What’s it going to take to make things great again?


Will you return to God? Will you be faithful to God? Will you turn back to God? Will you come back into God’s presence like the lost son? God is great! God is faithful to His covenant! Do you love God? Do you faithfully keep His Word? Will you confess your sins? Will you confess the sins of the nation? Will you confess the sins of the people? Will you confess the sins of previous generations that have cause so many to walk away? Because of the sins the people have been scattered rather than coming together in unity. Will you choose today to humble yourself before God? Will you choose to honor God today? Will you give your life into God’s hands and ask for favor and completing the work He has given you to do?

Will you ask? Will you tell what God has put onto your heart? Will you go and do what God has instructed you to complete? Will you go and complete the work that God has given you? Will you inspect the situation? Will you survey the situation of things as they are today? Will you rally the troops? Will you put your hope and trust in God and not be deceived? Will you put your hope and your trust in God and not be deterred? Will you be a doer of the Word rather than just a hearer? Don’t be overwhelmed by the size or scope, but divide the work and allow the people assigned to do their part of the work. Stage by stage allow the work to be completed!

Don’t lose hope if or when people resist doing their part. Someone will step up to complete that work. Trust it all to God!

Are you ready to make it great again? Are you ready to be an instrument of God into the world around you? Are you ready to receive God’s vision and wisdom? How will you respond? Fear Not, just believe! If God calls you to it, He will bring you thru it!

Don’t lose hope … ask God for help! Don’t worry … ask God for help! Fear Not … ask God for help! Worry changes nothing … prayer changes everything!

So let’s meditate on God’s Word as this reading series draws to an end. With just over a week left before a new series, a new journey will begin, let’s reflect together on today’s reading from the New Testament and hear what God has to say to us.

Friendship with the World

1Where do all the fights and quarrels among you come from? They come from your desires for pleasure, which are constantly fighting within you. 2You want things, but you cannot have them, so you are ready to kill; you strongly desire things, but you cannot get them, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have what you want because you do not ask God for it. 3And when you ask, you do not receive it, because your motives are bad; you ask for things to use for your own pleasures. 4Unfaithful people! Don’t you know that to be the world’s friend means to be God’s enemy? If you want to be the world’s friend, you make yourself God’s enemy. 5Don’t think that there is no truth in the scripture that says, “The spirit that God placed in us is filled with fierce desires.” 6 But the grace that God gives is even stronger. As the scripture says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
7So then, submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will run away from you. 8Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners! Purify your hearts, you hypocrites! 9Be sorrowful, cry, and weep; change your laughter into crying, your joy into gloom! 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Warning against Judging One Another

11Do not criticize one another, my friends. If you criticize or judge another Christian, you criticize and judge the Law. If you judge the Law, then you are no longer one who obeys the Law, but one who judges it. 12God is the only lawgiver and judge. He alone can save and destroy. Who do you think you are, to judge someone else?

Warning against Boasting

13 Now listen to me, you that say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to a certain city, where we will stay a year and go into business and make a lot of money.” 14You don’t even know what your life tomorrow will be! You are like a puff of smoke, which appears for a moment and then disappears. 15What you should say is this: “If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that.” 16But now you are proud, and you boast; all such boasting is wrong.
17So then, if we do not do the good we know we should do, we are guilty of sin.

–James 4

We need to walk in humility! We need to resist the devil! We need put our hope and trust in God! So how will you walk out today? Don’t boast! Trust in God! Let’s complete the good work God has prepared in advance for us to accomplish! Let’s seek the truth! Let’s not be tricked or deceived! Let’s walk in love! Let’s live out love! Let’s allow God’s hand to complete the work it has begun in us so that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name! Let’s not grow weary in doing good!

