A SYMBOL OF HEALING…(The Bible’s Impact on Scientific Discovery [July 7])


Ever seen this symbol and wondered where it came from? Why would a snake on a stick be the symbol for healing? Do you realize that it goes back to what happened in the Bible? Some might wonder why a snake. Some might think of it as poisonous or dangerous compared to a healing source. It is interesting when we get to read stories like from today’s reading from Numbers 21 where we learn about the bronze serpent…

Arad Destroyed

1When the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the Negeb, heard that Israel was coming by the way of Atharim, he fought against Israel, and took some of them captive. 2And Israel vowed a vow to the Lord and said, “If you will indeed give this people into my hand, then I will devote their cities to destruction.” 3And the Lord heeded the voice of Israel and gave over the Canaanites, and they devoted them and their cities to destruction. So the name of the place was called Hormah.

The Bronze Serpent

4From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. 5And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” 6Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.7And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

The Song of the Well

10And the people of Israel set out and camped in Oboth. 11And they set out from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim, in the wilderness that is opposite Moab, toward the sunrise. 12From there they set out and camped in the Valley of Zered. 13From there they set out and camped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness that extends from the border of the Amorites, for the Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord,

“Waheb in Suphah, and the valleys of the Arnon,
15 and the slope of the valleys
that extends to the seat of Ar,
and leans to the border of Moab.”

16And from there they continued to Beer; that is the well of which the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people together, so that I may give them water.” 17Then Israel sang this song:

“Spring up, O well!—Sing to it!—
18 the well that the princes made,
that the nobles of the people dug,
with the scepter and with their staffs.”

And from the wilderness they went on to Mattanah, 19and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20and from Bamoth to the valley lying in the region of Moab by the top of Pisgah that looks down on the desert.

King Sihon Defeated

21Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22″Let me pass through your land. We will not turn aside into field or vineyard. We will not drink the water of a well. We will go by the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.” 23But Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his territory. He gathered all his people together and went out against Israel to the wilderness and came to Jahaz and fought against Israel. 24And Israel defeated him with the edge of the sword and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as to the Ammonites, for the border of the Ammonites was strong. 25And Israel took all these cities, and Israel settled in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all its villages. 26For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and taken all his land out of his hand, as far as the Arnon. 27Therefore the ballad singers say,

“Come to Heshbon, let it be built;
let the city of Sihon be established.
28 For fire came out from Heshbon,
flame from the city of Sihon.
It devoured Ar of Moab,
and swallowed the heights of the Arnon.
29 Woe to you, O Moab!
You are undone, O people of Chemosh!
He has made his sons fugitives,
and his daughters captives,
to an Amorite king, Sihon.
30 So we overthrew them;
Heshbon, as far as Dibon, perished;
and we laid waste as far as Nophah;
fire spread as far as Medeba.”

King Og Defeated

31Thus Israel lived in the land of the Amorites. 32And Moses sent to spy out Jazer, and they captured its villages and dispossessed the Amorites who were there. 33Then they turned and went up by the way to Bashan. And Og the king of Bashan came out against them, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. 34But the Lord said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have given him into your hand, and all his people, and his land. And you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.” 35So they defeated him and his sons and all his people, until he had no survivor left. And they possessed his land.

— from Numbers 21

It is interesting how impatient we can become. It is also interesting how we can put our focus on stuff instead of the creator. We need to be focusing on God and allowing Him to be the center in our lives. We need to invite Jesus into our hearts so that it is He who is helping us bear the fruit of the Spirit.

4From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. 5And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” 6Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.7And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to theLord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

Now we see why the snake on the staff points to healing. We need to trust in God! We need to trust in His plan and His purpose for our lives and that they are all good! In this we know that no matter what happens we can keep out hope and trust in God! Will we have troubles? Yes – in this world we will have troubles, but we can take hope because Jesus has overcome the world! Will we face trials of different kinds? Yes – We are to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. So we are to let perseverance finish its work so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

So we need to be more focused on the healer than the healing. We need to be more focused on the healer than the instruments and tools. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus rather than a stick and a snake.

Today’s devotional from the Global Impact bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on scientific discovery with the topic of the symbol for healing. The international symbol for medicine depicts a snake on a staff. It tells us about its origins in Greek mythology and later in the stories of Moses and Jesus.

The Greek god Asclepius was the  god of healing.

July 7 - Greek god of medicine Asclepius

How it relates to Moses, we read about it in our reading from today in Numbers 21.

July 7 - Moses and the snake on pole to heal people bit by snake - Numbers 21_4-9

Since they could look at the bronze snake on the pole and be healed, it became the symbol of healing.

Jesus being crucified on the cross – the ultimate healing of mankind is the great story that this foreshadowed. So where does your help come from? Where do you turn and where do you look for help? where do you look for healing? where does your hope come from?

Let’s pray…

Prayer of Salvation Example

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


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for all that will be in it. I thank You and praise You Lord for all that You were able to do in and through me this week. Thank You for being my comforter and my guide. Thank You for the wisdom necessary for every situation I face. Turning to You should be my first response … not my last response and so I ask Lord that Your Spirit will prompt me and direct me so that in and through all that I think, say, and do that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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


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

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

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


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

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

Habakkuk’s Complaint

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

The Lord’s Reply

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

Habakkuk’s Second Complaint

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

–from Habakkuk 1

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

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

The Lord’s Second Reply

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

–from Habakkuk 2

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

Habakkuk’s Prayer

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

–from Habakkuk 3

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

Paul’s Second Missionary Journey

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

A Call from Macedonia

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

Paul and Silas in Prison

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

–from Acts 16

 

Do you know what is good for you?


Do you know what food is good for the body? Do you know things are good for the mind? Do you know what things are good for the soul? Do you realize that it is what comes out of you that makes you unclean? What are you putting into your heart? From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks! So don’t allow bitterness to stick in your heart! Allow forgiveness to have its way so that both you and others will be in a healthy state. Don’t wait and allow bitterness to drag you down into the pit, but rather forgive and allow your heart to be free from the sadness, the pain, the sorrow, the anger, and worse. Let’s ask God to soften our hearts! Let’s ask God to clean out our hearts! Let’s invite Jesus into our hearts to create a new pure heart in us! That we may be generous! That we may be ambassadors for God that others may come to know Him and hear Him and start a relationship with Him! Let’s be givers! Let’s be ambassadors of peace! Let’s share the love of God with others! And when you aren’t sure what to do, cry out to God! Ask Jesus for help! Allow the Holy Spirit to speak into your life the wisdom, the direction, the correction, the instruction you need! Stop and cry out to Him! Ask Him! Seek Him! Knock that He may open! Don’t lose hope but rather cry out to God and chase after Him! Don’t allow the enemy of your soul to create fear and and doubt but rather put your hope and trust in God! Let’s build others up! Let’s tear down strongholds that are holding us and them down or back! Let’s come humbly! Let’s come confidently! Let’s come lovingly! Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood but rather against dark powers and principalities of this world! Let’s be spreading the knowledge of God rather than allow those who would try to block it or come against it to be victorious. Let’s be confident of what Jesus has done! Let’s be confident of what Jesus is doing in and through us! Let’s share the good news! Everyone is looking to get some good news, there is so much bad news everywhere you turn. Don’t hoard the good news, but share it with those God brings into your life! Speak a word of encouragement for you may be that breath of wind into someone else’s sail to allow them to keep going! Let’s live lives that will bless and honor God that in the end we will get to hear those precious words – “well done my good and faithful servant”.


