On Thanksgiving-eve, can you be thankful?


THE STORY OF JOB. – DAY 15

What if you had lost your possessions? What if you had lost your monetary worth? What if you had lost your children? What if you had lost your health? Could you still find a way to be thankful?

What if your friends started to judge you? What if your friends started to accuse you? What if your friends started to attack you? What if your friends started to try and shame you? What if your friends blamed you for something you didn’t do? Could you still find a way to be thankful?

Can you find hope in the midst of troubles? Can you find joy in the midst of trials? Can be thankful FOR THE things God has done in and through you? Can you be thankful EVEN THOUGH things haven’t always been easy? Can you be thankful BECAUSE OF the trials and tests and troubles, knowing that they will all work together for God because of your faith and trust in God?


Today’s reading of Job from God’s Word comes from Job 11:


‘Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said, “Shall a multitude of words not be answered? And should a talkative man [making such a long-winded defense] be acquitted? Should your boasts and babble silence men? And shall you scoff and no one put you to shame? For you have said, ‘My teaching (doctrine) [that God knowingly afflicts the righteous] is pure, And I am innocent in your eyes.’ But oh, that God would speak, And open His lips [to speak] against you, And [that He would] show you the secrets of wisdom! For sound wisdom has two sides. Know therefore that God forgets a part of your wickedness and guilt. “Can you discover the depths of God? Can you [by searching] discover the limits of the Almighty [ascend to His heights, extend to His widths, and comprehend His infinite perfection]? His wisdom is as high as the heights of heaven. What can you do? It is deeper than Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead). What can you know? It is longer in measure [and scope] than the earth, And broader than the sea. If God passes by or arrests, Or calls an assembly [of judgment], who can restrain Him? [If He is against a man, who can call Him to account for it?] For He recognizes and knows false and worthless men, And He sees wickedness, will He not consider it? But a hollow (empty-headed) man will become intelligent and wise [Only] when the colt of a wild donkey is born as a man. “If you direct your heart [on the right path] And stretch out your hands to Him, If sin is in your hand, put it far away [from you], And do not let wrongdoing dwell in your tents; Then, indeed, you could lift up your face [to Him] without moral defect, And you would be firmly established and secure and not fear. For you would forget your trouble; You would remember it as waters that have passed by. And your life would be brighter than the noonday; Darkness [then] would be like the morning. Then you would trust [with confidence], because there is hope; You would look around you and rest securely. You would lie down with no one to frighten you, And many would entreat and seek your favor. But the eyes of the wicked will fail, And they will not escape [the justice of God]; And their hope is to breathe their last [and die].”’

Job 11

Today’s study comes from these two sources:


Study Notes:

We see another one of Job’s friends step in today and look for an audience with God too, but unfortunately Zophah was wanted the audience in order for God to speak to Job’s iniquity and need to repent. We see how another close friend of Job decides to accuse Job that what he has been going through must be in retaliation to something he had done wrong. As with Job’s other friend who spoke, Zophah is trying to get Job to repent without realizing the reality of the situation. Just as the disciples ask Jesus who sinned to make the man blind from birth, Job’s friends are assuming guilt because of the struggles Job has been going through. Zophah gets started with rebuke · reprimand · reproach · admonishment · admonition · reproval · remonstration · disapproval · disapprobation · criticism · censure · blame · condemnation · fault-finding · telling-off · rap over the knuckles · slap on the wrist · dressing down · blast · ticking off · wigging · serve · rating · reprehension and censure · criticism · castigation · stricture · denunciation · damnation · vilification · opprobrium · reproof · disapproval · disapprobation · flak · a bad press · reprobation · arraignment · excoriation · objurgation. We know from the Bible that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We also know that God convicts us out of love unlike Satan who condemns in order to destroy. Zophah starts out with the assumption that for all this to have happened that Job is guilty. Zophah then goes on to name call Job a talker, a liar, and a mocker. Zophah takes Job’s claim of integrity and twists it by going to the extreme that Job was really saying he was sinless and then Zophah attacked him for it. Zophah wouldn’t stop there, he alleges that not only was Job guilty and unrepentant but also an empty talker, with all that hot air he was spouting off about his innocence and God’s apparent injustice was enough that Zophah would have to speak up and take a stand. Even though Job had earlier acknowledged his sin while maintaining his innocence, Zophah had to respond and retaliate.

As I consider this and ponder this, the words “vengeance is mine says the Lord” come to mind in that we shouldn’t and don’t need to be judging others about things we don’t know and we don’t understand because God won’t be fooled nor mocked and He is able to take care of things himself without our need to judge and accuse. Let’s not fall into the first response being to accuse or assume, let’s make our first response to turn to God for wisdom and discernment how He would choose to use us in the midst of a friends troubles and trials? We need to be considering how when we point at someone there are other fingers pointing back at ourselves and we need to be checking our own lives and hearts and take responsibility and accountability for our own lives. We need to be looking in the mirror and considering what do we need to be doing about our own lives to get more aligned with God’s will and purpose and plan. Receiving Jesus gives us salvation, but God’s plan is that we will have life and life more abundantly and so we need to be move forward from that starting point in alignment with His purpose, plan, and will in order to walk into all the good He has planned for our lives, even in the midst of the trials and troubles.

As we get to verse 5 and following, we learn in today’s study how the words being spoken by Zophah to Job were not helpful but hurtful, they would be helpful if it had been a self-reflection to himself, but in the position Job was in the words brought little to no value.

Verses 5-6: Pastor and scholar Andrew W. Blackwood wrote about this passage, “Such a remark might have considerable value if spoken while looking into the mirror. But from a man who is not suffering, to a man who is suffering, this remark is cruel and utterly without any value at all.”

Job 11:5 “But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee;” Plead with thee according to thy desire: he would soon put thee to silence. We are commonly ready, with great assurance, to interest God in our quarrels. But they are not always in the right who are most forward to appeal to his judgment, and prejudge it against their antagonists.

Job 11:6 “And that he would show thee the secrets of wisdom, that [they are] double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee [less] than thine iniquity [deserveth].” “Secrets of wisdom”: Job would have been much wiser if he had only known the unknowable secret of God; in this case the scene in heaven between God and Satan would have clarified everything. But Job couldn’t know the secret wisdom of God (verses 7-9). Zophar should have applied his point to himself. If God’s wisdom was so deep, high, long and broad, how was it that he could understand it and have all the answers? Like his friends, Zophar thought he understood God and reverted to the same law of retaliation, the sowing and reaping principle, to again indict Job. He implied that Job was wicked (verses 10-11), and thought he was wise, thought actually he was out of control as if he were a “wild donkey” (verse 12). As terrible as the attack of Satan had been on Job, Zophar felt that it was not enough for the sins of Job. Zophar wanted God to speak out loud and condemn Job, where they could all hear it. In God is all Wisdom and Truth. Zophar was saying to Job, that he had no wisdom. He thought if Job had been wise, he would have repented of his sins by now.

Job 11:7 “Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?” Literally, can you attain to the searching out of God? Can you suppose, that is, that whatever your wisdom, learning, subtlety, sagacity, power of insight, you will be able to search out and fully know the character, attributes, modes of thought and actions of the Most High? No. In one sense, all men do well to profess themselves “Agnostics”. Not that they can know nothing of God, but that they can never know him fully and never exhaust the knowledge of him. As the apostle says, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God”! “how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” “For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor?” (Rom. 11:33-34). “Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?” Rather. Can you attain to the perfection of the Almighty? Understand, i.e., his inconceivable perfectness. He was asking Job if he thought that he really could know God? He was saying that the wisdom and knowledge of Job would not help him to know God. He was telling Job, that in no way could he measure up to the expectations of the Almighty God. Zophar was a tormenter, not a comforter.

Job 11:8 “[It is] as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know?” Literally, the heights of the heavens; what can you do? But the meaning is probably that expressed in the Authorized Version. God’s perfectness is unattainable by man’s thought, as the heights of the heavens are by his feet. Deeper than hell; literally, than Sheol, or the receptacle of the dead (see comment on Job 10:21). Paul speaks of the “deep things,” or rather, “the depths” of God (see 1 Cor. 2:10). “What canst thou know? How small a part of the Divine nature can any man thoroughly comprehend and know!

