Getting back to basics and on track…


As I was looking through my readings, I realized that I had gotten off by 1 day and had to go and find out which day got missed. In not wanting to jump to the next month yet, I decided to review recent posts to find out which reading I had missed. I discovered it to be what we will call today’s reading from 2 Timothy 3. (Originally scheduled to have happened on Feb 27th.)

As I look to get caught up so that I can start April on track, I turn to God’s Word from 2 Timothy 3 which tells us…

Godlessness in the Last Days

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

All Scripture Is Breathed Out by God

You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

–from 2 Timothy 3

So let’s not be fooled. Let’s not be drawn off track by selfish desires. Let’s turn to the source of truth! Let’s turn to God’s Word! Let’s grab hold of the truth of Jesus, especially this day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Let’s take hold of what God’s Word tells us because it is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. God’s desire is that we can live out each day complete and equipped for every good work. We only get today to do something about! Yesterday is gone! Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed! So let’s make the most of today! Let’s live a life that won’t leave regrets! Let’s live a life that is joyful powered by the joy of the Lord which is our strength! Let’s celebrate that this is the day that the Lord has made rejoicing and being glad in it! Let’s reflect on what God’s Word tells us and warns us about so that we are prepared and equipped for what will come our way. Let’s be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit so that we can walk in alignment with God’s will and purpose for our lives!

Compare what people say against what God’s Word says to see if it is truth! Compare what people do against the instructions of God’s Word to see if it is right! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! He is the one way to heaven and getting to the heavenly Father. Jesus paid it all to make a way for us to be reconciled back to God! God is a just God and took it upon Himself to make a way for us to be able to be saved from an eternity apart from Him. God desires that nobody will perish but rather having everyone come to repentance. Don’t wait for tomorrow, instead grab hold of today! Don’t put off till tomorrow, instead take care of it today! Let’s grab hold of today’s word! Let’s grab hold of God’s Word! Let’s receive Jesus into our hearts and be transformed, the new coming and the old passed away!

So are you interested in making today your day? Are you interested in accepting and receiving Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Are you interested in turn back to the Jesus you once had a relationship with? It’s not about rituals and routines, it is all about starting and living out a relationship with Jesus! Are you ready? Are you pumped? Want to get started? Let’s invite Jesus into our hearts through this prayer and then daily take time to talk with Him, take time to hear from Him through His Word, through songs, through others. Let’s bring God all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name.

Read this prayer with me…

Sample Sinners Prayer


The devotional associated with our reading from 2 Timothy 3:16-17 from the Global Impact Bible on the topic of the impact on history and philosophy speaks to the content of the Bible.

Feb 27 -2 Timothy 3_16-17 - The Contents of the Bible - Devotional page


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this time to look into Your Word. I thank You for this time to spend with You. I thank You Lord that I can make the time to focus on You and be filled with Your Word as I start this day. Help me today Lord to live up to Your commandments. Help me Lord with wisdom for today. Help me Lord that I won’t stray but help me Lord to live a life that speaks the truth and aligns with Your Word and Your commandments. Lord, give me wisdom on what to say and not to say. Grant me the boldness and courage to accomplish Your will. May all the things I think, say, and do bring You praise, honor, and glory. I ask all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Know your audience!


Are you read up? Are you engaged? Are you involved? Are you connected? Are you reaching out? Are you making the effort? Are you seeking in order to find? Are you researching in order to learn? Are you listening in order to understand? Are you taking the time? Do you really know the people?

Feb 28 - Know your audience - How to know your audience - Titus 1

Do you believe in purity? Do you realize there pure and impure things? Do you take what you hear and measure it against God’s Word to discern the truth and validity of it? Do you stand for the truth and rebuke lies? Since your life is speaking the truth of who you are and what you believe, is it speaking to faith and truth and hope in Jesus? Or is it speaking something different? Are your words and your actions in conflict? Are you taking in God’s Word but not following through on the good works He has prepared in advance for you to accomplish and neglecting them?

Do you understand the people, the culture, the beliefs of the people around you? Are you willing to learn it so as to build relationships that God can use and help you to plant seeds and water them over time until the right time appears? Can you be patient and show true love to the world around you? Do you remember what love it? True love I mean? Let’s reflect on it for a moment.

Love is…

Remember that love never fails

Are you trying to live a life of true and unconditional love? The type of love God has for you and is pouring into you so that you can then pour it into the people he brings into your life?

Today’s reading comes from Titus 1…

Greeting

‘Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior; To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Qualifications for Elders

‘This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

— from Titus 1

From Titus 1, the Global Impact Bible for today’s devotional points towards Titus 1:12-15 which points to “Studying the culture”…

‘One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.

