Let’s get ready!


Do you remember the plans God has for you? Are you ready? Do you remember how they are for good and not for evil? Do you remember how they are to give you a hope and a future? Do you remember how it will be more than we could ask or imagine? Are you digging in? Are you stepping in? Are you getting ready? Are you doing your part so that you will be prepared in and out of season to give a reason for the hope that is within you? How are you starting your day? How are you prioritizing the requests and pulls on your life? How are you deciding when to say yes and when to say no? Today is the first day of your future. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is unknown. Today is all we have so let’s receive it as the present that it is and live it to the full. Let’s get ready!


Use Me
Are you ready?

Today’s reading from God’s Word as we get started and prepared for today comes from 1 Kings 5:

‘King Hiram of Tyre had always been a loyal friend of David. When Hiram learned that David’s son Solomon was the new king of Israel, he sent ambassadors to congratulate him. Then Solomon sent this message back to Hiram: “You know that my father, David, was not able to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord his God because of the many wars waged against him by surrounding nations. He could not build until the Lord gave him victory over all his enemies. But now the Lord my God has given me peace on every side; I have no enemies, and all is well. So I am planning to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God, just as he had instructed my father, David. For the Lord told him, ‘Your son, whom I will place on your throne, will build the Temple to honor my name.’ “Therefore, please command that cedars from Lebanon be cut for me. Let my men work alongside yours, and I will pay your men whatever wages you ask. As you know, there is no one among us who can cut timber like you Sidonians!” When Hiram received Solomon’s message, he was very pleased and said, “Praise the Lord today for giving David a wise son to be king of the great nation of Israel.” Then he sent this reply to Solomon: “I have received your message, and I will supply all the cedar and cypress timber you need. My servants will bring the logs from the Lebanon mountains to the Mediterranean Sea and make them into rafts and float them along the coast to whatever place you choose. Then we will break the rafts apart so you can carry the logs away. You can pay me by supplying me with food for my household.” So Hiram supplied as much cedar and cypress timber as Solomon desired. In return, Solomon sent him an annual payment of 100,000 bushels of wheat for his household and 110,000 gallons of pure olive oil. So the Lord gave wisdom to Solomon, just as he had promised. And Hiram and Solomon made a formal alliance of peace. Then King Solomon conscripted a labor force of 30,000 men from all Israel. He sent them to Lebanon in shifts, 10,000 every month, so that each man would be one month in Lebanon and two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of this labor force. Solomon also had 70,000 common laborers, 80,000 quarry workers in the hill country, and 3,600 foremen to supervise the work. At the king’s command, they quarried large blocks of high-quality stone and shaped them to make the foundation of the Temple. Men from the city of Gebal helped Solomon’s and Hiram’s builders prepare the timber and stone for the Temple.’

1 Kings 5

‘This is the vision that the Sovereign Lord revealed to Obadiah concerning the land of Edom. We have heard a message from the Lord that an ambassador was sent to the nations to say, “Get ready, everyone! Let’s assemble our armies and attack Edom!” The Lord says to Edom, “I will cut you down to size among the nations; you will be greatly despised. You have been deceived by your own pride because you live in a rock fortress and make your home high in the mountains. ‘Who can ever reach us way up here?’ you ask boastfully. But even if you soar as high as eagles and build your nest among the stars, I will bring you crashing down,” says the Lord . “If thieves came at night and robbed you (what a disaster awaits you!), they would not take everything. Those who harvest grapes always leave a few for the poor. But your enemies will wipe you out completely! Every nook and cranny of Edom will be searched and looted. Every treasure will be found and taken. “All your allies will turn against you. They will help to chase you from your land. They will promise you peace while plotting to deceive and destroy you. Your trusted friends will set traps for you, and you won’t even know about it. At that time not a single wise person will be left in the whole land of Edom,” says the Lord . “For on the mountains of Edom I will destroy everyone who has understanding. The mightiest warriors of Teman will be terrified, and everyone on the mountains of Edom will be cut down in the slaughter. “Because of the violence you did to your close relatives in Israel, you will be filled with shame and destroyed forever. When they were invaded, you stood aloof, refusing to help them. Foreign invaders carried off their wealth and cast lots to divide up Jerusalem, but you acted like one of Israel’s enemies. “You should not have gloated when they exiled your relatives to distant lands. You should not have rejoiced when the people of Judah suffered such misfortune. You should not have spoken arrogantly in that terrible time of trouble. You should not have plundered the land of Israel when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have gloated over their destruction when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have seized their wealth when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have stood at the crossroads, killing those who tried to escape. You should not have captured the survivors and handed them over in their terrible time of trouble. “The day is near when I, the Lord , will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads. Just as you swallowed up my people on my holy mountain, so you and the surrounding nations will swallow the punishment I pour out on you. Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger and disappear from history. “But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape; it will be a holy place. And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance. The people of Israel will be a raging fire, and Edom a field of dry stubble. The descendants of Joseph will be a flame roaring across the field, devouring everything. There will be no survivors in Edom. I, the Lord , have spoken! “Then my people living in the Negev will occupy the mountains of Edom. Those living in the foothills of Judah will possess the Philistine plains and take over the fields of Ephraim and Samaria. And the people of Benjamin will occupy the land of Gilead. The exiles of Israel will return to their land and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath. The captives from Jerusalem exiled in the north will return home and resettle the towns of the Negev. Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem to rule over the mountains of Edom. And the Lord himself will be king!”’

Obadiah 1

‘Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money. Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them. All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! ‘

Acts 3:1-10

‘These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed. They scoff at things they do not understand, and like animals, they will be destroyed. Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have done. They love to indulge in evil pleasures in broad daylight. They are a disgrace and a stain among you. They delight in deception even as they eat with you in your fellowship meals. They commit adultery with their eyes, and their desire for sin is never satisfied. They lure unstable people into sin, and they are well trained in greed. They live under God’s curse. They have wandered off the right road and followed the footsteps of Balaam son of Beor, who loved to earn money by doing wrong. But Balaam was stopped from his mad course when his donkey rebuked him with a human voice. These people are as useless as dried-up springs or as mist blown away by the wind. They are doomed to blackest darkness. They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception. They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.”’

2 Peter 2:12-22

‘Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God. You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals!” For you, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours. You sweep people away like dreams that disappear. They are like grass that springs up in the morning. In the morning it blooms and flourishes, but by evening it is dry and withered. We wither beneath your anger; we are overwhelmed by your fury. You spread out our sins before you— our secret sins—and you see them all. We live our lives beneath your wrath, ending our years with a groan. Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away. Who can comprehend the power of your anger? Your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve. Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. O Lord , come back to us! How long will you delay? Take pity on your servants! Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!’

Psalms 90

Who is God to you?


Not asking who do you idolize. Not asking about who little g god is to you. Asking more when you think about or talk about God, who is He to you? what is He to you? How do you describe Him to others? How do you express who He is and what He has done in and through your life? What do you do to express your views and your thoughts and your feelings about God? Do you write? Do you sing? Do you pray? Do you praise? Can others tell? Do others know? Do you express it? Do you serve? Do you give? What do you do? How do you do it? Who is God to you?


This morning’s reading gets us started hearing who David says God is in 2 Samuel 22:

‘David sang this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. He sang: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence. I called on the Lord , who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. “The waves of death overwhelmed me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path. But in my distress I cried out to the Lord ; yes, I cried to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry reached his ears. “Then the earth quaked and trembled. The foundations of the heavens shook; they quaked because of his anger. Smoke poured from his nostrils; fierce flames leaped from his mouth. Glowing coals blazed forth from him. He opened the heavens and came down; dark storm clouds were beneath his feet. Mounted on a mighty angelic being, he flew, soaring on the wings of the wind. He shrouded himself in darkness, veiling his approach with dense rain clouds. A great brightness shone around him, and burning coals blazed forth. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot arrows and scattered his enemies; his lightning flashed, and they were confused. Then at the command of the Lord , at the blast of his breath, the bottom of the sea could be seen, and the foundations of the earth were laid bare. “He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me. They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress, but the Lord supported me. He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me. The Lord rewarded me for doing right; he restored me because of my innocence. For I have kept the ways of the Lord ; I have not turned from my God to follow evil. I have followed all his regulations; I have never abandoned his decrees. I am blameless before God; I have kept myself from sin. The Lord rewarded me for doing right. He has seen my innocence. “To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. You rescue the humble, but your eyes watch the proud and humiliate them. O Lord , you are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness. In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall. “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord ’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the Lord ? Who but our God is a solid rock? God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. You have given me your shield of victory; your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping. “I chased my enemies and destroyed them; I did not stop until they were conquered. I consumed them; I struck them down so they did not get up; they fell beneath my feet. You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued my enemies under my feet. You placed my foot on their necks. I have destroyed all who hated me. They looked for help, but no one came to their rescue. They even cried to the Lord , but he refused to answer. I ground them as fine as the dust of the earth; I trampled them in the gutter like dirt. “You gave me victory over my accusers. You preserved me as the ruler over nations; people I don’t even know now serve me. Foreign nations cringe before me; as soon as they hear of me, they submit. They all lose their courage and come trembling from their strongholds. “The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock! May God, the Rock of my salvation, be exalted! He is the God who pays back those who harm me; he brings down the nations under me and delivers me from my enemies. You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies; you save me from violent opponents. For this, O Lord , I will praise you among the nations; I will sing praises to your name. You give great victories to your king; you show unfailing love to your anointed, to David and all his descendants forever.”’

