The Story Of Job. – Day 11

Ever been to that tipping point where you ask, what’s the point? Ever wonder why do I need to go thru this, is there a purpose? Ever felt like it is futile and that there is nothing you can do? What do you do? Where do you turn? How do you respond? Do you just keep doing what you know how to do? Do you continue to pray and trust God in and they it all? Do you cry and call out to Him for help and strength and hope? What if it feels really bad? What if in the midst of people and friends you feel alone? What if in the midst of your struggle you feel more resistance than you feel support? Will your trust in God and His plan be greater than your pain, your worries, and your sorrows? Will you get up in the midst of it all and put on the full ar,or of God because you know where your help comes from and you are building your life on the solid foundation, the rock of your faith in and through Jesus Christ our Lord? Will you press on in the midst taking hold of the overcoming power of Jesus? Will you press in because God’s Word says to consider it pure joy when you face challenges, trials, and troubles of many kinds? Will you allow your faith to grow by persevering they it all because the joy of the Lord is your strength? Will you persevere so that in the end you will be perfect and complete, lacking nothing thanks to Jesus who paid it all? So how will you get your day started today?

Today’s reading from God’s Word comes from Job 7:

““Is not man forced to labor on earth? And are not his days like the days of a hired man? As a slave earnestly longs for the shade, And as a hired man eagerly awaits his wages, So am I allotted months of futility and suffering, And [long] nights of trouble and misery are appointed to me. When I lie down I say, ‘When shall I arise [and the night be gone]?’ But the night continues, And I am continually tossing until the dawning of day. My body is clothed with worms and a crust of dust; My skin is hardened [and broken and loathsome], and [breaks out and] runs. My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, And are spent without hope. “Remember that my life is but breath [a puff of wind, a sigh]; My eye will not see good again. The eye of him who sees me [now] will see me no more; Your eyes will be upon me, but I will not be. As a cloud vanishes and is gone, So he who goes down to Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) does not come up. He will not return again to his house, Nor will his place know about him anymore.

“Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul [O Lord]. Am I the sea, or the sea monster, That You set a guard over me? When I say, ‘My bed will comfort me, My couch will ease my complaint,’ Then You frighten me with dreams And terrify me through visions, So that I would choose suffocation, Death rather than my pain. I waste away and loathe my life; I will not live forever. Let me alone, for my days are but a breath [futile and without substance]. What is man that You [should] magnify him [and think him important]? And that You are concerned about him? And that You examine him every morning And try and test him every moment? Will You never turn Your gaze away from me [it plagues me], Nor let me alone until I swallow my spittle? If I have sinned, what [harm] have I done to You, O Watcher of mankind? Why have You set me as a target for You, So that I am a burden to myself? Why then do You not pardon my transgression And take away my sin and guilt? For now I will lie down in the dust; And You will seek me [diligently], but I will not be.””

Job 7

Today’s study resources come from:

We see how after refuting Elisha’s in yesterday’s reading, today Job directs his words to God. We learned how in the midst of the trial and test, Job has started to feel like this has all been just a job, like he was just a laborer or someone on military duty where it had become repetitive and joyless situation in which not his is able to comfort him nor bring him any assurance.

We see how he compares it to a hired man, a slave with a tough master, someone who was just looking for a silver lining be it relief or even reward. We learn how he is suffering thru sleepless nights of trouble and misery. We learn how his life had been hateful · detestable · abhorrent · repulsive · odious · repugnant · repellent · disgusting · revolting · sickening · nauseating · abominable · despicable · contemptible · reprehensible · execrable · damnable · hideous · ghastly · vile · horrible · nasty · frightful · obnoxious · gross · foul · offensive · disagreeable · horrid· yucky · bogging · noisomehateful · detestable · abhorrent · repulsive · odious · repugnant · repellent · disgusting · revolting · sickening · nauseating · abominable · despicable · contemptible · reprehensible · execrable · damnable · hideous · ghastly · vile · horrible · nasty · frightful · obnoxious · gross · foul · offensive · disagreeable · horrid· yucky · bogging · noisome because of

“My body is clothed with worms and a crust of dust; My skin is hardened [and broken and loathsome], and [breaks out and] runs.”

Job 7:5 AMP

We learn how hopeless life felt because he was being tossed around like the waves of the see, hopeless because he knows how short life truly is, hopeless because he thought the time of seeing any good in life was fading away.

Today’s reading shows how Job was trying to reconcile in his own mind what could be going on and what God was doing.

We learn in the second half how Job turn to mourn · grieve (for/over) · weep for · shed tears for · sorrow · wail · moan · groan · weep · cry · sob · keen · plain · howl · pine for · beat one’s breast · ululate God. We see how Job start to question his drawn out and prolonged suffering. His words parallel the text from James 4 that say:

“Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen in your life tomorrow. [What is secure in your life?] You are merely a vapor [like a puff of smoke or a wisp of steam from a cooking pot] that is visible for a little while and then vanishes [into thin air].”

James 4:14 AMP

We learn how the pain is so severe and the reality of death that he has to express it. We see how he questions why he is needing to be monitored and watched over so much, was it because he is raging and tumultuous like the sea. We learn how even when people would find rest in going to bed how he still suffers and is faced with nightmares.

We learn how he keeps question the why. What is the point? What is the purpose? Why?

So where are you at today? 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?

Even when you come with the best of intentions, people may still reject you.

Ever had compassion on someone and in your heart you wanted to do something for them? Ever had a situation where you wanted to find a way to help someone else? Ever had a heart filled desire to help others? Ever had them reject your offer? Ever had them reject you? Ever had them accuse you of trying to hurt or manipulate or deceive them? Ever had to put yourself out there in love in order to try and help someone who is in a bad situation? Is it ever wrong to try to do a good thing? Is it ever wrong to try and serve others? Is it ever wrong to offer help to others? Even when you come with the best of intentions, people may reject you or your offer.

We need to remember that we are to never grow weary in doing good! We need to consider who our advisors are and ensure we get the right interpretation.

Today’s reading gets us started with 2 Samuel 10…

‘Some time after this, King Nahash of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun became king. David said, “I am going to show loyalty to Hanun just as his father, Nahash, was always loyal to me.” So David sent ambassadors to express sympathy to Hanun about his father’s death. But when David’s ambassadors arrived in the land of Ammon, the Ammonite commanders said to Hanun, their master, “Do you really think these men are coming here to honor your father? No! David has sent them to spy out the city so they can come in and conquer it!” So Hanun seized David’s ambassadors and shaved off half of each man’s beard, cut off their robes at the buttocks, and sent them back to David in shame. When David heard what had happened, he sent messengers to tell the men, “Stay at Jericho until your beards grow out, and then come back.” For they felt deep shame because of their appearance. When the people of Ammon realized how seriously they had angered David, they sent and hired 20,000 Aramean foot soldiers from the lands of Beth-rehob and Zobah, 1,000 from the king of Maacah, and 12,000 from the land of Tob. When David heard about this, he sent Joab and all his warriors to fight them. The Ammonite troops came out and drew up their battle lines at the entrance of the city gate, while the Arameans from Zobah and Rehob and the men from Tob and Maacah positioned themselves to fight in the open fields. When Joab saw that he would have to fight on both the front and the rear, he chose some of Israel’s elite troops and placed them under his personal command to fight the Arameans in the fields. He left the rest of the army under the command of his brother Abishai, who was to attack the Ammonites. “If the Arameans are too strong for me, then come over and help me,” Joab told his brother. “And if the Ammonites are too strong for you, I will come and help you. Be courageous! Let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. May the Lord ’s will be done.” When Joab and his troops attacked, the Arameans began to run away. And when the Ammonites saw the Arameans running, they ran from Abishai and retreated into the city. After the battle was over, Joab returned to Jerusalem. The Arameans now realized that they were no match for Israel. So when they regrouped, they were joined by additional Aramean troops summoned by Hadadezer from the other side of the Euphrates River. These troops arrived at Helam under the command of Shobach, the commander of Hadadezer’s forces. When David heard what was happening, he mobilized all Israel, crossed the Jordan River, and led the army to Helam. The Arameans positioned themselves in battle formation and fought against David. But again the Arameans fled from the Israelites. This time David’s forces killed 700 charioteers and 40,000 foot soldiers, including Shobach, the commander of their army. When all the kings allied with Hadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they surrendered to Israel and became their subjects. After that, the Arameans were afraid to help the Ammonites.’

2 Samuel 10

‘Now Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jehucal son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malkijah heard what Jeremiah had been telling the people. He had been saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Everyone who stays in Jerusalem will die from war, famine, or disease, but those who surrender to the Babylonians will live. Their reward will be life. They will live!’ The Lord also says: ‘The city of Jerusalem will certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon, who will capture it.’” So these officials went to the king and said, “Sir, this man must die! That kind of talk will undermine the morale of the few fighting men we have left, as well as that of all the people. This man is a traitor!” King Zedekiah agreed. “All right,” he said. “Do as you like. I can’t stop you.” So the officials took Jeremiah from his cell and lowered him by ropes into an empty cistern in the prison yard. It belonged to Malkijah, a member of the royal family. There was no water in the cistern, but there was a thick layer of mud at the bottom, and Jeremiah sank down into it. But Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, an important court official, heard that Jeremiah was in the cistern. At that time the king was holding court at the Benjamin Gate, so Ebed-melech rushed from the palace to speak with him. “My lord the king,” he said, “these men have done a very evil thing in putting Jeremiah the prophet into the cistern. He will soon die of hunger, for almost all the bread in the city is gone.” So the king told Ebed-melech, “Take thirty of my men with you, and pull Jeremiah out of the cistern before he dies.” So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to a room in the palace beneath the treasury, where he found some old rags and discarded clothing. He carried these to the cistern and lowered them to Jeremiah on a rope. Ebed-melech called down to Jeremiah, “Put these rags under your armpits to protect you from the ropes.” Then when Jeremiah was ready, they pulled him out. So Jeremiah was returned to the courtyard of the guard—the palace prison—where he remained. One day King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah and had him brought to the third entrance of the Lord ’s Temple. “I want to ask you something,” the king said. “And don’t try to hide the truth.” Jeremiah said, “If I tell you the truth, you will kill me. And if I give you advice, you won’t listen to me anyway.” So King Zedekiah secretly promised him, “As surely as the Lord our Creator lives, I will not kill you or hand you over to the men who want you dead.” Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “This is what the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you surrender to the Babylonian officers, you and your family will live, and the city will not be burned down. But if you refuse to surrender, you will not escape! This city will be handed over to the Babylonians, and they will burn it to the ground.’” “But I am afraid to surrender,” the king said, “for the Babylonians may hand me over to the Judeans who have defected to them. And who knows what they will do to me!” Jeremiah replied, “You won’t be handed over to them if you choose to obey the Lord . Your life will be spared, and all will go well for you. But if you refuse to surrender, this is what the Lord has revealed to me: All the women left in your palace will be brought out and given to the officers of the Babylonian army. Then the women will taunt you, saying, ‘What fine friends you have! They have betrayed and misled you. When your feet sank in the mud, they left you to your fate!’ All your wives and children will be led out to the Babylonians, and you will not escape. You will be seized by the king of Babylon, and this city will be burned down.” Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Don’t tell anyone you told me this, or you will die! My officials may hear that I spoke to you, and they may say, ‘Tell us what you and the king were talking about. If you don’t tell us, we will kill you.’ If this happens, just tell them you begged me not to send you back to Jonathan’s dungeon, for fear you would die there.” Sure enough, it wasn’t long before the king’s officials came to Jeremiah and asked him why the king had called for him. But Jeremiah followed the king’s instructions, and they left without finding out the truth. No one had overheard the conversation between Jeremiah and the king. And Jeremiah remained a prisoner in the courtyard of the guard until the day Jerusalem was captured.’

Jeremiah 38

‘Then Jesus was approached by some Sadducees—religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead. They posed this question: “Teacher, Moses gave us a law that if a man dies, leaving a wife but no children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name. Well, suppose there were seven brothers. The oldest one married and then died without children. So the second brother married the widow, but he also died. Then the third brother married her. This continued with all seven of them, who died without children. Finally, the woman also died. So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her!” Jesus replied, “Marriage is for people here on earth. But in the age to come, those worthy of being raised from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage. And they will never die again. In this respect they will be like angels. They are children of God and children of the resurrection. “But now, as to whether the dead will be raised—even Moses proved this when he wrote about the burning bush. Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, he referred to the Lord as ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ So he is the God of the living, not the dead, for they are all alive to him.” “Well said, Teacher!” remarked some of the teachers of religious law who were standing there. ‘And then no one dared to ask him any more questions.’

Luke 20:27-40

‘It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead. It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau. It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff. It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left. It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command. It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible. It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons. It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned. It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down. It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.’

Hebrews 11:17-31

‘O Lord , I have come to you for protection; don’t let me be disgraced. Save me and rescue me, for you do what is right. Turn your ear to listen to me, and set me free. Be my rock of safety where I can always hide. Give the order to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked, from the clutches of cruel oppressors. O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O Lord , from childhood. Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb you have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising you! My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection. That is why I can never stop praising you; I declare your glory all day long. And now, in my old age, don’t set me aside. Don’t abandon me when my strength is failing. For my enemies are whispering against me. They are plotting together to kill me. They say, “God has abandoned him. Let’s go and get him, for no one will help him now.” O God, don’t stay away. My God, please hurry to help me. Bring disgrace and destruction on my accusers. Humiliate and shame those who want to harm me. But I will keep on hoping for your help; I will praise you more and more. I will tell everyone about your righteousness. All day long I will proclaim your saving power, though I am not skilled with words. I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign Lord . I will tell everyone that you alone are just. O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do. Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me. Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens. You have done such wonderful things. Who can compare with you, O God? You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again. Then I will praise you with music on the harp, because you are faithful to your promises, O my God. I will sing praises to you with a lyre, O Holy One of Israel. I will shout for joy and sing your praises, for you have ransomed me. I will tell about your righteous deeds all day long, for everyone who tried to hurt me has been shamed and humiliated.’

Psalms 71

Just because it was unintentional doesn’t mean you didn’t do it.

It was an accident, right? You didn’t mean to do it, right? You weren’t trying to do it on purpose, right? So it happened unintentionally but it did happen. So how will you respond? Will you apologize? Will you admit guilt? Will you make restitution? Will you ask for forgiveness? From the other person? From God? Just because it wasn’t on purpose doesn’t mean you didn’t do it. Just because you didn’t have the intent to do it doesn’t mean you didn’t do it. So how will you respond if or when you unintentionally do something that hurts or violates another person?

Today’s reading starts out in Leviticus 5.

‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “If one of you commits a sin by unintentionally defiling the Lord ’s sacred property, you must bring a guilt offering to the Lord . The offering must be your own ram with no defects, or you may buy one of equal value with silver, as measured by the weight of the sanctuary shekel. You must make restitution for the sacred property you have harmed by paying for the loss, plus an additional 20 percent. When you give the payment to the priest, he will purify you with the ram sacrificed as a guilt offering, making you right with the Lord , and you will be forgiven. “Suppose you sin by violating one of the Lord ’s commands. Even if you are unaware of what you have done, you are guilty and will be punished for your sin. For a guilt offering, you must bring to the priest your own ram with no defects, or you may buy one of equal value. Through this process the priest will purify you from your unintentional sin, making you right with the Lord , and you will be forgiven. This is a guilt offering, for you have been guilty of an offense against the Lord .”’

Leviticus 5:14-19

Today’s reading continues into Leviticus 6.

‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Suppose one of you sins against your associate and is unfaithful to the Lord . Suppose you cheat in a deal involving a security deposit, or you steal or commit fraud, or you find lost property and lie about it, or you lie while swearing to tell the truth, or you commit any other such sin. If you have sinned in any of these ways, you are guilty. You must give back whatever you stole, or the money you took by extortion, or the security deposit, or the lost property you found, or anything obtained by swearing falsely. You must make restitution by paying the full price plus an additional 20 percent to the person you have harmed. On the same day you must present a guilt offering. As a guilt offering to the Lord , you must bring to the priest your own ram with no defects, or you may buy one of equal value. Through this process, the priest will purify you before the Lord , making you right with him, and you will be forgiven for any of these sins you have committed.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give Aaron and his sons the following instructions regarding the burnt offering. The burnt offering must be left on top of the altar until the next morning, and the fire on the altar must be kept burning all night. In the morning, after the priest on duty has put on his official linen clothing and linen undergarments, he must clean out the ashes of the burnt offering and put them beside the altar. Then he must take off these garments, change back into his regular clothes, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a place that is ceremonially clean. Meanwhile, the fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must never go out. Each morning the priest will add fresh wood to the fire and arrange the burnt offering on it. He will then burn the fat of the peace offerings on it. Remember, the fire must be kept burning on the altar at all times. It must never go out.

“These are the instructions regarding the grain offering. Aaron’s sons must present this offering to the Lord in front of the altar. The priest on duty will take from the grain offering a handful of the choice flour moistened with olive oil, together with all the frankincense. He will burn this representative portion on the altar as a pleasing aroma to the Lord . Aaron and his sons may eat the rest of the flour, but it must be baked without yeast and eaten in a sacred place within the courtyard of the Tabernacle. Remember, it must never be prepared with yeast. I have given it to the priests as their share of the special gifts presented to me. Like the sin offering and the guilt offering, it is most holy. Any of Aaron’s male descendants may eat from the special gifts presented to the Lord . This is their permanent right from generation to generation. Anyone or anything that touches these offerings will become holy.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “On the day Aaron and his sons are anointed, they must present to the Lord the standard grain offering of two quarts of choice flour, half to be offered in the morning and half to be offered in the evening. It must be carefully mixed with olive oil and cooked on a griddle. Then slice this grain offering and present it as a pleasing aroma to the Lord . In each generation, the high priest who succeeds Aaron must prepare this same offering. It belongs to the Lord and must be burned up completely. This is a permanent law. All such grain offerings of a priest must be burned up entirely. None of it may be eaten.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give Aaron and his sons the following instructions regarding the sin offering. The animal given as an offering for sin is a most holy offering, and it must be slaughtered in the Lord ’s presence at the place where the burnt offerings are slaughtered. The priest who offers the sacrifice as a sin offering must eat his portion in a sacred place within the courtyard of the Tabernacle. Anyone or anything that touches the sacrificial meat will become holy. If any of the sacrificial blood spatters on a person’s clothing, the soiled garment must be washed in a sacred place. If a clay pot is used to boil the sacrificial meat, it must then be broken. If a bronze pot is used, it must be scoured and thoroughly rinsed with water. Any male from a priest’s family may eat from this offering; it is most holy. But the offering for sin may not be eaten if its blood was brought into the Tabernacle as an offering for purification in the Holy Place. It must be completely burned with fire.’

Leviticus 6

Today’s reading then brings us back into Job, starting with Job 38.

‘Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? “Who kept the sea inside its boundaries as it burst from the womb, and as I clothed it with clouds and wrapped it in thick darkness? For I locked it behind barred gates, limiting its shores. I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come. Here your proud waves must stop!’ “Have you ever commanded the morning to appear and caused the dawn to rise in the east? Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth, to bring an end to the night’s wickedness? As the light approaches, the earth takes shape like clay pressed beneath a seal; it is robed in brilliant colors. The light disturbs the wicked and stops the arm that is raised in violence. “Have you explored the springs from which the seas come? Have you explored their depths? Do you know where the gates of death are located? Have you seen the gates of utter gloom? Do you realize the extent of the earth? Tell me about it if you know! “Where does light come from, and where does darkness go? Can you take each to its home? Do you know how to get there? But of course you know all this! For you were born before it was all created, and you are so very experienced! “Have you visited the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of hail? (I have reserved them as weapons for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war.) Where is the path to the source of light? Where is the home of the east wind? “Who created a channel for the torrents of rain? Who laid out the path for the lightning? Who makes the rain fall on barren land, in a desert where no one lives? Who sends rain to satisfy the parched ground and make the tender grass spring up? “Does the rain have a father? Who gives birth to the dew? Who is the mother of the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens? For the water turns to ice as hard as rock, and the surface of the water freezes. “Can you direct the movement of the stars— binding the cluster of the Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion? Can you direct the constellations through the seasons or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens? Do you know the laws of the universe? Can you use them to regulate the earth? “Can you shout to the clouds and make it rain? Can you make lightning appear and cause it to strike as you direct? Who gives intuition to the heart and instinct to the mind? Who is wise enough to count all the clouds? Who can tilt the water jars of heaven when the parched ground is dry and the soil has hardened into clods? “Can you stalk prey for a lioness and satisfy the young lions’ appetites as they lie in their dens or crouch in the thicket? Who provides food for the ravens when their young cry out to God and wander about in hunger?’

Job 38

Today’s reading then continues into Job 39.

‘“Do you know when the wild goats give birth? Have you watched as deer are born in the wild? Do you know how many months they carry their young? Are you aware of the time of their delivery? They crouch down to give birth to their young and deliver their offspring. Their young grow up in the open fields, then leave home and never return. “Who gives the wild donkey its freedom? Who untied its ropes? I have placed it in the wilderness; its home is the wasteland. It hates the noise of the city and has no driver to shout at it. The mountains are its pastureland, where it searches for every blade of grass. “Will the wild ox consent to being tamed? Will it spend the night in your stall? Can you hitch a wild ox to a plow? Will it plow a field for you? Given its strength, can you trust it? Can you leave and trust the ox to do your work? Can you rely on it to bring home your grain and deliver it to your threshing floor? “The ostrich flaps her wings grandly, but they are no match for the feathers of the stork. She lays her eggs on top of the earth, letting them be warmed in the dust. She doesn’t worry that a foot might crush them or a wild animal might destroy them. She is harsh toward her young, as if they were not her own. She doesn’t care if they die. For God has deprived her of wisdom. He has given her no understanding. But whenever she jumps up to run, she passes the swiftest horse with its rider. “Have you given the horse its strength or clothed its neck with a flowing mane? Did you give it the ability to leap like a locust? Its majestic snorting is terrifying! It paws the earth and rejoices in its strength when it charges out to battle. It laughs at fear and is unafraid. It does not run from the sword. The arrows rattle against it, and the spear and javelin flash. It paws the ground fiercely and rushes forward into battle when the ram’s horn blows. It snorts at the sound of the horn. It senses the battle in the distance. It quivers at the captain’s commands and the noise of battle. “Is it your wisdom that makes the hawk soar and spread its wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle rises to the heights to make its nest? It lives on the cliffs, making its home on a distant, rocky crag. From there it hunts its prey, keeping watch with piercing eyes. Its young gulp down blood. Where there’s a carcass, there you’ll find it.”’

Job 39

Today’s reading continues into Job 40.

‘Then the Lord said to Job, “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”

Then Job replied to the Lord , “I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.”’

Job 40:1-5

Today’s reading then takes us into the New Testament starting in Mark 8.

‘When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had arrived, they came and started to argue with him. Testing him, they demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority. When he heard this, he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why do these people keep demanding a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, I will not give this generation any such sign.” So he got back into the boat and left them, and he crossed to the other side of the lake.

But the disciples had forgotten to bring any food. They had only one loaf of bread with them in the boat. As they were crossing the lake, Jesus warned them, “Watch out! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod.” At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread. Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “Why are you arguing about having no bread? Don’t you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in? ‘You have eyes—can’t you see? You have ears—can’t you hear?’#8:18 Jer 5:21. Don’t you remember anything at all? When I fed the 5,000 with five loaves of bread, how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up afterward?” “Twelve,” they said. “And when I fed the 4,000 with seven loaves, how many large baskets of leftovers did you pick up?” “Seven,” they said. “Don’t you understand yet?” he asked them.

When they arrived at Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to Jesus, and they begged him to touch the man and heal him. Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then, spitting on the man’s eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything now?” The man looked around. “Yes,” he said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.” Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly. Jesus sent him away, saying, “Don’t go back into the village on your way home.”’

Mark 8:11-26

Today’s reading then takes us to 1 Corinthians 15.

‘Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church. But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace. So it makes no difference whether I preach or they preach, for we all preach the same message you have already believed.’

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

As today’s reading comes to a close let us meditate on God’s Word and then read today’s psalm from Psalms 73.

‘Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure. But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else. They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty. These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for! They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others. They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth. And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. “What does God know?” they ask. “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?” Look at these wicked people— enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply. Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason? I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain. If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people. So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is! Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked. Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors. When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning. Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you. But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.’

Psalms 73

Is it doing any good? Does it have a good purpose?

What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Does it have value? Is it doing any good? What is the purpose? Is it positively impacting your life and the lives of others? Is it making things worse? How do you know? How do you choose? It’s not what goes in that makes it bad, it’s what comes out of it! So what’s coming out of it? Is it good? Is it bad? Is it achieving the purpose? Is it building up or tearing down? Is it making a positive impact or negative impact? Is it encouraging others or discouraging others?

Today’s reading begins in Proverbs…

1Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler. Whoever is led astray by them is unwise. 2The terror of a king is like a lion’s growl. Whoever provokes him endangers his life. 3It is honor for one to resolve a dispute, yet every fool quarrels. 4A slacker will not plow in season, so at harvest he looks but finds nothing. 5The intent of a man’s heart is deep water, but a man of insight draws it out.

Loyalty, Integrity, Justice

6Many a man proclaims his loyalty, but a faithful man who can find? 7A righteous person walks in integrity. Blessed are his children after him. 8A king sitting on the throne to judge separates out all evil with his eyes. 9Who can say: “I have kept my heart pure; I am cleansed from my sin”? 10Unequal weights and measures— both are an abomination to Adonai. 11Even a child is known by his actions, whether his conduct is pure and upright. 12Ears that hear and eyes that see— Adonai has made them both. 13Do not love sleep, lest you become poor. Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with food.

Adonai’s Lamp Searches

14“It’s bad, bad!” says the buyer, but then he goes away and boasts. 15There is gold and abundance of rubies, but lips that speak knowledge are precious. 16Take a man’s garment, who puts up security for a stranger, and hold it in pledge, as security for a foreign woman. 17Bread gained by fraud is sweet to a man, but later his mouth is filled with gravel. 18Plans are made by counsel, so wage war with guidance. 19A talebearer goes about, revealing secrets, so do not associate with a babbler. 20Whoever curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be snuffed out in utter darkness. 21An estate acquired quickly in the beginning will not be blessed in the end. 22Do not say, “I will pay back evil!” Wait for Adonai, so He may deliver You. 23Unbalanced weights are detestable to Adonai, and dishonest scales are wicked. 24A man’s steps are directed by Adonai. How then can anyone understand his own way? 25It is a trap for one to say rashly, “It is holy!” and only afterward to consider his vows. 26A wise king winnows out the wicked. He turns a threshing wheel over them. 27The spirit of man is the lamp of Adonai, searching all his inmost being. 28Lovingkindness and truth preserve the king, but his throne is upheld by lovingkindness. 29The glory of young men is their strength, and the splendor of old men is gray hair. 30Blows that wound scour away evil, and beatings purge the innermost being.

–from Proverbs 20

So if God checks your heart what will he find? What is your motivation? What is your intention? What is your purpose? What is your plan?

Adonai Weighs the Heart

1A king’s heart is like a stream of water in the hand of Adonai; he directs it wherever He wants. 2All a man’s ways seem right in his own eyes, but Adonai weighs the heart. 3To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to Adonai than sacrifice. 4Haughty eyes and a proud heart— the lamp of the wicked is sin. 5Plans of the diligent surely lead to gain, but all who are hasty come only to loss. 6Getting treasures by a lying tongue is like a fleeting vapor for those who seek death.

Incline Your Ear and Listen

7The violence of the wicked sweeps them away, because they refuse to act justly. 8The way of the guilty is crooked, but the conduct of the pure is upright. 9It is better to live on a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife. 10A wicked soul craves evil— his neighbor finds no favor in his eyes. 11When a mocker is punished, the naïve become wise. When a wise person is instructed, he gains knowledge. 12The righteous one considers the house of the wicked, throwing the wicked down to their ruin. 13Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, will also cry out but not be answered. 14A gift in secret soothes anger, and a bribe given secretly, fierce rage. 15Doing justice brings joy to the righteous, and terror to those who do evil. 16Whoever strays from the path of wisdom ends up in the congregation of the dead. 17Whoever loves pleasure becomes poor. Whoever loves wine and oil will not be rich. 18The wicked is a ransom for the righteous and the faithless for the upright. 19It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome, worrisome wife. 20Precious treasure and oil are in a wise person’s dwelling, but a foolish person devours all he has. 21Whoever pursues righteousness and mercy finds life, prosperity and honor. 22A wise person scales the city of warriors and brings down the stronghold in which they trust. 23Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul out of troubles. 24A proud and haughty man —Mocker is his name— acts with overbearing pride. 25A slacker’s craving will kill him, because his hands refuse to work. 26All day long he craves greedily, yet the righteous one gives and does not hold back. 27The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination— how much more when he brings it with evil intent? 28A false witness will perish, but a man who hears will speak forever. 29A wicked man puts on a bold face, but the upright man considers his ways. 30There is no wisdom, there is no understanding, there is no counsel— against Adonai. 31A horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory comes from Adonai.

