What are you asking for? Do you realize what will happen if you get what you want?

Consider closely what you are asking for. Consider the consequences and the reason for the ask. Consider the benefits and the drawbacks. Consider how your priorities should be. Consider your needs vs your wants. What are you asking for? Do you realize what will happen if you get what you want? What is your heart in that area? What is your intent? What is your reason? What is your purpose?

Is God enough? Is there any reason you might try to do God plus? Is there any reason why you might try inserting someone else into part of the areas that God takes care of? Are you rejecting him?

Today’s reading start in 1 Samuel when the people of Israel are asking for a king…

Israel Demands a King

1Now when Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges over Israel. 2The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second Abijah—they were judges in Beersheba. 3His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain—they took bribes and perverted justice. 4Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, 5and said to him, “Behold, you have grown old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us—like all the nations.” 6But the matter was displeasing in Samuel’s eyes when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to Adonai. 7Then Adonai said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you. For they have not rejected you, rather they have rejected Me from being king over them. 8Like all the deeds that they have done since the day I brought them out of Egypt to this day—forsaking Me and worshiping other gods—so they are doing to you also. 9So now, listen to their voice. However, you must earnestly forewarn them, and declare to them the rulings of the king who will reign over them.” 10Now Samuel reported all the words of Adonai to the people who were asking him for a king. 11“This will be the practice of the king that will reign over you,” he said. “He will draft your sons and assign them as his charioteers and horsemen, and they will run before his chariots. 12He will appoint them as commanders of thousands and captains of fifties, also some to plow his fields, reap his harvest, make his weapons of war and the equipment for his chariots. 13Also he will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks and bakers. 14He will seize the best of your fields, vineyards and olive groves, and give them to his courtiers. 15He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage and give it to his officials and slaves. 16He will also take your male and female servants, your best young men and your donkeys and make them do his work. 17He will also take the tenth of your flocks. Then you yourselves will become his slaves. 18When the day comes and you cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, Adonai will not answer you on that day.” 19But the people refused to listen to Samuel, and they said, “No! But a king should be over us! 20So we may become like all the nations—having our king who will judge us, go out before us and fight our battles.” 21After Samuel heard all the words of the people, he reported them back in the hearing of Adonai. 22Adonai said to Samuel, “Listen to their voice and appoint a king to reign for them.” So Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Go, each one to his town.”

–from 1 Samuel 8

Consider the warning signs. Consider the consequences. Realize you will need to live with your decision. We all have free wills and as such we get to choose, so choose wisely!

Do you realize that in the midst of the daily things, God can raise you up? Do you realize within the mundane or boring tasks of a day, God can open up a door you didn’t even realize was available? God has a plan! God has a purpose! How will you respond? How will you act? How will you be? When you are wondering or having questions where do you turn? Will you turn and ask God? Will you ask a friend who has godly wisdom? Will you ask someone who has faith and will pray and give you an answer?

Saul Meets Samuel

1Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish son of Abiel son of Zeror son of Becorath son of Aphiah son of a Benjamite. He was a mighty man of valor 2and he had a son whose name was Saul—young and handsome—there was no one among Bnei-Yisrael better than him. From his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people. 3Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. So Kish said to his son Saul, “Take now one of the servants with you, get up and look for the donkeys.” 4So he passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then he passed through the land of Benjamin, but still did not find them. 5When they arrived in the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant with him, “Come, let’s go back—otherwise my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and start worrying about us.” 6Then his servant said to him, “Behold now, there is a man of God in this town, and he is a man held in honor—everything he says is sure to come true. Now, let’s go there. Perhaps he’ll tell us the way we should go.” 7Then said Saul to his servant, “But look, if we go, what would we bring the man? For the bread is gone from our sacks, and there is nothing to bring to the man of God as a present. What do we have?” 8The servant answered Saul again and said, “Behold, I have in my hand a quarter of a shekel of silver. I will give it to the man of God and he will tell us our way.” 9(Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he said, “Come, let’s go to the seer”—for today’s prophet was formerly called a seer.) 10Then Saul said to his servant, “Well said. Come, let’s go!” So they went to the town where the man of God was. 11As they went up the hill to the town, they found some girls going out to draw water, and they asked them, “Is the seer here?” 12They answered them and said, “He is there, ahead of you. Hurry now, for he has come today to the town because people have a sacrifice at the high place today. 13As soon as you enter the town, you’ll find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. For the people will not eat until he comes, because he must first bless the sacrifice—afterward the guests can eat. So now, get up, for you will find him at once.” 14So they went up to the town. As they were entering the town, behold, Samuel was coming out toward them to go up to the high place. 15One day before Saul came, Adonai had revealed to Samuel saying: 16“Tomorrow about this time, I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you will anoint him ruler over My people Israel. He will deliver My people from the hand of the Philistines. I have observed My people, because their cry has come to Me.” 17When Samuel saw Saul, Adonai spoke to him, “Behold, this is the man I told you about. This one will govern My people.” 18Then Saul approached Samuel inside the gate and asked, “Tell me, please, where the seer’s house is?” 19Samuel answered Saul by saying, “I am the seer. Go up ahead of me to the high place. For today you will eat with me. In the morning when I send you off, I will tell you everything that is in your heart. 20As for the donkeys that you lost three days ago, don’t set your heart on them, for they have been found. Now, for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father’s household?” 21Saul answered by saying, “Am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my clan is the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? So why do you say such things to me?” 22Then Samuel took Saul and his servant and brought them into the hall, and gave them a place at the head of the guests, who numbered about 30 people. 23Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the portion that I gave you and told you to set aside.” 24So the cook took up the thigh, raised it, and set it before Saul. Then he said, “Here is what has been reserved! Set it before you and eat, because it has been kept until this appointed time for you, since I said, ‘I have invited the people.’” So Saul ate with Samuel that day. 25When they came down from the high place to the town, he spoke with Saul on the roof. 26They rose early, and at daybreak Samuel called to Saul on the roof saying, “Get up, so I may send you off.” So Saul got up, and both of them, he and Samuel, went outside. 27As they were going down toward the edge of town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell your servant to go ahead of us and pass on, but as for you, stand still awhile, so that I may proclaim to you the word of God.”