Today’s reading speaks into this topics through the following scripture…

Clean Foods for a Holy People

1“You are the children of Adonai your God. You are not to cut yourselves or shave your forehead for the dead. 2For you are a holy people to Adonai your God—from all the peoples on the face of the earth, Adonai has chosen you to be His treasured people. 3You are not to eat any detestable thing. 4These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, 5the deer, the gazelle, the roebuck, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope, and the mountain sheep. 6Among the animals, you may eat any animal that splits the hoof—the hoof completely split in two—and chews the cud. 7Yet of those that chew the cud or have a split hoof, you are not to eat the camel, the hare, and the rabbit—because they chew the cud but do not split the hoof, they are unclean to you. 8The pig, because it splits the hoof but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you—you are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses. 9Of all that are in the waters, these you may eat: whatever has fins and scales you may eat, 10but whatever does not have fins and scales you are not to eat—it is unclean to you. 11You may eat all clean birds, 12but these are the ones you are not to eat: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard, 13the red kite, the black kite, and any bird of prey of that kind, 14every raven of any kind, 15the ostrich, the owl, the seagull, a hawk of any kind, 16the little owl, the great owl, the white owl, 17the pelican, the Egyptian vulture, the cormorant, 18the stork, a heron of any kind, the hoopoe, and the bat. 19All winged insects are unclean to you—they are not to be eaten. 20You may eat any clean bird. 21You are not to eat anything that dies of itself. You may give it to the outsider within your gates so that he may eat it or you may sell it to a foreigner. For you are a holy people to Adonai your God. You are not to boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.

Tithe and Remember the Levite

22“You will surely set aside a tenth of all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. 23You are to eat the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, before Adonai your God in the place He chooses to make His Name dwell, so that you may learn to fear Adonai your God always. 24Now suppose the way is too long for you, for you cannot carry the tithe because the place Adonai your God chooses to set His Name is too far from you. When Adonai your God blesses you, 25then you are to exchange the tithe for silver, bind up the silver in your hand, and go to the place that Adonai your God chooses. 26You may spend the money for whatever your soul desires—cattle, sheep, wine, strong drink, or whatever your soul asks of you. Then you will eat there before Adonai your God and rejoice—you and your household. 27But you are not to neglect the Levite within your gates, for he has no portion or inheritance with you. 28At the end of every three years, you are to bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year and store it within your gates. 29Then the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, along with the outsider, the orphan and the widow within your gates, will come and eat and be satisfied, so that Adonai your God may bless you in all the work of your hand that you do.

–from Deuteronomy 14

 

Shmittah: Cancellation of Debts

1“At the end of every seven years you are to cancel debts. 2This is how you are to cancel debts: every creditor is to release what he has loaned to his neighbor. He must not force his neighbor or his brother to repay, for Adonai’s debt cancellation has been proclaimed. 3A foreigner you may force, but your hand is to release whatever your brother owes you. 4“However, there should be no poor among you, for Adonai will surely bless you in the land Adonai your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess. 5If only you would carefully listen to the voice of Adonai your God, being careful to do all these mitzvah that I am commanding you today! 6For Adonai your God will bless you as He promised you. So you will lend to many nations, but not borrow; you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you. 7“If there is a poor man among you—any of your brothers within any of your gates in your land that Adonai your God is giving you—you are not to harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother. 8Rather, you must surely open your hand to him and you must surely lend him enough for his need—whatever he is lacking. 9Watch yourself, so there is no unworthy thing in your heart saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of cancelling debts, is near,’ and your eye is evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing. Then he may call out to Adonai against you, and it will be a sin upon you. 10You must surely give to him, and your heart is not to be grieved when you give to him—for because of this thing Adonai your God will bless you in all your work and in every undertaking of your hand. 11“For there will never cease to be poor people in the land. Therefore I am commanding you, saying, ‘You must surely open your hand to your brother—to your needy and poor in your land.’ 12“If your fellow Hebrew—a man or woman—is sold to you and serves you six years, then in the seventh year you are to set him free. 13When you set him free, you are not to send him away empty-handed. 14You are to surely provide for him from your flock and threshing floor and winepress. As Adonai your God has blessed you, you are to give to him. 15You will remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Adonai your God redeemed you; therefore I am commanding you this thing today. 16“Now if he tells you, ‘I will not go away from you’—because he loves you and your household since he is well off with you— 17then you are to take an awl and put it through his ear to the door, and he will be your servant forever. And to your female slave you are to do the same. 18It should not seem hard to you when you set him free from you, for he has served you six years—double the value of a hired worker. So Adonai your God will bless you in all that you do. 19“All the firstborn males that are born in your herd and your flock you are to consecrate to Adonai your God. You are to do no work with the firstborn of your herd or shear the firstborn of your flock. 20You are to eat it before Adonai your God year after year in the place Adonai chooses—you and your household. 21But if it has any blemish—if it is lame or blind or has any serious blemish—you are not to sacrifice it to Adonai your God. 22You are to eat it within your gates, the unclean and the clean together, just as they eat the gazelle or deer. 23Only its blood you are not to eat—you must pour it out on the ground like water.

–from Deuternomy 15

 

Cry of Desperation

1A song, a psalm of the sons of Korah, for the music director, for singing Mahalath, a contemplative song of Heman the Ezrahite. 2Adonai, God of my salvation, day and night I cried out before You. 3Let my prayer come before You. Turn Your ear to my cry. 4For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. 5I am counted with those who go down into the Pit. I have become as one with no strength— 6abandoned among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom You remember no more— cut off from Your hand. 7You have laid me in the lowest places, in dark places, in the depths. 8Your wrath lies heavily on me. You afflicted me with all Your waves. Selah
9You have put my companions far from me. You have made me repulsive to them. I am shut in and I cannot go out. 10My eye fails from affliction. I call upon You every day, Adonai. I spread out my hands to You. 11Will You work wonders for the dead? Or will the departed spirits rise up praising You? Selah
12Will Your love be declared in the grave? Or Your faithfulness in the place of ruin? 13Will Your wonders be known in the darkness? Your righteousness in the land of oblivion? 14But I—I cried out to You, Adonai, and in the morning my prayer meets You. 15Adonai, why do You spurn me? Why do You hide Your face from me? 16From my youth I have been afflicted and close to death. I suffer Your terrors—I am desperate! 17Your fury has swept over me. Your terrors have cut me off. 18Like water they surge around me all day. They close in on me together. 19Friend and loved one You took far from me. Darkness has become my companion.

–from Psalms 88

 

Tearing Down Strongholds

1Now I, Paul, appeal myself to you by the meekness and gentleness of Messiah—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when far away. 2I beg of you that when I am present I won’t need to be bold with the courage I consider showing against some who judge us as walking in the flesh. 3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly but powerful through God for the tearing down of strongholds. We are tearing down false arguments 5and every high-minded thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Messiah— 6ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. 7Look at what is before your eyes. If anyone is confident in himself that he belongs to Messiah, let him reconsider that just as he belongs to Messiah, so also do we. 8For even if I boast a little more about our authority—which the Lord gave for building you up and not for tearing you down—I will not be put to shame. 9Not that I would try to terrify you by my letters— 10for they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his presence in person is weak and his speech of no account.” 11Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word through letters when we are absent, we also are in action when we are present. 12For we do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves. But when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they have no understanding. 13But we will not boast beyond limits, but within the limits of the area that God has assigned to us—to reach even as far as you. 14We are not extending ourselves too far, as if we did not reach you—for we did come even as far as to you with the Good News of Messiah. 15Neither are we boasting beyond limits based on the labors of others, but we have hope while your faith is growing for our area among you to be greatly enlarged— 16so that we may proclaim the Good News even to regions beyond you, not boasting about what has been accomplished in another’s area. 17But “let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” 18For it Is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

–from 2 Corinthians 10

Will you follow thru in order get your inheritance?


