils. The Israelite army fled, but Shammah held his ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory. Once during the harvest, when David was at the cave of Adullam, the Philistine army was camped in the valley of Rephaim. The Three (who were among the Thirty—an elite group among David’s fighting men) went down to meet him there. David was staying in the stronghold at the time, and a Philistine detachment had occupied the town of Bethlehem. David remarked longingly to his men, “Oh, how I would love some of that good water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem.” So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew some water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as an offering to the Lord . “The Lord forbid that I should drink this!” he exclaimed. “This water is as precious as the blood of these men who risked their lives to bring it to me.” So David did not drink it.

These are examples of the exploits of the Three. Abishai son of Zeruiah, the brother of Joab, was the leader of the Thirty. He once used his spear to kill 300 enemy warriors in a single battle. It was by such feats that he became as famous as the Three. Abishai was the most famous of the Thirty and was their commander, though he was not one of the Three. There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. Once, armed only with a club, he killed an imposing Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it. Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the Three mightiest warriors. He was more honored than the other members of the Thirty, though he was not one of the Three. And David made him captain of his bodyguard. Other members of the Thirty included: Asahel, Joab’s brother; Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem; Shammah from Harod; Elika from Harod; Helez from Pelon ; Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa; Abiezer from Anathoth; Sibbecai from Hushah; Zalmon from Ahoah; Maharai from Netophah; Heled son of Baanah from Netophah; Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah (in the land of Benjamin); Benaiah from Pirathon; Hurai from Nahale-gaash ; Abi-albon from Arabah; Azmaveth from Bahurim; Eliahba from Shaalbon; the sons of Jashen; Jonathan son of Shagee from Harar; Ahiam son of Sharar from Harar; Eliphelet son of Ahasbai from Maacah; Eliam son of Ahithophel from Giloh; Hezro from Carmel; Paarai from Arba; Igal son of Nathan from Zobah; Bani from Gad; Zelek from Ammon; Naharai from Beeroth, the armor bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah; Ira from Jattir; Gareb from Jattir; Uriah the Hittite. There were thirty-seven in all.’

2 Samuel 23

‘Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. But Zedekiah did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight, just as Jehoiakim had done. These things happened because of the Lord ’s anger against the people of Jerusalem and Judah, until he finally banished them from his presence and sent them into exile. Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. So on January 15, during the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon led his entire army against Jerusalem. They surrounded the city and built siege ramps against its walls. Jerusalem was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah’s reign. By July 18 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, the famine in the city had become very severe, and the last of the food was entirely gone. Then a section of the city wall was broken down, and all the soldiers fled. Since the city was surrounded by the Babylonians, they waited for nightfall. Then they slipped through the gate between the two walls behind the king’s garden and headed toward the Jordan Valley. But the Babylonian troops chased King Zedekiah and overtook him on the plains of Jericho, for his men had all deserted him and scattered. They captured the king and took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath. There the king of Babylon pronounced judgment upon Zedekiah. The king of Babylon made Zedekiah watch as he slaughtered his sons. He also slaughtered all the officials of Judah at Riblah. Then he gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him in bronze chains, and the king of Babylon led him away to Babylon. Zedekiah remained there in prison until the day of his death.

On August 17 of that year, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard and an official of the Babylonian king, arrived in Jerusalem. He burned down the Temple of the Lord , the royal palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem. He destroyed all the important buildings in the city. Then he supervised the entire Babylonian army as they tore down the walls of Jerusalem on every side. Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took as exiles some of the poorest of the people, the rest of the people who remained in the city, the defectors who had declared their allegiance to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the craftsmen. But Nebuzaradan allowed some of the poorest people to stay behind to care for the vineyards and fields. The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars in front of the Lord ’s Temple, the bronze water carts, and the great bronze basin called the Sea, and they carried all the bronze away to Babylon. They also took all the ash buckets, shovels, lamp snuffers, basins, dishes, and all the other bronze articles used for making sacrifices at the Temple. The captain of the guard also took the small bowls, incense burners, basins, pots, lampstands, ladles, bowls used for liquid offerings, and all the other articles made of pure gold or silver. The weight of the bronze from the two pillars, the Sea with the twelve bronze oxen beneath it, and the water carts was too great to be measured. These things had been made for the Lord ’s Temple in the days of King Solomon. Each of the pillars was 27 feet tall and 18 feet in circumference. They were hollow, with walls 3 inches thick. The bronze capital on top of each pillar was 7 1 / 2 feet high and was decorated with a network of bronze pomegranates all the way around. There were 96 pomegranates on the sides, and a total of 100 pomegranates on the network around the top. Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took with him as prisoners Seraiah the high priest, Zephaniah the priest of the second rank, and the three chief gatekeepers. And from among the people still hiding in the city, he took an officer who had been in charge of the Judean army; seven of the king’s personal advisers; the army commander’s chief secretary, who was in charge of recruitment; and sixty other citizens. Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took them all to the king of Babylon at Riblah. And there at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king of Babylon had them all put to death. So the people of Judah were sent into exile from their land. The number of captives taken to Babylon in the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign was 3,023. Then in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year he took 832 more. In Nebuchadnezzar’s twenty-third year he sent Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, who took 745 more—a total of 4,600 captives in all.

In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, Evil-merodach ascended to the Babylonian throne. He was kind to Jehoiachin and released him from prison on March 31 of that year. He spoke kindly to Jehoiachin and gave him a higher place than all the other exiled kings in Babylon. He supplied Jehoiachin with new clothes to replace his prison garb and allowed him to dine in the king’s presence for the rest of his life. So the Babylonian king gave him a regular food allowance as long as he lived. This continued until the day of his death.’

Jeremiah 52

‘And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost! “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet. Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he ate it as they watched. Then he said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ You are witnesses of all these things. “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”

Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God.’

Luke 24:36-53

‘I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.’

2 Timothy 4:1-8

‘How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord . With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God! What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises. Interlude What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord , who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem. O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, hear my prayer. Listen, O God of Jacob. Interlude O God, look with favor upon the king, our shield! Show favor to the one you have anointed. A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.’

Psalms 84

Thank you for being such an incredible wife is what I would share with my wife. Thank you for being such incredible children with specific details is what I would share with my kids for I am so proud of the incredible people they are and will be. Thank you for being such incredible parents is what I would share with my parents. Thank you for being an incredible sister is what I would share with my sister. Thank you for being such incredible pastors who helped me realize the importance of Jesus and a relationship with Him. Thank you for being a friend. I would look to give specifics for each person. I would ask them not to live out the rest of their lives in fear but with love and hope through Jesus. We need to be prepared at all times to share the Good News of Jesus and encourage others to fight the good fight and finish strong.

I would also share how no matter what things I can give or leave behind the one thing that I would want to make sure everyone received was the greatest gift of all which is Jesus. Jesus is such an incredible part of my life and I would want all the people in my life to be able to have that same blessing and receive Him into their lives. How I hope that they will all invite Jesus into their hearts so that we will get to spend eternity with one another in Heaven. How they are that important that even thought I tried to share Him through my life, I wouldn’t want to get the opportunity to share my last words with them without sharing Jesus with them. I would let them know that I love them because God taught me how important they are and that God loves them even more.

I would want to share how we have all missed the mark and it is only by Jesus that we are reconciled back unto God. I would want to share some key verses with them like:

8Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. 12For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.” 13Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15But in your hearts revere Christ as LORD. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

1 Peter 3:8-16

8But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is LORD,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-the same LORD is LORD of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” 14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Romans 10:8-15

23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 3:23

23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our LORD.

Romans 6:23

6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6

17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:17

I would also share with them a link to my blog that shares my daily posts from that calling God put on my life to start a blog and to make it public and to share His Word and how it speaks to me daily.

  • Faith, Hope, Love – the greatest of these is love.
  • Forgive
  • Nothing is impossible with God
  • If God calls you to it, He will get you through it
  • God’s timing is perfect
  • Don’t give up
  • Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds for it will complete its work in you so that you will be lacking nothing
  • Take heart when you face trials and troubles of this world for Jesus has overcome this world.

Do you have a heart to give? What motivates you to give?


Are you a giver or a taker? Are you giving out of your abundance or giving out of your need? Are you giving out of love or out of compulsion? Are you giving out of love or out of guilt? Are you giving of your time? Are you giving of your resources? Is your giving purposeful? Is your giving generous? Is your giving to bless? Is your giving to get? Are you a giver? Why do you give what you give?

God so loves us that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever would believe on Him would not perish but would have everlasting life. God gave because He is love. Giving is the one thing God asks us to test Him with.


Today’s reading gets us started with Deuteronomy 26:

‘“When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession and you have conquered it and settled there, put some of the first produce from each crop you harvest into a basket and bring it to the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored. Go to the priest in charge at that time and say to him, ‘With this gift I acknowledge to the Lord your God that I have entered the land he swore to our ancestors he would give us.’ The priest will then take the basket from your hand and set it before the altar of the Lord your God. “You must then say in the presence of the Lord your God, ‘My ancestor Jacob was a wandering Aramean who went to live as a foreigner in Egypt. His family arrived few in number, but in Egypt they became a large and mighty nation. When the Egyptians oppressed and humiliated us by making us their slaves, we cried out to the Lord , the God of our ancestors. He heard our cries and saw our hardship, toil, and oppression. So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and powerful arm, with overwhelming terror, and with miraculous signs and wonders. He brought us to this place and gave us this land flowing with milk and honey! And now, O Lord , I have brought you the first portion of the harvest you have given me from the ground.’ Then place the produce before the Lord your God, and bow to the ground in worship before him. Afterward you may go and celebrate because of all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household. Remember to include the Levites and the foreigners living among you in the celebration. “Every third year you must offer a special tithe of your crops. In this year of the special tithe you must give your tithes to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows, so that they will have enough to eat in your towns. Then you must declare in the presence of the Lord your God, ‘I have taken the sacred gift from my house and have given it to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows, just as you commanded me. I have not violated or forgotten any of your commands. I have not eaten any of it while in mourning; I have not handled it while I was ceremonially unclean; and I have not offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the Lord my God and have done everything you commanded me. Now look down from your holy dwelling place in heaven and bless your people Israel and the land you swore to our ancestors to give us—a land flowing with milk and honey.’

“Today the Lord your God has commanded you to obey all these decrees and regulations. So be careful to obey them wholeheartedly. You have declared today that the Lord is your God. And you have promised to walk in his ways, and to obey his decrees, commands, and regulations, and to do everything he tells you. The Lord has declared today that you are his people, his own special treasure, just as he promised, and that you must obey all his commands. And if you do, he will set you high above all the other nations he has made. Then you will receive praise, honor, and renown. You will be a nation that is holy to the Lord your God, just as he promised.”’

