How tight of a connection do you have?


Are you able to trust them? Do you have faith in them? Do you stay connected with them? Do you spend time with them? Do speak with them about every decision?

There is an antidote to loneliness and it is called fellowship!

fel·low·ship [ˈfelōˌSHip]

NOUN
  1. friendly association, especially with people who share one’s interests:
    “they valued fun and good fellowship as the cement of the community”

We need to come together in fellowship! We were never meant to go through this life alone! In this world we will have troubles and we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world! When we stay in fellowship, the devil can’t convince of things that he can when we are alone! When we have fellowship with Jesus in the center it becomes even stronger for a chord of three strands is not easily broken! So let’s come together and stand together! Let’s be filled up daily with God’s Word and God’s Spirit so that we can live out to the fullest all that God has planned for us! Yes we will have trials but let’s persevere so that in the end we will be complete and lacking nothing as our faith builds up and is strengthened through it!

So let’s live out today loving God and loving people! Let’s come together in fellowship pursuing God’s plans and purpose for today!

3We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. –from 1 John 1:3

Fellowship is but a mere sampling or small in compared to the Greek word that was originally used in the text. κοινωνία is pronounced/transliterated koinonia and means …

Koinonia {coy NO nyah / coin IN ee ah) is a transliterated form of the Greek word, κοινωνία, which means communion, joint participation; the share which one has in anything, participation, a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, etc. It identifies the idealized state of fellowship and unity that should exist within the Christian church, the Body of Christ. –from Wikipedia

God created us for such a relationship with Him and with others! A relationship where we are able to share everything and not go it alone! A relationship where we are able to do everything together! A relationship where we are constant conversation to build it even better and better today! It opens up the door to incredible friendship! It opens up the door to be open and honest with one another! It opens the door to truth rather than the plans of the devil and the natural tendencies to mask, imitate, trick, deceive, and other things that would cause division and fights! So let’s take hold of God’s plan and build up real relationship with God and with others! Let’s poor into each others lives in order that nobody is ever alone! Let’s make a difference into the people that God has brought into our lives! We are right where we are for His purpose and His plans and so let’s live lives that make a difference!

Living in the Light
5This is the message we heard from Jesus1:5 Greek from him. and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
8If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
–from 1 John 1

Let’s build up intimate relationships with God and that will pour into the lives of everyone around you! Let’s thank Him for who He is and for all He has done! Let’s be in constant conversation throughout our days so that we don’t try to do it alone! God cares for us! Let’s not try to go it alone but let’s trust God in and through it all, seeking Him first for wisdom, discernment, direction! When we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, He takes care of the rest! We need to be living our lives trusting in God! Without Jesus in the center our days are numbered and without Jesus we will find ourselves separated from God for all of eternity! The choice is ours… will we choose to receive and follow Jesus as our Lord and Savior all the days of our lives and building up daily our relationship with Him? Will we choose to walk the road to hell apart from God alone?

We all have freewill and get to choose for ourselves!

As for me and my house we will serve the Lord! How will you choose?


Intimate Connections

Day 334: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Thank God … Psalms 136:1-12
  2. Talk to God … 1 John 1, 1 John 2:1-11
  3. Trust God … Daniel 5:17-31, Daniel 6

Today’s Reading:

 

You got to have faith!


Faith is…

confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

–from Hebrews 11:1

Are you satisfied? Do you realize that faith is the road to real satisfaction? Until you get it you can’t find something or the right thing or the new thing or the next thing that will complete you. Can you be satisfied? Do you know what it would or will take?

15A quarrelsome wife is as annoying
as constant dripping on a rainy day.
16Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind
or trying to hold something with greased hands.

17As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.

18As workers who tend a fig tree are allowed to eat the fruit,
so workers who protect their employer’s interests will be rewarded.

19As a face is reflected in water,
so the heart reflects the real person.

20Just as Death and Destruction are never satisfied,
so human desire is never satisfied.

21Fire tests the purity of silver and gold,
but a person is tested by being praised.

22You cannot separate fools from their foolishness,
even though you grind them like grain with mortar and pestle.

–from Proverbs 27:15-22

Do you take hold of the truth that will set you free? Have you begun your journey with Jesus who came to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way? Put another way…

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. –from John 10:10

He will fill us up! He will satisfy! He fills that hole in our hearts that nothing else in the world is able to fill and that without Him would keep us search and seeking and trying to find something to fill it that isn’t as good or beneficial.

Don’t allow your head to swell by the complements of others! Stay grounded and connected to Jesus! What the world sees is Jesus in you and so give God all the praise, the honor, and the glory rather than allowing pride to get in the way! Have you ever heard that the greatest trial we face is success? Can you pass the success test?

The same way we need to realize that God is the owner of everything and that we need to be good stewards of everything He gives us! It’s about glorifying God in all the things that we do!

So let’s pass on the glory to God! Every good and perfect gift comes from God! He is preparing in advance the good work He has for us to do!

So will you trust God? Will you trust Him no matter what? Will you have faith that His Words are true? Will you have faith that God is love? Will you have faith that God will take what the devil planned for evil and turn it around use it for good? Will you have faith to stand firm on His commandments and His promises?

Will you let your life be built on the strong foundation which is Jesus Christ? Will you align your life to Jesus who is the cornerstone? Will you trust Him even when you can’t see what is coming? When I think back almost 5 years now and how God was calling me to move on from my earlier career, I had a reading in Feb that spoke of Peter in the boat and Jesus allowing Him out and the opportunity to walk on water. I remember on my way to work asking God if my workplace was the boat if I was to get out and if I was which side. I fairly quickly got a tweet saying to get out of the boat but He didn’t tell me what side. How would you respond? What would your faith make you do? For me that night I went home, updated my LinkedIn profile and my resume in preparation for what was about to happen. Didn’t know where I was going. Didn’t know what I would be doing. But started knocking on doors by applying for various roles on various companies, even companies I didn’t think I would want to work for but didn’t want to limit God’s options. Till one day in April when it all became clear, great interview, great meetings, and confirmation from God that it was the one and so I stepped out in early May to start my new career and praising God because I know it was Him!

It was a process that faith walked me through in order for me to know where and when and I had to trust Him in and through it all! He trained me through all the interviews! He helped me to see what I wanted and didn’t want! He helped me to know who I was and where I am best suited and set to fit! My faith lead me to understand and lean on Him more so that I would make the right choice for that time.

Today’s devotional has a very interesting way of describing this too…

‘By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible’ (v.3). St Augustine pointed out, ‘Faith is the first step to understanding; understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.’

–from Day 316: Bible In One Year 2017

When I was asking the message seemed so personal compared to other times I had read it and so had to ask God about it. My faith in Him was made me want to please Him! My faith in Him made me want to do whatever it was He had for me next. My faith in Him allowed me to step up and step out from the normal, the comfortable, the regular, the routine and out into something new that He had prepared in advance for me to do! He has a plan! His plan is good! So take time to listen and hear what He has to say! Then listen to the words and walk out in faith what He calls you to do!

Today’s devotional speaks to it this way…

What does this faith look like in practice?

Faith leads to understanding

‘By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible’ (v.3). St Augustine pointed out, ‘Faith is the first step to understanding; understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.’

Faith pleases God

Enoch pleased God. As a result, he ‘skipped death completely’ (v.5, MSG). The writer goes on to explain, ‘It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him’ (v.6, MSG).

Faith leads to intimacy with God

‘By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land. He was warned about something he couldn’t see, and acted on what he was told… As a result, Noah became intimate with God’ (v.7, MSG).

Faith means saying ‘Yes’ to God

‘By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going’ (v.8, MSG). True faith commits us to obedience.

Abraham left Ur of the Chaldeans at the height of its prosperity (2006–1950 BC). He heard God’s call and ‘obeyed and went’ (v.8). He did not ‘know where he was going’ (v.8). But he knew with whom he was going. His faith brought blessing to him, his family, his nation and to you and me.

He trusted God even when the evidence pointed in the opposite direction. Abraham’s one great disappointment was that his wife couldn’t have children to continue the long family line (Genesis 11). We read that Abraham’s family was ‘as good as dead’ (Hebrews 11:12).

Abraham believed God (see Romans 4). It was not that he never had any doubts. In fact, he got fed up with waiting and had an affair with his maid. Thankfully, God does not judge us on the basis of our lapses, failures or mess-ups. He saw their settled attitude of faith (Romans 4:3,18).

Faith sees beyond this life

Abraham took a long-term view. We live in an ‘instant’ culture. Everything is about instant satisfaction. Abraham was in it for the long haul. He was ‘a stranger in a foreign country’ (v.9). He lived in tents. Yet he knew where God had called him.

He did not look back to what he had left behind through his step of faith. Rather, ‘he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God’ (v.10).