What if you saw something and wanted it? Would you be willing to do something to get it? Would you be willing to give up something to get it? Would you be willing to lead the way knowing that you won’t get any of that stuff because you are choosing to get something you wanted? How much would you be willing to do for the benefit of others? How obedient would you be to your calling in order to bless others?

As we ponder these questions, let’s review what is in today’s reading…

Settling the East Side

1The sons of Reuben and Gad had very large herds and flocks, and, they saw that the territory of Jazer and Gilead were ideal for livestock.
2So the sons of Reuben and Gad came and said to Moses, Eleazar the kohen, and the princes of the community saying,
3“Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo and Beon—
4the territory Adonai conquered before the community of Israel—are suitable for livestock, and your servants have livestock.”
5Then they said, “If we have found favor in your eyes, let this territory be given to your servants as a possession. Don’t make us cross the Jordan.”
6Moses replied to the sons of Gad and Reuben, “Should your countrymen go to war while you dwell here?
7Why do you dishearten Bnei-Yisrael from going across to the land that Adonai has given to them?
8Your fathers did this when I sent them from Kadesh Barnea to look over the land.
9They went up to the Valley of Eshcol and viewed the land, but they discouraged the hearts of Bnei-Yisrael not to enter the land which Adonai had given them.
10The anger of Adonai was aroused that day, and He swore an oath saying:
11‘The men who came out of Egypt, from 20 years old and upward, will not see the land I promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for they have not followed after Me with a whole heart—
12except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they were wholehearted after Adonai.’
13The anger of Adonai burned against Israel and He caused them to wander in the wilderness 40 years until all the generation doing that evil in Adonai’s sight was gone.
14“Now look, here you stand in the place of your fathers as a brood of sinful men to add more to Adonai’s great wrath against Israel!
15If you turn away from Him, He will repeat again leaving this people in the wilderness, you being the cause of this people’s destruction.”
16Then they came up to him and said, “We will build sheepfolds for our livestock and cities for our children.
17But we are prepared to arm ourselves and go ahead of Bnei-Yisrael until we have brought them to their place. Our children will live in the cities fortified against the inhabitants of the land.
18We will not return to our homes until each one of Bnei-Yisrael has received his inheritance.
19Yet we will not inherit with them on the side beyond the Jordan, since our inheritance has come on the east side of the Jordan.”
20Moses said to them, “If you will do this—if you will arm yourselves for battle for Adonai,
21and if all of you cross the Jordan until Adonai has driven His enemies from before Him
22and the land is subdued before Adonai—then afterward you may return and be free before Adonai and Israel. Then this territory will be your possession before Adonai.
23“But if you don’t do this, behold, you sin against Adonai! Be assured! Your sin will find you out!
24Build for yourselves cities for your children and pens for your flocks. Then do what has come out of your mouth.”
25The sons of Gad and Reuben said to Moses saying, “Your servants will do just as my lord is commanding.
26Our children, our wives, our flocks, and all of our herds will remain here in the cities of Gilead.
27But your servants, every one armed for battle, will cross over for the war before Adonai, just as my lord says.”
28Moses then gave orders about them to Eleazar the kohen, Joshua son of Nun, and to the chiefs of the fathers of the tribes of Bnei-Yisrael.
29Moses said to them, “If the sons of Gad and Reuben cross over the Jordan with you, everyone armed for battle before Adonai, when the land is subdued before you, then give them the territory of Gilead as a possession.
30However, if they do not cross over fully armed, they are to possess the land of Canaan with you.”
31The sons of Gad and Reuben answered saying, “What Adonai has said to your servants, so we will do.
32We will cross fully armed before Adonai into Canaan, but our inheritance will be on this side of the Jordan.”
33Moses then gave to them—the sons of Gad, Reuben, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, son of Joseph—the kingdom of Sihon, king of the Amorites, and the kingdom of Og, king of Bashan—the land with its cities and the territory around the cities.
34The sons of Gad built up Dibon, Ataroth and Aroer,
35as well as Atroh-shophan, Jazer and Jogbehah,
36Beth-nimrah and Beth-haran as fortified cities, as well as sheep pens.
37The sons of Reuben built Heshbon, Elealeh, Kiriathaim,
38Nebo, Baal Meon, (cities whose names were changed) and Sibmah. They gave other names to the rebuilt cities.
39The sons of Machir son of Manasseh went up to Gilead, captured it, and drove out the Amorites who were there.
40So Moses gave Gilead to Machir son of Manasseh, and he lived there.
41Jair, a son of Manasseh, went and captured their settlements and named them Jair’s Villages.
42Nobah went and conquered Kenath and its settlements and named them Nobah after his own name.

–from Numbers 32

Will you pray for others? Will you ask God to intervene on their behalf? Will you lift their needs up before God? Will you lift up the people of Israel that they may reconcile with God? Will you lift up the people of Israel that they would walk in alignment with God? Will you lift up God’s people and ask God to guide them and protect them?

Intercession for Restoration of Zion

1A contemplative song of Asaph. Why have You cast us off forever, O God? Why does Your anger smolder against the flock of Your pasture?
2Remember Your congregation, which You purchased of old, redeemed as the tribe of Your inheritance, and Mount Zion, where You dwelt.
3Lift Your steps toward the perpetual ruins— an enemy has done all evil to the Sanctuary!
4Your adversaries have roared in the midst of Your meeting place. They have set up their standards as signs.
5It seemed like bringing up axes into a thicket of trees—
6and now all its carved work they smash with hatchet and hammers!
7They set Your Sanctuary on fire, burning it to the ground. They defiled the dwelling place of Your Name.
8They said in their hearts: “Let us crush them totally!” They burned down all the meeting places of God in the land.
9We do not see our signs. No longer is there any prophet— and no one among us knows how long.
10How long, O God, will the adversary mock? Will the enemy revile Your Name forever?
11Why do You hold back Your hand, Your right hand? Draw it out of Your bosom and consume them!
12Yet God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the land.
13You split the sea with Your power. You smashed the monsters’ heads in the waters.
14You crushed the heads of Leviathan, giving him as food to the desert dwellers.
15You opened up spring and brook. You dried up ever-flowing rivers.
16The day is Yours, the night also is Yours. You provided moon and sun.
17You set all the borders of earth. You made summer and winter.
18Remember how the enemy mocked, Adonai, and how foolish people despised Your Name.
19Do not deliver Your turtledove’s soul to the wild beast. Do not forget the life of Your afflicted ones forever.
20Look upon the covenant— for haunts of violence fill the dark places of earth.
21Do not let the oppressed turn back in shame. But let the poor and needy praise Your Name.
22Rise up O God, and defend Your cause. Remember how the fool mocks You all day.
23Do not forget the noise of Your foes, the uproar of those rising up against You, ascending continually.

–from Psalms 74

Would you be willing to suffer so that others may come to know the reality of Jesus? the reality of salvation? the reality of forgiveness? the reality of peace? the reality of healing?

Greetings

1Paul, an emissary of Messiah Yeshua through the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To God’s community at Corinth, with all the kedoshim who are throughout Achaia:
2Grace to you and shalom from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah.

Encouragement Through Hardships

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement.
4He encourages us in every trouble, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any trouble, through the very encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God.
5For just as the sufferings of Messiah overflow into us, so also through Messiah our encouragement overflows.
6If we are suffering hardship, it is for your encouragement and salvation. Or if we are encouraged, it is for your encouragement, which produces in you the patient endurance of the same sufferings that we also suffer.
7Our hope for you is firm, since we know that as you are partners in our sufferings, so also in our encouragement.
8For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our trouble that happened in Asia. We were under great pressure—so far beyond our strength that we despaired even of living.
9In fact, we had within ourselves the death sentence—so that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead.
10He who rescued us from so great a danger of death will continue to rescue us—we have set our hope on Him that He will rescue us again.
11You also are helping by your prayer for us, so that from many people thanks may be given on our behalf for the gracious gift given us through the help of many.
12For our reason for boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world, and most especially toward you, with simplicity and godly sincerity—not by human wisdom but by the grace of God.
13For we write nothing to you other than what you can read and understand—and I hope you will understand in full
14just as you understood us in part, so that we are your reason for boasting just as you also are ours in the Day of our Lord Yeshua.