Deuteronomy 26

Today’s reading then brings us into Isaiah 24:

‘Look! The Lord is about to destroy the earth and make it a vast wasteland. He devastates the surface of the earth and scatters the people. Priests and laypeople, servants and masters, maids and mistresses, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, bankers and debtors—none will be spared. The earth will be completely emptied and looted. The Lord has spoken! The earth mourns and dries up, and the land wastes away and withers. Even the greatest people on earth waste away. The earth suffers for the sins of its people, for they have twisted God’s instructions, violated his laws, and broken his everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse consumes the earth. Its people must pay the price for their sin. They are destroyed by fire, and only a few are left alive. The grapevines waste away, and there is no new wine. All the merrymakers sigh and mourn. The cheerful sound of tambourines is stilled; the happy cries of celebration are heard no more. The melodious chords of the harp are silent. Gone are the joys of wine and song; alcoholic drink turns bitter in the mouth. The city writhes in chaos; every home is locked to keep out intruders. Mobs gather in the streets, crying out for wine. Joy has turned to gloom. Gladness has been banished from the land. The city is left in ruins, its gates battered down. Throughout the earth the story is the same— only a remnant is left, like the stray olives left on the tree or the few grapes left on the vine after harvest. But all who are left shout and sing for joy. Those in the west praise the Lord ’s majesty. In eastern lands, give glory to the Lord . In the lands beyond the sea, praise the name of the Lord , the God of Israel. We hear songs of praise from the ends of the earth, songs that give glory to the Righteous One! But my heart is heavy with grief. Weep for me, for I wither away. Deceit still prevails, and treachery is everywhere. Terror and traps and snares will be your lot, you people of the earth. Those who flee in terror will fall into a trap, and those who escape the trap will be caught in a snare. Destruction falls like rain from the heavens; the foundations of the earth shake. The earth has broken up. It has utterly collapsed; it is violently shaken. The earth staggers like a drunk. It trembles like a tent in a storm. It falls and will not rise again, for the guilt of its rebellion is very heavy. In that day the Lord will punish the gods in the heavens and the proud rulers of the nations on earth. They will be rounded up and put in prison. They will be shut up in prison and will finally be punished. Then the glory of the moon will wane, and the brightness of the sun will fade, for the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will rule on Mount Zion. He will rule in great glory in Jerusalem, in the sight of all the leaders of his people.’

Isaiah 24

and continues with Isaiah 25:

‘O Lord , I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them. You turn mighty cities into heaps of ruins. Cities with strong walls are turned to rubble. Beautiful palaces in distant lands disappear and will never be rebuilt. Therefore, strong nations will declare your glory; ruthless nations will fear you. But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O Lord , a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat. For the oppressive acts of ruthless people are like a storm beating against a wall, or like the relentless heat of the desert. But you silence the roar of foreign nations. As the shade of a cloud cools relentless heat, so the boastful songs of ruthless people are stilled. In Jerusalem, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat. There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The Lord has spoken! In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the Lord , in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!” For the Lord ’s hand of blessing will rest on Jerusalem. But Moab will be crushed. It will be like straw trampled down and left to rot. God will push down Moab’s people as a swimmer pushes down water with his hands. He will end their pride and all their evil works. The high walls of Moab will be demolished. They will be brought down to the ground, down into the dust.’

Isaiah 25

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting in Matthew 21:

‘In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up. The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”

When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?” “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?” They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask us why we didn’t believe John. But if we say it was merely human, we’ll be mobbed because the people believe John was a prophet.” So they finally replied, “We don’t know.” And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.

“But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go. “Which of the two obeyed his father?” They replied, “The first.” Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.’

Matthew 21:18-32

Today’s reading continues into Ephesians 3:

‘When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles . . . assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles. As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me. As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets. And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News. Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning. God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored.’

Ephesians 3:1-13

So where are you at today? Are you feeling generous? Are you feeling joyous? Are you feeling hilarious? Do you have time? Do you have energy? Do you have money? How will you be a giver today? What will be your attitude towards it?


Today’s reading closes with Psalms 140:

‘O Lord , rescue me from evil people. Protect me from those who are violent, those who plot evil in their hearts and stir up trouble all day long. Their tongues sting like a snake; the venom of a viper drips from their lips. Interlude O Lord , keep me out of the hands of the wicked. Protect me from those who are violent, for they are plotting against me. The proud have set a trap to catch me; they have stretched out a net; they have placed traps all along the way. Interlude I said to the Lord , “You are my God!” Listen, O Lord , to my cries for mercy! O Sovereign Lord , the strong one who rescued me, you protected me on the day of battle. Lord , do not let evil people have their way. Do not let their evil schemes succeed, or they will become proud. Interlude Let my enemies be destroyed by the very evil they have planned for me. Let burning coals fall down on their heads. Let them be thrown into the fire or into watery pits from which they can’t escape. Don’t let liars prosper here in our land. Cause great disasters to fall on the violent. But I know the Lord will help those they persecute; he will give justice to the poor. Surely righteous people are praising your name; the godly will live in your presence.’

Psalms 140

How are you living to show God’s love for everyone?


God is love! God so loves the world that He gave His one and only Son! Are you spreading the joy of the Lord that is your strength? Are you serving others in a way that just says God loves you? Are you living out your life in a way that says you are important to God and so you are also important to me? Are you living out your life in a way that says God loves you so I love you too? Are you speaking truth in love? Are you speaking hope and grace? Are you living in humility? Are you sharing forgiveness?

Let’s consider what Paul has to tell us in Ephesians 3:

‘When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles . . . assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles. As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me. As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets. And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News. Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning. God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored.’

Ephesians 3:1-13

So let’s humbly share God’s grace with this world around us. Each day God brings specific people across our paths for a specific reason and if we are willing to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, He can speak to us our purpose to accomplish His plans to let the world know His love for them. God’s given you the want to and the ability to answer His calling through His grace!


Today’s reading gets us started with Numbers 36.

‘Then the heads of the clans of Gilead—descendants of Makir, son of Manasseh, son of Joseph—came to Moses and the family leaders of Israel with a petition. They said, “Sir, the Lord instructed you to divide the land by sacred lot among the people of Israel. You were told by the Lord to give the grant of land owned by our brother Zelophehad to his daughters. But if they marry men from another tribe, their grants of land will go with them to the tribe into which they marry. In this way, the total area of our tribal land will be reduced. Then when the Year of Jubilee comes, their portion of land will be added to that of the new tribe, causing it to be lost forever to our ancestral tribe.” So Moses gave the Israelites this command from the Lord : “The claim of the men of the tribe of Joseph is legitimate. This is what the Lord commands concerning the daughters of Zelophehad: Let them marry anyone they like, as long as it is within their own ancestral tribe. None of the territorial land may pass from tribe to tribe, for all the land given to each tribe must remain within the tribe to which it was first allotted. The daughters throughout the tribes of Israel who are in line to inherit property must marry within their tribe, so that all the Israelites will keep their ancestral property. No grant of land may pass from one tribe to another; each tribe of Israel must keep its allotted portion of land.” The daughters of Zelophehad did as the Lord commanded Moses. Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah all married cousins on their father’s side. They married into the clans of Manasseh son of Joseph. Thus, their inheritance of land remained within their ancestral tribe. These are the commands and regulations that the Lord gave to the people of Israel through Moses while they were camped on the plains of Moab beside the Jordan River, across from Jericho.’

Numbers 36

Today’s reading brings us back into the story of Jonah with Jonah 3

‘Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.” This time Jonah obeyed the Lord ’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all. On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow. When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city: “No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.” When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.’

Jonah 3

and Jonah 4.

‘This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord ? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord ! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.” The Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry about this?” Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city. And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun. This eased his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant. But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away. And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die. “Death is certainly better than living like this!” he exclaimed. Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?” “Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!” Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?”’

Jonah 4

Today’s reading next brings us back into the New Testament with Matthew 12,

‘“A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”

One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority.” But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. “The people of Nineveh will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent. The queen of Sheba will also stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for she came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Now someone greater than Solomon is here—but you refuse to listen. “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none. Then it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation.”

As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, and they want to speak to you.” Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”’

Matthew 12:33-50

Romans 9,

‘What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path. God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said, “I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”’

Romans 9:30-33

and Romans 10.

‘Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.’

Romans 10:1-4

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 119.

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

Psalms 119:145-176

How much do you want the blessing?


If you were offered a blessing would you receive it? If you were told you have to come fast or you might miss your opportunity would you go quickly? If you were told time is running out to receive the blessing would it create in you an urgency to change and go accept it and receive it? What if the blessing was coming from your parents? What if the blessing was coming from God? What if the blessing was Jesus’s promises? Will anything make you not go? Will anything keep you from accepting and receiving it? What if the blessing was for someone else? Would you respond with the same urgency? Would you help them get there? What if it requires that you believe? Are you ready to believe? Are you ready to receive? Are you ready to be transformed? Will today be your day?

Today’s reading starts in Genesis 48.

‘One day not long after this, word came to Joseph, “Your father is failing rapidly.” So Joseph went to visit his father, and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. When Joseph arrived, Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to see you.” So Jacob gathered his strength and sat up in his bed. Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me. He said to me, ‘I will make you fruitful, and I will multiply your descendants. I will make you a multitude of nations. And I will give this land of Canaan to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession.’ “Now I am claiming as my own sons these two boys of yours, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born here in the land of Egypt before I arrived. They will be my sons, just as Reuben and Simeon are. But any children born to you in the future will be your own, and they will inherit land within the territories of their brothers Ephraim and Manasseh. “Long ago, as I was returning from Paddan-aram, Rachel died in the land of Canaan. We were still on the way, some distance from Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). So with great sorrow I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath.” Then Jacob looked over at the two boys. “Are these your sons?” he asked. “Yes,” Joseph told him, “these are the sons God has given me here in Egypt.” And Jacob said, “Bring them closer to me, so I can bless them.” Jacob was half blind because of his age and could hardly see. So Joseph brought the boys close to him, and Jacob kissed and embraced them. Then Jacob said to Joseph, “I never thought I would see your face again, but now God has let me see your children, too!” Joseph moved the boys, who were at their grandfather’s knees, and he bowed with his face to the ground. Then he positioned the boys in front of Jacob. With his right hand he directed Ephraim toward Jacob’s left hand, and with his left hand he put Manasseh at Jacob’s right hand. But Jacob crossed his arms as he reached out to lay his hands on the boys’ heads. He put his right hand on the head of Ephraim, though he was the younger boy, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, though he was the firstborn. Then he blessed Joseph and said, “May the God before whom my grandfather Abraham and my father, Isaac, walked— the God who has been my shepherd all my life, to this very day, the Angel who has redeemed me from all harm— may he bless these boys. May they preserve my name and the names of Abraham and Isaac. And may their descendants multiply greatly throughout the earth.” But Joseph was upset when he saw that his father placed his right hand on Ephraim’s head. So Joseph lifted it to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. “No, my father,” he said. “This one is the firstborn. Put your right hand on his head.” But his father refused. “I know, my son; I know,” he replied. “Manasseh will also become a great people, but his younger brother will become even greater. And his descendants will become a multitude of nations.” So Jacob blessed the boys that day with this blessing: “The people of Israel will use your names when they give a blessing. They will say, ‘May God make you as prosperous as Ephraim and Manasseh.’” In this way, Jacob put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh. Then Jacob said to Joseph, “Look, I am about to die, but God will be with you and will take you back to Canaan, the land of your ancestors. And beyond what I have given your brothers, I am giving you an extra portion of the land that I took from the Amorites with my sword and bow.”’