Abel’s faith also had a lasting impact: ’… by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead’ (v.4).

 

The writer concludes: ‘Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing… You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them’ (vv.13,16, MSG).

–from Day 316: Bible In One Year 2017

Today’s Word from God puts it this way…

1Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. 2Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
3By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
4It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.
5It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. 6And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
7It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.
8It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. 9And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. 10Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.
11It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. 12And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.
13All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

–from Hebrews 11:1-16

God is faithful! His Word is true! So let’s allow faith to build up in our too so that we can be so full of faith in God that we will be faithful to God! It’s about a life long relationship with God! It’s not temporary but God wants to have a relationship that will last throughout eternity with us! So don’t give up! Don’t walk away! Stick with it! Stick with Him! Allow Him to complete the work in you that He has already begun!

In this world we will have troubles but we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world! We can fight back against hatred and fear with love and compassion! Just because others are denying or walking away doesn’t mean you have to follow them but rather that your faith can shine even brighter to speak truth, love, and hope into their lives! Let’s draw closer to God and in faith trust in Him even when the people around us are drawn into sin and start to feel even more empty and then become even more extreme. We are to be salt and light! We are to be a light on a hill that isn’t to be hidden! We are to draw people and point them to God! Let’s be faithful to God that others may see it and praise our Father in heaven! Let’s be ambassadors of peace! Let’s take on the position of interceding for the people God has brought into our lives just like how Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for you and me! Let’s stand in the gap! Prayer makes a difference! Worry changes nothing! So be anxious for nothing and pray about everything for prayer changes everything!

So are you feeling that void? Are you looking for something to fill it? Diligently seek God! Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness!

So you really want to be satisfied? Let’s take hold together of these concluding lines from today’s devotional…

Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Trust in him. Abide in him. Serve him with all your heart. Live a life of faith. Stay faithful to him and pray faithfully for others. This is the way of true satisfaction. Faith pleases God.

–from Day 316: Bible In One Year 2017

Today’s reading from God’s Word closes with the following:

23Again a message came to me from the Lord: 24“Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: In the day of my indignation, you will be like a polluted land, a land without rain. 25Your princes plot conspiracies just as lions stalk their prey. They devour innocent people, seizing treasures and extorting wealth. They make many widows in the land. 26Your priests have violated my instructions and defiled my holy things. They make no distinction between what is holy and what is not. And they do not teach my people the difference between what is ceremonially clean and unclean. They disregard my Sabbath days so that I am dishonored among them. 27Your leaders are like wolves who tear apart their victims. They actually destroy people’s lives for money! 28And your prophets cover up for them by announcing false visions and making lying predictions. They say, ‘My message is from the Sovereign Lord,’ when the Lord hasn’t spoken a single word to them. 29Even common people oppress the poor, rob the needy, and deprive foreigners of justice.
30“I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one. 31So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”

–from Ezekiel 22:23-31

The Adultery of Two Sisters

1This message came to me from the Lord: 2“Son of man, once there were two sisters who were daughters of the same mother. 3They became prostitutes in Egypt. Even as young girls, they allowed men to fondle their breasts. 4The older girl was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. I married them, and they bore me sons and daughters. I am speaking of Samaria and Jerusalem, for Oholah is Samaria and Oholibah is Jerusalem.
5“Then Oholah lusted after other lovers instead of me, and she gave her love to the Assyrian officers. 6They were all attractive young men, captains and commanders dressed in handsome blue, charioteers driving their horses. 7And so she prostituted herself with the most desirable men of Assyria, worshiping their idols and defiling herself. 8For when she left Egypt, she did not leave her spirit of prostitution behind. She was still as lewd as in her youth, when the Egyptians slept with her, fondled her breasts, and used her as a prostitute.
9“And so I handed her over to her Assyrian lovers, whom she desired so much. 10They stripped her, took away her children as their slaves, and then killed her. After she received her punishment, her reputation was known to every woman in the land.
11“Yet even though Oholibah saw what had happened to Oholah, her sister, she followed right in her footsteps. And she was even more depraved, abandoning herself to her lust and prostitution. 12She fawned over all the Assyrian officers—those captains and commanders in handsome uniforms, those charioteers driving their horses—all of them attractive young men. 13I saw the way she was going, defiling herself just like her older sister.
14“Then she carried her prostitution even further. She fell in love with pictures that were painted on a wall—pictures of Babylonian military officers, outfitted in striking red uniforms. 15Handsome belts encircled their waists, and flowing turbans crowned their heads. They were dressed like chariot officers from the land of Babylonia. 16When she saw these paintings, she longed to give herself to them, so she sent messengers to Babylonia to invite them to come to her. 17So they came and committed adultery with her, defiling her in the bed of love. After being defiled, however, she rejected them in disgust.
18“In the same way, I became disgusted with Oholibah and rejected her, just as I had rejected her sister, because she flaunted herself before them and gave herself to satisfy their lusts. 19Yet she turned to even greater prostitution, remembering her youth when she was a prostitute in Egypt. 20She lusted after lovers with genitals as large as a donkey’s and emissions like those of a horse. 21And so, Oholibah, you relived your former days as a young girl in Egypt, when you first allowed your breasts to be fondled.

The Lord’s Judgment of Oholibah

22“Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will send your lovers against you from every direction—those very nations from which you turned away in disgust. 23For the Babylonians will come with all the Chaldeans from Pekod and Shoa and Koa. And all the Assyrians will come with them—handsome young captains, commanders, chariot officers, and other high-ranking officers, all riding their horses. 24They will all come against you from the north with chariots, wagons, and a great army prepared for attack. They will take up positions on every side, surrounding you with men armed with shields and helmets. And I will hand you over to them for punishment so they can do with you as they please. 25I will turn my jealous anger against you, and they will deal harshly with you. They will cut off your nose and ears, and any survivors will then be slaughtered by the sword. Your children will be taken away as captives, and everything that is left will be burned. 26They will strip you of your beautiful clothes and jewels. 27In this way, I will put a stop to the lewdness and prostitution you brought from Egypt. You will never again cast longing eyes on those things or fondly remember your time in Egypt.
28“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will surely hand you over to your enemies, to those you loathe, those you rejected. 29They will treat you with hatred and rob you of all you own, leaving you stark naked. The shame of your prostitution will be exposed to all the world. 30You brought all this on yourself by prostituting yourself to other nations, defiling yourself with all their idols. 31Because you have followed in your sister’s footsteps, I will force you to drink the same cup of terror she drank.
32“Yes, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“You will drink from your sister’s cup of terror,
a cup that is large and deep.
It is filled to the brim
with scorn and derision.
33Drunkenness and anguish will fill you,
for your cup is filled to the brim with distress and desolation,
the same cup your sister Samaria drank.
34You will drain that cup of terror
to the very bottom.
Then you will smash it to pieces
and beat your breast in anguish.
I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!

35“And because you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: You must bear the consequences of all your lewdness and prostitution.”

The Lord’s Judgment on Both Sisters

36The Lord said to me, “Son of man, you must accuse Oholah and Oholibah of all their detestable sins. 37They have committed both adultery and murder—adultery by worshiping idols and murder by burning as sacrifices the children they bore to me. 38Furthermore, they have defiled my Temple and violated my Sabbath day! 39On the very day that they sacrificed their children to their idols, they boldly came into my Temple to worship! They came in and defiled my house.
40“You sisters sent messengers to distant lands to get men. Then when they arrived, you bathed yourselves, painted your eyelids, and put on your finest jewels for them. 41You sat with them on a beautifully embroidered couch and put my incense and my special oil on a table that was spread before you. 42From your room came the sound of many men carousing. They were lustful men and drunkards from the wilderness, who put bracelets on your wrists and beautiful crowns on your heads. 43Then I said, ‘If they really want to have sex with old worn-out prostitutes like these, let them!’ 44And that is what they did. They had sex with Oholah and Oholibah, these shameless prostitutes. 45But righteous people will judge these sister cities for what they really are—adulterers and murderers.
46“Now this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Bring an army against them and hand them over to be terrorized and plundered. 47For their enemies will stone them and kill them with swords. They will butcher their sons and daughters and burn their homes. 48In this way, I will put an end to lewdness and idolatry in the land, and my judgment will be a warning to all women not to follow your wicked example. 49You will be fully repaid for all your prostitution—your worship of idols. Yes, you will suffer the full penalty. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.”

–from Ezekiel 23

 

 

Are you willing to have an intimate relationship with Jesus?


Do you love to spend time with Jesus? Do you make time to spend with Jesus? Do you invite Him into every situation? Do invite Him everywhere you go? Do you take time to hear from Him? Do you respond to His prompting and direction? Do you seek and respond to His wisdom? Do you turn to Him for wisdom and discernment when you have decisions to make? Do you trust Him for the little decisions and needs? Do you trust Him for the big decisions and needs?