2 Samuel 22

‘This is what the Lord says: “I will stir up a destroyer against Babylon and the people of Babylonia. Foreigners will come and winnow her, blowing her away as chaff. They will come from every side to rise against her in her day of trouble. Don’t let the archers put on their armor or draw their bows. Don’t spare even her best soldiers! Let her army be completely destroyed. They will fall dead in the land of the Babylonians, slashed to death in her streets. For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has not abandoned Israel and Judah. He is still their God, even though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.” Flee from Babylon! Save yourselves! Don’t get trapped in her punishment! It is the Lord ’s time for vengeance; he will repay her in full. Babylon has been a gold cup in the Lord ’s hands, a cup that made the whole earth drunk. The nations drank Babylon’s wine, and it drove them all mad. But suddenly Babylon, too, has fallen. Weep for her. Give her medicine. Perhaps she can yet be healed. We would have helped her if we could, but nothing can save her now. Let her go; abandon her. Return now to your own land. For her punishment reaches to the heavens; it is so great it cannot be measured. The Lord has vindicated us. Come, let us announce in Jerusalem everything the Lord our God has done. Sharpen the arrows! Lift up the shields! For the Lord has inspired the kings of the Medes to march against Babylon and destroy her. This is his vengeance against those who desecrated his Temple. Raise the battle flag against Babylon! Reinforce the guard and station the watchmen. Prepare an ambush, for the Lord will fulfill all his plans against Babylon. You are a city by a great river, a great center of commerce, but your end has come. The thread of your life is cut. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has taken this vow and has sworn to it by his own name: “Your cities will be filled with enemies, like fields swarming with locusts, and they will shout in triumph over you.” The Lord made the earth by his power, and he preserves it by his wisdom. With his own understanding he stretched out the heavens. When he speaks in the thunder, the heavens roar with rain. He causes the clouds to rise over the earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses. The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge! The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make, for their carefully shaped works are a fraud. These idols have no breath or power. Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies! On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed. But the God of Israel is no idol! He is the Creator of everything that exists, including his people, his own special possession. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name! “You are my battle-ax and sword,” says the Lord . “With you I will shatter nations and destroy many kingdoms. With you I will shatter armies— destroying the horse and rider, the chariot and charioteer. With you I will shatter men and women, old people and children, young men and young women. With you I will shatter shepherds and flocks, farmers and oxen, captains and officers. “I will repay Babylon and the people of Babylonia for all the wrong they have done to my people in Jerusalem,” says the Lord . “Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth! I am your enemy,” says the Lord . “I will raise my fist against you, to knock you down from the heights. When I am finished, you will be nothing but a heap of burnt rubble. You will be desolate forever. Even your stones will never again be used for building. You will be completely wiped out,” says the Lord . Raise a signal flag to the nations. Sound the battle cry! Mobilize them all against Babylon. Prepare them to fight against her! Bring out the armies of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz. Appoint a commander, and bring a multitude of horses like swarming locusts! Bring against her the armies of the nations— led by the kings of the Medes and all their captains and officers. The earth trembles and writhes in pain, for everything the Lord has planned against Babylon stands unchanged. Babylon will be left desolate without a single inhabitant. Her mightiest warriors no longer fight. They stay in their barracks, their courage gone. They have become like women. The invaders have burned the houses and broken down the city gates. The news is passed from one runner to the next as the messengers hurry to tell the king that his city has been captured. All the escape routes are blocked. The marshes have been set aflame, and the army is in a panic. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Babylon is like wheat on a threshing floor, about to be trampled. In just a little while her harvest will begin.” “King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has eaten and crushed us and drained us of strength. He has swallowed us like a great monster and filled his belly with our riches. He has thrown us out of our own country. Make Babylon suffer as she made us suffer,” say the people of Zion. “Make the people of Babylonia pay for spilling our blood,” says Jerusalem. This is what the Lord says to Jerusalem: “I will be your lawyer to plead your case, and I will avenge you. I will dry up her river, as well as her springs, and Babylon will become a heap of ruins, haunted by jackals. She will be an object of horror and contempt, a place where no one lives. Her people will roar together like strong lions. They will growl like lion cubs. And while they lie inflamed with all their wine, I will prepare a different kind of feast for them. I will make them drink until they fall asleep, and they will never wake up again,” says the Lord . “I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams and goats to be sacrificed. “How Babylon is fallen— great Babylon, praised throughout the earth! Now she has become an object of horror among the nations. The sea has risen over Babylon; she is covered by its crashing waves. Her cities now lie in ruins; she is a dry wasteland where no one lives or even passes by. And I will punish Bel, the god of Babylon, and make him vomit up all he has eaten. The nations will no longer come and worship him. The wall of Babylon has fallen! “Come out, my people, flee from Babylon. Save yourselves! Run from the Lord ’s fierce anger. But do not panic; don’t be afraid when you hear the first rumor of approaching forces. For rumors will keep coming year by year. Violence will erupt in the land as the leaders fight against each other. For the time is surely coming when I will punish this great city and all her idols. Her whole land will be disgraced, and her dead will lie in the streets. Then the heavens and earth will rejoice, for out of the north will come destroying armies against Babylon,” says the Lord . “Just as Babylon killed the people of Israel and others throughout the world, so must her people be killed. Get out, all you who have escaped the sword! Do not stand and watch—flee while you can! Remember the Lord , though you are in a far-off land, and think about your home in Jerusalem.” “We are ashamed,” the people say. “We are insulted and disgraced because the Lord ’s Temple has been defiled by foreigners.” “Yes,” says the Lord , “but the time is coming when I will destroy Babylon’s idols. The groans of her wounded people will be heard throughout the land. Though Babylon reaches as high as the heavens and makes her fortifications incredibly strong, I will still send enemies to plunder her. I, the Lord , have spoken! “Listen! Hear the cry of Babylon, the sound of great destruction from the land of the Babylonians. For the Lord is destroying Babylon. He will silence her loud voice. Waves of enemies pound against her; the noise of battle rings through the city. Destroying armies come against Babylon. Her mighty men are captured, and their weapons break in their hands. For the Lord is a God who gives just punishment; he always repays in full. I will make her officials and wise men drunk, along with her captains, officers, and warriors. They will fall asleep and never wake up again!” says the King, whose name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “The thick walls of Babylon will be leveled to the ground, and her massive gates will be burned. The builders from many lands have worked in vain, for their work will be destroyed by fire!” The prophet Jeremiah gave this message to Seraiah son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah, a staff officer, when Seraiah went to Babylon with King Zedekiah of Judah. This was during the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign. Jeremiah had recorded on a scroll all the terrible disasters that would soon come upon Babylon—all the words written here. He said to Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, read aloud everything on this scroll. Then say, ‘ Lord , you have said that you will destroy Babylon so that neither people nor animals will remain here. She will lie empty and abandoned forever.’ When you have finished reading the scroll, tie it to a stone and throw it into the Euphrates River. Then say, ‘In this same way Babylon and her people will sink, never again to rise, because of the disasters I will bring upon her.’” This is the end of Jeremiah’s messages.’

Jeremiah 51

‘That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago. “Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.” Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter. ” Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. ‘

Luke 24:13-35

‘But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.’

2 Timothy 3:10-17

‘O God, do not be silent! Do not be deaf. Do not be quiet, O God. Don’t you hear the uproar of your enemies? Don’t you see that your arrogant enemies are rising up? They devise crafty schemes against your people; they conspire against your precious ones. “Come,” they say, “let us wipe out Israel as a nation. We will destroy the very memory of its existence.” Yes, this was their unanimous decision. They signed a treaty as allies against you— these Edomites and Ishmaelites; Moabites and Hagrites; Gebalites, Ammonites, and Amalekites; and people from Philistia and Tyre. Assyria has joined them, too, and is allied with the descendants of Lot. Interlude Do to them as you did to the Midianites and as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the Kishon River. They were destroyed at Endor, and their decaying corpses fertilized the soil. Let their mighty nobles die as Oreb and Zeeb did. Let all their princes die like Zebah and Zalmunna, for they said, “Let us seize for our own use these pasturelands of God!” O my God, scatter them like tumbleweed, like chaff before the wind! As a fire burns a forest and as a flame sets mountains ablaze, chase them with your fierce storm; terrify them with your tempest. Utterly disgrace them until they submit to your name, O Lord . Let them be ashamed and terrified forever. Let them die in disgrace. Then they will learn that you alone are called the Lord , that you alone are the Most High, supreme over all the earth.’