— from Titus 1:12-15 

It speaks to the importance of studying the culture. You can’t walk into a new place and be able to speak life into it if you aren’t prepared and don’t understand the culture. Interestingly enough in the history of the world, we find that there are some leaders who discourage people from reading anything except the Bible and sacred books. Through Paul speaking to Titus, we see that they had extensive knowledge of the secular text. We see that with that knowledge they could walk into a situation and be able to speak the truth as it related to the people and share the hope of Jesus Christ through it. A good example where this gets called out is through Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz who was a Mexican poet who used this fact in defence of her literary works. She even references Titus 1:12 as part of it. So we need to be educated. We need to be read up. We need to be ready for what is yet to come. So let’s be prepared! Let’s be ready for the good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do! Let’s not grow weary in doing good works! Let’s let our lives shine the reality of Jesus by the good works we do to His praise, honor, and glory!


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for all that is within it. I praise You Lord for the reality that the Earth and everything in it are yours. I take hold of the truth which comes from Your Word and know that it is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Help me Lord to have eyes to see and ears to hear and a mind to learn so that I can be prepared to speak truth and life in love to the world around me. Help me Lord to not be blinded by the lies of the devil or the world but that through this life which is an education I am able to accomplish the good works You have prepared in advance for me to accomplish. Help me to be a good steward of every good and precious gift from You so that in the end, I may come before Your throne and hear well done my good and faithful servant. Help me Lord to shine for You! Help me Lord to pour into the lives of the people around me in order that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

Are you dealing with it in order to give God the glory? Will you give up your yoke in exchange for Jesus’?


In this world we will have troubles. In this world we will face trials of many kinds. Are you in a situation where you are having to do work without pay?

What about in the workplace? Do you treat your boss with honor? Do you live a life that will make sure that God’s Word and God’s work won’t be criticized in an abusive manner or angrily in an insulting manner?

How are you living your life so that God’s light shines through and so that He will get the praise, the honor, and the glory? When trouble comes your way are you able to have a positive and encouraging attitude because you know that Jesus has overcome the world? When you face trials of any kind are you able to consider it pure joy because you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness and that when you allow steadfastness to have its full effect that you will be complete and lacking nothing?

Today’s Word comes from 1 Timothy 6…

‘Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these things.

False Teachers and True Contentment

‘Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

Fight the Good Fight of Faith

‘But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.

— 1 Timothy 6 

Today’s devotional from the Global Impact Bible (from the Museum of the Bible) is based off of 1 Timothy 6:1

‘Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled.

— 1 Timothy 6:1 

and speaks to the yoke in African American literature. It speaks to what they went through  like in the 1973 poem “Afrian Revolution” by Amiri Baraka and also in the poem “Manuela Come Out the Kitchen” by Wanda Coleman. They both speak of the suffering and misery. They both speak being under the yoke. They both speak of the future effects it has on the generations to come.

Feb 26 - 1 Timoth 6_1 - The Yoke in African American Literature - Global Impact Bible

Looking for links to these two pieces of literature, I found The Pastoral Epistles Through the Centuries By Jay Twomey.

We can’t neglect what has happened in the past. We can’t let the past hold us back from the future God has in store for us. We need to come together in love for one another. We need to stand strong for one another. We need to become unified in Christ standing up for one another. Let’s allow today to be the first day of the rest of our lives so that in and through our lives our heavenly Father can receive all the praise, the honor, and the glory, in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I praise You Lord for being greater than our circumstances. I praise You Lord for giving me strength through Your joy. I praise You Lord for Your Word that never returns void and can help us to have joy when we face trials of many kinds and have hope when we face troubles. Thank You for giving us the answer which is Jesus. Thank You for being our hope and comfort in times of need. Help me today Lord to live a life that shines for You so that in and through it all, I can live a life that will bring You all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Do you believe there is truth? Do you believe there are lies?


Do you believe there is absolute truth? Do you believe that things can be black and white rather than shades of grey? What do you believe about truth? Where do you think truth comes from? For there to be absolute truth there needs to be a decisive source, a measuring stick against which things can be measure. Do you believe there is power in truth? Do you believe that the truth will set you free? So, will you seek truth? Do you know where to look? Do you know where to find? Start with God’s Word! Start with Jesus! Follow after Him and find that the power of truth is to set you free!

Ever consider the opposite rather than the definition for words? Consider the two words from our title – truth and lies. Looking up the opposite for truth we find:

Noun
Noun

Looking up the opposite for lies we find:

Noun
Verb
Verb

So, do you want freedom? What about real freedom? Do you know where to search and find freedom? Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom! So, if the truth will set you free and freedom is where the Spirit of the Lord is, then we need to get connected to God! We need to invite the Holy Spirit into our lives so that He can lead us and guide us and keep us on the pathway of truth! We know from Jesus that He is the way, the truth, and the life! So today, let’s not be tricked or fooled but rather let’s seek the truth, truth that will set us free, absolute truth that isn’t some shade of grey but that is real and clear! Let’s turn to the inspired word of God – the Bible! Let’s take time to meditate on it daily and start a relationship with Jesus! God isn’t out there somewhere, He is with us (Emmanuel)! God sent us Jesus! Jesus sent the Holy Spirit (comforter and guide)! Now we don’t have to go through this world alone! So rather than trying to make it up on the fly, let’s get prepared! Rather than walking the tightrope between truth and lies, let’s take hold of Jesus’ hand and walk out the calling He has planned, purposed, and prepared for our lives! Let’s be difference makers! Let’s be world changers! Let’s be raising the bar so that the average will also increase! Let’s be overcomers! Let’s be ambassadors for Christ! Let’s be ambassadors for peace! Let’s be ambassadors for love!