Do you have a level of security because of the love of God? Do you have a level of comfort because of the love of God? Do you feel stability within an unstable world thanks to the love of God?

Let’s take hold of the love that God has for us!

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

–from John 3:16

We are loved like children of our Abba Father God and adopted into the family of God when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior…

12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[f] And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

–from Romans 8

Our relationship with God even goes the intimacy of a marriage where Jesus is the groom and the church is His bride.

I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.

–from 2 Corinthians 11:2

So will you make the effort it takes to show how much you know and love Jesus? Will you make the effort to build the relationship between you and Jesus? So will you live in a way that boast of Jesus? Will you love as Jesus loves you? Will you live a life that allows you to walk out each day with Jesus? Will you hear Him and obey Him? Will you seek Him and find Him with all of your heart, mind, and strength? This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Will you celebrate with those who celebrate? Will you weep with those who are weeping? Will you be Jesus’ arms extended to the world around you? Will you share the message Jesus gives you to deliver? Listen closely to the voice of the Holy Spirit and walk out the life Jesus has planned for you! Let the world know the love of God!


How to Know and Love Jesus

Day 252: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Enjoy friendship with the King … Proverbs 22:7-16
  2. Guard your marriage to Christ … 2 Corinthians 11:1-15
  3. Fix your eyes on your Maker … Isaiah 20:1-23:18

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

Do you realize how important relationships are?


Not supposed to be just superficial. Not supposed to be selective or divisive. Not supposed to be willy nilly but purposeful.

How about your relationship with God?

How about your relationship with God’s people?

How about your wife or husband?

God’s got a plan and a purpose and today’s reading speaks to all three of these areas! The word for today is intimate relationships.


Intimate Relationships

  1. Intimacy with God … Psalm 99:1-9

  2. Intimacy with one another … 1 Corinthians 12:1-26

  3. Intimacy in marriage … Song of Songs 1:1-4:16


Psalm 99 speaks to our relationship with God. Although God is Holy, thanks to Jesus we are able to have an intimate relationship with God! He isn’t God out there somewhere, he is “our God” and so not only do we get to worship and praise Him because He is mighty, holy, and just, we can have an intimate relationship with Him through Jesus Christ our Lord who made a way when there didn’t seem to be a way, He opened the door for us to come into relationship with God who is with us, not out there somewhere, but with us each moment of every day.

1 Corinthians 12 speaks to our relationships with one another. It speaks to the fact that we are all important and we each have been created with a purpose (not the same purpose, but a purpose). We each are important to both God and to the body. We each have a part to play and we need to have a relationship which takes hold of the importance of one another to bring unity and support to the rest of the body. It speaks to celebrating together! It speaks to supporting one another just as the human body can’t disassociate itself from any other part and how they are important and connected to each other. Each part is necessary! Each part is important in its own way. We may not look the same or act the same, but we are supposed to have intimate relationships with one another just like the different part of the body do so that nobody is alone and just because they have a different purpose we don’t exclude them. We were never been created to do this thing called life alone and hence why God gave us one another! No need to have labels, when we received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we became part of the body and so we need to come together to glorify Him and fulfill the purpose and plan He has for us!

Today’s devotional speaks to the body this way…

God has designed the body so that there will be this mutual dependence. ‘I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of’ (vv.19–20, MSG).

We particularly need the parts that ‘seem to be weaker’ (v.22). Our internal organs ‘seem to be weaker’ in the sense of being more vulnerable. That is why they need protection. However, they are ‘indispensable’ (v.22). Likewise, those parts of the body that are ‘unpresentable’ are treated with ‘special modesty’ (v.23). No one would suggest that these parts are not important. Indeed, they are vital.

Because we need each other so much there should be ‘equal concern for each other’ (v.25). There should be such intimacy and love that ‘if one part suffers, every part suffers with it’ (v.26a). This is the community we need where people can process their pain. It is also a place where people can share their joys: ‘If one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it’ (v.26b). As St Augustine said, ‘Take away envy and what I have is yours too. And if I banish envy all you possess is mine!’

–from Day 230: Bible in One Year 2017

Songs of Songs is such an intimate story about a husband and wife. It speaks to God’s purposes and plans for love and sex and how this type of intimacy was designed to be saved and protected for the purpose of marriage. There is so much to to say about the importance and impact of waiting till marriage rather than giving away such an important part of who you are. I remember in the Cleansing Stream class learning about Soul Ties and their potential impact if you have them and get them taken care of. I remember it speaking to the description of good and bad soul ties and how with each such relationship a new soul tie occurs or put another way their soul get tied together. Not all soul ties are sexual and not all soul ties are you good for you either.

Good examples:

In a godly marriage, God links the two together and the Bible tells us that they become one flesh.

  • and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? –from Matthew 19:5

Soul ties can also be found in close strong or close friendships.

  • After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. –from 1 Samuel 18:1

Bad examples:

Soul ties can also be used for the devil’s advantage. Soul ties formed from sex outside of marriage causes a person to become defiled.

  • 2When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and raped her. 3His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. –from Genesis 34:2-3

Demonic spirits can also take advantage of ungodly soul ties, and use them to transfer spirits between one person to another.

  • Then the Babylonians came to her, to the bed of love, and in their lust they defiled her. After she had been defiled by them, she turned away from them in disgust. –from Ezekiel 23:17

Today’s reading in Songs of Songs speaks to the importance of the good and avoiding the bad. It shares the importance of intimacy within the marital relationship. It shares the warnings of allowing such intimacy into relationships prior to marriage too.


Today’s Reading: Day 230

Have you been touched? Have you been able to keep quiet? Have you been able to keep it to yourself?


Has your life had a divine encounter? Has your life been transformed? Have you had your eyes opened to the truth? Are you able to see things more clearly because of the transformation? Are you keeping it all to yourself? Are you not sharing the good news with others? How have you been able to keep it to yourself? What is keeping you from sharing?

God had a plan for me and when I moved thousands of miles away from my comfort zone, He provided a divine encounter. He provided a special invitation to a Christmas pageant/production at a near by church. He provided a powerful encounter of worship and preaching that drew us even closer. He provided incredible teaching from God’s Word that opened my eyes to the truth. He provided divine appointments where not only was I able to learn about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but also to experience it. He provided divine appointments where I didn’t only learn about freedom through Cleansing Stream, but also had been freed from years of violent responses when I was hit in the head through the power of forgiveness. Not only did I get to hang out with a bunch of men at a men’s retreat, but God spoke to me about how He wanted me to get more involved in my community where I was called into a higher level of leadership within my homeowners association. It also got me plugged into serving at the church where I was involved in productions – acting, signing on the stage as well as off stage with media, and production. It has impacted me at work and my interactions with others to the point where I even started to blog about it. My plan was a private site but God called me to open it up and to share my time with Him with others that His Word would be heard and be a testimony to many others. So to say the least, I haven’t been able to keep quiet. Today’s Word triggered this thought and topic to me because the two men who had a divine encounter with Jesus couldn’t keep it to themselves either.

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

27Jesus left that place, and as he walked along, two blind men started following him. “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” they shouted.
28When Jesus had gone indoors, the two blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I can heal you?”
“Yes, sir!” they answered.
29Then Jesus touched their eyes and said, “Let it happen, then, just as you believe!”— 30and their sight was restored. Jesus spoke sternly to them, “Don’t tell this to anyone!”
31But they left and spread the news about Jesus all over that part of the country.
— from Matthew 9 (GNT)

When we are freed and start to speak of what God has done in and through our lives, there will be people who try to play it down or call it something else. Jesus even faced that type of doubt and fear…

Jesus Heals a Man Who Could Not Speak

32As the men were leaving, some people brought to Jesus a man who could not talk because he had a demon. 33But as soon as the demon was driven out, the man started talking, and everyone was amazed. “We have never seen anything like this in Israel!” they exclaimed.
34 But the Pharisees said, “It is the chief of the demons who gives Jesus the power to drive out demons.”
— from Matthew 9 (GNT)

There are many people who don’t know. There are many people who have never heard. There are people held back by fear. There are people held back by doubt. But what can you do? What can you say to speak hope and life to those God brings into your life? You may be the only experience they have ever had and so you need to speak up and speak out. You need to provide a hand up rather than just a handout. Today, let’s make a difference!

