We don’t have to be perfect to be used by God!


Ever considered the lineage of Jesus from Matthew and all the people God used and how they weren’t perfect? Ever considered the lineage of Jesus from Matthew and the disfunction that is described by the Bible? Ever considered how in spite of their flaws and imperfections God was able to use them in ways that are amazing? Do you realize that God can use you too? Will you be open and receptive to receive God into your life? Will you open up your heart and invite Jesus into it? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to be your comforter and your guide through life? Yes we will make mistakes but if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Yes we will make mistakes in judgment because in this world we will have troubles and trials and may not wait on God for answers and try to go it on our own. So let’s turn back to God today and allow Him to do a reset and help clean things up in our lives, our hearts, and our minds. Let’s ask for forgiveness and receive the grace of the father like the prodigal son from his father. The only way to be perfected is through Jesus.


Hebrews 10:1414For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
2 Corinthians 12:9 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
James 1:2-4 2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Today’s reading from God’s Word starts in 2 Samuel 13:

‘Now David’s son Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar. And Amnon, her half brother, fell desperately in love with her. Amnon became so obsessed with Tamar that he became ill. She was a virgin, and Amnon thought he could never have her. But Amnon had a very crafty friend—his cousin Jonadab. He was the son of David’s brother Shimea. One day Jonadab said to Amnon, “What’s the trouble? Why should the son of a king look so dejected morning after morning?” So Amnon told him, “I am in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.” “Well,” Jonadab said, “I’ll tell you what to do. Go back to bed and pretend you are ill. When your father comes to see you, ask him to let Tamar come and prepare some food for you. Tell him you’ll feel better if she prepares it as you watch and feeds you with her own hands.” So Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick. And when the king came to see him, Amnon asked him, “Please let my sister Tamar come and cook my favorite dish as I watch. Then I can eat it from her own hands.” So David agreed and sent Tamar to Amnon’s house to prepare some food for him. When Tamar arrived at Amnon’s house, she went to the place where he was lying down so he could watch her mix some dough. Then she baked his favorite dish for him. But when she set the serving tray before him, he refused to eat. “Everyone get out of here,” Amnon told his servants. So they all left. Then he said to Tamar, “Now bring the food into my bedroom and feed it to me here.” So Tamar took his favorite dish to him. But as she was feeding him, he grabbed her and demanded, “Come to bed with me, my darling sister.” “No, my brother!” she cried. “Don’t be foolish! Don’t do this to me! Such wicked things aren’t done in Israel. Where could I go in my shame? And you would be called one of the greatest fools in Israel. Please, just speak to the king about it, and he will let you marry me.” But Amnon wouldn’t listen to her, and since he was stronger than she was, he raped her. Then suddenly Amnon’s love turned to hate, and he hated her even more than he had loved her. “Get out of here!” he snarled at her. “No, no!” Tamar cried. “Sending me away now is worse than what you’ve already done to me.” But Amnon wouldn’t listen to her. He shouted for his servant and demanded, “Throw this woman out, and lock the door behind her!” So the servant put her out and locked the door behind her. She was wearing a long, beautiful robe, as was the custom in those days for the king’s virgin daughters. But now Tamar tore her robe and put ashes on her head. And then, with her face in her hands, she went away crying. Her brother Absalom saw her and asked, “Is it true that Amnon has been with you? Well, my sister, keep quiet for now, since he’s your brother. Don’t you worry about it.” So Tamar lived as a desolate woman in her brother Absalom’s house. When King David heard what had happened, he was very angry. And though Absalom never spoke to Amnon about this, he hated Amnon deeply because of what he had done to his sister.

Two years later, when Absalom’s sheep were being sheared at Baal-hazor near Ephraim, Absalom invited all the king’s sons to come to a feast. He went to the king and said, “My sheep-shearers are now at work. Would the king and his servants please come to celebrate the occasion with me?” The king replied, “No, my son. If we all came, we would be too much of a burden on you.” Absalom pressed him, but the king would not come, though he gave Absalom his blessing. “Well, then,” Absalom said, “if you can’t come, how about sending my brother Amnon with us?” “Why Amnon?” the king asked. But Absalom kept on pressing the king until he finally agreed to let all his sons attend, including Amnon. So Absalom prepared a feast fit for a king. Absalom told his men, “Wait until Amnon gets drunk; then at my signal, kill him! Don’t be afraid. I’m the one who has given the command. Take courage and do it!” So at Absalom’s signal they murdered Amnon. Then the other sons of the king jumped on their mules and fled. As they were on the way back to Jerusalem, this report reached David: “Absalom has killed all the king’s sons; not one is left alive!” The king got up, tore his robe, and threw himself on the ground. His advisers also tore their clothes in horror and sorrow. But just then Jonadab, the son of David’s brother Shimea, arrived and said, “No, don’t believe that all the king’s sons have been killed! It was only Amnon! Absalom has been plotting this ever since Amnon raped his sister Tamar. No, my lord the king, your sons aren’t all dead! It was only Amnon.” Meanwhile Absalom escaped. Then the watchman on the Jerusalem wall saw a great crowd coming down the hill on the road from the west. He ran to tell the king, “I see a crowd of people coming from the Horonaim road along the side of the hill.” “Look!” Jonadab told the king. “There they are now! The king’s sons are coming, just as I said.” They soon arrived, weeping and sobbing, and the king and all his servants wept bitterly with them. And David mourned many days for his son Amnon. Absalom fled to his grandfather, Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. He stayed there in Geshur for three years. And King David, now reconciled to Amnon’s death, longed to be reunited with his son Absalom.’

2 Samuel 13

‘But in midautumn of that year, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama, who was a member of the royal family and had been one of the king’s high officials, went to Mizpah with ten men to meet Gedaliah. While they were eating together, Ishmael and his ten men suddenly jumped up, drew their swords, and killed Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylon had appointed governor. Ishmael also killed all the Judeans and the Babylonian soldiers who were with Gedaliah at Mizpah. The next day, before anyone had heard about Gedaliah’s murder, eighty men arrived from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria to worship at the Temple of the Lord . They had shaved off their beards, torn their clothes, and cut themselves, and had brought along grain offerings and frankincense. Ishmael left Mizpah to meet them, weeping as he went. When he reached them, he said, “Oh, come and see what has happened to Gedaliah!” But as soon as they were all inside the town, Ishmael and his men killed all but ten of them and threw their bodies into a cistern. The other ten had talked Ishmael into letting them go by promising to bring him their stores of wheat, barley, olive oil, and honey that they had hidden away. The cistern where Ishmael dumped the bodies of the men he murdered was the large one dug by King Asa when he fortified Mizpah to protect himself against King Baasha of Israel. Ishmael son of Nethaniah filled it with corpses. Then Ishmael made captives of the king’s daughters and the other people who had been left under Gedaliah’s care in Mizpah by Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard. Taking them with him, he started back toward the land of Ammon. But when Johanan son of Kareah and the other military leaders heard about Ishmael’s crimes, they took all their men and set out to stop him. They caught up with him at the large pool near Gibeon. The people Ishmael had captured shouted for joy when they saw Johanan and the other military leaders. And all the captives from Mizpah escaped and began to help Johanan. Meanwhile, Ishmael and eight of his men escaped from Johanan into the land of Ammon. Then Johanan son of Kareah and the other military leaders took all the people they had rescued in Gibeon—the soldiers, women, children, and court officials whom Ishmael had captured after he killed Gedaliah. They took them all to the village of Geruth-kimham near Bethlehem, where they prepared to leave for Egypt. They were afraid of what the Babylonians would do when they heard that Ishmael had killed Gedaliah, the governor appointed by the Babylonian king.’

Jeremiah 41

‘“And when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you will know that the time of its destruction has arrived. Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. Those in Jerusalem must get out, and those out in the country should not return to the city. For those will be days of God’s vengeance, and the prophetic words of the Scriptures will be fulfilled. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. For there will be disaster in the land and great anger against this people. They will be killed by the sword or sent away as captives to all the nations of the world. And Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the period of the Gentiles comes to an end. “And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man#21:27a “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself. coming on a cloud with power and great glory.#21:27b See Dan 7:13. So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” Then he gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” Every day Jesus went to the Temple to teach, and each evening he returned to spend the night on the Mount of Olives. The crowds gathered at the Temple early each morning to hear him.’

