Do you believe in good and evil?

Do you believe in right and wrong? Do you believe in true and false? Do you believe in righteousness and wickedness? Do you believe in virtuous and dishonoring? Do you believe in diligence and slothfulness? Do you believe and wisdom and foolishness? Do you believe in up and down? Do you believe in North and South? Do you believe in good and evil?

If you don’t, why not? Don’t you realize the battle that is taking place all around you? The battle taking place in the seen and the unseen?

Let’s jump back into the book of wisdom – Proverbs – and see what today’s reading has in store…

The Righteous and the Wicked

1Whoever loves knowledge loves correction, but whoever hates reproof is stupid. 2A good man obtains favor from Adonai, but He condemns a person with evil schemes. 3No one is made secure by wickedness, but a righteous root will not be moved. 4A virtuous wife is her husband’s crown, but a dishonoring one is like rottenness in his bones. 5The plans of the righteous are just, but the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. 6The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright delivers them. 7The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the household of the righteous will stand. 8A man is praised according to his insight, but one with a twisted mind is despised. 9Better to have little honor and a servant than to have glory and no bread.

Caring for Animals and Land

10A righteous person cares for the life of his animal, yet even the compassion of the wicked is cruel. 11The one who works his land will have plenty of food, but whoever chases daydreams lacks sense. 12The wicked covets the loot of evil men, but the root of the righteous flourishes.

Fruit of Mouth

13An evil one is ensnared by the sin of lips, but the righteous one escapes trouble. 14By the fruit of his mouth a man will be satisfied with good. The work of a man’s hands will reward him. 15A fool’s way is right in his own eyes, but the wise listen to advice. 16A fool shows his irritation immediately, but a prudent person overlooks an insult. 17A trustworthy witness tells what is right, but a false witness, deceit. 18Reckless speech is like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. 19Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue for only a moment. 20Deceit is in the heart of those who plot evil, but those promoting shalom have joy. 21No harm befalls the righteous, but the wicked are full of misery. 22Lying lips are detestable to Adonai, but those who act faithfully are His delight. 23A clever person conceals his knowledge, but the heart of a fool blurts out folly.

Diligence or Sloth

24The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy will become forced labor. 25An anxious heart weighs one down, but a good word cheers him up. 26The righteous gives his friend guidance, but the way of the wicked leads astray. 27A lazy person does not roast his game, but a diligent person prizes his possessions. 28In the path of righteousness is life— it is a path to immortality.

–from Proverbs 12

Do you realize the power of words? Do you manage what comes out of your mouth? Do you control what you say? Do you realize the impact of what comes out of your mouth? Do you realize what is going on inside of you? From the overflow of your heart, the mouth speaks! So take inventory and make sure you aren’t carrying around stuff you shouldn’t and that God never intended for you to! Use your words to build up others and to tear down strongholds! Your words have the power of life and death so make sure you realize what you are able to say before you left it fly past your lips!

Guard the Way of Integrity

1A wise son heeds his father’s discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
2From the fruit of a man’s mouth he enjoys good things, but the treacherous crave violence.
3He who watches his mouth protects his life, but whoever opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
4The slacker’s soul craves, yet has nothing, but the diligent soul will be satisfied.
5A righteous person hates lying, but the wicked acts in shameful disgrace.
6Righteousness guards one who walks in integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.
7One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
8A man’s riches may ransom his life, but a poor person hears no threat.
9The light of the righteous shines brightly. The lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.
10Arrogance yields nothing but strife. Wisdom belongs to those who take advice.
11Wealth gained by fraud dwindles, but he who gathers by labor increases it.
12Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
13Whoever despises instruction will pay a penalty, but whoever respects a mitzvah will be rewarded.
14Wise instruction is a fountain of life, turning one away from snares of death.
15Good understanding wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard.
16Everyone shrewd acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts folly.

The Wise and the Foolish

17A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful envoy brings healing.
18He who spurns discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever accepts correction will be honored.
19A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning away from evil.
20He who walks with wise men is wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.
21Misfortune pursues sinners, but prosperity rewards the righteous.
22A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.
23The fallow field of the poor yields much food, but it is swept away by injustice.
24He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent with discipline.
25The righteous eats to his heart’s content, but the belly of the wicked goes hungry.

–from Proverbs 13

Do you sing? Do you dance? Do you party? Do you do any of that for God? Do you do any of that to God? Do you do any of that for yourself? So why not praise God with those gifts and talents!

Praise with Singing and Dancing

1Halleluyah! Sing to Adonai a new song, His praise in the assembly of the kedoshim.
2Let Israel rejoice in its Maker. Let the children of Zion be glad in their King.
3Let them praise His Name with dancing. Let them sing praises to Him with tambourine and harp.
4For Adonai takes pleasure in His people. He crowns the humble with salvation.
5Let the kedoshim exult in glory. Let them sing for joy on their beds.
6Let God’s high praises be in their mouth and a two-edged sword in their hand—
7to execute vengeance upon the nations and rebukes on the peoples,
8to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron,
9to carry out the sentence decreed— this is the glory of all His kedoshim. Halleluyah!

–from Psalms 149

Do you have treasure? Real treasure that will last? Will it last forever? Even after you leave this earth? Why not store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

We are in a season! We need to be ready for each day and each season that is yet to come! So let’s be patient! Jesus is coming back! He won’t rush it because His will is that nobody would perish but that everyone would repent and turn back to God! He is coming back! Are you sharing His love and His hope with the world? How about the world around you? How about your friends and family and neighbors? Are you praying for those in need? for the sick?

Rotten Riches

1Come now, you rich, weep and wail over the miseries that are coming upon you.
2Your riches have rotted and your clothes have become moth-eaten.
3Your gold and your silver have rusted and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up treasure in the last days.
4Behold, the wages of the workers who mowed your fields—which you kept back by fraud—are crying out against you. And the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts.
5You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts for a day of slaughter.
6You have condemned, you have murdered the righteous person—he does not resist you.

Be Patient for His Coming

7So be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient for it until it receives the early and late rain.
8You also be patient. Strengthen your hearts because the coming of the Lord is near.
9Do not grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be judged. Behold, the judge is standing at the doors.
10As an example of suffering and patience, brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
11Behold, we consider blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the outcome of Adonai—that Adonai is full of compassion and mercy.
12But above all, my dear brothers and sisters, do not swear—either by heaven, or by the earth, or by any other oath. But let your “yes” be “yes,” and your “no,” be “no”—so that you may not fall under judgment.

