Category Archives: Help

What will you do when you do not know what is going on? What will you do when you do not know what to do?


Are you ready? How do you get ready when you aren’t sure what is around the corner? Do you start in God’s Word? Do you start with prayer? Do you just wing it? Where will your hope come from? Where will your help come from? My hope comes from the Lord! My help comes from the Lord! So I will start in God’s Word to get wisdom and allow the comforter and counselor (the Holy Spirit) to guide and guard my heart and mind. I will not lean on my own understanding but rather I will put my trust in God! I wait upon the Lord for I know that through Him I can receive a peace that surpasses all understanding. I know that God is a way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, and light in the darkness.


Would you consider the 3 day challenge in order to be ready to accomplish the plans of God who put you right here and right now for such a day and such a time as this? What if it meant giving up something for those 3 days? What if it meant you had to give them up starting tomorrow? Would it have to be significant for you to even consider it? Would it have to be person for you to do it?

Day 6: 2020 Hindsight
The 49-Week ChallengeDay 6

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 6 link above or want to join link here to join me and sign up.

Let’s share our takeaways from today’s reading! Did you catch and promises to trust? Did you catch any commands to obey? Did you catch any truths to embrace? Did you catch any warnings to heed? Did you catch any encouragement to rest in? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the world? What verse stood out most to you today?

If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.


Today’s reading from God’s Word – the Bible comes to us from: (I have chosen to use NIV translation, but feel free to choose whichever version you feel more comfortable with)


My Notes:

  • Do you realize the impact you can have on the future?
  • Do you realize the impact of your decisions on history?
  • Do you realize the legacy that you can produce?
  • Consider the story of Ruth and its impact on the legacy that led to Jesus.
  • Consider the story of Ruth and its impact on the legacy that led to King David.
  • Consider the story of Ruth and the impact on the legacy that led to King Solomon.
  • How will you deal with loss? How will you respond to trials, troubles, and challenges?
  • Consider the response after such catastrophic loss and how Orpah responded to Naomi.
  • Consider the response after such catastrophic loss and how Ruth responded to Naomi.
  • Is it better to go back or to press on?
  • Is it better to turn away or to turn back?
  • Will you go it alone? Will you cling to God in the midst of it all?
  • Will you choose to go where God sends you and to stay where God sends you?
  • Is God’s plan to work in and through you by pressing on and going into the unknown with Him?
  • Will you choose to be like Ruth who went with Naomi, into the unknown but knowing who you are following?
  • Will you choose to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and build a relationship with Him and make your life on top of Him as your rock and your foundation? Aligning your life with Him as your cornerstone?
  • Where will you find favor? In whom will you find favor? Will you go there and work for the glory of God in order to provide for the needs of your family?
  • Will you trust God and ask, praying God’s favor will lead and guide you? Will Ask, Seek, and Knock until that door opens and you are able to accomplish God’s will and plan and His purpose?
  • Do you realize that God is going before you to prepare in advance the good work He has for you to accomplish?
  • Will you live your life out with humility because of the favor You have found thanks to God?
  • Will God’s peace that surpasses all understanding come over you in order that you are put at ease through His Words in order to be able to step up and step out and be everything that He has purposed and created you to be?
  • Give credit where credit is due.
  • Bless those that God has brought across your path to bless.
  • Stay in the protection of the Lord!
  • God has a plan and it is for good, He blessed you so that you can be a blessing to others.
  • God has a purpose for you, He has positioned you for such a day and such a time as this.
  • God has a way that is better than our own way, decide to follow His way and to pursue His plan and purpose for your life so that in and through your life He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in order that the legacy He desires for you may be fulfilled.
  • Don’t allow fear to rob you of what God has prepared for you.
  • Allow faith to lead and guide you and to overcome any fear that may come your way so that in and through your faith and obedience, God’s plan will be accomplished.
  • It is amazing when you study God’s Word how we can see the connection of the past revealed in more recent times. We see how what we read about the genealogy of Jesus we can find in more details in the story of Ruth. We can see how through Ruth and Boaz, a son is board Obed who was the father of Jesse who happens to be the father of David who becomes King David.
  • It is amazing to see how important genealogy is in the Bible and how through out the generations and the centuries how God’s Word, God’s purposes, and God’s plans is captured and revealed to us.
  • Let’s do what we are to do according to God’s will. Don’t delay! Don’t put it off! Today, let’s do what God tells us to do!

Questions to consider:

  • What do you learn about God, about yourself, or about the world?
  • Is there one verse or thought that stands out to you today?

As day 6 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not join me in this prayer?

Did you pray with me? Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision? Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Today’s devotional comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit www.life.church — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through Bible.com

Do you know what you are saying? Are you too hard hearted to listen?


Ever been in a situation where you were working on your answer while the other person was speaking rather than listening? Ever been in a situation where you needed someone with a cooler head to step up and try to intervene? Ever been in a situation where you needed to stop and think before you spoke and responded? Ever spoken without that delay? Ever spoken when you were hot tempered? Will you wait on the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you? Will you wait on the Holy Spirit to prompt you and bring you peace that surpasses all understanding? Are you able to live a life that forgives? Are you able to live a life that loves? Are you able to live a life of sacrifice unto God so that in all things at all times He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory? Ever needed an intermediary to step in to intervene for you? Ever needed an advocate to take up your case? Are you willing to receive help? Are you willing to accept help? Are you willing to ask for help?

Remember, you can’t control what others will do and say but you can control how you will respond!


Today’s reading gets us started in 1 Samuel 25…

‘Now Samuel died, and all Israel gathered for his funeral. They buried him at his house in Ramah. Then David moved down to the wilderness of Maon. There was a wealthy man from Maon who owned property near the town of Carmel. He had 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats, and it was sheep-shearing time. This man’s name was Nabal, and his wife, Abigail, was a sensible and beautiful woman. But Nabal, a descendant of Caleb, was crude and mean in all his dealings. When David heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep, he sent ten of his young men to Carmel with this message for Nabal: “Peace and prosperity to you, your family, and everything you own! I am told that it is sheep-shearing time. While your shepherds stayed among us near Carmel, we never harmed them, and nothing was ever stolen from them. Ask your own men, and they will tell you this is true. So would you be kind to us, since we have come at a time of celebration? Please share any provisions you might have on hand with us and with your friend David.” David’s young men gave this message to Nabal in David’s name, and they waited for a reply. “Who is this fellow David?” Nabal sneered to the young men. “Who does this son of Jesse think he is? There are lots of servants these days who run away from their masters. Should I take my bread and my water and my meat that I’ve slaughtered for my shearers and give it to a band of outlaws who come from who knows where?” So David’s young men returned and told him what Nabal had said. “Get your swords!” was David’s reply as he strapped on his own. Then 400 men started off with David, and 200 remained behind to guard their equipment. Meanwhile, one of Nabal’s servants went to Abigail and told her, “David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, but he screamed insults at them. These men have been very good to us, and we never suffered any harm from them. Nothing was stolen from us the whole time they were with us. In fact, day and night they were like a wall of protection to us and the sheep. You need to know this and figure out what to do, for there is going to be trouble for our master and his whole family. He’s so ill-tempered that no one can even talk to him!” Abigail wasted no time. She quickly gathered 200 loaves of bread, two wineskins full of wine, five sheep that had been slaughtered, nearly a bushel of roasted grain, 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 fig cakes. She packed them on donkeys and said to her servants, “Go on ahead. I will follow you shortly.” But she didn’t tell her husband Nabal what she was doing. As she was riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, she saw David and his men coming toward her. David had just been saying, “A lot of good it did to help this fellow. We protected his flocks in the wilderness, and nothing he owned was lost or stolen. But he has repaid me evil for good. May God strike me and kill me if even one man of his household is still alive tomorrow morning!” When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed low before him. She fell at his feet and said, “I accept all blame in this matter, my lord. Please listen to what I have to say. I know Nabal is a wicked and ill-tempered man; please don’t pay any attention to him. He is a fool, just as his name suggests. But I never even saw the young men you sent. “Now, my lord, as surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, since the Lord has kept you from murdering and taking vengeance into your own hands, let all your enemies and those who try to harm you be as cursed as Nabal is. And here is a present that I, your servant, have brought to you and your young men. Please forgive me if I have offended you in any way. The Lord will surely reward you with a lasting dynasty, for you are fighting the Lord ’s battles. And you have not done wrong throughout your entire life. “Even when you are chased by those who seek to kill you, your life is safe in the care of the Lord your God, secure in his treasure pouch! But the lives of your enemies will disappear like stones shot from a sling! When the Lord has done all he promised and has made you leader of Israel, don’t let this be a blemish on your record. Then your conscience won’t have to bear the staggering burden of needless bloodshed and vengeance. And when the Lord has done these great things for you, please remember me, your servant!” David replied to Abigail, “Praise the Lord , the God of Israel, who has sent you to meet me today! Thank God for your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murder and from carrying out vengeance with my own hands. For I swear by the Lord , the God of Israel, who has kept me from hurting you, that if you had not hurried out to meet me, not one of Nabal’s men would still be alive tomorrow morning.” Then David accepted her present and told her, “Return home in peace. I have heard what you said. We will not kill your husband.” When Abigail arrived home, she found that Nabal was throwing a big party and was celebrating like a king. He was very drunk, so she didn’t tell him anything about her meeting with David until dawn the next day. In the morning when Nabal was sober, his wife told him what had happened. As a result he had a stroke, and he lay paralyzed on his bed like a stone. About ten days later, the Lord struck him, and he died. When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Praise the Lord , who has avenged the insult I received from Nabal and has kept me from doing it myself. Nabal has received the punishment for his sin.” Then David sent messengers to Abigail to ask her to become his wife. When the messengers arrived at Carmel, they told Abigail, “David has sent us to take you back to marry him.” She bowed low to the ground and responded, “I, your servant, would be happy to marry David. I would even be willing to become a slave, washing the feet of his servants!” Quickly getting ready, she took along five of her servant girls as attendants, mounted her donkey, and went with David’s messengers. And so she became his wife. David also married Ahinoam from Jezreel, making both of them his wives. Saul, meanwhile, had given his daughter Michal, David’s wife, to a man from Gallim named Palti son of Laish.’

