Will you give God what you have?


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

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

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


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

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

2 Kings 4

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

Ezekiel 9

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

Acts 11:19-30

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

Revelation 1:9-20

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

Psalms 111

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

Prayer of Salvation Example

Partial obedience is still disobedience.


Isn’t partial obedience willful disobedience? We don’t get to pick and choose which commands of God to follow. To obey God, we must be willing to make the necessary changes, adjustments, or sacrifices required. We can’t go after it halfheartedly or partially but rather fully obey God. There is no blessing in partial obedience. Obedience is better than sacrifice. Submission is better than offering. Rebellion is as bad as witchcraft. Stubbornness is as bad as worshipping idols. Disobedience to God always brings consequences.

Do you trust God fully? Is Jesus Lord of all or is He not lord at all for you and to you? Will you turn to Him or turn away from Him? Have you invited Jesus into your heart and allowed Him to create a new heart in you? Have you invited God to create a new heart in you and remove the deceitful and desperate things from it? Are you allowing your roots to grow deep by the living water of Jesus so that even during the heat and droughts of life?

Let’s pursue God and hear what His Word has to tell us today.



Today’s reading from God’s Word gets started in 1 Samuel 15 where we see how Saul doesn’t fully obey God’s command and learn what happens to him…

‘One day Samuel said to Saul, “It was the Lord who told me to anoint you as king of his people, Israel. Now listen to this message from the Lord ! This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I have decided to settle accounts with the nation of Amalek for opposing Israel when they came from Egypt. Now go and completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation—men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys.” So Saul mobilized his army at Telaim. There were 200,000 soldiers from Israel and 10,000 men from Judah. Then Saul and his army went to a town of the Amalekites and lay in wait in the valley. Saul sent this warning to the Kenites: “Move away from where the Amalekites live, or you will die with them. For you showed kindness to all the people of Israel when they came up from Egypt.” So the Kenites packed up and left. Then Saul slaughtered the Amalekites from Havilah all the way to Shur, east of Egypt. He captured Agag, the Amalekite king, but completely destroyed everyone else. Saul and his men spared Agag’s life and kept the best of the sheep and goats, the cattle, the fat calves, and the lambs—everything, in fact, that appealed to them. They destroyed only what was worthless or of poor quality. Then the Lord said to Samuel, “I am sorry that I ever made Saul king, for he has not been loyal to me and has refused to obey my command.” Samuel was so deeply moved when he heard this that he cried out to the Lord all night. Early the next morning Samuel went to find Saul. Someone told him, “Saul went to the town of Carmel to set up a monument to himself; then he went on to Gilgal.” When Samuel finally found him, Saul greeted him cheerfully. “May the Lord bless you,” he said. “I have carried out the Lord ’s command!” “Then what is all the bleating of sheep and goats and the lowing of cattle I hear?” Samuel demanded. “It’s true that the army spared the best of the sheep, goats, and cattle,” Saul admitted. “But they are going to sacrifice them to the Lord your God. We have destroyed everything else.” Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! Listen to what the Lord told me last night!” “What did he tell you?” Saul asked. And Samuel told him, “Although you may think little of yourself, are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord has anointed you king of Israel. And the Lord sent you on a mission and told you, ‘Go and completely destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, until they are all dead.’ Why haven’t you obeyed the Lord ? Why did you rush for the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord ’s sight?” “But I did obey the Lord ,” Saul insisted. “I carried out the mission he gave me. I brought back King Agag, but I destroyed everyone else. Then my troops brought in the best of the sheep, goats, cattle, and plunder to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord : your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord , he has rejected you as king.” Then Saul admitted to Samuel, “Yes, I have sinned. I have disobeyed your instructions and the Lord ’s command, for I was afraid of the people and did what they demanded. But now, please forgive my sin and come back with me so that I may worship the Lord .” But Samuel replied, “I will not go back with you! Since you have rejected the Lord ’s command, he has rejected you as king of Israel.” As Samuel turned to go, Saul tried to hold him back and tore the hem of his robe. And Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to someone else—one who is better than you. And he who is the Glory of Israel will not lie, nor will he change his mind, for he is not human that he should change his mind!” Then Saul pleaded again, “I know I have sinned. But please, at least honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel by coming back with me so that I may worship the Lord your God.” So Samuel finally agreed and went back with him, and Saul worshiped the Lord . Then Samuel said, “Bring King Agag to me.” Agag arrived full of hope, for he thought, “Surely the worst is over, and I have been spared!” But Samuel said, “As your sword has killed the sons of many mothers, now your mother will be childless.” And Samuel cut Agag to pieces before the Lord at Gilgal. Then Samuel went home to Ramah, and Saul returned to his house at Gibeah of Saul. Samuel never went to meet with Saul again, but he mourned constantly for him. And the Lord was sorry he had ever made Saul king of Israel.’

— 1 Samuel 15

‘“The sin of Judah is inscribed with an iron chisel— engraved with a diamond point on their stony hearts and on the corners of their altars. Even their children go to worship at their pagan altars and Asherah poles, beneath every green tree and on every high hill. So I will hand over my holy mountain— along with all your wealth and treasures and your pagan shrines— as plunder to your enemies, for sin runs rampant in your land. The wonderful possession I have reserved for you will slip from your hands. I will tell your enemies to take you as captives to a foreign land. For my anger blazes like a fire that will burn forever.” This is what the Lord says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord . They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord , search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” Like a partridge that hatches eggs she has not laid, so are those who get their wealth by unjust means. At midlife they will lose their riches; in the end, they will become poor old fools. But we worship at your throne— eternal, high, and glorious! O Lord , the hope of Israel, all who turn away from you will be disgraced. They will be buried in the dust of the earth, for they have abandoned the Lord , the fountain of living water. O Lord , if you heal me, I will be truly healed; if you save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for you alone! People scoff at me and say, “What is this ‘message from the Lord ’ you talk about? Why don’t your predictions come true?” Lord , I have not abandoned my job as a shepherd for your people. I have not urged you to send disaster. You have heard everything I’ve said. Lord , don’t terrorize me! You alone are my hope in the day of disaster. Bring shame and dismay on all who persecute me, but don’t let me experience shame and dismay. Bring a day of terror on them. Yes, bring double destruction upon them! This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and stand in the gates of Jerusalem, first in the gate where the king goes in and out, and then in each of the other gates. Say to all the people, ‘Listen to this message from the Lord , you kings of Judah and all you people of Judah and everyone living in Jerusalem. This is what the Lord says: Listen to my warning! Stop carrying on your trade at Jerusalem’s gates on the Sabbath day. Do not do your work on the Sabbath, but make it a holy day. I gave this command to your ancestors, but they did not listen or obey. They stubbornly refused to pay attention or accept my discipline. “‘But if you obey me, says the Lord , and do not carry on your trade at the gates or work on the Sabbath day, and if you keep it holy, then kings and their officials will go in and out of these gates forever. There will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. Kings and their officials will always ride in and out among the people of Judah in chariots and on horses, and this city will remain forever. And from all around Jerusalem, from the towns of Judah and Benjamin, from the western foothills and the hill country and the Negev, the people will come with their burnt offerings and sacrifices. They will bring their grain offerings, frankincense, and thanksgiving offerings to the Lord ’s Temple. “‘But if you do not listen to me and refuse to keep the Sabbath holy, and if on the Sabbath day you bring loads of merchandise through the gates of Jerusalem just as on other days, then I will set fire to these gates. The fire will spread to the palaces, and no one will be able to put out the roaring flames.’”’

— Jeremiah 17

‘“I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against. ‘Father will be divided against son and son against father; mother against daughter and daughter against mother; and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’” Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’ And you are right. When the south wind blows, you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is. You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times. “Why can’t you decide for yourselves what is right? When you are on the way to court with your accuser, try to settle the matter before you get there. Otherwise, your accuser may drag you before the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, who will throw you into prison. And if that happens, you won’t be free again until you have paid the very last penny.”’

-Luke 12:49-59

‘And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God and are partners with those called to heaven, think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare to be God’s messenger and High Priest. For he was faithful to God, who appointed him, just as Moses served faithfully when he was entrusted with God’s entire house. But Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself. For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God. Moses was certainly faithful in God’s house as a servant. His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later. But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.’

– Hebrews 3:1-6

‘Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me— now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you. Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness. Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you. You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Look with favor on Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit— with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings. Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.’

-Psalms 51

It’s a matter of the heart!


From the overflow of your heart, you speak. From the overflow of your heart, you act. From the overflow of your heart, you believe. From the overflow of your heart, you respond. From the overflow of your heart, you trust. So what are you putting into your heart? What are you allowing into your heart? What are you removing from your heart? It is a matter of the heart!