Psalms 83

Have you had an encounter with Jesus yet? Have you invited Him into your heart? Have you encountered the Holy Spirit? Have you received His wisdom, guidance, and comfort? Do you allow God to be with you everywhere you go? He is Emmanuel, God with us, but we need to invite Him in. We need to make the choice for ourselves. We aren’t robots and so we need to choose with our freewill if we will invite God in and pursue Him with all of our lives, living it as a living sacrifice up to God.

Who is God to you?

It’s more than just knowing God it is also about making Him known. (The Bible’s Impact on Acts of Mercy [Apr 6])


Do you know God or do you know about God? Do you know God and are you making Him known? Are you seeking to know God more through a relationship with Him? Are you spending time in His Word that you may know Him more? Are you spending time praying that you may know Him and His will more? Are you sharing your findings with the world around you and making Him known? Are people getting to know God more through you?

In the gospels we see Jesus saying…

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

–from Matthew 28:18-20

We are to be more than just knowers of the Word, we are to be doers of the Word. We are to be more than just hearers of the Word, we are to be doers of the Word. So how will you live out this life so that others will see Jesus in you? If you end up being the only thing a person gets to see that points them to God, how will you live your life in order to make Jesus known? What do the words you speak say? What do the actions you take say? What does your response to various situations say? Do people see the difference God is making in you?

Ever been in a situation where people are apologizing for what they say to you? In a room of people they say something and then look at you and say “Sorry <insert your name here>”? It happens to me and I have never said anything to stop them or even judge them but something convicts them to the point of wanting/needing to apologize to me for using such language. Is it my choice of words that let them know? Is it my way of living that let them know? What is it that God is doing in and through me that others take notice and try to change when they are with me?

So are you going beyond knowing Jesus? Are you building up your relationship with Him? Are you journeying through life with Him? Are you living a life where if someone never read the Bible and never made it into a church that they would see Jesus in you? Are you Jesus with skin on to the world around you? Are you going beyond knowing and starting to apply God’s Word? Are you going beyond being hearers of the Word and starting to be doers of the Word?

How is that impacting your life? How is that impacting your family? How is that impacting your neighbors? How is that impacting your community? How is that impacting your workplace?

Today’s reading comes from Ezra 7…

Ezra Sent to Teach the People

‘Now after this, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest— this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the Lord , the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him. And there went up also to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king, some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants. And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord , and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel. This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, a man learned in matters of the commandments of the Lord and his statutes for Israel: “Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven. Peace. And now I make a decree that anyone of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom, who freely offers to go to Jerusalem, may go with you. For you are sent by the king and his seven counselors to make inquiries about Judah and Jerusalem according to the Law of your God, which is in your hand, and also to carry the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, with all the silver and gold that you shall find in the whole province of Babylonia, and with the freewill offerings of the people and the priests, vowed willingly for the house of their God that is in Jerusalem. With this money, then, you shall with all diligence buy bulls, rams, and lambs, with their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and you shall offer them on the altar of the house of your God that is in Jerusalem. Whatever seems good to you and your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and gold, you may do, according to the will of your God. The vessels that have been given you for the service of the house of your God, you shall deliver before the God of Jerusalem. And whatever else is required for the house of your God, which it falls to you to provide, you may provide it out of the king’s treasury. “And I, Artaxerxes the king, make a decree to all the treasurers in the province Beyond the River: Whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, requires of you, let it be done with all diligence, up to 100 talents of silver, 100 cors of wheat, 100 baths of wine, 100 baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. Whatever is decreed by the God of heaven, let it be done in full for the house of the God of heaven, lest his wrath be against the realm of the king and his sons. We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on anyone of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God. “And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people in the province Beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God. And those who do not know them, you shall teach. Whoever will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be strictly executed on him, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of his goods or for imprisonment.” Blessed be the Lord , the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem, and who extended to me his steadfast love before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty officers. I took courage, for the hand of the Lord my God was on me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me. ‘

— Ezra 7

We see here Ezra’s purpose as well as the favor of the king and how the king even commands Ezra to make God and His laws known.

Today’s verse is Ezra 7:10 but in reading I feel that verses 25-26 speaks to this topic too.

For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord , and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.

–from Ezra 7:10

and

“And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people in the province Beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God. And those who do not know them, you shall teach. Whoever will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be strictly executed on him, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of his goods or for imprisonment.”

–from Ezra 7:25-26

We see that it goes beyond just knowing but study is important. It continues into application and execution of what God’s Word says. It finishes with passing it on to others, teaching about God, His statutes, and His rules in order that they too can have a relationship with Jesus and the gift of salvation which opens the door to getting to spend eternity with Jesus rather than separated from God.

So what is your part? Are you new to a relationship with Jesus and starting to dive into getting to know Him more through His Word … the Bible? Are you in a relationship with Jesus and starting to apply what you read and learn? Are  you now going beyond knowing and applying God’s Word and starting to live a life that will make Jesus known?

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the topic of Acts of Mercy, we learn about the impact of Ezra on Jewish traditions. We learn how through Ezra the Torah (the first 5 books of the Hebrew Bible) to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile. We see that the practices and teaching Ezra provided brought together Jewish leaders which is how many of the religious concepts that are followed to this day are still being followed. We learn in today’s devotional how that group evolved into the Sanhedrin mentioned in the New Testament. Today’s devotional even points to how Ezra started the practice of gathering together on the Sabbath to read the Torah and continues to this day in even Jewish worship services. Through all the various days of the week and holidays, specific sections get read ensuring that the entire Pentateuch is read each year.

Apr 6 - Ezra 7_10 - Study the Bible - Practice the Bible - Teach the Bible

Each year I look for new ways to read the Bible in a year. Some years it has been through a physical Bible or online Bible with different versions, different translations, different formats in order to get a fresh wind into my sail. I am not sure how God does it but it amazes me how no matter what way I choose to read through the Bible, God is able to make my morning readings be applicable to right where I am at. God’s Word is alive! God’s Word is active! And so should we be!


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for today’s reading. I thank You Lord that Your Word never returns void. I thank You Lord that Your Word is active and alive. I thank You Lord that You have a new Word for me every day. I give this day into Your hands and ask Lord that You will help me to be a good steward of my day in order that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

Know your audience!


Are you read up? Are you engaged? Are you involved? Are you connected? Are you reaching out? Are you making the effort? Are you seeking in order to find? Are you researching in order to learn? Are you listening in order to understand? Are you taking the time? Do you really know the people?

Feb 28 - Know your audience - How to know your audience - Titus 1

Do you believe in purity? Do you realize there pure and impure things? Do you take what you hear and measure it against God’s Word to discern the truth and validity of it? Do you stand for the truth and rebuke lies? Since your life is speaking the truth of who you are and what you believe, is it speaking to faith and truth and hope in Jesus? Or is it speaking something different? Are your words and your actions in conflict? Are you taking in God’s Word but not following through on the good works He has prepared in advance for you to accomplish and neglecting them?

Do you understand the people, the culture, the beliefs of the people around you? Are you willing to learn it so as to build relationships that God can use and help you to plant seeds and water them over time until the right time appears? Can you be patient and show true love to the world around you? Do you remember what love it? True love I mean? Let’s reflect on it for a moment.

Love is…

Remember that love never fails

Are you trying to live a life of true and unconditional love? The type of love God has for you and is pouring into you so that you can then pour it into the people he brings into your life?

Today’s reading comes from Titus 1…

Greeting

‘Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior; To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Qualifications for Elders

‘This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

— from Titus 1

From Titus 1, the Global Impact Bible for today’s devotional points towards Titus 1:12-15 which points to “Studying the culture”…

‘One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.

— from Titus 1:12-15 

It speaks to the importance of studying the culture. You can’t walk into a new place and be able to speak life into it if you aren’t prepared and don’t understand the culture. Interestingly enough in the history of the world, we find that there are some leaders who discourage people from reading anything except the Bible and sacred books. Through Paul speaking to Titus, we see that they had extensive knowledge of the secular text. We see that with that knowledge they could walk into a situation and be able to speak the truth as it related to the people and share the hope of Jesus Christ through it. A good example where this gets called out is through Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz who was a Mexican poet who used this fact in defence of her literary works. She even references Titus 1:12 as part of it. So we need to be educated. We need to be read up. We need to be ready for what is yet to come. So let’s be prepared! Let’s be ready for the good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do! Let’s not grow weary in doing good works! Let’s let our lives shine the reality of Jesus by the good works we do to His praise, honor, and glory!


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for all that is within it. I praise You Lord for the reality that the Earth and everything in it are yours. I take hold of the truth which comes from Your Word and know that it is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Help me Lord to have eyes to see and ears to hear and a mind to learn so that I can be prepared to speak truth and life in love to the world around me. Help me Lord to not be blinded by the lies of the devil or the world but that through this life which is an education I am able to accomplish the good works You have prepared in advance for me to accomplish. Help me to be a good steward of every good and precious gift from You so that in the end, I may come before Your throne and hear well done my good and faithful servant. Help me Lord to shine for You! Help me Lord to pour into the lives of the people around me in order that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

WITH vs. FOR


Are you trying to enough to live with rather than enough to live for? Are you trying to find more to live for rather than trying to increase the amount you live with? Are you more focused on purpose or possessions? What is most important to you? Finding purpose for your life or accruing possessions in your life? One requires that you keep going whereas the other can satisfy you! When you focus on stuff, you will never have enough stuff! When you focus on purpose, you find and and be content in and through it!