Jesus Has Pity for the People

35 Jesus went around visiting all the towns and villages. He taught in the synagogues, preached the Good News about the Kingdom, and healed people with every kind of disease and sickness. 36 As he saw the crowds, his heart was filled with pity for them, because they were worried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 So he said to his disciples, “The harvest is large, but there are few workers to gather it in. 38Pray to the owner of the harvest that he will send out workers to gather in his harvest.”
— from Matthew 9 (GNT)

Not everyone is going to want to hear! Not everyone is going to want to respond! But don’t fear, just believe and put your trust in God! God has greater plans for you! God’s plan for you and those around you isn’t that anyone should perish, but that through Jesus Christ we will all have eternal life with Him! So don’t stop sharing because some people don’t what to hear. Don’t stop sharing because some people threaten you. Press in to what God calls you to and get it done! It’s incredible what God can do in and through us if we open up and allow Him to flow through us into the lives of those He brings into our lives. But don’t allow pride to trip you up. Don’t allow others to lift you up but point them all to Jesus. There is a risk when people are able to see and experience God working through you that they may get misdirected and think it is about you, but we need to make sure we point them to the true source and the true savior of the world … Jesus!

In Iconium

1The same thing happened in Iconium: Paul and Barnabas went to the synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of Jews and Gentiles became believers. 2But the Jews who would not believe stirred up the Gentiles and turned them against the believers. 3The apostles stayed there for a long time, speaking boldly about the Lord, who proved that their message about his grace was true by giving them the power to perform miracles and wonders. 4The people of the city were divided: some were for the Jews, others for the apostles.
5Then some Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, decided to mistreat the apostles and stone them. 6When the apostles learned about it, they fled to the cities of Lystra and Derbe in Lycaonia and to the surrounding territory. 7There they preached the Good News.

In Lystra and Derbe

8In Lystra there was a crippled man who had been lame from birth and had never been able to walk. 9He sat there and listened to Paul’s words. Paul saw that he believed and could be healed, so he looked straight at him 10and said in a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” The man jumped up and started walking around. 11When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they started shouting in their own Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us!” 12They gave Barnabas the name Zeus, and Paul the name Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13The priest of the god Zeus, whose temple stood just outside the town, brought bulls and flowers to the gate, for he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifice to the apostles.
14When Barnabas and Paul heard what they were about to do, they tore their clothes and ran into the middle of the crowd, shouting, 15 “Why are you doing this? We ourselves are only human beings like you! We are here to announce the Good News, to turn you away from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven, earth, sea, and all that is in them. 16In the past he allowed all people to go their own way. 17But he has always given evidence of his existence by the good things he does: he gives you rain from heaven and crops at the right times; he gives you food and fills your hearts with happiness.” 18Even with these words the apostles could hardly keep the crowd from offering a sacrifice to them.
19Some Jews came from Antioch in Pisidia and from Iconium; they won the crowds over to their side, stoned Paul and dragged him out of the town, thinking that he was dead. 20But when the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he and Barnabas went to Derbe.

The Return to Antioch in Syria

21Paul and Barnabas preached the Good News in Derbe and won many disciples. Then they went back to Lystra, to Iconium, and on to Antioch in Pisidia. 22They strengthened the believers and encouraged them to remain true to the faith. “We must pass through many troubles to enter the Kingdom of God,” they taught. 23In each church they appointed elders, and with prayers and fasting they commended them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
24After going through the territory of Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25There they preached the message in Perga and then went to Attalia, 26and from there they sailed back to Antioch, the place where they had been commended to the care of God’s grace for the work they had now completed.
27When they arrived in Antioch, they gathered the people of the church together and told them about all that God had done with them and how he had opened the way for the Gentiles to believe. 28And they stayed a long time there with the believers.
— from Acts 14 (GNT)

Let’s sing songs of praise to God! Let’s celebrate the incredible things He is and has and will do in and through our lives! Let’s make each day so filled with joy because He is with us that it will be hard for others to hold back or to get down, let’s give us a reason for the joy that is within us! Let’s not allow our circumstances to direct our attitudes and actions. Let’s allow Jesus working in us to drive our attitude and responses to everything that comes our way!

12Many enemies surround me like bulls;

they are all around me,
like fierce bulls from the land of Bashan.
13They open their mouths like lions,
roaring and tearing at me.
14My strength is gone,
gone like water spilled on the ground.
All my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like melted wax.
15My throat is as dry as dust,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
You have left me for dead in the dust.
16An evil gang is around me;
like a pack of dogs they close in on me;
they tear at my hands and feet.
17All my bones can be seen.
My enemies look at me and stare.
18  They gamble for my clothes
and divide them among themselves.
19O Lord, don’t stay away from me!
Come quickly to my rescue!
20Save me from the sword;
save my life from these dogs.
21Rescue me from these lions;
I am helpless before these wild bulls.
22  I will tell my people what you have done;
I will praise you in their assembly:
23“Praise him, you servants of the Lord!
Honor him, you descendants of Jacob!
Worship him, you people of Israel!
24He does not neglect the poor or ignore their suffering;
he does not turn away from them,
but answers when they call for help.”
25In the full assembly I will praise you for what you have done;
in the presence of those who worship you
I will offer the sacrifices I promised.
26The poor will eat as much as they want;
those who come to the Lord will praise him.
May they prosper forever!
27All nations will remember the Lord.
From every part of the world they will turn to him;
all races will worship him.
28The Lord is king,
and he rules the nations.
29All proud people will bow down to him;#

22.29: Probable text will bow down to him; Hebrew will eat and bow down.
all mortals will bow down before him.
30Future generations will serve him;
they will speak of the Lord to the coming generation.
31People not yet born will be told:
“The Lord saved his people.”
— from Psalm 22 (GNT)

So today as we get started, let’s put on the full armor of God and be prepared for what will be ahead of us. Let’s share the Good News of how God has worked in and through our lives and how He wants to make a difference in the lives of those around us. Yes, you reading this text, that is you. He wants to make a difference in your life because He loves you so much. Yes, you reading this, He wants to hear you sharing the Good News with others as you have been transformed and saved. Yes, you reading this text, if you want to hear more or talk more, please leave me a comment for me to respond to … feel free to read through other postings if that is more comfortable for you. Do a search about something that is on your mind.

 

Don’t ask to make it easier, ask to be made stronger!


When it hurts too much try cry, lean on Jesus and He will comfort you.

God’s not somewhere out there, He is a personal God who desires to have an intimate relationship with you. Take time today to hear from God’s heart. He loves you and desires the best for You. God’s got a plan…

In Jeremiah – through the Old Testament we read:

11I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for. 12Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will answer you. 13 You will seek me, and you will find me because you will seek me with all your heart. 14Yes, I say, you will find me, and I will restore you to your land. I will gather you from every country and from every place to which I have scattered you, and I will bring you back to the land from which I had sent you away into exile. I, the Lord, have spoken.’

— Jeremiah 29:11-14

So don’t give up and don’t give in! Seek God and build up your relationship with Him!

Some may think that God wants to judge and condemn us, but that is shown to be wrong when He sent Jesus. In the end we will be judged, however, before that we are given freewill to choose who we will follow and how we will live. The New Testament speaks to it this way:

14 As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the desert, in the same way the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 16For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior.

18Those who believe in the Son are not judged; but those who do not believe have already been judged, because they have not believed in God’s only Son. 19This is how the judgment works: the light has come into the world, but people love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil. 20Those who do evil things hate the light and will not come to the light, because they do not want their evil deeds to be shown up. 21But those who do what is true come to the light in order that the light may show that what they did was in obedience to God.
— John 3:14-21

So today, not matter what you are facing, don’t turn in fear, don’t run away. Put on the full armor of God and stand firm. Ask God to make you stronger. Ask God to fill you up with the Holy Spirit that you may have wisdom and courage to take on the lies and the attacks of the enemy.

10Finally, build up your strength in union with the Lord and by means of his mighty power. 11Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil’s evil tricks. 12For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. 13So put on God’s armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.

14 So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, 15 and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. 16At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. 17 And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. 18Do all this in prayer, asking for God’s help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God’s people. 19And pray also for me, that God will give me a message when I am ready to speak, so that I may speak boldly and make known the gospel’s secret. 20For the sake of this gospel I am an ambassador, though now I am in prison. Pray that I may be bold in speaking about the gospel as I should.
— Ephesians 6:10-20 (GNT)

God brought you to it, He can and will get you through it!

Be Ready for the Lord’s Coming

1There is no need to write you, friends, about the times and occasions when these things will happen. 2For you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord will come as a thief comes at night. 3When people say, “Everything is quiet and safe,” then suddenly destruction will hit them! It will come as suddenly as the pains that come upon a woman in labor, and people will not escape. 4But you, friends, are not in the darkness, and the Day should not take you by surprise like a thief. 5All of you are people who belong to the light, who belong to the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6So then, we should not be sleeping like the others; we should be awake and sober. 7It is at night when people sleep; it is at night when they get drunk. 8But we belong to the day, and we should be sober. We must wear faith and love as a breastplate, and our hope of salvation as a helmet. 9God did not choose us to suffer his anger, but to possess salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us in order that we might live together with him, whether we are alive or dead when he comes. 11And so encourage one another and help one another, just as you are now doing.