Praying for the Sick

13Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises.
14Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of Messiah’s community, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
15The prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
16So confess your offenses to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.
17Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain. And it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.
18He prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
19My brothers and sisters, if any among you strays from the truth and someone turns him back,
20let him know that the one who turns a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

–from James 5

We aren’t to only pray in the midst of an emergency, although we should! We are to pray without ceasing since we are to be in relationship with God and hence talking with Him all throughout the day! He can speak to us even before something happens and help us get or be prepared! He can even make sure we avoid stuff we are supposed to be avoiding!

Jesus gave it all! Jesus died, was buried in a tomb, and on the 3rd day was resurrected from the dead and defeated death! He is now sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for us! He sent the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and our guide so that we are never alone! Have you invited Jesus into your heart yet? Have you started this life changing process of asking Jesus to be your Lord and Savior? Are you ready for a change? Are you ready for something different? What’s it going to take?

Praying Along the Way

1Now Yeshua was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Master, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2Then Yeshua said to them, “When you pray, say, ‘Father, sanctified be Your Name, Your kingdom come.
3Give us each day our daily bread.
4And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”
5Then Yeshua said to them, “Which of you has a friend and will go to him in the middle of the night and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
6because a friend of mine has come to me on his journey and I have nothing to set before him.’
7Then from within he may answer, saying, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’
8I tell you, even if the friend will not get up and give him anything out of friendship, yet because of the man’s persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
9“So I say to you, ‘Ask, and it shall be given to you. Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened to you.
10For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.’
11What father, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?
12And if he asks for an egg, will he give him a scorpion?
13If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Ruach ha-Kodesh to those who ask Him!”

Crowds Demand a Sign from Heaven

14Now Yeshua was driving out a demon, and it was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute one spoke and the crowds were amazed.
15But some among them said, “By beelzebul, the ruler of demons, He drives out demons.”
16Others, testing Him, were demanding from Him a sign from heaven.
17But Yeshua, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed, and a house against a house falls.
18Now if satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say by beelzebul I drive out the demons.
19But if by beelzebul I drive out demons, by whom do your sons drive them out? For this reason, they will be your judges.
20But if by the finger of God I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you.
21“When a strong one, fully-armed, protects his own estate, his possessions are safe.
22But as soon as someone stronger than he attacks and overpowers him, then he takes away the armor that he had trusted in and divides up his plunder.
23He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
24“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places looking for rest. Not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house where I came from.’
25And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order.
26Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and settle there. And that man’s last condition becomes worse than the first.”
27Then as Yeshua was saying these things, a certain woman in the crowd, raising her voice, said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that carried You and the breasts that nursed You!”
28But He said, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
29With the crowds increasing, Yeshua began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation. It demands a sign, yet no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.
30For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation.
31The Queen of the South will rise up at the Judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. And behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
32The men of Nineveh will rise at the judgment with this generation and will condemn it, because they repented at Jonah’s proclamation. And indeed, one greater than Jonah is here.
33“No one lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on the lampstand so that those entering may see the light.
34Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light. But when it is sick, your body is full of darkness.
35Therefore, watch out that the light in you is not darkness.
36If then your body is full of light, with no part of it dark, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its gleam.”

Dinner with a Pharisee

37As He spoke, a Pharisee asked Yeshua to eat with him, so He entered and sat down.
38But the Pharisee was surprised when he saw that Yeshua did not do the ritual handwashing before the meal.
39But the Lord said to him, “You Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and plate, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.
40Fools! Didn’t He who created the outside also create the inside?
41But give as tzadakah those things that are within, and indeed everything is pure to you.
42“But woe to you Pharisees, for you tithe mint, rue, and every garden herb, yet bypass justice and the love of God. It is necessary to do these things without neglecting the others.
43Woe to you Pharisees, for you love the best seats in the synagogues and the greetings in the marketplaces.
44Woe to you, for you are like unmarked tombs, and people walk over them without knowing.”
45But answering, one of the Torah lawyers says to Him, “Teacher, when You say these things, You insult us too.”
46Then Yeshua said, “Woe to you Torah lawyers as well, for you weigh the people down with burdens hard to carry, yet you yourselves will not touch the burdens with even a finger.
47“Woe to you, for you build the tombs of the prophets whom your own fathers killed!
48So you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your fathers, for indeed they killed them and you are building their tombs.
49“For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and emissaries, and some of them they will kill and persecute,
50so that the blood of the prophets shed since the foundation of the world might be required from this generation—
51from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the one who perished between the altar and the house of God. Yes, I tell you, it will be required from this generation.’
52“Woe to you, Torah lawyers, for you have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter, and you stood in the way of those entering.”
53When Yeshua left there, the Torah scholars and the Pharisees began to be very hostile and to interrogate Him on many issues,
54plotting against Him to catch Him in His words.

–from Luke 11


Will you invest in the future?

Will you plant seeds that you won’t see grow? Will you water even though you won’t see the fruit? Will you prepare the resources for the generation to come? Will you provide the wisdom of what needs to happen so they know what to do? Will you give it up to God so that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory? Will you invest in the future? Are you ready to leave a legacy? Are you willing to set up the legacy for the generation to come? Will you store up your treasures in heaven where rust can’t destroy? where thieves can steal? where moths can’t eat them? Will you be sensitive to the prompting of the Spirit? Will you be willing to let it go and give it up to Him? Will you be willing to make it more about God and less about yourself? How will you choose to invest in the future? Even doing nothing is a choice, but is it the choice you would like to have as your final one? So…will you invest in the future?

So let’s set our hearts and soul to God’s plan and God’s purpose! Let’s bring light and hope and love into this world around us! Let’s allow Him to work in and through us in a way that will transform the world around us! Let’s get back to basics! Let’s get back to the truth! Let’s get back to absolutes! Let’s stop the wavering that is allowing bad things and wrong things to be done because of relativism! Let’s come together loving God and loving people! Let’s come together unified as a people, for divided we’ll fall! We need to get back to basics! We need to get back to the beginning! Let’s build on a strong foundation! Let’s build with Jesus as our cornerstone! We need it now more than ever! We need to unite for the common good with Jesus as the center for a cord of three strands is not easily broken and with Jesus in the middle and with all of us going to Him, we will find peace that goes beyond understanding, we will find strength to move forward, we will find grace to forgive, we will find hope for tomorrow! Do you want to leave this world a better place for the next generation than what it was when we got it? So, how will you invest in the future?