When you choose to purpose and to seek and to find God’s purpose for your life things get exponentially greater! When you get into the flow of God’s purpose and plan for your life you discover a joy unspeakable! When you are within God’s purpose and plan for your life you are on the solid rock of Jesus Christ and don’t to be worrying about tomorrow but focusing on God’s plan and purpose for today! Happy Today!

So lets seek purpose and the plan for our lives! Mark Twain put it this way:

Mark Twain - Two Days

God’s plan is good! God’s plan is to give us a hope and a future! God is for us! God so loves the world that He gave His one and only Son Jesus that whosoever would believe on Him would not perish but have everlasting life!

God has a purpose for each of us! God’s desire is to have a living relationship with each of us! God has a plan for each us! Will you start and live in relationship with God? Will you open the door to an intimate relationship with Jesus where not only do you know about Him but you know Him just like how He knows you? Jesus came not for a temporary event but to open the door of eternity where we can know and experience the love of God! A love that is so much greater than we could ever imagine! A love that is unconditional! A love that matches 1 Corinthians 13 where we know that God is Love and that Love is…

Remember that love never fails

That’s how much God loves you! Will you accept that love? Will you receive that love? Will you share that love? Will you take a hold of it for the rest of your life here on this earth and into eternity spent with God? A love that never ends and never fails!

So let’s take hold of what is going to last…

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. –from 1 Corinthians 13:13

So let’s live out our lives on purpose, for purpose, and with purpose! Let’s not just be wandering but lets be pursuing God’s plan and purpose for our lives! Let’s be blessings! As God blesses us, let’s be blessings to others!


God’s Purpose for You

Day 339: Bible In One Year 2018

  1. To be known and to know him … Psalms 139:1-10
  2. To be loved and to love forever … 1 John 5
  3. To be blessed and to bless … Daniel 11:36-45, Daniel 12

 

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

 

 

 

 

Doing what is right!


Do you know the difference between right and wrong? Do you know what is hard than knowing what is right? Doing what is right!

What is your source of truth? Is your source of truth dependable? Does it change or fluctuate? If it fluctuates, how can you be sure if it is right, right now? Don’t you need something that doesn’t change in order to know if something is right? Don’t you need a source that doesn’t ebb and flow, but rather is solid and steady? How can things be relative and still be able to help you know if things are right or wrong?

With the fact that the truth will set you free, it points to the fact that to be set free, we need to know what is right! What is just! What is dependable!

Where do you get a set of standards to be able to measure against? Are standards in place to help make things better or worse? If better then why would anyone try to lower standards rather than trying to raise them?

What about average? Is the goal to raise the average or lower it? I would hope to raise it which helps everyone get better! The average shows that everyone or at least the majority of the group is getting better. When you consider it as a grade, like in school, you can only get 100% as a max right and so with 30 kids, if the average is 70% what does that mean for the rest of the class. Even if we consider the largest extremes where the upper part of the class gets 100% each that would mean 21 out of 30 get 100% and 9 out of 30 get 0%. Now if we set priorities so that we raise to the average just 1% what would that mean? At least 1 would have to go from being a 0% to something higher right? Mathematically we would need to add 30 points to the class … either 1 student goes from 0% to 30% or even better those 9 students split the 30% between them, raising the average. Now imagine if we only wanted to raise the average 5%, then we would find worst case scenario 5 of the students get 30% and the other 4 stay at 0%. Now that would be under the assumption that those 21 students kept doing their best and didn’t feel the need to stop trying and not caring about the mood or attitude in the class. It would mean the class as a whole was improving and this is based on using an extreme example. We know that that in a class of 30 it would be rare that 21 of them would get 100% and 9 would get 0% from our first example. So if we reduce the upper end down to 90% in these two scenarios let’s see what the numbers show. Well with the 90% vs 0% it would mean that 24 out of 30 get 90% (which actually adds up to 72% since we can’t have a half a studen. 23 out of 30 gets us close to 70% with a 69% but with the goal of 70% we need 24 students). So to get to 75% with those existing 24 students unchanged, it would mean to get that extra 3% we need to get a lift of 90 points across the remaining 6 students.

So how will we choose to live? Will we choose to live a life that raises the average? Will we choose to raise the bar in hopes that more people will step up and stand for what is right? Will we use a standard that is unchanging? Will we use a standard that is just? Knowing what is right, will that help set the tone and the temperature for society so that the average keeps going up?

Do you realize there is a standard? Do you realize it hasn’t changed in centuries? If we consider the first book ever printed using a printing press in the 1450’s happened to be the standard, it means it’s been around for quite a while.

When was the first Bible printed?

Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1450’s, and the first book to ever be printed was a Latin language Bible, printed in Mainz, Germany. Gutenberg’s Bibles were surprisingly beautiful, as each leaf Gutenberg printed was later colorfully hand-illuminated.

If we consider the best selling book of all time, it points to this same standard. Guinness put the Bible as the #1 non-fiction book.

So what your thoughts around raising the bar? What is your thought on raising the average? What is your thoughts on having standards to make things better? What do you think it is going to take for things to get better? Can’t we start living in a way to make good better and better best? What is your thought on having a reliable source of truth? What is your thought on knowing what is right? What is your thought on doing what is right?

Let’s turn back to God! Let’s point people back to God! Let’s help the world know what is right! Let’s help the world to do what is right!


Today’s reading begins in 2 Kings…

1In the seventeenth year of Pekah son of Remaliah, Ahaz son of King Jotham of Judah, began to reign. 2Ahaz was 20 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. But he did not do what was right in the eyes of Adonai his God, as his father David had done. 3Instead he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and even made his son pass through the fire, like the abominations of the nations whom Adonai had dispossessed before Bnei-Yisrael. 4He offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every leafy tree. 5Then King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of King Remaliah of Israel marched against Jerusalem to wage war. They besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him. 6At that time King Rezin of Aram recovered Elath for Aram, and drove the Jews out of Elath. Then the Edomites came to Elath and settled there to this day. 7So Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your son. Come up and deliver me from the hand of the king of Aram and from the hand of the king of Israel, who are rising up against me.” 8Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the House of Adonai and in the treasuries of the royal palace, and sent them as a present to the king of Assyria. 9So the king of Assyria responded to him. The king of Assyria marched up against Damascus and captured it, and deported its inhabitants as captives to Kir and put Rezin to death.

Ahaz Remodels the Temple

10Then King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria and saw the altar that was at Damascus. So King Ahaz sent to Urijah the kohen the pattern of the altar and its model needed for its construction. 11Then Urijah the kohen built an altar according to all that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus, and Urijah the kohen finished it by the time King Ahaz returned from Damascus. 12When the king came back from Damascus and saw the altar, the king approached the altar and went up to it. 13Then he burned his burnt offering and his grain offering, poured his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his fellowship offerings on the altar. 14As for the bronze altar that was before Adonai, he moved it from the forefront of the House, from between his altar and the House of Adonai, and put it on the north side of his own altar. 15Then King Ahaz commanded Urijah the kohen saying, “Upon the great altar you will burn the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offering and his grain offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land and their grain offering and their drink offering. Also sprinkle on it all the blood of the burnt offering and all the blood of the sacrifices. But the bronze altar will be for me to inquire by.” 16Thus Urijah the kohen did everything just as King Ahaz commanded. 17Then King Ahaz cut off the borders of the stands and removed the laver from them. He also took down the sea from the bronze oxen that were under it and put it on a stone pavement. 18The covered passageway for Shabbat that they had built in the House as well as the outer entry for the king, he removed from the House of Adonai, because of the king of Assyria. 19Now the rest of the acts of Ahaz which he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 20Then Ahaz slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. Then his son Hezekiah became king in his place.

–from 2 Kings 16

 Ever heard people use the word sin? Do you know where that comes from? Do you realize it is an old English archery term that means to miss the mark? If you don’t hit the bullseye then you missed the mark. So when people use it to talk about ways people have missed the mark, we need to realize that we have all sinned! We have all missed the mark! It’s not about how much, it’s not about in what way, it’s about the fact that we have! So let’s be encouraging to others! Let’s be peacemakers!

Ahaz’s Sin in the Valley of Ben-hinnom

1Ahaz was 20 years old when he became king, and he reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. But he did not do what was right in the eyes of Adonai as his father David had done, 2but followed the ways of the kings of Israel, and even made molten images for the Baalim. 3Moreover, he burned incense in the valley of Ben-hinnom and burned his children in the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom Adonai had driven out before Bnei-Yisrael. 4He offered sacrifices and burned incense in the high places, on the hills and under every leafy tree. 5Therefore Adonai his God gave him into the hand of the king of Aram who defeated him and took away from him many prisoners and brought them to Damascus. He was also given into the hand of the king of Israel, who inflicted many casualties on him. 6In one day, Pekah the son of Remaliah killed 120,000 valiant soldiers of Judah—because they had forsaken Adonai, the God of their fathers.