–from Proverbs 21

What is it going to take? What will it have to sound like? What will it be that will turn things around? Do you have ears to hear? Do you have eyes to see? How will you make a difference today?

Judgment from Heaven

1For the music director, a psalm of David. In Adonai I have taken shelter. How can you say to my soul: “Fly like a bird to your mountain? 2For look, the wicked bend the bow. They fix their arrow on the bowstring so they can shoot from the shadows at those who are upright in heart. 3If our foundations are destroyed, what should the righteous do?” 4Adonai is in His holy Temple. Adonai’s throne is in heaven. His eyes are watching. His eyelids observe the children of men. 5Adonai examines the righteous. But the wicked and one loving violence His soul hates. 6On the wicked He will rain down fire, brimstone and scorching wind as the portion of their cup! 7For Adonai is righteous—He loves justice. The upright will see His face.

–from Psalms 11

Not sure what to do? Not sure how to respond? Not sure where to turn? Turn to God and His Word found in the Bible! Give your heart into His hands! Invite Him into your heart! Allow the Holy Spirit to transform you from the inside out! Start a living relationship with Jesus!

How to Live in the Last Days

1Therefore, since Messiah suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same attitude. For the one who has suffered in the flesh is finished with sin. 2As a result, he lives the rest of his time in the flesh no longer for human desires, but for God’s will. 3For the time that has passed was sufficient for you to carry out the desire of the pagans—living in indecency, lusts, drunken binges, orgies, wild parties, and lawless idolatries. 4They are surprised that you do not run with them into the same riot of recklessness, and they vilify you. 5But they will have to give an account to the One who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. 6For this was the reason the Good News was proclaimed even to those now dead, so that though they are judged in the flesh before humans, they might live in the Ruach before God. 7Now the end of all things is near. So be self-controlled and sober-minded for prayer. 8Above all, keep your love for one another constant, for “love covers a multitude of sins.” 9Be hospitable one to another without grumbling. 10As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of the many-sided grace of God. 11Whoever speaks, let it be as one speaking the utterances of God. Whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies. So in all things may God be glorified through Messiah Yeshua—all glory and power to Him forever and ever! Amen. 12Loved ones, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal taking place among you to test you—as though something strange were happening to you. 13Instead, rejoice insofar as you share in the sufferings of Messiah, so that at the revelation of His glory you may also rejoice and be glad. 14If you are insulted for the name of Messiah, you are fortunate, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15For let none of you suffer as a murderer or thief or evildoer or as a troublemaker. 16But if anyone suffers for following Messiah, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this name. 17For the time has come for judgment to begin with the house of God. If judgment begins with us first, what will be the end for those who disobey the Good News of God? 18Now, “if it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what shall become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19So then, those who suffer according to God’s will—let them trust their souls to a faithful Creator while continuing to do good.

–from 1 Peter 4


Whose side are you on?

Are you stirring up trouble for yourself? Do you realize what you are messing with? What is your motivation? Are you trying to do good? Are you trying to create division? Are you trying be the devil’s advocate? Whose side are you on anyways?

Check your heart! Check your motives! Check your intentions! Make sure you aren’t acting out of selfish desires! Make sure you are going against what is good! Make sure you aren’t trying to create division! Make sure you aren’t trying to create confusion! Make sure you are trying to push people towards God and not away from Him! Make sure you are trying to create reconciliation and hope and love and peace! Make sure you are on the right side!

Today’s reading speaks to some people who were challenging God’s way! They were trying to stir up something that wasn’t good! Let’s read and see what is happens to them…

Rebellion of Korah

1Now Korah, son of Izhar son of Kohath son of Levi, and sons of Reuben—Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth— 2rose up against Moses and took 250 men from Bnei-Yisrael, men of renown who had been appointed to the council. 3They assembled against Moses and Aaron. They said to them, “You’ve gone too far! All the community is holy—all of them—and Adonai is with them! Then why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of Adonai?”

4When Moses heard this, he fell on his face. 5Then he said to Korah and all his following saying, “In the morning Adonai will reveal who is His and who is holy. The one whom He will let come near to Him will be the one He chooses to come near to Him. 6Do this, Korah and your whole following! Take for yourselves censers. 7Put fire and incense into them in the presence of Adonai. Tomorrow the man that Adonai chooses will be the holy one! You sons of Levi are the ones who have gone too far!”

8Moses also said to Korah, “Listen now, sons of Levi! 9Isn’t it enough that the God of Israel has set you apart from the community of Israel to bring you near to Him to do the work of the Tabernacle of Adonai and to stand before the community to minister to them? 10So He brought you close, along with all your fellow sons of Levi. But you are seeking the priesthood, too! 11Therefore you and all your following are banding together against Adonai! Who then is Aaron—that you are grumbling against him?”

12Then Moses sent word to call Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab. But they said, “We will not come! 13Isn’t it enough that you brought us from a land flowing with milk and honey, only to kill us in the wilderness? And now you would lord it over us? 14What’s more, you haven’t brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Would you now gouge out the eyes of those men? We won’t come!”

15Then Moses became very angry and said to Adonai, “Do not accept their offering. I haven’t taken from them a single donkey, nor have I wronged one of them!” 16So Moses said to Korah, “You and your whole following are to appear before Adonai—you, they and Aaron—tomorrow! 17Each man will take his censer and you are to put incense into them—250 censers total. You are to present it before Adonai, you and Aaron each presenting his censer.” 18So each man took his censer, put fire and incense into it, and stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. 19When Korah and all his following had assembled in opposition to them at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, then the glory of Adonai appeared to the entire assembly.

20Then Adonai spoke to Moses and Aaron saying, 21“Separate yourselves from among this assembly, so that I may consume them at once!” 22But they fell on their faces and cried out, “O God, God of the spirits of all flesh, if one man sins, will you be angry with the entire community?”

23Then Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 24“Speak to the assembly saying, ‘Move away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan and Abiram!’” 25Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram. The elders of Israel followed after him. 26He warned the assembly saying, “Move away from the tents of these wicked men! Don’t touch anything that is theirs, or you will be swept away because of all their sins!” 27So they moved away from near the dwelling of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram came outside and were standing at the entrance of their tents with their wives, their children, and their little ones.

28Moses said, “By this you will know that Adonai has sent me to do all these works, that they are not from my own heart. 29If every one of these men die a common death and experience what happens to all people, then Adonai has not sent me. 30But if Adonai brings about a new thing, and the earth opens her mouth and swallows them and everything that is theirs, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you will know that these men have despised Adonai.” 31As soon as he finished saying all these things, the ground split under them. 32The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, along with all their households, all of Korah’s people and all their possessions. 33They went down alive into Sheol, they and everything that was theirs. The earth closed over them and they were gone from among the community. 34All Israel around them fled at their outcry, for they shouted, “Perhaps the earth will swallow us!” 35Fire also came out from Adonai and consumed the 250 men offering the incense.

36Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 37“Tell Eleazar son of Aaron the kohen, to take the censers from the burning, because they are holy, and scatter the coals at a distance. 38As for the censers of these men who sinned at the cost of their lives, let them be taken and hammered into sheets as a covering for the altar. For they were presented before Adonai, so they are holy. They are to be a sign to Bnei-Yisrael.” 39So Eleazar the kohen collected the bronze censers brought by the ones who were burned and hammered them into an overlay for the altar, 40just as Adonai had spoken to him by Moses’ hand, so that it would be as a reminder to Bnei-Yisrael that no one who was not a descendant of Aaron should burn incense before Adonai, and so no one would become like Korah and his following. 41The next day, the entire community of Bnei-Yisrael grumbled against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You killed Adonai’s people!” 42But when they gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron and turned toward the Tent of Meeting, behold, the cloud covered it and the glory appeared! 43Moses and Aaron went to the front of the Tent of Meeting.

44Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 45“Get away from among this assembly so that I may immediately consume them!” So they fell on their faces. 46Then Moses said to Aaron, “Take the censer, put into it fire from the altar and put in incense. Get going and hurry to the assembly and make atonement for them, because wrath has come out from Adonai and the plague has started.” 47Aaron did just as Moses had said, and ran into the middle of the assembly. Behold, the plague had already started among the people. But he offered the incense and made atonement for the people. 48He stood between the dead and the living and the plague stopped. 49However, there were 14,700 dead from the plague, besides those who died because of Korah. 50Then Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, when the plague had been halted.

–from Numbers 16

Be a peacemaker! Be a intercessor! Be a ambassador for God! And live in a way that will draw people closer to God and point people to Him! Teach them in the way they should go! them up! Call them to their higher calling! Help them live to their full potential! To whom much is given much is required! Each person will be given in accordance to their abilities!

Counsel About Marriage

1Now concerning the things about which you wrote to me, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2But because of much immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3Let the husband fulfill his obligation to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4The wife does not have the rights to her own body, but the husband. Likewise also the husband does not have the rights to his own body, but the wife. 5Do not deprive one another—except by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again, so that satan doesn’t tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6But this I say as a concession, not as a command. 7Yet I wish that all men were like me. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this way and another that. 8But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them to remain as I am. 9But if they do not have self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with desire. 10But to the married I command—not I, but the Lord—a wife is not to be separated from her husband 11(but if she gets separated, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband is not to divorce his wife. 12But to the rest I say—I, not the Lord—if any brother has a wife who is not a believer, and she agrees to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13And if any woman has a husband who is not a believer, and he agrees to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband is made holy through the wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15But if the unbeliever separates, let him be separated. The brother or the sister is not bound in such cases, but God has called you to shalom. 16For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Remain As You Were Called

17Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, let him walk in this way. I give this rule in all of Messiah’s communities. 18Was anyone called when he already had been circumcised? Let him not make himself uncircumcised. Has anyone been called while uncircumcised? Let him not allow himself to be circumcised. 19Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing—but keeping God’s commandments matters. 20Let each one remain in the calling in which he was called. 21Were you called as a slave? Don’t let that bother you—but if indeed you can become free, make the most of the opportunity. 22For the one who was called in the Lord as a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise the one who was called while free is Messiah’s slave. 23You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. 24Brothers and sisters, let each one—in whatever way he was called—remain that way with God. 25Now concerning virgins I have no command from the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26I think then, because of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27Are you bound to a wife? Don’t seek a divorce. Are you free from a wife? Don’t seek a wife. 28But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such people will have trouble in this fleshly life, and I am trying to spare you. 29But this I say, brothers and sisters—the time is short. From now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; 30and those who weep, as though not weeping; and those who rejoice, as though not rejoicing; and those who buy, as though not possessing; 31and those who use the world, as though not using it to the fullest. For the present form of this world is passing away. 32But I want you to be free from cares. An unmarried man cares about the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord; 33but the married man cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife— 34and he is divided. The unmarried woman, as well as the virgin, cares about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But the married woman cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. 35Now I say this for your own benefit—not to put a restraint on you, but to promote proper and constant service to the Lord without distraction. 36But if any man thinks that he is behaving inappropriately toward his virgin, if the time is ripe and it is meant to be, let him do what he decides. He does not sin. Let them marry. 37But he who stands firm in his heart—who has no pressure, but has power over his own will and has so determined in his own heart to keep her a virgin—he will do well. 38So then both he who marries the virgin does well, and he who doesn’t marry her does better. 39A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies, she is free to be married to anyone she wishes—only in the Lord. 40But in my judgment she is happier if she stays as she is—and I also think that I have the Ruach Elohim.



Dressed for success!

What do your clothes say about you? What do they say about your mindset? What do they say about your attitude? What do they say about your feelings? What do they say about your plans? What do they say about your purpose? When you get ready for today, what do you want people to be thinking or saying? Do your clothes add or detract? Do your clothes improve or discourage? Is there meaning and intention behind what you are wearing?

Today’s reading starts off speaking of Aaron’s new clothes…

Kohen’s Garments

1“Bring your brother Aaron near with his sons from among Bnei-Yisrael, so that they may minister to Me as kohanim—Aaron and his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 2You are to make holy garments for your brother Aaron, for splendor and for beauty. 3You are to speak to all who are skilled, whom I have filled with a spirit of artistry, to make Aaron’s garments for consecrating him, so that he may minister to Me as a kohen. 4These are the garments that they are to make: a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a tunic of checkered work, a turban and a sash. They are to make holy garments for your brother Aaron and his sons, so that he may minister to Me as a kohen. 5They are to use the gold, blue, purple, scarlet and fine linen. 6“They are to make the ephod of gold, blue, purple, scarlet and finely twisted linen, the work of the skillful craftsman. 7It is to have two shoulder pieces stitched to the two ends, so that it may be joined together. 8The skillfully woven band which is upon it, with which it is to be bound, is to be made like the design, and from the same piece of gold, blue, purple, scarlet and finely twisted linen. 9“You are to take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of Bnei-Yisrael: 10six of their names on one stone and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, in the order of their birth. 11With the work of a gem cutter engraving a seal, etch the two stones, in the order of the names of Bnei-Yisrael. Make them enclosed in settings of gold. 12Fasten the two stones upon the shoulder pieces of the ephod, to be memorial stones for Bnei-Yisrael. So Aaron is to bear their names before Adonai on his two shoulders as a reminder. 13Fashion filigree settings of gold, 14along with two chains of pure gold, of braided work, and you will attach the chains to the filigree settings. 15“Make a breastplate of judgment, the work of a skillful craftsman. You are to make it like the design of the ephod—of gold, blue, purple, scarlet and finely twisted linen. 16It is to be square and doubled over, a span in length and a span in width. 17Set within it four rows of jewels: a row of ruby, topaz and emerald for the first row; 18a turquoise, a sapphire and a diamond for the second row; 19a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst for the third; 20and a beryl, an onyx and a jasper for the fourth row. They are to be enclosed in gold filigree settings. 21The stones are to be engraved in the order of the names of Bnei-Yisrael, twelve according to their names, like the etchings of a signet seal, one corresponding to each name of the twelve tribes. 22“Also you are to make, upon the breastplate, braided chains of wreathed work from pure gold. 23Forge on the breastplate two rings of gold and fasten the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate. 24Then attach the two wreathed chains of gold on the two rings at the ends of the breastplate. 25The other two ends of the chains you are to place on the two settings, and put them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod in front. 26So you are to make two rings of gold, and put them on the two ends of the breastplate, on the edge of it that is toward the inner side of the ephod. 27Also make two gold rings and place them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod underneath, in the front, close to where it is joined, above the artfully woven band of the ephod. 28Then they will bind the breastplate by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a blue thread, so that it may be on the skillfully woven band of the ephod, and so that the breastplate will not come loose from it. 29“Aaron will bear the names of Bnei-Yisrael in the breastplate of judgment on his heart, whenever he enters the holy place, as a continual memorial before Adonai. 30Also put the Urim and the Thummim within the breastplate of judgment, so they will be on Aaron’s heart when he goes in before Adonai. Aaron will bear the judgment of Bnei-Yisrael on his heart before Adonai continually. 31“You are to make the robe of the ephod entirely of blue. 32It is to have a hole for the head in the center, and a binding of woven work around the hole, as a collar, so that it may not be torn. 33On the hem of it you are to make pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet, all around the hem, with golden bells between them: 34one golden bell and a pomegranate, then another golden bell and a pomegranate, on the hem of the robe all around. 35It must be worn by Aaron whenever he ministers. The sound will be heard when he goes into the holy place before Adonai and when he comes out, so that he does not die. 36“Also you are to make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engravings of a seal, ‘HOLY TO Adonai.’ 37Attach it with a violet cord onto the turban, on the front of the turban. 38So it will rest on Aaron’s forehead, so that Aaron will bear away the iniquity committed regarding the holy things, which Bnei-Yisrael set apart as all their holy gifts. It is to be always on his forehead, so that they may have favor before Adonai. 39“You are to weave the tunic in checkered work of fine linen, make a turban of fine linen, and make a sash, the work of a color weaver. 40For Aaron’s sons you are to make tunics, sashes and headwear for them—for splendor and for beauty. 41Put them on Aaron your brother and on his sons with him, and anoint them, consecrate them, and sanctify them, so that they may minister to Me as kohanim. 42“You are to make linen undergarments for them, to cover the skin of their nakedness, from the hips to the thighs. 43They are to be worn by Aaron and his sons when they go into the Tent of Meeting or when they approach the altar to minister in the holy place, so that they do not become subject to guilt and die. It is to be a statute forever, to him and to his offspring after him.
–from Exodus 28