Today’s reading gets us started with Deuteronomy

‘“You must love the Lord your God and always obey his requirements, decrees, regulations, and commands. Keep in mind that I am not talking now to your children, who have never experienced the discipline of the Lord your God or seen his greatness and his strong hand and powerful arm. They didn’t see the miraculous signs and wonders he performed in Egypt against Pharaoh and all his land. They didn’t see what the Lord did to the armies of Egypt and to their horses and chariots—how he drowned them in the Red Sea as they were chasing you. He destroyed them, and they have not recovered to this very day! “Your children didn’t see how the Lord cared for you in the wilderness until you arrived here. They didn’t see what he did to Dathan and Abiram (the sons of Eliab, a descendant of Reuben) when the earth opened its mouth in the Israelite camp and swallowed them, along with their households and tents and every living thing that belonged to them. But you have seen the Lord perform all these mighty deeds with your own eyes!

“Therefore, be careful to obey every command I am giving you today, so you may have strength to go in and take over the land you are about to enter. If you obey, you will enjoy a long life in the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors and to you, their descendants—a land flowing with milk and honey! For the land you are about to enter and take over is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you planted your seed and made irrigation ditches with your foot as in a vegetable garden. Rather, the land you will soon take over is a land of hills and valleys with plenty of rain— a land that the Lord your God cares for. He watches over it through each season of the year! “If you carefully obey the commands I am giving you today, and if you love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart and soul, then he will send the rains in their proper seasons—the early and late rains—so you can bring in your harvests of grain, new wine, and olive oil. He will give you lush pastureland for your livestock, and you yourselves will have all you want to eat. “But be careful. Don’t let your heart be deceived so that you turn away from the Lord and serve and worship other gods. If you do, the Lord ’s anger will burn against you. He will shut up the sky and hold back the rain, and the ground will fail to produce its harvests. Then you will quickly die in that good land the Lord is giving you. “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors. “Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him. Then the Lord will drive out all the nations ahead of you, though they are much greater and stronger than you, and you will take over their land. Wherever you set foot, that land will be yours. Your frontiers will stretch from the wilderness in the south to Lebanon in the north, and from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you, for the Lord your God will cause the people to fear and dread you, as he promised, wherever you go in the whole land. “Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse! You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today. But you will be cursed if you reject the commands of the Lord your God and turn away from him and worship gods you have not known before. “When the Lord your God brings you into the land and helps you take possession of it, you must pronounce the blessing at Mount Gerizim and the curse at Mount Ebal. (These two mountains are west of the Jordan River in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Jordan Valley, near the town of Gilgal, not far from the oaks of Moreh.) For you are about to cross the Jordan River to take over the land the Lord your God is giving you. When you take that land and are living in it, you must be careful to obey all the decrees and regulations I am giving you today.’

Deuteronomy 11

Today’s reading continues into Isaiah

‘Then the Lord said to me, “Make a large signboard and clearly write this name on it: Maher-shalal-hash-baz. ” I asked Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah, both known as honest men, to witness my doing this. Then I slept with my wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said, “Call him Maher-shalal-hash-baz. For before this child is old enough to say ‘Papa’ or ‘Mama,’ the king of Assyria will carry away both the abundance of Damascus and the riches of Samaria.” Then the Lord spoke to me again and said, “My care for the people of Judah is like the gently flowing waters of Shiloah, but they have rejected it. They are rejoicing over what will happen to King Rezin and King Pekah. Therefore, the Lord will overwhelm them with a mighty flood from the Euphrates River —the king of Assyria and all his glory. This flood will overflow all its channels and sweep into Judah until it is chin deep. It will spread its wings, submerging your land from one end to the other, O Immanuel. “Huddle together, you nations, and be terrified. Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, but you will be crushed! Yes, prepare for battle, but you will be crushed! Call your councils of war, but they will be worthless. Develop your strategies, but they will not succeed. For God is with us! ”

The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said, “Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do, and don’t live in dread of what frightens them. Make the Lord of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear. He is the one who should make you tremble. He will keep you safe. But to Israel and Judah he will be a stone that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare. Many will stumble and fall, never to rise again. They will be snared and captured.” Preserve the teaching of God; entrust his instructions to those who follow me. I will wait for the Lord , who has turned away from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my hope in him. I and the children the Lord has given me serve as signs and warnings to Israel from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies who dwells in his Temple on Mount Zion. Someone may say to you, “Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.” But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead? Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. They will go from one place to another, weary and hungry. And because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their God. They will look up to heaven and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness.’

Isaiah 8

and

‘Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian. The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire. For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

The Lord has spoken out against Jacob; his judgment has fallen upon Israel. And the people of Israel and Samaria, who spoke with such pride and arrogance, will soon know it. They said, “We will replace the broken bricks of our ruins with finished stone, and replant the felled sycamore-fig trees with cedars.” But the Lord will bring Rezin’s enemies against Israel and stir up all their foes. The Syrians from the east and the Philistines from the west will bare their fangs and devour Israel. But even then the Lord ’s anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike. For after all this punishment, the people will still not repent. They will not seek the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Therefore, in a single day the Lord will destroy both the head and the tail, the noble palm branch and the lowly reed. The leaders of Israel are the head, and the lying prophets are the tail. For the leaders of the people have misled them. They have led them down the path of destruction. That is why the Lord takes no pleasure in the young men and shows no mercy even to the widows and orphans. For they are all wicked hypocrites, and they all speak foolishness. But even then the Lord ’s anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike. This wickedness is like a brushfire. It burns not only briers and thorns but also sets the forests ablaze. Its burning sends up clouds of smoke. The land will be blackened by the fury of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The people will be fuel for the fire, and no one will spare even his own brother. They will attack their neighbor on the right but will still be hungry. They will devour their neighbor on the left but will not be satisfied. In the end they will even eat their own children. Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, Ephraim will feed on Manasseh, and both will devour Judah. But even then the Lord ’s anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike.’

Isaiah 9

and

‘What sorrow awaits the unjust judges and those who issue unfair laws. They deprive the poor of justice and deny the rights of the needy among my people. They prey on widows and take advantage of orphans. What will you do when I punish you, when I send disaster upon you from a distant land? To whom will you turn for help? Where will your treasures be safe? You will stumble along as prisoners or lie among the dead. But even then the Lord ’s anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike.’

Isiah 10:1-4

Today’s reading next takes us into the New Testament. We get started here in Matthew

‘Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus. Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials —one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground. Then Jesus came over and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” And when they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus. As they went back down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” Then his disciples asked him, “Why do the teachers of religious law insist that Elijah must return before the Messiah comes? ” Jesus replied, “Elijah is indeed coming first to get everything ready. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, but he wasn’t recognized, and they chose to abuse him. And in the same way they will also make the Son of Man suffer.” Then the disciples realized he was talking about John the Baptist.’

Matthew 17:1-13

and then into Romans

‘We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.” Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. ‘

Romans 15:1-7

So what is the state of your heart? Are you willing to heal? Are willing to restore? Are you willing to repair? Are you willing to forgive? Are you willing to open up and invite Jesus in?

Today’s reading concludes in Psalms.

‘From the depths of despair, O Lord , I call for your help. Hear my cry, O Lord. Pay attention to my prayer. Lord , if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you. I am counting on the Lord ; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word. I long for the Lord more than sentries long for the dawn, yes, more than sentries long for the dawn. O Israel, hope in the Lord ; for with the Lord there is unfailing love. His redemption overflows. He himself will redeem Israel from every kind of sin.’

Psalms 130

Will you allow your anger or frustration with others disqualify you from God’s purpose or plan?


What if God gave you something to do to help the people and they were doing things that got you upset? Would you do it like God said or would you allow that anger and frustration to overtake you and cause you to do it your own way? Would you be willing to risk disqualifying yourself from getting to be everything God desires of you? What if the people were complaining and God gave you instructions on how to meet the needs? Would you do it God’s way or would the wining and complaining cause you to deviate from God’s plan and risk your calling and destiny? Are you able to separate that? Are you able to allow God’s peace that surpasses all understanding to guard your heart and mind? Are you able to go through with it God’s way no matter what happens? Are you able to avoid going nuclear in the moment? Can you resist the devil in order that he will flee? Can you find the way out God has provided for you as He will never allow you to be tempted beyond what you can handle. You can’t control what others will do and say, but you can control how you respond.


Today’s reading gets us started in Numbers 20.