Paul’s Change of Plans

15Because of this confidence, I was planning to come to you first, so that you might have a second benefit—
16to pass by you on my way to Macedonia and again from Macedonia to come back to you, and to be helped by you on my journey to Judea.
17So when I was planning to do this, I didn’t do so lightly, did I? Or the things I plan, do I plan according to the flesh—so it might be with me “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time?
18But as God is faithful, our message to you is not both “Yes” and “No.”
19For Ben-Elohim—Yeshua the Messiah, who was proclaimed among you by us, by myself and Silvanus and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No.” Rather, in Him it has always been “Yes.”
20For in Him all the promises of God are “Yes.” Therefore also through Him is the “Amen” by us, to the glory of God.
21Now it is God who establishes us with you in Messiah. He anointed us,
22set His seal on us, and gave us the Ruach in our hearts as a pledge.
23But I call God as my witness—to spare you, I didn’t come to Corinth again.
24Not that we lord it over you in matters of faith, but we are fellow workers for your joy—for in the faith you are standing firm.

–from 2 Corinthians 1

 

Don’t forget to give thanks!


Ever received an incredible gift? Ever been given something so priceless? Ever asked for something and then received it?

Did you say thank you? Did you give thanks to the one who gave it to you? Did you receive it and just move on?

Today’s reading start on just such a topic…So

Make sure you don’t forget to give thanks!

Jesus Heals Ten Men

11As Jesus made his way to Jerusalem, he went along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12He was going into a village when he was met by ten men suffering from a dreaded skin disease. They stood at a distance 13and shouted, “Jesus! Master! Have pity on us!” 14Jesus saw them and said to them, “Go and let the priests examine you.”On the way they were made clean. 15When one of them saw that he was healed, he came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16He threw himself to the ground at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan. 17Jesus spoke up, “There were ten who were healed; where are the other nine? 18Why is this foreigner the only one who came back to give thanks to God?” 19And Jesus said to him, “Get up and go; your faith has made you well.” –from Luke 17

Consider what you have received. Are you sharing it? Are you mentoring others in the way? Are you delegating responsibility to others who can spread the good news that you have received? Are you running to win? Are you fighting like everyone’s lives depends on it? Are you being obedient? Are you following the rules? Are you staying on track? Are you acknowledging Him?  Today’s reading continues with…

A Loyal Soldier of Christ Jesus

1As for you, my son, be strong through the grace that is ours in union with Christ Jesus. 2Take the teachings that you heard me proclaim in the presence of many witnesses, and entrust them to reliable people, who will be able to teach others also. 3Take your part in suffering, as a loyal soldier of Christ Jesus. 4A soldier on active duty wants to please his commanding officer and so does not get mixed up in the affairs of civilian life. 5An athlete who runs in a race cannot win the prize unless he obeys the rules. 6The farmer who has done the hard work should have the first share of the harvest. 7Think about what I am saying, because the Lord will enable you to understand it all. 8Remember Jesus Christ, who was raised from death, who was a descendant of David, as is taught in the Good News I preach. 9Because I preach the Good News, I suffer and I am even chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not in chains, 10and so I endure everything for the sake of God’s chosen people, in order that they too may obtain the salvation that comes through Christ Jesus and brings eternal glory. 11This is a true saying:
“If we have died with him, we shall also live with him. 12If we continue to endure, we shall also rule with him. If we deny him, he also will deny us. 13If we are not faithful, he remains faithful, because he cannot be false to himself.” –from 2 Timothy 2

So let’s acknowledge Him in all our ways and allow Him to make our path straight!

Will you celebrate and give thanks for what you have been given? Will you risk losing what you have? Make sure your heart is right! Make sure you are walking in alignment with God’s will for your life! Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness! When we put first things first, then everything else can fall into place.

16A gracious woman is respected, but a woman without virtue is a disgrace. Lazy people will never have money, but aggressive people will get rich. 17You do yourself a favor when you are kind. If you are cruel, you only hurt yourself. 18Wicked people do not really gain anything, but if you do what is right, you are certain to be rewarded. 19Anyone who is determined to do right will live, but anyone who insists on doing wrong will die. 20The Lord hates evil-minded people, but loves those who do right. 21You can be sure that evil people will be punished, but the righteous will escape. 22Beauty in a woman without good judgment is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout. 23What good people want always results in good; when the wicked get what they want, everyone is angry. 24Some people spend their money freely and still grow richer. Others are cautious, and yet grow poorer. 25Be generous, and you will be prosperous. Help others, and you will be helped. 26People curse someone who hoards grain, waiting for a higher price, but they praise the one who puts it up for sale. 27If your goals are good, you will be respected, but if you are looking for trouble, that is what you will get. 28Those who depend on their wealth will fall like the leaves of autumn, but the righteous will prosper like the leaves of summer. 29Those who bring trouble on their families will have nothing at the end. Foolish people will always be servants to the wise. 30Righteousness gives life, but violence takes it away. 31Those who are good are rewarded here on earth, so you can be sure that wicked and sinful people will be punished.  –from Proverbs 11

Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Reach out! Have faith!


Ever been in a situation where you needed something so bad you went for it? You saw the risk and realized the reward because you believed in it? You took the leap of faith and saw the miraculous take place?

Ever been in a situation where if God didn’t step in it would be over? Ever been in a situation where everyone was telling you to never mind, it’s too late, it’s hopeless, …? Ever kept going and not giving up? Ever watched the miracle take place because you got rid of the naysayers and just believed?

Let’s take a look at how our reading begins today on this very subject…

Jairus’ Daughter and the Woman Who Touched Jesus’ Cloak

(Matthew 9.18-26; Mark 5.21-43)
40When Jesus returned to the other side of the lake, the people welcomed him, because they had all been waiting for him. 41Then a man named Jairus arrived; he was an official in the local synagogue. He threw himself down at Jesus’ feet and begged him to go to his home, 42because his only daughter, who was twelve years old, was dying.As Jesus went along, the people were crowding him from every side. 43Among them was a woman who had suffered from severe bleeding for twelve years; she had spent all she had on doctors, but no one had been able to cure her. 44She came up in the crowd behind Jesus and touched the edge of his cloak, and her bleeding stopped at once. 45Jesus asked, “Who touched me?”Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, the people are all around you and crowding in on you.” 46But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I knew it when power went out of me.” 47The woman saw that she had been found out, so she came trembling and threw herself at Jesus’ feet. There in front of everybody, she told him why she had touched him and how she had been healed at once. 48Jesus said to her, “My daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” 49While Jesus was saying this, a messenger came from the official’s house. “Your daughter has died,” he told Jairus; “don’t bother the Teacher any longer.” 50But Jesus heard it and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; only believe, and she will be well.” 51When he arrived at the house, he would not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John, and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52Everyone there was crying and mourning for the child. Jesus said, “Don’t cry; the child is not dead—she is only sleeping!” 53They all made fun of him, because they knew that she was dead. 54But Jesus took her by the hand and called out, “Get up, child!” 55Her life returned, and she got up at once, and Jesus ordered them to give her something to eat. 56Her parents were astounded, but Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone what had happened. –from Luke 8

Imagine being the lady who every doctor couldn’t help and hearing about the miraculous power of Jesus. Imagine the great crowd that surrounded him and the courage she had to get close enough to touch the hem of his robe. Imagine the incredible feeling when the power healed her in the midst of the crowd and in the midst of nobody else seemingly aware of what she was doing and had happened. Imagine being called out, not directly but Jesus knew what happened and He wanted to call attention to the miraculous and be able to celebrate with her. Imagine the courage to step up and say “it was me”, I believe that if I could just touch the hem of you robe I would be healed. What a testimony to her faith! What a testimony to Jesus’ power!