Consider the meaning behind each of the items…Consider the reason for each stone, each thread, each color…There is purpose in all of it! Consider what it speaks to the people every time they see it…

Are you ready for today? Are you prepared? Do you have the inside setup? The outside should be an expression of what is going on inside! So we need to not dress up the outside, we need to dress up the inside! We need to be prepared! We need to aligned! We need to make sure our heart and our mind are in the right state! Otherwise, your clothes are just a mask to hide what is taking place on the inside! Otherwise, your clothes are just a costume to portray who you want others to think you are! So let’s prepare ourselves even before we pick our clothes for today and get going! Will you be purposeful in how you live? act? behave? dress?

How to Consecrate Kohanim

1“Now this is what you are to do to consecrate them, so that they may minister as kohanim. Take one young bull and two rams without blemish, 2along with matzot , cakes of matzot mixed with oil, and matzot wafers spread with oil. Make them from fine wheat flour. 3You are to put them into one basket and present them, along with the bull and the two rams. 4You are to bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, and wash them with water. 5Then take the garments, and put the tunic on Aaron, along with the robe, the ephod and the breastplate. Gird him with the artfully woven band of the ephod, 6set the turban on his head, and put the holy coronet on the turban. 7Then you are to take the anointing oil, pour it upon his head and anoint him. 8Also you are to bring his sons and put tunics on them. 9You are to gird Aaron and his sons with sashes, tie headwear on them, and they shall hold the priesthood by a perpetual statute. In this way you are to consecrate Aaron and his sons. 10“You are to bring the bull before the Tent of Meeting, and Aaron and his sons are to lay their hands on its head. 11You are to slaughter the bull before Adonai at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. 12Then take the blood of the bull, put it on the horns of the altar with your finger, and pour out all the remaining blood at the base of the altar. 13Also take all the fat that covers the innards, the lobe above the liver, the two kidneys, along with the fat that is on them, and burn them on the altar. 14But the meat of the bull, along with its skin and its dung, you are to burn with fire outside the camp. It is a sin offering. 15“Then take one ram, have Aaron and his sons lay their hands upon the head of the ram, 16then slaughter the ram, take its blood, and sprinkle it around the altar. 17You are to cut the ram into pieces, wash its innards and its legs, and place them with its head and other pieces. 18Then you are to offer the whole ram up in smoke on the altar. It is a burnt offering to Adonai, a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to Adonai. 19“Then take the other ram, and have Aaron and his sons lay their hands upon the head of that ram. 20Slaughter the ram, take its blood, and dab it on the tip of the right ear of Aaron, on the tip of the right ears of his sons, on the thumb of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet, then pour the blood on the altar all around. 21Also you are to take some of the blood that is on the altar, along with the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and his garments, and on his sons and their garments. In this way he and his garments are to be consecrated, along with his sons and their garments. 22“Moreover, take some of the fat from the ram, along with the fat tail, the fat that covers the innards, the covering over the liver, the two kidneys and the fat that is on them, along with the right thigh, because it is a ram of consecration. 23Also take one loaf of bread, one cake of oiled bread, and one wafer out of the basket of matzot that is before Adonai. 24You are to put the entirety into Aaron’s hands and the hands of his sons, and present them as a wave offering before Adonai. 25Then you are to take them out of their hands and offer them up in smoke on the altar on top of the burnt offering, as a sweet aroma before Adonai, an offering made by fire to Adonai. 26Also take the breast of Aaron’s ram of consecration and wave it as a wave offering before Adonai—so it will be your portion. 27“Set apart the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the contribution, which is waved and offered up, from the ram of consecration, including what belongs to Aaron and his sons. 28It is to belong to Aaron and his sons as their due share forever from Bnei-Yisrael, because it is a contribution. It is to be a contribution from Bnei-Yisrael from their sacrifices of fellowship offerings, their contribution to Adonai. 29“The holy garments of Aaron are to pass to his sons after him, to be anointed in them and to be consecrated in them. 30The son that succeeds him as kohen, who comes into the Tent of Meeting to minister in the holy place, is to put them on for seven days. 31“You are to take the ram of consecration and boil its meat in a holy place. 32Aaron and his sons are to eat the meat of the ram and the bread that is in the basket at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. 33They are to eat those things with which atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them, but a layman is not to eat them, because they are holy. 34If some of the meat of the consecration or the bread remains until the morning, you are to burn the remainder with fire. It shall not be eaten, because it is holy. 35“Do for Aaron and his sons everything according to what I have commanded you. Consecrate them for seven days. 36Each day you are to offer a bull as a sin offering, apart from the other offerings of atonement. Also purify the altar when you make atonement for it, and anoint it in order to sanctify it. 37You are to make atonement for the altar for seven days, and so sanctify it. The altar will be most holy, and whatever touches it will become holy. 38“Now this is what you are to offer upon the altar: two one-year-old lambs, each day, continually. 39You are to offer one lamb in the morning and the other lamb at dusk. 40Offer along with the first lamb a tenth of an ephah of fine flour, mixed with a fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and a fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering. 41The other lamb you are to offer at dusk, like the grain offering and drink offering of the morning, as a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to Adonai. 42It is to be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting before Adonai. There I will meet with you, to speak with you there. 43I will meet with Bnei-Yisrael there. So it will be sanctified by My glory. 44“So I will sanctify the Tent of Meeting and the altar. I will also sanctify Aaron and his sons to minister to Me as kohanim. 45So I will dwell among Bnei-Yisrael and be their God. 46Then they will know that I am Adonai their God, who brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, so that I may live among them. I am Adonai their God.
–from Exodus 29


Let’s make sure we are right on the inside and allow the outside to just be a window into what is taking place inside! Let’s make sure we are right on the inside and allow the world to get to see what God’s been up to in our lives! Let’s make sure we are right on the inside and allow the world to get to see Jesus has moved into our hearts! Let’s make sure we are right on the inside, that we are transformed from the inside out! Let’s make sure we have our priorities straight! Let’s make sure we have put first things first! Let’s be living like the new creations we have become! Let’s be living sacrifices! Let’s be making a difference in the way and by the way we live out our lives! Let’s love! Let’s share! Let’s care! Let’s bless! Let’s rejoice! Let’s be hospitable! Let’s be humble! Let’s be selfless! Let’s be Christ-centered rather than self-centered!

Be Dead to Self

1I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice—holy, acceptable to God—which is your spiritual service. 2Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. 3For through the grace given me, I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think—but to use sound judgment, as God has assigned to each person a measure of faith. 4For just as we have many parts in one body—and all the parts do not have the same function—5so we, who are many, are one body in Messiah and everyone parts of one another. 6We have gifts that differ according to the grace that was given to us—if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7if service, in our serving; or the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8or the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who gives, in generosity; the one who leads, with diligence; the one who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 9Let love be without hypocrisy—detesting what is evil, holding fast to the good. 10Be tenderly devoted to one another in brotherly love; outdo one another in giving honor. 11Do not be lagging in zeal; be fervent in spirit. Keep serving the Lord, 12rejoicing in hope, enduring in distress, persisting in prayer, 13contributing to the needs of the kedoshim, extending hospitality. 14Bless those who persecute you—bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be proud, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own eyes. 17Repay no one evil for evil; give thought to what is good in the eyes of all people. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in shalom with all people. 19Never take your own revenge, loved ones, but give room for God’s wrath—for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,” says Adonai. 20Rather, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For by doing so you will heap coals of fire upon his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
–Romans 12


Do you know a big deal when you see it?

Do you take in the moment? Do you absorb the reality of the situation? Do gloss it over? Do you forget about it? What if you read something that explains how much work and effort, the size, the strength, the durability of something and then later also read about how it tore apart? Don’t miss out on the big deals! Don’t lose out on the benefits! Don’t just skip over it!

Today’s reading starts off with the story of the curtain, it’s the same curtain that ripped apart when Jesus gave up His life on the cross. Let’s learn more about this curtain…


1“Moreover you are to make the Tabernacle with ten curtains of fine woven linen, of blue , purple and scarlet, with cheruvim made by the work of a skillful craftsman. 2The length of each curtain is to be 28 cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits. All the curtains are to have the same measure. 3Five curtains are to be coupled together one to another, and the other five curtains are also to be coupled one to another. 4Also make loops of violet on the edge of the one curtain that is outermost in the first set, and do likewise within the edge of the curtain that is outermost in the second set. 5You are to make 50 loops in the first curtain and 50 loops on the edge of the curtain that is in the second set. The loops are to be opposite one another. 6Then make 50 clasps of gold, and couple the curtains one to another with the clasps, so that the Tabernacle may be one piece. 7“You are to make curtains of goat hair for a tent over the Tabernacle, 11 curtains in all. 8The length of each curtain is to be 30 cubits and the width of each curtain four cubits. The eleven curtains are to have the same measurement. 9You are to couple five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves, and double over the sixth curtain in the forefront of the tent. 10Then make 50 loops on the edge of the one curtain that is outermost in the first set, along with 50 loops on the edge of the curtain that is outermost in the second set. 11Make 50 bronze clasps, put them into the loops, and couple the tent together, so that it may be one. 12As for the overhanging part that remains of the tent curtains, the half curtain that remains is to hang over the back of the Tabernacle. 13The extra cubit on one side, as well as the cubit on the other side, which remains in the length of the curtains of the tent, is to hang over the sides of the Tabernacle on each side, to cover it. 14You are to make a covering for the tent of ram skins, dyed red, and a covering of sealskins above. 15“You are to make the framework of boards for the Tabernacle from acacia wood, standing upright. 16The length of each board is to be 10 cubits by one and a half cubits wide. 17There are to be two supports in each board, joined one to another. Do this for all the boards of the Tabernacle. 18You are to make the 20 boards for the south side of the Tabernacle, 19and 40 silver bases underneath the 20 boards. Two bases go underneath one board for its supports and two bases under another board for its supports. 20Likewise, for the second side of the Tabernacle, on the north side, there are to be 20 boards, 21with their 40 bases of silver. Two bases go under one board and two bases under the next board. 22For the back part of the Tabernacle, westward, you are to make six boards. 23Make two boards for the corners of the Tabernacle on the back side. 24They are also to be doubled at the bottom, and in the same way joined at the top by the first ring. It is to be this way for them both, and they will provide for the two corners. 25So there will be eight boards, with 16 silver bases, two bases under each board. 26“Also make crossbeams of acacia wood, five for the boards on one side of the Tabernacle, 27five for the boards on the other side of the Tabernacle, and five for the boards on the back part of the Tabernacle to the west. 28The middle crossbeam in the center of the boards will pass through from end to end. 29Then overlay the boards with gold, and make their rings from gold as holders for the crossbeams, and overlay the crossbeams with gold. 30“You are to raise up the Tabernacle according to the plan which you were shown on the mountain. 31“Make a fine woven linen curtain of blue, purple and scarlet, with cheruvim. It is to be the work of a skillful craftsman. 32You are to hang it on four pillars of acacia overlaid with gold, their hooks being made of gold, atop four bases of silver. 33You are to hang the curtain under the clasps, and bring the Ark within the curtain of the Testimony. The parokhet will divide for you between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. 34“Then you are to put the atonement cover on the Ark of the Testimony in the Holy of Holies. 35You shall set the table outside the curtain, and the menorah opposite the table on the side of the Tabernacle toward the south. You are to put the table on the north side. 36“For the entrance of the tent, also make a screen of blue, purple and scarlet, finely twisted linen, the work of a color weaver. 37You are also to make for the screen five pillars of acacia, and overlay them with gold. Their hooks are to be made of gold, and you are to cast five bases of bronze for them.
–from Exodus 26

How many times might you have skipped over some reading about curtains? How many other things would the title have made you skip over? Have you missed out on the full story? Have you missed out the miracles? Have you missed out on the blessings by skipping over stuff that God had intended to use to speak into your life? What if had been bolded? Would that have gotten your attention? What if there were more lights? Don’t miss out because you don’t think it doesn’t apply to you! God knows what you are going through! He can speak to you right where you are at in and through His Word! I pick a 365 day walk through the Bible each year and each year God is able to speak to me – He knows even before I do what I need to hear. So don’t gloss over God’s Word! The details are important! They were given because they are important!