1Then David said, “This is the place where the House of Adonai Elohim will be, along with the altar for burnt sacrifices for Israel.”

Preparing for the Temple

2David gave orders to assemble the foreigners in the land of Israel, and assigned them to be masons to quarry stones to build the House of God. 3David supplied an abundance of iron for nails for the doors of the gates and for the joints, so much bronze that it could not be weighed, 4and cedar logs without number, for the Zidonians and the Tyrians brought an abundance of cedar logs to David. 5David said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced and the House that is to be built for Adonai must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all the nations. Therefore I will make preparation for it.” So David made extensive preparations before his death. 6Then He called for Solomon his son, and charged him to build a House for Adonai, the God of Israel. 7David said to Solomon, “My son, I had it in my heart to build a House for the name of Adonai my God. 8But the word of Adonai came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and fought many battles. You will not build a House for My Name because you have shed much blood before Me on the earth. 9Behold, a son will be born to you who will be a man at rest. I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon and I will confer shalom and quietness on Israel in his days. 10He will build a House for My name; he will be My son and I will be His Father. I will establish his royal throne over Israel forever.’ 11“Now, my son, may Adonai be with you, and may you succeed in building the House of Adonai your God as He spoke concerning you. 12Only may Adonai give you insight and understanding when He gives you charge over Israel so that you may observe the Torah of Adonai your God. 13Then you will prosper, if you carefully observe the statutes and the ordinances that Adonai commanded Moses concerning Israel. Chazak! And be courageous! Do not be afraid or dismayed. 14“Now behold, with great pain I have provided for the House of Adonai 100,000 talents of gold, a million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond weighing for there is so much of it. I have also prepared wood and stone, and you must add to them. 15 Moreover, you have an abundance of workmen: stonecutters, masons, carpenters and every kind of craftsmen skilled in every kind of material— 16in gold, silver, bronze and iron—beyond number. Arise and work! May Adonai be with you.” 17David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son, 18“Is not Adonai your God with you? Has He not given you rest on every side? For He has delivered the inhabitants of the land into my hand and the land is subdued before Adonai and before His people. 19Now set your hearts and souls to seek after Adonai your God. Rise up and build the Sanctuary of Adonai Elohim so that you can bring the Ark of the Covenant of Adonai and the holy vessels of God into the House built for the Name of Adonai.”

–from 1 Chronicles 22

How will you help? What will be your part? What do you have to bring? What do you have to offer? What skills and talents will help you to prepare and pass it along?

Census of Levites

1When David was old and full of days, he made his son Solomon king over Israel. 2He also gathered together all the leaders of Israel along with the kohanim and the Levites. 3The Levites 30 years old or more were counted; their head count was 38,000 men. 4Of these, there were 24,000 to oversee the work of the House of Adonai, 6,000 officers and judges, 5 4,000 gatekeepers, and 4,000 for praising Adonai “with the instruments which I made for giving praise.” 6David organized them into divisions: The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari. 7Of the Gershonites: Ladan and Shimei. 8The sons of Ladan: Jehiel the leader, Zetham and Joel—three. 9The sons of Shimei: Shelomith, Haziel and Haran—three. These were the heads of the clans of Ladan. 10The sons of Shimei: Jahath, Zina, Jeush and Beriah. These were the sons of Shimei—four. 11Jahath was the first and Zizah the second, but Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons, so they were enrolled together as a single clan. 12The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel—four. 13The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses. Aaron, along with his descendants, was set apart to be consecrated as most holy forever, to burn incense before Adonai, to minister to Him, and to bless in His name forever. 14But as for Moses the man of God, his sons are named among the tribe of Levi. 15The sons of Moses: Gershom and Eliezer. 16The sons of Gershom: Shebuel, the leader. 17The sons of Eliezer: Rehabiah the chief. Eliezer had no other sons, but the sons of Rehabiah were very numerous. 18The sons of Izhar: Shelomith the leader. 19The sons of Hebron: Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third and Jekameam the fourth. 20The sons of Uzziel: Micah the first and Isshiah the second. 21The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Mahli: Eleazar and Kish. 22Eleazar died having no sons but only daughters; the sons of Kish, their kinsmen, took them as wives. 23The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder, and Yeremot—three. 24These were the sons of Levi by clans, with the heads of clans as they were enrolled and with a list of their names by heads who carried out the task of avodah in the House of Adonai from 20 years old and upward. 25For David said: “Adonai, the God of Israel, has given His people rest and He dwells in Jerusalem forever. 26Therefore, the Levites need not carry the Tabernacle and all the vessels for avodah.” 27For according to David’s final instructions, the Levites 20 years old and upward were counted. 28For their duty was to help the descendants of Aaron in the avodah of Adonai’s House concerning the courtyards and rooms, the purification of all holy things and the performance of the avodah of God’s House, 29the rows of bread, the fine flour for the grain offering, the matzot , the cake baked on the griddle or mixed and every measure of capacity and length, 30and to stand every morning to thank and praise Adonai. They also did this in the evening 31and whenever burnt offerings were offered to Adonai on Shabbatot, New Moons and the moadim. They were to serve regularly before Adonai, according to the proper number in the manner prescribed for them. 32They were to keep watch over the Tent of Meeting, the Holy Place and the sons of Aaron their kinsmen for avodah in the House of Adonai.