False Teachers

1False prophets appeared in the past among the people, and in the same way false teachers will appear among you. They will bring in destructive, untrue doctrines, and will deny the Master who redeemed them, and so they will bring upon themselves sudden destruction. 2Even so, many will follow their immoral ways; and because of what they do, others will speak evil of the Way of truth. 3In their greed these false teachers will make a profit out of telling you made-up stories. For a long time now their Judge has been ready, and their Destroyer has been wide awake!
4God did not spare the angels who sinned, but threw them into hell, where they are kept chained in darkness, waiting for the Day of Judgment. 5 God did not spare the ancient world, but brought the flood on the world of godless people; the only ones he saved were Noah, who preached righteousness, and seven other people. 6 God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, destroying them with fire, and made them an example of what will happen to the godless. 7 He rescued Lot, a good man, who was distressed by the immoral conduct of lawless people. 8That good man lived among them, and day after day he suffered agony as he saw and heard their evil actions. 9And so the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials and how to keep the wicked under punishment for the Day of Judgment, 10especially those who follow their filthy bodily lusts and despise God’s authority.
These false teachers are bold and arrogant, and show no respect for the glorious beings above; instead, they insult them. 11Even the angels, who are so much stronger and mightier than these false teachers, do not accuse them with insults in the presence of the Lord. 12But these people act by instinct, like wild animals born to be captured and killed; they attack with insults anything they do not understand. They will be destroyed like wild animals, 13and they will be paid with suffering for the suffering they have caused. Pleasure for them is to do anything in broad daylight that will satisfy their bodily appetites; they are a shame and a disgrace as they join you in your meals, all the while enjoying their deceitful ways! 14They want to look for nothing but the chance to commit adultery; their appetite for sin is never satisfied. They lead weak people into a trap. Their hearts are trained to be greedy. They are under God’s curse! 15 They have left the straight path and have lost their way; they have followed the path taken by Balaam son of Beor, who loved the money he would get for doing wrong 16and was rebuked for his sin. His donkey spoke with a human voice and stopped the prophet’s insane action.
17These people are like dried-up springs, like clouds blown along by a storm; God has reserved a place for them in the deepest darkness. 18They make proud and stupid statements, and use immoral bodily lusts to trap those who are just beginning to escape from among people who live in error. 19They promise them freedom while they themselves are slaves of destructive habits—for we are slaves of anything that has conquered us. 20If people have escaped from the corrupting forces of the world through their knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and then are again caught and conquered by them, such people are in worse condition at the end than they were at the beginning. 21It would have been much better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than to know it and then turn away from the sacred command that was given them. 22 What happened to them shows that the proverbs are true: “A dog goes back to what it has vomited” and “A pig that has been washed goes back to roll in the mud.”

–2 Peter 2

 


Today's Reading: Nehemiah 1, Nehemiah 2, Nehemiah 3, Psalm 120, James 4, 2 Peter 2

Is it a lost cause?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Have you asked for what you have need of?


Where is your focus today? Is it based on what you want or what you need? Have you ever asked for what you have need of? Have you ever looked for what you have need of?

Would you consider your path in order to make sure you are heading in the right direction? Would you consider the schemes you are pursuing and their outcomes or consequences?

Would you consider your words and their meanings? Would you consider the words you use and the impact they have? Words have the power to build up and to tear down!

Would you ask for something that is real? Would you ask for something that is beneficial? Would you ask for something that is good? Would you ask for something that will help?

Consider your asks…consider your direction…
consider your words…consider your acts…

How will they be judged? Will they lead you to salvation?

Would you consider turning back to God?

He knows the desires of our heart, even before we ask!

Will you have the faith to ask?