Altar, Courtyard, Oil

1“Make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide. The altar will be square and its height is to be three cubits. 2Make horns on the four corners—of one piece. Overlay it with bronze. 3You are to make pots for it to take away ashes, along with shovels, basins, forks and fire pans—make all the utensils of bronze. 4Also make a bronze grating net for it, and on the net you are to make four bronze rings on the four corners. 5You are to place it under the ledge around the altar beneath, so that the net may reach halfway up the altar. 6Make poles for the altar, poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with bronze. 7Its poles are to be put into the rings, on the two sides of the altar, for carrying it. 8You are to make it with planks so that it is hollow. As it has been shown to you in the mountain, they are to make it just so. 9“You are also to make a courtyard for the Tabernacle. For the south side there are to be hangings for the courtyard of finely twisted linen, 100 cubits long. 10There are to be 20 pillars with 20 bronze bases, and the hooks on the pillars along with their bands are to be made of silver. 11Likewise for the north side, in length there are to be 100 cubit long hangings, 20 pillars and 20 bronze bases. The hooks of the pillars and their clasps are to be made of silver. 12“Now for the width of the courtyard on the west side there are to be 50 cubits of hangings, ten pillars and ten bases. 13The width of the courtyard on the east side is to be 50 cubits. 14The hangings on one side of the gate are to be 15 cubits, with three pillars and three bases. 15For the other side there is also to be 15 cubits of hangings, with three pillars and three bases. 16“For the gate of the courtyard there is to be a 20 cubit curtain of blue, purple, scarlet and finely twisted linen, the work of a color weaver, along with their four pillars and their four bases. 17The pillars of the courtyard are to be banded with silver, their hooks of silver, and their bases of bronze all around. 18The length of the courtyard is to be 100 cubits, and the width 50 throughout. The height is to be five cubits, with hangings of finely twisted linen, with their bronze bases. 19All the articles of the Tabernacle for all the services there, along with all the pegs, including all the pegs of the courtyard, are to be bronze. 20“Also you are to command Bnei-Yisrael, that they are to bring to you pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause a lamp to burn continually. 21In the Tent of Meeting, outside the curtain which is before the Testimony, Aaron and his sons will set it in order, to burn from evening to morning before Adonai. It will be a statute forever throughout their generations, on behalf of Bnei-Yisrael.
–from Exodus 27

We need to shine our light into this dark world! We need to allow the light that shone into our lives through Jesus to shine out of our lives into the dark world! It’s not good enough to dim it down so that we assimilate into the world! It’s more important that people see the difference! It’s more important that people will see through the darkness the hope that is within you! It’s more important that people will see through the darkness the reason for the hope that is within you! Will you allow the oil – the anointing of the Holy Spirit to burn within you so that your light will continue to shine all the days of your life? Will you stay with the Holy Spirit so that you will be continually filled up so that you can and will shine? It’s all about choices and decisions, words and actions, faith and hope, love and sacrifice!

Will you be part of the remnant who will stick with God? Will you be part of the starter group who will start up a revival? Will you be part of the group who will take a hold of God’s calling and do what He needs? Will you give? Will you go? Will you do? What is God calling you to do? What is He asking you to do? What will your part be? What does He want to say into your life? What can He do in and through you? Will you allow God to prune? Will you allow God to graft you into the family? into the vine?

Israel Not Rejected

1I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2God has not rejected His people whom He knew beforehand. Or do you not know what the Scripture says about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3“Adonai, they have killed your prophets, they have destroyed your altars; I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” 4But what is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5So in the same way also at this present time there has come to be a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. 6But if it is by grace, it is no longer by works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. 7What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained; but the elect obtained it, and the rest were hardened— 8just as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes not to see and ears not to hear, until this very day.” 9And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. 10Let their eyes be darkened so they do not see, and bend their back continually.” 11I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their false step salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke Israel to jealousy. 12Now if their transgression leads to riches for the world, and their loss riches for the Gentiles, then how much more their fullness! 13But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Insofar as I am an emissary to the Gentiles, I spotlight my ministry 14if somehow I might provoke to jealousy my own flesh and blood and save some of them. 15For if their rejection leads to the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16If the firstfruit is holy, so is the whole batch of dough; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17But if some of the branches were broken off and you—being a wild olive—were grafted in among them and became a partaker of the root of the olive tree with its richness, 18do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, it is not you who support the root but the root supports you. 19You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20True enough. They were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but fear— 21for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you. 22Notice then the kindness and severity of God: severity toward those who fell; but God’s kindness toward you, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off! 23And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again. 24For if you were cut out of that which by nature is a wild olive tree, and grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?

The Mystery Revealed!

25For I do not want you, brothers and sisters, to be ignorant of this mystery—lest you be wise in your own eyes—that a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26and in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer shall come out of Zion. He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. 27And this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” 28Concerning the Good News, they are hostile for your sake; but concerning chosenness, they are loved on account of the fathers— 29for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30For just as you once were disobedient to God but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, 31in like manner these also have now been disobedient with the result that, because of the mercy shown to you, they also may receive mercy. 32For God has shut up all in disobedience, so that He might show mercy to all. 33O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how incomprehensible His ways! 34For “who has known the mind of Adonai, or who has been His counselor?” 35Or “who has first given to Him, that it shall be repaid to him?” 36For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.
–from Romans 11

Let’s live sacrificial lives in love! Let’s allow our lives to be a calling sigh for people to come and to know God through our Lord and Savior Jesus! Let’s shine our lights that others may see it and glorify our Father in Heaven! Let’s live lives in the spirit so that we are in alignment with God’s Holy Spirit and can lead us and guide us every step of every day! Let’s share the grace and the mercy God has poured out on us to flow into the lives of those around us that they may come to the realization of God’s greatness!

The Son Is Risen!

1Now after Shabbat, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Miriam of Magdala and the other Miriam came to look at the tomb. 2And suddenly there was a great earthquake, for an angel of Adonai descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4And those keeping watch were shaken for fear of him and became like dead men. 5But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know you are looking for Yeshua who was crucified. 6He is not here; for He is risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7Go quickly now and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead. And behold, He’s going before you to the Galilee. There you will see Him. See, I have told you!” 8They quickly left the tomb, with fear yet with great joy, and ran to bring news to His disciples.

The Good News Cannot Be Hidden

9And behold, Yeshua met them. “Shalom!” He said. They drew near, grasped his feet, and worshiped Him. 10“Don’t be afraid,” Yeshua said to them. “Go tell My brothers to head for the Galilee, and there they will see Me.” 11Now while they were going, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the ruling kohanim all that had happened. 12And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of silver to the soldiers, 13saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we were sleeping.’ 14And if this is heard by the governor, we’ll appease him and keep you out of trouble.” 15So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story was spread among the Judeans to this day.

Authority to Make Disciples Everywhere

16Now the eleven disciples went to the Galilee, to the mountain Yeshua had designated. 17When they saw Him, they worshiped; but some wavered. 18And Yeshua came up to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Ruach ha-Kodesh, 20teaching them to observe all I have commanded you. And remember! I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
–from Matthew 28

Let’s live in the celebration of our risen Savior! Even as Easter is just around the corner, let’s reflect on the birth, the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus! And then shine that He may be glorified! God’s desire isn’t for us to be afraid! His plan is to give us a message of good news so that we will choose to spend our lives and our eternity with Him!

Angels in the Bible make me laugh – they appear in all their glory and awe which tends to startle or frighten people – then they say “Do not be afraid”. So let’s not walk in fear, let’s walk by faith!

Today’s reading alone, we see “Do not be afraid” and “Don’t be afraid”, first from the angel and secondly from Jesus! So let’s take a hold of that today and not walk in fear!

Rule and Regulations

When people make up rules and regulations, what do you think their intentions are? When people setup boundaries is it to keep stuff in or keep stuff out? When people setup rules and regulations, are they doing it to stop people from doing them or to protect people from the consequences of those actions? When rules and regulations are out there do you understand the intent? When rules and regulations are out there do you follow them? What is the decision point for you?

Well, God created rules – aka the 10 commandments. He did it not to keep people from being able to have a good life, but to prevent the consequences of bad decisions from hurting them. He didn’t provide them as guidance or good ideas, but rather He gave them to Moses as commandments for the people to follow. The 10 commandments are where average is supposed to be. Jesus came and He calls us to a higher calling. He came perfect – you may hear it put as sinless – He didn’t do anything that would have broken any of the 10 commands for He didn’t come to abolish the Law, He came to fulfill the Law! He came as the ultimate savior since we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God – we have all broken the 10 commandments and are up for judgement if we haven’t turned to Jesus! None of us are perfect and as such are in a place of judgement unless we turned to Jesus, the free gift from God! So let’s turn to Jesus before it is too late! Let’s receive by faith through grace the redeeming power of Jesus to restore our lives back to God! Let’s walk in alignment to Jesus’ commandments to step up above the 10 commandments! Let’s live our lives out with LOVE! Let’s answer the call to live at a higher standard! In Matthew 5, we read how Jesus says:

20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

In Matthew 5, we read how Jesus says:

21“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER ‘ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ 22“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

In Matthew 5, Jesus says:

27“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; 28but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Jesus is calling us to a higher standard to keep us from the consequences of our decisions.

When God gave Moses the 10 commandments, it wasn’t to put a damper on their lives, it was to protect them from the consequences of their actions. Today’s Word starts with Moses and God and the 10 commandments, so let’s check it out…

The Ten Words

1Then God spoke all these words saying, 2“I am Adonai your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3“You shall have no other gods before Me.
4Do not make for yourself a graven image , or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or on the earth below or in the water under the earth. 5Do not bow down to them, do not let anyone make you serve them. For I, Adonai your God, am a jealous God, bringing the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6but showing lovingkindness to the thousands of generations of those who love Me and keep My mitzvot.
7“You must not take the Name of Adonai your God in vain, for Adonai will not hold him guiltless that takes His Name in vain.
8“Remember Yom Shabbat, to keep it holy. 9You are to work six days, and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a Shabbat to Adonai your God. In it you shall not do any work—not you, nor your son, your daughter, your male servant, your female servant, your cattle, nor the outsider that is within your gates. 11For in six days Adonai made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Thus Adonai blessed Yom Shabbat, and made it holy.
12“Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long upon the land which Adonai your God is giving you.
13“Do not murder.
14“Do not commit adultery.
15“Do not steal.
16“Do not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17“Do not covet your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s wife, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
18All the people witnessed the thundering and the lightning, and the sound of the shofar, and the mountain smoking. When the people saw it, they trembled and stood far off. 19So they said to Moses, “You, speak to us, and we will listen, but do not let God speak to us, or we will die.” 20So Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid, for God has come to test you, so that His fear may be in you, so that you do not sin.” 21The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was. 22Then Adonai said to Moses, “Say this to Bnei-Yisrael: You yourselves have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven. 23Do not make gods of silver alongside Me, and do not make gods of gold for yourselves. 24You are to make an altar of earth for Me, and there you will sacrifice your burnt offerings, your fellowship offerings—your sheep and your cattle. In every place where I cause My name to be mentioned I will come to you and bless you. 25When you make for Me an altar of stones, do not build it from cut stone, for if you use a tool on it, you will have profaned it. 26Nor are you to go up to My altar on steps, so that your nakedness would not be uncovered while on it.”
–from Exodus 20

So let’s consider the intention and be willing to align with God’s will and God’s call on our lives! Let’s allow His Word to be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path! Let’s allow His Word to be the guard rails that keep us in the zone! Let’s live lives that will glorify Him and have Him exalted to the world around us! Let’s allow our good works to glorify Him! Let’s walk out life His way! Let’s gain the benefits! Let’s avoid the snares and pitfalls!