Genesis 48

Today’s reading continues into 2 Chronicles 23.

‘In the seventh year of Athaliah’s reign, Jehoiada the priest decided to act. He summoned his courage and made a pact with five army commanders: Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zicri. These men traveled secretly throughout Judah and summoned the Levites and clan leaders in all the towns to come to Jerusalem. They all gathered at the Temple of God, where they made a solemn pact with Joash, the young king. Jehoiada said to them, “Here is the king’s son! The time has come for him to reign! The Lord has promised that a descendant of David will be our king. This is what you must do. When you priests and Levites come on duty on the Sabbath, a third of you will serve as gatekeepers. Another third will go over to the royal palace, and the final third will be at the Foundation Gate. Everyone else should stay in the courtyards of the Lord ’s Temple. Remember, only the priests and Levites on duty may enter the Temple of the Lord , for they are set apart as holy. The rest of the people must obey the Lord ’s instructions and stay outside. You Levites, form a bodyguard around the king and keep your weapons in hand. Kill anyone who tries to enter the Temple. Stay with the king wherever he goes.” So the Levites and all the people of Judah did everything as Jehoiada the priest ordered. The commanders took charge of the men reporting for duty that Sabbath, as well as those who were going off duty. Jehoiada the priest did not let anyone go home after their shift ended.

Then Jehoiada supplied the commanders with the spears and the large and small shields that had once belonged to King David and were stored in the Temple of God. He stationed all the people around the king, with their weapons ready. They formed a line from the south side of the Temple around to the north side and all around the altar. Then Jehoiada and his sons brought out Joash, the king’s son, placed the crown on his head, and presented him with a copy of God’s laws. They anointed him and proclaimed him king, and everyone shouted, “Long live the king!”

When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and the shouts of praise to the king, she hurried to the Lord ’s Temple to see what was happening. When she arrived, she saw the newly crowned king standing in his place of authority by the pillar at the Temple entrance. The commanders and trumpeters were surrounding him, and people from all over the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets. Singers with musical instruments were leading the people in a great celebration. When Athaliah saw all this, she tore her clothes in despair and shouted, “Treason! Treason!” Then Jehoiada the priest ordered the commanders who were in charge of the troops, “Take her to the soldiers in front of the Temple, and kill anyone who tries to rescue her.” For the priest had said, “She must not be killed in the Temple of the Lord .” So they seized her and led her out to the entrance of the Horse Gate on the palace grounds, and they killed her there. Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself and the king and the people that they would be the Lord ’s people. And all the people went over to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They demolished the altars and smashed the idols, and they killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars. Jehoiada now put the priests and Levites in charge of the Temple of the Lord , following all the directions given by David. He also commanded them to present burnt offerings to the Lord , as prescribed by the Law of Moses, and to sing and rejoice as David had instructed. He also stationed gatekeepers at the gates of the Lord ’s Temple to keep out those who for any reason were ceremonially unclean. Then the commanders, nobles, rulers, and all the people of the land escorted the king from the Temple of the Lord . They went through the upper gate and into the palace, and they seated the king on the royal throne. So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was peaceful because Athaliah had been killed.’

2 Chronicles 23

Today’s reading continues into the New Testament in John 13.

‘Now Jesus was deeply troubled, and he exclaimed, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me!” The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he could mean. The disciple Jesus loved was sitting next to Jesus at the table. Simon Peter motioned to him to ask, “Who’s he talking about?” So that disciple leaned over to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.” None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant. Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor. So Judas left at once, going out into the night.

As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory, and God will be glorified because of him. And since God receives glory because of the Son, he will give his own glory to the Son, and he will do so at once. Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going. So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” Simon Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?” And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.” “But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.” Jesus answered, “Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter—before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.’

John 13:21-38

Will you receive the blessing of LOVE and will you give it away that others may also receive Jesus’s blessing of LOVE too?

Today’s reading continues into 2 Thessalonians 1.

‘And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering. In his justice he will pay back those who persecute you. And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. When he comes on that day, he will receive glory from his holy people—praise from all who believe. And this includes you, for you believed what we told you about him. So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.’

2 Thessalonians 1:5-12

Will you receive the blessings of Jesus? Will you allow the blessings of Jesus to work in and through you? Will you make Him know because of it and will you allow it to complete the good works prepared in advance for you to accomplish through faith?

As today’s reading concludes with a psalm, let’s meditate on Psalms 36.

‘Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all. In their blind conceit, they cannot see how wicked they really are. Everything they say is crooked and deceitful. They refuse to act wisely or do good. They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots. Their actions are never good. They make no attempt to turn from evil. Your unfailing love, O Lord , is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord . How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see. Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts. Don’t let the proud trample me or the wicked push me around. Look! Those who do evil have fallen! They are thrown down, never to rise again.’

Psalms 36

LOAVES AND FISHES … THE BIBLE’S IMPACT ON ACTS OF CHARITY) [DEC 23]


Do you realize that what you have might be what is needed to make a difference? Do you realize that what you have might seem like it is insufficient but when we put it into Jesus’s hands it can multiply and meet the need? Do you realize that what you have be it your lunch or your lunch money that when we use it for God’s purposes it can be multiplied and not only meet the needs around you but also leave enough for leftovers? How big is your faith? How big is your hope? How much will you trust Jesus with what you have? Are you willing to trust Him enough to give Him the little you have?


Today’s reading comes to us from Mark 6 which reads:

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

1He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6And he marveled because of their unbelief.
And he went about among the villages teaching.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles

7And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— 9but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.

The Death of John the Baptist

14King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her. 18For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, 20for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.
21But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22For when Herodias’s daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” 23And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” 24And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison 28and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. 29When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

30The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.33Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.34When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.”39Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42And they all ate and were satisfied.43And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

Jesus Walks on the Water

45Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”51And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

Jesus Heals the Sick in Gennesaret

53When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. 54And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him 55and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. 56And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

Mark 6

Don’t allow a hardened heart or a closed mind to keep you from being a part of a miracle from God. Imagine being a young boy and offering your lunch when a group of 5000 men + women and children are in need of food.


‘”There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” ‘

John 6:9

Consider the situation you are in right here and right now. Do you know of a need? Do you see a need? Are you concerned about what it might cost you? Are you unsure how such a great need could be met? Are you willing to invite Jesus into the situation and ask Him for wisdom? Are you willing to invite Jesus into the situation and obey His directions? Are you ready to be a part of a miracle planned by God? Worry changes nothing! Fear robs you! So fear not and just believe! Don’t allow the lies and roaring of the enemy that is trying to rob, kill, and destroy keep you not only from building up your faith by being a part of a miracle, but also being obedient and getting to see and hear and witness what can be done when we are willing to give, to go, and to serve as God asks.


Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on Acts of Charity on the subject of Loaves and Fishes. We learn how today’s story from Mark 6:30-44 has been motivation and inspiration for many people to perform acts of compassion and charity. We also learn how many homeless shelters and soup kitchens take their names from just such a story taking on the name “Loaves and Fishes“. Today’s devotional points to a charity in Minnesota named Loaves and Fishes. Looking them up I found:

Mission 
To provide nutritious meals to people who are hungry across Minnesota in an atmosphere of hospitality at site locations where the need is greatest.


Vision
We are guided by our vision that all people, regardless of socioeconomic, cultural or ethnic background deserve to meet their basic needs for food, dignity and respect. It is only then that self-esteem and empowerment can move individuals to independence.
We are focused on the individual. Loaves & Fishes dining sites provide access to additional social services as available.

About Loaves and Fishes, MN

Today’s devotional continues to explain how this charity does what they do in order to provide an atmosphere of hospitality in order to help people who are hungry meet their basic needs for not only food but also dignity and respect no matter their background. Today’s devotional then points us to a charity in North Carolina by the name Loaves & Fishes.

Vision
It is our vision for all people in our community to meet their basic hunger needs by having access to nutritious food.
Mission
Our mission is to provide a week’s worth of nutritious groceries to people within our community facing economic hardships.
Values
We believe that access to nutritious food is a fundamental human right. Therefore, we are guided by the following core values:
Dignity:  We believe that all people have inherent worth. We are committed to equitable and inclusive treatment. We strive to provide quality service to our clients.
Stewardship: We efficiently leverage donated resources and volunteer time to further the mission of Loaves & Fishes.
Collaboration:  We will work with a diverse group of organizations, public and private, to ensure optimal service to our clients and to avoid duplication of services in our community.

About Loaves & Fishes, NC

Between their website and today’s devotional we learn that”

Loaves & Fishes provides a week’s worth of nutritionally balanced groceries to individuals and families experiencing a short-term crisis through a network of 30 emergency food pantries located throughout Mecklenburg County.

Loaves & Fishes uses a Client Choice model which allows clients to select groceries their family is most likely to eat.  Clients are able to choose a specified number of items in the areas of grains, proteins, vegetables, fruit, and dairy based on the size of the family. The number of choices is determined by a Registered Dietician to ensure that enough food is available to create three meals a day for a week. It is important to the dignity of our clients to feel they have some control and requires them to invest some time in the process.  It also allows for greater interaction between clients and volunteers.

About Loaves & Fishes, NC

Today’s devotional concludes pointing one more example from the Sacramento area also named Loaves and Fishes. Checking out their website, I learned:

Mission Statement
In an environment of welcome, hospitality, safety, and cleanliness we seek to provide an oasis for homeless men, women, and children seeking survival services.


