You realize that our time here is limited right?


The Story of Job. – Day 19

You realize that there is something after this life on earth right? Will you make the most of your time here? Will you make decisions that will last for a time or will you make decisions that will last forever? Will you be a good steward of your time? Will you be a good steward of your energy? Will you be a good steward of your resources?

In this world there will be troubles. How will you choose to respond? In this life you will face trials of many kinds. How will you choose to respond? We can’t control what will come our way but we can control how we respond!

In the midst of everything, are you able to keep the hope that comes from keeping your focus on God rather than yourself? Are you able to look beyond yourself? Are you able to look beyond your situation? Are you able to look beyond your circumstances? In a world that can be filled with such hopelessness, can you still be a light of hope no matter what you are going through?


Today’s Reading: Job 14

‘“Man, who is born of a woman, Is short-lived and full of turmoil. Like a flower he comes forth and withers; He also flees like a shadow and does not remain. You also open Your eyes upon him And bring him into judgment with Yourself. Who can make a clean thing out of the unclean? No one! Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You [in Your control], And You have made his limits so he cannot pass [his allotted time]. [O God] turn your gaze from him so that he may rest, Until he fulfills his day [on earth] like a hired man. “For there is hope for a tree, If it is cut down, that it will sprout again, And that the shoots of it will not cease nor fail, [but there is no such hope for man]. Though its roots grow old in the earth And its stump dies in the dry soil, Yet at the scent of water [the stump of the tree] will flourish And bring forth sprigs and shoots like a seedling. But [the brave, strong] man must die and lie face down; Man breathes his last, and where is he? As water evaporates from the sea, And a river drains and dries up, So man lies down and does not rise [again]. Until the heavens are no longer, The dead will not awake nor be raised from their sleep. “Oh, that You would hide me in Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead), That You would conceal me until Your wrath is past, That You would set a definite time and then remember me [and in Your lovingkindness imprint me on your heart]! If a man dies, will he live again? I will wait all the days of my struggle Until my change and release will come. [Then] You will call, and I will answer You; You will long for [me] the work of Your hands. But now You number [each of] my steps; You do not observe nor take note of my sin. My transgression is sealed up in a bag, And You cover my wickedness [from Your view]. “But as a mountain, if it falls, crumbles into nothing, And as the rock is moved from its place, Water wears away the stones, Its floods and torrents wash away the soil of the earth, So You [O Lord] destroy the hope of man. You prevail forever against him and overpower him, and he passes on; You change his appearance and send him away [from the presence of the living]. His sons achieve honor, and he does not know it; They become insignificant, and he is not aware of it. But his body [lamenting its decay] grieves in pain over it, And his soul mourns over [the loss of] himself.”’

Job 14:1-22

Today’s study includes information from:


Study Notes:

We read about how Job sees life as being short. Be it when he compares it to but a few days or when he compares it to the life of a flow or even a shadow that fades. In the midst of everything, we see that Job leans on the fact that God is in control of everything in life, even though he may not understand or comprehend their meaning and even challenged with some of them. We learn Job’s view of how life works as the chapter beings from how short life is to how we are all sinners to how soon death comes. We learn how Job uses these facts to request grace from God in the midst of this trials he was going thru in hopes of the intensity reducing as his hope was wading in the pain and suffering going on. Feeling that God’s judgement was taking place, we also learn how Job was at the point of asking to die and remain in the earth till the end of the time of judgement when he could be raised to life when called again by God. It is interesting that he would speak of the subject of revelation when the dead would rise too. We see how even in the midst of the wading hope, the pain and the suffering, the trials and tribulation in his life, Job still reached for the hope of resurrection because of his hope and trust in God. We see how even though Job asked for death it had the hope of life again. We learn through Job’s questioning how we all go through the questions and process of trying to understand the who we are, why are we here, and where are we going. Everyone is looking for and wanting to have purpose.

God creates us all on purpose, with purpose, and for a purpose! I remember the study of A Purpose Driven Life years ago and what it speaks to these questions. When we know the purpose, it gives meaning to our lives (Jer 29:11 – New Century Version). When we know our purpose, it simplifies our lives (Isa 26:3 – Today’s English Version). When we know our purpose, it focuses our lives. When we know our purpose, it keeps us from changing directions, school subjects, university courses, jobs, relationships, churches, etc. We we know our purpose, it helps to magnify life (Philippians 3:13 – NLT).

Job raises so many questions. Some questions will be answered later in the book of Job like:

‘If a man dies, will he live again? I will wait all the days of my struggle Until my change and release will come. ‘

Job 14:14

which gets answered in Job 19:

‘“Oh, that the words I now speak were written! Oh, that they were recorded in a scroll! That with an iron stylus and [molten] lead They were engraved in the rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer and Vindicator lives, And at the last He will take His stand upon the earth. Even after my [mortal] skin is destroyed [by death], Yet from my [immortal] flesh I will see God, Whom I, even I, will see for myself, And my eyes will see Him and not another! My heart faints within me. ‘

Job 19:23-27

where the study notes will call out (jumping ahead a bit):

Verses 23-27: God has humiliated Job (verses 8-12), his friends and relatives have abandoned him (verses 13-20), and he has been reduced to pleading for pity (verses 21-22). But from the depths of degradation he expresses the confidence that if his case could only be recorded for posterity, future generations would judge him favorably (verses 23-24). Furthermore, he knows confidently that he has a “Redeemer” (verse 25, Hebrew goel), One who will champion his cause and vindicate him. The Redeemer is more than an arbiter (9:33) or a witness (16:19) but a Kinsman-Redeemer who will avenge him. Clearly, Job viewed God Himself as the Redeemer, and the Hebrew word is in fact used often of God (Psalm 19:14; Isa. 41:14; etc.).

Bible-Study.org Chapter 19

As Christians, we don’t need to live out our lives without hope like the world does but instead let’s take hold of the words of 1 Thessalonians 4:13:

My friends, we want you to understand how it will be for those followers who have already died. Then you won’t grieve over them and be like people who don’t have any hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:13

We need to be hope and light into the world around us. People are looking for hope. People are looking for a reason to have hope. We need to point people to God so that they won’t need to live lives of hopelessness.

Today’s study continues to speak to us believers the following:

Verses 18-22: The Christian response to suffering should be neither denial nor fatalistic surrender. Jesus offers people hope beyond the immediacy of their pain. The promise of eternal life prevents present anguish from having the last word. Job returned to his complaint before God, and reverted to a hopeless mood, speaking about death as inevitable (verses 18-20), and causing separation (verse 21). He was painfully sad to think of it (verse 22).

Job 14:18 “And surely the mountain falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place.” Rather: But (compare Job 13:3-4). The “mountain falling” is the mountain from which great forces detach pieces, as man is subjected to the shattering strokes of God. The second clause shows this to be the meaning. Job was comparing his loss of everything he had, including his children, with the sudden collapse of a mountain. When a volcano erupts, sometimes half of the mountain comes off at the top. Rocks are thrown sometimes for miles away from where they had been. Just as this calamity of the mountain had been sudden, Job’s loss was sudden.

Job 14:19 “The waters wear the stones: thou washest away the things which grow [out] of the dust of the earth; and thou destroyest the hope of man.” The turbulent waters wear away the stones of the brook by their constant action. “Thou washest away”: Rather, the floods thereof (i.e. of the waters), do wash away the soil of the earth. “And thou destroyest”: I.e. so thou destroyest. The “hope” of man which God destroys is not the specific hope of a renewed life (Job 14:7). This idea is dismissed; but more general, the hope of life. The never ending washing of water over rocks can finally cut a hole into them. The never ending pain of Job’s had cut a hole into his heart. He was full of despair and hopelessness.

Job 14:20 “Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth: thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away.” When once thou takes away this life, it is gone forever. For he speaks not here of man’s future and eternal life in another world. “He passeth”: I.e. he dies, or is about to die. Man’s death is oft called a passage, or a going, to intimate that it is not an annihilation, but only a translation of him into another place and state. His countenance; either, (1) His visage, which by death and its harbingers is quite transformed in color and shape, as we see by daily experience. Or; (2) The face and state of his affairs, as to worldly riches, and pleasures, and honors, all which he leaves behind him. “Sendest him away”: To his long home by death. Job would feel like fighting back, if he had known this was an attack from Satan. He knew it was useless to fight God. Job thought God was sending this endless oppression, and he was aware he would not be able to endure for long.

Job 14:21 “His sons come to honor, and he knoweth [it] not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth [it] not of them.” The meaning seems to be, “If his sons come to honor, it is of no advantage to him. In the remote and wholly separate region of Sheol he will not be aware of it.” “And they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them”: Equally, in the opposite case, if his sons are brought low, he is ignorant of it, and unaffected by their fate. After a man is dead, his family can come to honor him, but he would not even know they were there.

Job 14:22 “But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.” This is man’s condition; he is miserable both when he dies, because he dies without hope of returning to life, as he had discoursed before. And (as he now adds), while he lives, while his flesh is upon him, and his soul within him. While the soul is clothed with or united to the body, he feels sharp pain in his body, and bitter grief in his soul. Seeing therefore the state of man upon earth is so vain and unhappy every way, Lord, give me some comfort to sweeten my life, or take away my life from me. A man in such great pain as Job is here, was sorrowful of soul.