–from 1 Chronicles 23


1Now these were the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron were Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 2But Nadab and Abihu died before their father and had no children, so Eleazar and Ithamar served as kohanim. 3David, with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, divided them into their offices according to their avodah. 4More leading men were found among the sons of Eleazar than among the sons of Ithamar, so they divided them: the sons of Eleazar had 16 leaders of clans and the sons of Ithamar had eight leaders of clans. 5Thus, they were impartially divided by lot for there were officials of the Holy Place and officials of God, both from the sons of Eleazar and from the sons of Ithamar. 6The scribe Shemaiah, son of Nethanel from the Levites, recorded them in the presence of the king, the princes, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech son of Abiathar, and the leaders of the clans of the kohanim and of the Levites: one clan taken for Eleazar and one for Ithamar. 7Now the first lot came for Jehoiarib, the second for Jedaiah, 8the third for Harim, the fourth for Seorim, 9the fifth for Malchijah, the sixth for Mijamin, 10the seventh for Hakkoz, the eighth for Abijah, 11the ninth for Jeshua, the tenth for Shecaniah, 12the eleventh for Eliashib, the twelfth for Jakim, 13the thirteenth for Huppah, the fourteenth for Heshebeab, 14the fifteenth for Bilgah, the sixteenth for Immer, 15the seventeenth for Hezir, the eighteenth for Hapizzez, 16the nineteenth for Petahiah the twentieth for Jehezkel, 17the twentyfirst for Jachin, the twentysecond for Gamul, 18the twentythird for Delaiah, the twentyfourth for Maaziah. 19These were their duties for their avodah upon entering into the House of Adonai according to the ordinance given to them by the hand of Aaron their father, just as Adonai the God of Israel had commanded him. 20As for the rest of the sons of Levi: from the sons of Amram: Shubael; from the sons of Shubael: Jehdeiah. 21As for Rehabiah, from the sons of Rehabiah Isshiah was the first. 22From the Izharites: Shelomoth; from the sons of Shelomoth: Jahath. 23The sons of Hebron: Jeriah, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, Jekameam the fourth. 24The sons of Uzziel: Micah; from the sons of Micah: Shamir. 25The brother of Micah, Ishiah; from the sons of Ishiah: Zechariah. 26The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi; the sons of Jaaziah: Beno. 27The sons of Merari: from Jaaziah: Beno, Shoham, Zaccur and Ibri. 28From Mahli: Eleazar, who had no sons. 29From Kish, the sons of Kish: Jerahmeel. 30The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder and Jerimoth. These were the sons of the Levites by their clans. 31These also cast lots even as their kinsmen the sons of Aaron did in the presence of King David, Zadok, Ahimelech and the heads of the clans of the kohanim and the Levites—the families of the oldest just like those of his youngest brother.

–from 1 Chronicles 24

Jesus will be coming back – the book of Revelation tells us of that. Jesus came to be our savior so that we could have life to the full! What are we doing together today to help the future be ready? What we we doing together today to help the next generation to be ready and prepared what is yet to come? Are we you making sure we have a solid foundation of faith for them to stand upon? Are we making sure that we have a cornerstone that is Jesus so that we have a situation that is lined up in truth? Will we plant and demonstrate righteousness and hate lawlessness? Will we help people know the difference between right and wrong? Will we pour our grace and forgiveness as Jesus did for us?

Let’s humble ourselves and pray! Let’s ask Jesus to intervene in what is taking place! Let’s ask God to help us to bring reconciliation and peace and hope and joy and love to this country! Let’s stand up! Let’s stand in the gap! Let’s bridge the gap and help start the reconciliation! Let’s not allow lawlessness to have a root! Let’s not allow bitterness and anger to eat and tear us up from the inside out! Let’s move towards forgiveness in order to have life, truth, justice and liberty for all!

Superiority of the Son

1At many times and in many ways, God spoke long ago to the fathers through the prophets. 2In these last days He has spoken to us through a Son, whom He appointed heir of all things and through whom He created the universe. 3This Son is the radiance of His glory and the imprint of His being, upholding all things by His powerful word. When He had made purification for our sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. 4Thus He became as far above the angels as the name He has inherited is more excellent than theirs. 5For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are My Son. Today I have become Your Father”? And again, “I will be to Him a Father, and He will be to Me a Son”? 6And again, when He brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” 7And regarding the angels He says, “He makes His angels winds, and His servants a flame of fire.” 8But regarding the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and a scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions.” 10And, “In the beginning, Adonai, You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands. 11They shall pass away, but You remain. And they will all wear out like clothing. 12And like a robe You will roll them up, and like clothing they will be changed; but You are the same, and Your years shall never end.” 13But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet”? 14Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out for service to those about to inherit salvation?

–from Hebrews 1


Are you living like you are victorious?

Consider how you are living your day. Consider your attitude. Consider your perspective. Are others seeing you living like you won? Or do you look defeated? Do you look down? Do live each day like the battle it is knowing the battle has already been won? Does anything keeping you from living victorious? Does anything keep you from living like you already won?

Will you live today like you already won?

The truth is God’s Word shows us twice the victory we have through Jesus Christ and that with Him we are victorious! One source is the Book of Revelation and the other is where today’s morning reading begins as Jesus conquered the grave and the power of Hell. There is a heaven and there is a hell. And because of Jesus who is the way, the truth, and the life, we can live in confidence of not suffering through the pain and the torment. This is even a greater reason to live like you have already won so that others will be able to see the testimony of Jesus in and through you and start their own relationship with Jesus so that they don’t miss out and end up in Hell. Going this far into it, let’s look at someone who didn’t pursue God and compare before we jump into today’s reading…

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19“There was once a rich man who dressed in the most expensive clothes and lived in great luxury every day. 20There was also a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who used to be brought to the rich man’s door, 21hoping to eat the bits of food that fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the feast in heaven. The rich man died and was buried, 23and in Hades, where he was in great pain, he looked up and saw Abraham, far away, with Lazarus at his side. 24So he called out, ‘Father Abraham! Take pity on me, and send Lazarus to dip his finger in some water and cool off my tongue, because I am in great pain in this fire!’ 25But Abraham said, ‘Remember, my son, that in your lifetime you were given all the good things, while Lazarus got all the bad things. But now he is enjoying himself here, while you are in pain. 26Besides all that, there is a deep pit lying between us, so that those who want to cross over from here to you cannot do so, nor can anyone cross over to us from where you are.’ 27The rich man said, ‘Then I beg you, father Abraham, send Lazarus to my father’s house, 28where I have five brothers. Let him go and warn them so that they, at least, will not come to this place of pain.’ 29Abraham said, ‘Your brothers have Moses and the prophets to warn them; your brothers should listen to what they say.’ 30The rich man answered, ‘That is not enough, father Abraham! But if someone were to rise from death and go to them, then they would turn from their sins.’ 31But Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone were to rise from death.’” –from Luke 16

It’s too late once you get there. The time is now! It’s time to grab a hold of the reality of your final destiny and do something about it. Do you know Jesus and have a relationship with Him as your Lord and Savior? Then live victorious today! Shine the hope that is in you! Share the hope that is in you by living like you already won! The reality is you have!

Have you wondered about this Jesus? Is today the day you will step up and ask Jesus to come into your life? Is today the day that you will start to walk the journey of forgiveness and hope and love with Jesus? Is today the day you start to live victoriously? (Have comments, questions? feel free to leave me a comment)

Today’s reading speaks of the victory over death! He died and he got the keys so that death no longer has power over His followers!