Final Instructions and Greetings

12We beg you, our friends, to pay proper respect to those who work among you, who guide and instruct you in the Christian life. 13Treat them with the greatest respect and love because of the work they do. Be at peace among yourselves.
14We urge you, our friends, to warn the idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15See that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but at all times make it your aim to do good to one another and to all people.
16Be joyful always, 17pray at all times, 18be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.
19Do not restrain the Holy Spirit; 20do not despise inspired messages. 21Put all things to the test: keep what is good 22and avoid every kind of evil.
23May the God who gives us peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being—spirit, soul, and body—free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24He who calls you will do it, because he is faithful.
25Pray also for us, friends.
26Greet all the believers with the kiss of peace.
27I urge you by the authority of the Lord to read this letter to all the believers.
28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
— 1 Thessalonians 5

So this is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s not give up nor turn away, but let’s hold onto the hand of God and press forward for He will get us through it! Let’s complete the work that God is calling us to that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

God is good to His Word!


Today I start a new journey through God’s Word as I finished my previous journey yesterday. As I considered how this time, I chose to use the Good News Translation and I chose The Lookout Bible Reading Plan. God’s Word is true and never changing. His Word speaks truth and life into my life daily for He knows even before I get there what I am going to need to hear.

Today’s reading comes from:

Life is filled with patterns. Be it patterns of sevens. Be it patterns of forties. There are many patterns.

We need to make sure we aren’t living or making decisions in fear! Our decisions need to come through God’s wisdom. With this type of wisdom, we can achieve the unachievable. With this type of wisdom, we can see things that are unbelievable. With this type of wisdom we can make decisions that seem so far fetched to others.

Will you be willing to wait for the wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit? Will you allow God to baptize you and transform your life forever?

How will you live till that day when Jesus takes you home to that place He has gone ahead of us to prepare? We don’t know the exact time, however, we do know He is good to His Word so it is coming! So let’s live lives that will bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory He so deserves! He will come back on a cloud, the same way He left the earth!

Get together as a group! Don’t quit or ditch the habit of getting together with your friends – your brothers and sisters in Christ. Be there for your small group! Allow them to be there for you! We were never meant to do this thing called life alone!

So who will be the 3? So who will be the 12? Where shall we meet? When shall we meet? How will we come together to make a difference?

Choose wisely! Get together and study! Consider the seeds to be planted! Consider the fruit to be produced! Allow God’s success to fill it to overflowing!

So let’s get started today! Just like when God got it all started! Even as I being my daily devotional through God’s Word, we find two of the chapters to be read are about the beginning … Genesis 1-2.

Let’s make sure that what we create is pleasing to God!

Let’s make sure that God will be pleased with what He sees!

Let’s make sure that God will be pleased with the fruit we produce in and through this venture!

Let’s make sure that God will be pleased with our light shining into the world around us!

Let’s make sure that God will be pleased with our creations!

God has given us authority! Let’s live up to the call He has given us so that in and through it all we are pleasing to Him! Living sacrifices that are pleasing to Him!

Make sure to rest! Make sure to set apart time to rest and be refreshed through God’s power, God’s Word, God’s truth!

Let’s make this about more than just going through the motions, but rather let’s live a life that is worth living and that is glorifying to God!

There was the beginning of sin that leads us towards death that took place in the garden. There was the beginning of life that is eternal that took place at the cross. Choose life! Receive Jesus so that in and through your relationship with Him, eternity will be decided and it will be spent with God rather than apart from God!

God reminds us that it isn’t good to be alone! He created Eve for Adam. He speaks that we need one another!

So let’s choose wisely! Let’s come together regularly! Let’s draw closer to God putting Jesus in the center, for a cord of three strands is not easily broken!

Today’s reading closes with an interesting passage that speaks to God’s plans…

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united with his wife, and they become one.

25The man and the woman were both naked, but they were not embarrassed.
— from Genesis 2

Intimacy! A close relationship, personal with a quiet and private atmosphere, with a detailed knowledge resulting from a close and long association and study.

 

 

What are you doing up there watching? Why don’t you get involved?


How long have you been just been out there looking down? How long will you stay up there out of the hustle and bustle of everyday? Are you a watcher rather than a doer? There are things to do that need your help! There are things to do that only you have the ability to help make come to fruition! There are things that need you to be involved! Will you climb down from your spot and come help complete the incredible things that have been planned in advance for you to accomplish?

TODAY IS YOUR DAY!


This morning is another great one because God’s Word is before me to help me prepare and get my day started off on the right foot.

1-4Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way—he was a short man and couldn’t see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by.
5-7When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, “What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?”
8Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, “Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I’m caught cheating, I pay four times the damages.”
9-10Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”
— Luke 19

Do you realize what you have? You have been given great things! What will you do with the gifts God has given you?

11While he had their attention, and because they were getting close to Jerusalem by this time and expectation was building that God’s kingdom would appear any minute, he told this story:
12-13“There was once a man descended from a royal house who needed to make a long trip back to headquarters to get authorization for his rule and then return. But first he called ten servants together, gave them each a sum of money, and instructed them, ‘Operate with this until I return.’
14“But the citizens there hated him. So they sent a commission with a signed petition to oppose his rule: ‘We don’t want this man to rule us.’
15“When he came back bringing the authorization of his rule, he called those ten servants to whom he had given the money to find out how they had done.
16“The first said, ‘Master, I doubled your money.’
17“He said, ‘Good servant! Great work! Because you’ve been trustworthy in this small job, I’m making you governor of ten towns.’
18“The second said, ‘Master, I made a fifty percent profit on your money.’
19“He said, ‘I’m putting you in charge of five towns.’
20-21“The next servant said, ‘Master, here’s your money safe and sound. I kept it hidden in the cellar. To tell you the truth, I was a little afraid. I know you have high standards and hate sloppiness, and don’t suffer fools gladly.’
22-23“He said, ‘You’re right that I don’t suffer fools gladly—and you’ve acted the fool! Why didn’t you at least invest the money in securities so I would have gotten a little interest on it?’
24“Then he said to those standing there, ‘Take the money from him and give it to the servant who doubled my stake.’
25“They said, ‘But Master, he already has double . . .’
26“He said, ‘That’s what I mean: Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag.
27“‘As for these enemies of mine who petitioned against my rule, clear them out of here. I don’t want to see their faces around here again.’”

— Luke 19

Are you willing to take that risk for God? Are you willing to give your all for His glory? Are you willing to share His love with those around you? Are you willing to show His truth in love to everyone you meat? Are you willing to take the risk for God’s sake? Are you willing to take the risk that will multiply the reward, the harvest, the outcome so that God will receive greater praise, honor, and glory? He has given you gifts and talents! Are you investing them and increasing them for His glory so that on that day when He returns you will get to hear Him say: “Well done my good and faithful servant”?


 

We all have our part to making God’s truth, hope, and love known! Will you do your part or will you let rocks cry out in your place? Will you get past the fear or worry or doubt and in faith praise God by loving others the way He first loved you? Today is a day where you have opportunities to show God’s love to the world. You can do it in how you speak! You can do it in what you share! You can do it in what you give! You can do it in how you care! The decision though comes to you… What are you going to do? Will you do anything? Will right wrongs? Will you speak up for those who can’t speak? Will you provide a hand up rather than a hand out so that people can get back on their feet? Will you speak truth in love so that people can get back on track? What are you going to do?

28-31After saying these things, Jesus headed straight up to Jerusalem. When he got near Bethphage and Bethany at the mountain called Olives, he sent off two of the disciples with instructions: “Go to the village across from you. As soon as you enter, you’ll find a colt tethered, one that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says anything, asks, ‘What are you doing?’ say, ‘His Master needs him.’”
32-33The two left and found it just as he said. As they were untying the colt, its owners said, “What are you doing untying the colt?”
34They said, “His Master needs him.”
35-36They brought the colt to Jesus. Then, throwing their coats on its back, they helped Jesus get on. As he rode, the people gave him a grand welcome, throwing their coats on the street.
37-38Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed:
Blessed is he who comes,
the king in God’s name!
All’s well in heaven!
Glory in the high places!
39Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, “Teacher, get your disciples under control!”
40But he said, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.”
41-44When the city came into view, he wept over it. “If you had only recognized this day, and everything that was good for you! But now it’s too late. In the days ahead your enemies are going to bring up their heavy artillery and surround you, pressing in from every side. They’ll smash you and your babies on the pavement. Not one stone will be left intact. All this because you didn’t recognize and welcome God’s personal visit.”
45-46Going into the Temple he began to throw out everyone who had set up shop, selling everything and anything. He said, “It’s written in Scripture,
My house is a house of prayer;
You have turned it into a religious bazaar.”
47-48From then on he taught each day in the Temple. The high priests, religion scholars, and the leaders of the people were trying their best to find a way to get rid of him. But with the people hanging on every word he spoke, they couldn’t come up with anything.