Bible-Study.org Chapter 19

So where are you at today? How will you respond to the offer from God of grace, mercy, and salvation? Are you ready to lean into all that God has for you? Are you ready to persevere and trust and have your faith built up? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

^^^^^^^^^^^Will you be willing to put your name there today?

Don’t lose hope!


There are so many things in this world that will try to drain you of hope! There are so many things that will try to rob you of hope! There are so many things that will try to kill that hope you have! There are so many things that are trying to kill your hope!

Don’t lose hope!

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. –from John 10:10

That’s right, the devil’s trying to steal, kill, and destroy! Jesus is trying to give you a rich and satisfying life! Receive Jesus so that you may receive what He has to offer! Reject the devil so that he has no power over you!

Let’s be about unity and unifying people! Let’s be about bringing people hope in this world that tries to sell hopelessness! Let’s be about loving people! Let’s be about sharing Jesus with the world around us!

We have the gospel of hope! So let’s share it! Let’s help people to receive Jesus by intersecting them right where they are at in their lives so that they may receive Him and His transforming power in order to receive His purpose for their lives of a rich and satisfying life – that they may have a hope and a future! A hope of spending eternity with God rather than apart from God thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus!

Let’s today view this life we have been given as today’s devotional speaks to us with endless hope rather than a hopeless end! Let’s share this hope that is within us! Let’s help others to see that it’s not a hopeless end but rather that it’s an endless hope! Let’s do it in Jesus’ name because He is the way, the truth, and the life!

Don’t lose hope! Share that hope you have with the people God brings into your life! Let that light of yours shine into the dark world around you that other may see it and glorify Your Father in Heaven!


Today’s devotional closed with…

Hope is one of the three great theological virtues – the others being love and faith. As Raniero Cantalamessa writes, ‘They are like three sisters. Two of them are grown and the other is a small child. They go forward together hand in hand with the child hope in the middle. Looking at them it would seem that the bigger ones are pulling the child, but it is the other way around; it is the little girl who is pulling the two bigger ones. It is hope that pulls faith and love. Without hope everything would stop.’ –from Day 213: Bible In One Year 2017


Hopeless End or Endless Hope?

Day 213: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalms 89:46-52, Romans 14:19-23, Romans 15:1-13, 1 Chronicles 11, 1 Chronicles 12:1-22

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/213

  1. Know the hope of eternal life through Jesus … Psalm 89:46-52
    • This psalm ends on a note of hope, ‘Praise be to the Lord forever! Amen and Amen’ (v.52). The psalmist clings on to hope in spite of the fact that he is wrestling with his own situation.

      Hope in the midst of suffering and despair

      ‘How long, O Lord?’ (v.46a) is a rhetorical question. It is a cry of despair. Will this suffering go on forever?

      Hope in spite of the brevity of life and the inevitability of death

      Life is so short: ‘Remember how fleeting is my life’ (v.47a). If death is the end then there is no ultimate meaning or purpose, ‘For what futility you have created all humanity!’ (v.47b). No one can raise themselves from the dead: ‘Who can live and not see death, or who can escape from the power of the grave?’ (v.48).

      But the psalmist does not rule out the hope of the resurrection. He knows human beings cannot save themselves. He looks to the Lord: ‘O Lord, where is your former great love, which in your faithfulness you swore to David… your anointed one’ (vv.49–51). What the psalmist saw only in blurry outlines is made crystal clear in the New Testament.

      –from Day 213: Bible In One Year 2017

  2. Overflow with hope through the Holy Spirit … Romans 14:19-15:13
    • Paul helps us to see different aspects of the hope that Jesus brings to the world today including:

      Hope for unity

      Paul continues to plead that every effort is made for unity: ‘Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification’ (14:19). Guard this unity by being sensitive to your brothers and sisters in Christ and not offending them unnecessarily (14:20–15:1). Each of us should ‘please our neighbours for their good, to build them up’ (v.2).

      Follow the example of Jesus: ‘For even Christ did not please himself’ (v.3). Like Jesus, be a God-pleaser, not a self-pleaser or a people-pleaser. People-pleasers are those who try to please people even if they have to compromise their own conscience to do so. Paul tried to please people as long as pleasing them did not cause him to displease the Lord (Galatians 1:10; 1 Corinthians 10:33).

      Hope from the Scriptures

      The purpose of the Bible is to give us hope. ‘For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope’ (Romans 15:4). It is through the Scriptures that you know about Jesus and the hope that is in him. The way to keep your hopes up is to study the Scriptures regularly.

      This hope leads to ‘All joy and peace as you trust in him’ (v.13). I love the way that Corrie Ten Boon puts it: ‘Joy and peace mean going around with a smile on our faces and an empty suitcase.’

      –from Day 213: Bible In One Year 2017

  3. Put your hope in the coming of the King … 1 Chronicles 11:1-12:22

Let’s take hold of the three virtues…Faith, Hope, and Love! Love is the greatest!

Don’t lose hope! Break the chains of hopelessness that you find around you!

TRUST!


Trust what does it mean to you? Is it easy to give? Is it easy to receive? What does it take? How long does it take? Is there criteria for someone to gain your trust? Anything specific? Who can have it? Who can’t? Where can you find it? Why is it so hard? Why is it so easy?

Trust is defined as:

NOUN
  1. firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something:
    “relations have to be built on trust” · “they have been able to win the trust of the others”
    synonyms: confidence · belief · faith · certainty · assurance · conviction · credence · reliance
    antonyms: distrust · mistrust · doubt
    • acceptance of the truth of a statement without evidence or investigation:
      “I used only primary sources, taking nothing on trust”
    • the state of being responsible for someone or something:
      “a man in a position of trust”
      synonyms: responsibility · duty · obligation
    • literary
      a person or duty for which one has responsibility:
      “rulership is a trust from God”
    • literary
      a hope or expectation:
      “all the great trusts of womanhood”
  2. confidence placed in a person by making that person the nominal owner of property to be held or used for the benefit of one or more others.
  3. a body of trustees.
    • an organization or company managed by trustees:
      “a charitable trust” · “the National Trust for Historic Preservation”
    • US
      dated
      a large company that has or attempts to gain monopolistic control of a market.
  4. commercial credit:
    “my master lived on trust at an alehouse”
VERB
trusts (third person present) · trusted (past tense) · trusted (past participle) · trusting (present participle)
  1. believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of:
    “I should never have trusted her” · “he can be trusted to carry out an impartial investigation” · “a trusted adviser”
    synonyms: rely on · depend on · bank on · count on · be sure of
    • (trust someone with)
      allow someone to have, use, or look after (someone or something of importance or value) with confidence:
      “I’d trust you with my life”
      synonyms: entrust · consign · commit · give · hand over · turn over · assign
    • (trust someone/something to)
      commit (someone or something) to the safekeeping of:
      “they don’t like to trust their money to anyone outside the family”
    • have confidence; hope (used as a polite formula in conversation):
      “I trust that you have enjoyed this book”
      synonyms: hope · expect · take it · assume · presume · suppose
    • have faith or confidence:
      “she trusted in the powers of justice”
      synonyms: put one’s trust in · have faith in · have (every) confidence in · believe in · pin one’s hopes/faith on · confide in
      antonyms: distrust · mistrust · doubt
    • (trust to)
      place reliance on (luck, fate, or something else over which one has little control):
      “trusting to the cover of night, I ventured out”
  2. allow credit to (a customer).

So what about God? Do you trust Him? Will you trust Him? What would it take for you to start trusting in Him right here and right now? What are the obstacles keeping you from being able to trust Him? To give Him all of your heart? To give Him all control? We all have freewill and because of that we need to choose – individually. He loves us so much that He doesn’t want us to be robots but rather to choose on our own.

Unfortunately some people take that freewill and choose to do things that aren’t very nice and can really hurt others. Hurting people hurt people. Will you trust God enough to receive Him and try to make a difference in the lives of the hurting people around you?

God is love! God so loved the world that He sent Jesus, His one and only Son, who came and gave His life on the cross as one sacrifice to cover all and enable us to be reconciled to God! We get to choose if we will receive that gift of God! We get to choose if we will ask Him into our hearts and lives! We get to choose if we will trust Him!

Have you gone thru some pain that has strengthened your faith? Have there been things that have happened to you that in the moment were horrible but built your faith and trust? I know for me the best example I have is around forgiveness. I was on a downward spiral because of what had happened and how I was being treated. I kept receiving message that I needed to give them forgiveness but I had so many reasons for why I shouldn’t and I couldn’t because of what they had done to me. Until that day when I got to my tipping point and listened to what God said. I trusted Him but wasn’t being obedient to Him until that tipping point. 7×70 came on the radio and the process of forgiveness began…first to those who had hurt me and then I heard that still quiet voice say “as you forgive others, I will forgive you” and started asking God to forgive me for not having listened and forgiven earlier. God brought a peace over me that goes beyond all understanding and comprehension, the anger, the bitterness, the frustration, the hate, … gone – all gone, God removed them and repaired my heart and mind and I was transformed and walked out a new me. With God all things are possible! Nothing is impossible with God! I praise Jesus for having taught me the lesson. I would never have asked for it to happen to me, but with the hundreds of people I have been able to share the hope and power of forgiveness, I was able to speak hope, life, and truth into the lives so many thanks to God’s patience with me and being able to help me to forgive others.