The Resurrection

(Matthew 28.1-10; Mark 16.1-8; John 20.1-10)
1Very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, carrying the spices they had prepared. 2They found the stone rolled away from the entrance to the tomb, 3so they went in; but they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4They stood there puzzled about this, when suddenly two men in bright shining clothes stood by them. 5Full of fear, the women bowed down to the ground, as the men said to them, “Why are you looking among the dead for one who is alive? 6He is not here; he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was in Galilee: 7‘The Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, be crucified, and three days later rise to life.’” 8Then the women remembered his words, 9returned from the tomb, and told all these things to the eleven disciples and all the rest. 10The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James; they and the other women with them told these things to the apostles. 11But the apostles thought that what the women said was nonsense, and they did not believe them. 12But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; he bent down and saw the grave cloths but nothing else. Then he went back home amazed at what had happened. –from Luke 24

Will you believe? Do you believe? Will you live victorious and not be held back by the lies and tricks of the devil?

Consider how much God loves you and how He views you… On the weekend I heard this great song, check it out and consider how victorious you can live!

God’s plan for us is good – He wants to give us a hope and a future! Even what the devil plans for evil, God can use and turn it around and use it for good.

Today’s reading continues to speak of the incredible power of being in relationship with God!

32Should I go on? There isn’t enough time for me to speak of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. 33Through faith they fought whole countries and won. They did what was right and received what God had promised. They shut the mouths of lions, 34put out fierce fires, escaped being killed by the sword. They were weak, but became strong; they were mighty in battle and defeated the armies of foreigners. 35Through faith women received their dead relatives raised back to life. Others, refusing to accept freedom, died under torture in order to be raised to a better life. 36Some were mocked and whipped, and others were put in chains and taken off to prison. 37They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they were killed by the sword. They went around clothed in skins of sheep or goats—poor, persecuted, and mistreated. 38The world was not good enough for them! They wandered like refugees in the deserts and hills, living in caves and holes in the ground. 39What a record all of these have won by their faith! Yet they did not receive what God had promised, 40because God had decided on an even better plan for us. His purpose was that only in company with us would they be made perfect.

–from Hebrews 11

So when you aren’t sure what to do, turn to God and do what He tells you to do! Do what you know is the right thing to do! Turn to God’s Word for wisdom! Today’s reading continues into Proverbs…

15Poor people are helpless against a wicked ruler; he is as dangerous as a growling lion or a prowling bear. 16A ruler without good sense will be a cruel tyrant. One who hates dishonesty will rule a long time. 17Someone guilty of murder is digging his own grave as fast as he can. Don’t try to stop him. 18Be honest and you will be safe. If you are dishonest, you will suddenly fall. 19A hard-working farmer has plenty to eat. People who waste time will always be poor. 20Honest people will lead a full, happy life. But if you are in a hurry to get rich, you are going to be punished. 21Prejudice is wrong. But some judges will do wrong to get even the smallest bribe. 22Selfish people are in such a hurry to get rich that they do not know when poverty is about to strike. 23Correct someone, and afterward he will appreciate it more than flattery. 24Anyone who thinks it isn’t wrong to steal from his parents is no better than a common thief. 25Selfishness only causes trouble. You are much better off to trust the Lord. 26It is foolish to follow your own opinions. Be safe, and follow the teachings of wiser people. 27Give to the poor and you will never be in need. If you close your eyes to the poor, many people will curse you. 28People stay in hiding when the wicked come to power. But when they fall from power, the righteous will rule again. –from Proverbs 28

This is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Whose side will you be on?

Follow Jesus and change your world.There are two options and everyone must choose. There is one way to one end and multiple ways to the other. Not choosing will have the same impact as choosing the wrong way. Have you chosen? Will you choose before it is too late? Where do you want to end up?

Today’s reading starts of with the following text…

Jesus the Cause of Division

(Matthew 10.34-36)
49“I came to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50I have a baptism to receive, and how distressed I am until it is over! 51Do you suppose that I came to bring peace to the world? No, not peace, but division. 52From now on a family of five will be divided, three against two and two against three. 53Fathers will be against their sons, and sons against their fathers; mothers will be against their daughters, and daughters against their mothers; mothers-in-law will be against their daughters-in-law, and daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law.”

–from Luke 12

Do you see how the church is being persecuted? Do you see how the name of Jesus gets a response? Do you realize that sometimes the response is good and sometimes the response isn’t? Today’s Word is interesting because we know God will grant us peace even in the midst of the storm (internal peace) yet today’s message speaks of how Jesus came that people would choose. Choose to be with Him and spend eternity in heaven or choose to be against Him or without Him and spend eternity apart from God. You can see with all the persecution taking place against Christians that even to this day the division is taking place. Those who believe and won’t renounce the name of Jesus for anything. Those who are on the journey. Those who don’t believe and do what they can to silence the name of Jesus. Those who don’t believe and try to ignore it.

Everyone gets to make a choice, so choose wisely! It’s the pros and the cons of life and receiving the gift of freewill, so choose wisely! Timing is everything…

Today’s reading continues…

Understanding the Time

(Matthew 16.2, 3)
54Jesus said also to the people, “When you see a cloud coming up in the west, at once you say that it is going to rain—and it does. 55And when you feel the south wind blowing, you say that it is going to get hot—and it does. 56Hypocrites! You can look at the earth and the sky and predict the weather; why, then, don’t you know the meaning of this present time?

–from Luke 12

Take a look around you, take a look at what is going on around the world, take a look at where the world is heading, take a look at the season we are in. What do you see? What time is it? It’s post the crucifixion of Jesus. It’s post the resurrection of Jesus. It’s before His return. Are you ready if he comes back today? Have you made your decision? Will you make your decision before His return? Do you see what is going on in your neighborhood, your country, the countries around the world? Do you see the wars and rumors of war?  Do you see the famine and rumors of famine? Do you see the sick and rumors of sickness? Do you see earthquakes and rumors of earthquakes? Don’t be fooled by fear of what is taking place, but rather put your hope and trust in Jesus. Nobody knows the day or the time of His return, we are just to be ready, be prepared, have our house in order so that when He returns we are ready. Be it the story of the bride maids who did and didn’t have enough oil. Be it the story of the servants at home awaiting the return of their master. We are to be prepared.