Our Philosophy

Without passing judgment, and in a spirit of love and hospitality, Loaves & Fishes feeds the hungry and shelters the homeless. We provide an oasis of welcome, safety, and cleanliness for homeless men, women and children seeking survival services.
Founded in 1983, we are governed by a board of directors selected from Loaves & Fishes and from the community-at-large – people who have demonstrated compassion and concern about the needs of the homeless and the indigent poor.
We recognize the dignity and spiritual destiny of each person, and hope by our attitude of hospitality and love, to nourish not only the physical needs of those who come to Loaves & Fishes, but also their spiritual need for love, acceptance, respect, and friendship.
We serve each person with the belief that “as often as you did it for one of my least brothers and sisters, you did it for me.” (Matthew 25:40)

About Sacramento Loaves and Fishes

God’s Word never returns void. How is God asking you to help? Is he asking you to start something? Is he asking you to join something? Is he asking you to lead something? How is God wanting you to serve? I know it may not look like much but when you are willing to take what God has given you and allow Him to work in and through it, God’s plans, purposes, and will can be and will be accomplished. These questions make me flash back to a time when I was a new Christian and God was calling me to step up into a level of leadership I didn’t think I was qualified or able to do with the limited resources, knowledge, and experience I had. He got through to me after many times of me resisting and wow it was amazing to get to see what He was able to do because it was exceedingly, abundantly more than I could have ever asked or imagined. It doesn’t necessarily get easier but that is ok because it means God will show up and get you through it.


Let’s pray… Let’s first pray to commit our lives back to God


Next as we prepare for this day, let’s take hold of the Lord’s Prayer and align with God’s plans and purpose for today…

Now let’s get going with today and live out our lives as living sacrifices so that in and through it all God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Let’s pray to forgive others…


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord for allowing me to be a part of Your purpose and Your plan. I thank You Lord for reminding the importance and power of faith, perseverance, and trust in You. I thank You Lord for Your Word that never returns void. I thank You Lord for Your Word that is alive and speaks truth in love forever. Thank You Lord for having prompted me to start this blog back in 2005. Thank You Lord for having prompted me to step up and step out into things I wouldn’t have ever thought or imagined I could do. Thank You for never leaving me and never abandoning me. Thank You for helping me to grow and become the man and the follower You purposed and created me to be. I know You aren’t done with me yet. I know that this blog will continue till I get to spend eternity with You. And so Lord help us all to take hold of Your promptings and leading so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

Lost and Found vs Given and Received…


Was it lost or given? Was it found or received? Was it offered or taken? Was it accepted or forced?

How are you living your life? Do you realize the gift that was offered and given? How will you respond? We can’t control what happens to us but we can control how we respond!

Jesus sacrificed! Jesus gave! Jesus submitted! Jesus offered! Jesus is still offering!

What will you do about this incredible gift from God? How will you respond?

Do you realize how much God loves you?

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

–from John 3:16

Do you realize that Jesus wasn’t forced to be beaten and crucified but that He gave His life so that we could be saved? He showed this at the last supper when speaking to the disciples…

The Last Supper

17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

18 He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.

20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21 And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”

22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”

23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”

Jesus answered, “You have said so.”

26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the[b] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

–from Matthew 26

and also told here …

The Last Supper

12 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.”

16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

17 When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”

19 They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?”

20 “It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. 21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”

23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

24 “This is my blood of the[c] covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. 25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

–from Mark 14

Jesus didn’t lose His life or lose His blood, He gave it! He gave it as a ransom for you and me so that we could have the opportunity to choose and decide to receive the gift of Jesus and salvation in our lives! His blood is worth so much – it’s precious!

Will you receive the gift and be a friend of God?

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

–from John 15:13

Today’s devotional speaks to this in the following ways:

Meet Your Blood Donor

  • It makes forgiveness of sins possible (Colossians 1:14)
  • It purifies us from every sin (1 John 1:7)
  • Through it, we draw near to God (Ephesians 2:13)
  • It brings peace and reconciliation to God (Colossians 1:20)
  • It gives life to those who consume it (John 6:53)
  • It is the means by which you overcome Satan (Revelation 12:11).

–from Day 312: Bible In One Year 2017

Today’s reading from God’s Word speaks to it through these ways…

Day 312: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. The ultimate act of friendship … Proverbs 27:5-14
  2. A clear conscience … Hebrews 9:1-15
    • When Jesus came, he ‘bypassed the sacrifices consisting of goat and calf blood, instead using his own blood as the price to set us free once and for all’ (vv.11–12, MSG). By doing this ‘he brought together God and his people in this new way’ (v.17, MSG).

      What does this mean?

      You are clean inside and out

      Jesus makes it possible for your conscience to be cleansed: ‘The blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out… through the Spirit’ (v.14, MSG).

      You have been set free

      ‘Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God’ (v.15, MSG).

      The Holy Spirit and the blood of Christ go together. Joyce Meyer writes, ‘The Spirit could not be poured out on the Day of Pentecost until the blood was poured out on the cross of Calvary.’

      –from Day 312: Bible In One Year 2017

  3. Restored fortunes … Ezekiel 16:1-63

 


Don’t wander lost in the wilderness of life! Don’t meander through the desert place! Make a choice today to invite Jesus into your life and to be your Lord and Savior!

We have all be lost at one point or another and God loves us so much that He sent Jesus that we could be found! Turn back to God! Return home to Him today! Receive His grace, His mercy, and His love! He is waiting with arms open wide for you turn back to Him! Will today be your day?

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

The Parable of the Lost Coin

8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins[a] and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The Parable of the Lost Son

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

–from Luke 15

Needing to feel loved?


Do you want to feel real love? Do you want to feel unconditional love?

God loves you and wants you to feel His love! Will you receive it? Will you accept it? Will you choose to feel it today in a new way?

Are you willing to receive love? Are you willing to share love? Are you willing to be a conduit of love into the world around you? What about your family? What about your spouse? What about your kids? What about your parents? What about your friends? What about your neighbors? What about your workplace?

Will you choose to receive the love of God into your heart and then choose to pass it on to the needy and hurting people around you?

Do you realize how much God loves you?

8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. –from Romans 5:8

and

5And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. –from Romans 5:5

Do you realize that the Bible is a love letter to you from God?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYzr3JavFqM

The love of God is the answer to so many questions if we will stop and receive it. Why did God… because of love. Here some examples of the whys…

 the why of creation, the why of the incarnation, the why of redemption

–from Day 199: Bible In One Year 2017

Never forget God is Love and that Love is…

68431-loveispatient

So receive Jesus into your heart! Allow Him to move in and take dominion over your life! And then find peace in knowing…

27No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. –from John 16:27

So we need to decide for ourselves if we want true love! Will you believe? Will you have faith? Will you have hope? God is able to do everything He promises. Take hold of the promises from the Bible, His Word! That faith can grant us a peace that goes beyond all understanding!

3We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. –from Romans 5


How to Feel God’s Love For You

Day 199: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalms 86:11-17, Romans 4:16-25, Romans 5:1-11, Amos 6, Amos 7

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/199

  1. God’s love is great and personal … Psalm 86:11-17
  2. God’s love is demonstrated and poured out … Romans 4:16-5:11
  3. God’s love and grief … Amos 6:1-7:17

 

Have you asked for what you have need of?


Where is your focus today? Is it based on what you want or what you need? Have you ever asked for what you have need of? Have you ever looked for what you have need of?

Would you consider your path in order to make sure you are heading in the right direction? Would you consider the schemes you are pursuing and their outcomes or consequences?

Would you consider your words and their meanings? Would you consider the words you use and the impact they have? Words have the power to build up and to tear down!

Would you ask for something that is real? Would you ask for something that is beneficial? Would you ask for something that is good? Would you ask for something that will help?

Consider your asks…consider your direction…
consider your words…consider your acts…

How will they be judged? Will they lead you to salvation?

Would you consider turning back to God?

He knows the desires of our heart, even before we ask!

Will you have the faith to ask?


Today’s reading we find ourselves in Isaiah 65…

Judgment and Final Salvation

1The lord says, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name. 2All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people. But they follow their own evil paths and their own crooked schemes. 3All day long they insult me to my face by worshiping idols in their sacred gardens. They burn incense on pagan altars. 4At night they go out among the graves, worshiping the dead. They eat the flesh of pigs and make stews with other forbidden foods. 5Yet they say to each other, ‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!’ These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away. 6“Look, my decree is written out in front of me: I will not stand silent; I will repay them in full! Yes, I will repay them— 7both for their own sins and for those of their ancestors,” says the lord. “For they also burned incense on the mountains and insulted me on the hills. I will pay them back in full! 8“But I will not destroy them all,” says the lord. “For just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones (and someone will say, ‘Don’t throw them all away— some of those grapes are good!’), so I will not destroy all Israel. For I still have true servants there. 9I will preserve a remnant of the people of Israel and of Judah to possess my land. Those I choose will inherit it, and my servants will live there. 10The plain of Sharon will again be filled with flocks for my people who have searched for me, and the valley of Achor will be a place to pasture herds. 11“But because the rest of you have forsaken the lord and have forgotten his Temple, and because you have prepared feasts to honor the god of Fate and have offered mixed wine to the god of Destiny, 12now I will ‘destine’ you for the sword. All of you will bow down before the executioner. For when I called, you did not answer. When I spoke, you did not listen. You deliberately sinned—before my very eyes— and chose to do what you know I despise.” 13Therefore, this is what the Sovereign lord says: “My servants will eat, but you will starve. My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty. My servants will rejoice, but you will be sad and ashamed. 14My servants will sing for joy, but you will cry in sorrow and despair. 15Your name will be a curse word among my people, for the Sovereign lord will destroy you and will call his true servants by another name. 16All who invoke a blessing or take an oath will do so by the God of truth. For I will put aside my anger and forget the evil of earlier days. 17“Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore. 18Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation! And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy. 19I will rejoice over Jerusalem and delight in my people. And the sound of weeping and crying will be heard in it no more. 20“No longer will babies die when only a few days old. No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life. No longer will people be considered old at one hundred! Only the cursed will die that young! 21In those days people will live in the houses they build and eat the fruit of their own vineyards. 22Unlike the past, invaders will not take their houses and confiscate their vineyards. For my people will live as long as trees, and my chosen ones will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains. 23They will not work in vain, and their children will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the lord, and their children, too, will be blessed. 24I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! 25The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. But the snakes will eat dust. In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain. I, the lord, have spoken!”