Trust in the Lord

Day 190: Bible In One Year 2017

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/190

Devotional, Psalms 82, Acts of the Apostles 27:13-44, 2 Kings 18, 2 Kings 19:1-13


  1. Trust in the Lord in the midst of injustice and oppression … Psalm 82:1-8
  2. Trust in the Lord in the midst of disaster and turmoil … Acts 27:13-44
  3. Trust in the Lord in the midst of evil and distress … 2 Kings 18:1-19:13

Do you realize what is going on?


Are you lamenting over what is taking place? Are you worried or concerned? Are you sad or depressed?

Do you realize there is a way to have hope beyond all circumstances? Do you realize that we are in the midst of the season that celebrates His birth? Jesus is the reason for this Christmas season!

Today’s reading has interesting bookends starting with two chapters from the book of Lamentations and closing out with one chapter from the book of Philippians.

Let’s read thru them together today and take hold as we get to the end that no matter what is going on we can have hope, we can find hope, and we can share hope because of Jesus!

1How deserted lies the city,
once so full of people!
How like a widow is she,
who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces
has now become a slave.
2Bitterly she weeps at night,
tears are on her cheeks.
Among all her lovers
there is no one to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her;
they have become her enemies.
3After affliction and harsh labor,
Judah has gone into exile.
She dwells among the nations;
she finds no resting place.
All who pursue her have overtaken her
in the midst of her distress.
4The roads to Zion mourn,
for no one comes to her appointed festivals.
All her gateways are desolate,
her priests groan,
her young women grieve,
and she is in bitter anguish.
5Her foes have become her masters;
her enemies are at ease.
The Lord has brought her grief
because of her many sins.
Her children have gone into exile,
captive before the foe.
6All the splendor has departed
from Daughter Zion.
Her princes are like deer
that find no pasture;
in weakness they have fled
before the pursuer.
7In the days of her affliction and wandering
Jerusalem remembers all the treasures
that were hers in days of old.
When her people fell into enemy hands,
there was no one to help her.
Her enemies looked at her
and laughed at her destruction.
8Jerusalem has sinned greatly
and so has become unclean.
All who honored her despise her,
for they have all seen her naked;
she herself groans
and turns away.
9Her filthiness clung to her skirts;
she did not consider her future.
Her fall was astounding;
there was none to comfort her.
“Look, Lord, on my affliction,
for the enemy has triumphed.”
10The enemy laid hands
on all her treasures;
she saw pagan nations
enter her sanctuary—
those you had forbidden
to enter your assembly.
11All her people groan
as they search for bread;
they barter their treasures for food
to keep themselves alive.
“Look, Lord, and consider,
for I am despised.”
12“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
Look around and see.
Is any suffering like my suffering
that was inflicted on me,
that the Lord brought on me
in the day of his fierce anger?
13“From on high he sent fire,
sent it down into my bones.
He spread a net for my feet
and turned me back.
He made me desolate,
faint all the day long.
14“My sins have been bound into a yoke;
by his hands they were woven together.
They have been hung on my neck,
and the Lord has sapped my strength.
He has given me into the hands
of those I cannot withstand.
15“The Lord has rejected
all the warriors in my midst;
he has summoned an army against me
to crush my young men.
In his winepress the Lord has trampled
Virgin Daughter Judah.
16“This is why I weep
and my eyes overflow with tears.
No one is near to comfort me,
no one to restore my spirit.
My children are destitute
because the enemy has prevailed.”
17Zion stretches out her hands,
but there is no one to comfort her.
The Lord has decreed for Jacob
that his neighbors become his foes;
Jerusalem has become
an unclean thing among them.
18“The Lord is righteous,
yet I rebelled against his command.
Listen, all you peoples;
look on my suffering.
My young men and young women
have gone into exile.
19“I called to my allies
but they betrayed me.
My priests and my elders
perished in the city
while they searched for food
to keep themselves alive.
20“See, Lord, how distressed I am!
I am in torment within,
and in my heart I am disturbed,
for I have been most rebellious.
Outside, the sword bereaves;
inside, there is only death.
21“People have heard my groaning,
but there is no one to comfort me.
All my enemies have heard of my distress;
they rejoice at what you have done.
May you bring the day you have announced
so they may become like me.
22“Let all their wickedness come before you;
deal with them
as you have dealt with me
because of all my sins.
My groans are many
and my heart is faint.”

–Lamentations 1

1How the Lord has covered Daughter Zion
with the cloud of his anger!
He has hurled down the splendor of Israel
from heaven to earth;
he has not remembered his footstool
in the day of his anger.
2Without pity the Lord has swallowed up
all the dwellings of Jacob;
in his wrath he has torn down
the strongholds of Daughter Judah.
He has brought her kingdom and its princes
down to the ground in dishonor.
3In fierce anger he has cut off
every horn of Israel.
He has withdrawn his right hand
at the approach of the enemy.
He has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire
that consumes everything around it.
4Like an enemy he has strung his bow;
his right hand is ready.
Like a foe he has slain
all who were pleasing to the eye;
he has poured out his wrath like fire
on the tent of Daughter Zion.
5The Lord is like an enemy;
he has swallowed up Israel.
He has swallowed up all her palaces
and destroyed her strongholds.
He has multiplied mourning and lamentation
for Daughter Judah.
6He has laid waste his dwelling like a garden;
he has destroyed his place of meeting.
The Lord has made Zion forget
her appointed festivals and her Sabbaths;
in his fierce anger he has spurned
both king and priest.
7The Lord has rejected his altar
and abandoned his sanctuary.
He has given the walls of her palaces
into the hands of the enemy;
they have raised a shout in the house of the Lord
as on the day of an appointed festival.
8The Lord determined to tear down
the wall around Daughter Zion.
He stretched out a measuring line
and did not withhold his hand from destroying.
He made ramparts and walls lament;
together they wasted away.
9Her gates have sunk into the ground;
their bars he has broken and destroyed.
Her king and her princes are exiled among the nations,
the law is no more,
and her prophets no longer find
visions from the Lord.
10The elders of Daughter Zion
sit on the ground in silence;
they have sprinkled dust on their heads
and put on sackcloth.
The young women of Jerusalem
have bowed their heads to the ground.
11My eyes fail from weeping,
I am in torment within;
my heart is poured out on the ground
because my people are destroyed,
because children and infants faint
in the streets of the city.
12They say to their mothers,
“Where is bread and wine?”
as they faint like the wounded
in the streets of the city,
as their lives ebb away
in their mothersʼ arms.
13What can I say for you?
With what can I compare you,
Daughter Jerusalem?
To what can I liken you,
that I may comfort you,
Virgin Daughter Zion?
Your wound is as deep as the sea.
Who can heal you?
14The visions of your prophets
were false and worthless;
they did not expose your sin
to ward off your captivity.
The prophecies they gave you
were false and misleading.
15All who pass your way
clap their hands at you;
they scoff and shake their heads
at Daughter Jerusalem:
“Is this the city that was called
the perfection of beauty,
the joy of the whole earth?”
16All your enemies open their mouths
wide against you;
they scoff and gnash their teeth
and say, “We have swallowed her up.
This is the day we have waited for;
we have lived to see it.”
17The Lord has done what he planned;
he has fulfilled his word,
which he decreed long ago.
He has overthrown you without pity,
he has let the enemy gloat over you,
he has exalted the horn of your foes.
18The hearts of the people
cry out to the Lord.
You walls of Daughter Zion,
let your tears flow like a river
day and night;
give yourself no relief,
your eyes no rest.
19Arise, cry out in the night,
as the watches of the night begin;
pour out your heart like water
in the presence of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him
for the lives of your children,
who faint from hunger
at every street corner.
20“Look, Lord, and consider:
Whom have you ever treated like this?
Should women eat their offspring,
the children they have cared for?
Should priest and prophet be killed
in the sanctuary of the Lord?
21“Young and old lie together
in the dust of the streets;
my young men and young women
have fallen by the sword.
You have slain them in the day of your anger;
you have slaughtered them without pity.
22“As you summon to a feast day,
so you summoned against me terrors on every side.
In the day of the Lordʼs anger
no one escaped or survived;
those I cared for and reared
my enemy has destroyed.”

–Lamentations 2

Be anxious for nothing but bring your prayers and petitions to God! Put your hope and trust in Him! Do not lose hope! Fear Not, Just Believe!