We need to be walking in alignment with Jesus. We need to be taking care of things ourselves within the church rather than taking it to people who don’t get it and have different values and views of the world. If anyone tries to take you to court, do your best to settle it out of court! Today’s Word speaks to it this way…

Settle with Your Opponent

(Matthew 5.25, 26)
57“Why do you not judge for yourselves the right thing to do? 58If someone brings a lawsuit against you and takes you to court, do your best to settle the dispute before you get to court. If you don’t, you will be dragged before the judge, who will hand you over to the police, and you will be put in jail. 59There you will stay, I tell you, until you pay the last penny of your fine.”

–from Luke 12

There are so many distractions that try to take the focus away from Jesus. There are storms, waves, mountains that try to get our eyes off of Jesus. But if we keep our eyes on Jesus we can continue to walk  to Him. We can find peace even in the midst of the storm. He may calm the storm or calm the storm in us. When we keep our eyes on Jesus, He will grant us wisdom so that we know if we are to climb the mountain, go around the mountain, to go through the mountain, or to have faith and pray that the mountain be cast into the sea. The devil is roaming around like a roaring lion to see who he can devour. He uses the same tricks and tools to try and lie, rob, destroy. He tries to create fear so that we will scatter and be sitting ducks. Like a lion that tries to get the weak one to run away from the heard or flock. Find peace in Jesus! Stay close to Him! Keep your eyes on Jesus!

Today’s reading continues …

14It may be that some there will not obey the message we send you in this letter. If so, take note of them and have nothing to do with them, so that they will be ashamed. 15But do not treat them as enemies; instead, warn them as believers.

Final Words

16May the Lord himself, who is our source of peace, give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all. 17With my own hand I write this: Greetings from Paul This is the way I sign every letter; this is how I write. 18May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

–from 2 Thessalonians 3

Allow God’s peace that goes beyond all understanding to fill you up! Allow God’s peace that rebukes fear with faith lead you and guide you! Don’t walk away from Jesus, but get closer and closer.

We weren’t meant to do this thing called life alone! We have Jesus! We have the Holy Spirit! We have other believers, just like the heard and flocks so that we can help and encourage one another and keep the ones who need protection and encouragement, and hope and help from that roaring lion safe and calm and at peace so they don’t bolt and run out and make themselves a target.

Not sure what to do or where to start? Start by praising God for all that He has done! Not sure what to say, thank Him for what He has done in and through your life! Need some wisdom, turn to God’s Word, the Book that is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path!

The devil believes that if he can create fear, he can paralyze us from completing the work God has for us to do. But God knows that the antidote to fear is faith! So fear not, just believe! Put your hope and trust in Him!

1Praise the Lord! Praise God in his Temple! Praise his strength in heaven! 2Praise him for the mighty things he has done. Praise his supreme greatness. 3Praise him with trumpets. Praise him with harps and lyres. 4Praise him with drums and dancing. Praise him with harps and flutes. 5Praise him with cymbals. Praise him with loud cymbals. 6Praise the Lord, all living creatures! Praise the Lord!
–from Psalm 150

What is your brand? Who do people say you are?

This morning starts with an interesting question. “Who do people say I am?” When I consider this it is interesting as when I did a training session on international for my team in my intro I started with who do people think I am or what do people think I do. It was interesting too because it varied and the reality each portion was a peace of what I do but a complete picture. Also even at my old job people would sometimes wonder how I can find balance when I work there and I … (insert the list they were aware of) to which I would let them know about the additional things that they were unaware of. The one thing that I have found to be key is to put God first, when you do that it helps put everything else into alignment.

Who do people say I am? A Christian. A husband. A dad. A son. A brother. A friend. A leader. A connector. A collaborator. A networker. A helper. A social person. A cheerful person. An encourager. A helper. A marketing person. A product manager. A program manager. A globalization person. A localization person. An international guru. A planner. A prioritizer. A mediator. A neighbor. A coworker. A deacon. A director in training. A counselor. An author. A writer. An evangelist. A follower of Jesus. A … And who do people say you are? What do you want to be known for? Do you have a brand?

In this mornings reading, it starts this way…

18One day when Jesus was praying alone, the disciples came to him. “Who do the crowds say I am?” he asked them. 19“Some say that you are John the Baptist,” they answered. “Others say that you are Elijah, while others say that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.” 20“What about you?” he asked them. “Who do you say I am?”Peter answered, “You are God’s Messiah.” –from Luke 9

Who do those close to you say you are? Who are you? Are you are servant leader? Do you allow people to see and know the real you? Do you have a close group of friends? (3-5) Do you have a larger group of friends? (10-12) Do you let them in?

Today’s reading continues with …

21Then Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell this to anyone. 22He also told them, “The Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law. He will be put to death, but three days later he will be raised to life.” 23And he said to them all, “If you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, take up your cross every day, and follow me. 24For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it, but if you lose your life for my sake, you will save it. 25Will you gain anything if you win the whole world but are yourself lost or defeated? Of course not! 26If you are ashamed of me and of my teaching, then the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27I assure you that there are some here who will not die until they have seen the Kingdom of God.”
–from Luke 9

What do you put as your first priority? Do you desire to spend eternity in heaven or in hell? The choice is yours. This life is temporary, but the one to come is forever, it’s eternal. Do you want to spend life with God or apart from God? Heaven is for real! We all have a choice to make. And if we don’t choose, we are choosing to be apart from God! Choose Jesus! If you believe are you praying for others that they would believe? Are you planting seeds? Are you watering? Are you praying for believers that they would stand firm, as mature and fully convinced Christians, in complete obedience to God’s will. Don’t forget what God is calling you to do!

Let’s praise God and live in peace daily! Let’s live in harmony! Let’s live for the eternity God has promised! Let’s praise God no only with our words, but also with our actions and our lives!

1How wonderful it is, how pleasant, for God’s people to live together in harmony! 2It is like the precious anointing oil running down from Aaron’s head and beard, down to the collar of his robes. 3It is like the dew on Mount Hermon, falling on the hills of Zion. That is where the Lord has promised his blessing—life that never ends. –from Psalm 133

1Come, praise the Lord, all his servants, all who serve in his Temple at night. 2Raise your hands in prayer in the Temple, and praise the Lord! 3May the Lord, who made heaven and earth, bless you from Zion!–from Psalm 134

Are you concerned? OR Is your trust in God’s Love?