— 1 Samuel 25

‘This message came to Jeremiah from the Lord early in the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah, king of Judah. This is what the Lord said to me: “Make a yoke, and fasten it on your neck with leather straps. Then send messages to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon through their ambassadors who have come to see King Zedekiah in Jerusalem. Give them this message for their masters: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: With my great strength and powerful arm I made the earth and all its people and every animal. I can give these things of mine to anyone I choose. Now I will give your countries to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who is my servant. I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control. All the nations will serve him, his son, and his grandson until his time is up. Then many nations and great kings will conquer and rule over Babylon. So you must submit to Babylon’s king and serve him; put your neck under Babylon’s yoke! I will punish any nation that refuses to be his slave, says the Lord . I will send war, famine, and disease upon that nation until Babylon has conquered it. “‘Do not listen to your false prophets, fortune-tellers, interpreters of dreams, mediums, and sorcerers who say, “The king of Babylon will not conquer you.” They are all liars, and their lies will lead to your being driven out of your land. I will drive you out and send you far away to die. But the people of any nation that submits to the king of Babylon will be allowed to stay in their own country to farm the land as usual. I, the Lord , have spoken!’” Then I repeated this same message to King Zedekiah of Judah. “If you want to live, submit to the yoke of the king of Babylon and his people. Why do you insist on dying—you and your people? Why should you choose war, famine, and disease, which the Lord will bring against every nation that refuses to submit to Babylon’s king? Do not listen to the false prophets who keep telling you, ‘The king of Babylon will not conquer you.’ They are liars. This is what the Lord says: ‘I have not sent these prophets! They are telling you lies in my name, so I will drive you from this land. You will all die—you and all these prophets, too.’” Then I spoke to the priests and the people and said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not listen to your prophets who claim that soon the gold articles taken from my Temple will be returned from Babylon. It is all a lie! Do not listen to them. Surrender to the king of Babylon, and you will live. Why should this whole city be destroyed? If they really are prophets and speak the Lord ’s messages, let them pray to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Let them pray that the articles remaining in the Lord ’s Temple and in the king’s palace and in the palaces of Jerusalem will not be carried away to Babylon!’ “For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has spoken about the pillars in front of the Temple, the great bronze basin called the Sea, the water carts, and all the other ceremonial articles. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon left them here when he exiled Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to Babylon, along with all the other nobles of Judah and Jerusalem. Yes, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says about the precious things still in the Temple, in the palace of Judah’s king, and in Jerusalem: ‘They will all be carried away to Babylon and will stay there until I send for them,’ says the Lord . ‘Then I will bring them back to Jerusalem again.’”’

— Jeremiah 27

‘Jesus told this story to his disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer’s money. So the employer called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Get your report in order, because you are going to be fired.’ “The manager thought to himself, ‘Now what? My boss has fired me. I don’t have the strength to dig ditches, and I’m too proud to beg. Ah, I know how to ensure that I’ll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.’ “So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe him?’ The man replied, ‘I owe him 800 gallons of olive oil.’ So the manager told him, ‘Take the bill and quickly change it to 400 gallons.’ “‘And how much do you owe my employer?’ he asked the next man. ‘I owe him 1,000 bushels of wheat,’ was the reply. ‘Here,’ the manager said, ‘take the bill and change it to 800 bushels.’ “The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light. Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home. “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own? “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, heard all this and scoffed at him. Then he said to them, “You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God. “Until John the Baptist, the law of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in. But that doesn’t mean that the law has lost its force. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest point of God’s law to be overturned.’

– Luke 16:1-17

‘This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath, but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him, “The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow: ‘You are a priest forever.’” Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God. There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever.’

— Hebrews 7:20-28

‘Rescue me from my enemies, O God. Protect me from those who have come to destroy me. Rescue me from these criminals; save me from these murderers. They have set an ambush for me. Fierce enemies are out there waiting, Lord , though I have not sinned or offended them. I have done nothing wrong, yet they prepare to attack me. Wake up! See what is happening and help me! O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, wake up and punish those hostile nations. Show no mercy to wicked traitors. Interlude They come out at night, snarling like vicious dogs as they prowl the streets. Listen to the filth that comes from their mouths; their words cut like swords. “After all, who can hear us?” they sneer. But Lord , you laugh at them. You scoff at all the hostile nations. You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me, for you, O God, are my fortress. In his unfailing love, my God will stand with me. He will let me look down in triumph on all my enemies. Don’t kill them, for my people soon forget such lessons; stagger them with your power, and bring them to their knees, O Lord our shield. Because of the sinful things they say, because of the evil that is on their lips, let them be captured by their pride, their curses, and their lies. Destroy them in your anger! Wipe them out completely! Then the whole world will know that God reigns in Israel. Interlude My enemies come out at night, snarling like vicious dogs as they prowl the streets. They scavenge for food but go to sleep unsatisfied. But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress. O my Strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love.’

— Psalms 59

How are you going to do it?


Where will you start? Where does your hope come from? Where does your help come from? Will you try to go it your own way because you are smart enough? Will you try to do it in your own strength because you are strong enough? Will you try to do it on your own because you don’t need help? How do you think that will work out? If you try to do it on your own then you need to take ownership of what you are doing and not try to blame it on anyone else. If you try to do it on your own you need to take responsibility for the outcome. That’s right it means you get to own and be responsible for the credit or the blame for what takes place. How are you going to do it?

Why not go to God first before you start? Why not seek His plan, His will, His purpose? Why not go to Him rather than a symbol of Him? Why not ask God for wisdom and discernment in order to have a plan? God has given us access through Jesus Christ. God has given us a way through Jesus. God has provided us with the truth through Jesus. God has provided us with a way to have eternal life through Jesus. Will you remember to start there? Will you make Jesus the foundation for what you are about to do? Will you make Jesus the cornerstone to ensure things get lined up? Will you do it all for the glory of God rather than for the pride or credit of men? How are you going to do it?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gives us an example starting with Samuel 4.

‘At that time Israel was at war with the Philistines. The Israelite army was camped near Ebenezer, and the Philistines were at Aphek. The Philistines attacked and defeated the army of Israel, killing 4,000 men. After the battle was over, the troops retreated to their camp, and the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord allow us to be defeated by the Philistines?” Then they said, “Let’s bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord from Shiloh. If we carry it into battle with us, it will save us from our enemies.” So they sent men to Shiloh to bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who is enthroned between the cherubim. Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, were also there with the Ark of the Covenant of God. When all the Israelites saw the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord coming into the camp, their shout of joy was so loud it made the ground shake! “What’s going on?” the Philistines asked. “What’s all the shouting about in the Hebrew camp?” When they were told it was because the Ark of the Lord had arrived, they panicked. “The gods have come into their camp!” they cried. “This is a disaster! We have never had to face anything like this before! Help! Who can save us from these mighty gods of Israel? They are the same gods who destroyed the Egyptians with plagues when Israel was in the wilderness. Fight as never before, Philistines! If you don’t, we will become the Hebrews’ slaves just as they have been ours! Stand up like men and fight!” So the Philistines fought desperately, and Israel was defeated again. The slaughter was great; 30,000 Israelite soldiers died that day. The survivors turned and fled to their tents. The Ark of God was captured, and Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were killed.

A man from the tribe of Benjamin ran from the battlefield and arrived at Shiloh later that same day. He had torn his clothes and put dust on his head to show his grief. Eli was waiting beside the road to hear the news of the battle, for his heart trembled for the safety of the Ark of God. When the messenger arrived and told what had happened, an outcry resounded throughout the town. “What is all the noise about?” Eli asked. The messenger rushed over to Eli, who was ninety-eight years old and blind. He said to Eli, “I have just come from the battlefield—I was there this very day.” “What happened, my son?” Eli demanded. “Israel has been defeated by the Philistines,” the messenger replied. “The people have been slaughtered, and your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were also killed. And the Ark of God has been captured.” When the messenger mentioned what had happened to the Ark of God, Eli fell backward from his seat beside the gate. He broke his neck and died, for he was old and overweight. He had been Israel’s judge for forty years. Eli’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and near her time of delivery. When she heard that the Ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and husband were dead, she went into labor and gave birth. She died in childbirth, but before she passed away the midwives tried to encourage her. “Don’t be afraid,” they said. “You have a baby boy!” But she did not answer or pay attention to them. She named the child Ichabod (which means “Where is the glory?”), for she said, “Israel’s glory is gone.” She named him this because the Ark of God had been captured and because her father-in-law and husband were dead. Then she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the Ark of God has been captured.”’

Samuel 4

‘After the Philistines captured the Ark of God, they took it from the battleground at Ebenezer to the town of Ashdod. They carried the Ark of God into the temple of Dagon and placed it beside an idol of Dagon. But when the citizens of Ashdod went to see it the next morning, Dagon had fallen with his face to the ground in front of the Ark of the Lord ! So they took Dagon and put him in his place again. But the next morning the same thing happened—Dagon had fallen face down before the Ark of the Lord again. This time his head and hands had broken off and were lying in the doorway. Only the trunk of his body was left intact. That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor anyone who enters the temple of Dagon in Ashdod will step on its threshold. Then the Lord ’s heavy hand struck the people of Ashdod and the nearby villages with a plague of tumors. When the people realized what was happening, they cried out, “We can’t keep the Ark of the God of Israel here any longer! He is against us! We will all be destroyed along with Dagon, our god.” So they called together the rulers of the Philistine towns and asked, “What should we do with the Ark of the God of Israel?” The rulers discussed it and replied, “Move it to the town of Gath.” So they moved the Ark of the God of Israel to Gath. But when the Ark arrived at Gath, the Lord ’s heavy hand fell on its men, young and old; he struck them with a plague of tumors, and there was a great panic. So they sent the Ark of God to the town of Ekron, but when the people of Ekron saw it coming they cried out, “They are bringing the Ark of the God of Israel here to kill us, too!” The people summoned the Philistine rulers again and begged them, “Please send the Ark of the God of Israel back to its own country, or it will kill us all.” For the deadly plague from God had already begun, and great fear was sweeping across the town. Those who didn’t die were afflicted with tumors; and the cry from the town rose to heaven.’

Samuel 5

‘My grief is beyond healing; my heart is broken. Listen to the weeping of my people; it can be heard all across the land. “Has the Lord abandoned Jerusalem? ” the people ask. “Is her King no longer there?” “Oh, why have they provoked my anger with their carved idols and their worthless foreign gods?” says the Lord . “The harvest is finished, and the summer is gone,” the people cry, “yet we are not saved!” I hurt with the hurt of my people. I mourn and am overcome with grief. Is there no medicine in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why is there no healing for the wounds of my people?’

Jeremiah 8:18-22

‘If only my head were a pool of water and my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered. Oh, that I could go away and forget my people and live in a travelers’ shack in the desert. For they are all adulterers— a pack of treacherous liars.

“My people bend their tongues like bows to shoot out lies. They refuse to stand up for the truth. They only go from bad to worse. They do not know me,” says the Lord . “Beware of your neighbor! Don’t even trust your brother! For brother takes advantage of brother, and friend slanders friend. They all fool and defraud each other; no one tells the truth. With practiced tongues they tell lies; they wear themselves out with all their sinning. They pile lie upon lie and utterly refuse to acknowledge me,” says the Lord . Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “See, I will melt them down in a crucible and test them like metal. What else can I do with my people? For their tongues shoot lies like poisoned arrows. They speak friendly words to their neighbors while scheming in their heart to kill them. Should I not punish them for this?” says the Lord . “Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?” I will weep for the mountains and wail for the wilderness pastures. For they are desolate and empty of life; the lowing of cattle is heard no more; the birds and wild animals have all fled. “I will make Jerusalem into a heap of ruins,” says the Lord . “It will be a place haunted by jackals. The towns of Judah will be ghost towns, with no one living in them.” Who is wise enough to understand all this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it to others? Why has the land been so ruined that no one dares to travel through it? The Lord replies, “This has happened because my people have abandoned my instructions; they have refused to obey what I said. Instead, they have stubbornly followed their own desires and worshiped the images of Baal, as their ancestors taught them. So now, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Look! I will feed them with bitterness and give them poison to drink. I will scatter them around the world, in places they and their ancestors never heard of, and even there I will chase them with the sword until I have destroyed them completely.”