Job 11:9 “The measure thereof [is] longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.” Length is generally ascribed to the earth, and width to the sea. The ends of the earth are used for a great distance, and the sea is called the great and wide sea (see Psalm 72:1). But God and his perfections, particularly his wisdom and understanding, are infinite (Psalm 147:5). And will admit of no dimensions; as his love, so his wisdom, has a height which cannot be reached, a depth that cannot be fathomed, and a length and breadth immeasurable (see Eph. 3:18). From hence it appears that God is omniscient, omnipresent, and incomprehensible; and since he is to be found in Christ, and in him only, it is in vain for us to seek for him elsewhere. Next the sovereignty of God is spoken of. This was speaking of the perfection of the Almighty filling the earth and the seas. The following Scripture says it best.

Job Chapter 11 Study

Ever had someone throw your words back in your face and use them in the totally opposite way? We see starting in Job 11:10 how Zophah does just that.

Verses 10-12: In his rhetorical question in 9:12, Job had compared his own cries to the braying of a wild donkey (6:5). Here, Zophar echoes his question but draws the opposite conclusion and accuses Job of being foolish and “empty-headed” (Psalms 10:14: 39:5).

Job 11:10 “If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?” Namely, a person or family. “And shut up”: In prison, or in the hands of an enemy, or in the net of affliction and trouble (Psalm 66:11). “Or gather together”: Make our condition straight and narrow, as some interpret it. Or, gather together as tares to the fire, or gather to himself man’s breath and spirit (Job 34:14). “Then who can hinder him? From doing what he pleases with his creatures? Who can either block the sentence, or oppose the execution? Who can control his power or arraign his wisdom and justice? If he, who made all out of nothing, thinks fit to reduce all to nothing; if he that separated between light and darkness, dry land and sea at first, is pleased to gather them together again. If he that made, think proper to unmake, who can turn him; alter his mind, or stay his hand, or impede or impeach his proceedings? The answer of course, was no one, not even Satan. We must keep remembering that God gave Satan permission to do this to Job. This was in no way a punishment on Job for sins. This was a proving to Satan and to the on-looking angels that Job was truly a righteous man, and that nothing Satan could do to him would change that.

Job 11:11 “For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider [it]?” Though men know but little of God, and therefore are very unfit judges of his counsels and actions, yet God knows man exactly. He knows that every man in the world is guilty of much vanity and folly, and therefore sees sufficient reason for his severity against the best men. “He seeth wickedness also”: He perceives the wickedness of evil men, though it be covered with the veil of religion. “Will he not then consider it?” Shall he only see it as an idle spectator, and not observe it as a judge to punish it? The worst of this was that Zophar was accusing Job of being vain in his own conceit. He was saying that Job had been pretending to be a Godly man, but was not faithful to God in his heart.

Job 11:12 “For vain man would be wise, though man be born [like] a wild ass’s colt.” Man, who since the fall is void of all true wisdom, pretends to be wise, and able to pass a censure upon all God’s ways and works. “Born like a wild ass’s colt”: Ignorant, dull, and stupid, as to divine things, and yet heady and untraceable. Such is man by his birth; this evil is now natural and hereditary, and therefore common to all men. Of consequence it is not strange, if Job partake of the common distemper. Zophar believed that the troubles which had come to Job was because he was vain and puffed up with pride. Zophar believed they came on Job to cause him to repent.

Job Chapter 11 Study

With Zophah’s assumption of Job being a sinner, He points to God’s power of forgiveness if Job will be willing to confess his sin and repent. We learn how Zophah seemed to believe God worked on a tit for tat type of a system or that you get something from God because you first gave God something. But the earth is the Lord’s and everything it, there is nothing we can give God that He doesn’t already have.

We know that isn’t how God’s economy works. We know that isn’t how God works. We know that even simply through the example of Jesus who while we were yet sinners, He died for us. God didn’t wait for us to be good enough, clean enough, smart enough, … He knew that the only way to make a way was to take things into His own hands and hence the ultimate sacrifice, once for all, made a way when there didn’t seem to be a way.

We learn as we start in verse 13 how Zophah continues with the message to Job with the conclusion that his sin would lead to his death.

Verses 13-20: Zophar continues to assume that Job is a sinner but reminds him that God will forgive his sin upon his confession and repentance. Zophar asserted that God operates on the basis of “You give Me something, and I will give you something.” But God does not operate this way. His creation has nothing to give Him that is worth any value (Isa. 64:6).

Verses 13-14: Zophar started out this section speaking directly to Job, “If thou prepare …” and concluded speaking proverbially, “But the “eyes of the wicked …”. In so doing Zophar avoided directly calling Job wicked, but succeeded with ever greater force by being indirect. In the end, he told Job that his sin would bring about his death.

Job 11:13 “If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;” Thy business, O Job, is not to quarrel with thy Maker, or his works. But to address thyself to him by prayer and supplication, sincerely repenting of all your hard speeches, and other sins against God, and seeking him with a pure and upright heart; without which your prayers will be in vain. “Stretch out thine hands”: I.e. pray, which is here described by its usual gesture (as Job 15:25; Psalm 88:9). “Towards him”: I.e. to God, as appears both from the nature of the thing, and from the context.

Job 11:14 “If iniquity [be] in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.” If you have in your hand, or possession, any goods gotten by injustice or oppression, as it seems they supposed he had. Or, he means more generally, if you allow yourself in any sinful practices, the hand being put for action, whereof it is the instrument. “Put it far away”: Keep yourself at a great distance, not only from such actions, but also from the very occasions and appearances of them. “Let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles”: That is, in thy habitation, either in thyself or in thy family. Whose sins Job was obliged, as far as he could, to prevent or reform, as it seems he had done (Job 1:5). He said, tabernacles, because anciently the habitations of great men consisted of several tents or tabernacles. He was giving Job advice here. He wanted Job to put his wickedness far from him, so that God would hear his plea for forgiveness.

Job 11:15 “For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be steadfast, and shalt not fear:” With cheerfulness and holy boldness. “Without spot”: Having a clear and unspotted conscience. “Yea, thou shalt be steadfast”: Shall have a strong and comfortable assurance of God’s favor, and shalt be settled, without any fear of losing thy happiness. After Job had driven his iniquity out of his life, then he could look to heaven and to God for help. He reminded Job that if he was steadfast in the LORD, he had nothing to fear.

Job 11:16 “Because thou shalt forget [thy] misery, [and] remember [it] as waters [that] pass away:” Thy happiness shall be so great that it shall blot out the remembrance of thy past miseries. “And remember it as waters that pass away”: Remember it no more than men remember either a land-flood, which, as it comes, so it goes away suddenly and leaves few or no marks or memorials behind it. Or the waters of a river, which pass by in constant succession. Zophar believed that if Job would repent, his troubles would go away and he would remember them no more. It would be gone as the water passes away.

Job 11:17 “And [thine] age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.” Literally, shall arise above the noonday; i.e. “exceed it in splendor.” Instead of the “thick darkness” to which Job is looking forward (Job 10:21-22). He shall bask in a light brighter than that of the sun at noon. “Thou shalt shine forth”: The Hebrew cannot possibly bear this meaning. The uncommon word used is allied with “obscurity”, and if a verb should mean “thou shalt be obscure,” rather than “thou shalt shine forth.” But it is perhaps a substantive, meaning “darkness;” and the translation of the Revised Version is perhaps correct: “Though there be darkness.” “Thou shalt be as the morning”: “Thy light,” as Professor Lee explains, “shall gradually rise and expand itself far and wide.” It shall dispel the darkness, and take its place,” shining more and more unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18). Zophar was saying if Job would do as he had suggested, he would not face the darkness of the grave and hell. He would bask in the Light of the LORD which was greater than the noonday sun. He would be renewed in the LORD.