–from 1 Samuel 9

Don’t let success or position or power go to your head! Stay humble! Stay with a servant’s heart! Don’t try to go it alone, put your trust in God! Success can be one of the biggest challenges and struggles in life! So realize it, prepare for it, and press through it with God and in God’s way!

Do you realize how God’s views are different from those of the world! Do you realize the importance of attitude? Do you realize it is possible to be content in every situation? Do you realize that you have a purpose? Do you realize that you are to make a difference? Do you realize that you are supposed to be different? Do you realize that you are being called to a higher standard? Do you realize your response is supposed to be different? Do you realize you are to respond with love? Do you realize that means even if someone is attacking or hating you? So what will you do now that you do know?

Drash on the Mountain

1Now when Yeshua saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain. And after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.
2And He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.
8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.
12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great! For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Called to Be Salt and Light

13“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt should lose its flavor, how shall it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.
14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on a lampstand so it gives light to all in the house.
16In the same way, let your light shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Filling the Law to the Fullest

17“Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets! I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.
18Amen, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or serif shall ever pass away from the Torah until all things come to pass.
19Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever keeps and teaches them, this one shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees and Torah scholars, you shall never enter the kingdom of heaven!
21“You have heard it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever commits murder shall be subject to judgment.’
22But I tell you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca’ shall be subject to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be subject to fiery Gehenna.
23“Therefore if you are presenting your offering upon the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,
24leave your offering there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.
25“Make friends quickly with your opponent while you are with him on the way. Otherwise, your opponent may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the assistant, and you will be thrown into prison.
26Amen, I tell you, you will never get out of there until you have paid back the last penny!
27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
28But I tell you that everyone who looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29And if your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away! It is better for you that one part of your body should be destroyed, than that your whole body be thrown into Gehenna.
30And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away! It is better for you that one part of your body should be destroyed, than that your whole body go into Gehenna.
31“It was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’
32But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
33“Again, you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall carry out your oaths to Adonai.’
34But I tell you, do not swear at all—not by heaven, for it is the throne of God;
35or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.
36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black.
37But let your word ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’—anything more than this is from the evil one.”

Overcoming Evil with Good

38“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’
39But I tell you, do not resist an evildoer. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him also the other.
40And the one wanting to sue you and to take your shirt, let him also have your coat.
41Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
42Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they?
47And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than anyone else? Even the pagans do that, don’t they?
48Therefore be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

–from Matthew 5




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What have you built your life on? Is it sturdy, reliable, durable, solid?

Today’s question comes the title of this morning’s reading from Obadiah titled “Your World Will Collapse“. If you don’t have a firm foundation, Jesus warns us:

24“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.27When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” – Matthew 7:24-27

If you don’t build your life based on truth, hope, and love, we read in God’s Word:

12Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames. – 1 Corinthians 3:12-15

So what have you built your life upon? What are you building it with? This morning warning leads me to ask and reflect on these questions.