Luke 21:20-38

‘You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.” No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel. Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.’

Hebrews 12:18-29

‘O God, why have you rejected us so long? Why is your anger so intense against the sheep of your own pasture? Remember that we are the people you chose long ago, the tribe you redeemed as your own special possession! And remember Jerusalem, your home here on earth. Walk through the awful ruins of the city; see how the enemy has destroyed your sanctuary. There your enemies shouted their victorious battle cries; there they set up their battle standards. They swung their axes like woodcutters in a forest. With axes and picks, they smashed the carved paneling. They burned your sanctuary to the ground. They defiled the place that bears your name. Then they thought, “Let’s destroy everything!” So they burned down all the places where God was worshiped. We no longer see your miraculous signs. All the prophets are gone, and no one can tell us when it will end. How long, O God, will you allow our enemies to insult you? Will you let them dishonor your name forever? Why do you hold back your strong right hand? Unleash your powerful fist and destroy them. You, O God, are my king from ages past, bringing salvation to the earth. You split the sea by your strength and smashed the heads of the sea monsters. You crushed the heads of Leviathan and let the desert animals eat him. You caused the springs and streams to gush forth, and you dried up rivers that never run dry. Both day and night belong to you; you made the starlight and the sun. You set the boundaries of the earth, and you made both summer and winter. See how these enemies insult you, Lord . A foolish nation has dishonored your name. Don’t let these wild beasts destroy your turtledoves. Don’t forget your suffering people forever. Remember your covenant promises, for the land is full of darkness and violence! Don’t let the downtrodden be humiliated again. Instead, let the poor and needy praise your name. Arise, O God, and defend your cause. Remember how these fools insult you all day long. Don’t overlook what your enemies have said or their growing uproar.’

Psalms 74

Happy Easter! What is it that you are looking up to? He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!


Are you looking up to something earthly or something heavenly? Are you focusing on something material or eternal? Are you looking to something symbolic or something real? As you celebrate today, what is it that you are celebrating? Is it something that will last the day or something that will change the rest of your life? Will the change be something that will last here on earth or forever into eternity? Will the change be something that allows you to spend eternity with God or apart from God? For God so loves us that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever would call on Him will not perish but will have ever lasting life. God is love and He loves everyone of us, so much so that He took things into His own hands so that there would be a way for us to be able to be reconciled to Him. So instead of giving us what we deserve, God opened the door of grace and love and offers us the gift of Jesus who was sent to save us rather than condemn us. Have you made the decision to invite Jesus into Your heart? Have you made the decision to choose Jesus? We all have to make the decision for ourselves. Will you choose to love light or darkness? Will you choose to love truth or lies? Today is a great day to make your decision. Choose wisely! Choose life! Choose love! Choose light! Choose Jesus!


Today’s reading starts us out in Numbers 21.

‘The Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that the Israelites were approaching on the road through Atharim. So he attacked the Israelites and took some of them as prisoners. Then the people of Israel made this vow to the Lord : “If you will hand these people over to us, we will completely destroy all their towns.” The Lord heard the Israelites’ request and gave them victory over the Canaanites. The Israelites completely destroyed them and their towns, and the place has been called Hormah ever since.

Then the people of Israel set out from Mount Hor, taking the road to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom. But the people grew impatient with the long journey, and they began to speak against God and Moses. “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!” So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died. Then the people came to Moses and cried out, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take away the snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord told him, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!” So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!

The Israelites traveled next to Oboth and camped there. Then they went on to Iye-abarim, in the wilderness on the eastern border of Moab. From there they traveled to the valley of Zered Brook and set up camp. Then they moved out and camped on the far side of the Arnon River, in the wilderness adjacent to the territory of the Amorites. The Arnon is the boundary line between the Moabites and the Amorites. For this reason The Book of the Wars of the Lord speaks of “the town of Waheb in the area of Suphah, and the ravines of the Arnon River, and the ravines that extend as far as the settlement of Ar on the border of Moab.” From there the Israelites traveled to Beer, which is the well where the Lord said to Moses, “Assemble the people, and I will give them water.” There the Israelites sang this song: “Spring up, O well! Yes, sing its praises! Sing of this well, which princes dug, which great leaders hollowed out with their scepters and staffs.” Then the Israelites left the wilderness and proceeded on through Mattanah, Nahaliel, and Bamoth. After that they went to the valley in Moab where Pisgah Peak overlooks the wasteland.

The Israelites sent ambassadors to King Sihon of the Amorites with this message: “Let us travel through your land. We will be careful not to go through your fields and vineyards. We won’t even drink water from your wells. We will stay on the king’s road until we have passed through your territory.” But King Sihon refused to let them cross his territory. Instead, he mobilized his entire army and attacked Israel in the wilderness, engaging them in battle at Jahaz. But the Israelites slaughtered them with their swords and occupied their land from the Arnon River to the Jabbok River. They went only as far as the Ammonite border because the boundary of the Ammonites was fortified. So Israel captured all the towns of the Amorites and settled in them, including the city of Heshbon and its surrounding villages. Heshbon had been the capital of King Sihon of the Amorites. He had defeated a former Moabite king and seized all his land as far as the Arnon River. Therefore, the ancient poets wrote this about him: “Come to Heshbon and let it be rebuilt! Let the city of Sihon be restored. A fire flamed forth from Heshbon, a blaze from the city of Sihon. It burned the city of Ar in Moab; it destroyed the rulers of the Arnon heights. What sorrow awaits you, O people of Moab! You are finished, O worshipers of Chemosh! Chemosh has left his sons as refugees, his daughters as captives of Sihon, the Amorite king. We have utterly destroyed them, from Heshbon to Dibon. We have completely wiped them out as far away as Nophah and Medeba. ” So the people of Israel occupied the territory of the Amorites. After Moses sent men to explore the Jazer area, they captured all the towns in the region and drove out the Amorites who lived there. Then they turned and marched up the road to Bashan, but King Og of Bashan and all his people attacked them at Edrei. The Lord said to Moses, “Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you, along with all his people and his land. Do the same to him as you did to King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon.” And Israel killed King Og, his sons, and all his subjects; not a single survivor remained. Then Israel occupied their land.’

Numbers 21

Today’s reading next brings us into Amos 3

‘Listen to this message that the Lord has spoken against you, O people of Israel—against the entire family I rescued from Egypt: “From among all the families on the earth, I have been intimate with you alone. That is why I must punish you for all your sins.”

Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction? Does a lion ever roar in a thicket without first finding a victim? Does a young lion growl in its den without first catching its prey? Does a bird ever get caught in a trap that has no bait? Does a trap spring shut when there’s nothing to catch? When the ram’s horn blows a warning, shouldn’t the people be alarmed? Does disaster come to a city unless the Lord has planned it? Indeed, the Sovereign Lord never does anything until he reveals his plans to his servants the prophets. The lion has roared— so who isn’t frightened? The Sovereign Lord has spoken— so who can refuse to proclaim his message? Announce this to the leaders of Philistia and to the great ones of Egypt: “Take your seats now on the hills around Samaria, and witness the chaos and oppression in Israel.” “My people have forgotten how to do right,” says the Lord . “Their fortresses are filled with wealth taken by theft and violence. Therefore,” says the Sovereign Lord , “an enemy is coming! He will surround them and shatter their defenses. Then he will plunder all their fortresses.” This is what the Lord says: “A shepherd who tries to rescue a sheep from a lion’s mouth will recover only two legs or a piece of an ear. So it will be for the Israelites in Samaria lying on luxurious beds, and for the people of Damascus reclining on couches. “Now listen to this, and announce it throughout all Israel, ” says the Lord, the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies. “On the very day I punish Israel for its sins, I will destroy the pagan altars at Bethel. The horns of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground. And I will destroy the beautiful homes of the wealthy— their winter mansions and their summer houses, too— all their palaces filled with ivory,” says the Lord .’