Today’s reading from God’s Word comes from 1 Thessalonians 2…

Paul’s Ministry to the Thessalonians

‘For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last! ‘

Paul’s Longing to See Them Again

‘But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy. ‘

–from 1 Thessalonians 2

Today’s reading from the Global Impact Bible points us to the devotional which speaks to the impact of today’s reading from 1 Thessalonians 2 on the topic of Truth and Lies and the impact it had on the 17th century poet George Herbert when he wrote “The Church Porch


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I thank You for Your Word that never returns void. I thank You Lord for time to be filled up each morning through the reading and hearing of Your Word. Help me cling to the truth of Jesus so that I may walk in that freedom daily. Lord, grant me wisdom through Your Holy Spirit that I may walk in the peace that surpasses all understanding, the wisdom of right and wrong, and the direction and instruction necessary for each step of each day. I give this day up into Your hands hoping and trusting in You that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glroy in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Grace and Forgiveness…


Grace… what is grace?

Definition: Grace

the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
synonyms: favor · good will · generosity · kindness · benefaction · beneficence ·
indulgence

 

Forgiveness…what is forgiveness?

Definition: Forgiveness

the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven.
“she is quick to ask forgiveness when she has overstepped the line”

synonyms:pardon · absolution · exoneration · remission · dispensation · 
indulgence
 · understanding · tolerance · purgation · clemency · mercy · pity ·
lenience · leniency · quarter · reprieve · discharge · amnesty · delivery · acquittal ·
clearing · pardoning · condoning · condonation · vindication · exculpation ·
let-off · letting off · shrift · shriving

These words both have very powerful meanings in my life. They both have had many intersections in my life where I have gotten to receive as well as give them.

Ever been in a situation where you did something wrong (on purpose or accidentally)? Ever had someone respond out of grace and not give you what you deserve? Did you ask for forgiveness? Did they offer you forgiveness? Ever been in a situation where someone did you wrong (on purpose or accidentally)? Ever responded in a way that confused the other person because you responded out of love showing grace? Did you offer them forgiveness? Did they ask for forgiveness?

Forgiveness is the key! I’ve learned the hard way! I’ve since gotten to share this truth with people around me who started showing up and telling me about what was happening, going on, … in their lives. I’ve even been asked to share it with the entire company – some in person and others have it available through video. Here is the video in case you would like to hear a part of my story…

If you do watch it, please let me know – leave a comment on YouTube or here on my blog. Tell me what you thought. Tell me if it helped. Ask me a question.

Today’s reading comes from Acts 9 and speaks to God’s grace into Saul’s life and how forgiveness transformed him into the person we now know as Paul.

The Conversion of Saul

‘But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened.

Saul Proclaims Jesus in Synagogues

For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. ‘And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.

Saul Escapes from Damascus

‘When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.

Saul in Jerusalem

‘And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists. But they were seeking to kill him. And when the brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.

The Healing of Aeneas

‘Now as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years, who was paralyzed. And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And immediately he rose. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.

Dorcas Restored to Life

‘Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them. But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then, calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. And he stayed in Joppa for many days with one Simon, a tanner.

–from Acts 9

So we are never too far gone to receive the grace afforded and offered to us. Jesus paid it all so that we can have forgiveness! Consider what just happened with Paul when he had a divine encounter with Jesus! All it takes is an encounter with Jesus for our lives to be turned around! All it takes is the in filling of the Holy Spirit to start the work of transforming us from the inside out! Have you already had the encounter? How has Jesus transformed your life? Are you sharing your story? Now that you know Jesus are you also making Him known? Are you available for others to come to you and ask question? Are you available to share how Jesus touched your life and how He and His love are available for others too? Consider the story of the lost son or sometimes called the prodigal son? The son took his inheritance and squandered it and the entire time his father was waiting and looking, hoping and anticipating that one day he would return home. It’s the story of God and how He is waiting for us to turn back to Him, for us to get to the end of ourselves or our rope in order to turn back to Him! Have you turned back? Is today the day you will turn back? Do you really want to hit rock bottom before you turn back? Hit rock bottom to realize that Jesus is the rock on which to stand and to build your life? Or will you turn back sooner? Turn back rather than letting your life spiral down till you hit rock bottom! Do you really have to keep going until you get to the end of your rope before you stop going and turn back and allow Him to rescue you and pull you back to Him? Is today your day? Your day to know Jesus? Or do you already know Him? Is today your day to make Him known?