–from Isaiah 65

Let’s walk in humility! Let’s walk with a repentant heart towards God! Let’s walk with an apologetical heart! Let’s consider God’s plans and ways and walk in them! Let’s live lives that take on the top two priorities – to Love God and to Love people! Let’s consecrate our lives to God! Let’s purify our lives to God!

1This is what the lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that? Could you build me such a resting place? 2My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the lord, have spoken! “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word. 3But those who choose their own ways— delighting in their detestable sins— will not have their offerings accepted. When such people sacrifice a bull, it is no more acceptable than a human sacrifice. When they sacrifice a lamb, it’s as though they had sacrificed a dog! When they bring an offering of grain, they might as well offer the blood of a pig. When they burn frankincense, it’s as if they had blessed an idol. 4I will send them great trouble— all the things they feared. For when I called, they did not answer. When I spoke, they did not listen. They deliberately sinned before my very eyes and chose to do what they know I despise.” 5Hear this message from the lord, all you who tremble at his words: “Your own people hate you and throw you out for being loyal to my name. ‘Let the lord be honored!’ they scoff. ‘Be joyful in him!’ But they will be put to shame. 6What is all the commotion in the city? What is that terrible noise from the Temple? It is the voice of the lord taking vengeance against his enemies. 7“Before the birth pains even begin, Jerusalem gives birth to a son. 8Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who ever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, her children will be born. 9Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it?” asks the lord. “No! I would never keep this nation from being born,” says your God. 10“Rejoice with Jerusalem! Be glad with her, all you who love her and all you who mourn for her. 11Drink deeply of her glory even as an infant drinks at its mother’s comforting breasts.” 12This is what the lord says: “I will give Jerusalem a river of peace and prosperity. The wealth of the nations will flow to her. Her children will be nursed at her breasts, carried in her arms, and held on her lap. 13I will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child.” 14When you see these things, your heart will rejoice. You will flourish like the grass! Everyone will see the lord’s hand of blessing on his servants— and his anger against his enemies. 15See, the lord is coming with fire, and his swift chariots roar like a whirlwind. He will bring punishment with the fury of his anger and the flaming fire of his hot rebuke. 16The lord will punish the world by fire and by his sword. He will judge the earth, and many will be killed by him. 17“Those who ‘consecrate’ and ‘purify’ themselves in a sacred garden with its idol in the center—feasting on pork and rats and other detestable meats—will come to a terrible end,” says the lord. 18“I can see what they are doing, and I know what they are thinking. So I will gather all nations and peoples together, and they will see my glory. 19I will perform a sign among them. And I will send those who survive to be messengers to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (who are famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to all the lands beyond the sea that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. There they will declare my glory to the nations. 20They will bring the remnant of your people back from every nation. They will bring them to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the lord. They will ride on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the lord. 21“And I will appoint some of them to be my priests and Levites. I, the lord, have spoken! 22“As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain, so will you always be my people, with a name that will never disappear,” says the lord. 23“All humanity will come to worship me from week to week and from month to month. 24And as they go out, they will see the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me. For the worms that devour them will never die, and the fire that burns them will never go out. All who pass by will view them with utter horror.”

–from Isaiah 66

Let’s give God the glory! Let’s give God the praise! Let’s turn to Him daily!

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.

1What if the lord had not been on our side? Let all Israel repeat: 2What if the lord had not been on our side when people attacked us? 3They would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger. 4The waters would have engulfed us; a torrent would have overwhelmed us. 5Yes, the raging waters of their fury would have overwhelmed our very lives. 6Praise the lord, who did not let their teeth tear us apart! 7We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free! 8Our help is from the lord, who made heaven and earth.

–from Psalms 124

Jesus came to save the lost! He didn’t limit it to any specific nation or tribe! Salvation is available to Jews and non Jews (gentiles). Have you received this gift? Will you ask Jesus into your heart? What would it take if you haven’t? Would it have to get really bad? Could you receive it without hitting rock bottom? Is today your day?

Let’s not get in the way or become stumbling blocks to people turning to Jesus! Let’s live out our lives as lights of love!

Peter Explains His Actions

1Soon the news reached the apostles and other believers in Judea that the Gentiles had received the word of God. 2But when Peter arrived back in Jerusalem, the Jewish believers criticized him. 3“You entered the home of Gentiles and even ate with them!” they said. 4Then Peter told them exactly what had happened. 5“I was in the town of Joppa,” he said, “and while I was praying, I went into a trance and saw a vision. Something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners from the sky. And it came right down to me. 6When I looked inside the sheet, I saw all sorts of tame and wild animals, reptiles, and birds. 7And I heard a voice say, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.’ 8“‘No, Lord,’ I replied. ‘I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure or unclean.’ 9“But the voice from heaven spoke again: ‘Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.’ 10This happened three times before the sheet and all it contained was pulled back up to heaven. 11“Just then three men who had been sent from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were staying. 12The Holy Spirit told me to go with them and not to worry that they were Gentiles. These six brothers here accompanied me, and we soon entered the home of the man who had sent for us. 13He told us how an angel had appeared to him in his home and had told him, ‘Send messengers to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter. 14He will tell you how you and everyone in your household can be saved!’ 15“As I began to speak,” Peter continued, “the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as he fell on us at the beginning. 16Then I thought of the Lord’s words when he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17And since God gave these Gentiles the same gift he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to stand in God’s way?” 18When the others heard this, they stopped objecting and began praising God. They said, “We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life.”

The Church in Antioch of Syria

19Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen’s death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to Jews. 20However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus. 21The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord. 22When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. 24Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord. 25Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. 26When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.) 27During this time some prophets traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28One of them named Agabus stood up in one of the meetings and predicted by the Spirit that a great famine was coming upon the entire Roman world. (This was fulfilled during the reign of Claudius.) 29So the believers in Antioch decided to send relief to the brothers and sisters in Judea, everyone giving as much as they could. 30This they did, entrusting their gifts to Barnabas and Saul to take to the elders of the church in Jerusalem.

–from Acts 11

So what is your focus? Where are you spending your time? Does it sound selfless or selfish?

Why not grab a hold of the new agreement with God that came through Jesus?

1Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf? Surely not! 2The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. 3Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.
4We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. 5It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. 6He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

The Glory of the New Covenant

7The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. 8Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? 9If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! 10In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. 11So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!
12Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. 13We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. 14But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.
16But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

–from 2 Corinthians 3

 

What type of legislators are there?


I know there are some who go in with a servant leadership heart and desires to serve the people that elected them. I know there are some that seek God’s wisdom in every decision they need to make. I know there are some that God uses for big initiatives. I know there are some that have a good heart and allow God to use them for the greater good. They are supposed to be a blessing to us based on what it says in the bible.

I also know there are some who are unjust. I know there are some who put on a certain persona because they think it is more about them and less about their job to serve the people. I know there are some who believe they are above the laws and look to work their way around it. I know there are some who act whatever way will help them advance. There are some who are in it for the money and the power. There are some that have said they believe one thing but then later turn on something that is foundational for their own purposes.

So be aware of the character of the people who are there. Be aware and discerning about the people who are trying to get into positions of leadership. Pray for wisdom about their true intentions. As election season approaches we need to be even more discerning about the character of the people who are running for election. Party doesn’t necessarily speak to the reality of what they believe. Former politicians aren’t immune either and sometimes it isn’t until they are out of the government that we discover where they really stood.

Could you vote for someone who is a liar? Could you vote for someone who is a cheater? Could you vote for someone who is an abuser? Could you vote for someone who would sell out the country? state? province? county? city? Could you vote for someone who is disobeying the laws? How could you trust they would enforce them?

Just like with everything in life, we will be given choices and we have to choose. In some cases people consider there to be 3 choices – (1) Vote for person 1, (2) Vote for person 2, (3) Don’t vote. Do you realize that option (3) gives up your say in the process and that in many cases it means the person you wanted least could win? The process says one of them will win. So do you want to help choose or have to deal with the consequences?

Are you a legislator? What type are you? What is your character? How do you view the role? Is it a blessing where you get to serve people? Is it a power grab where you get to wave authority over people?

Beware the consequence you are setting up the country for…

Take heart that there is a group who are just and walking aligned with God!


Today’s reading begins on this topic in Isaiah 10…

Oy to Unjust Legislators

1Oy to those enacting unjust decrees and recording corrupt legislation, 2to deprive the helpless of justice and rob the rights of the poor of My people, so that widows may be their spoil and orphans their prey! 3What will you do in the day of visitation, when desolation comes from afar? To whom will you flee for help? Where will you leave your wealth? 4One can only crouch among the captives or collapse among the slain. For all this His anger is not turned away, yet His hand is still outstretched.

Assyria, the Rod

5Oy to Assyria, the rod of My anger— the club in their hand is My indignation! 6I am sending it against an ungodly nation, and against the people of My fury I am commissioning it, to take spoil and plunder, to trample them down like mud in the streets. 7Yet that is not what Assyria intends, nor is that what he is thinking about. Rather his heart is to destroy, and to cut down nations—only a few! 8For he says: “Aren’t all my princes kings? 9Isn’t Calno like Carchemish? Isn’t Hamath like Arpad? Isn’t Samaria like Damascus? 10As my hand has reached the kingdoms of the idols—with more graven images than Jerusalem and Samaria— 11as I’ve done to Samaria and her idols, won’t I also do to Jerusalem and her idols?” 12Therefore it will come to pass, when Adonai finishes all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glorying of his haughty eyes.” 13For he said: “By the strength of my own hand I’ve done it, and my own wisdom, for I am shrewd! I abolished the borders of peoples, and plundered their treasures. As a mighty one I cast down inhabitants. 14My hand found the riches of the peoples as a nest—like gathering forsaken eggs, I have gathered the entire earth. Not a wing fluttered, not a beak opened or chirped!” 15Should the axe boast against the One who chops with it? Should the saw magnify itself against the One who wields it? It would be like a rod waving the One who lifts it, or like a staff hoisting up the One who is not wood! 16Therefore will the Lord Adonai-Tzva’ot, send leanness among his fat ones. Under its glory He will kindle a burning like a blazing fire. 17So the light of Israel will become a fire, and its Holy One a flame. He will burn and consume its thorns and briers in one day. 18Both the glory of his forest and his fruitful field, he will consume, both soul and body. It will be like a sick man wasting away. 19The remnant of the trees of his forest will be so few, a child could record them.