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “Consider all this, and call for the mourners. Send for the women who mourn at funerals. Quick! Begin your weeping! Let the tears flow from your eyes. Hear the people of Jerusalem crying in despair, ‘We are ruined! We are completely humiliated! We must leave our land, because our homes have been torn down.’” Listen, you women, to the words of the Lord ; open your ears to what he has to say. Teach your daughters to wail; teach one another how to lament. For death has crept in through our windows and has entered our mansions. It has killed off the flower of our youth: Children no longer play in the streets, and young men no longer gather in the squares. This is what the Lord says: “Bodies will be scattered across the fields like clumps of manure, like bundles of grain after the harvest. No one will be left to bury them.” This is what the Lord says: “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord , have spoken! “A time is coming,” says the Lord , “when I will punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit— the Egyptians, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, the people who live in the desert in remote places, and yes, even the people of Judah. And like all these pagan nations, the people of Israel also have uncircumcised hearts.”’

Jeremiah 9

‘“What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse. Yes, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you. And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead.” Then he said to the disciples, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.” When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!” “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”

At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way. “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then when they were alone, he turned to the disciples and said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you have seen. I tell you, many prophets and kings longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.”’

Luke 10:13-24

‘Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. So he went and preached to the spirits in prison— those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.’

1 Peter 3:18-22

‘Declare me innocent, O God! Defend me against these ungodly people. Rescue me from these unjust liars. For you are God, my only safe haven. Why have you tossed me aside? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies? Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!’

Psalms 43

Do you know what you want? Are you prepared for what is yet to come? Have you shared it with those you love?


Do your loved ones know your desires? Do your loved ones know your preferences? Have you prepared for what you want? Have you setup in advance how it should and would play out? Have you shared that with those you love so that it isn’t a burden? Have you shared that with those you love so that they won’t have to worry or fret about it? Are you ready?

Today’s reading brings us to the close of Genesis.

‘These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said as he told his sons good-bye. He blessed each one with an appropriate message. Then Jacob instructed them, “Soon I will die and join my ancestors. Bury me with my father and grandfather in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. This is the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a permanent burial site. There Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried. There Isaac and his wife, Rebekah, are buried. And there I buried Leah. It is the plot of land and the cave that my grandfather Abraham bought from the Hittites.” When Jacob had finished this charge to his sons, he drew his feet into the bed, breathed his last, and joined his ancestors in death.’

Genesis 49:28-33

and

‘Joseph threw himself on his father and wept over him and kissed him. Then Joseph told the physicians who served him to embalm his father’s body; so Jacob was embalmed. The embalming process took the usual forty days. And the Egyptians mourned his death for seventy days. When the period of mourning was over, Joseph approached Pharaoh’s advisers and said, “Please do me this favor and speak to Pharaoh on my behalf. Tell him that my father made me swear an oath. He said to me, ‘Listen, I am about to die. Take my body back to the land of Canaan, and bury me in the tomb I prepared for myself.’ So please allow me to go and bury my father. After his burial, I will return without delay.” Pharaoh agreed to Joseph’s request. “Go and bury your father, as he made you promise,” he said. So Joseph went up to bury his father. He was accompanied by all of Pharaoh’s officials, all the senior members of Pharaoh’s household, and all the senior officers of Egypt. Joseph also took his entire household and his brothers and their households. But they left their little children and flocks and herds in the land of Goshen. A great number of chariots and charioteers accompanied Joseph. When they arrived at the threshing floor of Atad, near the Jordan River, they held a very great and solemn memorial service, with a seven-day period of mourning for Joseph’s father. The local residents, the Canaanites, watched them mourning at the threshing floor of Atad. Then they renamed that place (which is near the Jordan) Abel-mizraim, for they said, “This is a place of deep mourning for these Egyptians.” So Jacob’s sons did as he had commanded them. They carried his body to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre. This is the cave that Abraham had bought as a permanent burial site from Ephron the Hittite.

After burying Jacob, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had accompanied him to his father’s burial. But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said. So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said. But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.

So Joseph and his brothers and their families continued to live in Egypt. Joseph lived to the age of 110. He lived to see three generations of descendants of his son Ephraim, and he lived to see the birth of the children of Manasseh’s son Makir, whom he claimed as his own. “Soon I will die,” Joseph told his brothers, “but God will surely come to help you and lead you out of this land of Egypt. He will bring you back to the land he solemnly promised to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath, and he said, “When God comes to help you and lead you back, you must take my bones with you.” So Joseph died at the age of 110. The Egyptians embalmed him, and his body was placed in a coffin in Egypt.’

Genesis 50

Don’t allow fear to rob you of the peace and hope that you should have. Don’t allow the lies of the devil steal the promises and blessings and plans of God. Don’t allow worry to rob you of the incredible plans that even when others plan evil for you, God will and can turn it around and use it for good.

Today’s reading continue into 2 Chronicles 25.

‘Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Jehoaddin from Jerusalem. Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord ’s sight, but not wholeheartedly. When Amaziah was well established as king, he executed the officials who had assassinated his father. However, he did not kill the children of the assassins, for he obeyed the command of the Lord as written by Moses in the Book of the Law: “Parents must not be put to death for the sins of their children, nor children for the sins of their parents. Those deserving to die must be put to death for their own crimes.” Then Amaziah organized the army, assigning generals and captains for all Judah and Benjamin. He took a census and found that he had an army of 300,000 select troops, twenty years old and older, all trained in the use of spear and shield. He also paid about 7,500 pounds of silver to hire 100,000 experienced fighting men from Israel. But a man of God came to him and said, “Your Majesty, do not hire troops from Israel, for the Lord is not with Israel. He will not help those people of Ephraim! If you let them go with your troops into battle, you will be defeated by the enemy no matter how well you fight. God will overthrow you, for he has the power to help you or to trip you up.” Amaziah asked the man of God, “But what about all that silver I paid to hire the army of Israel?” The man of God replied, “The Lord is able to give you much more than this!” So Amaziah discharged the hired troops and sent them back to Ephraim. This made them very angry with Judah, and they returned home in a great rage. Then Amaziah summoned his courage and led his army to the Valley of Salt, where they killed 10,000 Edomite troops from Seir. They captured another 10,000 and took them to the top of a cliff and threw them off, dashing them to pieces on the rocks below. Meanwhile, the hired troops that Amaziah had sent home raided several of the towns of Judah between Samaria and Beth-horon. They killed 3,000 people and carried off great quantities of plunder. When King Amaziah returned from slaughtering the Edomites, he brought with him idols taken from the people of Seir. He set them up as his own gods, bowed down in front of them, and offered sacrifices to them! This made the Lord very angry, and he sent a prophet to ask, “Why do you turn to gods who could not even save their own people from you?” But the king interrupted him and said, “Since when have I made you the king’s counselor? Be quiet now before I have you killed!” So the prophet stopped with this warning: “I know that God has determined to destroy you because you have done this and have refused to accept my counsel.” After consulting with his advisers, King Amaziah of Judah sent this challenge to Israel’s king Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz and grandson of Jehu: “Come and meet me in battle!” But King Jehoash of Israel replied to King Amaziah of Judah with this story: “Out in the Lebanon mountains, a thistle sent a message to a mighty cedar tree: ‘Give your daughter in marriage to my son.’ But just then a wild animal of Lebanon came by and stepped on the thistle, crushing it! “You are saying, ‘I have defeated Edom,’ and you are very proud of it. But my advice is to stay at home. Why stir up trouble that will only bring disaster on you and the people of Judah?” But Amaziah refused to listen, for God was determined to destroy him for turning to the gods of Edom. So King Jehoash of Israel mobilized his army against King Amaziah of Judah. The two armies drew up their battle lines at Beth-shemesh in Judah. Judah was routed by the army of Israel, and its army scattered and fled for home. King Jehoash of Israel captured Judah’s king, Amaziah son of Joash and grandson of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh. Then he brought him to Jerusalem, where he demolished 600 feet of Jerusalem’s wall, from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate. He carried off all the gold and silver and all the articles from the Temple of God that had been in the care of Obed-edom. He also seized the treasures of the royal palace, along with hostages, and then returned to Samaria. King Amaziah of Judah lived for fifteen years after the death of King Jehoash of Israel. The rest of the events in Amaziah’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. After Amaziah turned away from the Lord , there was a conspiracy against his life in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish. But his enemies sent assassins after him, and they killed him there. They brought his body back on a horse, and he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David.’

2 Chronicles 25

Let’s not live half heartedly but let’s live our lives to the full in accordance to God’s plan and purpose. God’s plan is to give us a hope and a future. Jesus came that we will have life and life more abundantly. Let’s not be swayed away from God and His plans and His purpose. Let’s receive God’s plans and council. Let’s listen to the prompting and direction of the Holy Spirit.

Today’s reading continues into the New Testament and read John 14.

‘“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?” Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe. “I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me, but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going.’

John 14:15-31

Are you ready to believe? Are you ready to receive the gift of God through Jesus? Are you ready to receive the gift of God through the Holy Spirit? Will you choose to walk out the rest of your life lead and guided and comforted by the Holy Spirit?

Today’s reading continues into 2 Thessalonians 2.

‘As for us, we can’t help but thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation—a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth. He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.’

2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

As we close in our reading in the book of Psalms, let us meditate on today’s psalm – Psalms 38.

‘O Lord , don’t rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage! Your arrows have struck deep, and your blows are crushing me. Because of your anger, my whole body is sick; my health is broken because of my sins. My guilt overwhelms me— it is a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and stink because of my foolish sins. I am bent over and racked with pain. All day long I walk around filled with grief. A raging fever burns within me, and my health is broken. I am exhausted and completely crushed. My groans come from an anguished heart. You know what I long for, Lord; you hear my every sigh. My heart beats wildly, my strength fails, and I am going blind. My loved ones and friends stay away, fearing my disease. Even my own family stands at a distance. Meanwhile, my enemies lay traps to kill me. Those who wish me harm make plans to ruin me. All day long they plan their treachery. But I am deaf to all their threats. I am silent before them as one who cannot speak. I choose to hear nothing, and I make no reply. For I am waiting for you, O Lord . You must answer for me, O Lord my God. I prayed, “Don’t let my enemies gloat over me or rejoice at my downfall.” I am on the verge of collapse, facing constant pain. But I confess my sins; I am deeply sorry for what I have done. I have many aggressive enemies; they hate me without reason. They repay me evil for good and oppose me for pursuing good. Do not abandon me, O Lord . Do not stand at a distance, my God. Come quickly to help me, O Lord my savior.’