‘In the first month of the year, the whole community of Israel arrived in the wilderness of Zin and camped at Kadesh. While they were there, Miriam died and was buried. There was no water for the people to drink at that place, so they rebelled against Moses and Aaron. The people blamed Moses and said, “If only we had died in the Lord ’s presence with our brothers! Why have you brought the congregation of the Lord ’s people into this wilderness to die, along with all our livestock? Why did you make us leave Egypt and bring us here to this terrible place? This land has no grain, no figs, no grapes, no pomegranates, and no water to drink!” Moses and Aaron turned away from the people and went to the entrance of the Tabernacle, where they fell face down on the ground. Then the glorious presence of the Lord appeared to them, and the Lord said to Moses, “You and Aaron must take the staff and assemble the entire community. As the people watch, speak to the rock over there, and it will pour out its water. You will provide enough water from the rock to satisfy the whole community and their livestock.” So Moses did as he was told. He took the staff from the place where it was kept before the Lord . Then he and Aaron summoned the people to come and gather at the rock. “Listen, you rebels!” he shouted. “Must we bring you water from this rock?” Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the staff, and water gushed out. So the entire community and their livestock drank their fill. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!” This place was known as the waters of Meribah (which means “arguing”) because there the people of Israel argued with the Lord , and there he demonstrated his holiness among them.

While Moses was at Kadesh, he sent ambassadors to the king of Edom with this message: “This is what your relatives, the people of Israel, say: You know all the hardships we have been through. Our ancestors went down to Egypt, and we lived there a long time, and we and our ancestors were brutally mistreated by the Egyptians. But when we cried out to the Lord , he heard us and sent an angel who brought us out of Egypt. Now we are camped at Kadesh, a town on the border of your land. Please let us travel through your land. We will be careful not to go through your fields and vineyards. We won’t even drink water from your wells. We will stay on the king’s road and never leave it until we have passed through your territory.” But the king of Edom said, “Stay out of my land, or I will meet you with an army!” The Israelites answered, “We will stay on the main road. If our livestock drink your water, we will pay for it. Just let us pass through your country. That’s all we ask.” But the king of Edom replied, “Stay out! You may not pass through our land.” With that he mobilized his army and marched out against them with an imposing force. Because Edom refused to allow Israel to pass through their country, Israel was forced to turn around.

The whole community of Israel left Kadesh and arrived at Mount Hor. There, on the border of the land of Edom, the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “The time has come for Aaron to join his ancestors in death. He will not enter the land I am giving the people of Israel, because the two of you rebelled against my instructions concerning the water at Meribah. Now take Aaron and his son Eleazar up Mount Hor. There you will remove Aaron’s priestly garments and put them on Eleazar, his son. Aaron will die there and join his ancestors.” So Moses did as the Lord commanded. The three of them went up Mount Hor together as the whole community watched. At the summit, Moses removed the priestly garments from Aaron and put them on Eleazar, Aaron’s son. Then Aaron died there on top of the mountain, and Moses and Eleazar went back down. When the people realized that Aaron had died, all Israel mourned for him thirty days.’

Numbers 20

Today’s reading then brings us to Amos 2.

‘So I will send down fire on the land of Moab, and all the fortresses in Kerioth will be destroyed. The people will fall in the noise of battle, as the warriors shout and the ram’s horn sounds. And I will destroy their king and slaughter all their princes,” says the Lord .

This is what the Lord says: “The people of Judah have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They have rejected the instruction of the Lord , refusing to obey his decrees. They have been led astray by the same lies that deceived their ancestors. So I will send down fire on Judah, and all the fortresses of Jerusalem will be destroyed.” This is what the Lord says: “The people of Israel have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They sell honorable people for silver and poor people for a pair of sandals. They trample helpless people in the dust and shove the oppressed out of the way. Both father and son sleep with the same woman, corrupting my holy name. At their religious festivals, they lounge in clothing their debtors put up as security. In the house of their gods, they drink wine bought with unjust fines. “But as my people watched, I destroyed the Amorites, though they were as tall as cedars and as strong as oaks. I destroyed the fruit on their branches and dug out their roots. It was I who rescued you from Egypt and led you through the desert for forty years, so you could possess the land of the Amorites. I chose some of your sons to be prophets and others to be Nazirites. Can you deny this, my people of Israel?” asks the Lord . “But you caused the Nazirites to sin by making them drink wine, and you commanded the prophets, ‘Shut up!’ “So I will make you groan like a wagon loaded down with sheaves of grain. Your fastest runners will not get away. The strongest among you will become weak. Even mighty warriors will be unable to save themselves. The archers will not stand their ground. The swiftest runners won’t be fast enough to escape. Even those riding horses won’t be able to save themselves. On that day the most courageous of your fighting men will drop their weapons and run for their lives,” says the Lord .’

Amos 2:4-16

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

‘“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need,#6:11 Or Give us today our food for the day; or Give us today our food for tomorrow. and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation,#6:13a Or And keep us from being tested. but rescue us from the evil one.#6:13b Or from evil. Some manuscripts add For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair#6:17 Greek anoint your head. and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.’

Matthew 6:1-18

and continues into Romans 3.

‘But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law. After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.’

Romans 3:21-31

As we prepare to close take hold of God’s instructions for they are for your own good. Consider and take hold of God’s direction in order to prevent yourself from being disqualified. Consider where you have been, what you have gone through to build your faith to where it is today and take hold of that in order to be able to stand firm on the rock of Jesus Christ because in this world we will have troubles and we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world. We need to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because we know that it will build us up and strengthen us in order that in the end we will be complete and lacking nothing.


Today’s reading brings us to Psalms 110 as our final Word for today.

‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.” The Lord will extend your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem ; you will rule over your enemies. When you go to war, your people will serve you willingly. You are arrayed in holy garments, and your strength will be renewed each day like the morning dew. The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow: “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” The Lord stands at your right hand to protect you. He will strike down many kings when his anger erupts. He will punish the nations and fill their lands with corpses; he will shatter heads over the whole earth. But he himself will be refreshed from brooks along the way. He will be victorious.’

Psalms 110

What is the state of your heart?


Consider what is coming out of you and what it is saying about the state of your heart. Consider what you are filling your heart with so that when it overflows people see your actions and hear your words. Will you allow God into your heart? Will you invite Jesus into your heart? Do you realize that when your heart is in the right state doors can be opened and walls can be knocked down? Are you ready to walk it out in faith and obedience to God? Do you realize that with God all things are possible? Will you build your relationship with Him? Will you trust God? Will you hear what God says and walk it out in obedience? Do you realize the state of your heart is visible to everyone around you by what is being overflowed out of it? Do you believe in your heart? Do you allow that belief in God to overflow so that you share it with the world around you? What is the state of your heart?

Today’s reading starts us in Exodus 16.

‘Then the whole community of Israel set out from Elim and journeyed into the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai. They arrived there on the fifteenth day of the second month, one month after leaving the land of Egypt. There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron. “If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “By evening you will realize it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt. In the morning you will see the glory of the Lord , because he has heard your complaints, which are against him, not against us. What have we done that you should complain about us?” Then Moses added, “The Lord will give you meat to eat in the evening and bread to satisfy you in the morning, for he has heard all your complaints against him. What have we done? Yes, your complaints are against the Lord , not against us.” Then Moses said to Aaron, “Announce this to the entire community of Israel: ‘Present yourselves before the Lord , for he has heard your complaining.’” And as Aaron spoke to the whole community of Israel, they looked out toward the wilderness. There they could see the awesome glory of the Lord in the cloud. Then the Lord said to Moses, “I have heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them, ‘In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’” That evening vast numbers of quail flew in and covered the camp. And the next morning the area around the camp was wet with dew. When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance as fine as frost blanketed the ground. The Israelites were puzzled when they saw it. “What is it?” they asked each other. They had no idea what it was. And Moses told them, “It is the food the Lord has given you to eat. These are the Lord ’s instructions: Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quarts for each person in your tent.” So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little. But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed. Then Moses told them, “Do not keep any of it until morning.” But some of them didn’t listen and kept some of it until morning. But by then it was full of maggots and had a terrible smell. Moses was very angry with them. After this the people gathered the food morning by morning, each family according to its need. And as the sun became hot, the flakes they had not picked up melted and disappeared. On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much as usual—four quarts for each person instead of two. Then all the leaders of the community came and asked Moses for an explanation. He told them, “This is what the Lord commanded: Tomorrow will be a day of complete rest, a holy Sabbath day set apart for the Lord . So bake or boil as much as you want today, and set aside what is left for tomorrow.” So they put some aside until morning, just as Moses had commanded. And in the morning the leftover food was wholesome and good, without maggots or odor. Moses said, “Eat this food today, for today is a Sabbath day dedicated to the Lord . There will be no food on the ground today. You may gather the food for six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath. There will be no food on the ground that day.” Some of the people went out anyway on the seventh day, but they found no food. The Lord asked Moses, “How long will these people refuse to obey my commands and instructions? They must realize that the Sabbath is the Lord ’s gift to you. That is why he gives you a two-day supply on the sixth day, so there will be enough for two days. On the Sabbath day you must each stay in your place. Do not go out to pick up food on the seventh day.” So the people did not gather any food on the seventh day. The Israelites called the food manna. It was white like coriander seed, and it tasted like honey wafers. Then Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: Fill a two-quart container with manna to preserve it for your descendants. Then later generations will be able to see the food I gave you in the wilderness when I set you free from Egypt.” Moses said to Aaron, “Get a jar and fill it with two quarts of manna. Then put it in a sacred place before the Lord to preserve it for all future generations.” Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded Moses. He eventually placed it in the Ark of the Covenant—in front of the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant. So the people of Israel ate manna for forty years until they arrived at the land where they would settle. They ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. The container used to measure the manna was an omer, which was one-tenth of an ephah; it held about two quarts.’