Mercy Shown to Judah’s Captives

7Also Zichri, a warrior from Ephraim, killed Maaseiah the king’s son, Azrikam the official in charge of the palace and Elkanah the second to the king. 8Men of Israel carried away captive 200,000 of their kinsmen, women, sons and daughters. They also took away a great deal of plunder from them that they brought to Samaria. 9But a prophet of Adonai named Oded was there and he went out to meet the army on its return to Samaria. He said to them, “Behold, because Adonai, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, He has given them into your hand and you have slaughtered them in a rage that reaches to heaven. 10So now you intend to bring into bondage the children of Judah and Jerusalem as your male and female slaves? Are you not also guilty of transgressions against Adonai your God? 11So now, listen to me. Send back the prisoners you have captured from your kinsmen—for the fierce wrath of Adonai is upon you!” 12Then some of the leaders of the sons of Ephraim—Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berechiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai—confronted those coming from the campaign, 13and said to them, “Do not bring the captives in here, for that would cause us to trespass against Adonai. Do you intend to add to our sins and our guilt? For our guilt is already great, and his fierce anger is already against Israel.” 14So the soldiers released the captives and the plunder in the presence of the chieftains and the entire congregation. 15Then the men designated by name stood up and took the captives, and they clothed all who were naked from the plunder. They gave them clothes and sandals, food and drink, anointed them, led all the feeble ones on donkeys, and brought them back to their kinsmen at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria.

Ahaz Leads Judah Into Idolatry

16About that time King Ahaz sent to the kings of Assyria for help. 17Once again the Edomites had come and invaded Judah and taken captives, 18while the Philistines had raided the towns in the foothills and in the South of Judah. They captured and occupied Beth-shemesh, Aijalon and Gederot, as well as Soho, Timnah and Gimzo with their villages. 19For Adonai humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he threw off restraint in Judah and trespassed against Adonai. 20Tilgat-pilneser king of Assyria came against him and afflicted him instead of strengthening him— 21even though Ahaz plundered the House of Adonai, the house of the king and the princes, and gave it to the king of Assyria—it did not help him. 22In his time of distress, this same King Ahaz acted even more unfaithfully to Adonai. 23He even sacrificed to the gods of Damascus after he had been defeated, for he said, “Because the gods of the kings of Aram helped them, I will sacrifice to them and they will help me.” But they caused the downfall of him and all Israel. 24Ahaz even collected the utensils of the House of God and cut the utensils of the House of God into pieces. He shut the doors of the House of Adonai and made himself altars in every corner of Jerusalem. 25In every town of Judah he made high places to burn incense to other gods—provoking Adonai, the God of his fathers. 26Now the rest of his acts and all his ways, the first and the last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 27Then Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of Jerusalem, but he was not brought into the tombs of the kings of Israel. Hezekiah his son became king in his place.

–from 2 Chronicles 28

So will you praise God? Will you praise His Word? Will you praise His grace? Will you praise Him all the time?

From the Rising of the Sun

1Halleluyah! Praise, O servants of Adonai, praise the Name of Adonai. 2Blessed be the Name of Adonai from now and forever. 3From the rising of the sun to its going down the Name of Adonai is to be praised. 4Adonai is high above all nations, His glory is above the heavens. 5Who is like Adonai our God, enthroned on high, 6who brings Himself down to look upon heaven and upon earth? 7He raises the poor from the dust, lifts up the needy out of the dunghill, 8to seat him with princes, with the princes of His people. 9He settles the barren woman in her home as a joyful mother of children. Halleluyah!

.–from Psalms 113

Let’s turn to Jesus! Let’s allow Him to be our leader! Let’s follow after Him and His example so that we can help raise the bar as He has called us to do! He took the law and raised the bar on expectations! Let’s live out the life God created us to live! Let’s go beyond knowing what is right and start living and doing what is right! When you aren’t sure, call out to Jesus! Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and discernment! Read God’s Word!

The Way to the Father’s House

1“Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. 2In My Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to Myself, so that where I am you may also be. 4And you know the way to where I am going.” 5Thomas said to Him, “Master, we don’t know where You are going. How can we know the way?” 6Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life! No one comes to the Father except through Me. 7If you have come to know Me, you will know My Father also. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.” 8Philip said to Him, “Master, show us the Father, and it is enough for us. 9Yeshua said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time, and you haven’t come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I say to you, I do not speak on My own; but the Father dwelling in Me does His works. 11Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me—or at least believe because of the works themselves. 12“Amen, amen I tell you, he who puts his trust in Me, the works that I do he will do; and greater than these he will do, because I am going to the Father. 13And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”

The Believer’s Helper

15“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper so He may be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him. You know Him, because He abides with you and will be in you. 18I will not abandon you as orphans; I will come to you. 19In a little while, the world will no longer behold Me, but you will behold Me. Because I live, you also will live! 20“In that day, you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. 21He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.” 22Judah (not the one from Kriot) said to Him, “Master, what has happened, that You are about to reveal Yourself to us and not the world?” 23Yeshua answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling with him. 24He who does not love Me does not keep My words. And the word you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. 25These things I have spoken to you while dwelling with you. 26But the Helper, the Ruach ha-Kodesh whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything and remind you of everything that I said to you. 27“Shalom I leave you, My shalom I give to you; but not as the world gives! Do not let your heart be troubled or afraid. 28You’ve heard Me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29I have told you now before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe! 30“I will not talk with you much longer, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has nothing on Me. 31But in order that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. “Get up, let’s go from here!”

–from John 14

So are there ways to help us to do what is right? Do you realize we can turn to God’s love letter to us for help? Do you realize that God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our paths?

Counsel About Marriage

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

Remain As You Were Called

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

–from 1 Corinthians 7

Do you know where you can go?


Do you know where you can lean? Do you know where you can turn? Do you know who you can trust? Do you know who is the same yesterday, today, and forever? Do you realize that even though you may stray, He is still faithful? Do you realize that even though you may walk away, He is waiting on you and hoping you will come back? Do you realize even though you left the protection and the provision He is still calling and desiring for you to come back? Do you realize that in this world you will have troubles? Are you setting yourself up so that in those moments you will have what you need and you will be in relationship with Jesus who has told us to take heart because He has overcome the world? Do you realize that when you have a living relationship with Jesus, He provides a way that goes beyond all understanding providing you peace, so that you can consider it pure joy when you face trials of any kind? Do you realize what you are setting yourself up for when you walk out from the covering and the protection of Jesus? When you are in the open for the attacks of the enemy? Do you realize what God has to offer? Do you realize the gift that is available to you? Do you realize that it is free and just requires for you to choose it? The gift of salvation comes through grace, not by works so that nobody can boast!

So where are you at today?

Do you know where you can go?


Let’s get started with our reading from the book of Hosea…

Ephraim Multiplies Lies

1“Ephraim surrounded Me with lies and the house of Israel with deceit.” Though Judah roams restlessly with God, yet he is faithful with holy things. 2Ephraim is grazing on wind and pursuing the east wind. All day he multiplies lies and ruin: making a pact with Assyria, while carrying oil to Egypt. 3Adonai also has a dispute with Judah: He will punish Jacob for his ways, repaying him for his deeds. 4In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel, and in his vigor he strove with God. 5Yes, he wrestled with the angel and won; he wept and sought his favor. At Bethel he will find us, and there He will speak with us. 6Even Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot— Adonai is His memorial-Name. 7So you should return to your God, keep covenant loyalty and justice, and wait for your God continually. 8A merchant loves to extort, with deceptive balances in his hand. 9Now Ephraim has said: “How rich I have become! I found wealth by myself. I won’t be guilty of any sin with any of my property.” 10“Yet I have been Adonai your God, since the land of Egypt. I will yet again make you dwell in tents, as in the days of the moed. 11I also spoke through the prophets and I multiplied visions. Now through the prophets I will make parables. 12Since Gilead is full of iniquity, they are utterly worthless. In Gilgal they sacrifice bulls— even their altars will become heaps of rocks along the furrows of My field.” 13Now Jacob fled to the field of Aram, when Israel served for a wife— yes, he kept watch for a wife. 14So by a prophet Adonai brought Israel up out of Egypt, and by a prophet he was kept. 15Ephraim has provoked bitter anger, so his bloodguilt will remain on him— his Lord will repay him for his contempt.

–from Hosea 12

There is only one way back! It’s to turn to God! He is like the Father who is awaiting the prodigal or lost son, hoping and waiting and looking for any sign of his return! There is only one under heaven and earth by which we can be saved! Only GOD can save!