Amos 3

and then Amos 4.

‘Listen to me, you fat cows living in Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy, and who are always calling to your husbands, “Bring us another drink!” The Sovereign Lord has sworn this by his holiness: “The time will come when you will be led away with hooks in your noses. Every last one of you will be dragged away like a fish on a hook! You will be led out through the ruins of the wall; you will be thrown from your fortresses, ” says the Lord . “Go ahead and offer sacrifices to the idols at Bethel. Keep on disobeying at Gilgal. Offer sacrifices each morning, and bring your tithes every three days. Present your bread made with yeast as an offering of thanksgiving. Then give your extra voluntary offerings so you can brag about it everywhere! This is the kind of thing you Israelites love to do,” says the Sovereign Lord .’

Amos 4:1-5

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting with Matthew 6

‘“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money. “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.’

Matthew 6:19-34

and then Romans 4.

‘Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it: “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.” Now, is this blessing only for the Jews, or is it also for uncircumcised Gentiles? Well, we have been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith. But how did this happen? Was he counted as righteous only after he was circumcised, or was it before he was circumcised? Clearly, God accepted Abraham before he was circumcised! Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that God had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous—even before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their faith. And Abraham is also the spiritual father of those who have been circumcised, but only if they have the same kind of faith Abraham had before he was circumcised.’

Romans 4:1-12

As we get to this point in the reading before closing in the book of Psalms, let’s pause to consider where we are at, where we are supposed to be, are they the same, are there new choices we need to make, are there better choices we need to make. Let’s pause and thank God for His Word that never returns void. Let’s receive the gift of forgiveness and power over death and sin through the resurrection power of Jesus!


Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 111.

‘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

What does generosity look like to you?


Is it about being kind to others? Is it about giving to others? Is it about time? Is it about money? Is it going over the top rather than doing the bare minimum or what is necessary?

Are you generous at home? Are you generous at work (or school if you are still in school)? Are you generous out on the streets? Are you generous at church?

Are you generous because it makes you happy or out of guilt or compulsion? Are you giving because you are always looking to give and make a difference? Ever read how God loves a hilarious giver? You may find it says cheerful but when you look up the original words in the Greek, you find hilaron which is the root for hilarious:

God
Θεός (Theos)
Noun – Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong’s Greek 2316: A deity, especially the supreme Divinity; figuratively, a magistrate; by Hebraism, very.

loves
ἀγαπᾷ (agapa)
Verb – Present Indicative Active – 3rd Person Singular
Strong’s Greek 25: To love, wish well to, take pleasure in, long for; denotes the love of reason, esteem. Perhaps from agan; to love.

a cheerful
ἱλαρὸν (hilaron)
Adjective – Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong’s Greek 2431: Joyous, cheerful, not grudging. From the same as hileos; propitious or merry, i.e. Prompt or willing.

giver.
δότην (dotēn)
Noun – Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong’s Greek 1395: A giver. From the base of didomi; a giver.

2 Corinthians 9:7

It’s not about how much or what we give, it is always a matter of the heart for God desires that we have a heart that is cheerful, joyous, prompt, ready to do anything.

So where are you at today? Are you living out life generously? Where is your heart at? Have you started a relationship with Jesus and had your heart transformed? Do you want to leave a comment and discuss this more? Why not get started in God’s Word and hear what He has to say? Why not look for a Bible believing, Bible preaching church to get fed by? Why not look for a place to serve others? What not start today?


Today’s reading starts in Numbers 15.

‘Then the Lord told Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. “When you finally settle in the land I am giving you, you will offer special gifts as a pleasing aroma to the Lord . These gifts may take the form of a burnt offering, a sacrifice to fulfill a vow, a voluntary offering, or an offering at any of your annual festivals, and they may be taken from your herds of cattle or your flocks of sheep and goats. When you present these offerings, you must also give the Lord a grain offering of two quarts of choice flour mixed with one quart of olive oil. For each lamb offered as a burnt offering or a special sacrifice, you must also present one quart of wine as a liquid offering. “If the sacrifice is a ram, give a grain offering of four quarts of choice flour mixed with a third of a gallon of olive oil, and give a third of a gallon of wine as a liquid offering. This will be a pleasing aroma to the Lord . “When you present a young bull as a burnt offering or as a sacrifice to fulfill a vow or as a peace offering to the Lord , you must also give a grain offering of six quarts of choice flour mixed with two quarts of olive oil, and give two quarts of wine as a liquid offering. This will be a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord . “Each sacrifice of a bull, ram, lamb, or young goat should be prepared in this way. Follow these instructions with each offering you present. All of you native-born Israelites must follow these instructions when you offer a special gift as a pleasing aroma to the Lord . And if any foreigners visit you or live among you and want to present a special gift as a pleasing aroma to the Lord , they must follow these same procedures. Native-born Israelites and foreigners are equal before the Lord and are subject to the same decrees. This is a permanent law for you, to be observed from generation to generation. The same instructions and regulations will apply both to you and to the foreigners living among you.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. “When you arrive in the land where I am taking you, and you eat the crops that grow there, you must set some aside as a sacred offering to the Lord . Present a cake from the first of the flour you grind, and set it aside as a sacred offering, as you do with the first grain from the threshing floor. Throughout the generations to come, you are to present a sacred offering to the Lord each year from the first of your ground flour. “But suppose you unintentionally fail to carry out all these commands that the Lord has given you through Moses. And suppose your descendants in the future fail to do everything the Lord has commanded through Moses. If the mistake was made unintentionally, and the community was unaware of it, the whole community must present a young bull for a burnt offering as a pleasing aroma to the Lord . It must be offered along with its prescribed grain offering and liquid offering and with one male goat for a sin offering. With it the priest will purify the whole community of Israel, making them right with the Lord , and they will be forgiven. For it was an unintentional sin, and they have corrected it with their offerings to the Lord —the special gift and the sin offering. The whole community of Israel will be forgiven, including the foreigners living among you, for all the people were involved in the sin. “If one individual commits an unintentional sin, the guilty person must bring a one-year-old female goat for a sin offering. The priest will sacrifice it to purify the guilty person before the Lord , and that person will be forgiven. These same instructions apply both to native-born Israelites and to the foreigners living among you. “But those who brazenly violate the Lord ’s will, whether native-born Israelites or foreigners, have blasphemed the Lord , and they must be cut off from the community. Since they have treated the Lord ’s word with contempt and deliberately disobeyed his command, they must be completely cut off and suffer the punishment for their guilt.” One day while the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they discovered a man gathering wood on the Sabbath day. The people who found him doing this took him before Moses, Aaron, and the rest of the community. They held him in custody because they did not know what to do with him. Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must be put to death! The whole community must stone him outside the camp.” So the whole community took the man outside the camp and stoned him to death, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: Throughout the generations to come you must make tassels for the hems of your clothing and attach them with a blue cord. When you see the tassels, you will remember and obey all the commands of the Lord instead of following your own desires and defiling yourselves, as you are prone to do. The tassels will help you remember that you must obey all my commands and be holy to your God. I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt that I might be your God. I am the Lord your God!”’

Numbers 15

Today’s reading continues into Solomon’s Song of Songs in Song of Songs 4

‘You are beautiful, my darling, beautiful beyond words. Your eyes are like doves behind your veil. Your hair falls in waves, like a flock of goats winding down the slopes of Gilead. Your teeth are as white as sheep, recently shorn and freshly washed. Your smile is flawless, each tooth matched with its twin. Your lips are like scarlet ribbon; your mouth is inviting. Your cheeks are like rosy pomegranates behind your veil. Your neck is as beautiful as the tower of David, jeweled with the shields of a thousand heroes. Your breasts are like two fawns, twin fawns of a gazelle grazing among the lilies. Before the dawn breezes blow and the night shadows flee, I will hurry to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense. You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way. Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from Lebanon. Come down from Mount Amana, from the peaks of Senir and Hermon, where the lions have their dens and leopards live among the hills. You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride. You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes, with a single jewel of your necklace. Your love delights me, my treasure, my bride. Your love is better than wine, your perfume more fragrant than spices. Your lips are as sweet as nectar, my bride. Honey and milk are under your tongue. Your clothes are scented like the cedars of Lebanon. You are my private garden, my treasure, my bride, a secluded spring, a hidden fountain. Your thighs shelter a paradise of pomegranates with rare spices— henna with nard, nard and saffron, fragrant calamus and cinnamon, with all the trees of frankincense, myrrh, and aloes, and every other lovely spice. You are a garden fountain, a well of fresh water streaming down from Lebanon’s mountains.