Psalms 38

EARLY NURSING…(The Bible’s Impact on Scientific Discovery [July 11])


Ever considered the source or origin of nursing? Ever consider the influencers that got people engaged in caring for the sick? Ever considered the impact of Jesus on the idea that we need to go out and look for the sick and the hurting? Ever considered the impact of Jesus’ teaching such as the Good Samaritan? Ever considered what you have available to you? Do you realize even the little you have can be used and multiplied by God? Will you have the faith to take what you have and allow God to work in and through it.

Today’s reading brings us to 2 Kings 4 with a power and caring story…

Elisha and the Widow’s Oil

1Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” 2And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” 3Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. 4Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.” 5So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. 6When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. 7She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”

Elisha and the Shunammite Woman

8One day Elisha went on to Shunem, where a wealthy woman lived, who urged him to eat some food. So whenever he passed that way, he would turn in there to eat food. 9And she said to her husband, “Behold now, I know that this is a holy man of God who is continually passing our way. 10Let us make a small room on the roof with walls and put there for him a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, so that whenever he comes to us, he can go in there.”
11One day he came there, and he turned into the chamber and rested there. 12And he said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite.” When he had called her, she stood before him. 13And he said to him, “Say now to her, ‘See, you have taken all this trouble for us; what is to be done for you? Would you have a word spoken on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?'” She answered, “I dwell among my own people.” 14And he said, “What then is to be done for her?” Gehazi answered, “Well, she has no son, and her husband is old.” 15He said, “Call her.” And when he had called her, she stood in the doorway. 16And he said, “At this season, about this time next year, you shall embrace a son.” And she said, “No, my lord, O man of God; do not lie to your servant.” 17But the woman conceived, and she bore a son about that time the following spring, as Elisha had said to her.

Elisha Raises the Shunammite’s Son

18When the child had grown, he went out one day to his father among the reapers. 19And he said to his father, “Oh, my head, my head!” The father said to his servant, “Carry him to his mother.” 20And when he had lifted him and brought him to his mother, the child sat on her lap till noon, and then he died. 21And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God and shut the door behind him and went out. 22Then she called to her husband and said, “Send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, that I may quickly go to the man of God and come back again.” 23And he said, “Why will you go to him today? It is neither new moon nor Sabbath.” She said, “All is well.” 24Then she saddled the donkey, and she said to her servant, “Urge the animal on; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.” 25So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.
When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Gehazi his servant, “Look, there is the Shunammite. 26Run at once to meet her and say to her, ‘Is all well with you? Is all well with your husband? Is all well with the child?'” And she answered, “All is well.” 27And when she came to the mountain to the man of God, she caught hold of his feet. And Gehazi came to push her away. But the man of God said, “Leave her alone, for she is in bitter distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me.” 28Then she said, “Did I ask my lord for a son? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me?'” 29He said to Gehazi, “Tie up your garment and take my staff in your hand and go. If you meet anyone, do not greet him, and if anyone greets you, do not reply. And lay my staff on the face of the child.” 30Then the mother of the child said, “As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So he arose and followed her. 31Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the face of the child, but there was no sound or sign of life. Therefore he returned to meet him and told him, “The child has not awakened.”
32When Elisha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed. 33So he went in and shut the door behind the two of them and prayed to the Lord. 34Then he went up and lay on the child, putting his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands. And as he stretched himself upon him, the flesh of the child became warm. 35Then he got up again and walked once back and forth in the house, and went up and stretched himself upon him. The child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36Then he summoned Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite.” So he called her. And when she came to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” 37She came and fell at his feet, bowing to the ground. Then she picked up her son and went out.

Elisha Purifies the Deadly Stew

38And Elisha came again to Gilgal when there was a famine in the land. And as the sons of the prophets were sitting before him, he said to his servant, “Set on the large pot, and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.” 39One of them went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine and gathered from it his lap full of wild gourds, and came and cut them up into the pot of stew, not knowing what they were. 40And they poured out some for the men to eat. But while they were eating of the stew, they cried out, “O man of God, there is death in the pot!” And they could not eat it. 41He said, “Then bring flour.” And he threw it into the pot and said, “Pour some out for the men, that they may eat.” And there was no harm in the pot.
42A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And Elisha said, “Give to the men, that they may eat.” 43But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” So he repeated, “Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left.'” 44So he set it before them. And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.

–from 2 Kings 4

Ever noticed how God is able to take the little we have and multiply it to the point of not only meeting the needs but providing leftovers? Consider the pouring of the oil from today’s reading. Consider the story of the man who brought his first fruits of the harvest and how it fed all the men and had leftovers. Consider when Jesus fed the 5000 and there were 12 baskets of leftovers. How would God use what you have in order to bless you and others? How would God use what you already have in order to meet your needs today and provide for your tomorrow.

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on scientific discovery brings us the topic of Early Nursing. We learn about how in AD353 the early church leaders directed its bishops to establish places of hospitality and healing based on the biblical teachings about caring for the sick and the stories of Jesus as a healer and His parables. We learn about some of these early institutions that were created and led by nuns like Saint Basil’s hospital in Cappadocia and a hospice created by Saint Fabiola in Rome. We also learn about how “by the early middle ages, nuns were the most active caregivers of the sick and the infirm” across Europe and Byzantine Empire, dedicating their time to nursing.

So how will these truths and points of wisdom transform the way you live out your today?

Let’s pray…

Sample Sinners Prayer

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


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I lift up this day and ask Lord for Your help in managing my time and the asks upon me. Help me Lord to live out today in a way that will bring You praise, honor, and glory. Help me Lord to use what I have and allow You to take it and use it for the glory of Your Kingdom so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

 

Are you willing to sacrifice? Are you willing to go the extra mile?


Take a look around and see what is taking place. Are you willing to take a stand for what you believe in? Are you willing to stand up against evil? Are you willing to step out and do something that brings people together in unity through love rather than try to divide them with hate? Will you stand up against what is wrong? Will you stand up for what is right? Will you speak out against racism?

I remember back in middle school when we did an exchange trip where we went to a city for a week and then later in the year they came to ours. I got the opportunity to be with a family who had moved from South Africa and learned a lot about apartheid and it made me so angry. I was ready to go out and protest what was going on and the racism that was taking place. I learned how they escaped. I learned about Nelson Mandela and how he was imprisoned. I have always felt we should be one people and it frustrated me when I saw people from different cultures would be treated differently in such a bitter and hateful manner. We are all created by God! We are all His children! So we need to come together in unity against the lies of the devil who is trying to divide us and break us apart! We need to stand up against any such attack against our brothers and sisters so that it can’t and won’t run lose. Over history there have been so many battles and wars that have taken place and unless we learn from the past, we are going to be doomed to repeat it! So let’s come together and fight off the hateful and embrace one another in love! Let’s be willing to step up and step out for what is right! Let’s pray that God will help bring unity! That the light of our love will shine so bright that the darkness of their hate will have to flee!

Racism is not ok!

Today’s devotional comes to us on the topic of sacrifices that please God, so are you ready?


Consider the sacrifices that have taken place to get you where you are today.

What are you willing to sacrifice to make the world around you a better place?

  • What is coming out of your mouth?
  • How are you living your life?
  • Are you being generous?
  • Are you loving?

Let’s sacrifice by speaking up and speaking out in sacrifice for those who are not able to speak for themselves! Let’s sacrifice by living lives sacrificially – giving every part of it daily up to God for His plans and His purposes so that His love will be made known in the world around you! Let’s sacrifice by being generous! The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it! He has been generous in giving us the air we breath, the relationships we have, the resources we need, so let’s be generous and share His love with the world around us that they too may come to realize the blessings of God and start a relationship with Him! Let’s sacrifice by loving everyone God brings into our lives! Let’s show them the unconditional love God is pouring out on us so that they will feel the love of God and realize there is hope and there is a way even when there doesn’t seem to be a way!

Let’s take hold of what Romans 12 has for us to grasp and turn what the devil planned for evil around and use it to the glory of God!

A Living Sacrifice to God

12 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,”
says the Lord.

20 Instead,

“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads.”

21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

–from Romans 12 (NLT)

Did you catch the conclusion of Romans 12? Did you see what we are supposed to do? Let’s take a hold of that today and allow Jesus to work in and through us into the world around us that Jesus will be made known and God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in His name!

First let’s start with:

  • Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)
  • Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. (Romans 12:9)
  • When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. (Romans 12:13)
  • Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. (Romans 12:21)

Four Sacrifices That Please God

Day 210: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalms 89:30-37, Romans 11:33-36, Romans 12, 1 Chronicles 6

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/210

  • Thank God for the sacrifice of Jesus … Psalm 89:30-37
  • Make sacrifices that please God … Romans 11:33-12:21
    • In this passage, we see four sacrifices that you can make in response to Jesus’ sacrifice for you:

      1. Sacrifice of your lips

      The writer of Hebrews says, ‘Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess his name… for with such sacrifices God is pleased’ (Hebrews 13:15–16).
      Much of the first eleven chapters of Romans are about the sacrifice of Jesus for us. Paul, having set out all that God has done for us, responds with a sacrifice of praise (Romans 11:33–36).

      2. Sacrifice of your life

      Paul writes, ‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy [because of all that Jesus has done for us through the sacrifice of himself on the cross], to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship’ (12:1, AMP).
      God wants you to offer all of yourself and all of your lives – your time, ambitions, possessions, ears, mouths and sexuality – as well as your mind, emotions and attitudes. Paul’s description of a living sacrifice also reminds us that you have to go on offering your life as a sacrifice to God, offering the whole of your life for the whole of your life.
      As Eugene Peterson translates it in The Message, ‘Take your every day, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering’ (v.1, MSG).
      In Old Testament times, ‘living sacrifice’ would be a contradiction in terms. The whole point of the sacrifice was that it was killed. Jago Wynne writes, ‘Our act of worship is no longer to bring a sacrifice, but to be one ourselves. We remain living. It is all of us that is being offered. Worship is about what I say with my tongue. It’s about what I watch… what I think… where I go with my feet.’

      3. The sacrifice of your ‘loot’

      Generous giving is another New Testament sacrifice. Paul encourages the sacrifice of generosity in contributing to the needs of others (v.8). We are to ‘share with God’s people who are in need’ (v.13). This is another sacrifice the writer of Hebrews says pleases God: ‘to share with others’ (Hebrews 13:16).
      We are even to give generously to our enemies: ‘Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness’ (Romans 12:20, MSG).

      4. Sacrifice of your love

      In this passage Paul gives many examples of the sacrifice of loving service (vv.9–21).

      The writer of Hebrews says, ‘do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased’ (Hebrews 13:16).

      ‘Doing good’ means giving up things that are not good. ‘Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould’ (Romans 12:2, J.B. Phillips). Although God only asks us to give up the bad stuff in our lives, it can feel costly to do so because that stuff is superficially attractive. Repentance is a very positive word, but at the time it may seem sacrificial.

      Sacrificial love involves allowing God to transform us by a complete change. Our love must be sincere (v.9). The Greek word for ‘sincere’ means ‘without hypocrisy’ or literally ‘without play acting’ or ‘without a mask’.