Happy Today!

Today’s devotional takes from today’s reading about Paul and Jesus through the eyes of Victor Hugo – famous author of Les Misérables and The hunchback of Notre Dame. Today’s devotional speaking of the impact of the Bible on history and philosophy speaks to Hugo’s essay William Shakespeare (in English, en français). He reflects on christian grace reflecting on the apostle Paul. Today’s devotional from the Impact of the Bible provided thru the Museum of the Bible shares the following from Acts 9 and page 1465…

Feb 23 - Grace - Forgiveness - Hugo - Shakespeare - Acts 9


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord that I am saved by grace through faith in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I thank You Lord that it isn’t about all that I can do or say but it is all about what Jesus has already done. Help me to live a life today that shines grace and forgiveness. Help me to shine the light of Jesus into the world around me. Help me to be salt and light in the lives of the people You bring into my life so that in and through it all Lord, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.


 

Will receive the call? Will you go? Will you walk in the power given you?


You have been given a call! You have been given a mission field! You have been given the power of the Holy Spirit!

11And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

–from Ephesians 4 ESV

So answer the call! So go into the field(s) you have sent into! So walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, using what you have and allow God to multiply it, using what He provides to proclaim the truth of who Jesus is!

Today’s reading comes from Luke 9 and says…

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles

‘And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.

Herod Is Perplexed by Jesus

‘Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen. Herod said, “John I beheaded, but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he sought to see him.

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

‘On their return the apostles told him all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.” But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” And they did so, and had them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.

Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ

‘Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

Jesus Foretells His Death

‘And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

‘And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.

The Transfiguration

‘Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.

Jesus Heals a Boy with an Unclean Spirit

‘On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out. It convulses him so that he foams at the mouth, and shatters him, and will hardly leave him. And I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” While he was coming, the demon threw him to the ground and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. And all were astonished at the majesty of God.

Jesus Again Foretells His Death

But while they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

Who Is the Greatest?

‘An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.

Anyone Not Against Us Is For Us

‘John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.

A Samaritan Village Rejects Jesus

‘When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village.

The Cost of Following Jesus

‘As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.
–from Luke 9

We need to consider what we are facing and be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to accomplish what it takes. It may take prayer and fasting to accomplish His purpose and His plans. We need to receive the power of Jesus to accomplish His will! So let’s be prepared for what is ahead of us! Let’s meditate on God’s Word that we will be filled up enough to be overflowing into the lives of the people God has given into our lives! Let’s be telling the people God has brought into our lives about the Good News of Jesus! Let’s not grow weary in doing good works! God has prepared them in advance for us to do! Let’s put on the full armor of God! Let’s step out of the boat in faith, keeping our eyes on Jesus and not being distracted by the wind or the waves! Let’s be all that God is calling us to be so that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory!

Today’s devotional speaks about Jean Jacques Rousseau and his writing on the life of Jesus which was motivated by Luke and the other gospels.

Feb 22- Jean-Jacques Rouseau on the life of Jesus Christ - Luke 9


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I praise You Lord for having created me for such a day and such a time as this. I exalt You for having called me out of the darkness into the light that I may shine the light and hope of Jesus into the world around me. Lord You are good and Your mercy endures forever. Help me Lord today to be salt and light into the world You have called me into. Help me Lord to be prepared to discuss the hope that is within me so that in all I think, all I say, and all I do, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Don’t be fooled! Persevere! Endure till the end!


What do you believe? Don’t be fooled by imitators and imposters! Don’t be tricked or manipulated by liars and cheaters! We have the truth and how it is to happen so let’s persevere through the trials and the tribulations, the struggles and the tests! Let’s not lose hope but let’s press onward and endure until the end! We know it won’t be easy and we know that it will be worth it! Let’s not hold too tightly to things but rather let’s hold onto this world lightly that God may make our hands full! Let’s meditate on His Word daily! Let’s walk out our lives with Him and in constant conversation with Him! Let’s not lean on our own understanding but rather trust in God and lean on Him! Let’s put on the full armor of God so that we can be prepared! Let’s pursue God’s calling on our lives! Let’s not grow weary in completing the good work that God has prepared in advance for us to do! Let’s finish strong! Let’s live lives that will also us to hear God say “well done my good and faithful servant”! Let’s have big dreams! Let’s pursue big dreams! Let’s accomplish big dreams in God’s strength and power! Let’s dream God sized dreams that require Him to show up instead of our size dreams which can be done in our own strength and power.