Don’t be walking around so proud that you think you are above everything. Don’t be walking around so proud that you miss the reality and the truth of the very situation you are going through. Pride comes before the fall. You aren’t above it all. You won’t get away with it for ever. If you keep walking away, eventually you will have to deal with the consequences of your decisions and actions. Is what you are building real? Real relationships? Real friends? Real buddies? Where are you putting your hope and trust? Is it dependable? Is it reliable? Is it real? As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. He is the one we can trust. He is the one who is good to His Word. If He said it, He’ll do it. If He promised it, He’ll accomplish it. He will closer than a brother. He will never leave me nor abandon me. Even when I mess up, He shows up. Jesus loves me just the way I am, and loves me too much to leave me stuck there. I thank God for His Word that builds me up every morning. I thank God for His Word that grants me wisdom and hope to start each day. He loves us so much that He sent His one and only son Jesus to come and do more than we could ever ask or imagine so that we can be reconciled back to God! It is through Jesus’ righteousness that we can be reconciled to God. It’s through Jesus’ sacrifice that we can be seen right by God. We have favor not because we are good enough, because even those who think they had a perfect day have missed the mark as we can’t do enough in our own power to make ourselves right with God. It is only by receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior and following after Him. Last night when I got home from work, my son kept quoting this verse to me and was so proud that He had it memorized.

Jesus said, “I am the truth, the way, and the life. No one can come to the Father, except through me.” – John 14:6

It was so cute to watch him repeat it over and over again. I am so grateful for a God who is tilling the soil, planting the seed of His Word, and watering it so that I can see it grow in my children. It brings me great joy to know that when that day comes I will get to see my family with me in Heaven. To know my children believe, trust, and are pursuing Jesus is an incredible blessing to me and reveals God’s favor over my life more than anything else.

So where are you at today? Are you letting life pass you by? Are you a bystander who sees what is taking place around them but not stepping up nor stepping in? Are you walking passed other or are you trying to give others a helping hand up? What are you focused on? Are you so focused on you that you are missing the opportunities and the favor that readily available for you to take in? Are you stuck gloating, laughing, and joking at the expense of others? Are you too big for that? Are you too important to bend over and give someone a hand? Are you to high and mighty to stop and help? Are you willing to let God work in you and through you to be an instrument of God in the lives of those around you? We all have a choice and then will have to deal with the consequences of our decisions.

God’s Word today warns us:

“God’s Judgment Day is near for all the godless nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. What you did will boomerang back and hit your own head. Just as you partied on my holy mountain, all the godless nations will drink God’s wrath. They’ll drink and drink and drink—they’ll drink themselves to death. – Obadiah 1:15-18

So how are your rules? Do they honor God?

What will it take for you to come into alignment with God’s purpose and plan for your life? Today’s reading continues into Jonah. Jonah called by God to go and speak God’s truth into the lives of others. To warn and to encourage others. But it isn’t always easy, especially if we let ourselves get in the way and try to do the opposite of God’s command/instruction. Jonah starts with a title of “Running Away from God“. What direction are you headed today? Are running to God or away from God? Are you like the lost son who decided to come home? Are you like Jonah or the lost son when they were at the point of trying to get away? You can’t outrun God! You can’t hide from God! He knows what you are doing and what you are thinking. But as always, we choose and then come to our own conclusions and depending on where that leads us have to deal with the consequences of those decisions. The problem is that your decision can actually hurt or threaten those around you. Consider your choices. Consider your path. Consider the implications of what you say and do on those around you. It’s not all about you. Don’t be self-centered. Don’t be selfish. Check your heart before you go to do things and align it with God. You can’t hide, the truth will be revealed. Will you admit to it? Will you confess? Will you do what it takes to save the others? Will you allow your actions to glorify God and allow others to be in awe because of Him? Put another way:

14-16“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16

How long will you just sit there and contemplate doing what God has called you to do and God has called you to be? What would it take for you do it? Would you have to be swallowed up and spend 3 days at the bottom of the sea? What’s it going to take to get your attention and get it put back on God where it belongs? What’s it going to take for you to turn back to God and pursue after Him and His will and purpose for your life? How far down will you have to spiral before you look up and call out to Him for help? Do you need to hit rock bottom? Do you need to get to the bottom of the barrel? Do you need to get to the end of your rope? How far?

