Don’t forget the past or you will be doomed to repeat it.


Do you remember the lessons you learned from life experiences? Do you remember the lessons you learned from other people’s shared experiences? Do you remember the lessons you saw other people experience? Are you taking them as stepping stones to share with others in order to help them avoid the pitfalls? Are you taking them as guidance to keep yourself and others from getting tripped up? Are you taking them as instruction on the dos and don’ts for life? Are you passing them along to the next generation? Are you capturing them in a way that can be shared and learned from? Are you teaching others what you have learned? We don’t need to dwell in the past, we just need to remember it so that we won’t repeat the mistakes. It is ok to make a mistake once and learn from it. Don’t forget the past or you will be doomed to repeat it.


Today’s reading from God’s Word finishes up 1 Kings 15 and jumps into 1 Kings 16.

‘Baasha son of Ahijah began to rule over all Israel in the third year of King Asa’s reign in Judah. Baasha reigned in Tirzah twenty-four years. But he did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight and followed the example of Jeroboam, continuing the sins that Jeroboam had led Israel to commit.’

1 Kings 15:33-34

‘This message from the Lord was delivered to King Baasha by the prophet Jehu son of Hanani: “I lifted you out of the dust to make you ruler of my people Israel, but you have followed the evil example of Jeroboam. You have provoked my anger by causing my people Israel to sin. So now I will destroy you and your family, just as I destroyed the descendants of Jeroboam son of Nebat. The members of Baasha’s family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and those who die in the field will be eaten by vultures.” The rest of the events in Baasha’s reign and the extent of his power are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. When Baasha died, he was buried in Tirzah. Then his son Elah became the next king. The message from the Lord against Baasha and his family came through the prophet Jehu son of Hanani. It was delivered because Baasha had done what was evil in the Lord ’s sight (just as the family of Jeroboam had done), and also because Baasha had destroyed the family of Jeroboam. The Lord ’s anger was provoked by Baasha’s sins. Elah son of Baasha began to rule over Israel in the twenty-sixth year of King Asa’s reign in Judah. He reigned in the city of Tirzah for two years. Then Zimri, who commanded half of the royal chariots, made plans to kill him. One day in Tirzah, Elah was getting drunk at the home of Arza, the supervisor of the palace. Zimri walked in and struck him down and killed him. This happened in the twenty-seventh year of King Asa’s reign in Judah. Then Zimri became the next king. Zimri immediately killed the entire royal family of Baasha, leaving him not even a single male child. He even destroyed distant relatives and friends. So Zimri destroyed the dynasty of Baasha as the Lord had promised through the prophet Jehu. This happened because of all the sins Baasha and his son Elah had committed, and because of the sins they led Israel to commit. They provoked the anger of the Lord , the God of Israel, with their worthless idols. The rest of the events in Elah’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. Zimri began to rule over Israel in the twenty-seventh year of King Asa’s reign in Judah, but his reign in Tirzah lasted only seven days. The army of Israel was then attacking the Philistine town of Gibbethon. When they heard that Zimri had committed treason and had assassinated the king, that very day they chose Omri, commander of the army, as the new king of Israel. So Omri led the entire army of Israel up from Gibbethon to attack Tirzah, Israel’s capital. When Zimri saw that the city had been taken, he went into the citadel of the palace and burned it down over himself and died in the flames. For he, too, had done what was evil in the Lord ’s sight. He followed the example of Jeroboam in all the sins he had committed and led Israel to commit. The rest of the events in Zimri’s reign and his conspiracy are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. But now the people of Israel were split into two factions. Half the people tried to make Tibni son of Ginath their king, while the other half supported Omri. But Omri’s supporters defeated the supporters of Tibni. So Tibni was killed, and Omri became the next king. Omri began to rule over Israel in the thirty-first year of King Asa’s reign in Judah. He reigned twelve years in all, six of them in Tirzah. Then Omri bought the hill now known as Samaria from its owner, Shemer, for 150 pounds of silver. He built a city on it and called the city Samaria in honor of Shemer. But Omri did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight, even more than any of the kings before him. He followed the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat in all the sins he had committed and led Israel to commit. The people provoked the anger of the Lord , the God of Israel, with their worthless idols. The rest of the events in Omri’s reign, the extent of his power, and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. When Omri died, he was buried in Samaria. Then his son Ahab became the next king. Ahab son of Omri began to rule over Israel in the thirty-eighth year of King Asa’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria twenty-two years. But Ahab son of Omri did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight, even more than any of the kings before him. And as though it were not enough to follow the sinful example of Jeroboam, he married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and he began to bow down in worship of Baal. First Ahab built a temple and an altar for Baal in Samaria. Then he set up an Asherah pole. He did more to provoke the anger of the Lord , the God of Israel, than any of the other kings of Israel before him. It was during his reign that Hiel, a man from Bethel, rebuilt Jericho. When he laid its foundations, it cost him the life of his oldest son, Abiram. And when he completed it and set up its gates, it cost him the life of his youngest son, Segub. This all happened according to the message from the Lord concerning Jericho spoken by Joshua son of Nun.’

1 Kings 16

‘During the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, saw another vision, following the one that had already appeared to me. In this vision I was at the fortress of Susa, in the province of Elam, standing beside the Ulai River. As I looked up, I saw a ram with two long horns standing beside the river. One of the horns was longer than the other, even though it had grown later than the other one. The ram butted everything out of his way to the west, to the north, and to the south, and no one could stand against him or help his victims. He did as he pleased and became very great. While I was watching, suddenly a male goat appeared from the west, crossing the land so swiftly that he didn’t even touch the ground. This goat, which had one very large horn between its eyes, headed toward the two-horned ram that I had seen standing beside the river, rushing at him in a rage. The goat charged furiously at the ram and struck him, breaking off both his horns. Now the ram was helpless, and the goat knocked him down and trampled him. No one could rescue the ram from the goat’s power. The goat became very powerful. But at the height of his power, his large horn was broken off. In the large horn’s place grew four prominent horns pointing in the four directions of the earth. Then from one of the prominent horns came a small horn whose power grew very great. It extended toward the south and the east and toward the glorious land of Israel. Its power reached to the heavens, where it attacked the heavenly army, throwing some of the heavenly beings and some of the stars to the ground and trampling them. It even challenged the Commander of heaven’s army by canceling the daily sacrifices offered to him and by destroying his Temple. The army of heaven was restrained from responding to this rebellion. So the daily sacrifice was halted, and truth was overthrown. The horn succeeded in everything it did. Then I heard two holy ones talking to each other. One of them asked, “How long will the events of this vision last? How long will the rebellion that causes desecration stop the daily sacrifices? How long will the Temple and heaven’s army be trampled on?” The other replied, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the Temple will be made right again.” As I, Daniel, was trying to understand the meaning of this vision, someone who looked like a man stood in front of me. And I heard a human voice calling out from the Ulai River, “Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of his vision.” As Gabriel approached the place where I was standing, I became so terrified that I fell with my face to the ground. “Son of man,” he said, “you must understand that the events you have seen in your vision relate to the time of the end.” While he was speaking, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground. But Gabriel roused me with a touch and helped me to my feet. Then he said, “I am here to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath. What you have seen pertains to the very end of time. The two-horned ram represents the kings of Media and Persia. The shaggy male goat represents the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes represents the first king of the Greek Empire. The four prominent horns that replaced the one large horn show that the Greek Empire will break into four kingdoms, but none as great as the first. “At the end of their rule, when their sin is at its height, a fierce king, a master of intrigue, will rise to power. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause a shocking amount of destruction and succeed in everything he does. He will destroy powerful leaders and devastate the holy people. He will be a master of deception and will become arrogant; he will destroy many without warning. He will even take on the Prince of princes in battle, but he will be broken, though not by human power. “This vision about the 2,300 evenings and mornings is true. But none of these things will happen for a long time, so keep this vision a secret.” Then I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for several days. Afterward I got up and performed my duties for the king, but I was greatly troubled by the vision and could not understand it.’

Daniel 8

‘“So God sent back the same man his people had previously rejected when they demanded, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?’ Through the angel who appeared to him in the burning bush, God sent Moses to be their ruler and savior. And by means of many wonders and miraculous signs, he led them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and through the wilderness for forty years. “Moses himself told the people of Israel, ‘God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people.’ Moses was with our ancestors, the assembly of God’s people in the wilderness, when the angel spoke to him at Mount Sinai. And there Moses received life-giving words to pass on to us. “But our ancestors refused to listen to Moses. They rejected him and wanted to return to Egypt. They told Aaron, ‘Make us some gods who can lead us, for we don’t know what has become of this Moses, who brought us out of Egypt.’ So they made an idol shaped like a calf, and they sacrificed to it and celebrated over this thing they had made. Then God turned away from them and abandoned them to serve the stars of heaven as their gods! In the book of the prophets it is written, ‘Was it to me you were bringing sacrifices and offerings during those forty years in the wilderness, Israel? No, you carried your pagan gods— the shrine of Molech, the star of your god Rephan, and the images you made to worship them. So I will send you into exile as far away as Babylon.’ “Our ancestors carried the Tabernacle with them through the wilderness. It was constructed according to the plan God had shown to Moses. Years later, when Joshua led our ancestors in battle against the nations that God drove out of this land, the Tabernacle was taken with them into their new territory. And it stayed there until the time of King David. “David found favor with God and asked for the privilege of building a permanent Temple for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who actually built it. However, the Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands. As the prophet says, ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that?’ asks the Lord . ‘Could you build me such a resting place? Didn’t my hands make both heaven and earth?’ “You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you! Name one prophet your ancestors didn’t persecute! They even killed the ones who predicted the coming of the Righteous One—the Messiah whom you betrayed and murdered. You deliberately disobeyed God’s law, even though you received it from the hands of angels.”’

Acts 7:35-53

‘And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame. Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God’s children.’

1 John 2:28-29

‘See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is. Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.’

1 John 3:1-10

‘I will sing of your love and justice, Lord . I will praise you with songs. I will be careful to live a blameless life— when will you come to help me? I will lead a life of integrity in my own home. I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them. I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil. I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors. I will not endure conceit and pride. I will search for faithful people to be my companions. Only those who are above reproach will be allowed to serve me. I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house, and liars will not stay in my presence. My daily task will be to ferret out the wicked and free the city of the Lord from their grip.’

Psalms 101

We want to live under the protection and direction and blessings of God don’t we? We want to live our lives in a way that will not only glorify God but bless all those God brings into our lives right? We want to walk out our lives in a way that will lift up God and give Him the praise right? So let’s take hold the gift of Jesus and invite Him into our lives and then live out our lives in relationship with Him all the remaining days of our lives.

Let’s pray:

Leave me a comment so that I can pray for your decision and your situation.

Will you learn from your mistakes?