— Luke 19

What’s easier to try and accuse and question others or to give an answer? What easier to stand up for what is right or sit back and do nothing? What’s easier to give it all or to lose it all? What’s easier to press on or to fall back? Nobody ever said life would be easy! God just promised He would be with you every step of the way! He will never leave you nor abandon you! So which road will you take the wise road that leads to destruction or the narrow road that leads to eternity with God? Choices, choices, we will face them everyday, so choose wisely!

1-2One day he was teaching the people in the Temple, proclaiming the Message. The high priests, religion scholars, and leaders confronted him and demanded, “Show us your credentials. Who authorized you to speak and act like this?”
3-4Jesus answered, “First, let me ask you a question: About the baptism of John—who authorized it, heaven or humans?”
5-7They were on the spot, and knew it. They pulled back into a huddle and whispered, “If we say ‘heaven,’ he’ll ask us why we didn’t believe him; if we say ‘humans,’ the people will tear us limb from limb, convinced as they are that John was God’s prophet.” They agreed to concede that round to Jesus and said they didn’t know.
8Jesus said, “Then neither will I answer your question.”

— Luke 20

How are you going to handle the responsibility you have been given? How will you return someone’s trust in you? How will you take on the tasks given you?

9-12Jesus told another story to the people: “A man planted a vineyard. He handed it over to farmhands and went off on a trip. He was gone a long time. In time he sent a servant back to the farmhands to collect the profits, but they beat him up and sent him off empty-handed. He decided to try again and sent another servant. That one they beat black-and-blue, and sent him off empty-handed. He tried a third time. They worked that servant over from head to foot and dumped him in the street.
13“Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘I know what I’ll do: I’ll send my beloved son. They’re bound to respect my son.’
14-15“But when the farmhands saw him coming, they quickly put their heads together. ‘This is our chance—this is the heir! Let’s kill him and have it all to ourselves.’ They killed him and threw him over the fence.
15-16“What do you think the owner of the vineyard will do? Right. He’ll come and clean house. Then he’ll assign the care of the vineyard to others.”
Those who were listening said, “Oh, no! He’d never do that!”
17-18But Jesus didn’t back down. “Why, then, do you think this was written:
That stone the masons threw out—
It’s now the cornerstone!?
“Anyone falling over that stone will break every bone in his body; if the stone falls on anyone, it will be a total smashup.”
19The religion scholars and high priests wanted to lynch him on the spot, but they were intimidated by public opinion. They knew the story was about them.

— Luke 20

The truth can sting, but how you respond to it will either eat you up from the inside or make you stronger and turn your life around! Again with the choices…Choose wisely!


Trickery…Some live by it. Some are able to bypass it. Some try it. Some avoid it. Seek wisdom from God and He can reveal the true intentions of the questions being asked. They may not really be asking for an answer. They may be trying to trip you up or trick you. God knows the heart and the intentions. The battle belongs to the Lord!

20-22Watching for a chance to get him, they sent spies who posed as honest inquirers, hoping to trick him into saying something that would get him in trouble with the law. So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you’re honest and straightforward when you teach, that you don’t pander to anyone but teach the way of God accurately. Tell us: Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
23-24He knew they were laying for him and said, “Show me a coin. Now, this engraving, who does it look like and what does it say?”
25“Caesar,” they said.
Jesus said, “Then give Caesar what is his and give God what is his.”
26Try as they might, they couldn’t trap him into saying anything incriminating. His answer caught them off guard and left them speechless.

— Luke 20


God’s plan isn’t to be out there somewhere. He wants to have an intimate relationship with you! Are you willing to start having a relationship with God? Will allow Jesus into your heart? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to be that comforter and guide who can help you every step of every day? It’s not about religion and rituals, it is about a relationship that grows and flourishes because it is based on a foundation of LOVE!

27-33Some Sadducees came up. This is the Jewish party that denies any possibility of resurrection. They asked, “Teacher, Moses wrote us that if a man dies and leaves a wife but no child, his brother is obligated to take the widow to wife and get her with child. Well, there once were seven brothers. The first took a wife. He died childless. The second married her and died, then the third, and eventually all seven had their turn, but no child. After all that, the wife died. That wife, now—in the resurrection whose wife is she? All seven married her.”
34-38Jesus said, “Marriage is a major preoccupation here, but not there. Those who are included in the resurrection of the dead will no longer be concerned with marriage nor, of course, with death. They will have better things to think about, if you can believe it. All ecstasies and intimacies then will be with God. Even Moses exclaimed about resurrection at the burning bush, saying, ‘God: God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob!’ God isn’t the God of dead men, but of the living. To him all are alive.”
39-40Some of the religion scholars said, “Teacher, that’s a great answer!” For a while, anyway, no one dared put questions to him.
41-44Then he put a question to them: “How is it that they say that the Messiah is David’s son? In the Book of Psalms, David clearly says,
God said to my Master,
“Sit here at my right hand
until I put your enemies under your feet.”
“David here designates the Messiah as ‘my Master’—so how can the Messiah also be his ‘son’?”
45-47With everybody listening, Jesus spoke to his disciples. “Watch out for the religion scholars. They love to walk around in academic gowns, preen in the radiance of public flattery, bask in prominent positions, sit at the head table at every church function. And all the time they are exploiting the weak and helpless. The longer their prayers, the worse they get. But they’ll pay for it in the end.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is your heart right? Is there anything polluting your heart?


Are you saying things to make excuses for doing things right? Are you doing things that don’t align with what you should really be doing? Where is your heart in all of this? What is really going on? Are you doing the right thing or is your heart really not in it?

This morning’s reading from God’s Word: Matthew 15-16, Psalm 92 starts off with this title: “What Pollutes Your Life“. One quote that comes to mind as I am reading this is “Methings thou dost protest too much” from William Shakespeare in Hamlet. We see the reading start with Pharisees and religion scholars coming and protesting about how Jesus’ disciples are living. We see it is a matter of the heart why they are attacking Him and them.

1-2After that, Pharisees and religion scholars came to Jesus all the way from Jerusalem, criticizing, “Why do your disciples play fast and loose with the rules?”
3-9But Jesus put it right back on them. “Why do you use your rules to play fast and loose with God’s commands? God clearly says, ‘Respect your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone denouncing father or mother should be killed.’ But you weasel around that by saying, ‘Whoever wants to, can say to father and mother, What I owed to you I’ve given to God.’ That can hardly be called respecting a parent. You cancel God’s command by your rules. Frauds! Isaiah’s prophecy of you hit the bull’s-eye:
These people make a big show of saying the right thing,
but their heart isn’t in it.
They act like they’re worshiping me,
but they don’t mean it.
They just use me as a cover
for teaching whatever suits their fancy.”
10-11He then called the crowd together and said, “Listen, and take this to heart. It’s not what you swallow that pollutes your life, but what you vomit up.”

It’s not a matter of what you put in that pollutes you, it’s a matter of what comes back out! What goes in isn’t as big of a problem, unless it affects what is on the inside. If your heart is good then what comes out will be good. If your heart is hurting, what you speak out will be hurting words. If your heart is polluted, then that pollution will be coming back out. Jesus explained it this way:

15Peter said, “I don’t get it. Put it in plain language.”
16-20Jesus replied, “You, too? Are you being willfully stupid? Don’t you know that anything that is swallowed works its way through the intestines and is finally defecated? But what comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart. It’s from the heart that we vomit up evil arguments, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies, and cussing. That’s what pollutes. Eating or not eating certain foods, washing or not washing your hands—that’s neither here nor there.”

So where are you at today? Is your heart in the right place? Are you asking Jesus to help clean house? Have you asked Him into your heart so that in your heart is only Jesus? Not Jesus plus but Jesus only. Are you ask God to search your heart and make it pure and clean? Like David did?

Don’t give up! Keep pressing on! Allow your faith to find victory!

21-22From there Jesus took a trip to Tyre and Sidon. They had hardly arrived when a Canaanite woman came down from the hills and pleaded, “Mercy, Master, Son of David! My daughter is cruelly afflicted by an evil spirit.”
23Jesus ignored her. The disciples came and complained, “Now she’s bothering us. Would you please take care of her? She’s driving us crazy.”
24Jesus refused, telling them, “I’ve got my hands full dealing with the lost sheep of Israel.”
25Then the woman came back to Jesus, went to her knees, and begged. “Master, help me.”
26He said, “It’s not right to take bread out of children’s mouths and throw it to dogs.”
27She was quick: “You’re right, Master, but beggar dogs do get scraps from the master’s table.”
28Jesus gave in. “Oh, woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!” Right then her daughter became well. — Matthew 15

There are so many people around you today who are in need. Have you prepared to be able to help them? Have you gone in advance to be ready for all that God wants and needs you to do today? Jesus did, so let’s follow His example.