Awake, north wind! Rise up, south wind! Blow on my garden and spread its fragrance all around. Come into your garden, my love; taste its finest fruits.’

Song of Songs 4

and concluding in Song of Songs 5

‘I have entered my garden, my treasure, my bride! I gather myrrh with my spices and eat honeycomb with my honey. I drink wine with my milk. Oh, lover and beloved, eat and drink! Yes, drink deeply of your love!

I slept, but my heart was awake, when I heard my lover knocking and calling: “Open to me, my treasure, my darling, my dove, my perfect one. My head is drenched with dew, my hair with the dampness of the night.” But I responded, “I have taken off my robe. Should I get dressed again? I have washed my feet. Should I get them soiled?” My lover tried to unlatch the door, and my heart thrilled within me. I jumped up to open the door for my love, and my hands dripped with perfume. My fingers dripped with lovely myrrh as I pulled back the bolt. I opened to my lover, but he was gone! My heart sank. I searched for him but could not find him anywhere. I called to him, but there was no reply. The night watchmen found me as they made their rounds. They beat and bruised me and stripped off my veil, those watchmen on the walls. Make this promise, O women of Jerusalem— If you find my lover, tell him I am weak with love.

Why is your lover better than all others, O woman of rare beauty? What makes your lover so special that we must promise this?’

Song of Songs 5:1-9

Today’s reading next brings us into the New Testament starting with Matthew 4

‘When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he left Judea and returned to Galilee. He went first to Nazareth, then left there and moved to Capernaum, beside the Sea of Galilee, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. This fulfilled what God said through the prophet Isaiah: “In the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali, beside the sea, beyond the Jordan River, in Galilee where so many Gentiles live, the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.” From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.

Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all. Large crowds followed him wherever he went—people from Galilee, the Ten Towns, Jerusalem, from all over Judea, and from east of the Jordan River.’

Matthew 4:12+25

and continuing into Romans 2

‘You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.’

Romans 2:1-11

As we meditate on where we are at in our hearts and our minds and we consider how generous God has been to us and how His grace is more than enough, let’s pause and pray.


Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 106

‘Praise the Lord ! Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord ? Who can ever praise him enough? There is joy for those who deal justly with others and always do what is right. Remember me, Lord , when you show favor to your people; come near and rescue me. Let me share in the prosperity of your chosen ones. Let me rejoice in the joy of your people; let me praise you with those who are your heritage. Like our ancestors, we have sinned. We have done wrong! We have acted wickedly! Our ancestors in Egypt were not impressed by the Lord ’s miraculous deeds. They soon forgot his many acts of kindness to them. Instead, they rebelled against him at the Red Sea. Even so, he saved them— to defend the honor of his name and to demonstrate his mighty power. He commanded the Red Sea to dry up. He led Israel across the sea as if it were a desert. So he rescued them from their enemies and redeemed them from their foes. Then the water returned and covered their enemies; not one of them survived. Then his people believed his promises. Then they sang his praise. Yet how quickly they forgot what he had done! They wouldn’t wait for his counsel! In the wilderness their desires ran wild, testing God’s patience in that dry wasteland. So he gave them what they asked for, but he sent a plague along with it. The people in the camp were jealous of Moses and envious of Aaron, the Lord ’s holy priest. Because of this, the earth opened up; it swallowed Dathan and buried Abiram and the other rebels. Fire fell upon their followers; a flame consumed the wicked. The people made a calf at Mount Sinai ; they bowed before an image made of gold. They traded their glorious God for a statue of a grass-eating bull. They forgot God, their savior, who had done such great things in Egypt— such wonderful things in the land of Ham, such awesome deeds at the Red Sea. So he declared he would destroy them. But Moses, his chosen one, stepped between the Lord and the people. He begged him to turn from his anger and not destroy them. The people refused to enter the pleasant land, for they wouldn’t believe his promise to care for them. Instead, they grumbled in their tents and refused to obey the Lord . Therefore, he solemnly swore that he would kill them in the wilderness, that he would scatter their descendants among the nations, exiling them to distant lands. Then our ancestors joined in the worship of Baal at Peor; they even ate sacrifices offered to the dead! They angered the Lord with all these things, so a plague broke out among them. But Phinehas had the courage to intervene, and the plague was stopped. So he has been regarded as a righteous man ever since that time. At Meribah, too, they angered the Lord , causing Moses serious trouble. They made Moses angry, and he spoke foolishly. Israel failed to destroy the nations in the land, as the Lord had commanded them. Instead, they mingled among the pagans and adopted their evil customs. They worshiped their idols, which led to their downfall. They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters. By sacrificing them to the idols of Canaan, they polluted the land with murder. They defiled themselves by their evil deeds, and their love of idols was adultery in the Lord ’s sight. That is why the Lord ’s anger burned against his people, and he abhorred his own special possession. He handed them over to pagan nations, and they were ruled by those who hated them. Their enemies crushed them and brought them under their cruel power. Again and again he rescued them, but they chose to rebel against him, and they were finally destroyed by their sin. Even so, he pitied them in their distress and listened to their cries. He remembered his covenant with them and relented because of his unfailing love. He even caused their captors to treat them with kindness. Save us, O Lord our God! Gather us back from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name and rejoice and praise you. Praise the Lord , the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting! Let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord !’

Psalms 106

Are you ready for a second chance? Are you ready for another change?


What if you got the message that you can get a do over rather than what happened? What if you got the message that you are worth a second chance? What if you got the message that your past doesn’t define you and so you will be getting a second chance to make a first impression? Did you know that God is the god of the second chances? Did you know that God is the god of the third, forth, … chances? Now the key is how will you respond when you need another chance? Will you be too proud to apologize? Will you be too proud to admin you made a mistake? Will you be too proud to accept responsibility? Will you be too proud to turn back to God and admin you made a mistake? Don’t be robbed by the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life which are of this world, instead receive what is from God! Will you be humble and admit your mistake? Will you be humble and ask for forgiveness? Will you be humble and turn back to God and ask for another chance? Ever read the words that “if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” Do you want to carry that guilt or shame around with you forever? Why not give it up to God so that you can be forgiven and made clean to live the rest of your life? Not sure what to do? Ask God for wisdom for He will give it to you without finding fault. So are you ready for your second chance? What will you do with it? Let’s consider this as we read from today’s reading for the day.


Today’s reading starts out in Exodus 34.