Learn Torah Letter by Letter

1Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the Torah of Adonai. 2Happy are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with a whole heart, 3who also do no injustice, but walk in His ways. 4You have commanded that Your precepts be kept diligently. 5Oh that my ways were steadfast to observe Your decrees! 6Then I would not be ashamed, when I consider all Your mitzvot. 7I will praise You with an upright heart as I learn Your righteous judgments. 8I will observe Your statutes. Never abandon me utterly!
9How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word. 10With my whole heart have I sought You —let me not stray from Your mitzvot. 11I have treasured Your word in my heart, so I might not sin against You. 12Blessed are You, Adonai. Teach me Your statutes. 13With my lips I rehearse all the rulings of Your mouth. 14I rejoice in the way of Your testimonies above all wealth. 15I will meditate on Your precepts, and regard Your ways. 16I will delight in Your decrees. I will never forget Your word.
17Do good to Your servant that I may live and keep Your word. 18Open my eyes, so I may behold wonders from Your Torah. 19I am a temporary dweller on earth— do not hide Your mitzvot from me. 20My soul is crushed with longing for Your judgments at all times. 21You rebuke the proud, who are cursed, who wander from Your mitzvot. 22Take scorn and contempt away from me, for I have kept Your testimonies. 23Though princes sit and talk against me, Your servant meditates on Your decrees. 24For Your testimonies are my delight— they are also my counselors.
25My soul clings to the dust. Revive me according to Your word! 26I told of my ways and You answered me. Teach me Your statutes. 27Help me discern the way of Your precepts, so I may meditate on Your wonders. 28My soul weeps with grief. Make me stand firm with Your word. 29Turn me away from the deceitful way, and be gracious to me with Your Torah. 30I have chosen the way of faithfulness. I have set my heart on Your judgments. 31I cling to Your testimonies. Adonai, do not put me to shame! 32I run the course of Your mitzvot, for You open wide my heart.
33Teach me the way of Your decrees, Adonai, and I will follow them to the end. 34Give me understanding, that I may keep Your Torah and observe it with all my heart. 35Help me walk in the path of Your mitzvot—for I delight in it. 36Turn my heart to Your testimonies and not to dishonest gain. 37Turn my eyes away from gazing at vanity but revive me in Your ways. 38Fulfill Your word to Your servant, which leads to reverence for You. 39Make the disgrace I dread pass away, for Your judgments are good. 40Behold, I long for Your precepts. Revive me by Your righteousness.
41May Your loving kindnesses come to me, Adonai— Your salvation according to Your word— 42so I may answer the one taunting me, for I trust in Your word. 43Never snatch out of my mouth a word of truth, for I hope in Your judgments. 44So I may always keep Your Torah, forever and ever, 45and walk about in freedom. For I have sought Your precepts. 46I will speak of Your testimonies before kings, and never be ashamed. 47I delight in Your mitzvot, which I love. 48I reach out my hands for Your mitzvot, which I love, and meditate on Your decrees.
49Remember the word to Your servant, on which You have made me hope. 50My comfort in my affliction is this: Your word has kept me alive. 51The arrogant have viciously ridiculed me, yet I did not turn away from Your Torah. 52I remember Your judgments from of old, Adonai, and comfort myself. 53Burning indignation grips me, because of the wicked who forsake Your Torah. 54Your decrees have become my songs in the house where I dwell. 55In the night I remember Your Name, Adonai, and keep watching over Your Torah. 56This is my own: that I keep Your precepts.
57Adonai is my portion. I promised to guard Your words. 58I have entreated Your favor with all my heart. Be gracious to me according to Your word. 59I have considered my ways and turned my feet back to Your testimonies. 60I hasten and do not delay to obey Your mitzvot. 61The ropes of the wicked are coiled around me, but I did not forget Your Torah. 62At midnight I rise to praise You, because of Your righteous rulings. 63I am a companion of all who fear You, of those who observe Your precepts. 64The earth is full of Your loving kindness. Adonai—teach me Your decrees.
65You do good to Your servant, Adonai, according to Your word. 66Teach me good sense and knowledge, for I trusted in Your mitzvot. 67Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word. 68You are good and keep doing good— teach me Your decrees. 69Though the proud smeared a lie on me, with all my heart I keep Your precepts. 70Their minds are insensible, but Your Torah is my delight. 71It is good for me that I was afflicted, so that I may learn Your decrees. 72The Torah from Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
73Your hands have made me and formed me. Give me understanding that I may learn Your mitzvot. 74Those in awe of You see me and rejoice, because I put my hope in Your word. 75I know, Adonai, Your judgments are just. In faithfulness You have afflicted me. 76May Your loving kindness comfort me, according to Your promise to Your servant. 77Let Your tender mercies reach me, Let me live, for Your Torah is my delight. 78May the proud be put to shame for wronging me with a lie, but I will meditate on Your precepts. 79Let those in awe of You return to me— those who know Your testimonies. 80My heart will have integrity in following Your decrees, so that I would not be ashamed.
81My soul faints with longing for Your salvation, but I still hope in Your word. 82My eyes are worn out longing for Your promise, saying, “When will You comfort me?” 83Though I became like a wineskin dried in smoke, I do not forget Your decrees. 84How many are the days of Your servant? When will You execute judgment on my persecutors? 85The proud have dug pits for me— that is not in accord with Your Torah! 86All Your mitzvot are faithful. They persecute me with a lie—help me! 87They almost finished me off on earth. But I—I will not forsake Your precepts. 88Revive me with Your loving kindness, so I may keep Your mouth’s testimony.
89Forever, Adonai, Your word stands firm in the heavens. 90Your faithfulness endures from generation to generation. You established the earth, and it stands. 91Your judgments stand today, for all things are Your servants. 92If Your Torah had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. 93I will never forget Your precepts. For with them You have kept me alive. 94I am Yours, save me! For I have sought out Your precepts. 95The wicked wait for me to destroy me. But I will study Your testimonies. 96I have seen a limit to all perfection, yet Your commandment is boundless.
97O how I love Your Torah! It is my meditation all day. 98Your mitzvot make me wiser than my enemies —for they are mine forever. 99I have more insight than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. 100I have gained more understanding than all my elders, for I have kept Your precepts. 101I kept my feet from every evil way, in order to follow Your word. 102I do not turn away from Your rulings, for You Yourself have taught me. 103How sweet is Your word to my taste— yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104From Your precepts I get discernment, therefore I hate every false way.
105Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 106I have sworn and confirmed to observe Your righteous rulings. 107I am severely afflicted. Keep me alive, Adonai, according to Your word. 108Please accept the freewill offerings of my mouth, Adonai, and teach me Your rulings. 109My soul is continually in danger, yet I have not forgotten Your Torah. 110The wicked have set a snare for me, yet I did not stray from Your precepts. 111Your testimonies I have as a heritage forever, for they are my heart’s joy. 112I turned my heart to do Your decrees, forever, to the very end.
113I hate double-minded ones, but Your Torah I love. 114You are my hiding place and my shield —in Your word I hope. 115Away from me, evildoers, so I may keep the mitzvot of my God! 116Sustain me according to Your word, so I may live, and let me not be ashamed of my hope. 117Support me and I will be saved, and study Your decrees continually. 118You despise all who wander from Your decrees, for their deceitfulness is in vain. 119All the wicked of the earth You remove like dross. Therefore I love Your testimonies. 120My flesh shudders for fear of You, and I am in awe of Your judgments.
121I did what is just and right. Do not leave me to my oppressors. 122Guarantee Your servant’s well-being. Do not let arrogant ones oppress me. 123My eyes fail, longing for Your salvation and for Your righteous word. 124Deal with Your servant as befits Your loving kindness, and teach me Your statutes. 125I am Your servant, give me discernment, so I may understand Your testimonies. 126It is time for Adonai to act— they have violated Your Torah! 127Therefore I love Your mitzvot more than gold, more than pure gold. 128Therefore I esteem all Your precepts as right in every way —every false way I hate.
129Your testimonies are wonderful. Therefore my soul obeys them. 130The unfolding of Your words gives light, giving understanding to the simple. 131I opened my mouth wide and panted, for I longed for Your mitzvot. 132Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is fitting to those who love Your Name. 133Direct my footsteps in Your word, and let no iniquity get mastery over me. 134Redeem me from human oppression, and I will keep Your precepts. 135Make Your face shine on Your servant, and teach me Your decrees. 136Streams of water run down from my eyes, because they do not observe Your Torah.
137Righteous are You, Adonai, and Your judgments are upright. 138You have commanded righteousness, Your testimonies, and great faithfulness. 139My zeal has consumed me, because my foes forgot Your words. 140Your word is thoroughly refined, and Your servant loves it. 141I am insignificant and despised, yet I have not forgotten Your precepts. 142Your justice is righteousness forever, and Your Torah is truth. 143Trouble and anguish have overtaken me, yet Your mitzvot are my delight. 144Your testimonies are righteous forever —make me understand, so I may live.
145I cried out with all my heart, “Answer me, Adonai! I will keep Your decrees.” 146I cried out to You, “Save me, and I will keep Your testimonies.” 147I am up before dawn, crying for help— I put my hope in Your word. 148My eyes are up before every night watch, as I meditate on Your word. 149Hear my voice with Your loving kindness. Revive me, Adonai, with Your judgments. 150Pursuers of wicked schemes draw near— they are far from Your Torah. 151You are near, Adonai, and all Your mitzvot are truth. 152Long ago I learned from Your testimonies that You founded them firmly forever.
153See my affliction and rescue me, for I do not forget Your Torah. 154Defend my cause and redeem me. Restore my life through Your word. 155Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek after Your decrees. 156Great are Your mercies, Adonai. Restore my life with Your judgments. 157Many are my persecutors and my foes. Yet I do not turn from Your testimonies. 158I see the treacherous and loathe them, because they do not keep Your word. 159See how I loved Your precepts. Restore my life, Adonai, with Your loving kindness. 160Truth is the essence of Your word, and all Your righteous rulings are eternal.
161Princes persecute me for no reason, but my heart is in awe of Your words. 162I rejoice in Your word, as one who finds great spoil. 163I hate and abhor falsehood, but Your Torah I love. 164Seven times a day I praise You, because of Your righteous judgments. 165Great peace have they who love Your Torah, and nothing causes them to stumble. 166I hope for Your salvation, Adonai, and do Your mitzvot. 167My soul has observed Your testimonies and I love them exceedingly. 168I observe Your precepts and Your laws, for all my ways are before You.
169Let my cry come to You, Adonai. Grant me understanding by Your word. 170Let my supplication come before You. Deliver me, according to Your promise. 171My lips utter praise, for You teach me Your statutes. 172My tongue sings of Your word, for all Your mitzvot are righteous. 173Let Your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen Your precepts. 174I long for Your deliverance, Adonai, and Your Torah is my delight. 175Let my soul live and praise You, and may Your rulings help me. 176I have strayed like a lost sheep— seek Your servant. For I did not forget Your mitzvot.
–from Psalms 119

Who are you going to serve? Will you serve God? Will you serve your selfish desires? Will you serve others? Will you serve good plans? Will you serve God’s calling? Who will you serve? Who is your master? Are you doing it out of love? Are you doing it out of need to? Are you doing it out of have to? Are you doing it for the money? What is your motive? What is your intention?

Who Is Your Master?

1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may abound? 2May it never be! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3Or do you not know that all of us who were immersed into Messiah Yeshua were immersed into His death? 4Therefore we were buried together with Him through immersion into death—in order that just as Messiah was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have become joined together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also will be joined together in His resurrection— 6knowing our old man was crucified with Him so that the sinful body might be done away with, so we no longer serve sin. 7For he who has died is set free from sin. 8Now if we have died with Messiah, we believe that we shall also live with Him. 9We know that Messiah, having been raised from the dead, no longer dies; death no longer is master over Him. 10For the death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. 11So also continually count yourselves both dead to sin and alive to God in Messiah Yeshua. 12Therefore do not let sin rule in your mortal body so that you obey its desires. 13And do not keep yielding your body parts to sin as tools of wickedness; but yield yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your body parts as tools of righteousness to God. 14For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16Do you not know that to whatever you yield yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves to what you obey—whether to sin resulting in death, or to obedience resulting in righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching under which you were placed; 18and after you were set free from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. 19I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you yielded your body parts as slaves to uncleanness and lawlessness, leading to more lawlessness, so now yield your body parts as slaves to righteousness, resulting in holiness. 20For when you were slaves of sin, you were free with regard to righteousness. 21So then, what outcome did you have that you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death. 22But now, having been set free from sin and having become enslaved to God, you have your fruit resulting in holiness. And the outcome is eternal life. 23For sin’s payment is death, but God’s gracious gift is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Lord.
–from Romans 6

What will you believe? Will you believe everything you hear? Will you get tossed around like the waves of the sea? Will you allow yourself to be tossed around by the theme of the day? Will you allow yourself to moved by the new thing? What will be your foundation? What will be the rock you will stand on? Will you complete the work God has for you to do?


The Conspiracy Grows

1Now it happened that when Yeshua had finished all these words, He said to His disciples, 2“You know that Passover comes in two days, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be executed.” 3Then the ruling kohanim and elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the kohen gadol named Caiaphas. 4They plotted together in order that they might seize Yeshua by stealth and kill Him. 5“But not during the festival,” they were saying, “so there won’t be a riot among the people.”

A Woman Anoints Yeshua for Burial

6Now while Yeshua was in Bethany at the house of Simon ha-Metzora, 7a woman came up to Him with an alabaster jar of very expensive oil. And she poured it on His head as He was reclining at the table. 8But when the disciples saw this, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9It could have been sold for a lot, and the money given to the poor!” 10But Yeshua, knowing this, said to them, “Why do you cause trouble for this woman? She’s done Me a mitzvah. 11You always have the poor with you, but you won’t always have Me. 12For when she poured this oil on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. 13Amen, I tell you, wherever this Good News is proclaimed in all the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

Betrayed and Sold for Silver

14Then one of the Twelve, the one called Judah of Kriot, went to the ruling kohanim 15and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you?” And they weighed out thirty shekels of silver for him. 16From then on, Judah began looking for a chance to hand Him over. 17Now on the first day of matzah , the disciples came to Yeshua, saying, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?” 18He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and tell him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is near; at your house I am to keep the Passover with My disciples.”’” 19The disciples did as Yeshua had ordered them, and they prepared the Passover. 20Now when it was evening, Yeshua was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21As they were eating, He said, “Amen, I tell you, one of you will betray Me.” 22And being very sorrowful, they began, each one, to say to Him, “I’m not the one, am I, Master?” 23And He replied, “The one who dipped his hand in the bowl with Me, he’s the one who will betray Me. 24The Son of Man indeed goes, just as it is written about Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born!” 25And Judah, the one betraying Him, replied, “I’m not the one, am I, Rabbi?” Yeshua said to him, “You’ve said it yourself.” 26Now while they were eating, Yeshua took matzah ; and after He offered the bracha, He broke and gave to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27And He took a cup; and after giving thanks, He gave to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the removal of sins. 29But I say to you, I will never drink of this fruit of the vine from now on, until that day when I drink it anew with you in My Father’s kingdom.” 30After singing the Hallel, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31Then Yeshua said to them, “This night you will all fall away because of Me; for it is written, ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32But after I am raised up, I will go before you to the Galilee.” 33But Peter replied to Him, “Though all fall away because of You, I’ll never fall away.” 34Yeshua said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 35“Even if I must die with You,” Peter says to Him, “I’ll never deny You!” And so said all the disciples.

“Your Will Be Done”

36Then Yeshua comes with them to a place called Gethsemane, and He tells the disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37And He took along Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, and He began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38Then He tells them, “My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.” 39Going a little farther, He fell face down and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me! Yet not as I will, but as You will.” 40Then He comes to the disciples and finds them sleeping; and He tells Peter, “So couldn’t you keep watch with Me for one hour? 41Keep watching and praying, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42Again for a second time He went away and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, let Your will be done.” 43And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44So He left them again and prayed a third time, saying the same words once more. 45Then He comes to the disciples and says to them, “Still sleeping? Taking your rest? Look, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being delivered into the hands of sinners. 46Get up, let’s go! Look, My betrayer is near.”

Taken into Custody

47While Yeshua was still speaking, here came Judah, one of the Twelve, and with him a big crowd with swords and clubs, from the ruling kohanim and elders of the people. 48Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The One I kiss, He’s the One—seize Him!’ 49And immediately Judah drew near to Yeshua and said, “Shalom, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 50“Friend,” Yeshua said to him, “do what you’ve come to do.” Then they came up and threw their hands on Yeshua and seized Him. 51And suddenly, one of those with Yeshua stretched out his hand and drew his sword, and he struck the kohen gadol ’s servant and cut off his ear. 52Then Yeshua said to him, “Put your sword back in its place! For all who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. 53Or do you suppose that I cannot call on My Father, and at once He will place at My side twelve legions of angels? 54How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” 55At that hour Yeshua said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs, to capture Me as you would a revolutionary? Every day I sat teaching in the Temple, and you didn’t seize Me. 56But all this has happened so that the writings of the prophets would be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples fled, abandoning Him. 57Now those who had seized Yeshua led Him away to Caiaphas, the kohen gadol , where the Torah scholars and elders had gathered. 58Peter was following Him from a distance as far as the courtyard of the kohen gadol . And after going inside, he was sitting with the guards, to see the outcome.

Yeshua’s Trial Begins

59Now the ruling kohanim and all the Sanhedrin kept trying to get false testimony against Yeshua so they could put Him to death. 60But they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward 61and said, “This fellow said, ‘I’m able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days!’” 62The kohen gadol stood up and said to Yeshua, “Have You no answer? What’s this they’re testifying against You?” 63But Yeshua kept silent. The kohen gadol said to Him, “I charge You under oath by the living God, tell us if You are Mashiach Ben-Elohim!” 64“As you have said,” replied Yeshua. “Besides that, I tell you, soon after you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65Then the kohen gadol tore his clothes and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, you’ve heard the blasphemy. 66What’s your verdict?” “Guilty,” they answered. “He deserves death!” 67Then they spat in His face and pounded Him with their fists. Others slapped Him and demanded, 68“Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Which one hit You?”

Peter Denies Yeshua

69Meanwhile, Peter was sitting in the courtyard. A servant girl came over to him and said, “You also were with Yeshua of the Galilee.” 70But he denied it before everyone, saying, “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” 71When he went onto the porch, another servant girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Yeshua ha-Natzrati.” 72Again he denied it with an oath: “I don’t know the Man!” 73A little while later, some of the bystanders approached Peter and said to him, “Surely you’re one of them, too—your accent gives you away.” 74Then he began to curse and to swear an oath: “I do not know the Man!” Right then, a rooster crowed. 75Then Peter reminded himself of the word Yeshua had said: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went away and wept bitterly.
–from Matthew 26






Do you realize the purpose? Do you understand the intent?