Job 11:18 “And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig [about thee, and] thou shalt take thy rest in safety.” From coming into like darkness, difficulties, and distress again, and from every evil and enemy. Nothing shall come nigh to disturb and hurt, nothing to be feared from any quarter, all around: or “shalt be confident”. Have a strong faith and full assurance of it, in the love of God, in the living Redeemer, and in the promises which respect the life that now is, and that which is to come. “Because there is hope”: Of the mercy of God, of salvation by Christ, and of eternal glory and happiness, as well as of a continuance of outward prosperity. Faith and hope mutually assist each other. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and hope of better and future things on a good foundation encourages faith and confidence. “Yea, thou shalt dig about thee”: To let in stakes for the pitching and fixing of tents to dwell in, and for more commodious pasturage. Or for wells of water, for the supply both of the family and the flocks. Or rather, for ditches and trenches to secure from thieves and robbers, or for drains to carry off floods of water. “And thou shalt take thy rest in safety”: Lie down on the bed and sleep in the night season in peace and quietness, having nothing to fear. Being well entrenched, and secure from plundering and flooding. And, more especially, being hedged about and protected by the power and providence of God (see Psalm 3:5). The Targum is, “thou shall prepare a grave, and lie down, and sleep secure.” Zophar was saying something that really would happen to Job after he was restored. It was not something that Zophar really wanted for Job however. He said this to remind Job of the wonders of how it used to be. Job’s hope was not in what Zophar had said, or not said, but in the LORD.

Job 11:19 “Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make [thee] afraid; yea, many shall make suit unto thee.” Either lie down on his bed, as before, or by his flocks, and where they lie down, and none should disturb him or them. Not thieves and robbers, such as the Chaldeans and Sabeans had been to him, nor lions, bears, or wolves. “Yea, many shall make suit unto thee”: Make their supplications, present their requests and petitions for relief under necessitous circumstances, or for protection from the injuries and insults of others. As the poor and needy, the widow and fatherless, had done to him in times past, when in his prosperity, and when he was a friend unto them, and the father of them (see Prov. 19:6). Or, “the great ones shall make suit to thee”; to have his favor and friendship, his counsel and advice, his company and conversation. He should be applied unto and courted by men of all sorts, which would be no small honor to him (see Psalm 45:12). When Job was restored, there would be no warring parties from his neighbors. Instead of stealing from Job, they would be bringing things to him. Again, this was not what Zophar wished for Job, but it was what would happen.

Job 11:20 “But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope [shall be as] the giving up of the ghost.” Or be consumed. Either with grief and fears for their sore calamities; or with long looking for what they shall never attain, as this phrase is taken (Psalm 69:3; Jer. 14:6; Lam. 4:17). And this shall be thy condition; O Job, if thou persist in thine impiety. “They shall not escape”: They shall never obtain deliverance out of their distresses, but shall perish in them. “As the giving up of the ghost”: I.e. shall be as vain and desperate as the hope of life is in a man, when he is at the very point of death. Or, as a puff of breath, which is gone in a moment without all hopes of recovery. Zophar was speaking this, as if it was the fate of Job. In reality, he was speaking of himself and what would come to him, because he had spoken evil of Job. He was saying that Job had no other hope, but death. He would be needing the prayers of Job to save himself from the fate he just spoke of Job.

Job Chapter 11 Study

So where are you at today? Are you ready to lean into all that God has for you? Are you ready to persevere and trust and have your faith built up? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

^^^^^^^^^^^Will you be willing to put your name there today?

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?


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

 

It’s sad when we lose people…


Have you lost anyone? Do you remember the pain? Do you remember the sadness? Do you remember the emotional rollercoaster? Do you remember the anger? Do you remember the joy? Do you remember the love? Do you remember someone who wasn’t treating you well who passed? Do you remember someone who was like a brother or sister who passed? How did you respond? How did you manage to be able to let them go?

Today’s reading opens up with David facing the news of the death of Saul and Jonathan…

David Mourns Saul and Jonathan

1Now it came to pass after the death of Saul—when David had returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites—that David stayed two days in Ziklag. 2On the third day, behold, a man came from Saul’s camp, with his clothes torn and dust on his head. Now when he approached David, he fell to the ground and prostrated himself. 3Then David asked him, “Where are you coming from?” “I’ve escaped from the camp of Israel,” he answered. 4“How did things go?” David asked him. “Please, tell me.” He answered, “The troops fled the battlefield—also many of the troops fell and died. And even Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.” 5David asked the young man informing him, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?” 6The young man informing him answered, “I happened by chance to be on Mount Gilboa, and look, Saul was leaning on his spear, while the chariots and the horsemen were closing in on him. 7When he turned around and saw me, he called me. So I answered, ‘Here I am.’ 8Then he asked me, ‘Who are you?’ “So I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’ 9So he said to me, ‘Stand now over me and kill me! For I’m in agony, yet I’m still alive.’ 10So I stood over him and killed him, because I knew he couldn’t survive after he had fallen. Then I took the crown that was on his head and the bracelet that was on his arm, and brought them here—to my lord.” 11Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so did all the men that were with him, 12and they mourned, wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, for the troops of Adonai and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. 13Then David said to the young man who informed him, “Where are you from?” “I am a son of an Amalekite outsider,” he replied. 14Then David said to him, “How is it that you were not afraid to stretch out your hand to destroy Adonai’s anointed one?” 15Then David called one of the young men and said, “Come and strike him down.” And he struck him down and he died. 16David said to him, “Your blood is on your own head, for your mouth testified against you saying, ‘I killed Adonai’s anointed.’” 17Then David chanted this lament over Saul and his son Jonathan, 18and ordered that the sons of Judah be taught the “Song of the Bow.” (Behold, it is written in the Book of Jashar): 19“Your glory, O Israel, is slain on your high places! How the mighty have fallen! 20Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in Ashkelon’s streets, lest Philistine daughters rejoice, lest daughters of the uncircumcised gloat! 21Hills of Gilboa, let no dew or rain be on you, nor on bountiful fields, for there the shield of the mighty ones lay defiled—Saul’s shield will no longer be anointed with oil. 22From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, Jonathan’s bow never turned back, Saul’s sword never returned empty. 23Saul and Jonathan, loved and delightful, parted neither in life nor death. They were swifter than eagles, stronger than lions. 24Daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet and finery, who put ornaments of gold on your clothes. 25How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan on your heights is slain! 26I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan! Very pleasing were you to me. Wonderful was your love to me more than the love of women. 27How the mighty have fallen, and the weapons of war destroyed!

–from 2 Samuel 1

Do you remember celebrating their lives? Do you remember mourning their loss?

Let’s be reminders to the world around us the importance of turning back to God! Let’s be testimonies of God’s great love and how His ask is that we love Him and love one another! Be it in the old testament where the prophets were speaking out to people on behalf of God to tell them to turn back to God and love Him and obey Him or be it that they were treating one another bad and needed to be treating one another with love, dignity, and respect. Be it in the new testament where Jesus summarized the 10 commandments into 2 – Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and strength and second to love your neighbor as you love yourself. It goes beyond ourselves! It goes beyond trying to make us the center! So let’s live out today so that we make a difference and glorify God!

Restore Your People from Captivity

1For the music director, a psalm of the sons of Korah. 2Adonai, will you favor Your land? Will You restore Jacob from captivity? 3Will You bear away Your people’s iniquity, Will You pardon all their sin? Selah 4Will You withdraw all Your wrath? Will You turn from Your burning anger? 5Restore us, O God of our salvation, and renounce Your indignation with us. 6Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger from generation to generation? 7Will You not revive us again, so Your people may rejoice in You? 8Show us Your mercy, Adonai, and grant us Your salvation. 9Let me hear what God Adonai will say. For He will speak shalom to His people, and to His kedoshim— but let them not turn back to folly. 10Surely His salvation is near those who fear Him, so that glory may dwell in our land. 11Lovingkindness and truth meet together. Righteousness and shalom kiss each other. 12Truth will spring up from the earth, and justice will look down from heaven. 13Yes, Adonai will give what is good, and our land will yield its produce. 14Righteousness is going before Him and prepares a way for His feet.