A Remnant Will Return

20Yet it will come about in that day that the remnant of Israel— those of the house of Jacob who escaped— will never again depend on the one who struck them down, but will depend upon Adonai, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. 21A remnant will return, even the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God. 22For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction has been decreed. Justice overflows. 23For a complete destruction, as decreed, will Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot make throughout the whole land. 24Therefore thus says Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot: “O My people dwelling in Zion, do not be afraid of Assyria, though he strike you with the war-club, and lift up his rod against you, as Egypt did. 25“For in a very little while My indignation against you will be spent, and My anger will turn to their destruction.” 26Adonai-Tzva’ot will stir up against him a scourge, as in the slaughter of Midian at the Rock of Oreb. As His staff was over the sea, so will He lift it up, as He did in Egypt. 27In that day his burden will be taken off your shoulders, and his yoke off your neck. Indeed, the yoke will be broken because of fatness.

Assyria Advancing

28He has come to Aiath, and passed through Migron. At Michmas he deposited his supplies. 29They have crossed over the pass. They have taken up lodging at Geba. Ramah is terrified; Gibeath-shaul has fled. 30Shriek your cry, daughter of Gallim! Listen, O Laish! O poor Anathoth! 31Madmenah has fled. The inhabitants of Gebim take cover. 32This very day he will halt at Nob. He shakes his fist at the mountain of the Daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem. 33Behold, the Lord, Adonai-Tzva’ot will lop off the branches with terror! So the tall ones will be cut down and the lofty ones laid low. 34Yes, He will hack down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon with its majesty will fall.

–from Isaiah 10

We need to call on Jesus! We need to lean on Him! We need His wisdom! We need His truth!

Ask the Holy Spirit to be your counselor and your guide! Ask the Holy Spirit to direct your path! Lean not on your own understanding but allow God to straighten your path!

The Branch From David

1Then a shoot will come forth out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch will bear fruit out of His roots. 2The Ruach of Adonai will rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and insight, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Adonai. 3His delight will be in the fear of Adonai. He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor decide by what His ears hear. 4But with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the poor of the land. He will strike the land with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. 5Also righteousness will be the belt around His loins, and faithfulness the belt around His waist.

Messianic Age of Shalom

6The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the kid, the calf and the young lion and the yearling together, and a little child will lead them. 7The cow and the bear will graze, their young ones lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like an ox. 8A nursing child will play by a cobra’s hole, and a weaned child will put his hand into a viper’s den. 9They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of Adonai, as the waters cover the sea.

Second Return from Diaspora

10It will also come about in that day that the root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples. The nations will seek for Him, and His resting place will be glorious. 11It will also come about in that day that my Lord will again redeem— a second time with His hand— the remnant of His people who remain from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12He will lift up a banner for the nations, and assemble the dispersed of Israel, and gather the scattered of Judah from the four corners of the earth. 13Ephraim’s envy will end, those hostile to Judah will be cut off. Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, and Judah will not harass Ephraim. 14They will swoop down on the Philistine slope to the west. Together they will plunder the children of the east— laying their hand on Edom and Moab, the children of Ammon obeying them. 15Then Adonai will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea. He will wave His hand over the River with His scorching wind, and will strike it into seven streams, and let men walk over in sandals. 16So there will be a highway for the remnant of His people who remain, from Assyria, as there was for Israel in the day they came up out of the land of Egypt.

–from Isaiah 11

We don’t need to put our hope in government because they don’t have all the answers. We don’t need to put all our trust in government because they don’t have all the power. We don’t need to give them all the authority or power – we can delegate it for a period of time, but we then need to help them stay accountable!

God’s Word shows us the way! God’s people should be taking care of the people! Rather than delegating taxes to try to take care of everyone, imagine if everyone tithed and gave to their church the impact it would have on the local community. God’s instruction manual is available (the bible)! God’s roadmap is available (the bible)! God’s love letter is available (the bible)!

Wells of Salvation

1In that day you will say: “I will give You thanks, Adonai, for though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me. 2Behold, God is my salvation! I will trust and will not be afraid. For the Lord Adonai is my strength and my song. He also has become my salvation.” 3With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4In that day you will say: “Give thanks to Adonai. Proclaim His Name! Declare His works to the peoples, so they remember His exalted Name. 5Sing to Adonai, for He has done gloriously. Let this be known in all the earth. 6Cry out and shout, inhabitant of Zion! For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

–from Isaiah 12

Want the truth? Do you really want it and not just trying to trip up or trick someone? Turn to God! Ask Jesus to give you wisdom for your situation! Have you been born again? Have you joined God’s family (been adopted into it) by asking Jesus into your heart and asking Jesus to be your Lord and Savior? Will you believe what God has to say? Will you believe what God’s Word speaks? Will you believe the words of Jesus? Even without seeing it, will you believe it?

Do you know why Jesus came?

A Pharisee Comes Seeking Truth

1Now there was a man, a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jewish people. 2He came to Yeshua at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that You, a teacher, have come from God. For no one can perform these signs which You do unless God is with Him!” 3Yeshua answered him, “Amen, amen I tell you, unless one is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus said to Him. “He cannot enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born, can he?” 5Yeshua answered, “Amen, amen I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be surprised that I said to you, ‘You all must be born from above.’ 8The wind blows where it wishes and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

The Father’s Love Revealed

9“How can these things happen?” Nicodemus said. 10Yeshua answered him, “You’re a teacher of Israel and you do not understand these things? 11Amen, amen I tell you, We speak about what We know and testify about what We have seen. Yet you all do not receive Our testimony! 12If you do not believe the earthly things I told you, how will you believe when I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has gone up into heaven except the One who came down from heaven—the Son of Man. 14Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15so that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life! 16“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. 18The one who believes in Him is not condemned; but whoever does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not put his trust in the name of the one and only Ben-Elohim. 19“Now this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world and men loved the darkness instead of the light, because their deeds were evil. 20For everyone who does evil hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds will not be exposed. 21But whoever practices the truth comes to the light, so that it may be made known that his deeds have been accomplished in God.”

The Living Word, Source of Life

22Afterwards, Yeshua and His disciples came to the land of Judea. There He was staying with them and immersing. 23Now John also was immersing at Aenon near Salim, because much water was there and many were coming and being immersed; 24for John had not yet been thrown into prison. 25Now an argument came up between John’s disciples and a Judean concerning purification. 26They came to John and said, “Rabbi, the One who was with you beyond the Jordan, the One you testified about—look, He is immersing, and all are coming to Him!” 27John answered, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28You yourselves testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah,’ but rather, ‘I am sent before Him.’ 29The one who has the bride is the bridegroom, but the best man rejoices when he stands and hears the bridegroom’s voice. So now my joy is complete! 30He must increase, while I must decrease.” 31The One who comes from above is above all. The one who is from the earth is of the earth, and of the earth he speaks. The One who comes from heaven is above all. 32And what He has seen and heard, He testifies to that; yet no one receives His testimony. 33Whoever receives His testimony has certified that God is true. 34The One whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Ruach without limit. 35The Father loves the Son and has given everything into His hand. 36He who trusts in the Son has eternal life. He who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

–from John 3

 

There is a way!


Don’t give up! Don’t lose hope! Don’t be afraid! Don’t worry! There is a way!

We are all facing choices! Everyday we need to make a choice! Choose wisely! Seek wisdom! There is a way!

Need answers? Need wisdom? Need direction? Need instruction? Need correction? There is a way!

Turn back to God! Ask God for help! Hear and obey His instruction! There is a way!


Today’s reading begins with Hosea…

Salvation Like Dew for Israel

1Samaria will bear her guilt, for she has rebelled against her God. They will fall by the sword, their infants dashed to pieces, their pregnant women ripped open. 2Return O Israel, to Adonai your God, for you have stumbled in your iniquity. 3Take words with you and return to Adonai. Say to Him: “Take away all iniquity, and accept what is good, so we may repay with offerings of our lips: 4‘Assyria will not save us. We will not ride on horses, and we will never again say, “Our god,” to the work of our hands, for with You, orphans find mercy.’” 5“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger will turn away from him. 6I will be like dew for Israel. He will blossom like a lily, and thrust out his roots like Lebanon. 7His tender shoots will spread out. His beauty will be like an olive tree and his fragrance will be like Lebanon. 8Those dwelling in his shadow will return. They will grow grain and bud like a vine. His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon. 9Ephraim: “What more are idols to me? I have responded and observed Him. I will be like a luxuriant cypress tree. From me will be found Your fruit.” 10Who is wise? Let him discern these things. Who is intelligent? Let him know them. For the ways of Adonai are straight, and the just walk in them, but the wicked stumble in them.

–from Hosea 14

Will you help clean up the situation? Will you help make sure that we are going the right way? Will you help point people in the right direction? There is a way!

1The word of Adonai that came to Micah the Morashtite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah—visions he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

Smashing Idols in the High Places

2Hear, O peoples—all of you! Attention, O land and everything in it! Adonai Elohim will be witness against you— The Lord from His holy Temple. 3For behold, Adonai is coming forth out of His place. He will come down and trample on the high places of the land. 4The mountains will melt away under Him and the valleys will split apart like wax before the fire, like water being poured down a slope. 5All this is because of Jacob’s transgression and the sins of the house of Israel. Who is the transgression of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? Who are the high places of Judah? Are they not Jerusalem? 6So I will make Samaria into a ruin in the countryside, planting places for a vineyard. I will hurl her stones into the valley and will lay bare her foundations. 7All her images will be smashed, all her prostitute’s pay burned with fire, and all her idols I will make desolate. For from prostitute’s pay she collected them and to prostitute’s pay they will return. 8Concerning this let me lament and howl. Let me walk barefoot and naked. I will make a howl like jackals and a mourning like ostriches. 9For her wounds are incurable. For it has come up to Judah. It has reached the gate of my people— even up to Jerusalem! 10Tell it not in Gath—weep not at all. At Beth-le-aphrah roll in the dust. 11Pass on, you who dwell in Saphir— nakedness and shame— she who dwells in Zaanan will not come out. Wailing of Beth-ezel: He will take from you its standing-place. 12For she who dwells in Maroth has languished for something good. For calamity has come down from Adonai to Jerusalem’s gate. 13Harness the chariot to the steed, O inhabitant of Lachish! It was the beginning of sin for the Daughter of Zion— because in you were found the rebellions of Israel. 14Therefore you will give parting gifts to Moresheth-gath—houses of Achzib as a deception to the kings of Israel. 15Yet I will bring the possessor to you, inhabitant of Mareshah. The glory of Israel will come as far as Adullam. 16Shave yourself bald, yes shear your hair for the children of your delight. Enlarge your bald spot like a vulture, for they went from you into exile.