What if you were the instrument God wanted to use to save lives? What if you were the person who would be able to speak directly into the lives of others in a way that they could receive God as their Lord and Savior? What if you were their last hope? What would you do? What if they weren’t very nice to you in the past? What if they had been mean to you? What if they had mistreated you? Would any of that change your mind? Jonah delivered the message God had given him. The people of Nineveh received it and took immediate action:

6-9When the message reached the king of Nineveh, he got up off his throne, threw down his royal robes, dressed in burlap, and sat down in the dirt. Then he issued a public proclamation throughout Nineveh, authorized by him and his leaders: “Not one drop of water, not one bite of food for man, woman, or animal, including your herds and flocks! Dress them all, both people and animals, in burlap, and send up a cry for help to God. Everyone must turn around, turn back from an evil life and the violent ways that stain their hands. Who knows? Maybe God will turn around and change his mind about us, quit being angry with us and let us live!”

10God saw what they had done, that they had turned away from their evil lives. He did change his mind about them. What he said he would do to them he didn’t do. – Jonah 3:6-10

So what would you do if your message was well received? How would you celebrate? Or would you? Would you celebrate with them because they received what you said and were saved? Would you be upset and say “I Knew This Was Going to Happen!” God’s plans are good, not for evil, He doesn’t desire that anyone would perish but that everyone would turn back and find eternal life. But that isn’t always what we are thinking, and that is because our ways aren’t God’s ways, His ways are higher than our ways.

We see Jonah lose it because He knew God’s intention and God’s heart…

1-2Jonah was furious. He lost his temper. He yelled at God, “God! I knew it—when I was back home, I knew this was going to happen! That’s why I ran off to Tarshish! I knew you were sheer grace and mercy, not easily angered, rich in love, and ready at the drop of a hat to turn your plans of punishment into a program of forgiveness! – Jonah 4:1-2

Don’t sulk. Rejoice in the Lord! Don’t get upset about what God’s given or taken away! Sometimes we have to realize how our hearts work and how we respond to be able truly get a grip on how great God’s love is for us. Let’s share God’s love. Let’s help others realize there is a difference between right and wrong. Let’s live lives to glorify God in Jesus’ name.

Be the light! Look for the light! Shine the light! There is so much darkness.

What will you do with the light that is within you? Will you hold it high so others can see it? Will you shine it from the mountain top? Will you hide it?

(it was amazing to see in the Christmas Eve service to see the difference between when people were holding their candles low and when they all lifted them up high)

Consider how the statue of liberty is holding her light?

Jesus is the light of the World. He came not to save a few, but to bring salvation to the world! He came to reconcile us back to God. He came to bridge the gap that was created when sin entered the world. Now we have a direct access to God thanks to what Jesus has done for us.

As you start this day, consider how you can be an encouragement to those around you. Consider how you can share hope and love with everyone God brings into your life. It’s not all about you, it’s more about what you do with all that God gives you. Are you shining bright that others see it and glorify your Heavenly Father? Are you shining bright so that others see that it is the reflection of the true light of the world? To me the analogy of the sun and the moon comes to mind. Jesus is the Son and we reflect His light. The moon has no light of its own, it just reflects the light of the sun. Similarly, we don’t have our own light, however, with Jesus in us, we can reflect His light to the world around us.

Fear may try to hide the light. Fear may try to cover the light. Fear Not, Just Believe! With God on our side who can be against us. With God right here with me, who would dare challenge Him? Trust in God! Lean on God! Beware those who try to stir up trouble, try to play with fire, for in the end they will find themselves having their feet held to those flames.

So as we start this year, let’s start it off right. Let’s start the year, let’s start the day by seeking God!

“Listen now, you who know right from wrong, you who hold my teaching inside you: Pay no attention to insults, and when mocked don’t let it get you down. Those insults and mockeries are moth-eaten, from brains that are termite-ridden, But my setting-things-right lasts, my salvation goes on and on and on.”

Fear Not, Just believe! What are you afraid of? or who?

“I, I’m the One comforting you. What are you afraid of—or who? Some man or woman who’ll soon be dead? Some poor wretch destined for dust? You’ve forgotten me, God, who made you, who unfurled the skies, who founded the earth. And here you are, quaking like an aspen before the tantrums of a tyrant who thinks he can kick down the world. But what will come of the tantrums? The victims will be released before you know it. They’re not going to die. They’re not even going to go hungry. For I am God, your very own God, who stirs up the sea and whips up the waves, named God-of-the-Angel-Armies. I teach you how to talk, word by word, and personally watch over you, Even while I’m unfurling the skies, setting earth on solid foundations, and greeting Zion: ‘Welcome, my people!’”

So rather than walking in fear or confusion, let’s get things started right and start out by seeking God. Let’s start the day, the week, the month, the year off by turning to God and following after Him so that we may walk in the wisdom and truth and hope that comes through a living relationship with Him.

Have you found that you have been going the wrong way? Do you get to the end of a dead end street? Did you spiral down to the bottom of the barrel? Don’t give up hope! Don’t lose hope! Turn back! Look up! Call on God! And God will lead you out of there!