Today’s reading we find ourselves in Isaiah 65…

Judgment and Final Salvation

1The lord says, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name. 2All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people. But they follow their own evil paths and their own crooked schemes. 3All day long they insult me to my face by worshiping idols in their sacred gardens. They burn incense on pagan altars. 4At night they go out among the graves, worshiping the dead. They eat the flesh of pigs and make stews with other forbidden foods. 5Yet they say to each other, ‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!’ These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away. 6“Look, my decree is written out in front of me: I will not stand silent; I will repay them in full! Yes, I will repay them— 7both for their own sins and for those of their ancestors,” says the lord. “For they also burned incense on the mountains and insulted me on the hills. I will pay them back in full! 8“But I will not destroy them all,” says the lord. “For just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones (and someone will say, ‘Don’t throw them all away— some of those grapes are good!’), so I will not destroy all Israel. For I still have true servants there. 9I will preserve a remnant of the people of Israel and of Judah to possess my land. Those I choose will inherit it, and my servants will live there. 10The plain of Sharon will again be filled with flocks for my people who have searched for me, and the valley of Achor will be a place to pasture herds. 11“But because the rest of you have forsaken the lord and have forgotten his Temple, and because you have prepared feasts to honor the god of Fate and have offered mixed wine to the god of Destiny, 12now I will ‘destine’ you for the sword. All of you will bow down before the executioner. For when I called, you did not answer. When I spoke, you did not listen. You deliberately sinned—before my very eyes— and chose to do what you know I despise.” 13Therefore, this is what the Sovereign lord says: “My servants will eat, but you will starve. My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty. My servants will rejoice, but you will be sad and ashamed. 14My servants will sing for joy, but you will cry in sorrow and despair. 15Your name will be a curse word among my people, for the Sovereign lord will destroy you and will call his true servants by another name. 16All who invoke a blessing or take an oath will do so by the God of truth. For I will put aside my anger and forget the evil of earlier days. 17“Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore. 18Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation! And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy. 19I will rejoice over Jerusalem and delight in my people. And the sound of weeping and crying will be heard in it no more. 20“No longer will babies die when only a few days old. No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life. No longer will people be considered old at one hundred! Only the cursed will die that young! 21In those days people will live in the houses they build and eat the fruit of their own vineyards. 22Unlike the past, invaders will not take their houses and confiscate their vineyards. For my people will live as long as trees, and my chosen ones will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains. 23They will not work in vain, and their children will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the lord, and their children, too, will be blessed. 24I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! 25The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. But the snakes will eat dust. In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain. I, the lord, have spoken!”

–from Isaiah 65

Let’s walk in humility! Let’s walk with a repentant heart towards God! Let’s walk with an apologetical heart! Let’s consider God’s plans and ways and walk in them! Let’s live lives that take on the top two priorities – to Love God and to Love people! Let’s consecrate our lives to God! Let’s purify our lives to God!

1This is what the lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that? Could you build me such a resting place? 2My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the lord, have spoken! “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word. 3But those who choose their own ways— delighting in their detestable sins— will not have their offerings accepted. When such people sacrifice a bull, it is no more acceptable than a human sacrifice. When they sacrifice a lamb, it’s as though they had sacrificed a dog! When they bring an offering of grain, they might as well offer the blood of a pig. When they burn frankincense, it’s as if they had blessed an idol. 4I will send them great trouble— all the things they feared. For when I called, they did not answer. When I spoke, they did not listen. They deliberately sinned before my very eyes and chose to do what they know I despise.” 5Hear this message from the lord, all you who tremble at his words: “Your own people hate you and throw you out for being loyal to my name. ‘Let the lord be honored!’ they scoff. ‘Be joyful in him!’ But they will be put to shame. 6What is all the commotion in the city? What is that terrible noise from the Temple? It is the voice of the lord taking vengeance against his enemies. 7“Before the birth pains even begin, Jerusalem gives birth to a son. 8Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who ever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, her children will be born. 9Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it?” asks the lord. “No! I would never keep this nation from being born,” says your God. 10“Rejoice with Jerusalem! Be glad with her, all you who love her and all you who mourn for her. 11Drink deeply of her glory even as an infant drinks at its mother’s comforting breasts.” 12This is what the lord says: “I will give Jerusalem a river of peace and prosperity. The wealth of the nations will flow to her. Her children will be nursed at her breasts, carried in her arms, and held on her lap. 13I will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child.” 14When you see these things, your heart will rejoice. You will flourish like the grass! Everyone will see the lord’s hand of blessing on his servants— and his anger against his enemies. 15See, the lord is coming with fire, and his swift chariots roar like a whirlwind. He will bring punishment with the fury of his anger and the flaming fire of his hot rebuke. 16The lord will punish the world by fire and by his sword. He will judge the earth, and many will be killed by him. 17“Those who ‘consecrate’ and ‘purify’ themselves in a sacred garden with its idol in the center—feasting on pork and rats and other detestable meats—will come to a terrible end,” says the lord. 18“I can see what they are doing, and I know what they are thinking. So I will gather all nations and peoples together, and they will see my glory. 19I will perform a sign among them. And I will send those who survive to be messengers to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (who are famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to all the lands beyond the sea that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. There they will declare my glory to the nations. 20They will bring the remnant of your people back from every nation. They will bring them to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the lord. They will ride on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the lord. 21“And I will appoint some of them to be my priests and Levites. I, the lord, have spoken! 22“As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain, so will you always be my people, with a name that will never disappear,” says the lord. 23“All humanity will come to worship me from week to week and from month to month. 24And as they go out, they will see the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me. For the worms that devour them will never die, and the fire that burns them will never go out. All who pass by will view them with utter horror.”