      Often relationships in the world are quite superficial. We all put up fronts or masks to protect ourselves. When we see governments doing this, we call it ‘spin’. When we do it ourselves, we call it ‘image’; we are projecting something. In effect we’re saying, ‘I don’t really like what I am inside, so I will pretend I am somebody different.’ I certainly did this in a major way before I was a Christian (and it carries on to some extent afterwards – though it shouldn’t).

      If other people are doing the same then there are two ‘fronts’ or ‘masks’ meeting. The sad result is that the two real people never meet. This is the opposite of ‘sincere love’. Sincere love means taking off your mask and daring to reveal who you are. When you know that God loves you as you are, you are set free to take off your mask. This means that there is a completely new depth and authenticity in your relationships.

      Paul urges Christians to live in harmony with one another and to be generous (v.13), hospitable (v.13), forgiving (v.14), empathetic (v.15) and to live at peace with everyone (v.18). It is a glorious picture of the Christian family into which God calls us, beckoning us into an atmosphere of love, joy, patience, faithfulness, generosity, hospitality, blessing, rejoicing, harmony, humility and peace; where good is not overcome by evil, but evil is overcome by good (vv.9–21).

      –from Day 210: Bible In One Year 2017

  • Understand the sacrifices in the Old Testament … 1 Chronicles 6:1-81

Do not be overcomed by evil but overcome evil with good

Will you ask for help?


When you are lost, will you stop and ask for help? When you are facing a problem, will you stop and ask for help? When you are in trouble, will you stop and ask for help?

How bad does it have to get before you will ask for help?

Who do you turn to? Where do you go? Who can you turn to? What will they say? What will they do?

How bad do things have to get before you will ask God for help?

Do you ask God to help you all the time? Do you ask God to help you every day?

He wants to have a relationship with you! So why not bring Him into every situation you are a part of today?


Help, Lord!

Day 203: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalms 88:9-18, Romans 7:7-25, Hosea 6, Hosea 7

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/203

  1. Help in broken relationships … Psalm 88:9b-18
  2. Help in the struggle with sin … Romans 7:7-25
  3. Help for healing … Hosea 6:1-7:16

Heavenly Father, 
I lift up today and give it up to You! I ask Lord for Your hand in helping my daughter as she is serving you and serving foster kids. I ask Lord for Your hand in helping my family in all things You call us to do today. Lord grant me wisdom for this day that I will see beyond my current situation so that I can accomplish Your purpose and Your will. Help me Lord I pray so that I will not try to walk in my own ways but will complete the work You have for me today! Help me to shine today Lord that Your light and Your love and Your truth will be visible everywhere I go so that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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


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

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

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


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

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

Habakkuk’s Complaint

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

The Lord’s Reply

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

Habakkuk’s Second Complaint

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

–from Habakkuk 1

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

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

The Lord’s Second Reply

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

–from Habakkuk 2

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

Habakkuk’s Prayer

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

–from Habakkuk 3

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

Paul’s Second Missionary Journey

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

A Call from Macedonia

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

Paul and Silas in Prison

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

–from Acts 16

 

Reality Check Ahead

Is your reality real?


Ever noticed all the reality TV shows on these days? How many of them are real? How often would you ever see something like that in real life? When you consider the definition of reality we find “the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them” and as a secondary definition “the state or quality of having existence or substance”.  With technology there are even more types of reality…virtual reality – “the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors” …and the newer one you may have heard about … enhanced or augmented reality – “a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data”.

In you world, what do you worship? what are you worshiping? who are you worshiping? Check your version of reality!


Today’s reading begins in Isaiah 58…

True and False Worship

1“Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t be timid. Tell my people Israel of their sins! 2Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me. 3‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!’ “I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers. 4What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. 5You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the lord? 6“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. 7Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. 8“Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the lord will protect you from behind. 9Then when you call, the lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. “Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! 10Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. 11The lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. 12Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes. 13“Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the lord’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly. 14Then the lord will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the lord, have spoken!”

–from Isaiah 58

Ever realized how much we focus on self? Ever noticed how no matter the situation we are focused on how it impacts us? Ever noticed your response because of the focus on self? Ever discovered the conflicts that materialize because of our focus on self? Imagine if we could turn that around and start to live in a way that was different and better! Imagine being less selfish and being more selfless! Imagine a life where instead of comparing ourselves to others we live lives that produce results! Imagine a life where we live in humility! Imagine a life where we aren’t grumbling and we aren’t arguing! Imagine a life where we live blameless and pure so that we make a difference and are seen as different from the world around us! So rather than having had the salvation experience we can live salvation experiences daily! Salvation has made us new creations where the old is gone and the new has come! Salvation has made us so that we can allow God working in us and thru us to produce fruit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulnessgentleness and self-control.

fruit-of-the-spirit

So let’s not grow weary in doing good works! Let’s lean into all that God has done, is doing, and will do in and thru our lives in order to transform the world around us! Jesus came to bridge the gap! Jesus came and gave His all in order that we could be reconciled to God! Jesus came and paid the price of death – death on a cross – for you and for me so that we could be saved! We need to make the choice though to receive it! Have you received it? Are you living it?

What is the reality around you looking like? Is your reality real? Consider what you are hearing in the news! Consider what you are hearing about the courts! Consider what you are hearing about law enforcement! Consider what you are heading about politicians! Does it seem real to you? Does it seem right?

Warnings against Sin

1Listen! The lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. 2It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore. 3Your hands are the hands of murderers, and your fingers are filthy with sin. Your lips are full of lies, and your mouth spews corruption. 4No one cares about being fair and honest. The people’s lawsuits are based on lies. They conceive evil deeds and then give birth to sin. 5They hatch deadly snakes and weave spiders’ webs. Whoever eats their eggs will die; whoever cracks them will hatch a viper. 6Their webs can’t be made into clothing, and nothing they do is productive. All their activity is filled with sin, and violence is their trademark. 7Their feet run to do evil, and they rush to commit murder. They think only about sinning. Misery and destruction always follow them. 8They don’t know where to find peace or what it means to be just and good. They have mapped out crooked roads, and no one who follows them knows a moment’s peace. 9So there is no justice among us, and we know nothing about right living. We look for light but find only darkness. We look for bright skies but walk in gloom. 10We grope like the blind along a wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. Even at brightest noontime, we stumble as though it were dark. Among the living, we are like the dead. 11We growl like hungry bears; we moan like mournful doves. We look for justice, but it never comes. We look for rescue, but it is far away from us. 12For our sins are piled up before God and testify against us. Yes, we know what sinners we are. 13We know we have rebelled and have denied the lord. We have turned our backs on our God. We know how unfair and oppressive we have been, carefully planning our deceitful lies. 14Our courts oppose the righteous, and justice is nowhere to be found. Truth stumbles in the streets, and honesty has been outlawed. 15Yes, truth is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked. The lord looked and was displeased to find there was no justice. 16He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm, and his justice sustained him. 17He put on righteousness as his body armor and placed the helmet of salvation on his head. He clothed himself with a robe of vengeance and wrapped himself in a cloak of divine passion. 18He will repay his enemies for their evil deeds. His fury will fall on his foes. He will pay them back even to the ends of the earth. 19In the west, people will respect the name of the lord; in the east, they will glorify him. For he will come like a raging flood tide driven by the breath of the lord. 20“The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins,” says the lord. 21“And this is my covenant with them,” says the lord. “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the lord, have spoken!

–from Isaiah 59

Do you have a source of truth? Do you have a north star that you turn to when you are feeling lost? Do you have someone you call out to during your times of trouble?

God’s Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path! Jesus is my Lord and Savior and so I turn to Him and call out to Him in times of trouble! I find refuge in God! God is good – all the time! All the time – God is good!

For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by the flute.

1O Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning. 2Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you. 3Listen to my voice in the morning, lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. 4O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked. 5Therefore, the proud may not stand in your presence, for you hate all who do evil. 6You will destroy those who tell lies. The lord detests murderers and deceivers. 7Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house; I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe. 8Lead me in the right path, O lord, or my enemies will conquer me. Make your way plain for me to follow. 9My enemies cannot speak a truthful word. Their deepest desire is to destroy others. Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with flattery. 10O God, declare them guilty. Let them be caught in their own traps. Drive them away because of their many sins, for they have rebelled against you. 11But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy. 12For you bless the godly, O lord; you surround them with your shield of love.

–from Psalms 5

Are you seeing the persecution taking place around the world? Will you stand up for the truth? Will you speak the truth in love? Will you THINK before you speak? (T – True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, Kind) Are you seeing the reality taking place around the world? How about in your community? How about in your neighborhood or workplace? How about in your schools? What is reality looking like to you now? How are you living it out? What impact is your life having on the world around you? Are you living a life that make people want to know more about Jesus? Are you living a life that is pointing people to the one true God? Do others want to learn more about the hope that is within you?

1Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen.

Persecution Scatters the Believers

A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria. 2(Some devout men came and buried Stephen with great mourning.) 3But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison.

Philip Preaches in Samaria

4But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went. 5Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah. 6Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did. 7Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed. 8So there was great joy in that city. 9A man named Simon had been a sorcerer there for many years, amazing the people of Samaria and claiming to be someone great. 10Everyone, from the least to the greatest, often spoke of him as “the Great One—the Power of God.” 11They listened closely to him because for a long time he had astounded them with his magic. 12But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized. 13Then Simon himself believed and was baptized. He began following Philip wherever he went, and he was amazed by the signs and great miracles Philip performed. 14When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. 15As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. 16The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power. 19“Let me have this power, too,” he exclaimed, “so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!” 20But Peter replied, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought! 21You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God. 22Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive your evil thoughts, 23for I can see that you are full of bitter jealousy and are held captive by sin.” 24“Pray to the Lord for me,” Simon exclaimed, “that these terrible things you’ve said won’t happen to me!” 25After testifying and preaching the word of the Lord in Samaria, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem. And they stopped in many Samaritan villages along the way to preach the Good News.

Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

26As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah. 29The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.” 30Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him. 32The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. 33He was humiliated and received no justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” 34The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” 35So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus. 36As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?”38He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. 40Meanwhile, Philip found himself farther north at the town of Azotus. He preached the Good News there and in every town along the way until he came to Caesarea.

–from Acts 8

So what does your reality look like? Is it real? Are you sharing the hope that is within you? Are you looking for real hope because you haven’t met Jesus yet? Are you resisting the selfish desires and trying to live out life in the fruit of the Spirit? Are you speaking the truth in love? Are you speaking with integrity and character? Are you avoiding grumbling and arguing? Are you living out the grace you were given? Are you living in the grace you were given? We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus! We aren’t saved by works so that nobody can boast! So let’s walk in humility!

Greetings from Paul

1This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy.
I am writing to God’s church in Corinth and to all of his holy people throughout Greece.
2May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

God Offers Comfort to All

3All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 7We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.
8We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. 11And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.