–from Micah 1

Let’s get our hearts aligned to God! Let’s get our hearts opened up to God’s ways! Let’s choose to take care of the things God has given us to do! Let’s hear His Word and do what He asks! Let’s allow the still quiet voice to lead us and direct us! Let’s turn back to God! Let’s point people back to God! There is a way!

Covetous Schemers

1Oy to them who scheme wickedness, who work out evil upon their beds! In the light of the morning, they do it, for the power is in their hands. 2They covet fields, so they seize them, or houses, and take them away. So they oppress a man and his house— a man and his inheritance. 3Therefore, thus said Adonai: “Behold, I am scheming a calamity against this family from which you cannot remove your necks. Then you will not walk haughtily, for it will be a time of distress.” 4In that day He will lift up a parable for you, and there will be wailing lamentation, saying: “We have been utterly ruined! He changes the portion of my people. How He removes it from me! To the faithless He apportions our fields!” 5Therefore you will have no one casting for territory by lot in the congregation of Adonai. 6“Do not prophesy,” they prophesy. Unless they prophesy about such things, He will not turn back reproaches.” 7Is it said, “O house of Jacob, is the Ruach Adonai short of patience? Are these His deeds?” “Do not My words deal well with one who walks uprightly?” 8But recently My people arose as an enemy. You strip off the outer robe of a garment from those passing through confidently— those returning from war. 9The wives of My people you cast out from their exquisite houses. From her young children you take away My splendor, forever. 10Arise and go! For this is not the resting place, because of uncleanness that destroys— a grievous destruction. 11If a man walking in a spirit of falsehood speaks lies—“I will prophesy for you of wine and strong drink”—then he would be a spokesman of this people. 12“I will surely gather Jacob—all of you! I will surely gather the remnant of Israel. I will put them together like sheep in a pen, like a flock within its pasture. They will be noisy with people. 13One breaking through will go up before them. They will break through, pass through the gate and go out by it. Their King will pass through before them —Adonai at their head!”

–from Micah 2

Let’s give our lives over to God! Let’s align our steps to His path, His plan, and His purpose! Let’s bring Him praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’ name! Let’s make a difference! Let’s walk in His strength! There is a way!

God Thunders Throughout Creation

1A psalm of David. Ascribe to Adonai, O sons of God, ascribe to Adonai glory and strength. 2Ascribe to Adonai the glory of His Name. Bow down to Adonai in the beauty of holiness. 3The voice of Adonai is over the waters. The God of glory thunders— Adonai is over mighty waters. 4The voice of Adonai is powerful. The voice of Adonai is full of majesty. 5The voice of Adonai breaks the cedars. Yes, Adonai shatters cedars of Lebanon. 6He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. 7The voice of Adonai hews out flames of fire. 8The voice of Adonai shakes the desert. Adonai shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 9The voice of Adonai makes the deer writhe in birth and strips forests bare, and in His Temple all are saying, “Glory!” 10Adonai sits enthroned over the flood. Yes, Adonai sits as King forever. 11Adonai gives strength to His people. Adonai blesses His people with shalom.

–from Psalms 29

Follow after Jesus! He is the way, the truth, and the light! He will bring us to the Father! There is a way!

Jesus knew His purpose and nothing was going to get in His way! Jesus knew that in His sacrifice there would be victory for all! Jesus knew the beginning and the end! He conquered the grave! He defeated the cross! He made a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! He opened a door that nobody can close! He closed a door that nobody can open! Death was defeated and couldn’t hold Him down! So don’t lose hope! Don’t give up! There is a way!

Handed Over to the Romans

1Right at daybreak, the ruling kohanim held a meeting to consult with the elders and Torah scholars and the whole Sanhedrin. They tied up Yeshua, led Him away, and handed Him over to Pilate. 2Pilate interrogated Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Yeshua answers him, “As you say.” 3The ruling kohanim began to accuse Him of many things. 4Again, Pilate asked Him, “Aren’t you going to answer? Look how many charges they’re bringing against You!” 5But Yeshua did not answer, so Pilate was amazed. 6Now during the feast, he used to release to them one prisoner, anyone they were asking for. 7Now a man named Bar-Abba had been in jail with the rebels who had committed murder during the rebellion. 8The crowd came up and began to request what he was accustomed to do for them. 9But Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10For he knew that out of envy the ruling kohanim had handed Him over. 11But the ruling kohanim stirred up the crowd, so he would release Bar-Abba to them instead. 12Then answering again, Pilate said to them, “So what do you want me to do with the One you call the King of the Jews?” 13They shouted back, “Execute Him!” 14Pilate responded, “Why? What evil has He done?” But they shouted all the more, “Execute Him!” 15Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Bar-Abba for them. And after he had Yeshua scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified. 16The soldiers took Him away, into the palace, the governor’s mansion called the Praetorium. And they call together the cohort of soldiers. 17They dress Him up in purple. After braiding a crown of thorns, they put it on Him. 18And they began to salute Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19Over and over, they kept hitting Him on the head with a staff and spitting on Him; and kneeling down, they worshiped Him. 20When they finished mocking Him, they stripped the purple off Him and put His own clothes back on Him. And they led Him out to crucify Him.

Crucified as King of the Jews

21Now Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was coming in from the countryside. The soldiers force this passerby to carry Yeshua’s cross-beam. 22They bring Yeshua to the place called Golgotha (which is translated, Place of a Skull). 23They were offering Him wine mixed with myrrh, but He didn’t take it. 24Then they crucify Him and divide up His clothing among themselves, casting lots for them to see who should take what. 25Now it was the third hour when they nailed Him on the stake. 26And the inscription of the charge against Him was written above: “THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 27And with Him they execute two outlaws, one on His right and one on His left. 28[footnote: Later mss. add: So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘He was counted with the sinners.’ See Isa. 53:12.] 29Those passing by were jeering at Him, shaking their heads and saying, “Ha! You who are going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days, 30save Yourself by coming down from the stake!” 31Likewise the ruling kohanim, along with the Torah scholars, were also mocking Him among themselves. “He saved others,” they were saying, “but He can’t save Himself? 32Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the stake, so we may see and believe!” Even those executed with Him were ridiculing Him.

Death and Burial

33When the sixth hour had come, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34At the ninth hour Yeshua cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me?” 35When some of the bystanders heard it, they began saying, “Look, He’s calling for Elijah.” 36Then someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine. He put it on a stick and was offering it to Yeshua to drink, saying, “Wait, let’s see if Elijah comes to take Him down.” 37But letting out a loud cry, Yeshua breathed His last. 38Then the curtain of the Temple was split in two, from top to bottom. 39When the centurion, who was standing in front of Him, saw the way Yeshua breathed His last, he said, “This Man really was the Son of God!” 40There were also women watching from a distance. Among them were Miriam from Magdala, Miriam the mother of Jacob the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41They would follow Him and serve Him when He was in the Galilee. Many other women who had gone up together with Him to Jerusalem were there also. 42Now evening had already come. Since it was the Day of Preparation, that is, the day before Shabbat, 43Joseph of Arimathea, a respected council member who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Yeshua’s body. 44Pilate was surprised that He was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him whether Yeshua had been dead for long. 45When Pilate learned this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. 46Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen, and laid Him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47Miriam from Magdala and Miriam the mother of Joses were watching where Yeshua’s body was placed.

–from Mark 15

 

Will you share the reflection…


As God in whom there is no darkness shines on you, will you reflect it into the lives of those around you who are walking through this dark world?

As God who is love shines on you, will you reflect into the lives of those around you who are walking in worry, fear, despair, and lack of hope?

As God who grants us peace and hope and joy shines on you, will you share it those God brings into your life so that it will have a multiplying effect and impact more people with the grace and mercy of God?

Will you share the reflection of God with those around you?

Today’s reading begins with David’s last words…God spoke to David in his youth and all the way till the end of his days and David shared it and was a man after God’s own heart…Will you share God with others?

1Now these are the last words of David, the utterance of David son of Jesse, the utterance of the man raised on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob and the sweet singer of Israel: 2“The Ruach Adonai has spoken through me and His word is on my tongue. 3The God of Israel has said, the Rock of Israel has spoken to me, ‘He who rules over men righteously, he who rules in the fear of God— 4he is like the light of the morning when the sun rises, a cloudless morning of glistening as grass springs from the earth.’ 5Is it not true that my house is with God? For He made an everlasting covenant with me, ordered and secured in all things. Will He not make all my salvation and every desire come to fruition? 6But the worthless, all of them will be thrust aside like thorns, for they cannot be picked up by hand. 7But the man who touches them must be armed with iron and the shaft of a spear. They must be completely burned up with fire on the spot.”

David’s Mighty Men

8These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite, chief of the captains—he wielded his spear against 800 and slew them in one encounter. 9Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodo son of an Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there to battle. The men of Israel retreated, 10but he stood his ground and struck down the Philistines until his hand became weary and stuck to the sword. So Adonai brought about a great victory that day, and the people returned after him only to strip the slain. 11Next to him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. Now the Philistines were assembled in formation where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the people fled from the Philistines. 12But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it, and struck down the Philistines—so Adonai brought about a great victory. 13Once the three of the thirty chiefs went down and came to David at the cave of Adullam during the harvest, while a troop of Philistines was camping in the Valley of Rephaim. 14David was then in the stronghold, while the garrison of the Philistines was in Bethlehem. 15David said longingly, ‘“Who would get me water to drink from the well which is by the gate in Bethlehem?’” 16So the three mighty men broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem by the gate, took it and brought it to David. However, he would not drink it but poured it out to Adonai 17and he said, “‘Far be it from me, Adonai, that I should do this—the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?’” So he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did. 18Now Abishai, the brother of Joab, son of Zeruiah, was chief of the Thirty. Once he wielded his spear against 300 and killed them—he had a reputation among the Three. 19He was the most honored of the Thirty, so he was made their commander; however, he did not become one of the Three. 20Then there was Benaiah son of Jehoiada, son of a valiant man from Kabzeel, who had done mighty deeds. He killed the two from Ariel of Moab. Once, on a snowy day, he went down and killed a lion in the midst of a pit. 21He also killed an Egyptian—an impressive man—the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, but Benaiah went down to him with a staff, snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand, and killed him with his own spear. 22These sort of things Benaiah son of Jehoiada did, so that he had a name as famous as that of the Three mighty men. 23He was most honorable among the Thirty, but he attained not to the first Three. So David set him over his guard. 24Asahel brother of Joab was one of the Thirty, also Elhanan son of Dodo of Bethlehem, 25Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite, 26Helez the Paltite, Ira son of Ikkesh the Tekoite, 27Aviezer the Anathothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite, 28Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite, 29Heleb son of Baanah the Netophathite, Ittai son of Ribai of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin, 30Benaiah a Pirathonite, Hiddai from the wadis of Gaash, 31Abi-albon the Arbathite, Azmavet the Barhumite, 32Eliahba the Shaalbonite of the sons of Jashen, Jonathan, 33Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam son of Sharar the Ararite, 34Eliphelet son of Ahasbai son of the Maacathite, Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite, 35Hezrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite, 36Igal son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite, 37Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite, armor-bearer to Joab son of Zeruiah, 38Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite, 39and Uriah the Hittite—37 in all.