‘Then the Lord told Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones. I will write on them the same words that were on the tablets you smashed. Be ready in the morning to climb up Mount Sinai and present yourself to me on the top of the mountain. No one else may come with you. In fact, no one is to appear anywhere on the mountain. Do not even let the flocks or herds graze near the mountain.” So Moses chiseled out two tablets of stone like the first ones. Early in the morning he climbed Mount Sinai as the Lord had commanded him, and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. Then the Lord came down in a cloud and stood there with him; and he called out his own name, Yahweh. The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The Lord ! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected— even children in the third and fourth generations.” Moses immediately threw himself to the ground and worshiped. And he said, “O Lord, if it is true that I have found favor with you, then please travel with us. Yes, this is a stubborn and rebellious people, but please forgive our iniquity and our sins. Claim us as your own special possession.” The Lord replied, “Listen, I am making a covenant with you in the presence of all your people. I will perform miracles that have never been performed anywhere in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people around you will see the power of the Lord —the awesome power I will display for you. But listen carefully to everything I command you today. Then I will go ahead of you and drive out the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. “Be very careful never to make a treaty with the people who live in the land where you are going. If you do, you will follow their evil ways and be trapped. Instead, you must break down their pagan altars, smash their sacred pillars, and cut down their Asherah poles. You must worship no other gods, for the Lord , whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you. “You must not make a treaty of any kind with the people living in the land. They lust after their gods, offering sacrifices to them. They will invite you to join them in their sacrificial meals, and you will go with them. Then you will accept their daughters, who sacrifice to other gods, as wives for your sons. And they will seduce your sons to commit adultery against me by worshiping other gods. You must not make any gods of molten metal for yourselves. “You must celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast, just as I commanded you. Celebrate this festival annually at the appointed time in early spring, in the month of Abib, for that is the anniversary of your departure from Egypt. “The firstborn of every animal belongs to me, including the firstborn males from your herds of cattle and your flocks of sheep and goats. A firstborn donkey may be bought back from the Lord by presenting a lamb or young goat in its place. But if you do not buy it back, you must break its neck. However, you must buy back every firstborn son. “No one may appear before me without an offering. “You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but on the seventh day you must stop working, even during the seasons of plowing and harvest. “You must celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the first crop of the wheat harvest, and celebrate the Festival of the Final Harvest at the end of the harvest season. Three times each year every man in Israel must appear before the Sovereign, the Lord , the God of Israel. I will drive out the other nations ahead of you and expand your territory, so no one will covet and conquer your land while you appear before the Lord your God three times each year. “You must not offer the blood of my sacrificial offerings together with any baked goods containing yeast. And none of the meat of the Passover sacrifice may be kept over until the next morning. “As you harvest your crops, bring the very best of the first harvest to the house of the Lord your God. “You must not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down all these instructions, for they represent the terms of the covenant I am making with you and with Israel.” Moses remained there on the mountain with the Lord forty days and forty nights. In all that time he ate no bread and drank no water. And the Lord wrote the terms of the covenant—the Ten Commandments —on the stone tablets. When Moses came down Mount Sinai carrying the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, he wasn’t aware that his face had become radiant because he had spoken to the Lord . So when Aaron and the people of Israel saw the radiance of Moses’ face, they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called out to them and asked Aaron and all the leaders of the community to come over, and he talked with them. Then all the people of Israel approached him, and Moses gave them all the instructions the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai. When Moses finished speaking with them, he covered his face with a veil. But whenever he went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with the Lord , he would remove the veil until he came out again. Then he would give the people whatever instructions the Lord had given him, and the people of Israel would see the radiant glow of his face. So he would put the veil over his face until he returned to speak with the Lord .’

Exodus 34

Let’s be prepared to receive God! Let’s spend time with God today so that when people see us they can tell that we have met with God! Let’s walk in the grace and mercy of God! Let’s live out today overflowing the love of God!

Today’s reading then brings us to Job 28.

‘“People know where to mine silver and how to refine gold. They know where to dig iron from the earth and how to smelt copper from rock. They know how to shine light in the darkness and explore the farthest regions of the earth as they search in the dark for ore. They sink a mine shaft into the earth far from where anyone lives. They descend on ropes, swinging back and forth. Food is grown on the earth above, but down below, the earth is melted as by fire. Here the rocks contain precious lapis lazuli, and the dust contains gold. These are treasures no bird of prey can see, no falcon’s eye observe. No wild animal has walked upon these treasures; no lion has ever set his paw there. People know how to tear apart flinty rocks and overturn the roots of mountains. They cut tunnels in the rocks and uncover precious stones. They dam up the trickling streams and bring to light the hidden treasures. “But do people know where to find wisdom? Where can they find understanding? No one knows where to find it, for it is not found among the living. ‘It is not here,’ says the ocean. ‘Nor is it here,’ says the sea. It cannot be bought with gold. It cannot be purchased with silver. It’s worth more than all the gold of Ophir, greater than precious onyx or lapis lazuli. Wisdom is more valuable than gold and crystal. It cannot be purchased with jewels mounted in fine gold. Coral and jasper are worthless in trying to get it. The price of wisdom is far above rubies. Precious peridot from Ethiopia cannot be exchanged for it. It’s worth more than the purest gold. “But do people know where to find wisdom? Where can they find understanding? It is hidden from the eyes of all humanity. Even the sharp-eyed birds in the sky cannot discover it. Destruction and Death say, ‘We’ve heard only rumors of where wisdom can be found.’ “God alone understands the way to wisdom; he knows where it can be found, for he looks throughout the whole earth and sees everything under the heavens. He decided how hard the winds should blow and how much rain should fall. He made the laws for the rain and laid out a path for the lightning. Then he saw wisdom and evaluated it. He set it in place and examined it thoroughly. And this is what he says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.’”’

Job 28

Let’s not try to figure it all out on our own but instead let’s receive understanding from God!

Today’s reading then takes us into the New Testament with Mark 5.

‘So they arrived at the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones. When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him. With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come out of the man, you evil spirit.” Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?” And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.” Then the evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place. There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.” So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water. The herdsmen fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. People rushed out to see what had happened. A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. Then those who had seen what happened told the others about the demon-possessed man and the pigs. And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone. As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him. But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them.’

Mark 5:1-20

Today’s reading then brings us to 1 Corinthians 11.

‘I am so glad that you always keep me in your thoughts, and that you are following the teachings I passed on to you. But there is one thing I want you to know: The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. A man dishonors his head if he covers his head while praying or prophesying. But a woman dishonors her head if she prays or prophesies without a covering on her head, for this is the same as shaving her head. Yes, if she refuses to wear a head covering, she should cut off all her hair! But since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, she should wear a covering. A man should not wear anything on his head when worshiping, for man is made in God’s image and reflects God’s glory. And woman reflects man’s glory. For the first man didn’t come from woman, but the first woman came from man. And man was not made for woman, but woman was made for man. For this reason, and because the angels are watching, a woman should wear a covering on her head to show she is under authority. But among the Lord’s people, women are not independent of men, and men are not independent of women. For although the first woman came from man, every other man was born from a woman, and everything comes from God. Judge for yourselves. Is it right for a woman to pray to God in public without covering her head? Isn’t it obvious that it’s disgraceful for a man to have long hair? And isn’t long hair a woman’s pride and joy? For it has been given to her as a covering. But if anyone wants to argue about this, I simply say that we have no other custom than this, and neither do God’s other churches.’

1 Corinthians 11:2-16

As today’s reading closes in the book of Psalms, let’s take a moment to meditate on God’s Word and receive the words from Psalms 64.

‘O God, listen to my complaint. Protect my life from my enemies’ threats. Hide me from the plots of this evil mob, from this gang of wrongdoers. They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their bitter words like arrows. They shoot from ambush at the innocent, attacking suddenly and fearlessly. They encourage each other to do evil and plan how to set their traps in secret. “Who will ever notice?” they ask. As they plot their crimes, they say, “We have devised the perfect plan!” Yes, the human heart and mind are cunning. But God himself will shoot them with his arrows, suddenly striking them down. Their own tongues will ruin them, and all who see them will shake their heads in scorn. Then everyone will be afraid; they will proclaim the mighty acts of God and realize all the amazing things he does. The godly will rejoice in the Lord and find shelter in him. And those who do what is right will praise him.’

Psalms 64

UPHOLDING WOMEN IN CRISIS … (THE BIBLE’S IMPACT ON ACTS OF CHARITY) [DEC 11]


Are you living out your today by sharing God’s mercy and grace with others? Are you living out your life by sharing God’s love and hope with others? Are you living out your life being God’s salt and light for others? Are you willing to step up and step out in order to make a difference in the lives of all the people God has put around you to pour into? What is your focus? What is your purpose? What is your intention? Will you speak the truth in love? Will you live out your life in a way that isn’t about deception but sharing the truth and the love of God? Will you wait upon the Lord when things get tough and allow Him to renew your strength? Will you allow God to be the one who brings justice to the situation? Let’s pursue God and His will and His purpose without swaying to the left or the right!

Today’s reading comes to us from Isaiah 30:

Do Not Go Down to Egypt

1 “Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord,
“who carry out a plan, but not mine,
and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit,
that they may add sin to sin;
2 who set out to go down to Egypt,
without asking for my direction,
to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh
and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
3 Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame,
and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.
4 For though his officials are at Zoan
and his envoys reach Hanes,
5 everyone comes to shame
through a people that cannot profit them,
that brings neither help nor profit,
but shame and disgrace.”