Imagine going out of your way to find Jesus in hopes that He could heal your sick daughter. Imagine getting the news that she was dead. Imagine having the faith to believe and trust Jesus. Will your faith be greater than their doubt and mockery? Will your hope in Jesus be so big that You will trust Him at His word no matter what? Imagine the relief and the joy when she was alive and well.

Where are you at? What are you facing? Where will you turn? Do you have to hit rock bottom before you will turn to God? What will it take for you to have the courage and faith in Jesus to turn to Him and ask for Help?

Will you allow that peace that goes beyond all understanding engulf you? Will you allow that peace surround you? Will you put your trust in Jesus? Today’s reading continues in Colossians…When we receive and accept Jesus into our hearts and lives, we are transformed. Do you know what that will look like? Do you know the evidence that will be shown?Let’s take a look…

15The peace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make; for it is to this peace that God has called you together in the one body. And be thankful. 16Christ’s message in all its richness must live in your hearts. Teach and instruct one another with all wisdom. Sing psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing to God with thanksgiving in your hearts. 17Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks through him to God the Father.

Personal Relations in the New Life

18Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, for that is what you should do as Christians. 19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. 20Children, it is your Christian duty to obey your parents always, for that is what pleases God. 21Parents, do not irritate your children, or they will become discouraged. 22Slaves, obey your human masters in all things, not only when they are watching you because you want to gain their approval; but do it with a sincere heart because of your reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people. 24Remember that the Lord will give you as a reward what he has kept for his people. For Christ is the real Master you serve. 25And all wrongdoers will be repaid for the wrong things they do, because God judges everyone by the same standard. –from Colossians 3

Do you realize the opportunity we have by living God’s way? The way we treat our spouses, our children, our parents! Imagine if everyone did everything with all their hearts as though they were doing it for God rather than just for the people. What we sow is directly proportional to what we will reap! It’s Jesus that we are doing everything for! So do everything today in order to bring Him praise, honor, and glory!

So you need help? Then turn to God and ask Him for help!

1From the depths of my despair I call to you, Lord. 2Hear my cry, O Lord; listen to my call for help! 3If you kept a record of our sins, who could escape being condemned? 4But you forgive us, so that we should stand in awe of you. 5I wait eagerly for the Lord’s help, and in his word I trust. 6I wait for the Lord more eagerly than sentries wait for the dawn—than sentries wait for the dawn. 7Israel, trust in the Lord, because his love is constant and he is always willing to save. 8He will save his people Israel from all their sins. –from Psalm 130

Let’s trust God for the little and the big things. If we can’t trust Him for the little things, how are we going to trust Him for the big ones? Nothing, no care, no worry, nothing is too small of a worry to lift up to God! Let’s give up all our cares to Him, because He cares for us! He cares so much that He sent Jesus , His one and only Son, to make things right in our place because we could never do it in our own strength or power. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! God did and is doing everything in His power to try and get people to realize His love and to choose heaven! But everyone has free will and as such everyone gets to choose how they will spend eternity!

So let’s humble ourselves and put our hope and trust in Jesus so that God will receive all the praise, the honor, and the glory in His name!

1Lord, I have given up my pride and turned away from my arrogance. I am not concerned with great matters or with subjects too difficult for me. 2Instead, I am content and at peace. As a child lies quietly in its mother’s arms, so my heart is quiet within me. 3Israel, trust in the Lord now and forever! –from Psalm 131

It’s never too late to make a change!


Some may think they have gone too far, they have fallen too far, they have walked to far away to be able to recover or rebound. The Bible says that He will never leave you nor forsake you. The story of the lost son speaks to how much the father is looking for the son to come to his senses and come back. God is Love! God is Good, not just some times, but all the time! Some people are looking for the opportunity to reconcile. Some people are living the “good life” until it runs out and then wonder what happened and what can they do now. The reality is that when we turn back and begin to follow after Jesus, that is the beginning of the good life, the real good life. Is it easy? No, for God’s Word tells us that in this world we will have trouble, however, there is now hope for God’s Word doesn’t end there but continues with take heart for I have overcome the world. Jesus will provide us with wisdom and direction. Jesus allows us to have hope and not grow discouraged. It may not be easy, but it will definitely be worth it because we know the destination. God’s Word tells us (when you read the end of the book, the book of Revelation) that Jesus wins! The devil is defeated and then everything is different! No more pain! No more suffering! No more sickness! And when we turn back and give our lives over to Jesus, there is a peace that goes beyond all understanding. Jesus helps us to carry that weight on our shoulders. Jesus provides a reason for the hope that is within us. God provides “one another” so that we can come together and help each other through the tough times and to celebrate together in the victories. So no matter how far you have gone, how far you have fallen, don’t wait till you hit rock bottom before you turn back to God and cry out to Him and ask Him for help, ask Him for forgiveness, ask Him back into your life so that you can start the journey to recovery, restoration, and renewal.

Today’s reading starts with a man named Levi who Jesus calls…

27After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting in his office. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” 28Levi got up, left everything, and followed him. 29Then Levi had a big feast in his house for Jesus, and among the guests was a large number of tax collectors and other people. 30Some Pharisees and some teachers of the Law who belonged to their group complained to Jesus’ disciples. “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and other outcasts?” they asked. 31Jesus answered them, “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. 32I have not come to call respectable people to repent, but outcasts.” –Luke 5:27-32

God is our healer! God is our savior! God is our everlasting hope in times of need! With Jesus, bodies can be healed, relationships can be healed, lives can be healed! There is hope! Don’t give up! Get up and turn back to God! Ask Jesus into your heart! He will forgive you if you will ask Him. He is the God of the 2nd chances. Know how many times we are supposed to forgive and it speaks to the number of times we can be forgiven? Not 7 times, but 7×70 times. So remember it’s not too late! Why not choose today?

For those who have turned back, shine your light! There is a dark world out there which doesn’t offer much hope to the world around it. But you can shine your light of hope and provide that glimmer of hope that others need. Wondering how to do that? Today’s reading speaks to this … stop complaining and arguing! offer a message of life and of hope! be glad and share your joy!

Shining as Lights in the World

12So then, dear friends, as you always obeyed me when I was with you, it is even more important that you obey me now while I am away from you. Keep on working with fear and trembling to complete your salvation, 13because God is always at work in you to make you willing and able to obey his own purpose. 14Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may be innocent and pure as God’s perfect children, who live in a world of corrupt and sinful people. You must shine among them like stars lighting up the sky, 16as you offer them the message of life. If you do so, I shall have reason to be proud of you on the Day of Christ, because it will show that all my effort and work have not been wasted. 17Perhaps my life’s blood is to be poured out like an offering on the sacrifice that your faith offers to God. If that is so, I am glad and share my joy with you all. 18In the same way, you too must be glad and share your joy with me.
–Philippians 2:12-17

So whether you need hope or you have hope there is something that you can and should be doing. Stick with God! Turn back to God! There is hope! Share that hope! Receive that hope! Grab onto the truth and hold onto that hope!