–from Isaiah 66

Let’s give God the glory! Let’s give God the praise! Let’s turn to Him daily!

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.

1What if the lord had not been on our side? Let all Israel repeat: 2What if the lord had not been on our side when people attacked us? 3They would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger. 4The waters would have engulfed us; a torrent would have overwhelmed us. 5Yes, the raging waters of their fury would have overwhelmed our very lives. 6Praise the lord, who did not let their teeth tear us apart! 7We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free! 8Our help is from the lord, who made heaven and earth.

–from Psalms 124

Jesus came to save the lost! He didn’t limit it to any specific nation or tribe! Salvation is available to Jews and non Jews (gentiles). Have you received this gift? Will you ask Jesus into your heart? What would it take if you haven’t? Would it have to get really bad? Could you receive it without hitting rock bottom? Is today your day?

Let’s not get in the way or become stumbling blocks to people turning to Jesus! Let’s live out our lives as lights of love!

Peter Explains His Actions

1Soon the news reached the apostles and other believers in Judea that the Gentiles had received the word of God. 2But when Peter arrived back in Jerusalem, the Jewish believers criticized him. 3“You entered the home of Gentiles and even ate with them!” they said. 4Then Peter told them exactly what had happened. 5“I was in the town of Joppa,” he said, “and while I was praying, I went into a trance and saw a vision. Something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners from the sky. And it came right down to me. 6When I looked inside the sheet, I saw all sorts of tame and wild animals, reptiles, and birds. 7And I heard a voice say, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.’ 8“‘No, Lord,’ I replied. ‘I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure or unclean.’ 9“But the voice from heaven spoke again: ‘Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.’ 10This happened three times before the sheet and all it contained was pulled back up to heaven. 11“Just then three men who had been sent from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were staying. 12The Holy Spirit told me to go with them and not to worry that they were Gentiles. These six brothers here accompanied me, and we soon entered the home of the man who had sent for us. 13He told us how an angel had appeared to him in his home and had told him, ‘Send messengers to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter. 14He will tell you how you and everyone in your household can be saved!’ 15“As I began to speak,” Peter continued, “the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as he fell on us at the beginning. 16Then I thought of the Lord’s words when he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17And since God gave these Gentiles the same gift he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to stand in God’s way?” 18When the others heard this, they stopped objecting and began praising God. They said, “We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life.”

The Church in Antioch of Syria

19Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen’s death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to Jews. 20However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus. 21The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord. 22When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. 24Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord. 25Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. 26When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.) 27During this time some prophets traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28One of them named Agabus stood up in one of the meetings and predicted by the Spirit that a great famine was coming upon the entire Roman world. (This was fulfilled during the reign of Claudius.) 29So the believers in Antioch decided to send relief to the brothers and sisters in Judea, everyone giving as much as they could. 30This they did, entrusting their gifts to Barnabas and Saul to take to the elders of the church in Jerusalem.

–from Acts 11

So what is your focus? Where are you spending your time? Does it sound selfless or selfish?

Why not grab a hold of the new agreement with God that came through Jesus?

1Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf? Surely not! 2The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. 3Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.
4We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. 5It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. 6He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

The Glory of the New Covenant

7The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. 8Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? 9If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! 10In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. 11So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!
12Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. 13We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. 14But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.
16But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

–from 2 Corinthians 3

 

Do you know where you can go?


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

So where are you at today?

Do you know where you can go?


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

Ephraim Multiplies Lies

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

–from Hosea 12

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

No Other Savior

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

–from Hosea 13

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

Anointed for Burial

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

New Covenant at the Last Seder

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

Denial Predicted

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

A Night of Painful Prayer

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

Betrayed and Abandoned

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

Falsely Charged

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

The Rooster Crows

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

–from Mark 14

Are you keeping your eyes on the prize? on the goal? on the finish line?