A psalm of Asaph.
1O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple,
they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble.
2They have left the dead bodies of your servants
as food for the birds of the sky,
the flesh of your own people for the animals of the wild.
3They have poured out blood like water
all around Jerusalem,
and there is no one to bury the dead.
4We are objects of contempt to our neighbors,
of scorn and derision to those around us.
5How long, Lord? Will you be angry forever?
How long will your jealousy burn like fire?
6Pour out your wrath on the nations
that do not acknowledge you,
on the kingdoms
that do not call on your name;
7for they have devoured Jacob
and devastated his homeland.
8Do not hold against us the sins of past generations;
may your mercy come quickly to meet us,
for we are in desperate need.
9Help us, God our Savior,
for the glory of your name;
deliver us and forgive our sins
for your nameʼs sake.
10Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Before our eyes, make known among the nations
that you avenge the outpoured blood of your servants.
11May the groans of the prisoners come before you;
with your strong arm preserve those condemned to die.
12Pay back into the laps of our neighbors seven times
the contempt they have hurled at you, Lord.
13Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
will praise you forever;
from generation to generation
we will proclaim your praise.

–Psalms 79

So let’s grab hold of the fact that we can hope beyond all circumstances thanks to Jesus as we read from Philippians …even in the midst of chains or attacks or pain or suffering or threats or …our lives can be used to glorify God and move forward the Gospel of Christ causing people’s lives to be transformed and reconciled to God!

1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all Godʼs holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:
2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
7It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in Godʼs grace with me. 8God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Paulʼs Chains Advance the Gospel

12Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
15It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19for I know that through your prayers and Godʼs provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Life Worthy of the Gospel

27Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

–Philippians 1

So let’s live a life that is worthy! Let’s stand firm putting on the full armor of God! Let’s stand firm without fear because our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness! He is faithful! So don’t worry, instead believe in Jesus! Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds! We can have hope beyond all circumstances because in this world we will have troubles, but Jesus has overcome the world!

 

 

Is it a lost cause?


Is it too far gone? Is there no hope? Isn’t there something that get this thing turned around? Are we that divided? Are we that far gone? Is there no way for us to come back together? Is there no way for people to turn back to God?

If it’s a lost cause then what now? What will be the point? What will be the purpose?

Have things gotten as bad as what is found in today’s reading that starts with Jeremiah 15? When I consider the world as it is today against what is being said in Jeremiah, I wonder if the end times are getting closer. When I consider the world as it is today, even after Jesus has come to the earth and gave His all, and yet still there is division rather than unity, there is lukewarm rather than hot and cold, there is despair rather than hope. There shouldn’t be despair if we would pick up cross daily and follow after Jesus! Yes there will be troubles and trials, but we should still have joy and hope because Jesus overcame the world! Pure joy when we face trials of any kind! Hope beyond our circumstances!

Could it be that bad that we have walked so far out of the cover of God that we will face even greater challenges? Could it be that we have walked so far away that even though He is waiting for us to turn back and come back, that we are now out having to go it alone?

What’s it going to take for a revival to start up? What’s it going to take for people to wake up to the realities and turn back to God? What’s it going to do for people’s heart to be changed and transformed? What’s it going to take for the church to step up and be the church? What’s it going to take for the high standards and the truth to be spoken across the nation? Why can’t all the churches come together in unity? Why can’t all the churches come together in purpose? Why can’t they all join forces to preach the Good News of Jesus without limits and without fear? How bad would it have to get for that to happen? The Bible hasn’t changed! God’s Word hasn’t changed! Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection hasn’t changed! So what’s it going to take to get back on track?

God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. In Jeremiah 15, we aren’t left without hope. God not only speaks to where they are and in a lot cases where we as a nation are, but also speaks hope when He says

19Therefore thus says Adonai: “If you return, I will restore you, you will stand before Me. If you extract the precious from the worthless, you will be as My mouth. Let them turn to you, but you must not turn to them.
20I will make you a fortified bronze wall to this people. They will fight against you, but will not prevail against you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you.” It is a declaration of Adonai.
21“So I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you out of the grasp of the ruthless.”

We need to turn back to God so that there can be peace, a peace that goes beyond all understanding! We need to stand up for what is right and what is just, standing in gap!

How bad does it have to get before people come together and turn to God fully? Would sounds of joy have to be eliminated before people turn back to God? Would sounds of gladness have to be eliminated before people turn back to God? Would the sounds of happy brides and grooms have to be eliminated before people turn back to God? What’s it going to take? God’s plan is that there will be hope! God’s plan is that there will be a future! God’s plan is that there will be a remnant that will return! Will you be a part of it?

God sees what is going on! Nothing is hidden from His eyes!

Do you hear and see the lies taking place? Do you hear and see the futility? Do you hear and see the useless things? So what will be your response? We each need to make a decision for ourselves!

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness! It’s not me, it’s Him! I pray that there will be less of me and more of Jesus in and through me speaking and shining into the world around me!

Today’s reading continues into Psalms on the topic of Freedom from Terror. There is a God even though there are some that say there isn’t. There is a God even though there are some that don’t believe! He is our pathway to freedom from terror! Through all the evil and darkness that is showing up in the world, there is still hope and light through Jesus! Be encouraged in the Lord! Find vindication through the Lord! Let’s turn this nation around so that it doesn’t get put on the list to be wiped out!

How high does this need to get escalated? Do it need to make it all the way to the top? As Paul had to raise it to the level of Caesar, do we need to raise our concerns to the top? How do we get past the craziness and get to the round and round experiences? What’s it going to take? Some have been plotting and others have been deceiving, so what will you need to do to get past all the lies and cheating? What’s it going to take? Are you willing to step up and step out in faith? Are you willing to make that call? Will you choose to stand up for what is right? Will you choose to raise the stakes for the sake of truth and love and hope and faith?

So are you ready? Are you prepared for what is about to happen? Are you sowing? Are you ready to reap based on what you have sown? Have you sown sparingly and hence will reap sparingly? Have you sown generously and hence will reap generously? Are you a cheerful giver? Are you a hilarious giver? Do you want to receive God’s grace? Would you like to always have enough that you can overflow into doing good works? God provides seed and bread! We need to remember that we are to plant the seed and eat the bread! We aren’t to eat the seed too! Let’s be people who glorify God! Let’s be people who praise God! Let’s align with God and walk in His ways!

Heavenly Father,
You see where things are at and You know the outcome based on the hearts of the people. I pray Lord for Your wisdom and discernment through this time. I pray God that Your perfect will and plan will be fulfilled so that people will look to You and give you the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Your ways are higher than our ways! Your ways are better than our ways! And so Lord I give up my cares and my concerns into Your hands! I put my hope and trust in You! And I know Lord that what the enemy wants to use for evil, You can turn it around and use it for good to those who diligently seek You. So I give this day up to you and ask for Your wisdom and discernment in every step of the day and give you the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Today’s reading comes from: Jeremiah 1516, Psalms 10, Acts 25, and 2 Corinthians 9.

Benefits of alignment with God…


Do you realize there is such thing as absolute truth? Do you realize there is such thing as right and wrong? Do you realize there is such thing as good and evil? Do you realize that we all get to choose? Do you realize that our choices have outcomes? Do you realize that our decisions and our actions have consequences? Do you realize that your thoughts do matter? Do you realize that your beliefs do matter? Do you realize that your actions are driven by them both?

So when you think about your life, how are you aligned? What is the impact of that alignment on yourself and on the world around you?

Are you being fair to one another? Are you taking advantage of others? Are you worshipping people or things that won’t help and are leading you down a trail to destruction? Are you putting your trust in things that will return void? will have no return? Are you living a life that being deceptive? stealing? killing? committing adultery? lying under oath? Do you see this being done by others? If you see something, do you say something?

Why not turn to God and align with Him by being obedient to His commands?

What will happen if you get what you want?

Will be the outcomes and consequences?


Let’s consider what Jeremiah has to share today as there are many parallels throughout time with what is taking place right now…

Jeremiah Speaks at the Temple

1The lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2“Go to the entrance of the lord’s Temple, and give this message to the people: ‘O Judah, listen to this message from the lord! Listen to it, all of you who worship here! 3This is what the lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says:
“‘Even now, if you quit your evil ways, I will let you stay in your own land. 4But don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the lord’s Temple is here. They chant, “The lord’s Temple is here! The lord’s Temple is here!” 5But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice; 6only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols. 7Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever.
8“‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! 9Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, 10and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? 11Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the lord, have spoken!
12“‘Go now to the place at Shiloh where I once put the Tabernacle that bore my name. See what I did there because of all the wickedness of my people, the Israelites. 13While you were doing these wicked things, says the lord, I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer. 14So just as I destroyed Shiloh, I will now destroy this Temple that bears my name, this Temple that you trust in for help, this place that I gave to you and your ancestors. 15And I will send you out of my sight into exile, just as I did your relatives, the people of Israel.’

Judah’s Persistent Idolatry

16“Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don’t beg me to help them, for I will not listen to you. 17Don’t you see what they are doing throughout the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18No wonder I am so angry! Watch how the children gather wood and the fathers build sacrificial fires. See how the women knead dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. And they pour out liquid offerings to their other idol gods! 19Am I the one they are hurting?” asks the lord. “Most of all, they hurt themselves, to their own shame.”
20So this is what the Sovereign lord says: “I will pour out my terrible fury on this place. Its people, animals, trees, and crops will be consumed by the unquenchable fire of my anger.”
21This is what the lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Take your burnt offerings and your other sacrifices and eat them yourselves! 22When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them. 23This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’
24“But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward. 25From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets—day in and day out. 26But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful—even worse than their ancestors.
27“Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond. 28Say to them, ‘This is the nation whose people will not obey the lord their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips. 29Shave your head in mourning, and weep alone on the mountains. For the lord has rejected and forsaken this generation that has provoked his fury.’