Exodus 16

God will meet your needs. He will provide enough for each day. He will provide enough so that you can also have rest. Will you trust Him? Will you allow the truth of God to fill your heart so that your life will be lead and directed, comforted and instructed by the Holy Spirit? Will you put your trust in God and not complain and grown about people? Will you cast your cares on God for He cares for you.

Today’s reading continue into Exodus 17.

‘At the Lord ’s command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sin and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink. So once more the people complained against Moses. “Give us water to drink!” they demanded. “Quiet!” Moses replied. “Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the Lord ?” But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses. “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?” Then Moses cried out to the Lord , “What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!” The Lord said to Moses, “Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on. Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord here with us or not?”’

Exodus 17:1-7

God is with us! God sent Jesus to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and our guide! We are not alone! So will you put that in your heart and live it out trusting in God and casing all of your cares upon Him rather than worrying and complaining? Worry changes nothing but prayer changes everything. Consider the state of your heart and what is coming out of your mouth as the overflow from your heart. What’s the state of your heart?

Today’s reading continues into 2 Chronicles 36.

‘Then the people of the land took Josiah’s son Jehoahaz and made him the next king in Jerusalem. Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. Then he was deposed by the king of Egypt, who demanded that Judah pay 7,500 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of gold as tribute.

The king of Egypt then installed Eliakim, the brother of Jehoahaz, as the next king of Judah and Jerusalem, and he changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. Then Neco took Jehoahaz to Egypt as a prisoner. Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God. Then King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and captured it, and he bound Jehoiakim in bronze chains and led him away to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar also took some of the treasures from the Temple of the Lord , and he placed them in his palace in Babylon. The rest of the events in Jehoiakim’s reign, including all the evil things he did and everything found against him, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah. Then his son Jehoiachin became the next king.

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. Jehoiachin did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight. In the spring of the year King Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin to Babylon. Many treasures from the Temple of the Lord were also taken to Babylon at that time. And Nebuchadnezzar installed Jehoiachin’s uncle, Zedekiah, as the next king in Judah and Jerusalem.

Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. But Zedekiah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and he refused to humble himself when the prophet Jeremiah spoke to him directly from the Lord . He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, even though he had taken an oath of loyalty in God’s name. Zedekiah was a hard and stubborn man, refusing to turn to the Lord , the God of Israel. Likewise, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful. They followed all the pagan practices of the surrounding nations, desecrating the Temple of the Lord that had been consecrated in Jerusalem. The Lord , the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent his prophets to warn them, for he had compassion on his people and his Temple. But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the Lord ’s anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done.

So the Lord brought the king of Babylon against them. The Babylonians killed Judah’s young men, even chasing after them into the Temple. They had no pity on the people, killing both young men and young women, the old and the infirm. God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar. The king took home to Babylon all the articles, large and small, used in the Temple of God, and the treasures from both the Lord ’s Temple and from the palace of the king and his officials. Then his army burned the Temple of God, tore down the walls of Jerusalem, burned all the palaces, and completely destroyed everything of value. The few who survived were taken as exiles to Babylon, and they became servants to the king and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. So the message of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah was fulfilled. The land finally enjoyed its Sabbath rest, lying desolate until the seventy years were fulfilled, just as the prophet had said.

In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, the Lord fulfilled the prophecy he had given through Jeremiah. He stirred the heart of Cyrus to put this proclamation in writing and to send it throughout his kingdom: “This is what King Cyrus of Persia says: “The Lord , the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build him a Temple at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Any of you who are his people may go there for this task. And may the Lord your God be with you!”’

2 Chronicles 36

Is what is in your heart making you live your life in a way that is pleasing to God? Is what is in your heart making you live your life in a way that displeases God?

Today’s reading continues into the New Testament – John 19.

‘Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus away. Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha ). There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them. And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it. Then the leading priests objected and said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews’ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate replied, “No, what I have written, I have written.” When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart, let’s throw dice for it.” This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing.” So that is what they did. Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.’

John 19:16-27

Will you fill your heart with the things of God? Will you be a steward of all He give you? Will you not worry about the threats or evaluation of man but rather put your focus on what God has to say?

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 4.

‘So look at Apollos and me as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries. Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide. So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due. Dear brothers and sisters, I have used Apollos and myself to illustrate what I’ve been saying. If you pay attention to what I have quoted from the Scriptures, you won’t be proud of one of your leaders at the expense of another. For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift? You think you already have everything you need. You think you are already rich. You have begun to reign in God’s kingdom without us! I wish you really were reigning already, for then we would be reigning with you. Instead, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor’s parade, condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the entire world—to people and angels alike. Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but we are ridiculed. Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment.’

1 Corinthians 4:1-13

As we close today we find ourselves in the book of Psalms. Let’s close by meditating on today’s psalm – Psalms 48.

‘How great is the Lord , how deserving of praise, in the city of our God, which sits on his holy mountain! It is high and magnificent; the whole earth rejoices to see it! Mount Zion, the holy mountain, is the city of the great King! God himself is in Jerusalem’s towers, revealing himself as its defender. The kings of the earth joined forces and advanced against the city. But when they saw it, they were stunned; they were terrified and ran away. They were gripped with terror and writhed in pain like a woman in labor. You destroyed them like the mighty ships of Tarshish shattered by a powerful east wind. We had heard of the city’s glory, but now we have seen it ourselves— the city of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. It is the city of our God; he will make it safe forever. Interlude O God, we meditate on your unfailing love as we worship in your Temple. As your name deserves, O God, you will be praised to the ends of the earth. Your strong right hand is filled with victory. Let the people on Mount Zion rejoice. Let all the towns of Judah be glad because of your justice. Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem. Walk around and count the many towers. Take note of the fortified walls, and tour all the citadels, that you may describe them to future generations. For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will guide us until we die.’

Psalms 48

Can you live giving it all?


How many ways can we consider this? How many ways can we say this?

Are you committed? Are you dedicated? Are you convicted? Are you decided?

How are you living your life? Are you a halfway type of person? Are you part way in type of person? What are you involved in? What are you you committed to? What are you dedicated to? What are you convicted to?What have you decided is your focus?

Are you wholeheartedly committed to living after God and His ways?

Are you all in?

Are you trying to live out your life fully after God? Are you fully 100% committed to doing what the Lord calls you to do? Are you in with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your strength, and all of your mind?

Is there anything bad or getting in the way of you being able to accomplish this?

Are there things that you need to remove from your life in order to be able to better follow after God?

God’s looking for people! Will you step up? Will you raise your hand? Will you come forward?

For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war. –2 Chronicles 16:9

Will you be fully committed so that even in those weakest or darkest moments, God will be able to give you strength?

Will you allow Jesus to be the Lord of all of your life? Partial doesn’t cut it. If Jesus isn’t the Lord of all of your life, He isn’t Lord at all in your life!

Let’s consider the times throughout the Bible where we hear about “all of our heart”…

  • 4Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  –from Deuteronomy 6
  • 36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: “‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. –from Matthew 22
  • 5Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; –from Proverbs 3
  • 34Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart. –from Psalm 119
  • 69Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart. –from Psalm 119
  • 1Praise the LORD. I will extol the LORD with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly. –from Psalm 111
  • 1Of David. I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise. –from Psalm 138
  • 14Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem! –from Zephaniah 3
  • 6So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart. –from Nehemiah 4
  • 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the LORD, not for human masters, –from Colossians 3

Do you want to have a full life? There is but one way! Do you 10 out of 10? Consider these words from John 10:10…

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. –John 10:10

As our devotional today concluded, it speaks the truth of what a full live looks like when it says…

It’s a life of love, trust, gratitude, joy and meaningful work. In the passages for today we see why and how we should live wholeheartedly.

–from Day 234: Bible In One Year 2017

Life on this planet is short, so let’s make the most of it and live wholeheartedly!

For those of us who have received Jesus and invited Him into our lives, we know we have eternity to spend with Him and so we need to share this hope that is within us with the world around us that God has provided to each of us as a way to help point them to Him.


Wholehearted Living

Day 234: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Brevity of life … Psalm 102:1-11
  2. Certainty of resurrection … 1 Corinthians 15:1-34
    • Let’s consider and remember these words of wisdom from today’s devotional…
    • Paul tells us what was at the heart of his preaching, and why he followed Jesus so wholeheartedly: ‘The gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand’ (v.1). This is the gospel whereby you are saved (v.2); hold firmly to it.