Finish the race

Are you focused? Are you distracted? Are you focused on yourself? Are you focused on others? Are you comparing yourself to others? Are you comparing yourself against what God’s calling you to become? In and through it all are you keeping your eyes on the prize or are they looking at what others are doing or others have?

Do you envy others? Do you wish you were in someone else’s shoes?

Do you seek wise counsel? Where do you turn for advice? How do you know when you get off course? Do you know where true north is in your life? Do you know the difference between right and wrong? Are you willing to take the high road? Are you willing to help raise the bar so that the average is going up rather than moving towards the lowest common denominator?

Today’s reading starts in Proverbs…

1Do not envy evil people, or desire to be with them, 2for their hearts contemplate violence, and their lips speak mischief.

Strength Through Wise Counsel

3By wisdom a house is built, by understanding it is prepared, 4and by knowledge its rooms are filled with every rare and pleasing treasure. 5A wise man is strong, and a man of knowledge becomes even stronger. 6For with wise advice you wage war and in many counselors there is victory. 7Wisdom is unattainable for a fool— he does not open his mouth at the gate. 8One who plots evil will be called a schemer. 9A foolish scheme is sin, and people detest a mocker.

Counsel on Friendship

10If you falter in a day of adversity, your strength is small. 11Rescue those being dragged off to death, hold back those stumbling to slaughter. 12If you say, “Look, we didn’t know this.” Won’t He who weighs hearts perceive it? Won’t He who guards your soul know it? Won’t He repay each one according to his deeds? 13Eat honey, my son, for it is good, and honeycomb is sweet to your taste. 14Likewise know that wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off. 15Do not lurk like the wicked near the dwelling of the righteous. Do not assault his home. 16For though the righteous one may fall seven times, he gets up again, but the wicked stumble in adversity. 17Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, or let your heart be glad when he stumbles, 18or Adonai may see it as evil in His eyes, and turn His wrath away from him. 19Do not be upset because of evil people, or be envious of the wicked, 20for the evil person has no future, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out. 21My son, fear Adonai and the king, and do not associate with rebels. 22For their destruction will arise suddenly, and who knows the ruin both Adonai and the king can bring? 23These sayings are also from the wise: Partiality in judgment is not good. 24Whoever tells the guilty, “You are innocent,” people curse him and nations revile him. 25But for those who convict the guilty there will be delight— good blessing will come upon them. 26An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. 27Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready. After that, build your house. 28Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause, and do not deceive with your lips. 29Do not say, “I will do to him what he has done to me; I will pay him back for his deed!”

Lesson of the Lazy

30I passed by the field of the slacker, by the vineyard of one lacking judgment. 31Surprisingly, it was all overgrown with thorns, the ground was covered with weeds, and its stone wall was broken down. 32Then I took to heart what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: 33“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep,” 34then your poverty comes tramping in, and your need like an armed soldier.

–from Proverbs 24

Will you search for the truth? Will you search for the wisdom? Will you go beyond taking it as it comes and work to make a difference? Will you keep moving forward towards the goal? Will you keep moving forward towards the prize?

The Glory of Searching a Matter

1These also are proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied: 2It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of kings to search it out. 3As high as heaven and deep as earth, so the hearts of kings are unsearchable. 4Remove impurities from silver and out comes material for the refiner. 5Remove the wicked from before the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness. 6Do not honor yourself in the king’s presence, and do not stand in the place of great men. 7Better for him to say to you, “Come up here,” than for you to be humiliated before a nobleman. What your eyes have seen, 8do not bring hastily to court, or what will you do afterward, when your neighbor puts you to shame? 9Argue your case with your associate, without betraying another’s confidence, 10or the one who hears it will shame you, and you will never lose your bad reputation.

A Fitting Reproof is Precious

11Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word aptly spoken. 12Like a gold earring or a gold ornament is a wise reproof to a receptive ear. 13Like the coolness of snow at harvest time is a faithful messenger to those who send him for he refreshes his master’s soul. 14Like clouds and wind without rain is one who boasts about a gift not given. 15Through patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue can break a bone.