The Valley of Slaughter

30“The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes,” says the lord. “They have set up their abominable idols right in the Temple that bears my name, defiling it. 31They have built pagan shrines at Topheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing! 32So beware, for the time is coming,” says the lord, “when that garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. They will bury the bodies in Topheth until there is no more room for them. 33The bodies of my people will be food for the vultures and wild animals, and no one will be left to scare them away. 34I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in the streets of Jerusalem. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard in the towns of Judah. The land will lie in complete desolation.

–from Jeremiah 7

Do you hear what the news is telling you? Do you hear how it varies by source? Do you know what is truth? Do you realize which is truth and which is deception? Do you realize what is truth and what is false?

Do you see where you are at? Did you fall down? Will you get back up? Are you on the wrong road? Will you turn around in order to get back on track?

I really don’t want to see history repeat itself and watch people walk away from God and not turn back. I don’t want them to fall and not get back up. I don’t want them to be clueless of where they are at. The truth will set them free — if they are willing to hear it and receive it!

Don’t be deceived by greed! Don’t be deceived by frauds!

Do you know Jesus? Or do you have a peace which really isn’t peaceful.

Do you know Jesus and even in the midst of chaos or craziness you are able to find a peace that goes beyond all understanding?

Do you know Jesus? Or do you have a hope that is more like wishing?

Do you know Jesus and even in the midst of trials and troubles you have hope beyond your circumstances?

1“In that day,” says the lord, “the enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people of Jerusalem. 2They will spread out their bones on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars—the gods my people have loved, served, and worshiped. Their bones will not be gathered up again or buried but will be scattered on the ground like manure. 3And the people of this evil nation who survive will wish to die rather than live where I will send them. I, the lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!

Deception by False Prophets

4“Jeremiah, say to the people, ‘This is what the lord says:
“‘When people fall down, don’t they get up again?
When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back?
5Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path?
Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back?
They cling tightly to their lies
and will not turn around.
6I listen to their conversations
and don’t hear a word of truth.
Is anyone sorry for doing wrong?
Does anyone say, “What a terrible thing I have done”?
No! All are running down the path of sin
as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle!
7Even the stork that flies across the sky
knows the time of her migration,
as do the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane.
They all return at the proper time each year.
But not my people!
They do not know the lord’s laws.
8“‘How can you say, “We are wise because we have the word of the lord,”
when your teachers have twisted it by writing lies?
9These wise teachers will fall
into the trap of their own foolishness,
for they have rejected the word of the lord.
Are they so wise after all?
10I will give their wives to others
and their farms to strangers.
From the least to the greatest,
their lives are ruled by greed.
Yes, even my prophets and priests are like that.
They are all frauds.
11They offer superficial treatments
for my people’s mortal wound.
They give assurances of peace
when there is no peace.
12Are they ashamed of these disgusting actions?
Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush!
Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered.
They will be brought down when I punish them,
says the lord.
13I will surely consume them.
There will be no more harvests of figs and grapes.
Their fruit trees will all die.
Whatever I gave them will soon be gone.
I, the lord, have spoken!’
14“Then the people will say,
‘Why should we wait here to die?
Come, let’s go to the fortified towns and die there.
For the lord our God has decreed our destruction
and has given us a cup of poison to drink
because we sinned against the lord.
15We hoped for peace, but no peace came.
We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror.’
16“The snorting of the enemies’ warhorses can be heard
all the way from the land of Dan in the north!
The neighing of their stallions makes the whole land tremble.
They are coming to devour the land and everything in it—
cities and people alike.
17I will send these enemy troops among you
like poisonous snakes you cannot charm.
They will bite you, and you will die.
I, the lord, have spoken!”

Jeremiah Weeps for Sinful Judah

18My grief is beyond healing;
my heart is broken.
19Listen 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.
20“The harvest is finished,
and the summer is gone,” the people cry,
“yet we are not saved!”
21I hurt with the hurt of my people.
I mourn and am overcome with grief.
22Is there no medicine in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why is there no healing
for the wounds of my people?

–from Jeremiah 8

Would you rather make a course correction or get corrected? Are you willing to do what is right no matter the consequences? Are you willing to be obedient to God no matter the warnings? Are you more interested in your eternity than your present?

Paul’s Journey to Jerusalem

1After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, we sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and then went to Patara. 2There we boarded a ship sailing for Phoenicia. 3We sighted the island of Cyprus, passed it on our left, and landed at the harbor of Tyre, in Syria, where the ship was to unload its cargo.
4We went ashore, found the local believers, and stayed with them a week. These believers prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem. 5When we returned to the ship at the end of the week, the entire congregation, including women and children, left the city and came down to the shore with us. There we knelt, prayed, 6and said our farewells. Then we went aboard, and they returned home.
7The next stop after leaving Tyre was Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed for one day. 8The next day we went on to Caesarea and stayed at the home of Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen to distribute food. 9He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy.
10Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. 11He came over, took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.’” 12When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
13But he said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” 14When it was clear that we couldn’t persuade him, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

Paul Arrives at Jerusalem

15After this we packed our things and left for Jerusalem. 16Some believers from Caesarea accompanied us, and they took us to the home of Mnason, a man originally from Cyprus and one of the early believers. 17When we arrived, the brothers and sisters in Jerusalem welcomed us warmly.
18The next day Paul went with us to meet with James, and all the elders of the Jerusalem church were present. 19After greeting them, Paul gave a detailed account of the things God had accomplished among the Gentiles through his ministry.
20After hearing this, they praised God. And then they said, “You know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they all follow the law of Moses very seriously. 21But the Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They’ve heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs. 22What should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come.
23“Here’s what we want you to do. We have four men here who have completed their vow. 24Go with them to the Temple and join them in the purification ceremony, paying for them to have their heads ritually shaved. Then everyone will know that the rumors are all false and that you yourself observe the Jewish laws.
25“As for the Gentile believers, they should do what we already told them in a letter: They should abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality.”

Paul Is Arrested

26So Paul went to the Temple the next day with the other men. They had already started the purification ritual, so he publicly announced the date when their vows would end and sacrifices would be offered for each of them.
27The seven days were almost ended when some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the Temple and roused a mob against him. They grabbed him, 28yelling, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who preaches against our people everywhere and tells everybody to disobey the Jewish laws. He speaks against the Temple—and even defiles this holy place by bringing in Gentiles.” 29(For earlier that day they had seen him in the city with Trophimus, a Gentile from Ephesus, and they assumed Paul had taken him into the Temple.)
30The whole city was rocked by these accusations, and a great riot followed. Paul was grabbed and dragged out of the Temple, and immediately the gates were closed behind him. 31As they were trying to kill him, word reached the commander of the Roman regiment that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32He immediately called out his soldiers and officers and ran down among the crowd. When the mob saw the commander and the troops coming, they stopped beating Paul.
33Then the commander arrested him and ordered him bound with two chains. He asked the crowd who he was and what he had done. 34Some shouted one thing and some another. Since he couldn’t find out the truth in all the uproar and confusion, he ordered that Paul be taken to the fortress. 35As Paul reached the stairs, the mob grew so violent the soldiers had to lift him to their shoulders to protect him. 36And the crowd followed behind, shouting, “Kill him, kill him!”

Paul Speaks to the Crowd

37As Paul was about to be taken inside, he said to the commander, “May I have a word with you?”
“Do you know Greek?” the commander asked, surprised. 38“Aren’t you the Egyptian who led a rebellion some time ago and took 4,000 members of the Assassins out into the desert?”
39“No,” Paul replied, “I am a Jew and a citizen of Tarsus in Cilicia, which is an important city. Please, let me talk to these people.” 40The commander agreed, so Paul stood on the stairs and motioned to the people to be quiet. Soon a deep silence enveloped the crowd, and he addressed them in their own language, Aramaic.

–from Acts 21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bad things happening doesn’t mean you did something wrong.


We hear and see the type of news that makes TV, and usually they don’t report much good news. With the tragedies that take place, we can’t really judge exactly why it happens. We know that it rains on the good and bad. We know that in this world there will be troubles. We know that we are to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds. So don’t judge others because of the circumstances they are facing. God can take what the devil has purposed for evil and turn it around and use it for good. Being with God makes a difference, because we can have hope through the storms and through the valley, whereas those who don’t know and have no relationship with God fear death and aren’t sure where to turn to find hope. Everyone will be judged in the end, at the ultimate judgment seat of Jesus, but until that time, we all get a chance to make a choice. Will we follow after Jesus with the reward of eternity with God or will we not and receive the judgment of eternity apart from God? We all get a chance to choose, so choose wisely!