29-31After Jesus returned, he walked along Lake Galilee and then climbed a mountain and took his place, ready to receive visitors. They came, tons of them, bringing along the paraplegic, the blind, the maimed, the mute—all sorts of people in need—and more or less threw them down at Jesus’ feet to see what he would do with them. He healed them. When the people saw the mutes speaking, the maimed healthy, the paraplegics walking around, the blind looking around, they were astonished and let everyone know that God was blazingly alive among them. — Matthew 15

But He didn’t stop there, He met them at their point of need and then saw their was more that He could do. Are you seeing those around you and their immediate problem? Are you assisting them in that area? Do you think you are done or are you asking God for wisdom in regards to if there is anything else that He would want you to be doing or helping with? Jesus did and it glorified His Father in Heaven!

32But Jesus wasn’t finished with them. He called his disciples and said, “I hurt for these people. For three days now they’ve been with me, and now they have nothing to eat. I can’t send them away without a meal—they’d probably collapse on the road.”
33His disciples said, “But where in this deserted place are you going to dig up enough food for a meal?”
34-39Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”
“Seven loaves,” they said, “plus a few fish.” At that, Jesus directed the people to sit down. He took the seven loaves and the fish. After giving thanks, he divided it up and gave it to the people. Everyone ate. They had all they wanted. It took seven large baskets to collect the leftovers. Over four thousand people ate their fill at that meal. After Jesus sent them away, he climbed in the boat and crossed over to the Magadan hills. — Matthew 15

Imagine someone coming up to Jesus demanding a sign? Imagine getting back the only sign they will get is the sign of Jonah? Imagine the confusion as this was before the crucifixion and resurrection. Jonah was in the fish for 3 days — Jesus was dead and in the tomb for three days. Jonah was given new life on the third day — Jesus was resurrected and defeated death and sin forever! So be careful in your life, because a little bit of a bad thing can ruin the entire batch. As we head into the next chapter (16), we see that is where this starts with the title “Some Bad Yeast“.

1-4Some Pharisees and Sadducees were on him again, pressing him to prove himself to them. He told them, “You have a saying that goes, ‘Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky at morning, sailors take warning.’ You find it easy enough to forecast the weather—why can’t you read the signs of the times? An evil and wanton generation is always wanting signs and wonders. The only sign you’ll get is the Jonah sign.” Then he turned on his heel and walked away.
5-6On their way to the other side of the lake, the disciples discovered they had forgotten to bring along bread. In the meantime, Jesus said to them, “Keep a sharp eye out for Pharisee-Sadducee yeast.”
7-12Thinking he was scolding them for forgetting bread, they discussed in whispers what to do. Jesus knew what they were doing and said, “Why all these worried whispers about forgetting the bread? Runt believers! Haven’t you caught on yet? Don’t you remember the five loaves of bread and the five thousand people, and how many baskets of fragments you picked up? Or the seven loaves that fed four thousand, and how many baskets of leftovers you collected? Haven’t you realized yet that bread isn’t the problem? The problem is yeast, Pharisee-Sadducee yeast.” Then they got it: that he wasn’t concerned about eating, but teaching—the Pharisee-Sadducee kind of teaching. — Matthew 16

Do you realize who Jesus is? Do you know that He came to have a relationship with us? Do you know that it is about more than religion and rituals, but it is about a relationship with Jesus? In this way new doors of opportunity and life have been open.

13When Jesus arrived in the villages of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?”
14They replied, “Some think he is John the Baptizer, some say Elijah, some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”
15He pressed them, “And how about you? Who do you say I am?”
16Simon Peter said, “You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17-18Jesus came back, “God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am. And now I’m going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.
19“And that’s not all. You will have complete and free access to God’s kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven. A yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven.”
20He swore the disciples to secrecy. He made them promise they would tell no one that he was the Messiah.

Let Jesus take the wheel! Let Him be in the driver’s seat! Trust Him, He is good to His Word! Do what He says to do. Avoid what He says not to do. This is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it. Jesus did it all that we could be reconciled to God.

21-22Then Jesus made it clear to his disciples that it was now necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, submit to an ordeal of suffering at the hands of the religious leaders, be killed, and then on the third day be raised up alive. Peter took him in hand, protesting, “Impossible, Master! That can never be!”
23But Jesus didn’t swerve. “Peter, get out of my way. Satan, get lost. You have no idea how God works.”
24-26Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?
27-28“Don’t be in such a hurry to go into business for yourself. Before you know it the Son of Man will arrive with all the splendor of his Father, accompanied by an army of angels. You’ll get everything you have coming to you, a personal gift. This isn’t pie in the sky by and by. Some of you standing here are going to see it take place, see the Son of Man in kingdom glory.” — Matthew 16

It’s a gift through grace. Will you receive it? Will you accept it? Will you live it?

Defining BLESSED.


Has anyone ever said “blessings to you”, “be blessed”, “I am blessed”, “you are blessed”? This morning’s reading starts out with the title “You’re Blessed“. We need to read on to see what that means. Before I dive into today’s Word from God, the dictionary gives us one perspective on being blessed: (used Bing and typed “define blessed”)

Definition of blessed (adj)

Bing Dictionary

bless·ed [ bléssəd ]

  1. holy: made holy
  2. beatified: declared holy by the pope, usually as the first stage toward being declared a saint
  3. bestowing joy: bringing happiness or good luck

synonyms: holy · sacred · sanctified · hallowed · consecrated · set apart

Now let’s go to the real meaning of being blessed from God’s Word:

3“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

4“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

5“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

6“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

7“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

8“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

9“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11-12“Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Being blessed is more than a feeling. Let’s not forget the truth behind these words. Let’s not allow the world to rob of what is real and what is eternal. Let’s hold onto God’s Word and truth and walk with Him, allowing God to work in and through us in ways where people will see us on the mountain tops and in the bottom of the valleys and still realized we are blessed. They will notice a difference and so we may be able to glorify God in and through it all.

We are blessed because we draw closer to God, we have more of Him and less of ourselves, we are living for the bigger picture of what He is calling us to do rather than being focused on ourselves, and we are content with what we already have.

 

Is there hope for those who have lied or stolen?


This morning’s reading starts with a very interesting vision. It caused me to wonder how to start the title of today’s blog. I also remembered a video I once read that was asking the question of people if they were liars and thieves. With these combined, the part of this message that I will want to ensure to include is that there is hope and there is an answer.

Are you a good person? Have you kept the 10 commandments?

What is a liar? People who tell lies. What are other words for a lie: untruth · falsehood · fib · story · tall tale · white lie · invention. Have you ever told a lie? Do you know that God’s Word puts it at the same level as the rest of the 10 commandments?

What is a thief? People who steal or rob. What are other words for rob: steal from · take from · hold up · stick up · raid · pickpocket · mug. Have you ever stolen something? Do you know that God’s Word puts it at the same level as the rest of the 10 commandments?

There is hope, but it requires a turning, it requires a choosing, it requires an action to be taken. I have heard it called Hell’s best kept secret.

Here is a quick video (just over 5 minutes – you can watch if you would like) before I get into today’s reading and what it speaks to:


Today’s reading starts with a vision of 1 flying book. The purpose of the flying book is to go out and destroy all the liars and thieves. The next vision in today’s reading from Zechariah 5 was about a basket that contains all the sins of the world. Everything that everyone has done everywhere on earth. It was being taken away to be stored. The next vision comes from Zechariah 6, it speaks of 4 chariots that are going out to survey the earth. They were divided up 2 heading north and 2 heading south. 2 were sharing the sense of the Spirit, serene and secure. In the next vision the first thought that came to mind was Jesus, it was saying that the man would be called Branch. As I read on it spoke to this person being both King and Priest. The vision finished with a message, an important message that we need to put our minds to a life of responsive obedience to the voice of God.

The next chapter brings up a good perspective. What is our focus? God’s focus is beyond religion, He is interested in the people. He wants a relationship with each of us. Zechariah 7 starts with the title “You’re Interested in Religion, I’m Interested in People”. The statement is based on the people’s desire to do the right thing as they were approaching the 70th year. The question raised what why did you do what you were doing? Was it really for God? Or were you doing it as a religious thing. God’s interested in the people. He looks beyond the ceremonies and into the hearts and lives of the people. God wants us to follow His plan. It’s put this way in today’s reading:

“‘Treat one another justly. Love your neighbors. Be compassionate with each other. Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors, and the poor. Don’t plot and scheme against one another—that’s evil.’ — Zechariah 7:7-10

Will we listen to such simple instruction? Will we live in this way? Will we do what we are called to do? Will we keep away from evil plots and schemes?