Ever went to do something with good intentions and then it didn’t turn out like you had hoped? Ever went to do something with good intentions and then watched go bad real quick? Ever had to learn from those mistakes? Ever tried again putting fear and doubt behind you? Ever tried again with all the learnings from the previous attempt(s)? Ever succeeded in a future attempt thanks to what you had learned? Don’t give up! Don’t lose hope! Consider every attempt either a victory or an opportunity to learn! Don’t allow the lies of the enemy to knock you down or beat you up so that you want to stop or give up! Turn to God! Seek wisdom! Persevere! In this world you will have troubles, but take heart because Jesus has overcome the world! Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. So continue with patient perseverance!

Will you learn from your mistakes? What have you learned from your mistakes? Will you share it with others so that they don’t have to go thru it themselves to learn? We all get to choose… We can learn from others mistakes or we can learn from our own. Will you look for a mentor or mentors so that you can learn from them instead of needing to learn it all in your own experiences? You will make mistakes! The question is, will you learn from them or those of others?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started with 2 Samuel 6…

‘Then David again gathered all the elite troops in Israel, 30,000 in all. He led them to Baalah of Judah to bring back the Ark of God, which bears the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who is enthroned between the cherubim. They placed the Ark of God on a new cart and brought it from Abinadab’s house, which was on a hill. Uzzah and Ahio, Abinadab’s sons, were guiding the cart that carried the Ark of God. Ahio walked in front of the Ark. David and all the people of Israel were celebrating before the Lord , singing songs and playing all kinds of musical instruments—lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals. But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand and steadied the Ark of God. Then the Lord ’s anger was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him dead because of this. So Uzzah died right there beside the Ark of God. David was angry because the Lord ’s anger had burst out against Uzzah. He named that place Perez-uzzah (which means “to burst out against Uzzah”), as it is still called today. David was now afraid of the Lord , and he asked, “How can I ever bring the Ark of the Lord back into my care?” So David decided not to move the Ark of the Lord into the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-edom of Gath. The Ark of the Lord remained there in Obed-edom’s house for three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and his entire household. Then King David was told, “The Lord has blessed Obed-edom’s household and everything he has because of the Ark of God.” So David went there and brought the Ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the City of David with a great celebration. After the men who were carrying the Ark of the Lord had gone six steps, David sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment. So David and all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and the blowing of rams’ horns.

But as the Ark of the Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord , she was filled with contempt for him. They brought the Ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the special tent David had prepared for it. And David sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord . When he had finished his sacrifices, David blessed the people in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Then he gave to every Israelite man and woman in the crowd a loaf of bread, a cake of dates, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people returned to their homes. When David returned home to bless his own family, Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him. She said in disgust, “How distinguished the king of Israel looked today, shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls like any vulgar person might do!” David retorted to Michal, “I was dancing before the Lord , who chose me above your father and all his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord , so I celebrate before the Lord . Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes! But those servant girls you mentioned will indeed think I am distinguished!” So Michal, the daughter of Saul, remained childless throughout her entire life.’

2 Samuel 6

‘This is the message the Lord gave Jeremiah when Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah: “Go to the settlement where the families of the Recabites live, and invite them to the Lord ’s Temple. Take them into one of the inner rooms, and offer them some wine.” So I went to see Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah and grandson of Habazziniah and all his brothers and sons—representing all the Recabite families. I took them to the Temple, and we went into the room assigned to the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah, a man of God. This room was located next to the one used by the Temple officials, directly above the room of Maaseiah son of Shallum, the Temple gatekeeper. I set cups and jugs of wine before them and invited them to have a drink, but they refused. “No,” they said, “we don’t drink wine, because our ancestor Jehonadab son of Recab gave us this command: ‘You and your descendants must never drink wine. And do not build houses or plant crops or vineyards, but always live in tents. If you follow these commands, you will live long, good lives in the land.’ So we have obeyed him in all these things. We have never had a drink of wine to this day, nor have our wives, our sons, or our daughters. We haven’t built houses or owned vineyards or farms or planted crops. We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed all the commands of Jehonadab, our ancestor. But when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked this country, we were afraid of the Babylonian and Syrian armies. So we decided to move to Jerusalem. That is why we are here.” Then the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Go and say to the people in Judah and Jerusalem, ‘Come and learn a lesson about how to obey me. The Recabites do not drink wine to this day because their ancestor Jehonadab told them not to. But I have spoken to you again and again, and you refuse to obey me. Time after time I sent you prophets, who told you, “Turn from your wicked ways, and start doing things right. Stop worshiping other gods so that you might live in peace here in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you would not listen to me or obey me. The descendants of Jehonadab son of Recab have obeyed their ancestor completely, but you have refused to listen to me.’ “Therefore, this is what the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Because you refuse to listen or answer when I call, I will send upon Judah and Jerusalem all the disasters I have threatened.’” Then Jeremiah turned to the Recabites and said, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed your ancestor Jehonadab in every respect, following all his instructions.’ Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Recab will always have descendants who serve me.’”’

Jeremiah 35

‘After telling this story, Jesus went on toward Jerusalem, walking ahead of his disciples. As he came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, he sent two disciples ahead. “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying that colt?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” So they went and found the colt, just as Jesus had said. And sure enough, as they were untying it, the owners asked them, “Why are you untying that colt?” And the disciples simply replied, “The Lord needs it.” So they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it for him to ride on. As he rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him. When he reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen. “Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord ! Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!” But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!” He replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!”’

Luke 19:28-40

‘Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us. For we know the one who said, “I will take revenge. I will pay them back.” He also said, “The Lord will judge his own people.” It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever. So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.’

Hebrews 10:26-39

‘Rise up, O God, and scatter your enemies. Let those who hate God run for their lives. Blow them away like smoke. Melt them like wax in a fire. Let the wicked perish in the presence of God. But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy. Sing praises to God and to his name! Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds. His name is the Lord — rejoice in his presence! Father to the fatherless, defender of widows— this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. O God, when you led your people out from Egypt, when you marched through the dry wasteland, Interlude the earth trembled, and the heavens poured down rain before you, the God of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel. You sent abundant rain, O God, to refresh the weary land. There your people finally settled, and with a bountiful harvest, O God, you provided for your needy people. The Lord gives the word, and a great army brings the good news. Enemy kings and their armies flee, while the women of Israel divide the plunder. Even those who lived among the sheepfolds found treasures— doves with wings of silver and feathers of gold. The Almighty scattered the enemy kings like a blowing snowstorm on Mount Zalmon. The mountains of Bashan are majestic, with many peaks stretching high into the sky. Why do you look with envy, O rugged mountains, at Mount Zion, where God has chosen to live, where the Lord himself will live forever? Surrounded by unnumbered thousands of chariots, the Lord came from Mount Sinai into his sanctuary. When you ascended to the heights, you led a crowd of captives. You received gifts from the people, even from those who rebelled against you. Now the Lord God will live among us there. Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms. Interlude Our God is a God who saves! The Sovereign Lord rescues us from death. But God will smash the heads of his enemies, crushing the skulls of those who love their guilty ways. The Lord says, “I will bring my enemies down from Bashan; I will bring them up from the depths of the sea. You, my people, will wash your feet in their blood, and even your dogs will get their share!” Your procession has come into view, O God— the procession of my God and King as he goes into the sanctuary. Singers are in front, musicians behind; between them are young women playing tambourines. Praise God, all you people of Israel; praise the Lord , the source of Israel’s life. Look, the little tribe of Benjamin leads the way. Then comes a great throng of rulers from Judah and all the rulers of Zebulun and Naphtali. Summon your might, O God. Display your power, O God, as you have in the past. The kings of the earth are bringing tribute to your Temple in Jerusalem. Rebuke these enemy nations— these wild animals lurking in the reeds, this herd of bulls among the weaker calves. Make them bring bars of silver in humble tribute. Scatter the nations that delight in war. Let Egypt come with gifts of precious metals ; let Ethiopia bring tribute to God. Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth. Sing praises to the Lord. Interlude Sing to the one who rides across the ancient heavens, his mighty voice thundering from the sky. Tell everyone about God’s power. His majesty shines down on Israel; his strength is mighty in the heavens. God is awesome in his sanctuary. The God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!’

Psalms 68

Renew your covenant with God!


Let’s get this started on the right foot. Let’s get this started with a firm foundation. Let’s get this started with the right heart. Let’s get this started with the right mindset. Let’s get started with remembering the lessons of the past so as not to repeat them. Let’s keep the main thing the main thing. Let’s put first things first. Let’s raise the bar so that the average keeps moving up. Let’s pass on the learnings to the next generation. Let’s remind everyone how we got here. Let’s make God and His ways our priorities.


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


Will you choose for you and your house to serve the Lord? Will you do what is right and just? Will you live out your life in spirit and in truth? Will you live with a spirit of reconciliation? Will you live without fear but rather with faith? Will you live believing?

Will you get it the second time around?


Ever had the situation where you didn’t get it the first time and had to do a do over? Ever had the situation where you missed your first chance and had to pray for a second chance? How did you respond when the second situation came around? Did you forgive right away? How did you react when the second situation came around? Did you take it and run with it? Did you take it, learning through the pains and trials of the first time, and do it better or right the second time? So when the second time comes, will you get it? or have to do it again? How many chances does it take before you get it? How many chances does it take before you can move on? God is the God of another chance or second chance, so how will you receive that chance when you get it?


Today’s reading comes to us from Deuteronomy which is about the second chance.

‘“At that time the Lord said to me, ‘Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones. Also make a wooden Ark—a sacred chest to store them in. Come up to me on the mountain, and I will write on the tablets the same words that were on the ones you smashed. Then place the tablets in the Ark.’ “So I made an Ark of acacia wood and cut two stone tablets like the first two. Then I went up the mountain with the tablets in my hand. Once again the Lord wrote the Ten Commandments on the tablets and gave them to me. They were the same words the Lord had spoken to you from the heart of the fire on the day you were assembled at the foot of the mountain. Then I turned and came down the mountain and placed the tablets in the Ark of the Covenant, which I had made, just as the Lord commanded me. And the tablets are still there in the Ark.” (The people of Israel set out from the wells of the people of Jaakan and traveled to Moserah, where Aaron died and was buried. His son Eleazar ministered as high priest in his place. Then they journeyed to Gudgodah, and from there to Jotbathah, a land with many brooks and streams. At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the Ark of the Lord ’s Covenant, and to stand before the Lord as his ministers, and to pronounce blessings in his name. These are their duties to this day. That is why the Levites have no share of property or possession of land among the other Israelite tribes. The Lord himself is their special possession, as the Lord your God told them.) “As for me, I stayed on the mountain in the Lord ’s presence for forty days and nights, as I had done the first time. And once again the Lord listened to my pleas and agreed not to destroy you. Then the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and resume the journey, and lead the people to the land I swore to give to their ancestors, so they may take possession of it.’

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. And you must always obey the Lord ’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good. “Look, the highest heavens and the earth and everything in it all belong to the Lord your God. Yet the Lord chose your ancestors as the objects of his love. And he chose you, their descendants, above all other nations, as is evident today. “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. Therefore, change your hearts and stop being stubborn. You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone. He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes. When your ancestors went down into Egypt, there were only seventy of them. But now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky!’

Deuteronomy 10

Today’s reading then brings us into Isaiah.