Today’s reading continues in Job and I still have hope because I know that in the end God turns it around and restores Job. Today’s reading though, we are still on the journey as we read Job 27 and 28. In the end there is justice. Until then, call upon the Lord! Cry out to Him and allow Him to speak into your moment, your trial, your troubles. Allow there to be joy even when the world doesn’t expect any. Allow there to be peace even through the turmoil. Allow there to be hope because you know where your hope comes from. And be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within you. God goes before you to prepare the good work He has for you to do. Ask Him for wisdom and discernment to help you be bold and courageous to get it done.

Job 27, we hear from Job the reasons why it may look like the people who are against God may look like they are increasing or their net value is increasing. He speaks to why the wicked may think or feel like they are getting away with something. But you can’t and won’t fool God. God knows your heart! He sees beyond your words and acts.

Do you realize where you need to turn to get and find wisdom? God is the answer! Job 28, the topic of where wisdom can’t be found is discussed. And concludes with where we can find wisdom and get understanding. Do you know where to turn to find wisdom? Do you know how to find understanding?

‘The fear of the Lord —that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’

–from Job 28:28

Today’s reading continues into Luke where Jesus speaks to people about not be discouraged, but rather should always pray! Walking in relationship with God is the key! Taking a hold of His truths is what we need! Luke 18 puts it this way..

2He said, “There was a judge in a certain city who neither feared God nor respected people.
3And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me justice against my opponent.’
4“He was unwilling at the time. But afterward he said to himself, ‘Although I don’t fear God or respect people,
5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice so she won’t wear me out by her incessant coming.’”
6Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge is saying.
7Won’t God do justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He be slow to help them?
8I tell you, He will quickly give them justice. But when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
–from Luke 18

Don’t be so proud, so self-confident, so sure of yourself that you think you don’t need God! Jesus’ next spoke to those types of people saying…

10“Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
11The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘O God, I thank You that I am not like other people—thieving, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
12I fast twice a week and tithe on all that I get.’
13“But the tax collector, standing some distance away, wouldn’t even lift his eyes toward heaven, but beat his chest, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’
14I tell you, this man, rather than the other, went down to his home declared righteous. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
–from Luke 18

Jesus is for everyone and we shouldn’t be trying keep anyone from meeting with Him! Luke continues as people were trying to bring their babies to Him and the disciples began rebuking them. Jesus responded…

“Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

17Amen, I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
–from Luke 18:16-17

God is the only one who is good, there is no darkness in Him. Jesus confronts a religious leader who asked Him what they needed to do to inherit the kingdom of God because he had called Jesus “Good Teacher”. In response Jesus speaks …

20You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’”

–from Luke 18

And the leader responded that He has kept those commandments from his youth. And to that Jesus replied…

“One thing you still lack. Sell all, as much as you have, and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.”

–from Luke 18:22

This created distress in the leader for he was very rich. It’s hard when you think you have it all to be able to humble yourself enough to accept or receive God! It may even seem impossible for or to some! But all things are possible with God! We see this in Jesus’ response as He says…

“How hard it is for the rich to enter into the kingdom of God!

25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26Then those who heard said, “Then who can be saved?”
–from Luke 18:24-26
To which Jesus says…

“What is impossible with men is possible with God.” –from Luke 18:27

Knowing everything he had given up, Peter asks Jesus “what about them?” And Jesus responded saying…

“Amen, I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much in this age; and in the olam ha-ba , eternal life.”

–from Luke 18:29-30

Jesus knew his time was coming soon and spoke it to the disciples, but it was still hidden, unclear to them. But they would remember it when God’s plan was played out.

Would you or will you allow others to keep you quiet and miss out what God has in store for you? Would you be kept from the miracle that God has planned for your life to transform you into the person God created you to be? The blind man on the street wasn’t going to let that happen…This year’s reading is so incredible going through the TLV (provided through the Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society) translation of the Bible.

35Now as Yeshua was approaching Jericho, a certain blind man was sitting by the road, begging.
36But when he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening.
37They told him that Yeshua ha-Natzrati was passing by.
38And he cried out, saying, “Yeshua, Ben-David, have mercy on me!”
39And those leading the way were scolding him, so he would be quiet. But he kept shouting all the more, “Ben-David, have mercy on me!”
40So Yeshua stopped and ordered the blind man to be brought to Him. And when he came near, Yeshua asked him,
41“What do you want Me to do for you?” And he said, “Master, I want to see again!”
42Yeshua said to him, “Receive your sight. Your faith has made you well.”
43Immediately the man received his sight and began following Yeshua, glorifying God. And when all the people saw it, they also gave praise to God.
–from Luke 18

So today, what are you in need of? What are you looking for? What are you hoping for? Remember where wisdom comes from! Remember where to turn! And don’t give up or get discouraged! God is the answer! His Word is alive and speaks right into our very moment!

Today’s reading concludes with Revelation 13 and the end of the story continues. Whom will you follow? Will you be deceived and not follow Jesus? Will you seek and find the truth with Jesus? He is the way, the truth, and the light! Following after Him and we will find the Father!

We see in today’s reading the two beasts. We see the deception. We see the lies and it is told like this…

Two Beasts

1Then I saw a beast rising out of the sea, that had ten horns and seven heads. On his horns were ten royal crowns, and upon his heads were slanderous names.
2Now the beast that I saw was like a leopard, his feet like a bear’s, and his mouth like a lion’s. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.
3One of his heads seemed to have been slain, but the fatal wound was healed. The whole earth was amazed and followed the beast.
4And they worshiped the dragon, because he had given authority to the beast. They also worshiped the beast, chanting, “Who is like the beast, and who can make war against him?”
5The beast was given a mouth uttering great boasts and blasphemies. It was given authority to act for forty-two months.
6Then he opened his mouth with blasphemies against God, to slander His name and His tabernacle—that is, those dwelling in heaven.
7He was also permitted to make war against the kedoshim and overcome them, and he was given authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation.
8All who dwell on the earth shall worship him—everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the Book of Life of the Lamb who was slain.
9If anyone has an ear, let him hear.
10If anyone is meant for captivity, to captivity he goes. If anyone is to be killed by the sword, by the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and faith of the kedoshim.
11Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.
12He exercises all the authority of the first beast before him, and he makes the earth and all those who dwell in it worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.
13He performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven in the sight of men.
14And he deceives those who dwell on the earth through the signs he is permitted to perform, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image in honor of the beast who has the sword wound yet lived.
15The second beast was permitted to give life to the image of the first beast, so that the image of the beast could even speak and cause all who would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
16He also causes all—the small and the great, the rich and the poor, the free and the slave—to receive a mark on their right hand or upon their forehead.
17And so no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark—either the name of the beast or the number of his name.
18Here is wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number of a man, and his number is 666.
–from Revelation 13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever had a day or days feeling pointless?


Ever been through days, weeks, months or longer where you are asking or feeling what’s the point? Ever had times where you are wondering what’s the use? Or feeling hopeless? Or feeling like you are failing? Or feeling hollow? Or feeling ineffective?

What do you do? Where do you turn? How do you turn it around?

Today’s reading starts in Job 7 titled Futility of Days. He was feeling that way too. He was questioning life. Consider purpose. Wallowing in his situation. Feeling powerless to be able to change his situation. Feeling the agony of his aches and pains. Speaking to the hopeless it brings, the shortness of life. Asking why? What is it about mankind that God even cares? Asking what did I do? Why have I been targeted? Have I become a burden to You God? Why won’t He forgive him and take away his iniquity? And concludes talking to the point that once he is dead and gone, he wouldn’t be around to see.

Today’s reading continues into Job 8, where another friend jumps into the conversation, Bildad who speaks to the point of God restores the Righteous. Bildad starts with reprimanding Job and then speaking to how hypocrites will be destroyed and then concludes by applying God’s just dealing to Job. The thing is that we all need to realize is that a big affliction (disorder, disease, complaint, ailment, trouble, illness, handicap) doesn’t mean there was extraordinary sin(s), sometime they are trials of extra ordinary grace and so we need to look to take the favorable side when we see people facing trials and afflictions. We need to be pointing people back to Jesus! To His grace, His mercy, and His perfect plan that we read and know from Jeremiah 29:11 – which is good and is to give them a hope and a future.

We can’t lose hope! We need to keep and put our hope in God, Jesus came that we could have life and life to the full! He told us we would have troubles, but He told us that so we would know and to also be able to take hold of the fact that He has overcome the world. So don’t lose hope! Run to God! Turn to God! And hear Him and walk in that! Don’t resist Him. We can resist the devil because then he will flee, but we shouldn’t resist the prompting of the Holy Spirit speaking with His still quiet voice to guide us, lead us, prompt us, direct us, correct us, instruct us, comfort us and more.

Today’s reading brings us into Luke 9 to conclude today’s message. And do see where it begins, it’s Jesus’ first effort of sending out the disciples giving them power and authority to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He prepares them to know what they should and should take as well as what they should expect. (take nothing) He prepares them in what to do and where to go and where to stay and how to respond. We see that they went out with the power and the authority given to them by Jesus.

Do you do that? Do you start your day going to Jesus to get filled up and then go out into the world to complete the work He has called to you accomplish?