No Other Savior

1When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling. He exalted himself in Israel, but he became guilty through Baal, and died. 2But now, they sin more and more. They made themselves molten images, idols skillfully made from their silver, all of them the work of the craftsmen. They say about them: “Let those who sacrifice kiss the calves.” 3Therefore they will be like morning clouds, like dew passing away early, like chaff blown from the threshing-floor, or like smoke from a chimney. 4“Yet I have been Adonai your God since the land of Egypt. You should know no God but Me, and there is no Savior apart from Me. 5I Myself knew you in the wilderness, in a land of terrible drought. 6While they were fed, they were satisfied. Filled, their hearts became haughty. Therefore they forgot Me. 7So I became like a lion to them— like a leopard lying in wait by the way. 8I will meet them like a bear robbed of her cubs, and I will tear open their chests. There I will devour them like a lioness. A beast of the field will rip them to shreds. 9It has corrupted you, O Israel, for you are against Me— against your Helper! 10Where then is your king? So, will he save you in all your cities? Or your judges, to whom you said: ‘Give me a king and princes!’ 11I give you a king in My anger, and take him away in My wrath. 12Ephraim is bound by iniquity; his sin is treasured up. 13Pains of birth come on him. He is not a wise son. When the time comes, he should not delay at the opening of the womb. 14Should I ransom them from the hand of Sheol? Should I redeem them from death? O death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your sting? Comfort is hidden from My eyes.” 15Because he is the son of kinsmen, he should have been fruitful. An east wind will come— the wind from Adonai, coming up from the wilderness. His spring will become dry, and his fountain will dry up. He will plunder the treasury of every precious vessel.

–from Hosea 13

Jesus paid the price! He gave His life on the cross that we can be reconciled back unto God! He gave His life on the cross to provide a way for us to be forgiven for our sins! Not just some of them, but all of them! Will you give your mistakes, your problems, your issues, your problems, your sins up to Him and nail them to the cross? Jesus died once for all! No more sacrifices are needed — we just need to give them over to Him! Jesus not only died on the cross, He conquered the grave to provide for freedom! True freedom! Jesus knows! He isn’t surprised! He knows us better than we know ourselves! So don’t run away! Don’t get lost! Turn back to Him! Ask Him for forgiveness! Allow His power to break the chains of fear, of doubt, of worry, of bitterness, so that you can take hold of the gift of salvation and hope and love and freedom!

Anointed for Burial

1Now it was two days before Passover and the Feast of Matzah. The ruling kohanim and Torah scholars were searching for a way to grab Yeshua by stealth and kill Him. 2“But not during the festival,” they were saying, “so there won’t be a riot among the people.” 3And while Yeshua was in Bethany at the house of Simon ha-Metzora, reclining at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive oil of pure nard. Breaking open the jar, she poured it over His head. 4But some got angry and said among themselves, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5It could have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor!” And they kept scolding her. 6But Yeshua said, “Leave her alone. Why do you cause trouble for her? She’s done Me a mitzvah. 7For you always have the poor with you, and you can do good for them whenever you want; but you won’t always have Me. 8She did what she could—she came beforehand to anoint My body for burial. 9Amen, I tell you, wherever the Good News is proclaimed in all the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” 10Then Judah from Kriot, one of the Twelve, went out to the ruling kohanim to betray Yeshua to them. 11They were delighted when they heard this and promised to give him money. And Judah began looking for a chance to hand Him over.

New Covenant at the Last Seder

12Now on the first day of matzah , when they were slaughtering the Passover lamb, Yeshua’s disciples say to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare for You to eat the Passover?” 13He sends two of His disciples and tells them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, 14and wherever he enters, tell the homeowner, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is My guest room, where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ 15He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” 16The disciples went out, came to the city, and found just what Yeshua had told them. And they prepared the Passover. 17When it was evening, He came with the Twelve. 18As they were reclining and eating, Yeshua said, “Amen, I tell you, one of you who is eating with Me will betray Me.” 19They began to be sorrowful and to say to Him one by one, “I’m not the one, am I?” 20He said to them, “It’s one of the Twelve, one who dips with Me in the bowl. 21For the Son of Man indeed goes, just as it is written about Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born!” 22And while they were eating, He took matzah ; and after He offered the bracha, He broke it and gave it to them and said, “Take; this is My body.” 23And He took a cup; and after giving thanks, He gave to them and they all drank from it. 24And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25Amen, I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.”

Denial Predicted

26After singing the Hallel, they went out to the Mount of Olives.27And Yeshua said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28But after I’m raised up, I will go before you to the Galilee.” 29Peter said to Him, “Even though all fall away, I won’t!” 30And Yeshua said to him, “Amen, I tell you, today—this very night—before a rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” 31But Peter kept insisting exceedingly, “Even if I must die with You, I’ll never deny You!” And they all were saying the same.

A Night of Painful Prayer

32Then they come to a place whose name is Gethsemane; and Yeshua says to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33He takes with Him Peter, Jacob, and John; and He began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34And He tells them, “My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch.” 35Going a little farther, He fell to the ground and began praying that if possible this hour might pass Him by. 36And He was saying, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You! Take this cup from Me! Yet not what I will, but what You will.” 37Then He comes and finds them sleeping; and He tells Peter, “Simon, you’re asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38Keep watching and praying, so that you do not enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39Again He went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy. They didn’t know what to answer Him. 41And He comes the third time and says to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is being delivered into the hands of sinners. 42Get up, let’s go! Look, My betrayer is near.”

Betrayed and Abandoned

43Right away, while Yeshua was still speaking, Judah comes up, one of the Twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the ruling kohanim, Torah scholars, and elders. 44Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “The One I kiss, He’s the One! Seize Him and lead Him away under guard.” 45As soon as Judah came, he drew near to Yeshua and said, “Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 46Then they threw their hands on Yeshua and seized Him. 47But one of the bystanders, drawing his sword, struck the servant of the kohen gadol and cut off his ear. 48Yeshua said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs, to capture Me as you would against a revolutionary? 49Every day I was with you in the Temple teaching, and you didn’t seize Me. But this is so that the Scriptures would be fulfilled.” 50And all fled, abandoning Him. 51A certain young man was following Him, with nothing but a linen cloth around his body, and they grabbed him. 52But he ran away naked, leaving behind the linen cloth.

Falsely Charged

53Then they led Yeshua away to the kohen gadol . And all the ruling kohanim, elders, and Torah scholars gathered. 54Peter had followed Him from a distance, right into the courtyard of the kohen gadol . He was sitting with the guards, warming himself by the fire. 55Now the ruling kohanim and all the Sanhedrin kept trying to get evidence against Yeshua so they could put Him to death, but they weren’t finding any. 56Many were giving false testimony against Him, but their testimony wasn’t consistent. 57Some stood up and began to give false testimony against Him, saying, 58“We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this Temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.’” 59Yet even then, their testimony didn’t agree. 60The kohen gadol stood up in the middle and questioned Yeshua, saying, “Do You have no answer? What is this they’re testifying against You?” 61But keeping silent, Yeshua did not answer. Again the kohen gadol questioned Him, “Are you Mashiach, Son of the Blessed One?” 62“I am,” said Yeshua, “and you shall see ‘the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Powerful One,’ and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven’!” 63Tearing his clothes, the kohen gadol says, “Why do we still need witnesses? 64You’ve heard the blasphemy. What seems right to you?” Then all condemned Him as deserving death. 65Some began to spit on Him, to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists, saying, “Prophesy!” Also the guards slapped Him around.

The Rooster Crows

66As Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the kohen gadol comes by. 67Seeing Peter warming himself, she looked straight at him. “You also were with Yeshua of Natzeret,” she says. 68But he denied it, saying, “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about!” Then he went outside to the gateway, and a rooster crowed. 69Seeing him, the servant girl began again to tell the bystanders, “This is one of them.” 70But again he denied it. And a little while later, the bystanders were again saying to Peter, “Surely you’re one of them, for you’re also a Galilean.” 71But he began to curse himself and to swear an oath: “I do not know this Man you’re talking about!” 72Right then, a rooster crowed a second time. Then Peter called to mind the word Yeshua had said to him: “Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And he broke down and began to weep.

–from Mark 14

The more you know the more you know you don’t know.


Are you finding that? Are you working on such a big project that because you know so much of it, you know there is so much more you don’t know? Have you been working with so many people that you realize there is so much you don’t know? Ever heard the saying “the more you know, the more you know you don’t know”?

So what do you do? How do you keep going? Where does your hope come from? Where do your help come from?

I remember a time back in my career where I was doing a job where my boss when he brought me into the project told me it was more than a 1 person job. The reason he brought me in was he was currently the 1 person. He later was offered a new opportunity and I became the 1 person and then got new managers. I remember them asking me to do a deep dive for them. I remember feeling that I didn’t know too much because of the breadth that I didn’t think I had the depth to be able to do a good job on a deep dive. To my surprise, the exercise helped to encourage me that I do know a lot about it. I also realized that putting my hope and trust in God to keep an eye on everything enabled and allowed me to press onward and upward, taking on bigger challenges through my career.