Don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t jump to verdicts. Make sure you really understand the purpose. Make sure that the intentions are clear. Otherwise, you will make the wrong decision or a bad decision that could impact your relationships, your life, your direction into the future!

Is someone doing something that you feel is wrong? Is someone heading in the wrong direction in your mind? Do you know why they are doing what they are doing? Do you understand their intentions for what they are doing or attempting? Have you asked them? Or are you just making assumptions or generalizations?

Today’s reading is an interesting one as Jesus get questions by the religious leaders of the day…Check this out…

The Question about Fasting

(Matthew 9.14-17; Luke 5.33-39)
18On one occasion the followers of John the Baptist and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came to Jesus and asked him, “Why is it that the disciples of John the Baptist and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but yours do not?”
19Jesus answered, “Do you expect the guests at a wedding party to go without food? Of course not! As long as the bridegroom is with them, they will not do that. 20But the day will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
21“No one uses a piece of new cloth to patch up an old coat, because the new patch will shrink and tear off some of the old cloth, making an even bigger hole. 22Nor does anyone pour new wine into used wineskins, because the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins will be ruined. Instead, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins.”

The Question about the Sabbath

(Matthew 12.1-8; Luke 6.1-5)
23 Jesus was walking through some wheat fields on a Sabbath. As his disciples walked along with him, they began to pick the heads of wheat. 24So the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look, it is against our Law for your disciples to do that on the Sabbath!”
25Jesus answered, “Have you never read what David did that time when he needed something to eat? He and his men were hungry, 26 so he went into the house of God and ate the bread offered to God. This happened when Abiathar was the High Priest. According to our Law only the priests may eat this bread—but David ate it and even gave it to his men.”
27And Jesus concluded, “The Sabbath was made for the good of human beings; they were not made for the Sabbath. 28So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
~from Mark 2(GNT)

God’s rules and regulations were made for our good! They were made to help keep us in alignment towards God’s ultimate purpose and plan!

So do you have a disagreement with someone? Do you have a dispute that needs to be taken care of? Do you know what to do? Do you know where to turn? Is it something too big to just handle one on one? Is it something that requires additional viewpoints?

Lawsuits against Fellow Christians

1If any of you have a dispute with another Christian, how dare you go before heathen judges instead of letting God’s people settle the matter? 2Don’t you know that God’s people will judge the world? Well, then, if you are to judge the world, aren’t you capable of judging small matters? 3Do you not know that we shall judge the angels? How much more, then, the things of this life! 4If such matters come up, are you going to take them to be settled by people who have no standing in the church? 5Shame on you! Surely there is at least one wise person in your fellowship who can settle a dispute between fellow Christians. 6Instead, one Christian goes to court against another and lets unbelievers judge the case!
7The very fact that you have legal disputes among yourselves shows that you have failed completely. Would it not be better for you to be wronged? Would it not be better for you to be robbed? 8Instead, you yourselves wrong one another and rob one another, even other believers! 9Surely you know that the wicked will not possess God’s Kingdom. Do not fool yourselves; people who are immoral or who worship idols or are adulterers or homosexual perverts 10or who steal or are greedy or are drunkards or who slander others or are thieves—none of these will possess God’s Kingdom. 11Some of you were like that. But you have been purified from sin; you have been dedicated to God; you have been put right with God by the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
~from 1 Corinthians 6 (GNT)

So let’s put our trust in God and help others to come to that realization too. Let’s share our testimonies of all God has done in and through our lives. Let’s help those to follow from falling into the same tricks of the devil and traps that snagged us so that in and through it all God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory!

God and His People

1Listen, my people, to my teaching,
and pay attention to what I say.
2 I am going to use wise sayings
and explain mysteries from the past,
3things we have heard and known,
things that our ancestors told us.
4We will not keep them from our children;
we will tell the next generation
about the Lord‘s power and his great deeds
and the wonderful things he has done.
5He gave laws to the people of Israel
and commandments to the descendants of Jacob.
He instructed our ancestors
to teach his laws to their children,
6so that the next generation might learn them
and in turn should tell their children.
7In this way they also will put their trust in God
and not forget what he has done,
but always obey his commandments.
8They will not be like their ancestors,
a rebellious and disobedient people,
whose trust in God was never firm
and who did not remain faithful to him.
9The Ephraimites, armed with bows and arrows,
ran away on the day of battle.
10They did not keep their covenant with God;
they refused to obey his law.
11They forgot what he had done,
the miracles they had seen him perform.
12 While their ancestors watched, God performed miracles
in the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt.
13 He divided the sea and took them through it;
he made the waters stand like walls.
14 By day he led them with a cloud
and all night long with the light of a fire.
15He split rocks open in the desert
and gave them water from the depths.
16 He caused a stream to come out of the rock
and made water flow like a river.
17But they continued to sin against God,
and in the desert they rebelled against the Most High.
18 They deliberately put God to the test
by demanding the food they wanted.
19They spoke against God and said,
“Can God supply food in the desert?
20It is true that he struck the rock,
and water flowed out in a torrent;
but can he also provide us with bread
and give his people meat?”
21And so the Lord was angry when he heard them;
he attacked his people with fire,
and his anger against them grew,
22because they had no faith in him
and did not believe that he would save them.
23But he spoke to the sky above
and commanded its doors to open;
24 he gave them grain from heaven,
by sending down manna for them to eat.
25So they ate the food of angels,
and God gave them all they wanted.
26He also caused the east wind to blow,
and by his power he stirred up the south wind;
27and to his people he sent down birds,
as many as the grains of sand on the shore;
28they fell in the middle of the camp
all around the tents.
29So the people ate and were satisfied;
God gave them what they wanted.
30But they had not yet satisfied their craving
and were still eating,
31when God became angry with them
and killed their strongest men,
the best young men of Israel.
32In spite of all this the people kept sinning;
in spite of his miracles they did not trust him.
33So he ended their days like a breath
and their lives with sudden disaster.
34Whenever he killed some of them,
the rest would turn to him;
they would repent and pray earnestly to him.
35They remembered that God was their protector,
that the Almighty came to their aid.
36But their words were all lies;
nothing they said was sincere.
37 They were not loyal to him;
they were not faithful to their covenant with him.
38But God was merciful to his people.
He forgave their sin
and did not destroy them.
Many times he held back his anger
and restrained his fury.
39He remembered that they were only mortal beings,
like a wind that blows by and is gone.
~from Psalm 78 (GNT)

There will always be people who question when you do something good for someone else.

Ever noticed that people are suspicious of people who are doing good things. Suspecting that they are going to want something in return. Suspecting that it is a trick of some sort. Things have gotten so off track that doing nice or good things for others isn’t the norm but raises concerns in others. Does that mean we should stop? NO! It means we need to be doing it and helping others to do it too to help stop this trend. If more people weren’t scam artists or trickster, than more people would be appreciative and accepting of people doing nice things to and for them. Where are you at on this situation today? Are you suspicious? Are you doing nice things? Are you trying to manipulate others? Are you only doing in order to get something back in return? Are you being kind and generous because that is what we should do without any expectations of anything in return? Let’s reflect on this and predetermine what and how we are going to act and respond. Let’s respond with grace and gratitude when someone does something nice. Let’s do out of love for God and for others nice things that will give them a hand up, give them a word of encouragement, give them support and courage to press on. This is the day to start a new trend and get things going in the right direction.

Today’s reading is interesting because we see how others question Jesus. They question His actions. They question His authority. They question His character. They judge him even before they can see the miracle. He touched the mans heart and life and then his body to prove His intentions and His authority are all grounded in LOVE!

1Jesus got into the boat and went back across the lake to his own town, 2where some people brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a bed. When Jesus saw how much faith they had, he said to the paralyzed man, “Courage, my son! Your sins are forgiven.”

3Then some teachers of the Law said to themselves, “This man is speaking blasphemy!”
4Jesus perceived what they were thinking, and so he said, “Why are you thinking such evil things? 5Is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6I will prove to you, then, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, pick up your bed, and go home!”
7The man got up and went home. 8When the people saw it, they were afraid, and praised God for giving such authority to people.
— from Matthew 9

Let’s be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in every situation we are in today. Let’s share the marvels of God with those around us based on His leading and direction. Let’s speak what God wants us to say. Let’s do what God calls us to do. And let’s make sure that in and through it all, He receives the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name.

God isn’t looking for perfect vessels, but yielded vessels who are willing to walk with Him and follow after His ways. We see in many cases Jesus stepping into situations which the religious people of the time would have looked down on. He wants to be with people who need and desire Him. He wants us all to walk in that way. Can we walk in a way that points and brings people to Jesus? Will you decide and choose to be an ambassador for Jesus today and help to transform the world around you? One person at a time? Consider the encounter with Matthew…

9Jesus left that place, and as he walked along, he saw a tax collector, named Matthew, sitting in his office. He said to him, “Follow me.”

Matthew got up and followed him.

10  While Jesus was having a meal in Matthew’s house,#
9.10: in Matthew’s house; or in his (that is Jesus’) house.

many tax collectors and other outcasts came and joined Jesus and his disciples at the table. 11Some Pharisees saw this and asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such people?”

12Jesus heard them and answered, “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. 13 Go and find out what is meant by the scripture that says: ‘It is kindness that I want, not animal sacrifices.’ I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts.”
— from Matthew 9

Are you going to be someone who is giving a hand up rather than a hand out? Are you going to be someone is will help or someone who will enable? Jesus is clear and gives us an example to follow, so let’s take a grab of that today and follow after His ways so that we increase the average, change the temperature of the society, and help not only transform the world, but also point the world heavenly through Jesus Christ our Lord!

God’s put a calling on each of our lives. If God spoke to you to go, would you go? If God spoke to you to let others who you are closely tied to go, would you let them go? Would you go with a blessing or would you go in doubt? Would you let them go with a blessing or would you let them go with regret? Will you pray for them and encourage them to complete the work that God is calling them into? Will you be obedient to the prompting of the Spirit? We see what happens when the Spirit prompts them to send Barnabas and Saul…

1In the church at Antioch there were some prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon (called the Black), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (who had been brought up with Governor Herod), and Saul. 2While they were serving the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said to them, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul, to do the work to which I have called them.”

3They fasted and prayed, placed their hands on them, and sent them off.
— from Acts 13

We also see what happens when we are obedient to the prompting and the impact it can make not only on a generation but for multiple generations as the story has been captured and published to millions through the Bible.

In Cyprus

4Having been sent by the Holy Spirit, Barnabas and Saul went to Seleucia and sailed from there to the island of Cyprus. 5When they arrived at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues. They had John Mark with them to help in the work.
6They went all the way across the island to Paphos, where they met a certain magician named Bar-Jesus, a Jew who claimed to be a prophet. 7He was a friend of the governor of the island, Sergius Paulus, who was an intelligent man. The governor called Barnabas and Saul before him because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8But they were opposed by the magician Elymas (that is his name in Greek), who tried to turn the governor away from the faith. 9Then Saul—also known as Paul—was filled with the Holy Spirit; he looked straight at the magician 10and said, “You son of the Devil! You are the enemy of everything that is good. You are full of all kinds of evil tricks, and you always keep trying to turn the Lord’s truths into lies! 11The Lord’s hand will come down on you now; you will be blind and will not see the light of day for a time.”
At once Elymas felt a dark mist cover his eyes, and he walked around trying to find someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the governor saw what had happened, he believed; for he was greatly amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

In Antioch in Pisidia

13Paul and his companions sailed from Paphos and came to Perga, a city in Pamphylia, where John Mark left them and went back to Jerusalem. 14They went on from Perga and arrived in Antioch in Pisidia, and on the Sabbath they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15After the reading from the Law of Moses and from the writings of the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent them a message: “Friends, we want you to speak to the people if you have a message of encouragement for them.” 16Paul stood up, motioned with his hand, and began to speak:
“Fellow Israelites and all Gentiles here who worship God: hear me! 17 The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors and made the people a great nation during the time they lived as foreigners in Egypt. God brought them out of Egypt by his great power, 18and for forty years he endured them in the desert. 19 He destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan and made his people the owners of the land. 20 All of this took about 450 years.
“After this he gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. 21 And when they asked for a king, God gave them Saul son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin, to be their king for forty years. 22After removing him, God made David their king. This is what God said about him: ‘I have found that David son of Jesse is the kind of man I like, a man who will do all I want him to do.’ 23It was Jesus, a descendant of David, whom God made the Savior of the people of Israel, as he had promised. 24 Before Jesus began his work, John preached to all the people of Israel that they should turn from their sins and be baptized. 25And as John was about to finish his mission, he said to the people, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not the one you are waiting for. But listen! He is coming after me, and I am not good enough to take his sandals off his feet.’
— from Acts 13

But it doesn’t end there, there is more to this story (probably for me in tomorrow’s reading, but you can read on…). God’s got incredible plans for how you can do good in this world. He will not only bless you, but allow you to be a blessing in the lives of others that He will bring in and through your life. Seek wisdom through the Holy Spirit so that you can understand and know the intentions and the plans. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide and protect you and your actions. Let’s make today a great day of doing good for others…for no other reason than to glorify God! And let’s see what God will do in and through our lives!

And then let’s celebrate the victories! Let’s celebrate with others who have breakthroughs! Let’s celebrate for the victories God has provided us! Let’s not forget the good work that He is and has done in and through our lives!

1The king is glad, O Lord, because you gave him strength;

he rejoices because you made him victorious.
2You have given him his heart’s desire;
you have answered his request.
3You came to him with great blessings
and set a crown of gold on his head.
4He asked for life, and you gave it,
a long and lasting life.
5His glory is great because of your help;
you have given him fame and majesty.
6Your blessings are with him forever,
and your presence fills him with joy.
7The king trusts in the Lord Almighty;
and because of the Lord‘s constant love
he will always be secure.
8The king will capture all his enemies;
he will capture everyone who hates him.
9He will destroy them like a blazing fire
when he appears.
The Lord will devour them in his anger,
and fire will consume them.
10None of their descendants will survive;
the king will kill them all.
11They make their plans, and plot against him,
but they will not succeed.
12He will shoot his arrows at them
and make them turn and run.
13We praise you, Lord, for your great strength!
We will sing and praise your power.
— from Psalm 21

When we consider that Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, we know that the final chapter speaks to the conclusion and the victory of Jesus. The devil goes around trying to trick people through lies, making plans and plots against Jesus, however, Jesus has already won the victory over death through His resurrection. So let’s be like the psalmist and praise the Lord, sing to Him, let’s worship Him for all He has already done and what He is yet to do in and through our lives and for the rest of eternity!