What causes such concerns? How about tithes? How about offerings? Are you having concerns with those too?

pay to the Emperor what belongs to the Emperor, and pay to God what belongs to God

Are you being a good steward of the gifts you are given? You realize that every good and perfect gift comes from God right? You realize that everything belongs to God right?

Do you have hope for the future? Where does your future end? Where does your future begin? My future goes to eternity, eternity spent with Jesus in heaven! Where He has gone ahead in advance to prepare a place for me! So I have hope even when the world around me may feel or look hopeless. I share the hope that is within me so that others will be able to find hope and not give up! The Bible is clear that there is life after death on this earth! We see it in the old and the new testament!

26Now, as for the dead being raised: haven’t you ever read in the Book of Moses the passage about the burning bush? There it is written that God said to Moses, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 27He is the God of the living, not of the dead. You are completely wrong!”

That’s right God is the God of the living! So we know that there is life after death! Death is just the end of our time in this body but not the end of our souls. How we spend eternity is based on our choice! We get the choice to spend eternity with God or apart from God! We all have freewill to make that choice for our lives! Some label the destinations as heaven or hell. I’ve read the book of Revelation and I know that Jesus wins! I know He is coming back to finish the battle (aka Armageddon). And my hope and desire is that everyone I know and have met will come to know and trust in and believe in God so that we will spend eternity together in heaven celebrating and worshiping God! We are eternal, we choose where we will spend eternity!

So let’s be generous! Let’s be givers! Let’s allow the hope that is within us to radiate God’s love into the places we walk today! Let’s rejoice in the salvation that we received through Christ Jesus our Lord! Let’s give and allow our time, our money, our efforts to declare who God is to us, in us, and through us! Let LOVE flow through you! We love because Christ first loved us! We know what Love is because Christ first loved us!

Christian Giving

1Our friends, we want you to know what God’s grace has accomplished in the churches in Macedonia. 2They have been severely tested by the troubles they went through; but their joy was so great that they were extremely generous in their giving, even though they are very poor. 3I can assure you that they gave as much as they could, and even more than they could. Of their own free will 4they begged us and pleaded for the privilege of having a part in helping God’s people in Judea. 5It was more than we could have hoped for! First they gave themselves to the Lord; and then, by God’s will they gave themselves to us as well. 6So we urged Titus, who began this work, to continue it and help you complete this special service of love. 7You are so rich in all you have: in faith, speech, and knowledge, in your eagerness to help and in your love for us. And so we want you to be generous also in this service of love. 8I am not laying down any rules. But by showing how eager others are to help, I am trying to find out how real your own love is. 9You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; rich as he was, he made himself poor for your sake, in order to make you rich by means of his poverty. 10My opinion is that it is better for you to finish now what you began last year. You were the first, not only to act, but also to be willing to act. 11On with it, then, and finish the job! Be as eager to finish it as you were to plan it, and do it with what you now have. 12If you are eager to give, God will accept your gift on the basis of what you have to give, not on what you don’t have. 13-14I am not trying to relieve others by putting a burden on you; but since you have plenty at this time, it is only fair that you should help those who are in need. Then, when you are in need and they have plenty, they will help you. In this way both are treated equally. 15As the scripture says, “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”

Titus and His Companions

16How we thank God for making Titus as eager as we are to help you! 17Not only did he welcome our request; he was so eager to help that of his own free will he decided to go to you. 18With him we are sending the brother who is highly respected in all the churches for his work in preaching the gospel. 19And besides that, he has been chosen and appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this service of love for the sake of the Lord’s glory and in order to show that we want to help. 20We are being careful not to stir up any complaints about the way we handle this generous gift. 21Our purpose is to do what is right, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of others. 22So we are sending our brother with them; we have tested him many times and found him always very eager to help. And now that he has so much confidence in you, he is all the more eager to help. 23As for Titus, he is my partner and works with me to help you; as for the other brothers who are going with him, they represent the churches and bring glory to Christ. 24Show your love to them, so that all the churches will be sure of it and know that we are right in boasting about you.

So how will you show your love? How will you show your hope? How will you show your trust? How will you show that you aren’t concerned but that you are trusting in God!

The Love of God

1Praise the Lord, my soul! All my being, praise his holy name!
2Praise the Lord, my soul, and do not forget how kind he is.
3He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
4He keeps me from the grave and blesses me with love and mercy.
5He fills my life with good things, so that I stay young and strong like an eagle.
6The Lord judges in favor of the oppressed and gives them their rights.
7He revealed his plans to Moses and let the people of Israel see his mighty deeds.
8The Lord is merciful and loving, slow to become angry and full of constant love.
9He does not keep on rebuking; he is not angry forever.
10He does not punish us as we deserve or repay us according to our sins and wrongs.
11As high as the sky is above the earth, so great is his love for those who honor him.
12As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our sins from us.
13As a father is kind to his children, so the Lord is kind to those who honor him.
14He knows what we are made of; he remembers that we are dust.
15As for us, our life is like grass. We grow and flourish like a wild flower;
16then the wind blows on it, and it is gone—no one sees it again.
17But for those who honor the Lord, his love lasts forever, and his goodness endures for all generations
18of those who are true to his covenant and who faithfully obey his commands.
19The Lord placed his throne in heaven; he is king over all.
20Praise the Lord, you strong and mighty angels, who obey his commands, who listen to what he says.
21Praise the Lord, all you heavenly powers, you servants of his, who do his will!
22Praise the Lord, all his creatures in all the places he rules. Praise the Lord, my soul!

Original plans…

Ever considered how it is supposed to be? How long it is supposed to last? What purpose was it designed for? Well God never said it would be easy and in His Word we read “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He doesn’t just warn us, He also encourages us! So don’t give up when it get’s tough. As the old saying goes, “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going”! Consider some of the most important things in life and remember how important they are to God too. First let’s consider marriage…

6But in the beginning, at the time of creation, ‘God made them male and female,’ as the scripture says. 7‘And for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, 8and the two will become one.’ So they are no longer two, but one. 9No human being must separate, then, what God has joined together.” — from Mark 10 (GNT)

God’s plan is that we will come together and become united and live as one. His plan is that there will be alignment. His plan is that the man will give of himself as Christ did for the church. His plan is that woman will give of herself as the church does to Christ. It’s not 50/50, it’s 100%/100% to make it work.