‘It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. They were calling out to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!” Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke. Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.” Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” And he said, “Yes, go, and say to this people, ‘Listen carefully, but do not understand. Watch closely, but learn nothing.’ Harden the hearts of these people. Plug their ears and shut their eyes. That way, they will not see with their eyes, nor hear with their ears, nor understand with their hearts and turn to me for healing.” Then I said, “Lord, how long will this go on?” And he replied, “Until their towns are empty, their houses are deserted, and the whole country is a wasteland; until the Lord has sent everyone away, and the entire land of Israel lies deserted. If even a tenth—a remnant—survive, it will be invaded again and burned. But as a terebinth or oak tree leaves a stump when it is cut down, so Israel’s stump will be a holy seed.”’

Isaiah 6

and

‘When Ahaz, son of Jotham and grandson of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah, the king of Israel, set out to attack Jerusalem. However, they were unable to carry out their plan. The news had come to the royal court of Judah: “Syria is allied with Israel against us!” So the hearts of the king and his people trembled with fear, like trees shaking in a storm. Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Take your son Shear-jashub and go out to meet King Ahaz. You will find him at the end of the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed. Tell him to stop worrying. Tell him he doesn’t need to fear the fierce anger of those two burned-out embers, King Rezin of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah. Yes, the kings of Syria and Israel are plotting against him, saying, ‘We will attack Judah and capture it for ourselves. Then we will install the son of Tabeel as Judah’s king.’ But this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “This invasion will never happen; it will never take place; for Syria is no stronger than its capital, Damascus, and Damascus is no stronger than its king, Rezin. As for Israel, within sixty-five years it will be crushed and completely destroyed. Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria, and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah. Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.”

Later, the Lord sent this message to King Ahaz: “Ask the Lord your God for a sign of confirmation, Ahaz. Make it as difficult as you want—as high as heaven or as deep as the place of the dead. ” But the king refused. “No,” he said, “I will not test the Lord like that.” Then Isaiah said, “Listen well, you royal family of David! Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well? All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). By the time this child is old enough to choose what is right and reject what is wrong, he will be eating yogurt and honey. For before the child is that old, the lands of the two kings you fear so much will both be deserted. “Then the Lord will bring things on you, your nation, and your family unlike anything since Israel broke away from Judah. He will bring the king of Assyria upon you!” In that day the Lord will whistle for the army of southern Egypt and for the army of Assyria. They will swarm around you like flies and bees. They will come in vast hordes and settle in the fertile areas and also in the desolate valleys, caves, and thorny places. In that day the Lord will hire a “razor” from beyond the Euphrates River —the king of Assyria—and use it to shave off everything: your land, your crops, and your people. In that day a farmer will be fortunate to have a cow and two sheep or goats left. Nevertheless, there will be enough milk for everyone because so few people will be left in the land. They will eat their fill of yogurt and honey. In that day the lush vineyards, now worth 1,000 pieces of silver, will become patches of briers and thorns. The entire land will become a vast expanse of briers and thorns, a hunting ground overrun by wildlife. No one will go to the fertile hillsides where the gardens once grew, for briers and thorns will cover them. Cattle, sheep, and goats will graze there.’

Isaiah 7

Today’s reading next takes us into the New Testament and starts with Matthew

‘When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.” Then he sternly warned the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead. But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds. And I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”’

Matthew 16:13-28

and continuing into Romans.

‘So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good. For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up. Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble. You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.’

Romans 14:13-23

So where are you at today? Are you looking for a second chance? Are you wanting a second chance? Have you learned through the process post first chance? Have you grown through the process of the first chance? Are you ready for the second chance? Why not invite Jesus into your situation and accept the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit so that You can take the learnings from the first chance and make the most of things with your second chance.


Today’s reading concludes with a psalm.

‘From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me. Let all Israel repeat this: From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me, but they have never defeated me. My back is covered with cuts, as if a farmer had plowed long furrows. But the Lord is good; he has cut me free from the ropes of the ungodly. May all who hate Jerusalem be turned back in shameful defeat. May they be as useless as grass on a rooftop, turning yellow when only half grown, ignored by the harvester, despised by the binder. And may those who pass by refuse to give them this blessing: “The Lord bless you; we bless you in the Lord ’s name.”’

Psalms 129

Do you usually understand it better the second time?


Ever been given instructions and tried to walk thru them and found you missed the mark? Ever tried again and found it felt so much easier? Was it that you understood it better? Was it that you had more context? Was it that you had more experience? Was it actually any easier? What it easier to understand at least? Do you have learn by going through everything yourself? Are you able to learn through the experiences of others? Do you need to feel the pain personally or can you learn through the pain of others?


Today’s reading gets us started with Deuteronomy 1.

‘These are the words that Moses spoke to all the people of Israel while they were in the wilderness east of the Jordan River. They were camped in the Jordan Valley near Suph, between Paran on one side and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Di-zahab on the other. Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, going by way of Mount Seir. But forty years after the Israelites left Egypt, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses addressed the people of Israel, telling them everything the Lord had commanded him to say. This took place after he had defeated King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon, and at Edrei had defeated King Og of Bashan, who ruled in Ashtaroth. While the Israelites were in the land of Moab east of the Jordan River, Moses carefully explained the Lord ’s instructions as follows.

“When we were at Mount Sinai, the Lord our God said to us, ‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It is time to break camp and move on. Go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all the neighboring regions—the Jordan Valley, the hill country, the western foothills, the Negev, and the coastal plain. Go to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, and all the way to the great Euphrates River. Look, I am giving all this land to you! Go in and occupy it, for it is the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to all their descendants.’”

Moses continued, “At that time I told you, ‘You are too great a burden for me to carry all by myself. The Lord your God has increased your population, making you as numerous as the stars! And may the Lord , the God of your ancestors, multiply you a thousand times more and bless you as he promised! But you are such a heavy load to carry! How can I deal with all your problems and bickering? Choose some well-respected men from each tribe who are known for their wisdom and understanding, and I will appoint them as your leaders.’ “Then you responded, ‘Your plan is a good one.’ So I took the wise and respected men you had selected from your tribes and appointed them to serve as judges and officials over you. Some were responsible for a thousand people, some for a hundred, some for fifty, and some for ten. “At that time I instructed the judges, ‘You must hear the cases of your fellow Israelites and the foreigners living among you. Be perfectly fair in your decisions and impartial in your judgments. Hear the cases of those who are poor as well as those who are rich. Don’t be afraid of anyone’s anger, for the decision you make is God’s decision. Bring me any cases that are too difficult for you, and I will handle them.’ “At that time I gave you instructions about everything you were to do.

“Then, just as the Lord our God commanded us, we left Mount Sinai and traveled through the great and terrifying wilderness, as you yourselves remember, and headed toward the hill country of the Amorites. When we arrived at Kadesh-barnea, I said to you, ‘You have now reached the hill country of the Amorites that the Lord our God is giving us. Look! He has placed the land in front of you. Go and occupy it as the Lord , the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged!’ “But you all came to me and said, ‘First, let’s send out scouts to explore the land for us. They will advise us on the best route to take and which towns we should enter.’ “This seemed like a good idea to me, so I chose twelve scouts, one from each of your tribes. They headed for the hill country and came to the valley of Eshcol and explored it. They picked some of its fruit and brought it back to us. And they reported, ‘The land the Lord our God has given us is indeed a good land.’

“But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God and refused to go in. You complained in your tents and said, ‘The Lord must hate us. That’s why he has brought us here from Egypt—to hand us over to the Amorites to be slaughtered. Where can we go? Our brothers have demoralized us with their report. They tell us, “The people of the land are taller and more powerful than we are, and their towns are large, with walls rising high into the sky! We even saw giants there—the descendants of Anak!”’ “But I said to you, ‘Don’t be shocked or afraid of them! The Lord your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt. And you saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’ “But even after all he did, you refused to trust the Lord your God, who goes before you looking for the best places to camp, guiding you with a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day. “When the Lord heard your complaining, he became very angry. So he solemnly swore, ‘Not one of you from this wicked generation will live to see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see this land because he has followed the Lord completely. I will give to him and his descendants some of the very land he explored during his scouting mission.’ “And the Lord was also angry with me because of you. He said to me, ‘Moses, not even you will enter the Promised Land! Instead, your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will lead the people into the land. Encourage him, for he will lead Israel as they take possession of it. I will give the land to your little ones—your innocent children. You were afraid they would be captured, but they will be the ones who occupy it. As for you, turn around now and go on back through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. ’ “Then you confessed, ‘We have sinned against the Lord ! We will go into the land and fight for it, as the Lord our God has commanded us.’ So your men strapped on their weapons, thinking it would be easy to attack the hill country. “But the Lord told me to tell you, ‘Do not attack, for I am not with you. If you go ahead on your own, you will be crushed by your enemies.’ “This is what I told you, but you would not listen. Instead, you again rebelled against the Lord ’s command and arrogantly went into the hill country to fight. But the Amorites who lived there came out against you like a swarm of bees. They chased and battered you all the way from Seir to Hormah. Then you returned and wept before the Lord , but he refused to listen. So you stayed there at Kadesh for a long time.’

Deuteronomy 1

Today’s reading continues into Micah 1.

‘The Lord gave this message to Micah of Moresheth during the years when Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah. The visions he saw concerned both Samaria and Jerusalem.

Attention! Let all the people of the world listen! Let the earth and everything in it hear. The Sovereign Lord is making accusations against you; the Lord speaks from his holy Temple. Look! The Lord is coming! He leaves his throne in heaven and tramples the heights of the earth. The mountains melt beneath his feet and flow into the valleys like wax in a fire, like water pouring down a hill. And why is this happening? Because of the rebellion of Israel — yes, the sins of the whole nation. Who is to blame for Israel’s rebellion? Samaria, its capital city! Where is the center of idolatry in Judah? In Jerusalem, its capital! “So I, the Lord , will make the city of Samaria a heap of ruins. Her streets will be plowed up for planting vineyards. I will roll the stones of her walls into the valley below, exposing her foundations. All her carved images will be smashed. All her sacred treasures will be burned. These things were bought with the money earned by her prostitution, and they will now be carried away to pay prostitutes elsewhere.” Therefore, I will mourn and lament. I will walk around barefoot and naked. I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl. For my people’s wound is too deep to heal. It has reached into Judah, even to the gates of Jerusalem. Don’t tell our enemies in Gath ; don’t weep at all. You people in Beth-leaphrah, roll in the dust to show your despair. You people in Shaphir, go as captives into exile—naked and ashamed. The people of Zaanan dare not come outside their walls. The people of Beth-ezel mourn, for their house has no support. The people of Maroth anxiously wait for relief, but only bitterness awaits them as the Lord ’s judgment reaches even to the gates of Jerusalem. Harness your chariot horses and flee, you people of Lachish. You were the first city in Judah to follow Israel in her rebellion, and you led Jerusalem into sin. Send farewell gifts to Moresheth-gath ; there is no hope of saving it. The town of Aczib has deceived the kings of Israel. O people of Mareshah, I will bring a conqueror to capture your town. And the leaders of Israel will go to Adullam. Oh, people of Judah, shave your heads in sorrow, for the children you love will be snatched away. Make yourselves as bald as a vulture, for your little ones will be exiled to distant lands.’