When we have been redeemed, we don’t have to look back. We don’t have to run in fear for nobody is chasing. We can walk forward in confidence for we are following after God. Let’s purify ourselves and walk clean, with a clear conscience into God’s presence and plan. Give the pains and the burdens over to God. He is going before you to prepare in advance the good work He has for you to accomplish. He is your rear guard so you don’t have to be running any faster than He is leading you for He’s got your back. Allow Him to take you right where you are at and help you to blossom and become the person He created you to be.

People looked down on Jesus, the truth is that He took all the ugliness so we could be restored and repaired and reconciled.

1Who believes what we’ve heard and seen? Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this? 2-6The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried— our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him. 7-9He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn’t say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence. Justice miscarried, and he was led off—and did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people. They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave with a rich man, Even though he’d never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn’t true. 10Still, it’s what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life. And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him. 11-12Out of that terrible travail of soul, he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it. Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant, will make many “righteous ones,” as he himself carries the burden of their sins. Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly—the best of everything, the highest honors—Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch, because he embraced the company of the lowest. He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many, he took up the cause of all the black sheep.

Remember the past victories to encourage you through what is in front of you!

Are you facing a challenge? Are you facing a struggle? Are you facing a mountain? Are you facing a valley? Fear Not, Just Believe!

Do you remember the things you have been through? Do you remember how God got you through them? Do you remember the incredible victories? Do you remember the doors that opened up because you were obedient to what God called you to do rather than being manipulated by man? Do you remember even when people turned their backs on you how God showed up and provided for your every need? Do you remember how when He called and you answered how He was able to bring you through the journey with victory? Do you remember how when He called you and you resisted the valley that you went through and the learning from it and through it? Do remember the strength, the hope, the courage, the promise, and the faith that was built up through each event? He never leaves us nor forsakes us. He never leaves us nor abandons us. If we push for our way, He can use all things for His glory and allow us to go through what we think we want or wanted. He teaches us on the mountain. He teaches us in the valley. In the valley people tend to reach out and call out more and build their relationship even stronger with God. Prosperity can be one of the hardest challenges to your faith as it may put you in a position where you think you can go it alone. We weren’t created to do it on our own. We were created to live in relationship with God. God brought others into our lives so that we can have one another to encourage us for where two or three are together He is with us. He also tells us how good it is to have one another because:

It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there’s no one to help, tough! 11Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. 12By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped. – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

So no matter what you are facing, remember the victories of the past. No matter how big the problem seems, remember how much bigger God is! As today’s 365 Fear Nots: Verse of the Day says:

And the Lord said to me, Do not fear him, for I have given him and all his people and his land into your hand; and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.

Deuteronomy 3:2 (AMP)

Biblical Truth: Be encouraged by previous victories over fear in order to build up your confidence to trust in Him the next time, for God is God.

Faith is the antidote to fear! Faith grows through the trials and can help us through whatever comes our way because we know that our God is greater, our God is stronger, our God is higher than any other, our god is healer, awesome in power, our God!

Don’t give up! Press forward in faith believing that God’s plans are good and to give you a hope and a future!

Do you know where fear is absent? Where love abounds!

Is there fear where you are right now? Is there fear in what you are doing or not doing? Is there fear when you do or don’t? Is there fear of who is or isn’t? Is there fear of what could of, should of, might? Is there fear of how to or not? Is there fear of why? Why me or not me?


In 365 Fear Nots: Verse of the Day today, we read the following:

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God has God living inside, and that person lives in God. And so we know the love that God has for us, and we trust that love. God is love. Those who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. This is how love is made perfect in us: that we can be without fear on the day God judges us, because in this world we are like him.

1 John 4:15-17 (NCV)

God showed His love through Christ whom we declare as our Savior. Through our trust and adoration in Him, love abounds…where love abounds, there is no fear.


So as you reflect on the questions above, consider the following questions:

  • Is there love in the where?
  • Is there love  in the what?
  • Is there love  in the when?
  • Is there love  in the why?
  • Is there love  in the how?


Is love  missing? Is love  not abounding? Are you loving in and through the where, what, when, why, and how? If not, why not?


It’s not because you aren’t strong enough, for God’s Word, speaks to us in today’s Spurgeon’s Morning Devotional that:

9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.


That’s right, in our weaknesses, the power of God is shown. So that’s not why we should fear or not love. Rather than feeling isolated and far from God, turn to God, draw closer to Him so that you will have His love with you and we know that our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other, our God is healer, awesome in power our God, our God!


Fear Not, Just Believe!


Trust Him! In God We Trust!