Second, let’s consider children…The incredible gift of God! The one gift that we can receive that will last for eternity! The one gift that comes with such a great responsibility of helping them to realize the truth and the hope that comes through a relationship with God and living in that alignment with Him, full of faith.

13Some people brought children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples scolded the people. 14When Jesus noticed this, he was angry and said to his disciples, “Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15I assure you that whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” 16Then he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on each of them, and blessed them. — from Mark 10 (GNT)

So let’s consider it pure joy when we face challenges, for we know that God is at work in us. Let’s not give up! Let’s not give up! Let’s grab a hold of everything that God has planned to make us complete and lacking nothing!

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. — from James 1 (GNT)

So let’s get started today with the right attitude and the right priorities! Let’s put and keep first things first so that in all that we think, say, and do, God will receive all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Clarity and wisdom… Be aware of what is taking place around you! Seek wisdom in how to deal with it!

Ever been trying to get something done and find that there are others trying to sabotage you? Ever been trying to set something up and find that there are others trying to take you out? Don’t rush to conclusions! Don’t be crazy in your response and take out the good and the bad! Seek wisdom about how to deal with it so that in the end not only will you get the reward but also the satisfaction. (check this out)

When we turn to God even with just a small amount of faith, even the size of a mustard seed, it can be enough to get us through the challenges and trials we are facing. God wants us to keep and put our trust in Him! And in so doing, we will not only get to see but also live the miracles of God in this world we live. When we plan that small seed of faith, God will water it and help it grow. It will go from being so small to being a power house, a covering, a place of peace, hope, and courage. So don’t give up! Even if you only have a little, allow God to use it and work it in and through your life. (check this out)

It doesn’t take long and it doesn’t take much to get things started. A small amount can take something from good to great. A small amount and take something from good to devastating. Consider today as you prepare and get ready for what is ahead of you, what are you bringing to the mix. Consider today what you will allow to be included or added to the mixture. That one ingredient can take dough and make it rise. That one ingredient can take dough and make it fall flat. Forgetting to add the right ingredient  can keep it from even starting to rise. So let’s be aware of what’s taking place around us. If someone is trying to stir up love, joy, peace, harmony then let’s try to add more. If someone is trying to stir up bitterness, anger, frustration, displeasure, discontentment we need to keep that out and not allow it into the mix and possibly even start over with a new batch! (check this out)

Today, let’s focus on where we are going! Let’s not let the worries or fears of this world keep us from becoming the people God created us to be. Jesus speaks of what the kingdom of God is like, and we don’t have to wait till we get to heaven to be able to experience.

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

44“The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man happens to find a treasure hidden in a field. He covers it up again, and is so happy that he goes and sells everything he has, and then goes back and buys that field.

The Parable of the Pearl

45“Also, the Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man is looking for fine pearls, 46and when he finds one that is unusually fine, he goes and sells everything he has, and buys that pearl.

The Parable of the Net

47“Also, the Kingdom of heaven is like this. Some fishermen throw their net out in the lake and catch all kinds of fish. 48When the net is full, they pull it to shore and sit down to divide the fish: the good ones go into the buckets, the worthless ones are thrown away. 49It will be like this at the end of the age: the angels will go out and gather up the evil people from among the good 50and will throw them into the fiery furnace, where they will cry and gnash their teeth.
New Truths and Old
51“Do you understand these things?” Jesus asked them.
“Yes,” they answered.
52So he replied, “This means, then, that every teacher of the Law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of heaven is like a homeowner who takes new and old things out of his storage room.”
— from Matthew 13 (GNT)

Do you know your audience? Do you prepare so that even before you arrive, you are ready? Do you have expectations of how they will be? Once you start and if you realize that they aren’t what you expected, how do you respond? If they are antagonistic, how will you respond? If they are just trying to mess with you, what will you do? If they are planting seeds of doubt, how will you respond? Don’t set false expectations or the bar so high nobody can meet it! Don’t take it all on your shoulders, as it could be a problem with them. Be wise! Seek wisdom! Respond appropriately! (check this out)

We need to live in the power and the promises of the new agreement and promise. We need to be receiving that and walking in that each step of every day. Sharing it allows the truth to circulate and the Word to get around. Are you stuck? Are you going through the motions? What is leading and guiding you? What is your source of truth? How will you know that you are heading in the right direction? We need to make it about the relationship and hold onto Him. Don’t be held back because of other people’s attitude, but press onward and upward in order to accomplish all that God has planned and purposed for your life! (check this out)

So as we prepare for everything that is ahead of us, let’s put our trust in God!

1I come to you, Lord, for protection; never let me be defeated. You are a righteous God; save me, I pray!
2Hear me! Save me now! Be my refuge to protect me; my defense to save me.
3You are my refuge and defense; guide me and lead me as you have promised.
4Keep me safe from the trap that has been set for me; shelter me from danger.
5 I place myself in your care. You will save me, Lord; you are a faithful God.
6You hate those who worship false gods, but I trust in you.
7I will be glad and rejoice because of your constant love. You see my suffering; you know my trouble.
8You have not let my enemies capture me; you have given me freedom to go where I wish.
9Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in trouble; my eyes are tired from so much crying; I am completely worn out.
10I am exhausted by sorrow, and weeping has shortened my life. I am weak from all my troubles; even my bones are wasting away.
11All my enemies, and especially my neighbors, treat me with contempt. Those who know me are afraid of me; when they see me in the street, they run away.
12Everyone has forgotten me, as though I were dead; I am like something thrown away.
13I hear many enemies whispering; terror is all around me. They are making plans against me, plotting to kill me.
14But my trust is in you, O Lord; you are my God.
15I am always in your care; save me from my enemies, from those who persecute me.
16Look on your servant with kindness; save me in your constant love.
17I call to you, Lord; don’t let me be disgraced. May the wicked be disgraced; may they go silently down to the world of the dead.
18Silence those liars—all the proud and arrogant who speak with contempt about the righteous.
19How wonderful are the good things you keep for those who honor you! Everyone knows how good you are, how securely you protect those who trust you.
20You hide them in the safety of your presence from the plots of others; in a safe shelter you hide them from the insults of their enemies.
21Praise the Lord! How wonderfully he showed his love for me when I was surrounded and attacked!
22I was afraid and thought that he had driven me out of his presence. But he heard my cry, when I called to him for help.
23Love the Lord, all his faithful people. The Lord protects the faithful, but punishes the proud as they deserve.
24Be strong, be courageous, all you that hope in the Lord.

— from Psalm 31