Micah 1

Today’s reading as we move into the New Testament starts with Matthew 13 learning about the hearts of people and our need to work on their hearts so that when their hearts are ready they will be able to receive the seed which is the Word of God and the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ…

‘Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?” He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes— so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’ “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.’

Matthew 13:1-17

and continues into Romans 10 where we need to share the seed of God as God is sending us out into the world. Without our obedience to share the Good News how will they hear it? Without them hearing how will they be able to have faith? We need to do our part.

‘For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands. But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” In fact, it says, “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “ Lord , who has believed our message?” So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. But I ask, have the people of Israel actually heard the message? Yes, they have: “The message has gone throughout the earth, and the words to all the world.” But I ask, did the people of Israel really understand? Yes, they did, for even in the time of Moses, God said, “I will rouse your jealousy through people who are not even a nation. I will provoke your anger through the foolish Gentiles.” And later Isaiah spoke boldly for God, saying, “I was found by people who were not looking for me. I showed myself to those who were not asking for me.” But regarding Israel, God said, “All day long I opened my arms to them, but they were disobedient and rebellious.”

Romans 10:5-21

As we bring today’s reading to a conclusion with Psalms 120, let’s take hold of the lesson God is giving us and try to take hold of it and put it into application in and through our lives today. Let’s take what we read and put it into our hearts and minds to help us shine for God and point people back to Him so that in and through it all He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

‘I took my troubles to the Lord ; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer. Rescue me, O Lord , from liars and from all deceitful people. O deceptive tongue, what will God do to you? How will he increase your punishment? You will be pierced with sharp arrows and burned with glowing coals. How I suffer in far-off Meshech. It pains me to live in distant Kedar. I am tired of living among people who hate peace. I search for peace; but when I speak of peace, they want war!’

Psalms 120

Do you remember how you got to this point?


Did you leave markers to help you remember what happened and when? Did you share the moments so that others know about your journey? Did you capture the key ones somewhere so that you can reflect on them? For me many have been captured in my blog posts over the years. Some were earlier like when I got married and when I had children. Some are from morning readings like the promise of a sun and the get out of the boat that triggered a big career shift. Others were callings like being on the board of a homeowners association of more than 10,000 people and God calling me to step up to be president, and another was becoming director of a camp for teenage foster kids as well as a deacon on the church board. It has been an incredible journey and I can reflect on things like when God told me to forgive the people at work and I resisted till the moment I was faced with another stressor at which point I took God at His Word and forgave and found a new freedom.

How about you? How do you keep track or remember your journey? The Bible is an incredible book that shares the journey of the Israelites as well as the New Testament journeys of Jesus and the disciples.


Today’s reading gets us started on the journey with Numbers 33.

‘This is the route the Israelites followed as they marched out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. At the Lord ’s direction, Moses kept a written record of their progress. These are the stages of their march, identified by the different places where they stopped along the way. They set out from the city of Rameses in early spring—on the fifteenth day of the first month —on the morning after the first Passover celebration. The people of Israel left defiantly, in full view of all the Egyptians. Meanwhile, the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn sons, whom the Lord had killed the night before. The Lord had defeated the gods of Egypt that night with great acts of judgment! After leaving Rameses, the Israelites set up camp at Succoth. Then they left Succoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the wilderness. They left Etham and turned back toward Pi-hahiroth, opposite Baal-zephon, and camped near Migdol. They left Pi-hahiroth and crossed the Red Sea into the wilderness beyond. Then they traveled for three days into the Etham wilderness and camped at Marah. They left Marah and camped at Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees. They left Elim and camped beside the Red Sea. They left the Red Sea and camped in the wilderness of Sin. They left the wilderness of Sin and camped at Dophkah. They left Dophkah and camped at Alush. They left Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink. They left Rephidim and camped in the wilderness of Sinai. They left the wilderness of Sinai and camped at Kibroth-hattaavah. They left Kibroth-hattaavah and camped at Hazeroth. They left Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah. They left Rithmah and camped at Rimmon-perez. They left Rimmon-perez and camped at Libnah. They left Libnah and camped at Rissah. They left Rissah and camped at Kehelathah. They left Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shepher. They left Mount Shepher and camped at Haradah. They left Haradah and camped at Makheloth. They left Makheloth and camped at Tahath. They left Tahath and camped at Terah. They left Terah and camped at Mithcah. They left Mithcah and camped at Hashmonah. They left Hashmonah and camped at Moseroth. They left Moseroth and camped at Bene-jaakan. They left Bene-jaakan and camped at Hor-haggidgad. They left Hor-haggidgad and camped at Jotbathah. They left Jotbathah and camped at Abronah. They left Abronah and camped at Ezion-geber. They left Ezion-geber and camped at Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin. They left Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor, at the border of Edom. While they were at the foot of Mount Hor, Aaron the priest was directed by the Lord to go up the mountain, and there he died. This happened in midsummer, on the first day of the fifth month of the fortieth year after Israel’s departure from Egypt. Aaron was 123 years old when he died there on Mount Hor. At that time the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev in the land of Canaan, heard that the people of Israel were approaching his land. Meanwhile, the Israelites left Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah. Then they left Zalmonah and camped at Punon. They left Punon and camped at Oboth. They left Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim on the border of Moab. They left Iye-abarim and camped at Dibon-gad. They left Dibon-gad and camped at Almon-diblathaim. They left Almon-diblathaim and camped in the mountains east of the river, near Mount Nebo. They left the mountains east of the river and camped on the plains of Moab beside the Jordan River, across from Jericho. Along the Jordan River they camped from Beth-jeshimoth as far as the meadows of Acacia on the plains of Moab. While they were camped near the Jordan River on the plains of Moab opposite Jericho, the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: When you cross the Jordan River into the land of Canaan, you must drive out all the people living there. You must destroy all their carved and molten images and demolish all their pagan shrines. Take possession of the land and settle in it, because I have given it to you to occupy. You must distribute the land among the clans by sacred lot and in proportion to their size. A larger portion of land will be allotted to each of the larger clans, and a smaller portion will be allotted to each of the smaller clans. The decision of the sacred lot is final. In this way, the portions of land will be divided among your ancestral tribes. But if you fail to drive out the people who live in the land, those who remain will be like splinters in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will harass you in the land where you live. And I will do to you what I had planned to do to them.”’

Numbers 33

Today’s reading then shares part of the journey through Hosea 12

‘Now the Lord is bringing charges against Judah. He is about to punish Jacob for all his deceitful ways, and pay him back for all he has done. Even in the womb, Jacob struggled with his brother; when he became a man, he even fought with God. Yes, he wrestled with the angel and won. He wept and pleaded for a blessing from him. There at Bethel he met God face to face, and God spoke to him — the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the Lord is his name! So now, come back to your God. Act with love and justice, and always depend on him. But no, the people are like crafty merchants selling from dishonest scales— they love to cheat. Israel boasts, “I am rich! I’ve made a fortune all by myself! No one has caught me cheating! My record is spotless!” “But I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in Egypt. And I will make you live in tents again, as you do each year at the Festival of Shelters. I sent my prophets to warn you with many visions and parables.” But the people of Gilead are worthless because of their idol worship. And in Gilgal, too, they sacrifice bulls; their altars are lined up like the heaps of stone along the edges of a plowed field. Jacob fled to the land of Aram, and there he earned a wife by tending sheep. Then by a prophet the Lord brought Jacob’s descendants out of Egypt; and by that prophet they were protected. But the people of Israel have bitterly provoked the Lord , so their Lord will now sentence them to death in payment for their sins.’

Hosea 12:2-14

and Hosea 13.

‘When the tribe of Ephraim spoke, the people shook with fear, for that tribe was important in Israel. But the people of Ephraim sinned by worshiping Baal and thus sealed their destruction. Now they continue to sin by making silver idols, images shaped skillfully with human hands. “Sacrifice to these,” they cry, “and kiss the calf idols!” Therefore, they will disappear like the morning mist, like dew in the morning sun, like chaff blown by the wind, like smoke from a chimney. “I have been the Lord your God ever since I brought you out of Egypt. You must acknowledge no God but me, for there is no other savior. I took care of you in the wilderness, in that dry and thirsty land. But when you had eaten and were satisfied, you became proud and forgot me. So now I will attack you like a lion, like a leopard that lurks along the road. Like a bear whose cubs have been taken away, I will tear out your heart. I will devour you like a hungry lioness and mangle you like a wild animal. “You are about to be destroyed, O Israel— yes, by me, your only helper. Now where is your king? Let him save you! Where are all the leaders of the land, the king and the officials you demanded of me? In my anger I gave you kings, and in my fury I took them away. “Ephraim’s guilt has been collected, and his sin has been stored up for punishment. Pain has come to the people like the pain of childbirth, but they are like a child who resists being born. The moment of birth has arrived, but they stay in the womb! “Should I ransom them from the grave ? Should I redeem them from death? O death, bring on your terrors! O grave, bring on your plagues! For I will not take pity on them. Ephraim was the most fruitful of all his brothers, but the east wind—a blast from the Lord — will arise in the desert. All their flowing springs will run dry, and all their wells will disappear. Every precious thing they own will be plundered and carried away. The people of Samaria must bear the consequences of their guilt because they rebelled against their God. They will be killed by an invading army, their little ones dashed to death against the ground, their pregnant women ripped open by swords.”’

Hosea 13

Today’s reading then brings us into the journeys of the New Testament starting with Matthew 11

‘Then Jesus began to denounce the towns where he had done so many of his miracles, because they hadn’t repented of their sins and turned to God. “What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse. I tell you, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you. “And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead. For if the miracles I did for you had been done in wicked Sodom, it would still be here today. I tell you, even Sodom will be better off on judgment day than you.”

At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way! “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”’

Matthew 11:20-30

and then into Romans 8.

‘What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” ) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

Romans 8:31-39

So how will you remember your journey? Will you keep it to yourself or will you share it with others? Will you help them learn through your experience rather than having to walk through them all on their own? Some will receive it and learn from you. Some will ignore it and choose to learn it the hard way in their own lives.


Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 119.

‘You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands. May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hope in your word. I know, O Lord , that your regulations are fair; you disciplined me because I needed it. Now let your unfailing love comfort me, just as you promised me, your servant. Surround me with your tender mercies so I may live, for your instructions are my delight. Bring disgrace upon the arrogant people who lied about me; meanwhile, I will concentrate on your commandments. Let me be united with all who fear you, with those who know your laws. May I be blameless in keeping your decrees; then I will never be ashamed. I am worn out waiting for your rescue, but I have put my hope in your word. My eyes are straining to see your promises come true. When will you comfort me? I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke, but I have not forgotten to obey your decrees. How long must I wait? When will you punish those who persecute me? These arrogant people who hate your instructions have dug deep pits to trap me. All your commands are trustworthy. Protect me from those who hunt me down without cause. They almost finished me off, but I refused to abandon your commandments. In your unfailing love, spare my life; then I can continue to obey your laws. Your eternal word, O Lord , stands firm in heaven. Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created. Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans. If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. I will never forget your commandments, for by them you give me life. I am yours; rescue me! For I have worked hard at obeying your commandments. Though the wicked hide along the way to kill me, I will quietly keep my mind on your laws. Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit.’