–from Psalms 85

And let’s do it before it is too late! Let’s make a difference  today! Let’s be light! Let’s be salt! Let’s be love! Don’t be lead astray! Don’t be deceived! Put your hope and trust in God! Allow Jesus to be the center of your life! Follow after Him! Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you all the days of your life! Be prepared! Notice the signs of the times! Don’t lose hope! Don’t give up! Your time to make a difference is now! Don’t miss out! Don’t be left out! Let’s be bold and courageous! Let’s be living the right way and be prepared for the trumpet sound and to be restored and lifted up to meet with and be with Jesus! Let’s be aware of the times we are living in today! God’s Word will last forever! Love the greatest thing will last forever! So grab a hold of the truth and stand firm! Put on the full armor of God and be prepared to make and take a stand today! Let’s live that we may hear “well done my good and faithful servant” from Jesus!

1Now when Yeshua went out and was going away from the Temple, His disciples came up to point out to Him the Temple buildings. 2“Don’t you see all these?” He responded to them. “Amen, I tell you, not one stone will be left here on top of another—every one will be torn down!”

Signs of the End of Time

3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen? What will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” 4Yeshua answered them, “Be careful that no one leads you astray! 5For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will lead many astray. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must happen but it is not yet the end. 7For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8But all these things are only the beginning of birth pains. 9“Then they will hand you over to persecution and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations because of My name. 10And then many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one other. 11Many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. 13But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14This Good News of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. 15“So when you see ‘the abomination of desolation,’ which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the Holy Place (let the reader understand), 16then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. 17The one on the roof must not go down to take what is in his house, 18and the one in the field must not turn back to get his coat. 19Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20Pray that your escape will not happen in winter, or on Shabbat. 21For then there will be great trouble, such as has not happened since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. 22And unless those days were cut short, no one would be delivered. But for the sake of the chosen, those days will be cut short. 23“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here’s the Messiah,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe it. 24For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and show great signs and wonders so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen. 25See, I have told you beforehand. 26“So if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. Or, ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27For just as lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so also will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28For wherever the carcass is, there the vultures will gather. 29“But immediately after the trouble of those days, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light and the stars will fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.’ 30Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the land will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory. 31He will send out His angels with a great shofar, and they will gather together His chosen from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Watching for Messiah’s Return

32“Now learn the parable from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33So also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, at the door. 34Amen, I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things happen. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. 36But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven nor the Son, except the Father alone. 37“For just as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38For in those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. 39And they did not understand until the flood came and swept them all away. So shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40Then two men will be in the field, one taken and one left. 41Two women will be grinding at the mill, one taken and one left. 42Therefore stay alert; for you do not know what day your Lord is coming. 43But know this, that if the master of the house had known what time the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and not let his house be broken into. 44So you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

The Faithful Servant

45“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master put in charge of his household to give them food at the proper time? 46Blessed is that servant whose master finds him so doing when he comes. 47Amen, I tell you, his master will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48But if that wicked servant says in his heart, ‘My master is taking a long time,’ 49and he begins to beat his fellow servants, and he eats and drinks with drunkards, 50the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know. 51And he will cut him in two and assign his place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

–from Matthew 24

 

 

 

Can you show restraint?


When you are being attacked, can you show restraint? When you are being pursued, can you show restraint? When you are being accused, can you show restraint? When you have an opportunity, can you show restraint? When you have the ability, can you show restraint?

In the midst of the heat of the moment, can you have the wisdom and the peace to think straight and restrain yourself from doing something you shouldn’t? Can you show restraint so as to not do something that would make you guilty?

Today’s reading shows just such a situation between David and Saul…

David Again Spares Saul

1Now the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah saying, “Isn’t David hiding on the hill of Hachilah which faces Jeshimon?” 2So Saul arose and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, 3,000 chosen men of Israel with him, to search for David in the wilderness of Ziph. 3Saul camped in the hill of Hachilah which faces Jeshimon, by the road. But David was staying in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul had come after him into the wilderness. 4So David sent out spies and realized that Saul had already arrived. 5Then David got up and went to the place where Saul had camped. David detected the spot where Saul lay asleep, as well as Abner son of Ner his army commander. Saul was lying inside the barricade and the troops were camped around him. 6Then David spoke and asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, saying, “Who will go down with me to Saul in the camp?” “I will go down with you,” Abishai answered. 7So David and Abishai approached the troops by night. Behold, Saul was lying asleep within the barricade with his spear stuck in the ground at his head, and Abner and the troops were sleeping around him. 8Then Abishai said to David, “God has delivered your enemy into your hand today. Now let me pin him to the ground with a single thrust of the spear. I will not have to strike him twice.” 9But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! For who can lay his hand on Adonai’s anointed and be guiltless?” 10David added, “As Adonai lives, either Adonai will strike him down, or his day will come to die, or he will go down to battle and be swept away. 11Adonai forbid that I should lay my hand on Adonai’s anointed! Now, just take the spear that is at his head and the water jar and let’s go.” 12So David took the spear and the water jar from beside Saul’s head. They got away—and no one saw it, or knew it, or woke up—for all were asleep, for a deep sleep from Adonai had fallen upon them. 13Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on the top of a distant hill with a wide space between them. 14David shouted to the troops and to Abner son of Ner saying, “Aren’t you going to answer, Abner?” Then Abner answered saying, “Who are you, who called out to the king?” 15“Aren’t you a man?” David said to Abner. “Indeed, who is like you in Israel? So, why didn’t you guard your lord the king? For one of the troops came in to kill the king your lord. 16This thing that you’ve done is no good. As Adonai lives, all of you deserve to die, because you have not kept watching over your lord, Adonai’s anointed. So now, look around, where are the king’s spear and the water jar that were at his head?” 17Saul then recognized David’s voice and said, “Is this your voice, David my son?” “It is my voice, my lord the king,” David said, 18then added, “Yet why is my lord pursuing his servant? What have I done? What evil is in my hand? 19Now please, let my lord the king listen to the words of his servant. If Adonai has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering. But if men have done so, then cursed are they before Adonai, because they have now driven me out that I would not cling to Adonai’s inheritance, saying: ‘Go, worship other gods.’ 20So now, let not my blood fall to the ground, away from the presence of Adonai. For the king of Israel has come out to search for but a single flea, just as one hunts for a partridge in the mountains.” 21Then Saul replied, “I have sinned! Return, David my son, for I will no longer do you harm, since my life was precious in your eyes this day. Behold, I’ve played the fool and erred so seriously.” 22David then answered and said, “There is the king’s spear! Let one of the young men cross over and take it. 23Adonai will repay everyone his righteousness and his faithfulness. For Adonai gave you into my hand today, but I refused to lay my hand on Adonai’s anointed. 24See, just as your life was highly valued in my eyes today, so let my life be highly valued in Adonai’s eyes, and may He deliver me from all trouble.” 25Then Saul said to David, “Blessed are you, David my son! You will both do mightily and will surely prevail.” So David went his way, and Saul returned to his place.

-from 1 Samuel 26

Can you show restraint and be different from the others? Can you show restraint and live different than others? From amongst the multitude, can you be called out? Consider Jabez…

Judah’s Descendants

1The sons of Judah: Perez, Hezron, Carmi, Hur and Shobal. 2Reaiah the son of Shobal fathered Jahath, and Jahath fathered Ahumai and Lahad. These were the families of the Zorathites. 3These were the sons of Etam: Jezreel, Ishma and Idbash. The name of their sister was Hazlelponi. 4Penuel was the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These were the descendants of Hur the firstborn of Ephrathah, the father of Beth-lehem. 5Ashhur, the father of Tekoa, had two wives, Helah and Naarah. 6Naarah bore him Ahuzam, Hepher, Timeni and Ahashtari. These were the sons of Naarah. 7The sons of Helah: Zereth, Zohar and Ethnan. 8Koz fathered Anub and Zobebah, and the families of Aharhel, the son of Harum.