–from 2 Samuel 23

Do you realize the core team God has given you? Just as David has his mighty men, God has surrounded you with people who can help. We were never meant to go it or do it alone! He gave us one another! Do they know how important they are to you? Do you let them know how much they mean and how much you appreciate them? Have you ever told them? Is today your day?

Who do you trust? See how the world around us is trying to push God out of it? Do you realize the impact of trying to walk outside of the covering and the protection of God? Do you really want to walk out from under that protective umbrella and then find yourself getting pelted with everything that is being thrown at you? Do you really want to try and take God out of everything and then actually find hope in something else? Be it fiery darts! Be it fiery words! Be it fiery emotions! Be it attacks! Be it violence! What is it going to take for everyone to turn back to God? How bad does it have to get before you turn back to God! How far away from Him do you have to get before you turnaround and run back into His loving arms? Will you invite Him back into your life? Will you invite Him back into your family? Will you invite Him back into your community? Will you invite Him back into your country? … Before it is too late…? How will you choose? What will it take? If you are reading this then it isn’t too late yet…What will it cost? How much are you willing to pay? Will you make a difference? Will you help point others to the power and the love of God through Jesus?

David’s Unauthorized Census

1Now the anger of Adonai again flared up against Israel, so He incited David against them saying, “Go, number Israel and Judah.” 2The king said to Joab the commander of the army who was with him, “Go about now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and number the people, so that I may know the sum of the people.” 3But Joab said to the king, “May Adonai your God add to the people a hundred times as many as they are, while the eyes of my lord the king looks on! But why does my lord the king desire such a thing?” 4Nevertheless, the king’s command to Joab and the army generals remained firm. So Joab and the army generals went out from the king’s presence to number the people of Israel. 5They crossed over the Jordan and camped in Aroer, on the right side of the town that is in the middle of the valley of Gad, and toward Jazer. 6Then they went to Gilead and to the land of Tahtim-hodshi. Then they came to Dan-jaan and round about to Sidon, 7and came to the stronghold of Tyre, to all the cities of the Hivites and the Canaanites. Then they went out to the south of Judah, to Beersheba. 8So when they had gone throughout all the land, they came back to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and 20 days. 9Joab reported the sum of the numbering of the people to the king: there were in Israel 800,000 valiant men who drew the sword and the men of Judah were 500,000 men. 10But David’s heart troubled him after he had numbered the people. So David prayed to Adonai, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done! But now, Adonai, please take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.” 11When David rose up in the morning, the word of Adonai came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying: 12“Go and speak to David, thus says Adonai: ‘Three things I am proposing to you—choose one of them and I will bring it upon you.’” 13So Gad came to David and told him, saying to him, “Shall seven years of famine come on you in your land? Or will you flee from your adversary for three months while he is pursuing you? Or shall there be three days of pestilence in your land? Now consider and see what answer I should return to Him who sent me.” 14Then David said to Gad, “I am in a great distress. Let us now fall into the hand of Adonai, for His mercies are great, and let me not fall into the hand of man.” 15So Adonai sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning until the appointed time, so that 70,000 men of the people died from Dan to Beersheba. 16When the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, Adonai relented from the calamity and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “Enough! Now withdraw your hand.” The angel of Adonai was then by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 17When David saw the angel that was striking down the people, he spoke to Adonai saying, “Behold, it is I who have sinned, and it is I who have done wrong! But these sheep, what have they done? Please, let Your hand be against me and against my father’s house.” 18On that day Gad came to David and said to him, “Go up, set up an altar to Adonai on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19So David went up according to the word of Gad, as Adonai had commanded. 20Now when Araunah looked down and saw the king and his courtiers crossing over toward him, Araunah went out and bowed down before the king with his face to the ground. 21Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you in order to build an altar to Adonai, so that the plague may be held back from the people.” 22Then Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good in his eyes. Look here, the oxen for the burnt offering, as well as the threshing sledges and the ox yokes for the wood. 23All this Araunah gives to the king.” Araunah said further to the king, “May Adonai your God accept you.” 24But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you at a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to Adonai my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for 50 shekels of silver. 25Then David built there an altar to Adonai, and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. So Adonai was moved by prayer of entreaty for the land, and restrained the plague from Israel.

–from 2 Samuel 24

Will peer pressure make you do something you shouldn’t? Will you take responsibility to turn things around? Will you do something about it? Will you turn and help others turn from their wicked ways, humble yourself and help them to be able to humble themselves, pray and seek God’s face so that He will hear from heaven and heal our land? The devil will tempt you and each of us but we need to resist the devil and he will flee. Where are you at today? What is God asking you to do? What is God’s calling you to do? Will you answer? Will you obey? How will you respond? Who will you trust? Who will you trust more? Who will you trust most?

Census and Plague

1Then satan stood up against Israel and incited David to count Israel. 2So David told Joab and the leaders of the people, “Go, count Israel from Beersheba to Dan. Then bring me a report so I may know their number.” 3But Joab said, “May Adonai multiply His people 100 times over! But my master the king, are they not all my master’s servants? Why does my master require this thing? Why should he be a cause of guilt to Israel?” 4Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and finally came back to Jerusalem. 5Joab gave the number of the census of the people to David: in all Israel there were 1,100,000 sword-wielding men; Judah had 470,000 sword-wielding men. 6But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king’s word was detestable to Joab. 7But God was displeased with this thing and He struck Israel. 8Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by doing this. But now, I entreat you, take away the guilt of Your servant for I have behaved very foolishly.” 9Then Adonai spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying: 10“Go and speak to David, saying, ‘Thus says Adonai, “I offer you three things; choose one of them and I will bring it upon you.”’” 11So Gad went to David and said to him, “Thus says Adonai: ‘Select for yourself 12either three years of famine, or three months being swept away from before your adversaries and the sword of your enemies overtaking you or three days of the sword of Adonai, pestilence in the land and the angel of Adonai ravaging throughout all the territories of Israel. Now, consider what I should reply to the one who sent me.’” 13David said to Gad, “I am in a great anguish! Let me fall into the hand of Adonai for His compassion is very great. But do not let me fall into the hand of man.” 14So Adonai sent a plague upon Israel, and 70,000 men of Israel fell. 15And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, but while he was doing so, Adonai saw and was grieved over the calamity. He said to the destroying angel, “Enough! Now withdraw your hand!” The angel of Adonai was then standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16David lifted up his eyes and saw the angel of Adonai standing between the earth and the heaven with a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces. 17David said to God, “Was it not I who commanded to count the people? I alone am the one who sinned and behaved wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let Your hand, Adonai my God, be against me and against my father’s house, but do not let the plague be on Your people.” 18So the angel of Adonai told Gad to instruct David that David should go up and build an altar to Adonai on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19So David went up by the word of Gad, which he spoke in the Name of Adonai. 20While Ornan was threshing wheat, he turned and saw the angel. His four sons who were with him hid themselves. 21When David came to Ornan, Ornan looked up and saw David. He went out from the threshing floor and bowed to David with his face to the ground. 22Then David said to Ornan: “Give me the site of this threshing floor that I may build an altar to Adonai. Sell it to me for full price, so the plague on the people may be stopped.” 23Then Ornan said to David, “Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever seems good in his eyes. Look, I will give the oxen for burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.” 24King David said to Ornan, “No, I insist on buying it for the full price. For I will not take for Adonai what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that cost me nothing.” 25So David gave Ornan 600 shekels of gold by weight for the place. 26David built there an altar to Adonai and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. He called on Adonai and He answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering. 27Then Adonai commanded the angel, and he put his sword back in its sheath. 28At that time, when David saw that Adonai had answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there. 29For the Tabernacle of Adonai, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at that time in the high place at Gibeon. 30But David could not go before it to seek God for he was afraid of the sword of the angel of Adonai.

–1 Chronicles 21

Jesus paid it all! No discounts! No reductions! It cost Him everything! He has provided a way to bridge the gap! He paid once for all! It wasn’t a weekly, monthly, annually, or daily payment, He paid once for all of eternity! David was a man after God’s own heart, he knew that to make an offering he had to pay full price.

Jesus paid that we could be reconciled back to God! We need to be instruments of forgiveness! We need to be God’s ambassadors of forgiveness! Not only receiving but also giving it! The world needs this message of hope! The world needs this message of love! So let’s reflect God into the world around us!

Greetings to a House Group

1Paul, a prisoner of Messiah Yeshua, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved and fellow worker. 2To Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the community that meets in your house: 3Grace to you and shalom from God our Father and the Lord Messiah Yeshua!

Thanks for Love and Comfort

4I thank my God always when mentioning you in my prayers, 5hearing of your love and the trust you have toward the Lord Yeshua and all the kedoshim. 6May the fellowship of your faith become effective, with the recognition of all the good that is ours in Messiah. 7For I’ve received much joy and comfort in your love, brother, because the hearts of the kedoshim have been refreshed through you.

Request for Philemon’s Runaway

8Therefore, though I have plenty of boldness in Messiah to order you to do what’s right, 9yet for love’s sake I appeal to you instead. I, Paul, am an old man and now also a prisoner belonging to Messiah Yeshua. 10I beg you for my child Onesimus—for whom I became a spiritual father while in chains. 11He once was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and me. 12I sent him back to you—he is my very heart. 13I really wanted to keep him with me, so that on your behalf he might serve me while I am in chains for the Good News. 14But I didn’t want to do anything without your consent, so that your goodness wouldn’t be by force but by free will. 15For perhaps he was separated from you for a while in order that you might have him back forever, 16no longer as a slave but more than a slave—as a beloved brother, especially to me but even more so to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. 17So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18But if he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand: I will repay. (Not to mention that you owe me your very self.) 20Yes, brother, let me have some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Messiah.

Added Request and Farewell

21Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than what I say. 22At the same time also, prepare a guest room for me—for I hope that through your prayers I will be given back to you. 23Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Messiah Yeshua, greets you. 24So do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. 25May the grace of our Lord Messiah Yeshua be with your spirit. Amen.

–from Philemon 1