And we see the imaginable feats they accomplish proclaiming the Good News and healing everywhere. It created quite the stir even to the point of getting Herod’s attention.

Next we read about the miracle of feeding a large group with 5 loves and 2 fish. The crowd was following after Jesus and they ended up in a place far from any city and it was concerning to the 12 and so they asked Him if He could send them away for they didn’t have enough food or lodging for all those people. But Jesus responded … “You give them something to eat!” …

Imagine that “you give them something to eat!” If it was you and helping the homeless person on the side of the road or you and a friend and spotted a family or … you might feel ok helping right? What if it was you and 11 of your friends, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, and not only did you have to feed 5000 men, but also their families who were with them. Would you be considering the financial implication? Would you be considering how and where would you be able to get the resources necessary to make that a reality? Would you check within the group to see if anyone had anything? What if you realized you only had 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish? Imagine the situation. Imagine the concerns and the questions. What could be done? Would you remember that with God all things are possible? Would you remember everything that Jesus had done before and how when He gave you power and authority the miracles that were possible? Or would you just think there is no way? Let’s take a look and see what happens here. He tells His disciples to get them to sit in groups of 50 and then…

16And He took the five loaves and the two fish; and looking up to heaven, He offered the bracha and broke them. And He kept giving them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17Then they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of the fragments.
–from Luke 9

Can you imagine that? Can you imagine what would be the surprise to give up your 5 loaves and 2 fish and to get back twelve baskets of leftovers?

Where will you put your trust? Will you take that trust and step out to do what God is calling you to do today? Will you just trust in Him and allow Him to do things in and through you that you would have considered impossible? If He calls you to it, He will get you through it!

The reading continues and we have the benefit of getting to read it. It was a secret time between Jesus and His disciples. It allows us a view into who Jesus is, who others thought Jesus was, and what the disciples who were with Him thought He was.

We hear that others thought that John the Baptist and other Elijah and others some prophet.

We hear that his disciples thought He was the Messiah of God!

Jesus told them to keep it to themselves until after He had suffered. We know that means the cross and resurrection, but back then they wouldn’t have realized what He meant.

So we need to give up our selfish ways and follow after Jesus! We need to take up our cross daily and follow after Him! By giving up our lives to Jesus, we save it!

Is there any purpose or benefit to all the money all the toys all the glamour if you give up your soul in the end? Don’t we want to end up in Heaven at the end of this life? Don’t we want to live in the promise from God? So let’s receive Him! Let’s accept Him! Let’s follow Him! Let’s answer the call!

We don’t want to reject or be ashamed of Him! We don’t want to act like we don’t know Him!

Would we want Him to do that to us when we get to the door heaven and then hear Him say, “I never new you“? We don’t want him to be ashamed of us before the Father and holy angels, right?

Today’s reading in Luke 9 continues and we see Jesus taking 3 disciples up the mountain to pray. To their amazement while He was praying His face changed, His clothing flashed like white lightning and it didn’t end there, Moses and Elijah both appeared and were talking with Him.

Wow! What would you do? How would you respond? I am sure shock would set in but consider how you would respond. 🙂

When the 3 woke up, because they fell asleep while He was praying, look what they found.

Peter was happy they had gotten to witness this. He wondered if they should make 3 memorials of this? But before an answer came a cloud came over them and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. Then a voice came out of the cloud saying “This is My Son, the One I have chosen. Listen to Him!” And then it was just the 3 of them and Jesus and kept quiet about what they had seen.

Wow, what an event, what a time.

The next day they came down from the mountain and were met by a large crowd.

From the crowd, a man whose son had been taken by a spirit cried out to Jesus begging for His help since His disciples hadn’t been able to help. So Jesus told the man to bring Him his son and as he did the demon knocked him down and threw the boy into convulsions, but Jesus rebuked the demon and healed the boy and restored him to his father.

All were amazed at the mighty power of God! While the crowd was in amazement, Jesus to His disciples to put these words into their ears “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men” and they didn’t get it and all were afraid to ask Him about it.

Ever been at a place or in a situation where people start to bicker about whose the best, who will be the best, who will be first, who will be the greatest? It’s human nature and it even got to the disciples. In today’s reading we see how Jesus responds when it breaks out…He takes a child and sets him by His side and starts…

“Whoever welcomes this child in My name, welcomes Me. And whoever welcomes Me, welcomes the One who sent Me. The one who is the least among all of you is the one who is great.”

–from Luke 9:48

And John jumped in questioning others who were trying do things in Jesus’ name who weren’t in the “group” and how they tried to stop him. But Jesus said

Do not stop him, for he who is not against you is for you.

–from Luke 9:50

Our human nature and God’s nature aren’t always in sync. We may get angry and want to retaliate. But we need to remember the battle belongs to the Lord! We need to be able to let it go and move on! We need to keep our eyes on the goal on the prize. We need to keep our eyes looking forward not back! We can leave the past where it belongs behind us. We need to be living as the new creations God has made us rather than allowing the devil to keep bringing up our past in order to try and snare us or trip us up.

As I tell my son when he wants to race to keep looking in front of him, not back to see where I am at or I will pass him on the other side. Similarly when we are doing hard work (imagine a heavy equipment operator looking back while the vehicle is moving forward…bad idea). We need to keep our eyes on the calling God has given us!

 

 

 

 

 

Are you facing troubles today?


Where will you turn? Who will you go to? Who can you trust? Where does your help come from? Where does your hope come from? Don’t give up! Don’t lost hope! Turn to God! Even our friends with best intentions may not fully get it, but God does. He knows the beginning from the end. He knows the purpose and the plan He has for you – and it is good – He wants to give you a hope and a future. He can use what the enemy plans for evil and turn it around and use it for good. So turn to God and allow Him to show you the way and speak hope, life, truth, wisdom, discernment, direction, correction and more into your life!

Today’s reading begins in Job 5 with a different friend speaking to him. We see how his friend tries to reprimand, rebuke Job, because he believes that God’s judgment is for the wicked and not seeing that the devil is the one testing and tormenting Job. He concludes with a vision of God.

Although his friend believes that God is correcting Job and it doesn’t fully apply, his words do speak truth and life and that if we are facing troubles we need to lift it up to God (from a vision)! He puts it this way…He first warns with about being about being or becoming a fool and the risk and pains. He speaks even a word similar to what Jesus spoke in John 16:33, but puts it this way “man is born for trouble, as surely as sparks fly upward.”

And speaks to turning to God and the benefits of laying our cause out before Him…

9Who does great things beyond comprehension, wonders without number.
10Who gives rain to the earth and sends water over the plains.
11Who places the lowly on high and lifts mourners to salvation.
12Who frustrates the plans of the crafty, so that their hands attain no success.
13Who catches the clever in their craftiness, and thwarts the plan of the cunning.
14By day they encounter darkness and grope at noon as if it were night.
15But He saves the needy from the sword of their mouth, and from the clutches of the mighty.
16So the helpless have hope and injustice shuts its mouth.
17Behold, happy is the one whom God corrects, so do not despise the discipline of Shaddai.
18For He inflicts pain, but He also binds up; He injures, yet His hands also heal.
19From six calamities He will deliver you, even in seven, no harm will touch you.
20In famine, He will redeem you from death, and in war, from the power of the sword.
21You will be hidden from the lash of the tongue, and not fear when violence comes.
22You will laugh at violence and famine, and will not fear the beasts of the earth.
23For you will have a covenant with the stones of the field, and the beasts of the field will be at peace with you.
24You will know shalom in your tent, and you will take stock of your home and find nothing missing.
25“You will know that your descendants will be numerous your offspring like the grass of the earth.
26You will come to the grave in vigor, like sheaves of grain in its season.
27Behold, we have investigated this— it is true. Hear it, and apply it to yourself!”
–from Job 5

Our reading continues in Job 6 with Job crying out for justice as his friends even seem to be against him during this rough time. And after raising his petition and concerns, he closes with the following wisdom and ask…

24“Teach me, and I will be silent; explain to me how I have been wrong.
25Honest words are painful, but what does your arguing prove?
26Do you intend to correct my words, and treat the words of a despairing man as wind?
27Would you cast lots for an orphan, and barter over your friend?
28“Now be so kind as to look at me; I will not lie to your face.
29Relent, do not be unjust; reconsider, for my righteousness is in it.
30Is injustice on my tongue? Can my palate not discern evil?”
–from Job 6

Today’s reading concludes in Luke 8. It’s starts with an interesting parable about the sower. It speaks of seeds being scattered and the various types of ground they land on and how that works out. How are you living today? Are you working the ground around you in a way that is making it good soil and ready for God’s seed to be rooted? Are you realizing that even with your good work and good intentions that not all soil ready yet to receive the seeds? Let’s look into today’s text and see what Jesus has to say first to the crowd and then to his disciples…

5“The sower went out to spread his seed. As he sowed, some fell beside the road and was trampled; and the birds of the air ate it up.
6And other seed fell on rock; when it came up, that seed withered away because it had no moisture.
7Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it.
8And other seed fell into the good soil; and when it came up, it produced fruit a hundredfold.” While saying these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
9Now His disciples were asking Him what this parable meant.
10Then Yeshua said to them, “To you has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to the others it is given in parables, in order that ‘Seeing, they may not see, and hearing, they may not understand.’
11“Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.
12Those beside the road are the ones who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they may not believe and be saved.
13But those on the rocky places are the ones who, when they hear, accept the word with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a season, and in a time of testing fall away.
14Now that which fell into the thorns are those who were hearing; but as they go along the way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and they do not bear mature fruit.
15But the seed in the good soil are those with a praiseworthy and good heart, who have heard the word and hold it fast and bear fruit with patient endurance.
–from Luke 8

Next Jesus speaks to how we need to live! We need to let our light shine so that others can see it! We need to reflect the light of the Son into the world around us! Just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, we need to reflect the light of the Son since just as the moon we don’t have our own light, it comes from Jesus! We need to be good stewards of what God gives us! We need to be and live as God’s family!