Psalms 119:73-96

Are you listening?


With the noise of this world, are you listening? With the busyness of life are you making time to listen? With the schedule of life are you able to take a moment to hear?

Listening is more than hearing. Are you listening to speak or listening to understand? Are you able to make time to listen and hear wisdom that could set you up for today? Are you able to stop and hear the wisdom and truth necessary to top up your tank before you start your day or in the midst of a trying day?

do-you-listen-to-understand-or-to-reply

Do you know where to go or what to do in those moments when you don’t know what to do? Do you know how to act when you are caught without understanding?

Will you start to make time? Will you add it into your day? Will you plan for it?

Did you ever get a New Testament growing up? Did you ever get a Bible? Did you ever try to read it? Did it ever click?

I know in my younger days I read it but tended to read right while I was getting ready for bed and I only remember falling asleep. Today with the wisdom and knowledge that it goes beyond just reading or hearing but to having a relationship with Jesus and that when I am reading the Bible, it is God’s Words being spoken to me it is different. I also changed my schedule so I start my day filling up my spiritual tank in God’s Word so that I can overflow into the world around me. Every day God’s Word from the Old and New Testaments speaks to me. Every day it speaks into my very situation – some days I realize it in the moment and other days I discover it is preparing me for what is yet to come and other days it is just filling up my joy tank so that I can overflow into the lives of the people God is bringing my way. The joy of the Lord is my strength!

When the day seems to drain my tank I try to remember (don’t always succeed) to turn back to God and allow Him to fill me back up, to give me wisdom for the very situation, and to help me get through it via the Holy Spirit who is my comforter and my guide.

Once you have an encounter with Jesus your life will never be the same! Do you realize to some you may be the only example or encounter they have? They may never pick up a Bible. They may never turn on a radio program. They may never enter a church unless it is a tour of some old one while on vacation but never stick around to hear the message. You could be the only opportunity for those around you to witness the message of Jesus in their lives. Be prepared to speak to that hope that is within you. Be prepared to show the love of Jesus flowing through you.

The Bible is God’s love letter to us! It is God’s inspired Word captured through people! He even uses their different personalities to bring that perspective to us when we read it.

So will you take time today to listen? The great thing I have found is that not only can I read God’s Word but via http://bible.com or their Bible App, I can listen along as it gets read to me.


How God Speaks to You

Day 297: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Enjoy reading the Bible … Psalm 119:89-96
  2. Look for Jesus as you read … 2 Timothy 3:1-17
  3. Hear God’s words and put them into practice … Jeremiah 50:11-51:14

Today’s Reading from God’s Word…

Will you learn from your past experiences? Will you learn from others?


I have two big examples which have impacted my responses to God’s prompting. One is when He called me to step up to become president of our HOA and the other one is when He called me to forgive. The first time through I was resistant and had a lot of excuses why I couldn’t or I shouldn’t or I wouldn’t. After the crisis point or the ultimatum, I realized doing it God’s way was best. I also learned through it that I God called me to it, He would get me through it! I learned that He doesn’t call the perfect, He perfects the called! In the case of the HOA presidency, I had so many excuses why I couldn’t and shouldn’t – I wasn’t qualified, I didn’t know enough, I … the list goes on. In the case of the forgiveness, every day He would tell me I had to forgive them, but I knew what they had done to me and I knew they didn’t deserve it and resisted.

In both cases, I learned God’s power through obedience. By choosing to do what God called me to do and become president, He was able to work in me and through me to realign how the association, get the right people in the right positions, get the right processes and agreements in place. Not because I knew what to do but because God instructed me every step of the way. It wasn’t because I was all that, it was because He is all that. He provided! He gave me a name for the open position I had to fill! He gave me the decision to know how to proceed and what options that were unspoken should be considered and taken. God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than I could ever asked or imagined!

In the case of the mistreatment, the lies, the deception at work, forgiveness was the key to real freedom! I learned through the process so that when it happened again, my first response was to forgive! I learned through the process so that I could speak hope and encouragement to the people around me who were going through similar things and tell them they need to forgive!

Would you really want to be nothing? Will you forgive them for your own good?

We all have a decision to make when God calls us! Will we be obedient or not? Will we take that second chance and be obedient?

Today’s reading, we see God asking Jonah again to go to Nineveh, his second chance to do what God called him to do! What if being obedient were to save lives? Would you do it then? What if being obedient were to the save lives of people you considered your enemies? Would there be any hesitation? What about if it was your second chance to go and do what you had been called by God to do? Let’s check out what Jonah does with his second chance…

Jonah Goes to Nineveh

1Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time: 2“Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.”
3This time Jonah obeyed the Lord’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all. 4On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” 5The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow.
6When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. 7Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city:

“No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. 8People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence.9Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.”

10When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.

–from Jonah 3

Doing God’s will is best! When He calls you to it, even if it is people you don’t like or are mad at, His ways are always better than your ways! His ways are higher than our ways! He knows all! He knows the beginning and the end! So it is always best to do it His way!

1 “Is anyone thirsty?
Come and drink—
even if you have no money!
Come, take your choice of wine or milk—
it’s all free!
2 Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength?
Why pay for food that does you no good?
Listen to me, and you will eat what is good.
You will enjoy the finest food.
3 “Come to me with your ears wide open.
Listen, and you will find life.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you.
I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.
4 See how I used him to display my power among the peoples.
I made him a leader among the nations.
5 You also will command nations you do not know,
and peoples unknown to you will come running to obey,
because I, the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, have made you glorious.”
6 Seek the Lord while you can find him.
Call on him now while he is near.
7 Let the wicked change their ways
and banish the very thought of doing wrong.
Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them.
Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.
8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

–from Isaiah 55

Imagine if your warning was the thing that turned their lives around and saved their lives! God is merciful! God’s plan is good! God so loves the world that He sent His one and only Son so that whosoever would believe in Him wouldn’t perish but would have everlasting life! God is love! God would rather show mercy because of a repentant heart than need to punish for the injustice performed, but for that to happen, we need to know and we need to turn back to God! God wants to give them a second chance just like He give us a second chance and just like He gave Jonah a second chance and gave the people of Nineveh who turned from their wicked ways and turned to Him.

If we will turn from our wicked ways and turn back to God our world can change, just like we read in 2 Chronicles…

11 So Solomon finished the Temple of the Lord, as well as the royal palace. He completed everything he had planned to do in the construction of the Temple and the palace. 12 Then one night the Lordappeared to Solomon and said,

“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this Temple as the place for making sacrifices. 13 At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. 14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 15 My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. 16 For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy—a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.

–from 2 Chronicles 7

Doesn’t everyone deserve a second chance? Don’t you think others deserve God’s grace and mercy too? So how will you respond? What will you do if God calls you to step up or step into a difficult situation?

1Dear brothers and sisters, if another believera is overcome by some sin, you who are godlyb should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.2Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

4Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. 5For we are each responsible for our own conduct.

–from Galatians 6

If you could tell someone so they wouldn’t have to learn through their own pain and suffering but could learn from your experiences would you do it? Would you be a mentor? Would you look for a mentor so that you can watch out for pitfalls you haven’t had to fall into? Or do you want to be hands on and learn everything the hard way?

 

How are you living today?


When people look at how you live, what do they see? When people consider your values and your character, what do they learn? When God looks beyond the surface to your heart and mind, what does He know?

Where are you putting your trust? What are you doing about this thought pattern?

Are you able to learn from the experience of others? Are you able to learn without having to experience it yourself? Are you able to respond based on what has happened to others rather than needing to walk thru it all on your own? Would you respond to what you read? Would you respond to what you hear? Would you respond to what you see? Are will you walk it out on your own and learn the hard way?

Don’t forget God! Don’t forget what He has done for you! Don’t turn your back on Him! You don’t want to face the consequences of such a decision!

Do you need things to heat up before you will realize what is going on? Do you need things to get so hot that impurities will be burned off? Is that the only way? Is there no other way for you to see what is necessary and turn things around? Is there no other way for you realize what has taken place and turn back to God and ask Jesus into your heart? Can’t you just stop before you hit rock bottom and cry out to God in humility and ask for forgiveness, asking Jesus into your heart and being transformed?

Do you realize there is real freedom? Do you realize there is a choice that can break the chains and free you? Do you realize that it can happen through Jesus? Let’s conclude and read from the end of our reading for today in Galatians and consider where we are at and where we could be with Jesus in the center of our lives! Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us through each and every day!

Freedom in Christ

1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
7You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. 11Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

Life by the Spirit

13You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

–Galatians 45


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 23, 24, Galatians 5

Is everything in place?


Are you setup for the just in case? Are you setup for the when it happens? Are you setup for what is coming? Are you setup for the forecast? Are you setup for when you go away? Are you setup for when company is coming? Are you setup in case of emergency?

Are you prepared? Are you ready? Is everything in place?


Today’s reading begins in 2 Kings…

Put Your House In Order

1In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. So Isaiah the prophet son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says Adonai: Put your house in order. For you are dying, and will not live.” 2Then he turned his face to the wall and prayed to Adonai saying: 3“Please, Adonai, remember how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in Your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4Then it came to pass, before Isaiah was gone out of the middle court, that the word of Adonai came to him, saying: 5“Return, and say to Hezekiah the leader of My people, thus says Adonai, the God of your father David: ‘I have heard your prayer and I have seen your tears. Behold, I am going to heal you. On the third day you will go up to the House of Adonai. 6Then I will add 15 years to your life. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; I will defend this city for My own sake, and for My servant David’s sake.’” 7Then Isaiah said, “Take a cake of figs.” So they took one and laid it on the boil, and he recovered. 8Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What will be the sign that Adonai will heal me, and that I should go up to the House of Adonai on the third day?” 9Then Isaiah said, “This will be the sign to you from Adonai, that Adonai will do this word He has spoken: Should the shadow go forward ten steps or go back ten steps?” 10Hezekiah answered, “It’s easy for a shadow to go forward ten steps; no, let the shadow turn back ten steps.” 11Then Isaiah the prophet cried to Adonai; and He brought the shadow ten steps backward, by which it had gone down on the sundial of Ahaz.

Hezekiah Shows His Treasury to Babylon

12At that time Berodach-baladan, son of King Baladan of Babylon, sent a letter and a present to Hezekiah, for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick. 13Now Hezekiah listened to them, and showed them his entire treasure house—the silver and the gold, the spices and the precious oil—and his armory, and everything that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them. 14Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did these men say, and from where did they come to you?” Hezekiah replied, “They have come to me from a far country, from Babylon.” 15Then he asked, “What have they seen in your house?” Hezekiah said, “They have seen everything in my house. There is nothing of my treasuries that I didn’t show them.” 16Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of Adonai: 17‘Behold, days are coming when everything in your house, which your fathers have stored up to this day, will be carried to Babylon—nothing will be left,’ says Adonai. 18‘Moreover, some of your descendants—who will issue from you, whom you will father—will be taken away and will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’” 19Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “Good is the word of Adonai which you have spoken.” For he thought, “Is it not so, if there will be shalom and security in my days?” 20Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and all his might—including how he made the pool and the tunnel that brought water into the city—are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 21So Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and his son Manasseh became king in his place.