Paul’s Change of Plans

12We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you. 13Our letters have been straightforward, and there is nothing written between the lines and nothing you can’t understand. I hope someday you will fully understand us, 14even if you don’t understand us now. Then on the day when the Lord Jesus returns, you will be proud of us in the same way we are proud of you.
15Since I was so sure of your understanding and trust, I wanted to give you a double blessing by visiting you twice—16first on my way to Macedonia and again when I returned from Macedonia.Then you could send me on my way to Judea.
17You may be asking why I changed my plan. Do you think I make my plans carelessly? Do you think I am like people of the world who say “Yes” when they really mean “No”? 18As surely as God is faithful, our word to you does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” 19For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says. 20For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.
21It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, 22and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.
23Now I call upon God as my witness that I am telling the truth. The reason I didn’t return to Corinth was to spare you from a severe rebuke. 24But that does not mean we want to dominate you by telling you how to put your faith into practice. We want to work together with you so you will be full of joy, for it is by your own faith that you stand firm.

–from 2 Corinthians 1

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What type of ambassador are you?


You are walking around today. People are watching you whether you know it or not. What are your words saying about you? What are your actions saying about you? What are they saying about you? What are you trying to say?

So what is an ambassador? An ambassador is a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity. An ambassador is an accredited diplomat sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country. An ambassador is an authorized messenger or representative.

So with that context now on the table, what is your life promoting? What is your life representing? What is your life delivering? What message are you delivering? Who is your message from? To whom is it going? To whom are you trying deliver it?

Are you an ambassador of hope? Are you an ambassador of love? Are you an ambassador of peace? Are you an ambassador of truth? Are you an ambassador of faith? Are you an ambassador of…


What type of ambassador are you?


Today’s reading gets started in Isaiah …

Ambassadors of Peace Weep Bitterly

1Oy , you destroyer, never destroyed, you traitor, never betrayed! When you have stopped destroying, you will be destroyed; and when you finish betraying, they will betray you. 2Adonai, be gracious to us! We long for You. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of trouble. 3From the noise of tumult people will flee; When You lift Yourself up, the nations will be scattered. 4Your spoil is gathered as the caterpillar gathers; like a swarm of locusts, they are rushing over it. 5Adonai is exalted, for He dwells on high! He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness. 6It will be your time of faithfulness, a wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge— the fear of Adonai is His treasure. 7Behold, heroes cry outside. Ambassadors of peace weep bitterly. 8Highways are desolate; travel has ceased; covenant is broken; cities are despised; there is no regard for humanity. 9The land mourns and languishes; Lebanon is shamed and withers; Sharon is like a wilderness; Bashan and Carmel are shaken bare.

Our Eternal Judge Arises

10“Now I will arise,” says Adonai. “Now I will be exalted. Now I will lift Myself up. 11You conceive chaff, you will give birth to stubble. My breath is a fire that will consume you. 12Then peoples will be burned as lime, like thorns cut down, burned in the fire. 13Hear, you who are afar off, what I have done, and you who are near, acknowledge My might.” 14Sinners in Zion are afraid. Trembling has seized the godless: “Who among us can live with the consuming fire?” “Who among us can live with everlasting burnings?” 15One who walks righteously, and speaks uprightly, who refuses unjust gain by extortion, who shakes his hands free of bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from looking on evil. 16He will dwell on the heights— his refuge will be an impregnable cliff. His bread will be provided, his water assured. 17Your eyes will see the King in His beauty. They will gaze at a far-distant land. 18Your heart will meditate on terror: “Where is the counter?” “Where is the weigher?” “Where is the counter of towers?” 19You will no longer see the fierce people, the people of speech too obscure to comprehend, with a stammering tongue no one understands. 20Look upon Zion, city of our Festivals. Your eyes will see Jerusalem as a quiet home, a tent that will never be folded, Its stakes never pulled up, its cords never broken. 21For there the majestic One, Adonai, will be for us— a place of rivers and wide canals, on which no boat with oars will go, nor any mighty ship will travel by. 22For Adonai is our Judge, Adonai is our Lawgiver, Adonai is our King— He will save us! 23Your cords hang slack, not holding the mast in place firmly, nor spreading out the sail. Then abundant spoil will be divided— even the lame will carry off plunder. 24No inhabitant will say, “I am sick.” The people dwelling there will be forgiven their iniquity.

–from Isaiah 33

Are you an ambassador for the future? Are you an ambassador for a plan? Are you an ambassador for someone? Are you an ambassador for something? Do you realize what your life is saying? Do you realize what you are an ambassador for? Do you realize if you are helping or hindering your cause?

Have you got their attention? Have you lost their attention? Do they get to listen and hear the message you are wanting to deliver? What’s it going to take?

End-Time Vision

1Draw near, O nations, to hear, and listen, O peoples! Let the earth hear, and all it contains, the world, and all its offspring! 2For Adonai is enraged at all the nations, and furious at all their armies. He will utterly destroy them. He will give them over to slaughter. 3So their slain will be thrown out, and the stench of their corpses will rise, and the hills will be drenched with their blood. 4Then all the host of heaven will dissolve, and the skies will be rolled up like a scroll— so all their array will wither away, like a leaf drooping from a vine, like a fig shriveling from a fig tree.

Seek the Scroll and Read

5For My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens. See, it will come down upon Edom, upon the people I have devoted to judgment. 6The sword of Adonai is filled with blood, gorged with fat— the blood of lambs and goats, the fat of kidneys of rams. For Adonai has a sacrifice in Bozrah, a great slaughter in the land of Edom. 7Wild oxen will go down with them, bull calves with mighty steers. So their land will be soaked with blood and their dust greasy with fat. 8For Adonai has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the hostility against Zion. 9Its streams will be turned into pitch, its dust into brimstone, and its land will become burning tar. 10It will not be quenched night or day. Its smoke will go up forever. From generation to generation it will lay waste—forever and ever none will pass through it. 11But pelican and porcupine will have it, owl and raven will dwell in it. He will stretch a line of chaos over it and stones of desolation. 12As for its nobles, there are none there to call it a kingdom, and all its princes will come to nothing. 13Thorns will come up in its palaces, nettles and thistles in its fortresses. It will be a haunt of jackals, an abode for ostriches. 14Wildcats will meet with wolves, the goat-demon will cry to its kind— yes, the night monster will settle there and find itself a resting place. 15A tree snake will nest and lay eggs there, hatch and gather them under its shadow. Surely, hawks are gathered there, each one with her mate. 16Seek from the scroll of Adonai, and read! Not one of them will be missing; none will lack its mate. For His mouth commanded it, and His Ruach gathered them. 17He cast the lot for them, and His hand divided it out to them with the line. They will possess it forever, and dwell in it from generation to generation.

–from Isaiah 34

Are you an ambassador of righteousness? Are you an ambassador of grace? Are you an ambassador of truth! Are you an ambassador of trusting in God? Are you an ambassador of joy? Are you an ambassador of safety or security?

Prayer for Sleep in Shalom

1For the music director, on stringed instruments, a psalm of David. 2Answer me when I call, God of my righteousness! You set me free when I am in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. 3O sons of men, how long will you turn my glory into my shame? How long will you love worthlessness and pursue falsehood? Selah 4But know that Adonai has set apart the godly for His own. Adonai will hear when I call to Him. 5Tremble, but do not sin! Search your heart while on your bed, and be silent. Selah 6Offer righteous sacrifices and put your trust in Adonai. 7Many are asking, “Who will show us some good?” May the light of Your face shine upon us, Adonai! 8You have put joy in my heart— more joy than when their grain and new wine overflow. 9I will lie down and sleep in shalom. For You alone, Adonai, make me live securely.

–from Psalms 4

Are you an ambassador for servanthood? Are you an ambassador for leadership? Are you an ambassador for servant leadership? Are you an ambassador for teaching? Are you an ambassador for education? Are you an ambassador for legacy? Are you an ambassador for a legacy of love?

Modeling Servanthood

1Now it was just before the feast of Passover. Yeshua knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them until the end. 2While the seder meal was happening, the devil had already put in the heart of Judah from Kriot that he should hand over Yeshua. 3Yeshua knew that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was returning to God. 4So He gets up from the meal and lays aside His outer garment; and taking a towel, He wrapped it around His waist. 5Then He pours water into a basin. He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel wrapped around Him. 6Then He comes to Simon Peter, who says to Him, “Master, are You going to wash my feet?” 7Yeshua responded, “You don’t know what I am doing now, but you will understand after these things.” 8Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Yeshua answered him, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9Simon Peter said to Him, “Master, then not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” 10Yeshua said to him, “He who has bathed has no need to wash, except the feet; he is completely clean. And you all are clean, though not every one.” 11He knew who was betraying Him; for this reason, He said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12So after He had washed their feet and put His robe back on and reclined again, He said to them, “Do you understand what I have done for you? 13You call Me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master’—and rightly you say, for I am. 14So if I, your Master and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash each other’s feet. 15I have given you an example—you should do for each other what I have done for you. 16“Amen, amen I tell you, a servant isn’t greater than his master, and the one who is sent isn’t greater than the one who sent him. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them!”

Yeshua Reveals His Betrayer

18“I am not speaking to all of you—I know whom I have chosen. But so the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.’ 19From now on I am telling you, before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I am. 20Amen, amen I tell you, he who receives the one I send, receives Me; and he who receives Me, receives the One who sent Me.” 21After He said these things, Yeshua was agitated in spirit and testified, “Amen, amen I tell you, one of you will betray Me!” 22The disciples began looking at each other, perplexed—who was He talking about? 23One of His disciples, whom Yeshua loved, was reclining at His side. 24Simon Peter nods to him and says, “Ask Him—who is He talking about?” 25Then he who leaned on Yeshua’s chest says to Him, “Master, who is it?” 26Yeshua answers, “It’s the one I will give this bit of matzah to, after I dip it.” After dipping the matzah , He takes it and gives it to Judah from Kriot, the son of Simon. 27And with that bit, satan entered into him. Then Yeshua tells him, “What you’re about to do, do quickly!” 28But no one reclining at the table knew why Yeshua said this to him. 29Since Judah had the moneybox, some thought Yeshua was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30So after Judah received the bit of matzah , he left immediately. Now it was night.

Leaving a Legacy of Love

31Then when Judah had gone out, Yeshua said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him! 32If God is glorified in Him, God will glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him at once. 33Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will search for Me; and just as I told the Judean leaders, so I say to you now, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also you must love one another. 35By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” 36“Master, where are You going?” Simon Peter said to Him. Yeshua answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow Me later.” 37Peter said to Him, “Master, why can’t I follow You now? I’ll lay down my life for You!” 38Yeshua answers, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Amen, amen I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times!”

–from John 13

Are you an ambassador for reconciliation? Are you an ambassador for peacemaking? Are you an ambassador for believers? Are you an ambassador for morality? Are you an ambassador of truth or deception? Are you an ambassador for what is permitted or for what is helpful? Are you an ambassador for morality or immorality? Are you an ambassador for the temple of God which is your body?