Even today in my role crossing disciplines, layers of management, covering the entire site, there are times when I start to wonder and ask. But it is my hope and trust in God that helps me get through it. I know that He knows it all even the stuff I don’t know. I know that He has helped me build up the relationships that help me get pulled into the right conversations at the right times thanks to His leading and guiding, His prompting and positioning.

So where do you go? where do you turn? where does your help and hope come from when you get to the point where you know there is so much you don’t know? Are you teachable? Are you able to allow God to lead you and guide you rather than putting all the pressure on yourself? Are you listening for and to that small quiet voice so that you can be teachable?

When God called me to be the President of a very large HOA I leaned on Him because I knew and felt it was bigger than me and that if He called me to it, He would get me through it! I learned through this that it was important to listen to the small quiet voice rather than wait for the large booming voice. Now it took me hearing the big booming voice for me to start listening, but that’s another story.

When called told me to start looking for a new job (still quiet voice) and I answered, but it’s so comfortable here, I like my boss, my team, my org. I didn’t listen and shortly there after the organization was broken up because the VP left the company. And then the painful experience in the new org took place. (I learned forgiveness through it, so it wasn’t all bad, but it was definitely painful.) I received that lesson on forgiveness and when the second time I was mistreated, my first response was to forgive. I created a bunch of confusion with my peers because they couldn’t understand how I could do it. But having learned how bitterness was like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. And having learned the power of forgiveness. It was the only real choice and decision for me to make. And it kept me upbeat and able to move forward in alignment with the guidance, direction, and teaching of the Holy Spirit.

God know what we don’t know and the sooner we realize than and are teachable, the sooner we can avoid the pitfalls He wants us to avoid. We need to be sensitive to the small quiet voice of the Holy Spirit and be willing to do what He calls us to do – out of obedience. We can’t let pride and confidence stop us. We can’t let fear and doubt stop us. We need to just do what He asks for us to do. We need to teachable, no matter what we are doing, where we have been called, and to what level we have made it on the ladder of success. We don’t know everything! And the reality is that the more we know the more we know we don’t know. So we need to find help in keeping an eye on things so that someone knows and we know where to turn if we need information from those areas.

Today’s devotional (Forward – Day 4 of 7) speaks to this very subject. Today’s reading tells us the following…

1 Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, 2for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching. 3When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, 4he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live. 5 Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth. 6Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you. 7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. 8Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. 9She will place on your head a graceful garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.” 

10 Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many. 11I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. 12When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble. 13 Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life. 14 Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. 15Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on. 16For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble. 17For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. 18But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. 19 The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.
20 My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. 22For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. 23Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. 24Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. 25 Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. 26 Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. 27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.
–from Proverbs 4

So we need to be willing to receive instruction! We need to be sensitive to be able to gain insight! We may not know where to turn, and in that case we need to turn to God and ask Him for wisdom, for He will give it without finding fault in a generous manner.

Today’s devotional (Forward – Day 4 of 7) speaks to it this way…

“Growing Teachability”

The older I become in life and leadership, the more I find out I do not know. Can you identify with this?

Beyond the absolute Sovereign will of God and His favor extended to me, I believe there is one characteristic that has helped me to be where I am today: teachability.

Academia prepares us with various tools, but, leading people exposes what we do not know about life and leadership. When this happens, we can either lead backward, acting as if we can be taught nothing; or lead forward, growing in Christ daily due to a desire to be teachable in an ongoing manner.

So, how do we remain teachable? Listen to people teach. Read things beyond your own academic discipline. When you encounter a leader—from the youngest leader to the oldest leader—continually ask them questions.

The older you get, you will discover that being cutting edge has little to do with your look or dress. The only thing that will keep you on the cutting edge is your growing teachability.

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz led the U.S. Navy’s war on Japan in the Pacific Theater of World War II, commanding at one time the largest armada ever assembled. How important was teachability to Admiral Nimitz? “Some of the best advice I’ve had comes from junior officers and enlisted men?”

So, how teachable are you?

Today pray for the Holy Spirit to work a teachable spirit into your life. “Lord, fill me with the Holy Spirit. Empower me with Your Spirit today. Lord, compel me to live and lead with a teachable spirit all for your glory. Lord, help me adjust my mindset and my life to how I can best serve You and Your Kingdom.”

–from Forward – Day 4 of 7

 

Do you know Him? Will you do what He tells you?


Ever been in a place where you are asking God for something? What’s more important to you, to get your way or to do it His way? What if it were going to be hard? Would you submit to His will rather than your comfort? Would you be willing to give up your way for His way? Would you be able to pray, when you pray, that you’ll do His will over your own? Do you mean it?

Today’s Reading: Matthew 26:39

39And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

There is a difference between knowing God and being obedient to God!

18But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?

–from James 2

Be ready! Be prepared! Be alert!

11“Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ 12“But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13“Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

–from Matthew 25

So where are you at today? How will you pray? Will you pray for God’s will? Will you follow through and do what He calls you to do? Be sensitive to the prompting of the Spirit today and be obedient to God’s calling and will in your life that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

The battle belongs to the Lord! And if you checkout the end of the book, He wins!


Feeling like you are in the midst of a battle? Wondering where to turn? Wondering what did you do? Wondering what can you do?

We need to remember that yes, we are in the midst of a big spiritual battle taking place for the souls of everyone on earth, including our own.

We need to also remember that the battle belongs to the Lord and so we need to turn to Him for answers and wisdom.

He can help us know what to do to get the little and big victories.

He can help us understand what is going on and what we need to do about it.

He can help us make it, even when there doesn’t seem to be a way!

And in the end, by being on God’s team, we can live confident that we will end this battle in VICTORY!


Today’s reading…

  • 1 Chronicles 18
    • Victory in God’s favor and plan
  • 1 Chronicles 19
    • Even when we have good intentions, others can misinterpret our purposes and reasons
  • 1 Chronicles 20
    • Beware your wandering eye. Don’t just sit back, but move forward in all God has for you
  • 1 Chronicles 21
    • Beware putting your trust in anything other than God!
    • Be wise in choosing how to deal with the consequences of your decisions
    • It’s not an offering if it doesn’t cost you anything!
  • 1 Chronicles 22
    • God may have to delegate the work to your descendants based on some of the things you have done
    • You can still help in making sure that the preparations are made for their success in this work
  • 1 Chronicles 23
    • Align and assign the work that is to be done.
  • 1 Chronicles 24
    • Map out the roles and responsibilities for the work that is ahead
    • Delegate the work to the people
  • 1 Chronicles 25
    • Delegate according to their skills and gifts
  • 1 Chronicles 26
    • There are many things that need to be done. Map them out
  • 1 Chronicles 27
    • Make sure to find people who can help administrate the various areas
  • 1 Chronicles 28
    • Make sure they understand the plan and the reason
    • Make sure they know why
  • 1 Chronicles 29
    • When people see your heart they can buy in too and be generous as you have been generous
    • You won’t even have to ask
    • What we give was given to us by God, so we are just showing how much we trust God by giving back to Him
    • Everything belongs to God!

Ever heard the phrase “Timing is everything”?


Well, have you ever God the saying “God is never late, rarely early, and always on time”? Some may be feeling that it is too late, but the reality is that it isn’t Some may hope that it comes early, but then it won’t have accomplished or have the same impact. On time brings the biggest bang for the buck!

Let’s consider this as we take a look into today’s reading! Some may wonder why He didn’t go earlier. Some may wonder why the emotion when He knows. Some may wonder what can He do when they feel it is too late. Expanding the text to help answer all these questions…

The Death of Lazarus

1A man named Lazarus, who lived in Bethany, became sick. Bethany was the town where Mary and her sister Martha lived. ( 2This Mary was the one who poured the perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was sick.) 3The sisters sent Jesus a message: “Lord, your dear friend is sick.” 4When Jesus heard it, he said, “The final result of this sickness will not be the death of Lazarus; this has happened in order to bring glory to God, and it will be the means by which the Son of God will receive glory.” 5Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6Yet when he received the news that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was for two more days. 7Then he said to the disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” 8“Teacher,” the disciples answered, “just a short time ago the people there wanted to stone you; and are you planning to go back?” 9Jesus said, “A day has twelve hours, doesn’t it? So those who walk in broad daylight do not stumble, for they see the light of this world. 10But if they walk during the night they stumble, because they have no light.” 11Jesus said this and then added, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I will go and wake him up.” 12The disciples answered, “If he is asleep, Lord, he will get well.” 13Jesus meant that Lazarus had died, but they thought he meant natural sleep. 14So Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15but for your sake I am glad that I was not with him, so that you will believe. Let us go to him.” 16Thomas (called the Twin) said to his fellow disciples, “Let us all go along with the Teacher, so that we may die with him!”