6An oracle on the beasts of the Negeb.

Through a land of trouble and anguish,
from where come the lioness and the lion,
the adder and the flying fiery serpent,
they carry their riches on the backs of donkeys,
and their treasures on the humps of camels,
to a people that cannot profit them.
7 Egypt’s help is worthless and empty;
therefore I have called her
“Rahab who sits still.”

A Rebellious People

8 And now, go, write it before them on a tablet
and inscribe it in a book,
that it may be for the time to come
as a witness forever.
9 For they are a rebellious people,
lying children,
children unwilling to hear
the instruction of the Lord;
10 who say to the seers, “Do not see,”
and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right;
speak to us smooth things,
prophesy illusions,
11 leave the way, turn aside from the path,
let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”
12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel,
“Because you despise this word
and trust in oppression and perverseness
and rely on them,
13 therefore this iniquity shall be to you
like a breach in a high wall, bulging out and about to collapse,
whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant;
14 and its breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel
that is smashed so ruthlessly
that among its fragments not a shard is found
with which to take fire from the hearth,
or to dip up water out of the cistern.”
15 For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
But you were unwilling, 16and you said,
“No! We will flee upon horses”;
therefore you shall flee away;
and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”;
therefore your pursuers shall be swift.
17 A thousand shall flee at the threat of one;
at the threat of five you shall flee,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,
like a signal on a hill.

The Lord Will Be Gracious

18 Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.


19For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. 20And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. 22Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!”
23And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your livestock will graze in large pastures, 24and the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25And on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the Lord binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.

27 Behold, the name of the Lord comes from afar,
burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke;
his lips are full of fury,
and his tongue is like a devouring fire;
28 his breath is like an overflowing stream
that reaches up to the neck;
to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction,
and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads astray.

29You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel. 30And the Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones. 31The Assyrians will be terror-stricken at the voice of the Lord, when he strikes with his rod. 32And every stroke of the appointed staff that the Lord lays on them will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres. Battling with brandished arm, he will fight with them. 33For a burning place has long been prepared; indeed, for the king it is made ready, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it.

–Isaiah 30

Let’s take hold of God’s Word right where we are at and receive His wisdom and direction, His instruction and correction so that in every thought, word, and action He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name, Amen.

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on Acts of Charity on the subject of Upholding Women in Crisis. We learn that it points to an organization that is based on and inspired by today’s reading from verse 18 which reads:


‘ Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.’

Isaiah 30:18

The organization is called Isaiah 30:18 Ministries. Looking up the organization to learn more about it I found this in their own words:

Power Up with Isaiah 30:18 Ministries
“Women Helping Women in Crisis”
Isaiah 30:18 Ministries is a non-denominational women’s ministry dedicated to helping women through crisis moments in life.  We provide mentoring, training, classes and programs all designed to empower women to rise up and become successful in every area of life.
Our programs are available both in the marketplace to women in business, in the church in the form of Bible and book studies and women’s conferences and other events, in the prison system and in working with women who struggle with addictive behaviors.
We believe in true change coming from within as we learn how to think of and view ourselves and the world around us differently.
We have a team of dedicated teachers and mentors who give of their time, talent and resources to empower women in all areas of life.
We are heavily invested in working inside the women’s correctional institutions in our state as both mentors and teachers and are creating programs to help the women as they re-enter society.
Check out our most current project underway, the opening of The Harbor Home, both a live-in and outpatient training center for women seeking help with addictive behaviors and those leaving incarceration seeking to establish a solid foundation with which to begin their life of freedom.
We believe in equipping women to live with power, passion and purpose in everything that we do.
Volunteer opportunities are available in the Central Arkansas area and we welcome you to contact us for more information and to discover how you can become a member of the Isaiah 30:18 Ministry Team…women of all ages, races, denominations and socio-economic backgrounds…coming together to make a difference in our community.

About Isaiah 30:18 Ministries

Today’s devotional points out that this organization helps women during times of crisis which includes women in prison and battling addiction. It goes on to speak out this ministry looks to live out Isaiah 30:18’s message of offering God’s mercy and grace to women in crisis. Today’s devotional closes by sharing how this organization which is based in Arkansas provides “Harbor Home project” to support women in outpatient or live-in assistance while they recover from addition or transition back into the community as they exit prison.

Everyone is going through something. Everyone is in some type of need. Will you seek the need and fill it? Will you notice the need and do something about it? Will you be God’s hands extended to help with a hand up? Will you be God’s arms of embrace to support and encourage? Will you be Jesus with skin on to people who may never step into a church in order that they may come to know and realize the reality of Jesus in their lives? Is today your day to start? Is today your day to try? Don’t lose hope! Don’t give up! Fear Not, Just Believe!


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, Thank You Lord for this new day. Thank You for Your Word that never returns void. Thank You for allowing me to step up and step into Your calling and Your plan for my life. Thank You Lord for eyes to see and ears to hear when there are new people. Thank You Lord for eyes to see and ears to hear when there are needing people. Help me today Lord to be observant and sensitive to Your Holy Spirit so that in it I will respond in a way that will bring You all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

DESMOND TUTU ON APARTHEID…(The Bible’s Impact on Law & Order) [Oct 14]


Ever been wondering about a situation and praying about it to understand what to do? Ever had an experience where the moment you prayed it the answer was immediately there? It is always amazing to me the grace of God to know exactly what to do and how to respond. I remember back in 2013 when contemplating what to do about my career and asking God if it was time for me to move on (that morning I had read about Peter getting out of the boat and had asked if that job was the boat and if I was to get out) and I received an incredible response. Imagine as pondering career development, career growth, asking God what to do and then last night while serving during a service that same person happened to be preaching a message on Sustaining Grace and was closing her message with a story that spoke the message “stay in the boat“. It affirmed I am in the right place and now I continue to pray for wisdom and discernment about my next steps in order to grow and develop and be the servant leader God has called me to be.

Today’s reading comes to us from 1 Kings 21


Naboth’s Vineyard

1Now Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. 2And after this Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house, and I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money.” 3But Naboth said to Ahab, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.” 4And Ahab went into his house vexed and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him, for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food.
5But Jezebel his wife came to him and said to him, “Why is your spirit so vexed that you eat no food?” 6And he said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money, or else, if it please you, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ And he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.'” 7And Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now govern Israel? Arise and eat bread and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”
8So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, and she sent the letters to the elders and the leaders who lived with Naboth in his city. 9And she wrote in the letters, “Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth at the head of the people. 10And set two worthless men opposite him, and let them bring a charge against him, saying, ‘You have cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him to death.” 11And the men of his city, the elders and the leaders who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them. As it was written in the letters that she had sent to them, 12they proclaimed a fast and set Naboth at the head of the people. 13And the two worthless men came in and sat opposite him. And the worthless men brought a charge against Naboth in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death with stones. 14Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned; he is dead.”
15As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, “Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money, for Naboth is not alive, but dead.” 16And as soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab arose to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.

The Lord Condemns Ahab

17Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 18″Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who is in Samaria; behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone to take possession. 19And you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Have you killed and also taken possession?”‘ And you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: “In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your own blood.”‘”
20Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” He answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do what is evil in the sight of the Lord. 21Behold, I will bring disaster upon you. I will utterly burn you up, and will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel. 22And I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the anger to which you have provoked me, and because you have made Israel to sin. 23And of Jezebel the Lord also said, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel within the walls of Jezreel.’ 24Anyone belonging to Ahab who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the open country the birds of the heavens shall eat.”

Ahab’s Repentance

25(There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited. 26He acted very abominably in going after idols, as the Amorites had done, whom the Lord cast out before the people of Israel.)
27And when Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his flesh and fasted and lay in sackcloth and went about dejectedly. 28And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 29″Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster upon his house.”