      The message

      It is a very simple message, ‘that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures’ (vv.3–4).

      His death had a great purpose. It was ‘for our sins’. The power of sin is broken. Sins can be forgiven.

      While sin’s power is broken, its presence remains in our lives. But one day, even the presence of sin will be removed.

      You can be sure of this because of the resurrection. This is the certainty of your hope for the future.

      Jesus died and was buried. One day you will die and be buried. Jesus was raised from the dead. One day you will also be raised.

      The evidence

      The resurrection is a sign in this world of the future God has in store. Paul spoke of the future in light of what God had done: ‘He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead’ (Acts 17:31). Faith is not irrational. Faith is grounded on the event of the resurrection.

      Paul gives some of the evidence for the resurrection. First, he highlights that Jesus was ‘buried’ and ‘raised according to the Scriptures’. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection were written about before he was born.

      Second, he points to Christ’s appearances to Peter, to the twelve, to 500 others, to James, all the apostles, and finally, to Paul himself (1 Corinthians 15:6–8).

      This is not an exhaustive list of the appearances – but enough to show it is well attested. He shows that the resurrection is rooted in history, grounded in Scripture and confirmed by experience.

      The importance

      The resurrection really matters. If there is no resurrection, the consequences are dire. The resurrection was the basis of Paul’s preaching. Without it ‘everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors… a string of barefaced lies’ (vv.14a–15, MSG). Since that was what they based their faith on, without the resurrection ‘your faith is futile’ and ‘you are still in your sins’ (v.17). There would be no hope for the future, ‘those who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost’ (v.18). In fact, Paul concludes that without it Christianity is worse than nothing: ‘If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all people’ (v.19).

      The result

      ‘But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries’ (v.20, MSG). Therefore, the resurrection is certain. One day all those who are ‘in Christ’ will be raised from the dead. Then death will be destroyed (v.26). ‘God’s rule is absolutely comprehensive – a perfect ending!’ (v.28, MSG).

      Because the resurrection is certain, Paul writes, we endanger ourselves every hour (v.30): ‘I die every day’ (v.31). He is 100%, wholeheartedly fully committed to the Lord. He even fought wild beasts in Ephesus (v.32). He was willing to risk his life because of the certainty of the resurrection.

      This is the reason why Paul urges us to ‘stop sinning’ (v.34). Satan’s tactics often start with doubt. If he can make us doubt, then next he will tempt us to sin. In one sense, all sin stems from unbelief.

       

      The message of Jesus, his death and resurrection, is good news. It is the gospel. You are to receive it and believe it. You are to take your stand on it. You are to hold it firmly. Like Paul, pass it on to others.

      –from Day 234: Bible In One Year 2017

  3. Eyes of the Lord … 2 Chronicles 16:1-18:27

Day 234 of 365 …

Need some rest? Need some place to rest your head?


Don’t allow worry to rob you! Don’t allow fear to rob you! Don’t allow worry to rob you! Don’t stop believing! Don’t allow the peace that goes beyond all understanding to be taken from you!

Remember: There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!

Remember: There is nothing that can separate you from the love of God!

We are both important to God! He loves you so much that He sent Jesus to pay the ultimate price! He loves us so much that He didn’t want us to be separate from Him, but rather that we would live this life we have in relationship with Him!

So take heart and trust in God!  Don’t worry, pray and rest Your cares upon Him!

Found this interesting article: 7 Daily Steps to Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart

Don’t lose hope! Don’t be afraid! Remember: Jesus loves us this we know for the Bible tells us so!


 


A Pillow on Which to Rest Our Weary Heads

Day 205: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalms 89:1-8, Romans 8:18-39, Hosea 10, Hosea 11:1-11

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/205

  1. Tell of the great love of the Lord … Psalm 89:1-8
    • The focus of both our worship and our witness is the love of God.

      Worship

       

      This psalm begins with worship, a hymn of praise (vv.1–18), focusing on God’s love: ‘I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever’ (v.1).

       

       

      Think about God’s greatness and glory – how amazing it is to be loved by the ‘Lord God Almighty’ (v.8). This is something that can never be taken away from you. The psalmist writes, ‘Your love stands firm forever’ (v.2).

       

      Witness

      The message you pass onto others should always centre on God’s love: ‘I’ll never quit telling the story of your love’ (v.2, MSG).

      –from Day 205: Bible In One Year 2017

  2. Meditate on the amazing love of Christ … Romans 8:18-39
    • How can you be sure of God’s love? Paul poses five unanswerable questions.

      With God on your side like this, how can you lose?

      ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (v.31b). If God is for you, what others think is not so important. You are set free from the fear of people and from caring too much about what others think.

      If God gave his only Son for you, is he likely to withhold anything else?

      ‘He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?’ (v.32).

      Who is going to dare to prosecute you?

      ‘Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?’ (v.33a).

      If God is the judge and Jesus your defence counsel, how can a prosecution succeed?

      ‘It is God who justifies. Who then can condemn?’ (vv.33b–34). Jesus is your defence lawyer. He is supremely qualified. ‘Christ Jesus, who died’ (v.34) has already served the sentence for us. He ‘was raised to life’ by God (v.34). He is in the supreme place of honour ‘at the right hand of God’ (v.34). He is praying for you (v.34). He is sticking up for you. Jesus never stops praying for you.

      How can anyone drive a wedge between you and Christ’s love?

      You can be separated from friends and family by circumstances or even death. But, ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?’ (v.35a). This does not mean that life is easy. There may be trouble, hard times, hatred, hunger, homelessness, bullying threats and backstabbing. But ‘not even the worst sins listed in Scripture… None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us’ (vv.35b–37, MSG). In the midst of every difficulty you can cling to God’s love for you.

      –from Day 205: Bible In One Year 2017

  3. Enjoy the unfailing love of God … Hosea 10:1-11:11

Challenges of life…


In this life we will have challenges. We can know this but are we preparing ourselves for them? Are we doing the right things so that we can be ready? Are we doing the right things so that we can survive them? Are we doing the right things so that we aren’t thrown off course because of them? Things as real as getting a good night sleep, eating healthy food, reading God’s Word, spending time in healthy conversations, setting healthy boundaries, and surrounding yourself with good people. Let’s put on the full armor of God as we start this day so we are prepared!

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith,with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

–from Ephesians 6

So where are you at today? Get ready for what is yet to come! Guard your mind! Guard your heart! Don’t allow the devil to throw you off course! Let’s finish strong and complete the work that God has prepared in advance for us to do!


How to Cope with the Challenges of Life

Bible In One Year 2017: Day 187 of 365

Devotional, Psalms 81:1-7, Acts of the Apostles 25:1-22, 2 Kings 12, 2 Kings 13, 2 Kings 14:1-22


So let’s look forward! Today is the first day of the rest of your life! So what will you do about it? What learnings will you apply? What actions will you take in order to glorify God? Do let the lies and deception of the devil keep you from accomplishing the great plans He has for the rest of your life! Before responding with your human nature to the challenges of life, consider how Jesus would do it! God is love right, so make sure love is part of your response!

When you hear the word challenge, what thoughts come to mind?

dare · provocation · summons · problem · difficult task · test · trial · test · questioning · dispute · stand · opposition · confrontation · test · tax · strain · make demands on · stretch · stimulate · inspire · excite · question · disagree with · dispute · take issue with · protest against · call into question · object to

But we can take heart when we face troubles!

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

–from John 16:33

But we can consider pure joy when we face trials of many kinds!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

–from James 1:2-4

Don’t be tempted into believing that challenges are things keeping you from carrying out your mission! God has prepared in advance the good works He has for you, you just have to go and do them! Dealing with the challenge is part of the work too! Realize that everything you do is part of the ministry God has for you to do!

Let’s reflect on our challenges we face today against all that we find in today’s reading and take hold of God’s promises as we live out this day! Consider how great God’s love is and let’s pray for those who are being persecuted and killed because of their faith!



Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that You will do in and through it. I praise You Lord for the incredible opportunity that You have put before me! I praise You Lord for the work You are about to do in and through me these coming days! Grant me wisdom this day I pray and help me with favor of the people I am going to meet with that You will be glorified I pray. I ask all this Lord in Jesus’ name so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

What have you set up? How are you prepared? What’s your intentions?


Happy New Year everyone! 2017 has now begun after that extra second that took place new year’s eve. So are you ready? What have you done to get setup? What have you done to be prepared? And how will that lead your steps going into the new year? Will it set you up for great success and blessings because you are seeking clarity and a relationship with God? Will it set you up to get tripped up because of the intentions of your heart? It does make a difference! If you have done something it will either help or hinder you! If you have done nothing it is providing an opening or an advantage to the other side! So will you make a plan? Will you get prepared? Will you start to walk it out? This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s get started now!