137You are righteous, Lord, and your laws are just.
138The rules that you have given are completely fair and right.
139My anger burns in me like a fire, because my enemies disregard your commands.
140How certain your promise is! How I love it!
141I am unimportant and despised, but I do not neglect your teachings.
142Your righteousness will last forever, and your law is always true.
143I am filled with trouble and anxiety, but your commandments bring me joy.
144Your instructions are always just; give me understanding, and I shall live.

–Psalm 119:137-144

How bad do you want it?


Would you seek out a cure? Would you seek out an answer? Would you beg to be healed? Would you submit yourself to get an answer? Do you believe it is possible? Do you believe that He can? Do you have faith to ask? Do you have faith to move?

Today’s reading speaks to the need as well as the desire of God to touch us right where we are at…

Jesus Heals a Man

(Matthew 8.1-4; Mark 1.40-45)
12Once Jesus was in a town where there was a man who was suffering from a dreaded skin disease. When he saw Jesus, he threw himself down and begged him, “Sir, if you want to, you can make me clean!” 13Jesus reached out and touched him. “I do want to,” he answered. “Be clean!” At once the disease left the man. 14Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go straight to the priest and let him examine you; then to prove to everyone that you are cured, offer the sacrifice as Moses ordered.” 15But the news about Jesus spread all the more widely, and crowds of people came to hear him and be healed from their diseases. 16But he would go away to lonely places, where he prayed. — Luke 5:12-16

What do you believe He can do for you? What do you want him to do in your life? Will you ask? God’s Word tells us that we have not because we ask with the wrong motives. God’s Word tells us to Ask, Seek, Knock … are you doing anything about that want, that belief, the need? Do you know why?

7“Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks will receive, and anyone who seeks will find, and the door will be opened to those who knock. 9Would any of you who are fathers give your son a stone when he asks for bread? 10Or would you give him a snake when he asks for a fish? 11As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then, will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! 12“Do for others what you want them to do for you: this is the meaning of the Law of Moses and of the teachings of the prophets. –Matthew 7:7-12

We want to live God’s will right? We see in today’s reading this person did… “if you want to, you can make me clean“. The Lord’s prayer even begins with this message…”your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven“. So is your heart and mind in the right place? Why do you want it? Will you go to God for help? Will you ask? Will you seek? Will you knock? In order that you may get the answer and find a solution? What will provide your life to give a greater testimony of your faith? What will bring you greater joy? When you know you will spend eternity with God in heaven, isn’t there an incredible peace in knowing that whether you live or you die, you will be alright? Isn’t it amazing how God’s peace that goes beyond all understanding can cover your heart and your mind in ways that are better than anything we could ask or imagine?

Today’s reading continues…

21For what is life? To me, it is Christ. Death, then, will bring more. 22But if by continuing to live I can do more worthwhile work, then I am not sure which I should choose. 23I am pulled in two directions. I want very much to leave this life and be with Christ, which is a far better thing; 24but for your sake it is much more important that I remain alive. 25I am sure of this, and so I know that I will stay. I will stay on with you all, to add to your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that when I am with you again, you will have even more reason to be proud of me in your life in union with Christ Jesus. 27Now, the important thing is that your way of life should be as the gospel of Christ requires, so that, whether or not I am able to go and see you, I will hear that you are standing firm with one common purpose and that with only one desire you are fighting together for the faith of the gospel. 28Don’t be afraid of your enemies; always be courageous, and this will prove to them that they will lose and that you will win, because it is God who gives you the victory. 29For you have been given the privilege of serving Christ, not only by believing in him, but also by suffering for him. 30Now you can take part with me in the battle. It is the same battle you saw me fighting in the past, and as you hear, the one I am fighting still. –Philippians 1:21-30

Don’t be afraid! Always be courageous! Take confidence in knowing that Jesus has already won the victory! In our weakness God’s strength is revealed. As I consider all these words, the son “You make me brave” comes to mind. Don’t give up hope! Trust God! Do what is right! There is such thing as right and wrong! Trust in God’s constant love! If you aren’t sure, turn to God for wisdom and direction.

Today’s Psalm speaks this over us with …

121I have done what is right and good; don’t abandon me to my enemies!
122Promise that you will help your servant; don’t let the arrogant oppress me!
123My eyes are tired from watching for your saving help, for the deliverance you promised.
124Treat me according to your constant love, and teach me your commands.
125I am your servant; give me understanding, so that I may know your teachings.
126Lord, it is time for you to act, because people are disobeying your law.
127I love your commands more than gold, more than the finest gold.
128And so I follow all your instructions; I hate all wrong ways.

–Psalm 119:121-128

Where does my help and hope come from? It comes from the Lord!



As I start this day, I prepare myself for a good report because my hope and trust are in the Lord! I look to Him for He is bigger and better than anything that comes my way. I know that He will never leave me nor forsake me. I know that all things are possible because He is with me. I know He makes a way even when there doesn’t seem to be a way. So today I start my day looking to Him and His Word, my hope and trust are in Him and His Word!


Patience…

Do you have it? Do you need it? Will you allow it to develop? Do you realize what will come out of it?

1-2By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
3-5There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
6-8Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.
9-11Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah! — Romans 5

LIVE & LOVE:

Life or Death? Eternity with God or apart from God? Choices…Choose!

12-14You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we’re in—first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death. That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone, but the extent of the disturbance was not clear until God spelled it out in detail to Moses. So death, this huge abyss separating us from God, dominated the landscape from Adam to Moses. Even those who didn’t sin precisely as Adam did by disobeying a specific command of God still had to experience this termination of life, this separation from God. But Adam, who got us into this, also points ahead to the One who will get us out of it.
15-17Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man’s sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There’s no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?
18-19Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right.
20-21All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end. — Romans 5

Let’s live lives that reflect out joy and reception of God’s gift of grace and forgiveness.

1-3So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we’ve left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn’t you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land!
3-5That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we’re going in our new grace-sovereign country.
6-11Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did.
12-14That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God. — Romans 6

Freedom reigns in this place. Showers for mercy and grace. True freedom breaks the chains and takes away the regret and the weight of the burdens.

15-18So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!
19I’m using this freedom language because it’s easy to picture. You can readily recall, can’t you, how at one time the more you did just what you felt like doing—not caring about others, not caring about God—the worse your life became and the less freedom you had? And how much different is it now as you live in God’s freedom, your lives healed and expansive in holiness?
20-21As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn’t have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything for that matter. But do you call that a free life? What did you get out of it? Nothing you’re proud of now. Where did it get you? A dead end.
22-23But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master. n– Romans 6

God won’t give you more than you can handle…are you adding more?


At lunch with a friend yesterday this very topic came up. He was sharing how God had spoken to him about not everything we get is from Him, but that we add to it ourselves. He mentioned about how insurance policies speak about “acts of God” and that how about 98% of the events can be traced back to somebody, leaving 2%. The example of New Orleans also came up in that the waves and the storms will come, but God never told anybody to build a city below sea level. In this morning’s reading from Matthew 19-20, Psalm 94, this topic was revealed to me as well when the Pharisee’s were questioning Jesus and His response to them was:

…a concession to your hard heartedness, but it is not part of God’s original plan. — Matthew 19

Everything we are facing isn’t always because it was God’s will or part of God’s original plan. So we need to seek wisdom first rather than trying to figure it out on own later. If we had of asked for wisdom first, it may not have been easy, but it would have been in alignment with God’s perfect plan and purpose. If He brings you to it then He will bring you through it.

God’s Word bring up the gateway to Heaven. We should be helping people get into His presence and not trying to prevent them or getting in the way.