Prayer of Jabez

9Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.” 10Jabez called out to the God of Israel, saying, “If only You would greatly bless me, and enlarge my territory. Let Your hand be with me and keep me from harm so that I might not suffer pain.” Adonai granted what he asked.

Other Descendants of Judah

11Chelub, the brother of Shuhah, fathered Mehir, who was the father of Eshton. 12Eshton fathered Beth-rapha, Paseah and Tehinnah the father of Ir-nahash. These were the men of Recah. 13The sons of Kenaz: Othniel and Seraiah. The sons of Othniel: Hatath 14and Meonothai, who fathered Ophrah. Seraiah fathered Joab, the father of Ge-harashim , for they were craftsmen. 15The sons of Caleb, son of Jephunneh: Iru, Elah and Naam. The son of Elah: Kenaz. 16The sons of Jehallelel: Ziph, Ziphah, Tiriah and Asarel. 17The sons of Ezrah: Jether, Mered, Epher and Jalon. She also bore Miriam, Shammai and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa. 18(His Judahite wife bore Jered the father of Gedor, Heber the father of Soho and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah.) These were the sons of Bithiah, Pharaoh’s daughter whom Mered married. 19The sons of Hodiah’s wife, the sister of Naham: the father of Keilah the Garmite and Eshtemoa the Maacathite. 20The sons of Shimon: Amnon, Rinnah, Ben-hanan and Tilon. The sons of Ishi: Zoheth and Ben-zoheth. 21The sons of Shelah, son of Judah: Er the father of Lecah, Ladah the father of Mareshah, the families of the linen workers at Beth-ashbea, 22and Jokim, the men of Cozeba, and Joash and Saraph, who had dominion in Moab and Jashubi-lehem (the records are ancient). 23These were the potters and those who lived in Netaim and Gederah; they lived there while doing the king’s work.

Descendants of Simeon

24The sons of Simeon: Nemuel, Jamim, Jarib, Zerah, Shaul, 25his son Shallum, his son Mibsam, and his son Mishma. 26The descendants of Mishma: Hammuel, Zaccur his son and Shimei his son. 27Now Shimei had 16 sons and six daughters. But his brothers did not have many sons, so their family did not become as numerous as the sons of Judah. 28They dwelt in Beer-sheba, Moladah, Hazar-shual, 29Bilhah, Ezem, Tolad, 30Bethuel, Hormah, Ziklag, 31Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susim, Beth-biri and Shaaraim. These were their towns until the reign of David, 32together with their villages, Etam, Ain, Rimmon, Tochen and Ashan—five in all, 33along with all the villages that surrounded these towns as far as Baal. These were their habitations. Registered in their genealogical records were: 34Meshobab, Jamlech, Joshah the son of Amaziah, 35Joel, Jehu son of Joshibiah, son of Seraiah, son of Asiel, 36Elioenai, Jaakobah, Jeshoaiah, Asaiah, Adiel, Jesimiel, Benaiah, 37and Ziza son of Shiphi, son of Allon, son of Jedaiah, son of Shimri, son of Shemaiah— 38these mentioned by name were leaders in their families, and their clans increased greatly. 39Now they went to the entrance of Gedor, to the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks. 40They found rich and good pasture, and the land was spacious, quiet, and peaceful. The former inhabitants were Hamites. 41Now those whose names are recorded came during the days of King Hezekiah of Judah. They attacked the encampments of the Hamites, as well as the Meunim who were found there, and utterly wiped them out to this very day. They settled in their place because there was pasture there for their flocks. 42About 500 of them from the descendants of Simeon, led by Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi, went to Mount Seir 43where they struck down the remaining Amalekites who had escaped, and they live there to this day.

–from 1 Chronicles 4

Will your restraint show humility? Will your restraint help you to seek out the lost? Will your restraint help you to serve others? Will your restraint help you to restore others gently? Will your restraint keep you from bitterness, hate, anger, sadness but rather allow you to forgive others? Will you restraint allow you to forgive them 7×70 times?

Childlike Humility

1At that hour the disciples came to Yeshua, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2And He called a child to Himself, set him in the midst of them, 3and said, “Amen, I tell you, unless you turn and become like children, you shall never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever then shall humble himself like this child, this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoever welcomes one such child in My name, welcomes Me. 6“But whoever causes one of these little ones who trust in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck and to be sunk in the depth of the sea! 7Woe to the world because of snares! For snares must come, but woe to that man through whom the snare comes! 8“And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away from you. It’s better for you to enter into life crippled or lame than, having two hands or two feet, to be thrown into fiery Gehenna. 9If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you. It’s better for you to enter into life with one eye than, having two eyes, to be thrown into fiery Gehenna.

Parable of the Lost Sheep

10“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father in heaven. 11[footnote: Some manuscripts add verse 11: For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost;] 12“What do you think? If a certain man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, won’t he leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go looking for the one that is straying? 13And if he finds it, amen I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t stray. 14Even so, it’s not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.”

Restoring a Lost Brother

15“Now if your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault while you’re with him alone. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16But if he does not listen, take with you one or two more, so that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand.’ 17But if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to Messiah’s community. And if he refuses to listen even to Messiah’s community, let him be to you as a pagan and a tax collector. 18“Amen, I tell you, whatever you forbid on earth will have been forbidden in heaven and what you permit on earth will have been permitted in heaven. 19Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.”

Lessons about Forgiveness

21Then Peter came to Him and said, “Master, how often shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22Yeshua said to him, “No, not up to seven times, I tell you, but seventy times seven! 23Therefore, the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. 24When he had begun to settle up, a man was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25But since he didn’t have the money to repay, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26Then the slave fell on his knees and begged him, saying, ‘Be patient with me, and I’ll repay you everything.’ 27And the master of that slave, filled with compassion, released him and forgave him the debt. 28“Now that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii. And he grabbed him and started choking him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe!’ 29“So his fellow slave fell down and kept begging him, saying, ‘Be patient with me, and I’ll pay you back.’ 30Yet he was unwilling. Instead, he went off and threw the man into prison until he paid back all he owed. 31“So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply distressed. They went to their master and reported in detail all that had happened. 32Then summoning the first slave, his master said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33Wasn’t it necessary for you also to show mercy to your fellow slave, just as I showed mercy to you?’ 34Enraged, the master handed him over to the torturers until he paid back all he owed. 35“So also My heavenly Father will do to you, unless each of you, from your hearts, forgives his brother.”

–from Matthew 18

 

 

 

Partial obedience isn’t obedience at all!


Can you be partially obedient? Or is that being disobedient? What part of obedience can be ignored and not make it disobedience? How could you do part of the request and not the other part and think that is good enough? Do you realize that partial obedience isn’t obedience at all? Partial obedience is disobedience!

Ever tried to hide it but then something happened to give it away? Be it a sound? Be it a smell? Be it a visual? Hiding the part that you didn’t obey doesn’t mean you obeyed! How will you handle getting caught? Will you admit to it right away and ask for forgiveness? Will you try to dig a deeper hole to fall into and lie? Partial obedience is still disobedience!

Today’s reading starts with such a subject where God commanded Saul to destroy everything but they only destroyed the worthless and feeble. God commanded Saul to destroy everyone but they kept the king alive…Partial obedience isn’t obedience at all!