Looking and comparing ourselves to what we will find in today’s reading, would you say that you have prepared like Esther? or prepared like Haman? It matters and the outcome will be based on how you prepared!

Esther received the message from Mordecai. Esther who took the call of God! Esther who got people to pray and fast with her for 3 days before approaching the king! Esther who asked the king and Haman to come to banquets she would put on! Esther who shared Haman’s plans with the king.

vs

Haman who walked in a life of hate for Mordecai and then extended it towards the Jewish people. Haman who out of this anger got the kings to pass a law that the Jews were to be killed. Haman who out of pride thought the king was asking about how to celebrate him and then gave a grandiose idea which backfired when it was to Mordecai that the king looking to honor and caused Haman to walk him around the town. Haman shared the frustration with his family and they got him to build gallows that he was hoping would be used on Haman.

They both had plans! They both had intentions! They both were prepared! But the outcomes were different because one aligned with God and the other was against God!

Let’s read thru today’s reading together rather than just the last chapter so we can see how this played out after the first banquet, the honoring of Mordecai, the gallows were built…

1And so the king and Haman went to eat with Esther 2for a second time. Over the wine the king asked her again, “Now, Queen Esther, what do you want? Tell me and you shall have it. I’ll even give you half the empire.”
3Queen Esther answered, “If it please Your Majesty to grant my humble request, my wish is that I may live and that my people may live. 4My people and I have been sold for slaughter. If it were nothing more serious than being sold into slavery, I would have kept quiet and not bothered you about it; but we are about to be destroyed—exterminated!”
5Then King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, “Who dares to do such a thing? Where is this man?”
6Esther answered, “Our enemy, our persecutor, is this evil man Haman!”
Haman faced the king and queen with terror. 7The king got up in a fury, left the room, and went outside to the palace gardens. Haman could see that the king was determined to punish him for this, so he stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life. 8He had just thrown himself down on Esther’s couch to beg for mercy, when the king came back into the room from the gardens. Seeing this, the king cried out, “Is this man going to rape the queen right here in front of me, in my own palace?”
The king had no sooner said this than the eunuchs covered Haman’s head. 9Then one of them, who was named Harbonah, said, “Haman even went so far as to build a gallows at his house so that he could hang Mordecai, who saved Your Majesty’s life. And it’s seventy-five feet tall!”
“Hang Haman on it!” the king commanded.
10So Haman was hanged on the gallows that he had built for Mordecai. Then the king’s anger cooled down.

–Esther 7

 

The Jews Are Told to Fight Back

1That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther all the property of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. Esther told the king that Mordecai was related to her, and from then on Mordecai was allowed to enter the king’s presence. 2The king took off his ring with his seal on it (which he had taken back from Haman) and gave it to Mordecai. Esther put Mordecai in charge of Haman’s property.
3Then Esther spoke to the king again, throwing herself at his feet and crying. She begged him to do something to stop the evil plot that Haman, the descendant of Agag, had made against the Jews. 4The king held out the gold scepter to her, so she stood up and said, 5“If it please Your Majesty, and if you care about me and if it seems right to you, please issue a proclamation to keep Haman’s orders from being carried out—those orders that the son of Hammedatha the descendant of Agag gave for the destruction of all the Jews in the empire. 6How can I endure it if this disaster comes on my people, and my own relatives are killed?”
7King Xerxes then said to Queen Esther and Mordecai, the Jew, “Look, I have hanged Haman for his plot against the Jews, and I have given Esther his property. 8But a proclamation issued in the king’s name and stamped with the royal seal cannot be revoked. You may, however, write to the Jews whatever you like; and you may write it in my name and stamp it with the royal seal.”
9This happened on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan. Mordecai called the king’s secretaries and dictated letters to the Jews and to the governors, administrators, and officials of all the 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. The letters were written to each province in its own language and system of writing and to the Jews in their language and system of writing. 10Mordecai had the letters written in the name of King Xerxes, and he stamped them with the royal seal. They were delivered by riders mounted on fast horses from the royal stables.
11These letters explained that the king would allow the Jews in every city to organize for self-defense. If armed men of any nationality in any province attacked the Jewish men, their children, or their women, the Jews could fight back and destroy the attackers; they could slaughter them to the last man and take their possessions. 12This decree was to take effect throughout the Persian Empire on the day set for the slaughter of the Jews, the thirteenth of Adar, the twelfth month. 13It was to be proclaimed as law and made known to everyone in every province, so that the Jews would be ready to take revenge on their enemies when that day came. 14At the king’s command the riders mounted royal horses and rode off at top speed. The decree was also made public in Susa, the capital city.
15Mordecai left the palace, wearing royal robes of blue and white, a cloak of fine purple linen, and a magnificent gold crown. Then the streets of Susa rang with cheers and joyful shouts. 16For the Jews there was joy and relief, happiness and a sense of victory. 17In every city and province, wherever the king’s proclamation was read, the Jews held a joyful holiday with feasting and happiness. In fact, many other people became Jews, because they were afraid of them now.

–Esther 8

 

The Jews Destroy Their Enemies

1The thirteenth day of Adar came, the day on which the royal proclamation was to take effect, the day when the enemies of the Jews were hoping to get them in their power. But instead, the Jews triumphed over them. 2In the Jewish quarter of every city in the empire the Jews organized to attack anyone who tried to harm them. People everywhere were afraid of them, and no one could stand against them. 3In fact, all the provincial officials—governors, administrators, and royal representatives—helped the Jews because they were all afraid of Mordecai. 4It was well-known throughout the empire that Mordecai was now a powerful man in the palace and was growing more powerful. 5So the Jews could do what they wanted with their enemies. They attacked them with swords and slaughtered them.
6In Susa, the capital city itself, the Jews killed five hundred people. 7-10Among them were the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews: Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha. However, there was no looting.
11That same day the number of people killed in Susa was reported to the king. 12He then said to Queen Esther, “In Susa alone the Jews have killed five hundred people, including Haman’s ten sons. What must they have done out in the provinces! What do you want now? You shall have it. Tell me what else you want, and you shall have it.”
13Esther answered, “If it please Your Majesty, let the Jews in Susa do again tomorrow what they were allowed to do today. And have the bodies of Haman’s ten sons hung from the gallows.” 14The king ordered this to be done, and the proclamation was issued in Susa. The bodies of Haman’s ten sons were publicly displayed. 15On the fourteenth day of Adar the Jews of Susa got together again and killed three hundred more people in the city. But again, they did no looting.
16The Jews in the provinces also organized and defended themselves. They rid themselves of their enemies by killing seventy-five thousand people who hated them. But they did no looting. 17This was on the thirteenth day of Adar. On the next day, the fourteenth, there was no more killing, and they made it a joyful day of feasting. 18The Jews of Susa, however, made the fifteenth a holiday, since they had slaughtered their enemies on the thirteenth and fourteenth and then stopped on the fifteenth. 19This is why Jews who live in small towns observe the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a joyous holiday, a time for feasting and giving gifts of food to one another.

The Festival of Purim

20Mordecai had these events written down and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, throughout the Persian Empire, 21telling them to observe the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar as holidays every year. 22These were the days on which the Jews had rid themselves of their enemies; this was a month that had been turned from a time of grief and despair into a time of joy and happiness. They were told to observe these days with feasts and parties, giving gifts of food to one another and to the poor. 23So the Jews followed Mordecai’s instructions, and the celebration became an annual custom.
24 Haman son of Hammedatha—the descendant of Agag and the enemy of the Jewish people—had cast lots (“purim,” they were called) to determine the day for destroying the Jews; he had planned to wipe them out. 25But Esther went to the king, and the king issued written orders with the result that Haman suffered the fate he had planned for the Jews—he and his sons were hanged from the gallows. 26That is why the holidays are called Purim. Because of Mordecai’s letter and because of all that had happened to them, 27the Jews made it a rule for themselves, their descendants, and anyone who might become a Jew, that at the proper time each year these two days would be regularly observed according to Mordecai’s instructions. 28It was resolved that every Jewish family of every future generation in every province and every city should remember and observe the days of Purim for all time to come.
29Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai, also wrote a letter, putting her full authority behind the letter about Purim, which Mordecai had written earlier. 30The letter was addressed to all the Jews, and copies were sent to all the 127 provinces of the Persian Empire. It wished the Jews peace and security 31and directed them and their descendants to observe the days of Purim at the proper time, just as they had adopted rules for the observance of fasts and times of mourning. This was commanded by both Mordecai and Queen Esther. 32Esther’s command, confirming the rules for Purim, was written down on a scroll.