16“Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it with some object or places it under a bed. But he puts it on a lampstand so that all those who enter may be able to see the light.
17For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor secret that shall not be known and come into open view.
18So pay attention how you listen. For whoever has, to him more will be given. And whoever does not have, even what he supposes he has will be taken away from him.”
19Yeshua’s mother and brothers came to Him, but were not able to reach Him through the crowd.
20Now it was reported to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see You.”
21But answering, He said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who are hearing the word of God and doing it.”
–from Luke 8

In life we will have stormy seas. Things will go up and down and we shouldn’t become scared when we have Jesus with us! Just turn to Him and ask Him to calm the storm in you. Just because everything is going crazy around you doesn’t mean you have to lose control of yourself. When we ask God, sometimes he will calm the storm around us and other times He will just calm the storm in us so that we can walk with that peace He gives, the one that goes beyond all understanding.

In Luke we see how they are crossing a stormy see and when they finally get too scared, they go and wake up Jesus who is at peace and sleeping at the back of the boat. Jesus gets up and rebukes the storm and it calms to the amazement of everyone in the boat as they realize that Jesus has command over everything!

As they arrived on the other side, a man possessed approached them and questioned Jesus. When Jesus asked its name, he said Legion because there are many demons who entered that man. They kept begging Jesus not to command them into the abyss but rather to put them into a heard of pigs that were nearby. So they left the man and entered the pigs which then ran off a cliff into the lake and drowned.

We need to realize even when good is done, not everyone is ready for it. As we spoke at the beginning about the state of the soil when we have good seed to plan, it won’t all produce a good crop. And so we find in today’s reading when people come out to see what happened. Seeing the formerly possessed man sitting and listening to Jesus at his feet, they were frightened. The witnesses told them what had taken place with the man and their response was to ask Jesus and the group to go away due to an overwhelming sense of fear. Some may fear the unexplainable and have reactions we don’t understand. The man wanted to come with Jesus, but Jesus told him to go back home and tell people of everything God had done for him today.

Did you know that God’s timing is perfect? Did you know that even when we might think “Hurry up, let’s go!” He isn’t surprised and He knows what He is doing! Consider if your child was sick and you were trying to get Jesus to come to your house to heal her. Imagine if someone did something to delay His arrival. How would you respond if others came and told you it was too late? Would you still trust in Jesus? Would you believe in Him? Let’s see how it plays out in today’s reading: After healing the woman with the blood issue and the display that followed that interrupted the journey to the man’s house, some people came and said “Your daughter has died. Don’t bother the Teacher anymore.” But Jesus’ response to hearing this was “Do not fear—just keep trusting, and she shall be restored.” When they got to his home, they were mocking Jesus and the family and so Jesus removed/kicked out the unbelievers. Even after Jesus said she is just sleeping they ridiculed Him, so He took the girls hand and said “Child, get up!” Her spirit returned and she arose immediately! Jesus ordered that they get her some food. The parents of course were astonished and amazed, but Jesus ordered them to not say anything about what happened.

 

 

 

 

It may be hard! It may seem hopeless! Don’t lose hope! Don’t give up!


5 “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.

–from Habakkuk 1

Don’t lose hope! Don’t give up!


Just because it doesn’t look the way you think doesn’t mean it isn’t being worked out! Just because it is taking longer than you would like doesn’t mean that it’s not coming! In this world we will face trials, but we are to “consider it pure joy because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Remember the promises! Remember the promises God has given you! He is faithful and true! If you asked, He will answer! The answer may be Yes, No, or Not Yet. He knows what He is doing for His plans and His purposes are for good! He desires that we have hope and a future!

Don’t lose hope & don’t give up!


Today’s reading starts on a road with people who were losing hope because of what they had experienced rather than having hope because of everything Jesus had told and promised them…

The Walk to Emmaus

(Mark 16.12, 13)
13On that same day two of Jesus’ followers were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and they were talking to each other about all the things that had happened. 15As they talked and discussed, Jesus himself drew near and walked along with them; 16they saw him, but somehow did not recognize him. 17Jesus said to them, “What are you talking about to each other, as you walk along?”They stood still, with sad faces. 18One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that have been happening there these last few days?” 19“What things?” he asked.“The things that happened to Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered. “This man was a prophet and was considered by God and by all the people to be powerful in everything he said and did. 20Our chief priests and rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and he was crucified. 21And we had hoped that he would be the one who was going to set Israel free! Besides all that, this is now the third day since it happened. 22Some of the women of our group surprised us; they went at dawn to the tomb, 23but could not find his body. They came back saying they had seen a vision of angels who told them that he is alive. 24Some of our group went to the tomb and found it exactly as the women had said, but they did not see him.” 25Then Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are, how slow you are to believe everything the prophets said! 26Was it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and then to enter his glory?” 27And Jesus explained to them what was said about himself in all the Scriptures, beginning with the books of Moses and the writings of all the prophets. 28As they came near the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther; 29but they held him back, saying, “Stay with us; the day is almost over and it is getting dark.” So he went in to stay with them. 30He sat down to eat with them, took the bread, and said the blessing; then he broke the bread and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. 32They said to each other, “Wasn’t it like a fire burning in us when he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” 33They got up at once and went back to Jerusalem, where they found the eleven disciples gathered together with the others 34and saying, “The Lord is risen indeed! He has appeared to Simon!” 35The two then explained to them what had happened on the road, and how they had recognized the Lord when he broke the bread. –from Luke 24

So just because it doesn’t look the way you expected, it doesn’t feel like you hoped, and it didn’t happen when you expected, don’t lose hope! Is there anything keeping you from being or accomplishing everything God is calling you to be? Is there anything that started as good but became and obstacle? Are there things that you need to stop or get rid of? God will instruct, direct, and correct the ones He loves! So let’s be obedient to His will and walk it out with Him close to us.

God Our Father

1As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses around us. So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. 2Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God’s throne. 3Think of what he went through; how he put up with so much hatred from sinners! So do not let yourselves become discouraged and give up. 4For in your struggle against sin you have not yet had to resist to the point of being killed. 5Have you forgotten the encouraging words which God speaks to you as his children?
“My child, pay attention when the Lord corrects you, and do not be discouraged when he rebukes you. 6Because the Lord corrects everyone he loves, and punishes everyone he accepts as a child.” 7Endure what you suffer as being a father’s punishment; your suffering shows that God is treating you as his children. Was there ever a child who was not punished by his father? 8If you are not punished, as all his children are, it means you are not real children, but bastards. 9In the case of our human fathers, they punished us and we respected them. How much more, then, should we submit to our spiritual Father and live! 10Our human fathers punished us for a short time, as it seemed right to them; but God does it for our own good, so that we may share his holiness. 11When we are punished, it seems to us at the time something to make us sad, not glad. Later, however, those who have been disciplined by such punishment reap the peaceful reward of a righteous life. –from Hebrews 12

Do you need wisdom in what to do? Do you need wisdom in how to do it? Do you need spiritual understanding? Turn to God! Turn to His Word! Today’s reading continues into the book of Proverbs…

1If you get more stubborn every time you are corrected, one day you will be crushed and never recover. 2Show me a righteous ruler and I will show you a happy people. Show me a wicked ruler and I will show you a miserable people. 3If you appreciate wisdom, your parents will be proud of you. It is a foolish waste to spend money on prostitutes. 4When the king is concerned with justice, the nation will be strong, but when he is only concerned with money, he will ruin his country. 5If you flatter your friends, you set a trap for yourself. 6Evil people are trapped in their own sins, while honest people are happy and free. 7A good person knows the rights of the poor, but wicked people cannot understand such things. 8People with no regard for others can throw whole cities into turmoil. Those who are wise keep things calm. 9When an intelligent person brings a lawsuit against a fool, the fool only laughs and becomes loud and abusive. 10Bloodthirsty people hate anyone who’s honest, but righteous people will protect the life of such a person. 11Stupid people express their anger openly, but sensible people are patient and hold it back. 12If a ruler pays attention to false information, all his officials will be liars. 13A poor person and his oppressor have this in common—the Lord gave eyes to both of them. 14If a king defends the rights of the poor, he will rule for a long time.  –from Proverbs 29