1 Kings 21

So consider the heart, the intent, the thoughts. Consider your counsel, your friends, your circle of influence. Are they trying to help you get better or help you get what you think you want? Are they trying to do what is right or what is desired in the moment? Ever considered what it is God wants over what you think you want? Ever considered the value of others rather than being selfish and only thinking about what you want? Look here and see what happened in the case of Ahab and Jezebel. Look and consider the confrontation that happened through Elijah. When confronted do you repent or do you continue to press for your way?


Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on Law & Order on the subject of Desmond Tutu on apartheid. This hits home for me as when on a multi-cultural exchange in 8th grade, I was paired with a family from South Africa who had left because of apartheid and educated me as they continued to fight against it. By the time I was going home, I was ready to march in the streets for the rights of the people. In today’s reading we learn about how Bishop Desmond Tutu was a prominent human rights leader who played a significant role in the ending of apartheid. We learn how today’s reading from 1 Kings 21 inspired him in his argument to religious leaders to work with civic leaders for improved human rights. He said:

Elijah confronted the king about his injustice to Naboth, a nonentity as far as the king was concerned but a person who was championed by God (1 Kings 21); Nathan was not afraid 10 convict David of his sinfulness (2 Sam. 12). This kind of involvement of religion with politics and the habit of religious leaders to speak into the socio-political and economic situation can be attested to as standard practice in the Bible, which provided our mandate and paradigm.

Crucible of Fire: The Church Confronts Apartheid: Essays by Leading South African Christians (p.159)

So where will you stand? How will you live? What is important to you? Will you press in and press on with God’s sustaining Grace? Will you allow God to sustain you with his grace when you are tempted? Will you allow God to sustain you with his grace when you are tired? Will you allow God to sustain you with his grace when you are troubled? Will you make the decision having received God’s saving grace in order to appropriate His sustaining grace? It means you have to stay in the boat!


Have you decided to receive the gift of salvation and God’s saving grace?

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 for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord that You opened the door for me to serve this weekend and to get to take hold of the incredible message of Your Sustaining Grace. Help me today Lord to take hold of it and walk in it so that in and throughout my days You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory, in Jesus’s name. Amen.

In a time of need?


Life is filled with ups and downs. Life is filled with joy and pain. Life is filled with hardship and easy. Life we have been warned will have troubles. Life’s troubles we have been promised can be overcome. Life we have been warned will have trials. Life’s trials we have been directed to consider as pure joy because we know that whenever we face trials of many kinds,  that the testing of our faith produces perseverance and that when we let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. The key is that in those times of need, where will you turn? how will you respond?

Today’s reading comes from Hebrews 4 and gives us wisdom into those questions…

Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,'” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said, “They shall not enter my rest.” Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Jesus the Great High Priest

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4

The answer is Jesus! It is by turning to Jesus that we can find rest! It is in Jesus that we can find confidence! It is in Jesus that we can receive mercy! It is in Jesus that we can find grace! It is through Jesus that we can be forgiven!

The primary verse from today’s devotional is Hebrews 4:16

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

–from Hebrews 4:16

Today’s devotional from the Global Impact Bible on human rights speaks to “Abraham Lincoln’s call for national humility”. He called for a national day of fasting. He called on all citizens “to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.” The call was for humility in the nation, for people to turn back to God in repentance and ask for forgiveness. He pointed to Hebrews 4:16 in order to encourage the people to approach the throne of God, His throne of grace. It influenced Abraham Lincoln to say:

And I do earnestly recommend to all the People, and especially to all ministers and teachers of religion of all denominations, and to all heads of families, to observe and keep that day according to their several creeds and modes of worship, in all humility and with all religious solemnity, to the end that the united prayer of the nation may ascend to the Throne of Grace and bring down plentiful blessings upon our Country.

from Proclamation of a Day of Fasting
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
A PROCLAMATION.

We don’t need to go about this things called life alone! We don’t have to worry! We just need to turn back to God! We need to invite Jesus into our lives at the mercy seat! We need to give up our lives as living sacrifices to Him! As we walk out this week of the passion and consider all that took place to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way and the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for you and for me by taking the brutal beatings even though He was innocent, being crucified even though He was innocent, and dying on the cross. We can take heart, we can have hope because on the third day He rose from the dead, just as He had promised. So we have an intercessor, a high priest, that we can turn to and surrender our hurts and pains, our hearts and lives so that we can find peace, we can find rest, and we can find hope for today! Put your trust in Jesus! Have faith in Him! Don’t be robbed of the hope and the peace by the lies of the devil and the world! Put your trust in Jesus!

Will you take hold of what President Lincoln said? Will you take time to turn back to God? Will you take time to build the relationship that you were created to have with Jesus? Will you live the rest of your life in relationship with Jesus? Will you allow His anointing, His power, His truth, His love, His courage, His boldness, to fill you to overflowing so that you can be salt and light into the world around you? No matter what comes your way will you be able to say “the joy of the Lord is my strength” so “Happy Today”? Even in the trials taking hold of God’s Word telling us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds and still saying “Happy Today”? Let’s keep the main thing the main thing and let Jesus be the center! be the foundation! be the cornerstone! So that we can live our lives knowing that the battle is over, the victory is ours, because of our relationship with Jesus and His love for us!


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord that You make a way when there doesn’t seem to be a way. I thank You Lord that Your ways are higher than our ways. I thank You Lord that You sent Jesus to make a way for us to be reconciled back to You. I thank You Lord that through Jesus we find grace, mercy, and salvation. I thank You Lord that You can take a hard-hearted heart and soften it to receive Jesus. I thank You Lord that You provide Your Word as a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. I thank You Lord that Your Word is alive and active. I thank You Lord that Your Word sharp and can cut to the marrow of the situation piercing the division of soul and spirit. I thank You Lord that Your Word is able to cut through in order to bring discernment of thoughts and intentions of the heart. Help me today I pray in Jesus’ name so that in and through it all, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory. Amen.

How will you live your life?


Will you live it to the full? Will you live it with purpose? Will you live it with urgency?

Remember why Jesus came? Remember how He lived His life with purpose? Remember the urgency with which He lived His life so that God’s plan could be fulfilled?

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Today’s reading comes from Ephesians 2…

By Grace Through Faith

‘And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. ‘

One in Christ

‘Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. ‘

–from Ephesians 2

It goes beyond have to and need to and becomes want to and get to. It’s not about the works we do that we are saved or get different treatment. It’s by the fruits of the Spirit that we live our lives doing good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do. We do it because we want to rather than how in the past the pressures said we had to. We do it because we get to rather than how in the past out of compulsion or rules we needed to. Let’s live out today in a living relationship with Jesus! Let’s go beyond going through the motions and step up and step into the overflow of the Spirit so that we can live with the joy of the Lord as our strength and pour love, joy, peace, hope into the world around us! Let’s allow God’s anointing to fill us up to overflowing so that others may get to feel the presence of God because of the overflow work of the Spirit in and through our lives.

Today’s devotional from the Global Impact Bible on human rights focuses on Ephesians 2:8-10 and speaks to Alexis de Tocqueville on equality before God.

The Bible says:

‘For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. ‘ — Ephesians 2:8-10

Today’s devotional speaks of Alexis de Tocqueville who wrote a classic book about American society titled Democracy in America (1835) which speaks to the pervasiveness of the teaching of the Bible. It calls out how “Christianity, which has made all men equal before God, will not flinch to see all citizens equal before the law.” Although history shows various injustices the Biblical ideas spoken of in Ephesians 2 compel Americans towards a more just society.

We need to help remove or reduce Biblical illiteracy. We need to go beyond just knowing God but also making Him known. We need to take hold of the urgency and either be in a Bible study or be leading a Bible study to help with this cause. God sent out the disciples to share the good news (gospel) and to make disciples. So let’s pick up that mantel and share God’s Word with the world around us!



Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this day and for Your Word that never returns void. I thank You for Your promises which are true. I thank You for the wisdom that leads me and guides me. Help me today Lord to find a way to get started in doing what I wrote in the paragraph above. Help me to put together a plan and start. It may start small but I pray that You will help me to grow it for the glory of Your kingdom in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

So how will you treat others?