–Esther 9

 

The Greatness of Xerxes and Mordecai

1King Xerxes imposed forced labor on the people of the coastal regions of his empire as well as on those of the interior. 2All the great and wonderful things he did, as well as the whole story of how he promoted Mordecai to high office, are recorded in the official records of the kings of Persia and Media. 3Mordecai the Jew was second in rank only to King Xerxes himself. He was honored and well-liked by his fellow Jews. He worked for the good of his people and for the security of all their descendants.

–Esther 10

Let’s close today’s reading with a word from the New Testament…Let’s me more than just hearers of the word but let’s be doers of the word!

1 From James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ:

Greetings to all God’s people scattered over the whole world.

Faith and Wisdom

2 My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, 3for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. 4Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all. 6But when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind. 7-8If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord.

Poverty and Riches

9Those Christians who are poor must be glad when God lifts them up, 10 and the rich Christians must be glad when God brings them down. For the rich will pass away like the flower of a wild plant. 11The sun rises with its blazing heat and burns the plant; its flower falls off, and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way the rich will be destroyed while they go about their business.

Testing and Tempting

12Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him. 13 If we are tempted by such trials, we must not say, “This temptation comes from God.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14But we are tempted when we are drawn away and trapped by our own evil desires. 15Then our evil desires conceive and give birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16Do not be deceived, my dear friends! 17Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven; it comes down from God, the Creator of the heavenly lights, who does not change or cause darkness by turning. 18By his own will he brought us into being through the word of truth, so that we should have first place among all his creatures.

Hearing and Doing

19 Remember this, my dear friends! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry. 20Human anger does not achieve God’s righteous purpose. 21So get rid of every filthy habit and all wicked conduct. Submit to God and accept the word that he plants in your hearts, which is able to save you.
22Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice. 23If you listen to the word, but do not put it into practice you are like people who look in a mirror and see themselves as they are. 24They take a good look at themselves and then go away and at once forget what they look like. 25But if you look closely into the perfect law that sets people free, and keep on paying attention to it and do not simply listen and then forget it, but put it into practice—you will be blessed by God in what you do.
26Do any of you think you are religious? If you do not control your tongue, your religion is worthless and you deceive yourself. 27What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.

–James 1

 


Today's Reading: Esther 7, Esther 8, Esther 9, Esther 10, James 1

Do you realize you are in this position for a purpose?


Do you realize you have been put in that position on purpose for a purpose? Do you realize that it wasn’t an accident or a coincident? Do you realize that just as God said that He would bring you before leaders, there was a purpose and a plan? Do you realize that those skills, those gifts, and those talents given to you by God were for a reason and that because of them you will have divine appointments? Will you be God’s hand extended? Will you be His voice into various situations? Will you ask God for wisdom so that you know what to say? Will you ask God for wisdom so that you know what to do?

Do you realize the timeline of God? Do you realize what parts have been accomplished? Do you realize what parts are yet to come? Do you realize the number of prophecies that have already been accomplished? Do you realized the number of prophecies that are yet to come? Do you see the signs of the time? Do you see what is taking place around you? Do you realize how many were accomplished by the birth of Jesus? Do you realize how many were accomplished by the sacrifice of Jesus? There are some in the Old Testament that were fulfilled during the Old Testament! There are some in the Old Testament that were fulfilled during the New Testament! There are others that are yet to come, the appointed time!

Do you know God? Will you align and obey Him? Will you receive God’s wisdom and share it with others? Will you stand against lies and stand for the truth? Will you glorify God in all you say and do? Is your name written in the book of life? Have you asked Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior?

Do you realize the end times is spoken of both in the old and the new testament? Today’s reading speaks to it in Daniel 12…

The End Times

1“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. 2Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. 4But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.”
5Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. 6One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?”
7The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”
8I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?”
9He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end. 10Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
11“From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. 12Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.
13“As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”

–Daniel 12

Don’t lose hope! Don’t give up! Persevere! Trust in the Lord with all your heart! Lean not on your own understanding! In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight!

Jesus is the way! the truth! the life! Nobody comes to the Father except thru Him! Turn to Jesus! Invite Him into your heart and your life! For all those who call on the name of Jesus will be saved! Don’t wait till it is too late! Why not now as we prepare to celebrate His birth thousands of years ago this Christmas season! Jesus is the Christ in Christmas! My hope and my prayer is aligned with God’s purpose and plan! My hope and my prayer is that people will hear the good news of Jesus and be saved! God is not slow as some may defined it, He is long suffering and wants that nobody would perish but that everyone would be saved! Jesus was sent to save the lost! He didn’t come to condemn the world, He came to save it! He will come back and when He does that will be the end and you don’t want to be too late and have spend eternity apart from God rather than with Him! So choose now, choose quickly so that you too can be saved! Let not your heart be troubled and end up like those who missed out on getting to enter the promised land!

1Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
3For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
4In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
6Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
7for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
Today, if only you would hear his voice,
8“Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
9where your ancestors tested me;
they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
10For forty years I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
11So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”

–Psalm 95

So let’s close with today’s reading from the New Testament and reflect on what it has to say…Let’s believe and be saved!

Jesus Greater Than Moses

1Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. 2He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all Godʼs house. 3Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5“Moses was faithful as a servant in all Godʼs house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. 6But Christ is faithful as the Son over Godʼs house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.
Warning Against Unbelief
7So, as the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you hear his voice,
8do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the wilderness,
9where your ancestors tested and tried me,
though for forty years they saw what I did.
10That is why I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
11So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”

12See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sinʼs deceitfulness. 14We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15As has just been said:

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion.”

16Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

–Hebrews 3

 


Today’s Reading: Daniel 11, Daniel 12, Psalm 95, Hebrews 3

Don’t be judgmental! Don’t taunt or find joy in the pain of others! Let’s do good to all!


We are to weep with those who are weeping! We are to celebrate with those who celebrate. Not the reverse…Don’t be kicking people when they are down. Don’t be mocking people when they are going thru troubles. Even if they are your enemies, we are not to hate them and only love our neighbors. We are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us! Don’t allow judgment and malice to take root in your heart! Allow your heart to be filled with overflowing of the love of God! Just because someone else is being corrected or given discipline doesn’t mean you should celebrate in it! Seek God in all your way! Acknowledge God in all your ways! Lean not on your own understanding of what is going on because you don’t know it all … the why. Don’t be acting in a way that makes you the next target! Do you really want that attention? God cannot be mocked!

Put your trust in God who is love! His love endures forever! Give thanks to God! Do not fear for the Lord is with you! Do not be afraid for God is your helper! Take refuge in God rather than putting your hope and trust in people. He is trustworthy and His love endures forever! Need help? Call out to God who is your help and your salvation! Ask Jesus into your heart and choose life! Yes, Jesus did get rejected even though He is the foundation and the cornerstone. So align to the cornerstone and stand on the rock of Jesus! Cry out to God and ask for His salvation and help you find success! Let’s praise God! Let’s exalt God! He is good and His love endures forever!

So let’s reflect on the words from Galatians from today’s reading…Let’s start with the plan that we are to do good to all…

Doing Good to All

1Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2Carry each otherʼs burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5for each one should carry their own load. 6Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Not Circumcision but the New Creation

11See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!
12Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh. 14May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. 16Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God.
17From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.

–Galatians 6

It’s a matter of the heart! We need to make the choice and choose to follow after Jesus! We need to ask Him for forgiveness and into our hearts so that we can be new creations with the old being gone and the new having come!

Let’s celebrate with others who have come into the faith! Let’s turn to God with thanksgiving and praise because of the grace and mercy He has brought into their lives! Let’s celebrate how God has allowed love to motivate the works! Let’s celebrate how God has allowed hope to produce endurance! Let’s allow the power of the Holy Spirit to break thru the lies and open up the truth even greater into the lives of the people around us!

Today’s reading concludes with 1 Thessalonians…

1Paul, Silas and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace to you.

Thanksgiving for the Thessaloniansʼ Faith

2We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8The Lordʼs message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

–1 Thessalonians 1

 


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 25, 26, Psalms 118, Galatians 6, 1 Thessalonians 1

What’s your calling?


Have you been called to do something? How did you respond? Did you accept it? Did you reject it? Did you fight it? Did you argue it?

What’s you calling? How will you respond?

I know in my life so far God has called me to many things. Some I received open armed like being a husband and a father! Some I fought and argued against because I didn’t think I was qualified enough! I remember being a crossroads where someone was offering me 2 opportunities and asked me what I thought. I started telling the story (linked to above) which then lead me to the right decision God had for me. I remember the entire time saying to myself “Why am I telling this story? God I pray you will let me in on it too!”

So what is it God has called you to today that you are living out?

What decision are you needing to make? How will you answer the call? How long will it take for you to answer it? Do you realize the importance of accepting it? Do you realize the impact it will have not only on your life and story but on the lives God will bring across your path? It may not be easy, but it will be worth it! He will be with you in it and thru it when He has called you to it! Be it with hiring! Be it with making financial decisions! Be it with people conflicts! God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine! So put your trust in Him and step out in faith believing that He who has started a good work in you will continue to perfect till the day of Christ Jesus’ return!