13-15One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: “Let the children alone, don’t prevent them from coming to me. God’s kingdom is made up of people like these.” After laying hands on them, he left.
16Another day, a man stopped Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17Jesus said, “Why do you question me about what’s good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you.”
18-19The man asked, “What in particular?”
Jesus said, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself.”
20The young man said, “I’ve done all that. What’s left?”
21“If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.”
22That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.
23-24As he watched him go, Jesus told his disciples, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for the rich to enter God’s kingdom? Let me tell you, it’s easier to gallop a camel through a needle’s eye than for the rich to enter God’s kingdom.”
25The disciples were staggered. “Then who has any chance at all?”
26Jesus looked hard at them and said, “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.”
27Then Peter chimed in, “We left everything and followed you. What do we get out of it?”
28-30Jesus replied, “Yes, you have followed me. In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.”Matthew 19

Nothing is too difficult for God! Things that seem impossible to us – are in our own power – but with God nothing is impossible! It’s not God+, it’s just God that we need to have in our lives. The question, do you want to be first or last? Will you push to the front of the line and then realize they switch the direction and now you are at the end? Will you be willing to allow others ahead of yourself? Will you think of others before yourself? Selfless rather than selfish?

Are you going to be stingy or generous? Are people good to their word or will they try to get more?

1-2“God’s kingdom is like an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day, and went to work.
3-5“Later, about nine o’clock, the manager saw some other men hanging around the town square unemployed. He told them to go to work in his vineyard and he would pay them a fair wage. They went.
5-6“He did the same thing at noon, and again at three o’clock. At five o’clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, ‘Why are you standing around all day doing nothing?’
7“They said, ‘Because no one hired us.’
“He told them to go to work in his vineyard.
8“When the day’s work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, ‘Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.’
9-12“Those hired at five o’clock came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar. Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager, ‘These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.’
13-15“He replied to the one speaking for the rest, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn’t we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?’
16“Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.”Matthew 20

Don’t let power and influence go to your heads! Whatever influence you have received, use it to serve others! Be A Servant Leader!

20It was about that time that the mother of the Zebedee brothers came with her two sons and knelt before Jesus with a request.
21“What do you want?” Jesus asked.
She said, “Give your word that these two sons of mine will be awarded the highest places of honor in your kingdom, one at your right hand, one at your left hand.”
22Jesus responded, “You have no idea what you’re asking.” And he said to James and John, “Are you capable of drinking the cup that I’m about to drink?”
They said, “Sure, why not?”
23Jesus said, “Come to think of it, you are going to drink my cup. But as to awarding places of honor, that’s not my business. My Father is taking care of that.”
24-28When the ten others heard about this, they lost their tempers, thoroughly disgusted with the two brothers. So Jesus got them together to settle things down. He said, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”Matthew 20

Jesus is the ultimate servant leader. He gave everything for the opportunity for us to be saved from the fiery pits of hell as our final destination. What type of leader do you want to be? What type of leader are you being? How does that align with the ultimate leader?

Do you want it? Do you really, really want it? What if there were resistance how would you respond? What if they were shushing you?

29-31As they were leaving Jericho, a huge crowd followed. Suddenly they came upon two blind men sitting alongside the road. When they heard it was Jesus passing, they cried out, “Master, have mercy on us! Mercy, Son of David!” The crowd tried to hush them up, but they got all the louder, crying, “Master, have mercy on us! Mercy, Son of David!”
32Jesus stopped and called over, “What do you want from me?”
33They said, “Master, we want our eyes opened. We want to see!”
34Deeply moved, Jesus touched their eyes. They had their sight back that very instant, and joined the procession. — Matthew 20

Will you go after it with faith, trusting and believing in God no matter what the naysayers have to say? Will you put all your hope and trust in Jesus because you know that He is the way, the truth, and the life, the only way to the Father? Will you get louder? Will you get more passionate? Will you care enough for others to help them get there too? Will be more interested in sharing the good news with others than with puffing yourself up? Will you be more interested in sharing the hope with the hopeless than keeping it to yourself? Every day we are faced with choices. Every day we have to make decisions. Make sure you have your bearings straight and your heart in the right place because others are watching you and needing you. Help reflect the love of Jesus into the lives of those around you so that in and through it all He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name.

Where should you be spending your time?


This morning’s reading from God’s Word in Matthew 9-10, Psalm 89 starts with an interesting question, “Who Needs a Doctor?” The point is does a healthy person need a doctor or a sick person? Who needs direction, someone who is on track or someone who is lost? With these questions and those answers in mind, consider how you are spending your time.

9Passing along, Jesus saw a man at his work collecting taxes. His name was Matthew. Jesus said, “Come along with me.” Matthew stood up and followed him.
10-11Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus’ followers. “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?”
12-13Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” — Matthew 9:9-13

Timing is everything. You have been put here for such a day and such a time as this. Are you ready to do what you have been positioned to do in alignment with God’s will and plan for your life?

14A little later John’s followers approached, asking, “Why is it that we and the Pharisees rigorously discipline body and spirit by fasting, but your followers don’t?”
15Jesus told them, “When you’re celebrating a wedding, you don’t skimp on the cake and wine. You feast. Later you may need to pull in your belt, but not now. No one throws cold water on a friendly bonfire. This is Kingdom Come!”
16-17He went on, “No one cuts up a fine silk scarf to patch old work clothes; you want fabrics that match. And you don’t put your wine in cracked bottles.” — Matthew 9:14-17

Do you have faith to call out to God and ask Jesus to intervene and believe that He can help? Would you step out in faith to even just get a little touch of the hem of clothes in hopes that your life would be transformed? Will you be bold and courageous and step up to God? Jesus through His sacrifice and resurrection has opened the door. He is interceding for you and me. Will you boldly step into this gift with faith and love and trust? God’s timing is better than our time. God’s plans are better than our plans. Don’t allow others to distract you from the truth or to steal your hope. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep the main thing the main thing. Keep first things first!

18-19As he finished saying this, a local official appeared, bowed politely, and said, “My daughter has just now died. If you come and touch her, she will live.” Jesus got up and went with him, his disciples following along.
20-22Just then a woman who had hemorrhaged for twelve years slipped in from behind and lightly touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, “If I can just put a finger on his robe, I’ll get well.” Jesus turned—caught her at it. Then he reassured her: “Courage, daughter. You took a risk of faith, and now you’re well.” The woman was well from then on.
23-26By now they had arrived at the house of the town official, and pushed their way through the gossips looking for a story and the neighbors bringing in casseroles. Jesus was abrupt: “Clear out! This girl isn’t dead. She’s sleeping.” They told him he didn’t know what he was talking about. But when Jesus had gotten rid of the crowd, he went in, took the girl’s hand, and pulled her to her feet—alive. The news was soon out, and traveled throughout the region.

Do you believe it? Did you receive it? The live it! Become it! Stand united with other believers! Don’t allow division to rob you of everything you have been promised. Have compassion for those God has brought into your life! Bring them the Good News of Jesus that they may find hope and joy for the future!