Proverbs for Daily Life

16When you find honey, eat just enough, lest you are stuffed and vomit it. 17Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house, lest he become weary of you and loathe you. 18Like a club, a sword, or a sharp arrow is one who bears false witness against his neighbor. 19Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is confidence in the unfaithful in time of trouble. 20Like taking off a garment on a cold day or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart. 21If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, 22for you will heap coals of fire on his head and Adonai will reward you. 23A north wind brings rain, and a backbiting tongue angry faces. 24Better to dwell in a corner of a roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. 25Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land. 26Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous person who yields before the wicked. 27It is not good to eat too much honey, or honorable to seek one’s own honor. 28Like a city whose walls are broken down is one with no control over his temper.

–from Proverbs 25

Are you living for the moment? Are you living for right here and right now? Are you living for eternity? Are you living for the temporary or the eternal? Are you living in love?

Greetings

1Simon Peter, a slave and emissary of Messiah Yeshua, To those who have received a faith equal to ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior, Messiah Yeshua: 2May grace and shalom be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Yeshua our Lord.

Qualities for Living Forever

3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and virtue. 4Through these things He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, since you have escaped the corruption that evil desires have brought into the world. 5Now for this very reason, making every effort, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, patience; and to patience, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly love; and to brotherly love, love. 8For if these qualities are in you and increasing, they keep you from becoming idle and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 9But anyone who lacks these qualities is blind—nearsighted because he has forgotten his cleansing from past sins. 10Therefore, brothers and sisters, make all the more effort to make your calling and election certain—for if you keep doing these things, you will never stumble. 11For in this way entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Messiah Yeshua, will be richly provided for you. 12Therefore I intend to keep reminding you of these things, even though you know them and are well-grounded in the truth that you have. 13I think it right to stir you up with a reminder, as long as I remain alive in this “tent” of a body— 14knowing that my death is soon, as our Lord Yeshua the Messiah has made clear to me. 15And I will make every effort for you to always remember these things even after my departure.

Distinguishing True Testimony from Tales

16For we did not follow cleverly concocted tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, a voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory: “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased!” 18And we ourselves heard this voice come out of heaven, when we were with Him on the holy mountain. 19Furthermore, we have the reliable prophetic word. You do well by paying attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20Above all understand this: no prophecy of Scripture comes about from a person’s own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever brought forth by human will; rather, people spoke from God as they were moved by the Ruach ha-Kodesh.

–from 2 Peter 1

Do you realize that it matters what you are saying? Do you realize it matters what you are doing? Do you realize it matters how you are living? Not only for you but for all those who are watching you, hearing you, and following you. Let’s help find! Find things that are lost! Find people who are lost! Let’s celebrate with them! Let’s welcome them home!

1Now all the tax collectors and sinners were drawing near to hear Yeshua. 2The Pharisees and the Torah scholars began to complain, saying, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

3So He told this parable to them, saying, 4“Which man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, will not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until he finds it? 5When he has found it, he puts it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says, ‘Rejoice with me, for I’ve found my sheep that was lost!’ 7I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one repenting sinner than over the ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” 8“Or which woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search thoroughly until she finds it? 9When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I’ve found the coin I had lost!’ 10In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

11Then Yeshua said, “A certain man had two sons, 12and the younger of them said to the father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that comes to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. 13“Not many days later, the younger son gathered everything and traveled to a far country, and there he squandered his inheritance on wild living. 14Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine came against that country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16And he was longing to fill up on the carob pods the pigs were eating, but no one was giving him any. 17“But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have food overflowing, but here I am dying of hunger! 18I’ll get up and go to my father, and I’ll say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your presence. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired workers. 20“And he got up and went to his own father. But while he was still far away, his father saw him and felt compassion. He ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your presence. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22“But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him! Put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it! Let’s celebrate with a feast! 24For this son of mine was dead and has come back to life—he was lost and is found!’ Then they began to celebrate. 25“Now his older son was out in the field. And as he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26And he called out to one of the servants and began to ask what these things could be. 27“The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he got him back safe and sound.’ 28“But the older son was angry and didn’t want to go in. So his father came outside and pleaded with him. 29But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look, so many years I’ve slaved away for you—not once did I ignore your order. Yet you’ve never given me a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours came—the one who has squandered your wealth with prostitutes—for him you killed the fattened calf!” 31“Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and everything that is mine is yours. 32But it was right to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead but has come back to life! He was lost, but is found.’”

–from Luke 15