Settle Disputes Within the Community

1Does any one of you, when he has a matter against his neighbor, dare to go to court before the unrighteous and not before the kedoshim? 2Don’t you know that the kedoshim will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to judge trivial matters? 3Don’t you know that we will judge angels? How much more the matters of this life! 4So if you have courts for matters of this life, why do you appoint as judges those who have no standing in the community? 5I say this to put you to shame! Isn’t there even one wise man among you who will be able to settle disputes between his brethren? 6Instead, a brother goes to court against a brother—and before unbelievers at that! 7Therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you have lawsuits among yourselves. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8But you yourselves do wrong and cheat—and against your brothers and sisters at that!

Morality in the Temple of God

9Or don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Don’t be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, those who practice homosexuality, 10thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. 11That is what some of you were—but you were washed, you were made holy, you were set right in the name of the Lord Yeshua the Messiah and by the Ruach of our God. 12“Everything is permitted for me”—but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permitted for me”—but I will not be controlled by anything. 13“Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food”—but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. 14Now God raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. 15Don’t you know that your bodies are members of Messiah? Shall I then take the members of Messiah and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 16Or don’t you know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For it is said, “The two shall become one flesh.” 17But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18Flee from sexual immorality! Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body—but the one committing sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Ruach ha-Kodesh who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20For you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.

–from 1 Corinthians 6

Are you an ambassador for Jesus?

 

 

 

 

 

Where does your hope come from?


Where does your help come from? What do you believe? Whom do you follow? With who do you align? Are you walking with or walking away? Are you talking with or talking to or talking at? Are you managing or are you building a relationship? Do you see what is going on around you? Will you be salt and light and make a difference? Will you be positive and encouraging so that people turn back to God? Will you allow your life to shine so that people will glorify your Father in heaven? Will you trust in God no matter what? Will you have hope because you know that the best is yet to come? Yes in this world we will have troubles, but as Jesus tells us, “take heart for I have overcome the world“. Yes, we will face trials, but as God’s Word tells us, “consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds” not just for kicks or for giggles, but so that in and through them we will come thru the other end complete and lacking nothing. My hope is in Jesus! As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! So don’t lose hope! Don’t lose faith! Trust in God! Don’t go it alone! Don’t try to do it your own way and in your own strength! Turn to God and follow after Him and His ways!


Today’s reading starts in Isaiah …

Vision of Jerusalem’s Catastrophe

1The burden of the Valley of Vision: What is the matter with you now? For you have gone up to the rooftops. 2You were full of noise, a boisterous city, an exultant town? Your dead were not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle. 3All your rulers have fled together, then captured without a bow. All who were caught were taken into exile together, though they had fled far off. 4Therefore I said, “Look away from me! Let me weep bitterly— don’t try to comfort me about the ruin of the daughter of my people.” 5For my Lord Adonai-Tzva’ot has a day of panic, trampling and confusion— in the Valley of Vision— of tearing down a wall, a catastrophe on the mountain. 6Elam took up the quiver, with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield. 7So it will come to pass that your choicest valleys will be full of chariots and horsemen posted at the gate. 8So He will expose Judah’s defense, and in that day you will look for the armor in the Forest House. 9Then you will see the breaches in the walls of the city of David—for they will be many—though you collect the water of the lower pool. 10Though you counted the houses of Jerusalem, you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. 11You even made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool—but you did not look to the Maker, or consider the One who planned it long before. 12Now in that day, Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot will call for weeping and wailing, for baldness and putting on sackcloth. 13But instead, there is joy and gladness, slaughtering cattle and killing sheep, meat and drinking wine! “Let’s eat and drink, for tomorrow we will die!” 14But Adonai-Tzva’ot revealed in my ears: “Surely this sin will not be atoned for until you die,” says my Lord Adonai-Tzva’ot. 15Thus says my Lord Adonai-Tzva’ot: “Go, say to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the house: 16‘What are you doing here, and who are you to be here, that you cut out a grave for yourself, carving out a tomb on the height, chiseling a crypt for yourself in the rock? 17Behold, strong man, Adonai is about to hurl you headlong, and seize you firmly. 18He will roll you up tightly and toss you like a ball into a large country. There you will die, and your glorious chariots will be the shame of your Master’s house. 19I will remove you from your post, and pull you down from your station. 20“In that day I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah. 21I will clothe him in your robe and fasten your sash on him. I will give your authority into his hands, so he will be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22I will set the key of the house of David upon his shoulder—what he opens, no one can shut; what he shuts, and no one can open. 23I will fasten him as a peg in a firm place, and he will be a throne of honor to his father’s house. 24They will hang all the glory of his father’s house on him—offspring and posterity, all the small vessels, from bowls to all the jars. 25“In that day,” says Adonai-Tzva’ot, “the peg that was fastened in a firm place will give way, break away and fall, and the load that was on it will be cut off.” For Adonai has spoken.

–from Isaiah 22

Let’s try to get our nation back on track. Let’s try to get it back in alignment with God’s Word, God’s Will and God’s Ways. Let’s not allow it to stray and have to deal with the consequences. Let’s put our hope and trust in God! Just as in the old testament, we have watched how people have had to get into pretty bad situations before they had the aha moments which got them to stop and turn back to God! I pray we don’t have to hit rock bottom before we do turn back to God as a nation! How bad do you need it to be before you will turn back? How bad do you need it to be before you start to intercede for others? How will you point people to the hope that is within you?

How much shaking will it take before God can get your attention? Sometimes it takes shaking things up to get your attention! Are you ready?

Shaking Tyre and Sidon

1The burden of Tyre. Wail, ships of Tarshish! For Tyre is destroyed. There is no house and no harbor. From the land of Cyprus, it was revealed to them. 2Be still, inhabitants of the coastland, you merchants of Sidon, your messengers crossing the sea. 3On many waters the grain of Shihor, the harvest of the Nile was her revenue and a marketplace of nations. 4Be ashamed, O Sidon. For the sea has spoken, the stronghold of the sea, saying, “I have not writhed or given birth. I have not reared young men or brought up maidens.” 5When the report reaches Egypt, they will be in anguish at the report about Tyre. 6Cross over to Tarshish. Wail, you inhabitants of the island! 7Is this your jubilant city? Whose antiquity is from long ago, whose feet have taken her to settle in far off lands? 8Who planned this against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants were princes, whose traders were the honored of earth? 9Adonai-Tzva’ot has planned it, to defile the pride of all glory, to shame all the honored of earth. 10Overflow through your land like the Nile, O daughter of Tarshish! There is no restraint any more. 11His hand has stretched out over the sea, He has shaken the kingdoms. Adonai has given a commandment concerning Canaan, to destroy its strongholds. 12He said, “You will exult no more.” O crushed virgin daughter of Sidon. Arise, cross over to Cyprus— even there you will have no rest. 13Look, the land of the Chaldeans— this is the people who no longer exist. Assyria set it up for desert animals. They set up their siege towers; they stripped its palaces; they made it a ruin. 14Wail, you ships of Tarshish! For your stronghold is destroyed. 15Then it will come about in that day that Tyre will be forgotten for 70 years, like the days of one king. At the end of 70 years it will happen to Tyre just as in the song of the prostitute: 16“Take a harp, stroll about the city, forgotten harlot! Skillfully play many songs, so you may be remembered.” 17Then it will come about after the end of 70 years that Adonai will take note of Tyre. She will return to her trade and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth. 18 Yet her profit and her wages will be set apart to Adonai. They will not be stored up or hoarded. For her profit will be for those who dwell in the presence of Adonai, as ample food and as fine clothing.

–from Isaiah 23

So will you turn to Jesus? Will you cry out to Jesus? Will you ask Him into your life? Will you ask Him into your heart? Will you pursue Him? Will follow after Him? Will you listen to Him? Will you be obedient to Him? Will you receive His mercies? Will you walk in His light? Will you reflect it into the world around you? Will you receive Him before it is too late? Will grab hold of the love and the hope He is offering? Will you love Him? He loves you so much He gave up His life on the cross to provide for forgiveness for you!

Mercy for a Sinful Woman

1But Yeshua went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn, He came again into the Temple. All the people were coming to Him, and He sat down and began to teach them. 3The Torah scholars and Pharisees bring in a woman who had been caught in adultery. After putting her in the middle, 4they say to Yeshua, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of committing adultery. 5In the Torah, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do You say?” 6Now they were saying this to trap Him, so that they would have grounds to accuse Him. But Yeshua knelt down and started writing in the dirt with His finger. 7When they kept asking Him, He stood up and said, “The sinless one among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Then He knelt down again and continued writing on the ground. 9Now when they heard, they began to leave, one by one, the oldest ones first, until Yeshua was left alone with the woman in the middle. 10Straightening up, Yeshua said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11“No one, Sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Yeshua said. “Go, and sin no more.”

The Light of the World

12Yeshua spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows Me will no longer walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13Then the Pharisees said to Him, “You are testifying about Yourself, so Your testimony is not valid.” 14Yeshua answered them, “Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is valid. For I know where I came from and where I am going. But you don’t know where I come from or where I am going. 15You judge according to the flesh, but I do not judge anyone. 16Yet even if I do judge, My judgment is true, because it is not I alone but I with the Father who sent Me. 17Even in your Torah it is written that the testimony of two men is true. 18I am one witness for Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness for Me.” 19Then they said to Him, “Where is your Father?” Yeshua answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you knew Me, you would also know My Father.” 20He spoke these words in the treasury while teaching in the Temple, but no one arrested Him because His hour had not yet come. 21Then again Yeshua spoke to them, “I am going away. You will look for Me and die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22“He won’t kill Himself, will He?” the Judeans asked. “Is that why He says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23Yeshua said, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world 24Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. If you don’t believe that I am, you will die in your sins.”25So they asked Him, “Who are you?” Yeshua replied, “What have I been telling you from the beginning? 26I have much to say and judge about you. But the One who sent Me is true, and I tell the world what I heard from Him.” 27They didn’t understand that He was talking to them about the Father. 28So Yeshua said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know who I am. I do nothing by Myself, but speak just what the Father has taught Me. 29The One who sent Me is with Me. He has not left Me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to Him.” 30As He was speaking these things, many people put their trust in Him. 31Then Yeshua said to the Judeans who had trusted Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly My disciples. 32You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!” 33They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s children and have never been slaves to anyone! How can you say, ‘You will become free’?” 34Yeshua answered them, “Amen, amen I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35Now the slave does not remain in the household forever; the son abides forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed! 37I know you are Abraham’s children; yet you are trying to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38I tell of what I have seen with the Father; so also you do what you heard from the Father.” 39“Abraham is our father,” they replied to Him. Yeshua said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. 40But now you are seeking to kill Me—a Man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God. This Abraham did not do! 41You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, “We were not born as illegitimate children—we have one Father, God Himself!” 42Yeshua said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for from God I came and now I am here. For I have not come on My own, but He sent Me. 43Why don’t you understand My speech? Because you’re not able to hear My word! 44You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks lies he is just being himself—for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45“But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 46Which one of you convicts Me of sinning? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe Me? 47He who belongs to God hears the words of God. The reason you don’t hear is because you do not belong to God.” 48The Judean leaders responded, “Aren’t we right to say you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49Yeshua answered, “I do not have a demon! I honor My Father, yet you dishonor Me. 50But I do not seek My own glory; there is One who is seeking and judging. 51Amen, amen I tell you, if anyone keeps My word, he will never see death.” 52“Now we know You have a demon!” the Judean leaders said to Him. “Abraham and the prophets died. Yet You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste death.’ 53You are not greater than our father Abraham who died, are You? The prophets also died! Who do You make Yourself out to be?” 54Yeshua answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing. It is My Father who gives Me glory—the One of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ 55Yet you do not know Him, but I know Him. If I say I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you. Yet I do know Him and keep His Word. 56Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; he saw it and was thrilled.” 57Then the Judeans said to Him, “You’re not even fifty years old and you’ve seen Abraham?” 58Yeshua answered, “Amen, amen I tell you, before Abraham was, I am!” 59Then they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Yeshua hid Himself and went out from the Temple.