–from 2 Kings 20

God sees where you are at! God knows what you have need of! Will you ask Him?

What if you knew what was coming? Would that change your behavior or response?

What would it take for you to get serious and be ready, be prepared, have everything in order?

“Put Your House In Order”

1In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. So Isaiah the prophet son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says Adonai: Put your house in order. For you are dying, and will not live.” 2Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, and prayed to Adonai. 3He said: “Please, Adonai, remember how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in Your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4Then it came to pass, the word of Adonai came to Isaiah saying: 5“Go, and say to Hezekiah, thus says Adonai, the God of your father David: ‘I have heard your prayer and I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add 15 years to your life. 6I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; I will defend this city.’ 7“Now this will be the sign to you from Adonai, that Adonai will do this word He has spoken: 8Behold, I will cause the shadow on the stairs, which went down with the sun on the sundial of Ahaz, to turn back ten steps.” So the sun’s shadow went back ten steps on the sundial on which it had gone down. 9A writing of King Hezekiah of Judah, after his illness, when he recovered from his illness: 10I said: “In the prime of my life, I am to enter the gates of Sheol. I am deprived of the rest of my years.” 11I said: “I will not see Adonai, Adonai, in the land of the living. I will look on humanity no longer among the inhabitants of the world. 12Like a shepherd’s tent, my dwelling is pulled up and carried away from me. Like a weaver I rolled up my life. He cuts me off from the loom. From day until night You make my end. 13I stilled my soul till morning. Like a lion, He will break all my bones. From day till night You make my end. 14Like a swallow or a crane, I whisper, I moan like a dove. My eyes are weary, looking upward. Adonai, I am oppressed, be my security! 15What should I say? For He has spoken to me— He Himself has done it! I will wander about all my years because of the bitterness of my soul. 16Adonai, by such things men live, and my spirit has life in them too. Restore me to health, and let me live! 17Behold, it was for my own shalom that I had great bitterness. You have loved my soul out of the Pit of destruction! For You have flung all my sins behind Your back. 18For Sheol cannot thank You, death cannot praise You. Those who go down to the Pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness. 19The living, the living—they praise You— as I do today. A father makes Your faithfulness known to his children. 20Adonai will save me. So we will play my songs on stringed instruments all the days of our life in the House of Adonai.” 21Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a cake of figs, and apply it to the boil, and he will live.” 22Hezekiah had said, “What is the sign that I will go up to the House of Adonai?”

–from Isaiah 38

Receive the gift of God! Don’t be arrogant! Don’t be proud! Receive the gift and then live as a humble servant! Lead as one who serves! Be a servant leader!

Don’t be fooled by sweet talking! Don’t be fooled by flattery! Do you realize what you could be opening yourself up to?

Put all your trust in God!

Hezekiah Shows Off

1At that time Merodach-baladan, son of King Baladan of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he had heard that he had been sick and had recovered. 2Now Hezekiah was pleased with them, so he showed them his treasure house—the silver and the gold, the spices and the precious oil—and his whole armory, and everything that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them. 3Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did these men say, and from where did they come to you?” Hezekiah replied, “They have come to me from a far country, from Babylon.” 4Then he asked, “What have they seen in your house?” Hezekiah said, “They have seen everything in my house. There is nothing among my treasuries that I didn’t show them.” 5Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah: “Hear the word of Adonai-Tzva’ot, 6‘Behold, days are coming when everything in your house, which your fathers have stored up to this day, will be carried to Babylon—nothing will be left,’ says Adonai. 7‘Moreover, some of your descendants—who will issue from you, whom you will father—will be taken away and will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’” 8Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of Adonai which you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “For there will be shalom and security in my days.”

–from Isaiah 39

So will you turn back to God? Will you reconnect to Him? Will you give Him all the praise?

Call to Evening Worship

1A Song of Ascents. Behold, bless Adonai, all servants of Adonai, who stand by night in the House of Adonai. 2Lift up your hands to the Sanctuary and bless Adonai. 3May Adonai bless you out of Zion— Maker of heaven and earth.

–from Psalms 134

We need to put our hope and trust in Jesus! We need to choose salvation through Him and put our house in order before it is too late! We need to make the choice while we have it rather than regretting we hadn’t before it is too late! Will today be your day? Will today be the day that you get your life in order by asking Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior? Will today be the first day of the rest of your eternal life? Will today be the day you are transformed and become a new person? Born again in the spirit?

The Lamb of God is Resurrected

1Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it is still dark, Miriam from Magdala comes to the tomb. She sees that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb. 2So she comes running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Yeshua loved. She tells them, “They’ve taken the Master out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they’ve put Him!” 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out, going to the tomb. 4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and arrived at the tomb first. 5Leaning in, he sees the linen strips lying there. But he didn’t go in. 6Then Simon Peter comes following him, and he entered the tomb. He looks upon the linen strips lying there, 7and the face cloth that had been on His head. It was not lying with the linen strips, but was rolled up in a place by itself. 8So then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also entered. He saw and believed. 9For they did not yet understand from Scripture that Yeshua must rise from the dead. 10So the disciples went back to their own homes.

Yeshua Appears to Miriam

11But Miriam stood outside the tomb weeping. As she was weeping, she bent down to look into the tomb. 12She sees two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where Yeshua’s body had been lying. 13“Woman, why are you crying?” they say to her. She says to them, “Because they took away my Master, and I don’t know where they’ve put Him.” 14After she said these things, she turned around. And she sees Yeshua standing there. Yet she didn’t know that it was Yeshua. 15Yeshua says to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” Thinking He’s the gardener, she says to Him, “Sir, if You’ve carried Him away, tell me where You’ve put Him, and I will take Him away.” 16Yeshua says to her, “Miriam!” Turning around, she says to Him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17Yeshua says to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet gone up to the Father. Go to My brothers and tell them, ‘I am going up to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’” 18Miriam from Magdala comes, announcing to the disciples, “I’ve seen the Lord,” and what He had said to her.

Yeshua Appears to the Disciples

19It was evening on that day, the first of the week. When the doors were locked where the disciples were, for fear of the Judean leaders, Yeshua came and stood in their midst! And He said to them, “Shalom aleichem!” 20After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Yeshua said to them again, “Shalom aleichem! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22And after He said this, He breathed on them. And He said to them, “Receive the Ruach ha-Kodesh! 23If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; but if you hold back, they are held back.” 24One of the Twelve, Thomas called the Twin, was not with them when Yeshua came. 25The other disciples were saying to him, “We’ve seen the Lord!” But he replied to them, “Unless I see the nail prints in His hands, and put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand in His side, I will never believe!” 26Eight days later the disciples were again inside, and Thomas was with them. Yeshua comes, despite the locked doors. He stood in their midst and said, “Shalom aleichem!” 27Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe!” 28Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Yeshua said to Him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed? Blessed are the ones who have not seen and yet have believed!”

The Reason for Signs and Wonders

30Yeshua performed many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these things have been written so that you may believe that Yeshua is Mashiach Ben-Elohim, and that by believing you may have life in His name.

–from John 20

We need to learn from the past and not need to learn everything ourselves. We need to learn from the past so that we aren’t doomed to repeat it. Will you learn from the past and live differently into the future? Will you see the warning signs and know? The hope is that everyone will turn back to God and be saved! Will you choose that?

Warnings from History

1For I do not want you to be ignorant, brothers and sisters, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea. 2They all were immersed into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3And all ate the same spiritual food, 4and all drank the same spiritual drink—for they were drinking from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the Rock was Messiah. 5Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the desert. 6Now these things happened as examples for us, so we wouldn’t crave evil things, just as they did. 7Do not be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” 8And let’s not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day 23,000 fell. 9And let’s not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were destroyed by serpents. 10And let’s not grumble, as some of them did—and were destroyed by the destroying angel. 11Now these things happened to them as an example, and it was written down as a warning to us—on whom the ends of the ages have come. 12Therefore let the one who thinks that he stands watch out that he doesn’t fall. 13No temptation has taken hold of you except what is common to mankind. But God is faithful—He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can handle. But with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, so you will be able to endure it.

Feast with the Lord—Not with Idols

14Therefore, my dearly loved ones, flee from idolatry. 15I speak as to sensible people—judge for yourselves what I say. 16The cup of blessing that we bless—isn’t it a sharing of Messiah’s blood? The bread which we break—isn’t it a sharing of Messiah’s body? 17Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body—for we all partake of the one bread. 18Consider physical Israel. Those who eat the sacrifices—aren’t they partners in the altar? 19What am I saying then—that an idol sacrifice is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20No, I’m saying that what the pagans sacrifice is to demons and not to God, and I don’t want you to become partners with demons. 21You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we? 23“Everything is permitted”—but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permitted”—but not everything builds up. 24Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 25Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, without raising questions of conscience. 26For “the earth is the Lord’s, and its fullness.” 27If an unbeliever invites you over and you want to go, eat whatever is set before you, without raising questions of conscience. 28But if anyone says to you, “This is from an idol sacrifice,” do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience— 29not your own conscience, I mean, but the other person’s. For why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? 30If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I give thanks for? 31Therefore, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32Give no offense either to Jewish or Greek people or to God’s community— 33just as I also try to please everyone in everything, not seeking my own benefit but the benefit of many, so that they may be saved.

–from 1 Corinthians 10

Hope! Do you know where to go to get some?


Where are you looking? Where are you going? What are you trying to find? What do you think it looks like? How will you know when you have found it? How will you know when you have arrived?

Do you know that hope is? Doing a search online shows…

hope
[hōp]

NOUN

  1. a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen:
    “he looked through her belongings in the hope of coming across some information” ·

    [more]
    synonyms: aspiration · desire · wish · expectation · ambition · aim ·

    [more]
  2. archaic
    a feeling of trust.

VERB

  1. want something to happen or be the case:
    “he’s hoping for an offer of compensation” ·

    [more]
    synonyms: expect · anticipate · look for · be hopeful of ·

    [more]
Powered by Oxford Dictionaries · © Oxford University Press · Translation by Bing Translator

But is that the hope the Bible speaks of? Checking, we find…

To trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.

from http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/hope/

A\nother resources puts the Bible’s meaning this way…

“a strong and confident expectation.”

from https://bible.org/article/hope

Not a wishy washy thought, but a strong and confident expectation for what is yet to come!

Hope isn’t to be wishful thinking, it is to be confident expectations!

Where does your hope come from? My hope comes from God! In Him I can trust! In Him I can depend! In Him I am confident!

So if you don’t have hope in God? Do you have hope in something that will get you through the storms of life? Do you have hope in something beyond today? Where does your hope come from?

Turn to God! He is loving! He is trustworthy! He is faithful!

Why not start today by inviting Jesus into your life and be transformed forever?