Today’s reading comes from Mark 13 and we hear directly from Jesus so that we can walk with eyes wide open and not have to get surprised nor worry because He has it all under control. Let’s jump in before we continue…

Jesus Foretells Destruction of the Temple

‘And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

Signs of the End of the Age

‘And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains. “But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

The Abomination of Desolation

‘”But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything out, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that it may not happen in winter. For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be. And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.

The Coming of the Son of Man

‘”But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

‘”From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

No One Knows That Day or Hour

‘”But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”

–from Mark 13

Don’t worry or fear when we see things foretold by Jesus. Don’t panic or be anxious when His Word returns true. Put your hope and your trust in Jesus so that on that day of His return you will be called up into the air to meet with Him! Invite Jesus into Your heart so that you can live out this life on earth to the fullness of His purpose and plan for your life! God’s Word says to pray without ceasing, so don’t leave God at church or at home or in the car but rather bring Him everywhere you go and speak to Him so that He can help you in and throughout every situation that comes your way! God is for us and not against us – so choose to receive Jesus into Your heart and be transformed! Let the old be gone and start living the new that has come!

New International Version
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

New Living Translation
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

English Standard Version
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

–from Romans 12:2

Let’s be people who are wise through God’s wisdom! Let’s be people who are good because God is good! Let’s be people who are discerning because we bring everything before God and discuss it so that we know how to proceed! Let’s meditate on God’s Word daily so that we know what is acceptable, pleasing, and perfect to God (there are now laws against them)! Use God’s Word as your measuring stick so that you test and approve things against it in order to discern God’s will, His good, pleasing, and perfect will for your life!

Today’s devotional from the Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Impact of the Bible on history and philosophy points to Mark 13:24

‘”But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, Mark 13:24

which points to Bible Study notes and how people like John Bunyan and William Shakespeare used the Geneva Bible. It was an incredible study tool because it came with extensive Bible notes designed to help people with their everyday life understand the Bible through cross-references, historical insights, suggestions, meanings, applications, and geographical information that would be familiar to the readers. This Bible was more than just the Word of God and enraged King James I to the point of getting him to commission a new translation: The King James Bible.

Feb 21 - The Impact of the Bible Study notes and on commissioning of the KJV of Bible - Mark 13_24


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all the plans You have for it. I thank You Lord that I received the offer to lead a group that will dive into Your Word. I know we have talked about starting something near work and now I have this offer. Help me Lord to know and to understand. Give me a vision and a dream for what You would have me do for I know that with You all things are possible and that nothing is too big for You. I give this day into Your hands knowing that having a dream bigger than me means that You will need to show up! I know that in Your strength and Your power I can do more. Help me to respond and accomplish Your perfect will so that in all that I think, say, and do that You Lord will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory, in Jesus’ name! That there will be less of me and more of You! That my hold on things will be light in order to allow You to fill it up and then take it away for Your purposes and plans. So I give this all up to You leaning on You rather than my own understanding so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Do justice! Love kindness! Walk humbly!


Do you realize that we have all missed the mark? Do you realize that God’s will has been missed? Do you realize what God wants? Do you realize that since we couldn’t do it in our own strength that He sent Jesus to make a way when we couldn’t?

Where have you missed the mark? What could you have done? What fruit of the Spirit are you producing? With Jesus as your Lord and Savior, how has your life been transformed? Are you living a life that is different from before? Are you walking humbly before God? Are you an ambassador of peace? Are you being kind? Are you loving God and loving others? Are you seeking and living out a life that is just? Is your life showing you doing justice?

Today’s reading comes from Micah 6. Let’s take a moment to read thru it and take hold of what God’s Word is saying…

The Indictment of the Lord

‘ Hear what the Lord says: Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice. Hear, you mountains, the indictment of the Lord , and you enduring foundations of the earth, for the Lord has an indictment against his people, and he will contend with Israel. “O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me! For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord .”‘

What Does the Lord Require?

‘ “With what shall I come before the Lord , and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’

Destruction of the Wicked

‘ The voice of the Lord cries to the city— and it is sound wisdom to fear your name: “Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it! Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed? Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales and with a bag of deceitful weights? Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow, making you desolate because of your sins. You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger within you; you shall put away, but not preserve, and what you preserve I will give to the sword. You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine. For you have kept the statutes of Omri, and all the works of the house of Ahab; and you have walked in their counsels, that I may make you a desolation, and your inhabitants a hissing; so you shall bear the scorn of my people.”‘

–from Micah 6

So we read in Micah 6:8 which is the verse for today’s devotional what God considers good and requires of us where it says…

‘ He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’

— Micah 6:8 

Today’s devotional speaks to how this verse has impacted history and philosophy through American history…