–from John 8

As the pendulum of life happens…


How are you impacting the swing? Are you helping it get closer to God or further from God? Are you helping people want to get closer to God or run from God? Are you helping people see the hope, truth, and love of God? Are you living in a way that makes people question God? We each have free will and we each get to choose how we will live out our lives since God didn’t want us to be robots, but to choose Him! He won’t force us to be good! He won’t force us to do what is right! He won’t force us to come towards Him! Those are things we have to choose for ourselves! How far away will it swing before you turnaround and run back to Him? How high up on that swing away will the pendulum go before you call back to Him and head back towards Him? It all started with focus on self back in the garden of Eden. It all started with wanting to be equal to God! It all started with man trying to be in the center rather than God! Jesus came to bridge the gap! Jesus came to reconcile our mistakes! Jesus came to reset the bar so that we could see how much God loves us and desires a relationship with us!

Going through life we see how the cultural pendulum swings. Going through the Old Testament we see how the cultural pendulum swings. It always tries to push us back to God! So we always get to choose! Some choose to come back to God! Some choose to run from God! Some choose to try and do it on their own! Some choose to try it out like everyone else and go with the flow! Some choose to run back after discovering how far they have slipped away!

Do you realize people are watching you? Do you realize people are learning from you? Do you realize people are comparing themselves to you? Do you realize people are following your lead?

Do Good? The pendulum goes back and forth

Do Evil?

<———-  How will you choose?  ———->

<———-  What will you choose?  ———->

As the pendulum of life happens…

how are you going to live?


Today reading begins in the old testament…

The Reign of Jehoahaz and Jehoash

1In the twenty-third year of Joash son of King Ahaziah of Judah, Jehoahaz son of Jehu became king over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned 17 years. 2But he did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes—he continued in the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit, and did not turn away from them. 3So the anger of Adonai was kindled against Israel, and He continually gave them into the hand of King Hazael of Aram and into the hand of Ben-hadad son of Hazael. 4Then Jehoahaz sought Adonai’s face, so Adonai listened to him, for He saw the oppression of Israel, how the king of Aram oppressed them. 5Adonai gave Israel a deliverer, so that they escaped from under the hand of the Arameans, and the men of Israel dwelt in their tents as they had before. 6Nevertheless they did not turn away from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, which he caused Israel to commit, but walked in them—and the Asherah pole remained standing in Samaria. 7Indeed, Jehoahaz was not left with a force of more than 50 horsemen, 10 chariots and 10,000 foot soldiers, because the king of Aram had destroyed them and trampled them like dust when threshing. 8Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz and all that he did and his might, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 9Then Jehoahaz slept with his fathers and they buried him in Samaria. His son Joash became king in his place. 10In the thirty-seventh year of King Joash of Judah, Jehoash son of Jehoahaz became king over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned 16 years. 11But he did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes. He did not turn away from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit, but he walked in them. 12Now the rest of the events of Joash’s reign and all that he did, and his might with which he fought against King Amaziah of Judah, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 13Then Joash slept with his fathers, and Jeroboam sat on his throne. So Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.

Victories as Elisha Dies

14When Elisha got sick with his illness from which he would die, King Joash of Israel came down to him, wept over him and cried, “Avi, avi, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” 15Then Elisha said to him, “Take bow and arrows.” So he took bow and arrows. 16Then he said to the king of Israel, “Mount your hand on the bow!” So he mounted his hand on it. Elisha then laid his hands on the king’s hands, 17and said, “Open the window to the east,” and then Elisha said, “Shoot!” and he shot. Then he said, “Adonai’s arrow of deliverance! Yes, an arrow of victory over Aram! You will strike down the Arameans in Aphek until they are demolished.” 18Then he said, “Take the arrows!” and he took them. Then he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground!” and he struck it three times, then stopped. 19But the man of God was upset with him and said, “If only you had struck five or six times, then you would have annihilated Aram till you had consumed it. But now you will strike Aram only three times.” 20Then Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabite marauders used to invade the land at the spring of the year. 21It came about, as they were burying a man, behold, they saw a marauding band, so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. As soon as the man’s body touched Elisha’s bones, he came back to life and stood up on his feet! 22But King Hazael of Aram oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. 23Yet Adonai was gracious to them, had compassion on them and turned to them because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So He was not willing to destroy them or cast them from His presence up to now. 24Then King Hazael of Aram died, and his son Ben-hadad became king in his place. 25Then Jehoash son of Jehoahaz restored from the hand of Ben-hadad son of Hazael the towns which he had taken out from the hand of his father Jehoahaz in war. Three times Joash defeated him and recovered the towns of Israel.

–from 2 Kings 13

God has a plan and it is good! His ways are not our ways rather they are better and higher and deeper than our ways! So what is it going to take for you to choose life? What is it going take for you to choose good? What is it going to take for you to choose truth? What is it going to take for you to choose love? What is it going to take for you to choose hope? What is it going to take for you to choose faith?

Adonai Rejoices in His Works!

1Bless Adonai, O my soul. Adonai my God, You are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty— 2wrapping Yourself in light as a robe, stretching out heaven like a curtain, 3laying beams for His upper rooms in waters, making the clouds His chariot, walking on the wings of the wind, 4making His angels spirits, His servants a flaming fire. 5He set the earth upon its foundations, so it should not totter forever and ever. 6You covered it with the deep as with a garment—the waters standing above the mountains. 7At Your rebuke the waters fled. At the sound of Your thunder they hurried away. 8The waters go up the mountains, then down to the valleys— to the place that You assigned to them. 9You set a boundary to the waters that they may not cross over, so they may not return to cover the earth. 10You make springs gush into the valleys. They run between the mountains. 11They give drink to all the beasts of the field— the wild donkeys quench their thirst. 12Beside them the birds of the sky dwell— they sing among the branches. 13He waters mountains from His upper rooms. The earth is full of the fruit of Your labors. 14He causes grass to spring up for the cattle, and vegetation for man to cultivate, to bring forth bread out of the earth, 15wine that makes man’s heart glad, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains man’s heart. 16The trees of Adonai are satisfied, the cedars of Lebanon that He planted, 17where birds make their nests, and the stork—her home is the fir trees. 18The high mountains are for wild goats, the cliffs a refuge for rock badgers. 19He made the moon for appointed times, the sun knows its going down. 20You bring darkness, so it becomes night, when all the beasts of the forest prowl. 21The young lions roar for prey, seeking their food from God. 22But when the sun rises, they gather and lie down in their dens. 23Man goes out to his work, and to his labor until the evening. 24Adonai, how countless are Your works! In wisdom You made them all— the earth is full of Your creatures. 25There is the sea, vast and wide, teeming with gliding things innumerable, living creatures, both small and large. 26There, ships go to and fro. Leviathan—You formed to frolic there. 27They all look to You to give them their food at the right time. 28When You give it to them, they gather it up. When You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good. 29But when You hide Your face— they are dismayed. You take away their breath— they perish, and return to their dust. 30You send forth Your Ruach— they are created, and You renew the face of the earth. 31May the glory of Adonai endure forever! May Adonai rejoice in His works! 32He looks at the earth, and it trembles. He touches the mountains, and they smoke. 33I will sing to Adonai as long as I live! I will sing praise to my God yet again! 34Let my meditation be sweet to Him. I—I will rejoice in Adonai. 35Let sinners vanish from the earth and let the wicked be no more. Bless Adonai, O my soul. Halleluyah!

–from Psalms 104

Jesus is the way! Jesus is the truth! Jesus is the life! So all it will take is for you to choose Him! Ask Him into your heart! Invite Him into your life! Follow after Him!

Jesus is looking to meet with you! Jesus wants to be in relationship with you! Jesus love you!

Power to Pardon the Paralyzed

1When He returned to Capernaum after some days, it was heard that He was at the house. 2So many were gathered that there was no longer room for them even outside the door. He kept proclaiming the word to them. 3Some people came bringing to Him a paralyzed man, carried by four men. 4When they couldn’t get near Yeshua because of the crowd, they removed the roof where He was. After digging through, they lowered the mat on which the paralyzed man was lying. 5Yeshua, seeing their faith, said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6But some of the Torah scholars were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7“Why does this fellow speak like this? He blasphemes! Who can pardon sins but God alone?” 8Immediately Yeshua, knowing in His spirit that they were raising questions this way within themselves, said to them, “Why are you questioning these things in your hearts? 9Which is easier, to say to the paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and take your mat and walk’? 10But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority to pardon sins on earth….” He tells the paralyzed man, 11“I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home!” 12At once the man got up, took his mat, and walked before them all. They were all astonished and glorified God, saying, “We’ve never seen anything like this!”

Fellowship with Sinners

13Again, Yeshua went out by the sea. The whole crowd kept coming to Him, and He continued to teach them. 14As He was passing by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. He said to him, “Follow Me.” And he got up and followed Him. 15Now it happens that Yeshua was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, and many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Yeshua and His disciples. For there were many, and they were following Him. 16When the Torah scholars of the Pharisees saw Him eating with sinners and tax collectors, they began to say to His disciples, “With tax collectors and sinners He eats?” 17And when He heard this, Yeshua said to them, “Those who are healthy have no need for a doctor, but those who are sick do. I did not come to call the righteous, but the sinful.”

Feasting in His Presence

18Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. They came and said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” 19And Yeshua said to them, “The guests of the bridegroom cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, can they? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise the patch pulls away from the old, and a worse tear happens. 22And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins; and the wine is lost, also the skins. But one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”

Shabbat Restoration

23Now it happened on Shabbat that Yeshua was going through the grain fields; and His disciples began to make their way, plucking the heads of grain. 24The Pharisees were saying to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not permitted on Shabbat?” 25And He said to them, “Haven’t you ever read what David did when he was in need, and he and those with him became hungry? 26How he entered into the house of God when Abiathar was kohen gadol and ate the showbread, which is permitted only for the kohanim to eat, and gave some even to those who were with him?” 27Then He said to them, “Shabbat was made for man, and not man for Shabbat. 28So the Son of Man is Lord even of Shabbat.”

–from Mark 2