Today’s reading begins in Isaiah…

Sign of Nakedness

1In the year that the Tartan came to Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him and he fought against Ashdod and captured it, 2at that time Adonai spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz saying, “Go, remove the sackcloth from your loins and your sandals from your feet.” So he did so, walking naked and barefoot. 3Then Adonai said: “Just as My servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years, as a sign and a wonder against Egypt and Ethiopia, 4so will the king of Assyria lead away the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Ethiopia, young and old, naked and barefoot, with their buttocks uncovered, to Egypt’s shame. 5So they will be dismayed and ashamed, because they hoped in Ethiopia and boasted in Egypt. 6Then the inhabitants of the coastland will say in that day, ‘Look, such is our hope—there we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria! Now, how will we escape?’”

–from Isaiah 20

Do you see what is going on? Are you paying attention to what is going one? Do know realize what is taking place? Do you see those who are trying to lower expectations? Do you see those who are going towards the lowest common denominator rather than reaching for the stars? the best? the goal?

Watchman, Pay Attention!

1The burden of the desert by the sea: As windstorms sweep over the South, so it comes from the desert, a terrifying land. 2A harsh vision has been shown to me: “The traitor betrays, and the plunderer plunders. Go up, Elam! Besiege, Media! I have put an end to all her groaning.” 3Therefore my body is filled with pain. Pangs have taken hold of me like the pangs of a woman in labor. I am bewildered by what I hear, terrified by what I see. 4My heart is bewildered, terror overwhelms me. The twilight I longed for has been turned into trembling. 5Set the table, spread out the cloth! Eat! Drink! “Rise up, you princes, oil the shield!” 6For Adonai has said to me. “Go, post a watchman— let him declare what he sees! 7When he sees a chariot with a pair of horsemen, riders on donkeys, riders on camels, let him pay attention— very close attention!” 8Then he cried out like a lion: “Upon the watch tower, Adonai, I stand continually in the daytime, and stay at my post every night. 9Look! Here comes a chariot of men, with a pair of horsemen.” Then one answered and said, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon! All the images of her gods are broken on the ground.” 10O my people, crushed on the threshing floor, what I heard from Adonai Tzva’ot, God of Israel, I have declared to you. 11The burden of Dumah: One calls to me from Seir, “Watchman, what is left of the night? Watchman, what is left of the night?” 12The watchman said, “Morning comes, yet also it is night.” If you would inquire, inquire. Come back again.” 13The burden of Arabia: In the desert brush of Arabia you will stay for the night, you caravans of Dedanites. 14To him who is thirsty bring water, inhabitants of the land of Tema, meet the fugitive with food. 15For they fled from swords, from drawn sword, from bent bow and distress of war. 16For thus Adonai said to me, “Within a year (as with the years of a hired worker), all the glory of Kedar will cease, 17and the remainder of the number of the archers, the mighty men of the sons of Kedar, will be few. For Adonai God of Israel has spoken.”

–from Isaiah 21

So will you confess what is taking place? Will you return to God? Will you learn His ways? Will you meditate on His Word daily? Will you take care of your health? Will you expand your mind? Will you open your heart and invite Jesus in? Will you soften your heart? Do you need to have your life shaken up in order to get your attention? Do you need someone to come with a jackhammer to be able to get into your heart? What’s it going to take?

Confess, Return and Learn

1Of David, a contemplative song. Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is pardoned. 2Blessed is the one whose guilt Adonai does not count, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. 3When I kept silent, my bones became brittle through my groaning all day long. 4For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me. My strength was drained as in the droughts of summer. Selah 5Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not hide my iniquity. I said: “I confess my transgressions to Adonai,” and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah 6So let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found. When great floodwaters rise, they will not reach him. 7You are my hiding place— You will protect me from distress. You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah 8“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will give counsel—My eye is on you. 9Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding, and must be held in with bit and bridle or they will not come to you.” 10Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but lovingkindness surrounds the one who trusts in Adonai. 11Be glad in Adonai and rejoice, you righteous, and shout for joy, all who are upright in heart.

–from Psalms 32

Will you trust in Jesus? Will your hope be in Him? What would it take to get your attention? What would it take to change your mind? What would it take to open up your heart?

Do you feel that need in your heart? Do you feel that void that you keep trying to fill with things of the world but nothing is working or has worked yet? That is because it is a hole that we are supposed to turn to God and ask Him in to fill it! Is today your day?

Anticipating Hostility at Sukkot

1After these events, Yeshua was walking about in the Galilee. He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Judean leaders wanted to kill Him. 2Now the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near. 3Therefore His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go to Judea, so Your disciples also may see the works You are doing. 4No one who wants to be well known does everything in secret. If You are doing these things, show Yourself to the world!” 5For not even His brothers were trusting in Him. 6Therefore Yeshua said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always at hand. 7The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify that its works are evil. 8You go on up to the Feast. I’m not going to this feast, because My time hasn’t yet fully come.” 9After saying these things, He stayed in the Galilee. 10But after His brothers went to the Feast, He also went, not openly but secretly. 11Then the Judean leaders were searching for Him at the Feast and kept asking, “Where is that fellow?” 12There was a lot of murmuring about Him in the crowds. Some were saying, “He is good.” But others were saying, “Not so! He leads the people astray.” 13Yet no one spoke openly about Him for fear of the Judean leaders.

Teaching at the Temple

14About halfway through the Feast, Yeshua went up to the Temple and began teaching. 15Then the Judean leaders were amazed, saying, “How does this man know so much, having never been taught?” 16Yeshua answered, “My teaching is not from Me, but from Him who sent Me. 17If anyone wants to do His will, he will know whether My teaching comes from God or it is Myself speaking. 18Whoever speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true and there is no unrighteousness in Him. 19Hasn’t Moses given you the Torah? Yet none of you keeps it. Why are you trying to kill Me?” 20The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who’s trying to kill you?” 21Yeshua answered, “I did one good work, and all of you are amazed. 22Because Moses has given you circumcision (though it is not from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a man on Shabbat. 23If a man receives circumcision on Shabbat so that the Torah of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry that I healed a man’s whole body on Shabbat? 24Do not judge by appearance, but judge righteously.” 25Then some of the people from Jerusalem were saying, “Isn’t this the person they’re trying to kill? 26Look, He speaks openly and they’re saying nothing to Him. Can it be that the leaders know He is the Messiah? 27But we know where this person is from. But the Messiah, whenever He may come, no one knows where He is from.” 28Then, while teaching in the Temple courts, Yeshua cried out, “You know both who I am and where I am from! I have not come on My own, but the One who sent Me is true. You do not know Him, 29but I know Him because I am from Him and He sent Me.” 30Then they were trying to seize Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. 31Yet many from the crowd believed in Him and were saying, “When the Messiah comes, He won’t perform more signs than this person has, will He?” 32The Pharisees heard people in the crowd murmuring these things about Him, and the ruling kohanim and Pharisees sent guards to arrest Him. 33Yeshua said, “I am with you only a little while longer, and then I am going to the One who sent Me. 34You will look for Me but will not find Me. Where I am, you cannot come.” 35The Judean leaders then said among themselves, “Where is this person about to go that we shall not find Him? He’s not going to the Diaspora to teach the Greeks, is He? 36What did He mean by saying, ‘You will look for Me but will not find Me. Where I am, you cannot come’?”

Satisfying Spiritual Thirst

37On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Yeshua stood up and cried out loudly, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture says, ‘out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39Now He said this about the Ruach, whom those who trusted in Him were going to receive; for the Ruach was not yet given, since Yeshua was not yet glorified. 40When they heard these words, some of the crowd said, “This man really is the Prophet.” 41Others were saying, “This is the Messiah.” Still others were saying, “The Messiah doesn’t come from the Galilee, does He? 42Didn’t the Scripture say that the Messiah comes from the seed of David and from Bethlehem, David’s town?” 43So a division arose in the crowd because of Yeshua. 44Some wanted to capture Him, but no one laid hands on Him.

Religious Adversaries

45Then the guards returned to the ruling kohanim and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring Him?” 46“Never has anyone spoken like this man,” the guards answered. 47The Pharisees responded, “You haven’t been led astray also, have you? 48Have any of the rulers or Pharisees believed in Him? 49No, but this mob that doesn’t know the Torah—they are cursed!” 50Nicodemus, the one who had come to Yeshua before and was one of them, said to them, 51“Our Torah doesn’t judge a man unless it first hears from him and knows what he’s doing, does it?” 52They answered him, “You aren’t from the Galilee too, are you? Search, and see that no prophet comes out of the Galilee!” 53Then everyone went to his own house.

–from John 7

Are you thirsting? Are you wishing you could just fill that hole? Are you wanting to have a spring within you that can fill you to overflowing with joy, peace, hope? Turn to Jesus! Ask Him into your heart! Allow Him to do a work in you! Allow God’s Spirit to lead you and guide you! Be transformed from the inside out! Let’s build our lives on the foundation Jesus has provide with Jesus as the cornerstone to help us build it up straight and strong to last!

Building Together on God’s Foundation

1And I, brothers and sisters, could not speak to you as Spirit-filled but as worldly—as infants in Messiah. 2I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready. Indeed, even now you are not yet ready, 3for you are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, aren’t you worldly and walking in a human way? 4For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere humans? 5What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you came to trust—and to each as the Lord gave. 6I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow. 8Now he who plants and he who waters work as one, but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9For we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another builds on it. But let each consider carefully how he builds on it. 11For no one can lay any other foundation than what is already laid—which is Yeshua the Messiah. 12Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13each one’s work will become clear. For the Day will show it, because it is to be revealed by fire; and the fire itself will test each one’s work—what sort it is. 14If anyone’s work built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss—he himself will be saved, but as through fire. 16Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that the Ruach Elohim dwells among you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 18Let no one deceive himself. If anyone thinks he is wise in this age, let him become a fool so he may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the sight of God. For it is written, “He catches the clever in their craftiness.” 20And again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are useless.” 21So let no one boast about men. For all things are yours— 22whether Paul or Apollos or Kefa, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come. All are yours, 23and you are Messiah’s, and Messiah is God’s.

–from 1 Corinthians 3

 

It’s not all about you! It’s not all about stuff! It’s not about having to, it’s about getting to!


It’s not all about feelings, because feelings can be wrong. It’s not all about emotions, because emotions can be wrong. What are you using as your reference point for a source of truth and direction? Does your reference point stand firm and unmoving? Does your reference point shift and move? Have you picked up the Word of God? Are you hearing the direction of loving God and loving people? Are you hearing the calling to a higher standard? Have you invited to be the center and invited Him into your heart? Are you letting your light shine so that others will see it and glorify your Father in heaven? Are you willing to yield authority to God? You do realize that every good and perfect gift comes for your Father in heaven right (aka God)? Where are your morals? What is the makeup of the moral fabric? Are you able to distinguish between right and wrong? What about scientific stuff? What about technology? When God gave dominion over all the earth to man, the expectation was that man would have the fixed reference point of God and that we would yield to His will! God wants a relationship with each of us! Will you have a relationship with Him today? Have you already started on? Will you get started today? Will you start to look to the bible as your reference point? God is the unmovable reference point you need for life – He is the same yesterday, today, and forever!