Or better yet, how are you treating others? What is motivating you? What is directing you? What is the cause for the behavior you have? Is it positive? Is it encouraging? Is it loving? Is it inspirational? Is it shining light? Is it pouring salt? Is it making a difference?

Ever heard of “The Golden Rule”?

Mar 14 - Matthew 7 - Golden Rule - John Newton on Slavery v12

Well today’s reading comes out of Matthew 7 and speaks wisdom for us to consider and apply today. We need to go beyond being hearers and readers of the words and start applying what we learn so we can be doers of the Word!

Judging Others

1“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
6“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

Ask, and It Will Be Given

7“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

The Golden Rule

12“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
13“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

A Tree and Its Fruit

15“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

I Never Knew You

21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Build Your House on the Rock

24“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.25And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

The Authority of Jesus

28And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
–from Matthew 7

So are you living a life of pouring out love on others rather than judging them? Are you being generous to others as God has been generous to you? Are you treating others in a way that will show them God’s love for them? God is love and love is…

Remember that love never fails

Are you living a life where people can see the good fruit? A life without thorns? A life without thistles? Are that is producing good fruit for the glory of our God so that when people see you they will glorify Your Father in heaven? Are you Jesus with skin on to the people who may never enter a church but have you in their lives to make Jesus known to them?

Are you living beyond routine? Are you living beyond religion? Are you living a life that is in relationship with Jesus? Are you making time and taking time to spend with Him and talk to Him throughout your day? Are you praying without ceasing? He will never leave you nor forsake you – so all you have to do is is ask and it will be given to you, need wisdom He will give it generously without finding fault. Will you knock in order to see if God will open that door or point you to a different one? Realize that if God opens the door, nobody can close it! Will you seek what you have need of? Will you seek God’s will? Take hold of God’s Word that never returns void!

Will you choose today to build your life upon God’s Word? Will you choose to spend time in God’s Word? Will you meditate on God’s Word? Will you receive the instruction, the direction, and the wisdom from God’s Word?

If not now then when? If not you then who? If not here then where? If not this way then what way? If not by Jesus then how?

Today’s devotional still on the topic of human rights from The Global Impact Bible speaks to John Newton on slavery and points to Matthew 7:12. John Newton went from being a slave-ship captain to a minister and wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace” and many other hymns. He went from being a slave-ship captain to passionate anti-slavery advocate. His passion lead him to write a book on the horrors of the slave trade called “Thoughts upon the African Slave Trade“. He worked to abolish british slave trade by working with politician William Wilberforce with the passing of the Slave Trade Act in 1807.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this incredible new day. I praise You for another day to live out Your plans and purposes for my life. Help me today Lord to live my life to the full so that in and through it all You will be glorified. Help me today Lord to bear good fruit that will point people to You. Help me Lord to treat people as You want them to be treated so that they too may come to know Your love in and through my life. Help me Lord that through my works today others may seem them and praise You, my Father in heaven. Lord I give this day into Your hands in hopes that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory 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.


 

Ever heard of the “Five Solas”


Sola = Alone or Only

Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”) Sola Fide (“faith alone”) Sola Gratia (“grace alone”) Solus Christus (“Christ alone”) Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”)

Justification is the doctrine that God pardons, accepts, and declares a sinner to be “just” on the basis of Christ’s righteousness (Rom 3:24-26; 4:25; 5:15-21) which results in God’s peace (Rom 5:1), His Spirit (Rom 8:4), and salvation. Justification is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ apart from all works and merit of the sinner (cf. Rom 1:18-3:28). –from http://www.theopedia.com/Justification

Faith alone (Sola Fide)

Justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God’s perfect justice. Our justification does not rest on any merit to be found in us, nor upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ’s righteousness in us, nor that an institution claiming to be a church that denies or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate church. — from http://www.theopedia.com/five-solas

Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura)

The inerrant Scripture (the Bible) is the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured. It is denied that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian’s conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation. –from http://www.theopedia.com/five-solas

Christ alone (Solus Christus)

Our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father. It is denied that the gospel is preached if Christ’s substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited. –from http://www.theopedia.com/five-solas

Grace alone (Sola Gratia)

In salvation we are rescued from God’s wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life. It is denied that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature. –from http://www.theopedia.com/five-solas

Glory to God alone (Soli Deo Gloria)

It is affirmed that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God’s glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone. It is denied that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem or self- fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel. –from http://www.theopedia.com/five-solas


As we consider and reflect on the things that God’s Word tells us – letting the Bible interpret the Bible…

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. –from Ephesians 2

We see this in both old and new testament readings…

And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. –from Genesis 15

and

4“Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked.
But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God. –from Habakkuk 2
So we see the key is faith in God!
We need to be standing on the Word of God! We need to take a stand for the Word of God!
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. –from 2 Timothy 3
So let’s live out our lives so that we shine these truths so that God will receive all the praise, all the honor, and all the glory in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Adversity…


Ever faced a hard time? Ever wondered how you would get through it? Ever wondered why did it have to happen to you? Ever come out the other side stronger? Ever come out the other side smarter? Ever come out the other side wiser? Ever come out the other side and thinking that you would never wish this upon someone else but with all that you learned through it you wouldn’t give up the experience?

That happened to me and the lesson learned for me was the power of forgiveness! It was a hard time when I had to deal with lies, deception, trickery, misrepresentation, mistreatment, and more but had to learn the hard way how I should have responded.

We can’t control what comes our way, but we can control our response. Unfortunately that time my response was to become bitter, angry, upset, and frustrated. Every night on the radio the songs would tell me to forgive but I could always come up with a reason why I shouldn’t and to tell God how He knew what they had done, so how could I forgive them. It kept going, the downward spiral had begun and was continuing, and it took another totally unrelated life even to happen for me to stop and give it up to God and what did He do, He went back to the fact that I needed to forgive using the song 7×70. It broke me and I am not sure how I was able to drive down the highway with so many tears running down my face. Then after forgiving them, God’s Word came to me again about how as we forgive others, He will forgive us.

Wow! The weight was gone! The chains were broken off! I was free! God’s power of forgiveness set me free! Jesus broke the chains when He came and sacrificed it all! I just needed to receive it and live it out! I had to stop listening to the lies of the devil and just turn back to God! Had I not strayed off and believed the lies, I wouldn’t have learned the lessons I did. Had I not almost hit rock bottom, I wouldn’t have the wisdom to be able to speak life and truth into the people at work as many others started to show up with issues and spontaneously asking me questions because they had been mistreated, lied to, … and were starting to go down the bitter, angry, upset spiral and God put me in that place to speak the hope and truth that they needed to forgive them. Forgiveness breaks their power over you! Forgiveness removes the burden off of you! It may not change the situation but it does change your heart and ability to move on!

In this world we will have troubles! In this world we will face trials! We can’t control what comes our way but we can control how we will choose to respond to it! And now can you choose to consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds knowing that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Knowing that when we let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

People thought Jesus was defeated at the cross, but we know the rest of the story!

People may think we were defeated in that trouble or trial situation, but we can tell them the rest of the story!

We need to take it and turn it around so that in those times of defeat, we give God all the praise, the honor, and the glory for helping us get through it and out better, stronger, wiser than we were before! We need to also share it so that others can learn through our experiences rather than having to go through it and learn it the hard way on their own!

Here is a summary of my story that I got to share with my co-workers…

Let’s turn the world upside down by taking what looks like it could be bad or could defeat us or could destroy us and turn it around to glorify God! Don’t let your circumstances keep you from accomplishing all that God has planned in and through you! God’s plans are for good and not for evil! God’s plans are to give you a hope and a future! God’s plans are to give you peace and well being!

So let’s take hold of this word from Paul which says…

 ‘Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you]’

–from Colossians 4:6 (AMP)

 

 Pray for wisdom to know when to speak, what to say and how to say it!

–from Day 281: Bible In One Year 2017


Glorified in Defeat

Day 281: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. God can bring success out of apparent failure … Psalm 118:17-29
  2. God can use you in spite of your circumstances … Colossians 4:2-18
  3. God can make the ‘worst of times’ the ‘best of times’ … Jeremiah 16:1-17:27

Today’s reading from God’s Word…