We can’t allow fear to hold us back from our calling! I know in my story of not thinking I was qualified enough that the enemy was trying to keep me from being able to accomplish everything God needed and desired for me to have my faith built up in and thru. The devil will try to bring up fear and doubt to keep us from answering the call! The devil will give us reasons to worry what will or would or could happen if we stepped in or stepped up! But we need to take hold of God’s promises! We need to grab hold of His Word “Fear Not, Just Believe!” Let’s remember when they were walking into the promised land how Moses called them to “Be bold and courageous”. Courage isn’t the absence of fear, courage is judgment that something else is more important than fear! Its pressing forward despite fear! It’s moving from who you think you are and who you think you can be!

Today’s reading when Ezekiel is being called, we see that God knows that fear is going to show up when He says:

6And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.

–from Ezekiel 2

Do you ever realize how sometimes it is easier to convince a complete stranger than to convince someone you know well? Ever find that people you don’t know can receive information better than people who would seem to have fewer boundaries? Family? Old friends? etc?

Today’s reading we see how God warns Ezekiel of such challenges…

4He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them. 5You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and strange language, but to the people of Israel— 6not to many peoples of obscure speech and strange language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7But the people of Israel are not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate. 8But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. 9I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.”

–from Ezekiel 3

But whether they will hear and listen or not, we are to be watchmen and tell them what we are seeing, what is coming, what is about to be and they can choose how they will listen and respond. Ezekiel was called to be a watchman!

Ezekielʼs Task as Watchman

16At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: 17“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
20“Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 21But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”
22The hand of the Lord was on me there, and he said to me, “Get up and go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you.” 23So I got up and went out to the plain. And the glory of the Lord was standing there, like the glory I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown.
24Then the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet. He spoke to me and said: “Go, shut yourself inside your house. 25And you, son of man, they will tie with ropes; you will be bound so that you cannot go out among the people. 26I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be silent and unable to rebuke them, for they are a rebellious people. 27But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you shall say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ Whoever will listen let them listen, and whoever will refuse let them refuse; for they are a rebellious people.

–from Ezekiel 3

Some will hear what you have to say and listen but others will refuse it! Take a look around and see what is going on! Do some seem hard hearted? Do some seem rebellious? Do some seem to be more interested in stirring up division that fostering unifying behaviors and unity?

How can you tell the story? How can you try to get the message across? How can you speak the truth in a way that some will hear it and receive it? Some learn by hearing! Some learn by seeing! Some learn by doing! Let’s take a look at what Ezekiel tried…

Siege of Jerusalem Symbolized

1“Now, son of man, take a block of clay, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. 2Then lay siege to it: Erect siege works against it, build a ramp up to it, set up camps against it and put battering rams around it. 3Then take an iron pan, place it as an iron wall between you and the city and turn your face toward it. It will be under siege, and you shall besiege it. This will be a sign to the people of Israel.
4“Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the people of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. 5I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the people of Israel.
6“After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the people of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year. 7Turn your face toward the siege of Jerusalem and with bared arm prophesy against her. 8I will tie you up with ropes so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have finished the days of your siege.
9“Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the 390 days you lie on your side. 10Weigh out twenty shekels of food to eat each day and eat it at set times. 11Also measure out a sixth of a hin of water and drink it at set times. 12Eat the food as you would a loaf of barley bread; bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement for fuel.” 13The Lord said, “In this way the people of Israel will eat defiled food among the nations where I will drive them.”
14Then I said, “Not so, Sovereign Lord! I have never defiled myself. From my youth until now I have never eaten anything found dead or torn by wild animals. No impure meat has ever entered my mouth.”
15“Very well,” he said, “I will let you bake your bread over cow dung instead of human excrement.”
16He then said to me: “Son of man, I am about to cut off the food supply in Jerusalem. The people will eat rationed food in anxiety and drink rationed water in despair, 17for food and water will be scarce. They will be appalled at the sight of each other and will waste away because of their sin.

–Ezekiel 4

How do you think they would respond? Do you think people would get the memo? What do you think it would or will take to share the message God has for you with others and to have them not only hear it but receive it? Do you see what is going on around you?

Don’t you desire that everyone make it to be in heaven? Do you desire that you get to spend eternity with everyone so you can praise God together? Will you align your heart to God’s heart who doesn’t want anyone to perish but that everyone would have everlasting life! God’s not slow in keeping His promises! He is patient with us! He doesn’t want anyone to perish but that everyone would come to repentance, turning their lives back to Him! We all have free will though! We all have to make the choice for ourselves! And even with our best attempts there are some that will still not turn back to God! Even when God has blessed the nation so much, there are many who reject Him! Walk to talk about irony, there are missionaries from around the world where former missionaries had visited and raised up a people who are now going back to the countries where those missionaries had come from to preach the Good News there. There is no place on earth that doesn’t need to have the Good News preached and shared! Try different ways to share it! Say it! Show it! Do it!

Let’s review what God says to Ezekiel…

Godʼs Razor of Judgment

1“Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barberʼs razor to shave your head and your beard. Then take a set of scales and divide up the hair. 2When the days of your siege come to an end, burn a third of the hair inside the city. Take a third and strike it with the sword all around the city. And scatter a third to the wind. For I will pursue them with drawn sword. 3But take a few hairs and tuck them away in the folds of your garment. 4Again, take a few of these and throw them into the fire and burn them up. A fire will spread from there to all Israel.
5“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. 6Yet in her wickedness she has rebelled against my laws and decrees more than the nations and countries around her. She has rejected my laws and has not followed my decrees.
7“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: You have been more unruly than the nations around you and have not followed my decrees or kept my laws. You have not evenconformed to the standards of the nations around you.
8“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself am against you, Jerusalem, and I will inflict punishment on you in the sight of the nations. 9Because of all your detestable idols, I will do to you what I have never done before and will never do again. 10Therefore in your midst parents will eat their children, and children will eat their parents. I will inflict punishment on you and will scatter all your survivors to the winds. 11Therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your vile images and detestable practices, I myself will shave you; I will not look on you with pity or spare you. 12A third of your people will die of the plague or perish by famine inside you; a third will fall by the sword outside your walls; and a third I will scatter to the winds and pursue with drawn sword.
13“Then my anger will cease and my wrath against them will subside, and I will be avenged. And when I have spent my wrath on them, they will know that I the Lord have spoken in my zeal.
14“I will make you a ruin and a reproach among the nations around you, in the sight of all who pass by. 15You will be a reproach and a taunt, a warning and an object of horror to the nations around you when I inflict punishment on you in anger and in wrath and with stinging rebuke. I the Lord have spoken. 16When I shoot at you with my deadly and destructive arrows of famine, I will shoot to destroy you. I will bring more and more famine upon you and cut off your supply of food. 17I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will leave you childless. Plague and bloodshed will sweep through you, and I will bring the sword against you. I the Lord have spoken.”

–Ezekiel 5

Consider how you would, will, are or have respond/responded to the results of an election. Was it in alignment to God’s plans? Do you realize that there is no authority except that which is given by God? Do you realize that there were put there for a purpose? (When I was positioned to be President of the homeowners association, God had a plan and I didn’t fully grasp it till that time was completed!) So how will you respond? Will you revolt? Will you stand your ground? Will you be paid to go and create trouble? Will you stand up for what you believe in? (Like Daniel and his friends) Will you do what is right? Will you do what is just? Will you do what is good? Consider where you are at! Consider what has happened! Consider how you will respond! Consider how you should respond! Consider how God desires for you to respond!

If we take a look at today’s reading, we can learn that government was set in place for our good. Let’s review it together now…

Submission to Governing Authorities

1Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4For the one in authority is Godʼs servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are Godʼs servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are Godʼs servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

–from Romans 13

So why not live out our lives in love! So why not live out our lives in righteousness! Love is the answer to succeeding in life! Love is the way to a successful life! Love is …

Love Fulfills the Law

8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

–from Romans 13

So let’s not lose time! Let’s not waste our time and efforts on things that won’t help! Let’s not waste our time and effort on things that won’t produce good fruit! We want to draw people closer to God since each day we are getting closer to Jesus’ return! So let’s live as light into the dark world around us! Let’s shine the light of Jesus reflecting from us into the world around us!

The Day Is Near

11And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

–from Romans 13

So no matter what has or is taking place, how will you choose to live? Today’s reading concludes with that message also given to the Colossians…

Living as Those Made Alive in Christ

1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12Therefore, as Godʼs chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Instructions for Christian Households

18Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.

–Colossians 3

 


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 2, 3, 4, 5, Romans 13, Colossians 3