Saul Spares Agag of Amalek

1Then Samuel said to Saul, “Adonai sent me to anoint you as king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, listen to the voice of the words of Adonai! 2Thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot: ‘I remember what Amalek did to Israel, how he set himself against him on the way while he was coming up from Egypt. 3Now go and strike down Amalek and put all he has under the ban of destruction—so have no pity on him; but kill both men and women, children and nursing infants, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys.’” 4So Saul summoned the troops and numbered them in Telaim: 200,000 foot soldiers and 10,000 men of Judah. 5Saul advanced to the city of Amalek and lay in wait in the valley. 6Then Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart, get down from among the Amalekites, or else I may destroy you with them—for you showed kindness to all Bnei-Yisrael when they came up from Egypt.” So the Kenites withdrew from among the Amalekites. 7Then Saul struck down the Amalekites from Havilah until you come to Shur, which is close to Egypt. 8He captured King Agag of Amalek alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9But Saul and the people spared Agag as well as the best of the sheep, the cattle, even the fatlings and the lambs, and all that was good, since they were not willing to utterly destroy them; everything that was worthless and feeble, they destroyed completely. 10Then the word of Adonai came to Samuel saying: 11“I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me and has not carried out My commands.” So Samuel was troubled and cried out to Adonai all night long. 12Then Samuel rose early in the morning to confront Saul. But it was reported to Samuel saying, “Saul went to Carmel—for some reason, he erected a monument for himself. Then he turned and went down to Gilgal.” 13Now when Samuel reached Saul, Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of Adonai! I have carried out Adonai’s command.” 14But Samuel said, “Then what is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?” 15“They brought them from the Amalekites,” Saul replied, “for the people spared the best of the sheep and oxen to sacrifice to Adonai your God—but the rest we have utterly destroyed.” 16“Stop!” Samuel said to Saul. “Let me tell you what Adonai said to me last night.” “Say on,” he said. 17Then Samuel said, “Isn’t it true, though you were insignificant in your own eyes, that you were made head of the tribes of Israel? Adonai anointed you king over Israel! 18Then Adonai sent you on a mission and said: ‘Go and utterly destroy the Amalekites, the sinners, and wage war against them until you annihilate them.’ 19Why then did you not obey the voice of Adonai, but rushed greedily onto the spoil—doing what was evil in Adonai’s eyes?” 20“But I did obey the voice of Adonai,” Saul said to Samuel. “I went on the mission on which Adonai sent me, and brought back Agag the king of Amalek—and utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen—the best of what was under the ban of destruction— to sacrifice to Adonai your God in Gilgal.” 22Samuel said: “Does Adonai delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of Adonai? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay heed than the fat of rams. 23For rebellion is like the sin of divination and stubbornness is like iniquity and idolatry. Since you have rejected Adonai’s word, He has also rejected you as king.” 24Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned! For I have transgressed against the word of Adonai and your words—because I feared the people and listened to their voice. 25So now, please pardon my sin and return with me, that I may worship Adonai.” 26But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of Adonai, and Adonai has rejected you as king over Israel.” 27As Samuel turned about to go, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore. 28Then Samuel said to him, “Adonai has torn the kingship over Israel from you today and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you. 29Moreover, the Eternal Glory of Israel does not lie or change His mind. For He is not human that He should change His mind.” 30Then Saul said, “I have sinned! But please, honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me until I bow in worship to Adonai your God.” 31So Samuel returned after Saul, and Saul bowed in worship to Adonai. 32Then Samuel said, “Bring me Agag the king of Amalek.” Agag approached him in chains, thinking, “Surely bitter death has turned back.” 33Then Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so will your mother be childless among women.” Then Samuel cut Agag into pieces before Adonai in Gilgal. 34Samuel then went to Ramah, while Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. 35Samuel never did see Saul again until the day of his death. Yet Samuel mourned over Saul, while Adonai regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.

–from 1 Samuel 15

God desires obedience over sacrifice! Will you reject the Word of God? Will you run that risk? So let’s hear what God is saying to us and let’s get it done! God’s character is perfect! He says what He will do and He keeps His promises! You can trust Him at His Word! You can live aligned with Him and know that you have nothing to worry about because He is faithful!

Success can be your hardest challenge if you aren’t able to stay humble and submit to God! Success can be your hardest challenge if you start to believe it happened because of you!
Success can be your hardest challenge if you start to think you can do the rest on your own!

If you abuse it, you will lose it! Consider how Saul lost it and it was given over to David! God’s not interested in your appearance! God’s not interested in your strength! God’s not interested in how smart you are! God’s interested on what’s on the inside – what’s in your heart! God’s desire that you have a heart after His own plans, desires, purposes, and heart. Will you allow the Holy Spirit of God to rule your life? Will you ask the Holy Spirit to come in and lead and guide your every step? Will you ask the Holy Spirit to grant you wisdom and discernment so that you will walk in the ways of God? Imagine what God can do or could do with someone who would align with and have a heart after God! Would you ever want to lose that and have to live without the peace of God that goes beyond all understanding? Would you ever give up that peace for the tormenting that is the alternative?

Let’s continue as David comes into the picture…

Samuel Anoints David

1Now Adonai said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse the Beth-lehemite, for I have selected for Myself a king among his sons.” 2But Samuel replied, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” Adonai said, “Take a heifer with you and say: ‘I have come to sacrifice to Adonai.’ 3Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will let you know what you are to do. You will anoint for Me whom I tell you.” 4So Samuel did what Adonai said and went to Beth-lehem. The elders of the town came out to meet him trembling, and asked, “Do you come in shalom?” 5“In shalom,” he said. “I have come to sacrifice to Adonai. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” He also consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. 6Upon their arrival, he saw Eliab and thought, “Surely, Adonai’s anointed one is before Him.” 7But Adonai said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have already refused him. For He does not see a man as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but Adonai looks into the heart.” 8Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. But he said, “Neither has Adonai chosen this one.” 9Then Jesse made Shammah pass by and again he said, “Neither has Adonai chosen this one.” 10Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “Adonai has not chosen any of these.” 11Then Samuel asked Jesse, “Are these all the boys you have?” “There’s still the youngest,” he replied. But right now, he’s tending the sheep.” “Send and bring him,” Samuel said to Jesse, “for we will not sit down until he comes here.” 12So he sent word and had him come. Now he was ruddy-cheeked, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. Then Adonai said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is the one.” 13So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. From that day on Ruach Adonai came mightily upon David. Then Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.

David Soothes Saul’s Torment

14Now the Ruach Adonai had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from Adonai terrified him. 15So Saul’s courtiers said to him, “Behold now, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16Let our lord now command your courtiers in your service to search for a man who is a skillful player on the harp. Then whenever the evil spirit from God comes on you, he will play with his instrument and you will feel better.” 17So Saul said to his courtiers, “Find me someone who can play well and bring him to me.” 18One of the young men answered and said, “I have seen a son of Jesse the Beth-lehemite who is skillful in playing music. He is a mighty man of valor, a warrior, prudent in speech, a handsome man, and Adonai is with him.” 19So Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the flock.” 20So Jesse took a donkey, loaded it with bread, a bottle of wine and a young goat, and sent them with his son David to Saul. 21Then David came to Saul and became one of his attendants. Saul loved him greatly, so David became his armor-bearer. 22Then Saul sent word to Jesse saying, “Let David now keep attending me, for he has found favor in my eyes.” 23It came to pass, whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand. So Saul would find relief and feel better, as the evil spirit departed from him.