  • John Winthrop cited Micah 6:8 to convey what the colonist owed to each other and the rest of the world
  • George Washington in his 1783 Circular to the States used this verse to encourage Americans to “todo Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility, and a pacific temper of mind.
  • William F. McKinley, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G Harding, and Jimmy Carter placed their hands upon the Bibles at their inauguration with it opened to Micah 6:8
  • Calvin Coolidge used Micah 6:8 in his State of the Union
  • Richard Nixon used Micah 6:8 in his Thanksgiving Proclamation
  • Bill Clinton used Micah 6:8 at a National Prayer Breakfast
  • Barack Obama used Micah 6:8 at the ground breaking ceremony of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial
  • Martin Luther King Jr. frequently cited Micah 6:8 to express the justice that he and other civil rights leaders were pursuing
  • Cesar Chavez used Micah 6:8 in his fight for justice for farm workers
  • Micah 6:8 is prominently displayed in the main reading room of the Library of Congress above the statue that represents religion

[The Global Impact Bible – Micah 6 – page 1236]

So let’s live out our today seeking justice and to do justice, seeking loving kindness and being loving and kind, and walking humbly before our God in order to serve Him as living sacrifices that will bring Him praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’ name. Put another way, let’s act justly, let’s love mercy, and let’s walk humbly with our God.

 


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for all that will be in it. I thank You for Your Word that speaks truth and life into and over my life. I thank You for Your Word that gives wisdom and direction to my mind and my heart so that my focus isn’t on the things of the world but on how I can best walk out this life humbly with You. Help me today I pray as I step in to a new area and help me Lord to find favor and opportunity that will bring You praise, honor, and glory in and thru Jesus, Amen.

Will it be easy? Will it be worth it? Will it end well?


We never have a promise that it will be easy and in fact we hear from Jesus that we will face trials and troubles and tribulations.

25“I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.a 28I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”

29His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.”31Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

–from John 16

That’s right even though we will face troubles, trials, and tribulation, we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world!

We can’t give up! We can’t give in! When we face trials of any kind, we take hold of God’s promises and truth and we can consider it pure joy for we know it is just a test of our faith.

2Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

5If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

9Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. 11For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

12Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

16Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

–from James 1

The lies of the devil will try to twist the reality of the tests, trials, tribulations into trying to draw us away from God when instead we should be drawing closer to God in and through it all! Persevering! Being joyful! Allowing the work that is to be done in and through it to finish so we can be complete and lacking nothing!

So as we look to today’s reading from Ezekiel 38 with the devotional focused on 18-21, we can take heart because we know that the victory belongs to the Lord! We know that Jesus has already won! We know from reading the end of the book that even in the book of Revelation we see Jesus have victory over God and Magog. So do not fear, just believe in Jesus! So don’t worry about anything but rather through prayer and supplication, make your asks known to God! This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

‘The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him and say, Thus says the Lord God : Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords. Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all his hordes; Beth-togarmah from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes—many peoples are with you. “Be ready and keep ready, you and all your hosts that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them. After many days you will be mustered. In the latter years you will go against the land that is restored from war, the land whose people were gathered from many peoples upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste. Its people were brought out from the peoples and now dwell securely, all of them. You will advance, coming on like a storm. You will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your hordes, and many peoples with you. “Thus says the Lord God : On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme and say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates,’ to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth. Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all its leaders will say to you, ‘Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hosts to carry off plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to seize great spoil?’ “Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and say to Gog, Thus says the Lord God : On that day when my people Israel are dwelling securely, will you not know it? You will come from your place out of the uttermost parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great host, a mighty army. You will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land. In the latter days I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. “Thus says the Lord God : Are you he of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against them? But on that day, the day that Gog shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord God , my wrath will be roused in my anger. For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence. And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground. I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Lord God . Every man’s sword will be against his brother. With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples who are with him torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur. So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord . ‘

–from Ezekiel 38:1-23 

Today devotional speaks to the impact of this onto the world through history of London’s Guildhall and subsequently at Royal Arcade in Melbourne, Australia.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I thank You Lord that You make a way even when there doesn’t seem to be a way. I thank You Lord that I don’t have to walk in worry or fear but that I can walk by faith knowing that Jesus has overcome the world no matter what comes my way. I thank You Lord that I don’t have to be concerned about trials that come my way because what the enemy plans for evil You are able to turn around and use for good so that when we face trials of any kind we can consider it pure joy for we know that through perseverance and my faith in You that in the end I will be complete and lacking nothing. Lord I lift this day up and ask for Your wisdom and direction in order that through all I think, say, and do You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Knowledge and Wisdom are as sweet as honey!


How hungry are you for knowledge? How hungry are you for wisdom? How hard are you willing to work at it? How hard are you willing to wait for it? How hare are you willing to seek for it?

Today’s reading from Ezekiel 3 speaks to the fact that wisdom and knowledge are as sweet as honey!

‘And he said to me, “Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me this scroll to eat. And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey. ‘

— from Ezekiel 3:1-3 

Ever noticed where honey is used as a metaphor in God’s Word?