What is your intention? What is their intention?

Are you saying things because you are wanting something? Are you saying something because you believe in something? Are you saying something in order to try and manipulate the situation? Are you saying something out of respect? Are you saying something out of trickery? What are you trying to achieve? You can turn it around too and change you to they…

This morning’s reading from God’s Word starts out with an interesting conversation, one that if we stopped reading early we may think is a conversation about encouraging a brother to go and do something. Continuing to read on it wasn’t being said out of love or care, but more out of disbelief and manipulation. We need to listen for God’s Spirit when we are being spoken to in order to know and understand what the true intention is of what is being done and said around us.

3-5His brothers said, “Why don’t you leave here and go up to the Feast so your disciples can get a good look at the works you do? No one who intends to be publicly known does everything behind the scenes. If you’re serious about what you are doing, come out in the open and show the world.” His brothers were pushing him like this because they didn’t believe in him either. — John 7

And once you do, how will you speak into the situation? How will you test what is being said for the truth?

6-8Jesus came back at them, “Don’t crowd me. This isn’t my time. It’s your time—it’s always your time; you have nothing to lose. The world has nothing against you, but it’s up in arms against me. It’s against me because I expose the evil behind its pretensions. You go ahead, go up to the Feast. Don’t wait for me. I’m not ready. It’s not the right time for me.”
9-11He said this and stayed on in Galilee. But later, after his family had gone up to the Feast, he also went. But he kept out of the way, careful not to draw attention to himself. The Jews were already out looking for him, asking around, “Where is that man?”
12-13There was a lot of contentious talk about him circulating through the crowds. Some were saying, “He’s a good man.” But others said, “Not so. He’s selling snake oil.” This kind of talk went on in guarded whispers because of the intimidating Jewish leaders. — John 7

Do you know where you are at today? Do you know your purpose and your time?

Do you have a standard you can use to test what is being said against? Do you have a way to know if it is right or wrong? Do you have a way to know if it is truth or a lie? How about God’s Word, something that is unchanging and unswerving! Compare things against it to be able to test them.

16-19Jesus said, “I didn’t make this up. What I teach comes from the One who sent me. Anyone who wants to do his will can test this teaching and know whether it’s from God or whether I’m making it up. A person making things up tries to make himself look good. But someone trying to honor the one who sent him sticks to the facts and doesn’t tamper with reality. It was Moses, wasn’t it, who gave you God’s Law? But none of you are living it. So why are you trying to kill me?”
20The crowd said, “You’re crazy! Who’s trying to kill you? You’re demon-possessed.”
21-24Jesus said, “I did one miraculous thing a few months ago, and you’re still standing around getting all upset, wondering what I’m up to. Moses prescribed circumcision—originally it came not from Moses but from his ancestors—and so you circumcise a man, dealing with one part of his body, even if it’s the Sabbath. You do this in order to preserve one item in the Law of Moses. So why are you upset with me because I made a man’s whole body well on the Sabbath? Don’t be nitpickers; use your head—and heart!—to discern what is right, to test what is authentically right.”
25-27That’s when some of the people of Jerusalem said, “Isn’t this the one they were out to kill? And here he is out in the open, saying whatever he pleases, and no one is stopping him. Could it be that the rulers know that he is, in fact, the Messiah? And yet we know where this man came from. The Messiah is going to come out of nowhere. Nobody is going to know where he comes from.”
28-29That provoked Jesus, who was teaching in the Temple, to cry out, “Yes, you think you know me and where I’m from, but that’s not where I’m from. I didn’t set myself up in business. My true origin is in the One who sent me, and you don’t know him at all. I come from him—that’s how I know him. He sent me here.”
30-31They were looking for a way to arrest him, but not a hand was laid on him because it wasn’t yet God’s time. Many from the crowd committed themselves in faith to him, saying, “Will the Messiah, when he comes, provide better or more convincing evidence than this?”
32-34The Pharisees, alarmed at this seditious undertow going through the crowd, teamed up with the high priests and sent their police to arrest him. Jesus rebuffed them: “I am with you only a short time. Then I go on to the One who sent me. You will look for me, but you won’t find me. Where I am, you can’t come.”
35-36The Jews put their heads together. “Where do you think he is going that we won’t be able to find him? Do you think he is about to travel to the Greek world to teach the Jews? What is he talking about, anyway: ‘You will look for me, but you won’t find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you can’t come’?”
37-39On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.” (He said this in regard to the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were about to receive. The Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.)
40-44Those in the crowd who heard these words were saying, “This has to be the Prophet.” Others said, “He is the Messiah!” But others were saying, “The Messiah doesn’t come from Galilee, does he? Don’t the Scriptures tell us that the Messiah comes from David’s line and from Bethlehem, David’s village?” So there was a split in the crowd over him. Some went so far as wanting to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him.
45That’s when the Temple police reported back to the high priests and Pharisees, who demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him with you?”
46The police answered, “Have you heard the way he talks? We’ve never heard anyone speak like this man.”
47-49The Pharisees said, “Are you carried away like the rest of the rabble? You don’t see any of the leaders believing in him, do you? Or any from the Pharisees? It’s only this crowd, ignorant of God’s Law, that is taken in by him—and damned.”
50-51Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus earlier and was both a ruler and a Pharisee, spoke up. “Does our Law decide about a man’s guilt without first listening to him and finding out what he is doing?”
52-53But they cut him off. “Are you also campaigning for the Galilean? Examine the evidence. See if any prophet ever comes from Galilee.”
Then they all went home.John 7

Are they for you or are they against you? Are they trying to help you or hinder you? Are they giving you a hand up or are they trying to tear you down? Intentions…

Is it trickery or real? Is it a test or a trick? Is it real or made up? Are they bringing you the truth or not? Are they bringing in all the pieces necessary for a real decision or just part of it to try and trick you?

1-2Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.
3-6The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.
6-8Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.
9-10Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”
11“No one, Master.”
“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”John 8

I wonder what He was writing? I wonder if He was writing out their names or their sins? I wonder what will happen if you or I confronted people who were challenging us with such a truth or such a challenging statement? If we turned and asked the Holy Spirit for the right words to speak in the very situation we were in, how would that impact the tone, the emotions, the experience in the meeting or conversation?

What do you use to make your decisions? Is it just on what you can see or touch? Is it based on the prompting of the Spirit? Is it based on what you can analyze? Is it based on testing it against a standard? How do you make decisions?

12Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.”
13The Pharisees objected, “All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on.”
14-18Jesus replied, “You’re right that you only have my word. But you can depend on it being true. I know where I’ve come from and where I go next. You don’t know where I’m from or where I’m headed. You decide according to what you can see and touch. I don’t make judgments like that. But even if I did, my judgment would be true because I wouldn’t make it out of the narrowness of my experience but in the largeness of the One who sent me, the Father. That fulfills the conditions set down in God’s Law: that you can count on the testimony of two witnesses. And that is what you have: You have my word and you have the word of the Father who sent me.”
19They said, “Where is this so-called Father of yours?”
Jesus said, “You’re looking right at me and you don’t see me. How do you expect to see the Father? If you knew me, you would at the same time know the Father.”
20He gave this speech in the Treasury while teaching in the Temple. No one arrested him because his time wasn’t yet up.
John 8

Consider your perspective! Consider the angle you are taking! Consider the angle you are looking through! What is guiding you? Where do your guiding principles come from? Ask God for wisdom who will give it freely and without finding fault! It’s the only way and the best way!

24Jesus said, “You’re tied down to the mundane; I’m in touch with what is beyond your horizons. You live in terms of what you see and touch. I’m living on other terms. I told you that you were missing God in all this. You’re at a dead end. If you won’t believe I am who I say I am, you’re at the dead end of sins. You’re missing God in your lives.”

25-26They said to him, “Just who are you anyway?”
Jesus said, “What I’ve said from the start. I have so many things to say that concern you, judgments to make that affect you, but if you don’t accept the trustworthiness of the One who commanded my words and acts, none of it matters. That is who you are questioning—not me but the One who sent me.”
27-29They still didn’t get it, didn’t realize that he was referring to the Father. So Jesus tried again. “When you raise up the Son of Man, then you will know who I am—that I’m not making this up, but speaking only what the Father taught me. The One who sent me stays with me. He doesn’t abandon me. He sees how much joy I take in pleasing him.”
30When he put it in these terms, many people decided to believe.John 8

So are you all tied up? Are you tangled up in stuff? Are you under pressure? Are you locked into things you said and did in the past? Are you looking for a way out? Are you wondering if there is a way out? Are you wanting to break free? For who the Lord sets free is free indeed.

31-32Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.”
33Surprised, they said, “But we’re descendants of Abraham. We’ve never been slaves to anyone. How can you say, ‘The truth will free you’?”
34-38Jesus said, “I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will. The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house. So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through. I know you are Abraham’s descendants. But I also know that you are trying to kill me because my message hasn’t yet penetrated your thick skulls. I’m talking about things I have seen while keeping company with the Father, and you just go on doing what you have heard from your father.”
39-41They were indignant. “Our father is Abraham!”
Jesus said, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would have been doing the things Abraham did. And yet here you are trying to kill me, a man who has spoken to you the truth he got straight from God! Abraham never did that sort of thing. You persist in repeating the works of your father.”
They said, “We’re not bastards. We have a legitimate father: the one and only God.”
42-47“If God were your father,” said Jesus, “you would love me, for I came from God and arrived here. I didn’t come on my own. He sent me. Why can’t you understand one word I say? Here’s why: You can’t handle it. You’re from your father, the Devil, and all you want to do is please him. He was a killer from the very start. He couldn’t stand the truth because there wasn’t a shred of truth in him. When the Liar speaks, he makes it up out of his lying nature and fills the world with lies. I arrive on the scene, tell you the plain truth, and you refuse to have a thing to do with me. Can any one of you convict me of a single misleading word, a single sinful act? But if I’m telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Anyone on God’s side listens to God’s words. This is why you’re not listening—because you’re not on God’s side.”John 8

Can you handle the truth? The truth will set you free!

Consider today why you are doing what you are doing. Consider your intentions. Are  you living a life to try and make yourself bigger or are you trying to live a life of service so that God can be exalted and glorified? What are your intentions for the things you are doing?


48The Jews then said, “That clinches it. We were right all along when we called you a Samaritan and said you were crazy—demon-possessed!”
49-51Jesus said, “I’m not crazy. I simply honor my Father, while you dishonor me. I am not trying to get anything for myself. God intends something gloriously grand here and is making the decisions that will bring it about. I say this with absolute confidence. If you practice what I’m telling you, you’ll never have to look death in the face.”
52-53At this point the Jews said, “Now we know you’re crazy. Abraham died. The prophets died. And you show up saying, ‘If you practice what I’m telling you, you’ll never have to face death, not even a taste.’ Are you greater than Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you think you are!”
54-56Jesus said, “If I turned the spotlight on myself, it wouldn’t amount to anything. But my Father, the same One you say is your Father, put me here at this time and place of splendor. You haven’t recognized him in this. But I have. If I, in false modesty, said I didn’t know what was going on, I would be as much of a liar as you are. But I do know, and I am doing what he says. Abraham—your ‘father’—with jubilant faith looked down the corridors of history and saw my day coming. He saw it and cheered.”
57The Jews said, “You’re not even fifty years old—and Abraham saw you?”
58“Believe me,” said Jesus, “I am who I am long before Abraham was anything.”
59That did it—pushed them over the edge. They picked up rocks to throw at him. But Jesus slipped away, getting out of the Temple. — John 8

Who do you say He is? Who do you say you are?

Are you going through the motions to try and look right?

This morning as I consider this question it brings to mind the song The motions. There are many times in life where people are more interested in making sure everything looks right, all the checkboxes are checked, and their persona or image is clean. The truth is a matter of the heart! It’s not that your outside makes you dirty, it’s what is on the inside that counts. The fact that stuff may go into you and then out the other ends doesn’t make you dirty. It’s what you keep on the inside – the thoughts you allow to stick in your mind, the stuff that takes root in your heart. When that problem takes effect what comes out of your mouth is what can and will make you dirty. It is the thing that will make you say things you may later regret. It is the thing that will make you do things that are totally out of line. To the world you may look like you have it all together, but when held up against the truth, it will show the holes, the gaps, the fact that you are going through the motions. Let’s be real! Let’s not just be putting on a show for others to see and hide the truth. Let’s allow God’s love and truth to take root in our hearts so that we are able to make sure that we are in alignment with God’s will and that we are more interested in the truth and love and grace of God more than just look good.

This morning’s Bible reading comes from Mark 7-8, Psalm 102. We start today with Jesus confronting the religious leaders who had questioned why His disciples were following the rituals. He challenges them that their hearts aren’t really in it. Are you respecting and honoring your parents? God’s commandments tell us that this is the first commandment with a promise that things will go well for us. We see Jesus challenge the leaders on this topic today too:

9-13He went on, “Well, good for you. You get rid of God’s command so you won’t be inconvenienced in following the religious fashions! Moses said, ‘Respect your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone denouncing father or mother should be killed.’ But you weasel out of that by saying that it’s perfectly acceptable to say to father or mother, ‘Gift! What I owed you I’ve given as a gift to God,’ thus relieving yourselves of obligation to father or mother. You scratch out God’s Word and scrawl a whim in its place. You do a lot of things like this.”

— Mark 7

We need to realize that putting on an act doesn’t really get us ahead. The act may last for a little while, but eventually it will be brought into the light and the truth will be revealed. It’s not what you swallow that pollutes you, but what you vomit out! What you sallow gets into your stomach and will work its way through your digestive system and then eventually be flushed. It doesn’t get to your heart! Consider what comes out of people’s mouths, that is what pollutes them…obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness, it’s this type of stuff that pollutes them.

So do a spot check today to see where you are at! Are you going through the motions or are you living with God’s all consuming passion inside of you? Are you more interested in how you look than how healthy you really are? When you hear what is coming out of your mouth is it something to be concern about and you need to check under the hood to see what’s really going on inside? Is there bitterness or anger or frustration that are causing your heart to harden, for bitterness to be taking root, for unhealthy thoughts to take hold? Forgiveness is the key! Just as Jesus died that we could be forgiven and reconciled to God, we need to be forgiving others for everything they have done to us. That’s right everything! They may not deserve it, but neither did we, it was God’s greater plan. We need to forgive not because of them, but for our own health and freedom. Every time we allow people to take that from us, we are giving up part of us to the devil to be able to try and manipulate and contort us and our lives. It gives him a foothold in our lives that has no right being there.

Is your check heart light on in your life?

If the check engine light comes on your car, you get concerned and respond, so why not your check heart light?