27-28As Jesus left the house, he was followed by two blind men crying out, “Mercy, Son of David! Mercy on us!” When Jesus got home, the blind men went in with him. Jesus said to them, “Do you really believe I can do this?” They said, “Why, yes, Master!”
29-31He touched their eyes and said, “Become what you believe.” It happened. They saw. Then Jesus became very stern. “Don’t let a soul know how this happened.” But they were hardly out the door before they started blabbing it to everyone they met.
32-33Right after that, as the blind men were leaving, a man who had been struck speechless by an evil spirit was brought to Jesus. As soon as Jesus threw the evil tormenting spirit out, the man talked away just as if he’d been talking all his life. The people were up on their feet applauding: “There’s never been anything like this in Israel!”
34The Pharisees were left sputtering, “Hocus-pocus. It’s nothing but hocus-pocus. He’s probably made a pact with the Devil.”
35-38Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. “What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!” — Matthew 9:27-38

Jesus entrusted his 12 disciples and He has entrusted to you and to me the job, the calling, the purpose to go out into our communities and share the Good News, to …

5-8Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:
“Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.
9-10“Don’t think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start. You don’t need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light.
11“When you enter a town or village, don’t insist on staying in a luxury inn. Get a modest place with some modest people, and be content there until you leave.
12-15“When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don’t welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they’ll be mighty sorry—but it’s no concern of yours now.
16“Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you. You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove.
17-20“Don’t be naive. Some people will impugn your motives, others will smear your reputation—just because you believe in me. Don’t be upset when they haul you before the civil authorities. Without knowing it, they’ve done you—and me—a favor, given you a platform for preaching the kingdom news! And don’t worry about what you’ll say or how you’ll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words.
21-23“When people realize it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good, they are going to turn on you, even people in your own family. There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate! But don’t quit. Don’t cave in. It is all well worth it in the end. It is not success you are after in such times but survival. Be survivors! Before you’ve run out of options, the Son of Man will have arrived.
24-25“A student doesn’t get a better desk than her teacher. A laborer doesn’t make more money than his boss. Be content—pleased, even—when you, my students, my harvest hands, get the same treatment I get. If they call me, the Master, ‘Dungface,’ what can the workers expect?
26-27“Don’t be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don’t hesitate to go public now.
28“Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands. — Matthew 10:5-28

Don’t give up! Don’t cave in! Keep going! Be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves! Keep your eyes on God and press onward and upward! Walk in faith not in fear. Don’t be tricked by those who don’t believe or try to get you off track. God cares so much about you! You are so important and valuable to God! Stand up for Him and He will stand up for you! Life isn’t supposed to be easy and we are to consider it all joy as we face various tests and challenges as they work in us and through us that in the end we will be lacking nothing.

29-31“What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.
32-33“Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I’ll cover for you?
34-37“Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.
38-39“If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.
40-42“We are intimately linked in this harvest work. Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger. Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.”

Need healing?


This morning’s reading continues into Matthew 8 with the title “He Carried Our Diseases“. He didn’t do it for the accolades, He did it to glorify His Father in Heaven. He was compassionate and met people right where they are at. He didn’t hold back, but rather He would reach out and touch people. Here are some things for us to consider as we reach out as well as when we are in need:

1-2Jesus came down the mountain with the cheers of the crowd still ringing in his ears. Then a leper appeared and went to his knees before Jesus, praying, “Master, if you want to, you can heal my body.”
3-4Jesus reached out and touched him, saying, “I want to. Be clean.” Then and there, all signs of the leprosy were gone. Jesus said, “Don’t talk about this all over town. Just quietly present your healed body to the priest, along with the appropriate expressions of thanks to God. Your cleansed and grateful life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done.”
5-6As Jesus entered the village of Capernaum, a Roman captain came up in a panic and said, “Master, my servant is sick. He can’t walk. He’s in terrible pain.”
7Jesus said, “I’ll come and heal him.”
8-9“Oh, no,” said the captain. “I don’t want to put you to all that trouble. Just give the order and my servant will be fine. I’m a man who takes orders and gives orders. I tell one soldier, ‘Go,’ and he goes; to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10-12Taken aback, Jesus said, “I’ve yet to come across this kind of simple trust in Israel, the very people who are supposed to know all about God and how he works. This man is the vanguard of many outsiders who will soon be coming from all directions—streaming in from the east, pouring in from the west, sitting down at God’s kingdom banquet alongside Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then those who grew up ‘in the faith’ but had no faith will find themselves out in the cold, outsiders to grace and wondering what happened.”
13Then Jesus turned to the captain and said, “Go. What you believed could happen has happened.” At that moment his servant became well.
14-15By this time they were in front of Peter’s house. On entering, Jesus found Peter’s mother-in-law sick in bed, burning up with fever. He touched her hand and the fever was gone. No sooner was she up on her feet than she was fixing dinner for him.
16-17That evening a lot of demon-afflicted people were brought to him. He relieved the inwardly tormented. He cured the bodily ill. He fulfilled Isaiah’s well-known sermon:
He took our illnesses,
He carried our diseases.

Are we coming to Jesus believing He can heal us? Are we coming to Jesus realizing His authority over the situation? Do you have faith that God can work in the very situation that you are in? Whenever I consider this topic, there are a few stories that always come to mind. One I was a part of and lived and see to this day when my cousin was in a coma, I remember praying over Him in the hospital, believing and pleading with God, I remember he came out of the coma and all the rehab he had to do, I see and speak with him as God’s power was greater and restored his life. Another story is about someone who is in my church, he was in the hospital with nobody giving his family any hope, life support, they said he was dead, but the family and the church kept praying and believing. A year or so after that I had joined the church and even to this day that man is here, a part of the church family, blessed with a great family, God’s able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. The key is will we trust Him, will we believe in Him, will we follow up, do we realize the authority He has?

Through Jesus the direction is eternal life. He is in the life business as we should be not in the death business. Nothing is impossible for God!

18-19When Jesus saw that a curious crowd was growing by the minute, he told his disciples to get him out of there to the other side of the lake. As they left, a religion scholar asked if he could go along. “I’ll go with you, wherever,” he said.
20Jesus was curt: “Are you ready to rough it? We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.”
21Another follower said, “Master, excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have my father’s funeral to take care of.”
22Jesus refused. “First things first. Your business is life, not death. Follow me. Pursue life.”
23-25Then he got in the boat, his disciples with him. The next thing they knew, they were in a severe storm. Waves were crashing into the boat—and he was sound asleep! They roused him, pleading, “Master, save us! We’re going down!”
26Jesus reprimanded them. “Why are you such cowards, such faint-hearts?” Then he stood up and told the wind to be silent, the sea to quiet down: “Silence!” The sea became smooth as glass.
27The men rubbed their eyes, astonished. “What’s going on here? Wind and sea come to heel at his command!”

We need to be more than just knowing about Jesus, we need to have a relationship with Him. Even the devil and his demons know who Jesus is. The relationship key was one that I was missing for many years. Knowing about something or someone is very different than knowing something or someone. So make sure you build up your relationship with Jesus. Bring Him into every conversation, every decision, every though and allow Him to bring the peace that goes beyond understanding and the wisdom needed for that very situation.

28-31They landed in the country of the Gadarenes and were met by two madmen, victims of demons, coming out of the cemetery. The men had terrorized the region for so long that no one considered it safe to walk down that stretch of road anymore. Seeing Jesus, the madmen screamed out, “What business do you have giving us a hard time? You’re the Son of God! You weren’t supposed to show up here yet!” Off in the distance a herd of pigs was browsing and rooting. The evil spirits begged Jesus, “If you kick us out of these men, let us live in the pigs.”
32-34Jesus said, “Go ahead, but get out of here!” Crazed, the pigs stampeded over a cliff into the sea and drowned. Scared to death, the swineherds bolted. They told everyone back in town what had happened to the madmen and the pigs. Those who heard about it were angry about the drowned pigs. A mob formed and demanded that Jesus get out and not come back.

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I thank You Lord that You cared so much that you came out of Heaven to touch and teach lives. Lord, as I follow Your Word about healing, another phrase comes to mind about the fact that by Jesus’ stripes we are healed. I grab onto that today Lord for there are people who need Your healing touch and Your Word speaks to the power to heal and so I ask Lord that You would meet people in their times of need to bring healing into their lives. Allow them Lord to know You are right there with them and that there is no need to fear. Lord, allow Your peace that goes beyond all understanding to comfort them just as Jesus calmed the storm for the disciples. I know Lord sometime You will calm the storm and sometimes you will calm the storm in us. Either way Lord, as the captain realized Your authority, so do I so I close this prayer trusting and believing in You for what You say goes. May in and through this prayer and post, You receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.