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. –from Proverbs 16:24

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! –from Psalm 119:103

Then Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. See now, how my eyes have brightened because I tasted a little of this honey. –from 1 Samuel 14:29

Additional honey references can be found here.

 

Ever heard about the impact of today’s reading on the world of history and philosophy? Ever heard about the connection between honey and education? Today’s devotional based on Ezekiel 3:1-3 points to “Honey on the first day of school”. It points to the importance of teaching students the importance of leaning the biblical text and Jewish rabbis during the medieval era started a tradition with their youngest students on their first day of school, by putting honey on the letters of the Hebrew alphabet written on slates and having them lick the honey off the slates to remind them that the Bible’s words are “sweat as honey.” Today’s devotional also speaks of two other honey eating activities – a honey cake inscribed with the words of Isaiah 50:4 and a peeled hard-boiled egg inscribed with the words of Ezekiel 3:3. [Global Impact Bible page 1095 – in Ezekiel 3]

 

The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. –from Isaiah 50:4

 

‘And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey. ‘ –from Ezekiel 3:3 


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord that Your Word is available to me and speaks to me daily. I thank You Lord that Your Word never returns void but speaks sweet wisdom and knowledge to me for this day. Help me Lord to grab hold of it and to move forward in it today so that I may glorify You in all that I think, say, and do. This is the day that You have made so help me to live it to the full, to rejoice and be glad in it, so that in and through it all, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

In whom shall you trust? What will adversity do to or for you?


Will you look to greater nations to be your help or savior? Will you look to greater people to be your help or savior? Will you look to God to be your hope and your salvation?

Will you turn back to God in obedience or walk in your own ways? Will you receive the instruction of God through His Word and align to it and obey it?

Are you wondering why since you walked out of under the protection of the Lord that things have gotten harder? Are you wondering why you have a feeling of having to try and get through it all alone?

Turn back to God! Invite Jesus into your heart! Walk with Him and stay close to Him! Stay under the covering of His blood! Live a life so that God will see you through the blood of Jesus! Live a life so that God when He looks at you He sees you through the prism of Jesus!

Will life be easy? In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. Will there be trials? Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

But if you don’t have Jesus you will be trying to make it thru life in your own power and your own strength. Don’t go it alone! You were never meant to go through life alone! God created you to be in an intimate relationship with Him! He made a way when there didn’t seem to be a way for you to be reconciled to Him and the gap to be bridged!

Today’s reading speaks to a time when Israel wasn’t walking in alignment with God. A time where they put their trust in Egypt instead of God. A time where they were being disobedient to God’s Word and were about to be punished as God’s hand of protection was being removed as they walked out from under the protection of God.

‘Zedekiah the son of Josiah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah, reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim. But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the Lord that he spoke through Jeremiah the prophet. King Zedekiah sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the priest, the son of Maaseiah, to Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “Please pray for us to the Lord our God.” Now Jeremiah was still going in and out among the people, for he had not yet been put in prison. The army of Pharaoh had come out of Egypt. And when the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard news about them, they withdrew from Jerusalem. Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet: “Thus says the Lord , God of Israel: Thus shall you say to the king of Judah who sent you to me to inquire of me, ‘Behold, Pharaoh’s army that came to help you is about to return to Egypt, to its own land. And the Chaldeans shall come back and fight against this city. They shall capture it and burn it with fire. Thus says the Lord , Do not deceive yourselves, saying, “The Chaldeans will surely go away from us,” for they will not go away. For even if you should defeat the whole army of Chaldeans who are fighting against you, and there remained of them only wounded men, every man in his tent, they would rise up and burn this city with fire.'” Now when the Chaldean army had withdrawn from Jerusalem at the approach of Pharaoh’s army, Jeremiah set out from Jerusalem to go to the land of Benjamin to receive his portion there among the people. When he was at the Benjamin Gate, a sentry there named Irijah the son of Shelemiah, son of Hananiah, seized Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “You are deserting to the Chaldeans.” And Jeremiah said, “It is a lie; I am not deserting to the Chaldeans.” But Irijah would not listen to him, and seized Jeremiah and brought him to the officials. And the officials were enraged at Jeremiah, and they beat him and imprisoned him in the house of Jonathan the secretary, for it had been made a prison. When Jeremiah had come to the dungeon cells and remained there many days, King Zedekiah sent for him and received him. The king questioned him secretly in his house and said, “Is there any word from the Lord ?” Jeremiah said, “There is.” Then he said, “You shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.” Jeremiah also said to King Zedekiah, “What wrong have I done to you or your servants or this people, that you have put me in prison? Where are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, ‘The king of Babylon will not come against you and against this land’? Now hear, please, O my lord the king: let my humble plea come before you and do not send me back to the house of Jonathan the secretary, lest I die there.” So King Zedekiah gave orders, and they committed Jeremiah to the court of the guard. And a loaf of bread was given him daily from the bakers’ street, until all the bread of the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard. ‘

— Jeremiah 37:1-21 

Do you want to know the truth? Can you handle the truth? Will you believe the truth? How will you respond to the truth?