Jesus the Resurrection and the Life

17When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had been buried four days before. 18Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19and many Judeans had come to see Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother’s death. 20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house. 21Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, Lord, my brother would not have died! 22But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask him for.” 23“Your brother will rise to life,” Jesus told her. 24“I know,” she replied, “that he will rise to life on the last day.” 25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die; 26and those who live and believe in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27“Yes, Lord!” she answered. “I do believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”

Jesus Weeps

28After Martha said this, she went back and called her sister Mary privately. “The Teacher is here,” she told her, “and is asking for you.” 29When Mary heard this, she got up and hurried out to meet him. ( 30Jesus had not yet arrived in the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him.) 31The people who were in the house with Mary comforting her followed her when they saw her get up and hurry out. They thought that she was going to the grave to weep there. 32Mary arrived where Jesus was, and as soon as she saw him, she fell at his feet. “Lord,” she said, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died!” 33Jesus saw her weeping, and he saw how the people with her were weeping also; his heart was touched, and he was deeply moved. 34“Where have you buried him?” he asked them. “Come and see, Lord,” they answered. 35Jesus wept. 36“See how much he loved him!” the people said. 37But some of them said, “He gave sight to the blind man, didn’t he? Could he not have kept Lazarus from dying?”

Lazarus Is Brought to Life

38Deeply moved once more, Jesus went to the tomb, which was a cave with a stone placed at the entrance. 39“Take the stone away!” Jesus ordered. Martha, the dead man’s sister, answered, “There will be a bad smell, Lord. He has been buried four days!” 40Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believed?” 41They took the stone away. Jesus looked up and said, “I thank you, Father, that you listen to me. 42I know that you always listen to me, but I say this for the sake of the people here, so that they will believe that you sent me.” 43After he had said this, he called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44He came out, his hands and feet wrapped in grave cloths, and with a cloth around his face. “Untie him,” Jesus told them, “and let him go.”

–from John 11

God’s plan is for good! God’s timing is perfect! Our hope is not only for the future, but for today! God is working in the world today! We can help shine light and hope into the world around us! Yes there is the eternity part, but we don’t have to wait till then to get to enjoy everything God has for us! Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us today! By grabbing onto this hope and living our lives with Jesus, we have become children of God!

Children of God

1See how much the Father has loved us! His love is so great that we are called God’s children—and so, in fact, we are. This is why the world does not know us: it has not known God. 2My dear friends, we are now God’s children, but it is not yet clear what we shall become. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is. 3Everyone who has this hope in Christ keeps himself pure, just as Christ is pure. 4Whoever sins is guilty of breaking God’s law, because sin is a breaking of the law. 5You know that Christ appeared in order to take away sins, and that there is no sin in him. 6So everyone who lives in union with Christ does not continue to sin; but whoever continues to sin has never seen him or known him. 7Let no one deceive you, my children! Whoever does what is right is righteous, just as Christ is righteous. 8Whoever continues to sin belongs to the Devil, because the Devil has sinned from the very beginning. The Son of God appeared for this very reason, to destroy what the Devil had done. 9Those who are children of God do not continue to sin, for God’s very nature is in them; and because God is their Father, they cannot continue to sin. 10Here is the clear difference between God’s children and the Devil’s children: those who do not do what is right or do not love others are not God’s children.

–from 1 John 3

So let’s live differently! Let’s live with the knowledge and faith of our relationship with Jesus! Let’s live in daily relationship with Jesus! Let’s walk with Him and talk with Him throughout our day! Let’s build upon our relationship with God! Just because something hard, challenging, or bad happens doesn’t mean you did something wrong. Consider the blind man

1-2Everything you say, I have heard before. I understand it all; I know as much as you do. I’m not your inferior. 3But my dispute is with God, not you; I want to argue my case with him. 4You cover up your ignorance with lies; you are like doctors who can’t heal anyone. 5Say nothing, and someone may think you are wise! 6Listen while I state my case. 7Why are you lying? Do you think your lies will benefit God? 8Are you trying to defend him? Are you going to argue his case in court? 9If God looks at you closely, will he find anything good? Do you think you can fool God the way you fool others? 10Even though your prejudice is hidden, he will reprimand you, 11and his power will fill you with terror. 12Your proverbs are as useless as ashes; your arguments are as weak as clay. 13Be quiet and give me a chance to speak, and let the results be what they will. 14I am ready to risk my life. 15I’ve lost all hope, so what if God kills me? I am going to state my case to him. 16It may even be that my boldness will save me, since no wicked person would dare to face God. 17Now listen to my words of explanation. 18I am ready to state my case, because I know I am in the right. 19Are you coming to accuse me, God? If you do, I am ready to be silent and die. 20Let me ask for two things; agree to them, and I will not try to hide from you: 21stop punishing me, and don’t crush me with terror. 22Speak first, O God, and I will answer. Or let me speak, and you answer me. 23What are my sins? What wrongs have I done? What crimes am I charged with? 24Why do you avoid me? Why do you treat me like an enemy? 25Are you trying to frighten me? I’m nothing but a leaf; you are attacking a piece of dry straw. 26You bring bitter charges against me, even for what I did when I was young. 27You bind chains on my feet; you watch every step I take, and even examine my footprints. 28As a result, I crumble like rotten wood, like a moth-eaten coat.

–from Job 13

Can you see where you are going?


Do you know where you are going? Can you see clearly? Are you able to move forward without fear or worry? Is there light? Are you in the dark? Are you able to see where you are going? Do you know where you came from?


Today’s morning reading shares the fact that there is a light that can open our eyes up to truth and a reality that can transform our lives forever…

Jesus the Light of the World

12Jesus spoke to the Pharisees again. “I am the light of the world,” he said. “Whoever follows me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness.”
13The Pharisees said to him, “Now you are testifying on your own behalf; what you say proves nothing.”
14“No,” Jesus answered, “even though I do testify on my own behalf, what I say is true, because I know where I came from and where I am going. You do not know where I came from or where I am going. 15You make judgments in a purely human way; I pass judgment on no one. 16But if I were to do so, my judgment would be true, because I am not alone in this; the Father who sent me is with me. 17It is written in your Law that when two witnesses agree, what they say is true. 18I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me also testifies on my behalf.”
19“Where is your father?” they asked him. “You know neither me nor my Father,” Jesus answered. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”
20Jesus said all this as he taught in the Temple, in the room where the offering boxes were placed. And no one arrested him, because his hour had not come.

–from John 8

Live your life in truth! Let your life be real, not like reality TV which seems to be so far from real. Consider how they speak of false teacher as we continue to read from today’s reading…

9And so the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials and how to keep the wicked under punishment for the Day of Judgment, 10especially those who follow their filthy bodily lusts and despise God’s authority.

These false teachers are bold and arrogant, and show no respect for the glorious beings above; instead, they insult them. 11Even the angels, who are so much stronger and mightier than these false teachers, do not accuse them with insults in the presence of the Lord. 12But these people act by instinct, like wild animals born to be captured and killed; they attack with insults anything they do not understand. They will be destroyed like wild animals, 13and they will be paid with suffering for the suffering they have caused. Pleasure for them is to do anything in broad daylight that will satisfy their bodily appetites; they are a shame and a disgrace as they join you in your meals, all the while enjoying their deceitful ways! 14They want to look for nothing but the chance to commit adultery; their appetite for sin is never satisfied. They lead weak people into a trap. Their hearts are trained to be greedy. They are under God’s curse! 15They have left the straight path and have lost their way; they have followed the path taken by Balaam son of Beor, who loved the money he would get for doing wrong 16and was rebuked for his sin. His donkey spoke with a human voice and stopped the prophet’s insane action.

–from 2 Peter 2

Let’s be focused on the truth! Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus! Let’s allow our lives to be a revelation of our relationship with Jesus to the world around us! It’s all about that relationship! Let’s not be judgmental but rather lets be loving and compassionate so that we can help others to get thru where they are at and get to where God wants them to be. Consider this as we finish the reading for today…

The First Dialogue

(4.1—14.22)

Eliphaz

1-2Job, will you be annoyed if I speak? I can’t keep quiet any longer. 3You have taught many people and given strength to feeble hands. 4When someone stumbled, weak and tired, your words encouraged him to stand. 5Now it’s your turn to be in trouble, and you are too stunned to face it. 6You worshiped God, and your life was blameless; and so you should have confidence and hope. 7Think back now. Name a single case where someone righteous met with disaster. 8I have seen people plow fields of evil and plant wickedness like seed; now they harvest wickedness and evil. 9Like a storm, God destroys them in his anger. 10The wicked roar and growl like lions, but God silences them and breaks their teeth. 11Like lions with nothing to kill and eat, they die, and all their children are scattered. 12Once a message came quietly, so quietly I could hardly hear it. 13Like a nightmare it disturbed my sleep. 14I trembled and shuddered; my whole body shook with fear. 15A light breeze touched my face, and my skin crawled with fright. 16I could see something standing there; I stared, but couldn’t tell what it was. Then I heard a voice out of the silence: 17“Can anyone be righteous in the sight of God or be pure before his Creator? 18God does not trust his heavenly servants; he finds fault even with his angels. 19Do you think he will trust a creature of clay, a thing of dust that can be crushed like a moth? 20We may be alive in the morning, but die unnoticed before evening comes. 21All that we have is taken away; we die, still lacking wisdom.”

–from Job 4