Today’s reading continues in Ecclesiastes…

Futility of Human Pleasures

1I said within myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to see what is good.” Yet behold, this too was meaningless. 2I said of laughter, “It is madness!” and of pleasure, “What does it accomplish?” 3I thought deeply about how to cheer my flesh with wine—letting my heart guide me with wisdom—and how to grasp folly, so that I could see what was worthwhile for the sons of men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives. 4I increased my possessions. I built myself houses and I planted myself vineyards. 5I made royal gardens and parks for myself, and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6I constructed for myself pools of water to irrigate a forest of flourishing trees. 7I purchased male and female servants and had other servants who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than all my predecessors in Jerusalem. 8I also amassed silver and gold for myself, as well as the treasure of kings and the provinces. I acquired male and female singers for myself, as well as the luxuries of humankind—vaults and vaults of them. 9So I became far wealthier than all before me in Jerusalem, yet my wisdom stayed with me. 10I denied myself nothing that my eyes desired; I withheld from my heart no enjoyment. My heart took delight from all my toil— this was my reward for all my labor. 11Yet when I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended to accomplish it, behold, it all was futile and chasing after the wind. There was nothing to be gained under the sun.

Futility of Human Wisdom

12Then I turned to consider wisdom, madness and folly. For what more can the one who succeeds the king do than what he has already done? 13I realized that: Wisdom is more beneficial than folly as light is better than darkness. 14A wise man has his eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness. Yet, I also came to realize that the same destiny befalls them both. 15Then said I in my heart: “I, even I, will have the same destiny as a fool. So why have I become so wise?” I said in my heart, “This too is meaningless.” 16For the wise man, together with the fool, is not remembered forever. For in the days to come both will be forgotten. Alas, the wise, just like the fool, must die! 17And so I hated life, because the work done under the sun was grievous to me. All is but vapor and chasing after the wind. 18I also hated all the fruit of my toil for which I had labored under the sun, because I must leave it to the one who comes after me. 19Who knows if he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master over all the fruit of my toil for which I had wisely labored under the sun. This too is futile. 20So I turned my heart over to despair over all the things for which I had toiled under the sun. 21For sometimes a man, who has labored with wisdom, knowledge and skill, must hand over as an inheritance to someone who did not work for it. This also is futile and a great misfortune. 22For what does a man get for all his toil and longing of his heart for which he labors under the sun? 23For all his days, his work is pain and grief. Even at night his mind does not rest. This also is futility. 24There is nothing better for people than to eat and drink, and to find enjoyment in their labor. This too, I perceived, is from the hand of God. 25For who can eat and who can have joy, apart from Him? 26For to the one who pleases Him, He gives wisdom, knowledge and joy, but to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and accumulating wealth to give it to one who pleases God. This also is only vapor and striving after the wind.

–from Ecclesiastes 2

Do you realize the season you are in? Do you realize the timing?

A Time For Everything

1For everything there is a season and a time for every activity under heaven: 2a time to give birth and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted; 3a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build up; 4a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance; 5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; 6a time to seek and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to discard; 7a time to tear apart and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak; 8a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. 9What gain, then, does the laborer get with his toil? 10I have seen the task that God has given to the children of men to keep them occupied.

Yet Eternity In Their Heart

11He has made everything beautiful in its time. Moreover, He has set eternity in their heart—yet without the possibility that humankind can ever discover the work that God has done from the beginning to the end. 12I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and enjoy themselves in their lifetime. 13Also when anyone eats and drinks, and finds satisfaction in all of his labor, it is the gift of God. 14I know that everything that God does will endure forever. There is no adding to it or taking from it. God has made it so, that they will revere Him. 15Whatever exists, has already been and whatever will be, has already been, but God recalls what has passed. 16I have also seen under the sun: In the place of justice there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness there was wickedness. 17I said in my heart: “The righteous and the wicked, God will judge. For there is a time for every activity and for every deed.”

Humans Same As Beasts?

18I also said in my heart, “As for the sons of man, God tests them so that they may see that they are but animals.” 19For the destiny of humankind and the destiny of animals are one and the same. As one dies, so dies the other. Both have the same breath—a human has no advantage over an animal—both are fleeting. 20Both go to one place. Both were taken from the dust, and both return to the dust. 21Who knows that the spirit of the sons of man ascends upward and the animal’s spirit descends into the earth? 22So I perceived that nothing is better than for man to enjoy his works, because that is his portion. For who can bring him back to see what will be in the future?

–from Ecclesiastes 3

We need to give it all up to God! The good and the tough times! We need to realize that if God isn’t in it, we are working in vain! We need to realize that since everything is God’s we need to be good stewards of what He has given us and need His help to get it done! Without having God in the plans, the plans are futile! Trying to do it alone was never part of God’s plan which is why we learn about one another as well as having a relationship with Jesus! So let’s be good stewards! Let’s be good examples in our words and our actions so that others will see us and glorify God! It’s not all about us! It’s not about having to do it, it’s about the opportunity that we get to do it!

Futility of Human Labor

1Again I looked and saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun, and behold, I saw the tears of the oppressed, but they have no comforter. Power is in the hand of their oppressors, but they had no comforter. 2So I considered the dead, who are already dead, more fortunate than the living, who are still alive. 3Yet better than both is one who has not yet been, who has never seen the evil work that is done under the sun. 4Then I saw that all toil and all skill that is done come from man’s envy of his neighbor; this too is fleeting and striving after the wind. 5The fool folds his hands together and eats his own flesh. 6Better is a handful with tranquility than two handfuls of toil and striving after the wind. 7Again I saw something futile under the sun: 8There is one who has no one else, neither son nor brother, yet there is no end to all his toil. His eyes are not content with riches. “So, for whom am I toiling, and depriving myself of prosperity?” This too is meaningless— a grievous task!

Two Are Better Than One

9Two are better than one, because they get a good return for their effort. 10For if they fall, the one will lift up his companion. But oy to the one who falls and has no one to lift him up! 11Furthermore, if two lie together, then they will be warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12Though a man might overpower one, two can stand against him. Moreover a threefold cord cannot be quickly broken. 13Better is a poor but wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to take warning. 14For he came out of prison to become king—though he was born poor in his kingdom. 15I considered all the living that walk under the sun as well as the next youth who stands in his place. 16There is no end to all the people—to all who were before him. Also those who will come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this too is meaningless and striving after the wind.

Watch Your Words Before God

17Watch your feet when you go to the House of God. Draw near to listen, rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing wrong.

–from Ecclesiastes 4

Let’s learn God’s Word so that we can be living it in front of the world we live in! Let’s learn God’s Word so that our words and our actions are speaking in spirit and in truth! Let’s learn God’s Word so that we always have the one offensive weapon ready if the devil shows up in a situation! Let’s learn God’s Word so that by having the full armor of God on we will be able to stand firm and withstand the attacks not only on us but those around us who God has brought into our lives and we can be peacemakers, encouragers, hope makers, love builders in Jesus’ name! We’ve been given the opportunity, the privilege and the honor to get to go out as ambassadors, so let’s live up to the calling God has put into and onto our lives!

1Everyone who believes that Yeshua is the Messiah is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves the one born of Him.

Love God—Live God’s Word

2We know that we love God’s children by this—when we love God and obey His commandments. 3For this is the love of God—that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4For everyone born of God overcomes the world. And the victory that has overcome the world is this—our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world, if not the one who believes that Yeshua is Ben-Elohim?

Believe God’s Own Testimony of Yeshua

6Messiah Yeshua is the One who came by water and blood—not by water only, but by water and blood. The Spirit is the One who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7For there are three that testify— 8the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and these three are one. 9If we accept men’s testimony, God’s testimony is greater—for this it is the testimony that God has given about His Son. 10The one who trusts in Ben-Elohim has the testimony in himself; the one who does not trust in God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given about His Son. 11And the testimony is this—that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12The one who has the Son has life; the one who does not have Ben-Elohim does not have life.

Walk Now in Eternal Privileges

13I wrote these things to you who believe in the name of Ben-Elohim, so you may know that you have eternal life. 14Now this is the confidence we have before Him—that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have the requests we have asked from Him. 16If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he should ask, and God will give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death—I am not saying you should ask about that. 17All unrighteousness is sin, but there is sin not leading to death. 18We know that anyone born of God does not keep on sinning; rather, the One born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot touch him. 19We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20And we know that Ben-Elohim has come and given us insight, so that we may know Him who is true—and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Yeshua the Messiah. This One is the true God and eternal life. 21Children, guard yourselves from idols.

–from 1 John 5

Are you helping those closest to you? Your family? Your friends? Your inner circle?

Do they get it? Do they know what to expect? Do they know how to respond? Do they realize that they get to too?

Back to Teaching His Own

1Then Yeshua said to His disciples, “Stumbling blocks are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom they come! 2It would be better for him to have a millstone put around his neck and to be hurled into the sea, than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3“Keep yourselves alert! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4Even if he sins against you seven times a day, and seven times returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” 5Then the emissaries said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6Then the Lord said, “If you have faith like a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. 7But if you have a slave who is plowing or tending sheep, who among you will say to him when he comes in from the field, ‘Come right in, and recline at table’? 8But won’t he instead say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat! Dress yourself and wait on me while I eat and drink; and afterward, you may eat and drink’? 9He doesn’t thank the slave because he did what he was commanded, does he? 10So you too, when you’ve done everything you are commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves. We have done only what we were supposed to do.’”

On the Move through Samaria

11Now while going up to Jerusalem, Yeshua was passing between Samaria and the Galilee. 12As He entered a certain village, ten men with tza’arat came toward Him. They stood some distance away 13and raised their voices, saying, “Yeshua, Master, have mercy on us!” 14When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the kohanim.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15Now one of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back, glorifying God with a loud voice. 16And he fell at Yeshua’s feet, facedown, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. 17Then Yeshua answered and said, “Weren’t ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18Weren’t any found who came back to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19Then Yeshua said to the man, “Stand up and go! Your faith has made you well.” 20Now when Yeshua was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with signs to be seen. 21Nor will they say, ‘Look, here!’ or ‘There!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” 22Then Yeshua said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23They will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go and chase after them. 24For just as the lightning flashes from one part of the sky and lights up another part, so will the Son of Man be in His day. 25But first He must suffer much and be rejected by this generation. 26As it was in the days of Noah, so will it also be in the days of the Son of Man. 27They were eating, drinking, marrying, and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. 28“It was just the same in the days of Lot. They were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building. 29But on the day Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from heaven and destroyed them all. 30Things will be the same on the day when the Son of Man is made fully known. 31In that day, the one who is on the roof, and his possessions in the house, must not go down to take them away. In the same way, the one who is in the field must not turn back. 32Remember Lot’s wife! 33Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life will preserve it. 34“I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken along and the other left. 35There will be two women grinding at the same place. One will be taken and the other left.” 36 37“Where, Lord?” they replied. And He said to them, “Where there is a corpse, there also will the vultures be gathered.”

–from Luke 17