God cares! God is involved! Jerusalem’s new name will be Truth City, God’s Mountain, Mount Holiness.

Nothing is too much for God!

God’s plan is one of salvation.

Don’t be afraid. Keep a grip on what God is doing.

Keep it simple. Keep it honest.

God’s desire is that we speak the truth, the whole truth when we speak.

He wants us to do the right thing by one another, personally and in the courts.

Be fair, Be honest.

Keep it simple and honest.

He will turn the days of mourning into days of feasting, celebration, and holidays.

Embrace Truth! Love Peace!

Let’s be a part of the blessings of God’s people.

How far do you have to stray before you realize…


Because we have freewill, we get to choose what we do. We get to choose if we will follow God’s prompting or try to go our own way. We get to choose if we will obey God’s commands or deal with the fallout of the alternative. We get to choose if we will stay under the cover of God’s wing or step out and risk the fiery arrows of the devil who is out to get us. We get to choose if we will stay in alignment which provides protection or get out of alignment and be open to the attacks of the devil. Life is filled with choices! Choose wisely!

I remember when the still quiet voice of God has prompted me to do things, things that were so big, so risky, so challenging that I had to choose to obey or to risk the consequences of disobedience and dealing with the fallout of my own decisions.

There was an early time when He was calling me to step up after having stepped into community involvement. One men’s retreat He called me to get involved in my community which led me to join the homeowners association for my community of about 10,000+ people.  During that time, I learned a lot and was able to get involved with the going ons and the decisions that would impact the community: the landscaping, the home values, the protection, the common areas, the links with the surrounding cities, and more. At one point when the board was getting ready to go through some changes (part way through a year several had decided the existing president was going to be removed) and I heard God in a still quiet voice telling me to step up to be president and I resisted, I had so many excuses why that wasn’t a good idea, I was thinking more about what I could do rather than what He could do in and through me. At that time (which wasn’t too far from the end of the year and the next set of board elections) I resisted and became vice president. God kept pushing and telling me I am supposed to step up and I would tell him why I shouldn’t. Eventually while at the gym, God and I came to a point where I was given the ultimatum, “You will be president or you will be nothing, you choose!” Well, that was quite a shock and surprise. I remember my heart racing and looking around, but there was nobody in the room. I knew I didn’t want to be nothing, that was for sure. As I was driving off from the gym, I told Him, “God if you want me to be president, I will be president”. I had shared it with a few close friends and neighbors and one of them at the time happened to be on the board. They were being faced with the fact that their mother was fighting cancer. She offered to stay on the board till after the elections so there would be one more vote, but I told her she needed to go take care of her mom because if God wanted me to be president, He was going to make a way for it to all come together. So as we drew near to the new board member election, we ended up with 3 seats instead of the normal 2 rotation because of this. I remember wondering why God needed me in that role, what He was getting me ready for, what was going to need to take place, but through it all I knew if He wanted me there, He would grant me the wisdom to get it done. The day of the election, one of the members on the board nominated me and another board member nominated another person. When the results of the election came out, I had won and was the new president of the board. I won’t go into every detail here, but God had a lot of things for me to work through in that time – hiring new director (which God helped provide), change in insurance, change in accounting/billing services, additional staff, … It was amazing because I knew when I lived through some of the things that took place why He wanted me there, to bring His light, His peace, His hope, His truth into the situation. I couldn’t have done it in my own power, but the great thing is I didn’t have to do it in my own power, He was with me every step of the way. I still have a copy of a letter from one of the member of the community who took the time out of their day to send me a thank you letter (not email, letter) for hiring the director I chose. The number of things that could have gone wrong had I gone my own way, had I not received wisdom about who to hire, about what to do could have created so many fallouts that I am glad that God was with me, never leaving me nor forsaking me through it all as I did my best to walk in alignment and obedience, under the cover of His wing through it all.

The second story, I am sorry to say I wasn’t as obedient and the outcome was very different. In the end, the rest of the story ends up being ok because He taught me to forgive, He taught me the power of forgiveness, He taught me how much love I had around supporting me at home, at church, and at work, He taught me that even through the valley He never left me and always was speaking to me in His Word, through the songs on the radio, at church. It just took getting to the end of me, to the end of my rope, to the bottom of the barrel for me to stop and look up and cry out for help, for wisdom, for answers. It started with a still quiet voice telling me to move on from the job I was in. I was at a mountain top in my career where I was having great success and was in a place of influence. I was so “comfortable”, that word that as I have said in times since then should have set off all the red flags in my world that I shouldn’t disobeyed, but should have listened. Because of the heights of my mountain top, the valley drop was steep and far. Through this time a bunch of change took place, people were removed from leadership, the team was broken up, there were reorganizations, there were re-prioritization, there were offers and promises that didn’t pan out, there were decisions and positioning that just made it worse. In the end I had hit rock bottom, I was dealing with bitterness, anger, frustration, unforgiveness, that’s right me and the word that doesn’t exist. And on that final day, driving down the road, the song 7×70 came on and started to chip away and chip away, the the truth of God’s forgiveness and how we are supposed to forgive others was revealed. It broke the chains, it removed the pain, it healed my body and mind, it cleansed me. It taught me a lesson I will never forgot. It gave me an experience that I was able to share with so many others who were going through depression and betrayal, sorrow and pain, lies and distrust. God gave me a gift through this that has transformed my message to others who are feeling hopeless. God gave me a gift that others could tell something was different when I went back to work, but they new the situation and the environment hadn’t. It provided me with a testimony of God’s Love being so good and so great that He taught me the power of forgiveness and that true freedom comes through it. Before that I was giving away the keys and allowing the control to be outside. Once I gave forgiveness and then was able to receive forgiveness from God, my life was back, my joy was back, my hope was back, I knew that no matter what came my way, walking with God was going to be the right way and would produce incredible miracles through them all. If you click the link above (or this one), you can read more information about the experience.

The third story is an interesting one as it was still post not listening to go and find a new job and before getting the message to Get out of the boat and it was interesting in my next day’s post as it revealed what happened on the way to work on the topic of the Big O. I was walking and being obedient even though the return being experienced by others wasn’t where it should have been. Work wasn’t rewarding the efforts, however, God did which helped me to realize even though they didn’t value my effort, He was able to intervene and provide exceedingly, abundantly more than I could have asked or imagined. He was able to orchestrate finances to pay off my roof and refinance saving me more than they could have given me and since it was a reduction in what I had to pay compared to an increase in salary, the implications were even greater and better. Praise be go to God!  Since the full story is found throughout past posting, I will make it a summary. He gave me the message “Get out of the Boat”, I prayed driving to work that if my workplace was the boat and He wanted me out, that He would let me know what side, I received a tweet on the way to work that said “Get out of the Boat” so when I got home I updated my resume, updated my LinkedIn profile, and started job hunting. Since He never told me what side of the boat, I didn’t have leave just yet, but I knew and was preparing for the time when I would be gone. He provided counselors at work to show me that He had my back and that He had positioned others around me who I could trust. I went through many interviews for companies including one that I was sure I didn’t want to go to,  however, if it was going to be my Nineveh, I wasn’t going to be one who would get put in the belly of a whale, so I was checking every side and knowing God would tell me what side of the boat to get out on. I have been in my new role for about 9 months now and it has been incredible to see the miracles that have taken place. The testimonies I have to share. The joy and happiness I am able to share with those I come into contact with. God’s way is the only way. Obedience is the cleaner way. Staying under the cover of His wing and in alignment with His will provides something beyond beyond, beyond words, beyond expressions.

Where are you at today? Have you strayed away? Have you gone it on your own? Are you out of the will of God? Are you out of cover? Are you out of alignment? Are you feeling the fiery darts coming at you? Are you feeling the pain? Are you being torn? Are you finding yourself somewhere that you wouldn’t have ever expected to be? Today might be your day! Today may be the day that  you can get back on track. In my second story I talk about how I had the divine intervention with the 7×70 song coming on the radio. It had come on other times, the difference was before I had gotten into the car, I had stopped and asked God to help me. I had asked Him to intervene on my behalf and help me. And wow, did He ever! God’s Word tells us that we have not because we ask not! God’s Word tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness! You don’t have to keep walking away! You don’t have to keep hiding yourself! You can turn back and call out to your Heavenly Father and you know how He will respond? Just like we read in God’s Word:

11-12Then he said, “There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.’
12-16“So the father divided the property between them. It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.
17-20“That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’ He got right up and went home to his father.
20-21“When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’
22-24“But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.
25-27“All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day’s work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on. He told him, ‘Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast—barbecued beef!—because he has him home safe and sound.’
28-30“The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’
31-32“His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!’”

Today may be your day to turn things around.
Will  you give God your heart
and
allow Him to clean house
and
get things back on track?