Today’s devotional that comes from today’s reading speaks to the impact today’s reading has on history and philosophy through Jacob ben Hayyim and The Jewish Press.

Today’s devotional from the Global Impact Bible speaks to “how the Bible has not only survived but thrived in the face of adversity.” Ever heard about times in history when people would burn Bibles and yet it survived? Ever found that the more persecution the more the Bible spread? Ever heard about the time when the Jews were being expelled from Spain? It had the impact of sending Jewish publishers to even more countries and the art of the printing press expanded and was a milestone year for Bible publishing. The joining forces off Daniel Bomberg (a Christian printer) and Felix of Prator (Jewish scholar and converted Christian) in 1517 produced a rabbinic Bible (Mikraot Gedolot) in Venice and Jacob ben Hayyim in 1525 produced a second version.

The Bible didn’t die when faced with adversity it expanded. The Bible didn’t disappear when faced with adversity, it multiplied. This rabbinic Bible was the primary text used in the writing of the Old Testament portion of the King James Bible back in 1611.

So how will you respond to adversity? Will you lean on God and allow Him to give you the strength to make it thru? Will you trust in God and allow Him to expand your territory? Will you believe in Him and watch Him multiply your benefits?


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I thank You Lord that in my weakness Your strength is revealed! I thank You Lord that in my trials, I can lean on You and consider it pure joy when I face trials of many kinds because I know that the testing of my faith builds perseverance and that when it has completed its work I will be complete and lacking nothing! I thank You Lord that when troubles of the world come my way, I don’t need to worry or fear because Jesus has already overcome the world! Help me Lord to walk beside You all the days of my life! Help me Lord not to be drawn away or tricked by the lies of the devil but rather to live a life in the light so that You will be glorified. Help me Lord to accomplish the good works You have prepared in advance for me to accomplish so that people will see my good works and glorify You. I ask all this in Jesus’ name so that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory. Amen.

Have you been ransomed? Have you been redeemed? Are you now free?


How are you today? Are you feeling like you are being held for ransom? Are you looking for someone who can pay the price? Someone who can redeem you? Are you wanting to be set free?

Is today your day? Will you choose to receive Jesus? Will you allow His payment to set you free? For whom the son sets free is free indeed! Have you already been set free? Are you sharing your story with others? Are you living out the truth that the redeemed of the Lord will say so?  Do you realize that Jesus gave Himself as the ransom for you and for me? Do you realize that there is a savior who came to set us all free? Do you realize that today it comes down to a decision we each have to make on our own? Will you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Will you choose life that is offered through a relationship with Jesus? Jesus paid it all! To be set free we need to accept the gift of God, Jesus!

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! – 2 Corinthians 9:15 

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our LORD. — Romans 6:23

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast. — Ephesians 2:8-9

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. — John 3:16

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God‘s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! — Romans 5:15

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.  — 1 Corinthians 12:7-11

Today’s reading from Isaiah 35 speaks to this truth as we read about how the ransomed will be returned…

‘ The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord , the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.’ — from  Isaiah 35:1-10 

God loves us so much that He won’t force us to love Him or come into relationship with Him, however, He created us for relationship with Him with freewill to choose. God’s hope is for us to spend eternity with Him rather than apart from Him and since there wasn’t a way for us to do it in our own strength, Jesus came to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! He came to pay the ultimate price so that through Him we can be redeemed, reconciled to God! So today we need to make the decision of a lifetime!

Will you spend eternity with God or apart from God? Choose life! Choose freedom! Ask Jesus into your heart and be transformed from the insight out! He didn’t send Jesus condemn the world but that through Jesus the world could be saved!

Today’s devotional speaks to the impact of Isaiah 35 on history and philosophy through Justin Martyr in “Dialog with Trypho” and how the law that is to be written on our hearts is through Jesus! He used Isaiah 35 to prove that Jesus was and is the Jewish Messiah! This tells the story between Justin and Trypho a Jewish man where he attempts to prove that Jesus is the Messiah! He uses Isaiah 35 as part of that proof! “The fictive (or freely adapted) conversation takes place during a chance meeting between Justin and Trypho in the city of Ephesus.” [Global Impact Bible p. 954 – Isaiah 35 section]

Feb 16 - Isaiah 35 - Justin Martyr The Dialogue with Trypho - 2


Heavenly Father,
Your Word has power! Your Word has impact on all of the earth! Help me today I pray to be light and salt that will point others to You. Help me today I pray to accomplish the good works You have prepared in advance for me to do so that people may see it and glorify You, my Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ my Lord! Help me Lord that in all I think, say, and do that You Lord will be lifted up and glorified, receive the praise and the honor in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.