–from 1 Samuel 16

So, do you trust Him? Do you really trust Him? Do your words point to the fact that you trust Him? Do your actions point to the fact that you trust Him? Does your life speak to the truth of your trust in Him? How is your life difference because you are able to trust Him? Does it make you live in a way that others are able to tell there is a difference? Put your trust in God! Live it out with Him! Can you live outside the ways of man where you have to see it to believe it? Can you believe God’s Word and God’s character without seeing it? Can you live a God centered life rather than going the way of man? Can you live a life where God’s character isn’t in question but rather it is trusted to the point where it makes a difference in how you live your life? So many want to be able to define right and wrong for themselves. So many want to live life with what seems right in their own lives. Do you see the impact it is having on society? Let’s not lose hope! Let’s not lose faith! Let’s put our trust fully in God and try to allow others into the reality of God and His plans, purposes, and ways  for them in their lives! Let’s be God’s hands extended into this dark world! Let’s be the salt and the light that God has called us out to be! Let’s answer the call and share it with the world! That in and through it all, God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Healing Those who Trust

1When He came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him.
2And a man with tza’arat came to Him and bowed down before Him, saying, “Master, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
3Yeshua stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing. Be cleansed.” Immediately his tza’arat was cleansed.
4And Yeshua said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go show yourself to the kohen and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
5Now when Yeshua came into Capernaum, a centurion came begging for help.
6“Master,” he said, “my servant is lying at home paralyzed, horribly tormented.”
7Yeshua said to him, “I’ll come and heal him.”
8But the centurion said, “Master, I’m not worthy to have You come under my roof. But just say the word and my servant will be healed.
9For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”
10Now when Yeshua heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Amen, I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith!
11Moreover, I tell you that many will come from the east and the west, and they will recline at table with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
12But the sons of the kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness; in that place will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13Then Yeshua said to the centurion, “Go. As you have believed, let it be done for you.” And the servant was healed in that same hour.
14And when Yeshua came into Peter’s house, He saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying down, sick with a fever.
15Yeshua touched her hand, and the fever left her. Then she got up and began to take care of Him.
16When evening came, the people brought to Him many who were afflicted by demons. He forced out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick.
17So was fulfilled what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying, “He Himself took our sicknesses and carried away our diseases.”

Following the Call

18Now when Yeshua saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to go to the other side of the sea.
19Then a Torah scholar came to Him and said, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”
20Yeshua tells him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
21Then another of the disciples said, “Master, first let me go and bury my father.”
22But Yeshua tells him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Master of the Storm

23As He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him.
24Suddenly a great storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being covered by the waves. But Yeshua kept on sleeping.
25So they came and woke Him up, saying, “Master, save us! We’re perishing!”
26He said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became totally calm.
27The men were amazed, saying, “What kind of person is this? Even the winds and the sea obey Him!”

Freedom from Demons

28When He came to the other side, into the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-plagued men coming from the graveyard met Him. They were so violent that no one could pass by that way.
29And they screamed, “What’s between You and us, Ben-Elohim? Have You come here to torment us, before the appointed time?”
30Now a large herd of pigs was feeding some distance away from them.
31The demons kept begging Him, “If You drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
32And He told them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the cliff into the sea and drowned.
33The herdsmen ran away, went into the town, and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-plagued men.
34The whole town came out to meet Yeshua. And when they saw him, they begged Him to leave their region.

–from Matthew 8

 

 

 

Do you know where to turn when you realize you are lost?


Where will you turn for directions?  Where will you turn for hope? Where will you turn for instructions? Where will you go for help? How far off track do you have to go before you will stop? How long will it take you before you realize you have gotten out of alignment?

Today’s reading begins speaking to this area…

Sprouting of Aaron’s Rod

1Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 2“Speak to Bnei-Yisrael and get a rod from each ancestral house, twelve staffs in all, from each prince according to his ancestral household. Write each man’s name on his staff. 3Write Aaron’s name on Levi’s staff, for there is to be one staff for the prince of each tribe. 4Then you are to place them in the Tent of Meeting, before the Testimony, where I meet with you. 5It will come about that the staff of the man I choose will sprout. I will then rid Myself of the grumblings of Bnei-Yisrael, who are grumbling against you.” 6So Moses spoke to Bnei-Yisrael. Each of their princes gave him a staff, one staff for each prince according to their ancestral houses, twelve staffs in all, and Aaron’s staff was among them. 7Moses placed the staffs before Adonai in the Tent of Testimony. 8The next day, Moses entered the Tent of Testimony and behold, Aaron’s staff, from the house of Levi, had sprouted, blossomed, and produced almonds! 9Moses then brought all the staffs from Adonai’s Presence to all Bnei-Yisrael. They looked and each man took his staff. 10Adonai said to Moses, “Put Aaron’s staff back in front of the Testimony to keep as a sign to the sons of rebellion, so that it may put an end to their grumblings against Me, and so they will not die.” 11Moses did just as Adonai had commanded him. 12But Bnei-Yisrael said to Moses saying, “Look! We will die! We are all lost! We are lost! 13Anyone approaching the Tabernacle of Adonai will die! Must all of us die?”

–from Numbers 17

Will you be able to live selfless with each other? Will you be able to put others first? Will there be a mutual respect? Will there be a mutual agreement? Will you do unto others as you would want them to treat you? Do you have self-control? Will you be light to others? Will you live out a life that will transform others? Will you testify of God in how you live so that others may glorify God? Will you share the love of God with others by living a life that shows His hand working in and through you?

Kohen Duties and Portions

1Adonai said to Aaron, “You, your sons, and the house of your father with you will bear the guilt for the Sanctuary, and you and your sons will bear the guilt for your priesthood. 2Bring with you your brothers, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, so that they may join you and assist you, both you and your sons with you, before the Tent of the Testimony. 3They are to perform their duties for you and for all matters related to the Tent. They must not approach the implements of the Sanctuary or the altar—otherwise, both you and they will die. 4They are to team with you and attend to the Tent of Meeting, for all the service of the Tent. But no unauthorized person may intrude upon you. 5So you are to attend to the Sanctuary and the care of the altar, so no further wrath will fall on Bnei-Yisrael. 6“See, I have personally taken your kinsmen, the Levites, from among Bnei-Yisrael as a gift for you and your sons with you, dedicated to Adonai to serve in the work of the Tent of Meeting. 7But you and your sons with you are to maintain your priesthood for everything pertaining to the altar and inside the parokhet . I am giving you the ministry of the priesthood as a gift. Anyone unauthorized who approaches will die.” 8Adonai then said to Aaron, “See, I have given you charge over all My offerings. All the sacred things from Bnei-Yisrael I have given to you as set aside for you and your sons as a permanent share. 9You are to have the part of the most holy things that is kept from the fire. Whether grain, sin or guilt offerings that they bring to Me as most holy—they are for you and your sons. 10You are to eat it as most holy. Every male may eat it— it is set apart for you. 11This also is yours: the gift of the wave offerings of Bnei-Yisrael. I have given all the wave offerings as a permanent share to you, your sons and your daughters. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it. 12All the finest olive oil, the finest new wine and grain they give to Adonai from their firstfruits, I have given them to you. 13All the firstfruits of the land that they bring to Adonai will be for yours. Anyone who is clean in your house may eat it. 14Every devoted thing in Israel is yours. 15The first offspring of the womb from all flesh, whether human or animal, offered to Adonai, is yours. However, you are to redeem the firstborn of man and the firstborn of unclean animals. 16When they are a month old, you are to redeem them at the redemption price of five shekels of silver by the Sanctuary shekel, or 20 gerahs. 17But the firstborn of the ox, sheep or goat you are not to redeem. They are holy. You are to sprinkle their blood on the altar, and their fat you are to burn as a fire offering, a pleasing aroma to Adonai. 18Their meat—the breast of the wave offering and the right thigh—is yours. 19Whatever is set aside from the holy offerings which Bnei-Yisrael present to Adonai, I have given to you, your sons and your daughters with you as a permanent share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before Adonai for you and your offspring.” 20Adonai said to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land nor share among them. I am your portion and your share among Bnei-Yisrael. 21See, I have given all the tithes in Israel to the sons of Levi as an inheritance in return for all the work of the service they are doing in the Tent of Meeting. 22From now on, Bnei-Yisrael must never trespass the Tent of Meeting, or they will bear the consequences of their sin and die. 23The Levites will perform the service of the Tent of Meeting. They will bear the responsibility for their iniquity. It is a permanent ordinance throughout your generations. So among Bnei-Yisrael they are to receive no inheritance. 24For I have given the tithes that Bnei-Yisrael present to Adonai as an offering to the Levites as an inheritance. That is why I said they would receive no inheritance among Bnei-Yisrael.”

25Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 26“Speak now to the Levites and say to them: When you receive from Bnei-Yisrael the tithe which I have given to you as your inheritance, you are then to offer to Adonai a tithe of that tithe. 27Your offering will be reckoned as grain from the threshing floor or the fullness of the winepress. 28Thus you will also present an offering to Adonai from all your tithes that you receive from Bnei-Yisrael, and from that you are to give Adonai’s portion to Aaron the kohen. 29From all your gifts that you receive, you are to present the best and holiest from them as Adonai’s portion. 30“Say to them: When you present the best part, it will be reckoned to the Levites as the produce of the threshing floor and of the winepress. 31You and your household may eat it in any place. It is your wage for your service in the Tent of Meeting. 32“In presenting the best part in this manner, you will bear no guilt in these matters. You will not defile the holy things of Bnei-Yisrael, so you will not die.”

–from Numbers 18

The answer is God! We need to turn to Jesus and ask Him for wisdom and direction! We need to give up what we have to God and allow Him to use it! God is able to take the little you have and multiply it for a greater good. Consider the lady with a handful of flour and a little bit of olive oil! Consider the lady with the little bit of oil! Consider the boy with the fish and loaves! Consider the impact it had when it was given over for the work of God! Feeling lost? Turn to God!

God Is the Strength of My Heart

1A psalm of Asaph. Surely God is good to Israel, to the pure in heart. 2But as for me, my feet almost slipped. My steps nearly slid out from under me. 3For I envied the arrogant, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4For there are no pains at their death, their body is healthy. 5They have none of humanity’s trouble, nor are they plagued like others. 6Therefore, they put on pride as a necklace, and violence wraps around them like a garment. 7Their eyes bulge out from fatness. The imaginations of their hearts run wild. 8They scoff and wickedly plan evil. From on high they threaten. 9They set their mouth against heaven. Their tongue struts through the earth. 10Therefore His people return here, while they drink their fill. 11So they say: “How does God know? And does Elyon have knowledge?” 12Behold, such are the wicked— always at ease and amassing wealth. 13Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure, and washed my hands in innocence. 14For all day I have been stricken, my chastisement comes every morning. 15If I had said: “I will speak thus,” surely I would have betrayed a generation of Your children. 16But when I tried to make sense of this, it was troubling in my eyes— 17until I entered the Sanctuary of God, and perceived their end. 18Surely You put them in slippery places. You hurled them down to destruction. 19How suddenly they became a ruin— terminated, consumed by terrors. 20Like a dream when one awakes, thus when You arise, my Lord, You will despise their form. 21When my heart was embittered and I was pierced in my heart, 22I was brutish and ignorant. I was like a beast before You. 23Yet I am continually with You. You hold my right hand. 24You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory. 25Whom have I in heaven but You? On earth there is none I desire besides You. 26My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27For behold, those far from You will perish. You put an end to all who like a harlot are unfaithful to You. 28But for me, it is good to be near God. I have made my Lord Adonai my refuge. So I will tell of all Your works.

–from Psalms 73

Let’s live more interested in building up than puffing up! Let’s live by love rather than knowledge!

Concerning Idol Sacrifices

1Now concerning idol sacrifices, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2If anyone thinks he knows anything, he doesn’t yet know as he ought to know. 3But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him. 4Therefore concerning the eating of idol sacrifices, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no God but one. 5For even if there are so-called “gods,” whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Yeshua the Messiah, through whom are all things, and we exist through Him. 7But that knowledge is not in everyone—some, so accustomed to idols up until now, eat food as an idol sacrifice; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8But food will not bring us before God. We are no worse off if we do not eat and no better off if we do eat. 9But watch out that this freedom of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10For suppose someone sees you—who have this knowledge—dining in an idol’s temple. If his conscience is weak, won’t he be emboldened to eat idol sacrifices? 11For the one who is weak is destroyed by your knowledge—the brother for whom Messiah died. 12In this way, when you sin against the brothers and sisters and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Messiah. 13For this reason, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I do not cause my brother to stumble.

–from 1 Corinthians 8

Will you step out of your comfort zone and reach out a hand to help others? Will you answer the prompting of the Spirit? Will you say what He asks you to say? Will you do what He asks you to do? Will you turn to Him when you are lost?

 A Mitzvah on Shabbat

1Yeshua entered the synagogue again, and a man with a withered hand was there. 2Now some were carefully watching Him, to see if He would heal him on Shabbat, so that they might accuse Him. 3He said to the man with the withered hand, “Stand up here in the center.” 4Then He said to them, “Is it permitted on Shabbat to do good or to do evil, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5After looking around at them with anger, grieved by their hardness of heart, He says to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6The Pharisees went out right away with the Herodians and began plotting against Him, how they might destroy Him.

Crowds Clamor for Yeshua

7Yeshua withdrew to the sea with His disciples, and a large crowd from the Galilee followed. From Judea, 8and from Jerusalem, and from Idumea, and beyond the Jordan, and around Tyre and Sidon, a great number, hearing all He was doing, came to Him. 9He told His disciples to have a small boat ready for Him because of the crowd, so that they wouldn’t mob Him. 10For He had healed many, so that all those afflicted fell down before Him in order to touch Him. 11And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, would fall down before Him and cry out, “You are Ben-Elohim!” 12But Yeshua strictly ordered them not to make Him known.

Appointing the Twelve

13Now He climbs up on the mountain and calls those He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. 14He appointed twelve (whom He also named emissaries), so that they might be with Him and He might send them to proclaim the Good News, 15and to have power to drive out demons. 16And He appointed the Twelve: to Simon He gave the name Peter; 17to Jacob and his brother John, the sons of Zebedee, He gave the name Boanerges, which is Sons of Thunder; 18and Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, Jacob the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot; 19and Judah from Kriot, who also betrayed Him.

Binding the Strong Man

20Then He comes into a house, and again a crowd gathers so they couldn’t even eat. 21When His family heard about this, they went out to take hold of Him; for they were saying, “He’s out of His mind!” 22The Torah scholars who came down from Jerusalem said, “He’s possessed by beelzebul,” and, “By the ruler of demons He drives out demons.” 23He called them and began speaking to them in parables: “How can satan drive out satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26And if satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand but his end has come. 27“But no one can enter a strong man’s house to ransack his property, unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he will thoroughly plunder his house. 28Amen, I tell you, all things will be forgiven the sons of men, the sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29but whoever slanders the Ruach ha-Kodesh never has release, but is guilty of an eternal sin!” 30For they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

A Spiritual Family Begins

31Then His mother and brothers come. Standing outside, they sent word to Him, summoning Him. 32A crowd was sitting around Him, and they tell Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.” 33Answering them, He said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” 34Looking at those sitting in a circle around Him, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 35For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

–from Mark 3

 

 

 

 

It’s time to come home…


Have you wandered away? Have you walked away? Have you turned away? It doesn’t matter how far you have gone! It doesn’t matter what you have done! It’s time to come home! Don’t be afraid! Don’t be worried! Don’t be discouraged! Be humble! Be repentant! Come home with a heart in the right attitude.

Let’s consider the story of the Lost Son or also known as the Prodigal Son…

The Lost Son

11 Jesus went on to say, “There was once a man who had two sons.  12 The younger one said to him, ‘Father, give me my share of the property now.’ So the man divided his property between his two sons.  13 After a few days the younger son sold his part of the property and left home with the money. He went to a country far away, where he wasted his money in reckless living.  14 He spent everything he had. Then a severe famine spread over that country, and he was left without a thing.  15 So he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him out to his farm to take care of the pigs.  16 He wished he could fill himself with the bean pods the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything to eat.  17 At last he came to his senses and said, ‘All my father’s hired workers have more than they can eat, and here I am about to starve!  18 I will get up and go to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against God and against you.  19 I am no longer fit to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired workers.”’  20 So he got up and started back to his father.
“He was still a long way from home when his father saw him; his heart was filled with pity, and he ran, threw his arms around his son, and kissed him.  21 ‘Father,’ the son said, ‘I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son.’  22 But the father called to his servants. ‘Hurry!’ he said. ‘Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet.  23 Then go and get the prize calf and kill it, and let us celebrate with a feast!  24 For this son of mine was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.’ And so the feasting began.
25 “In the meantime the older son was out in the field. On his way back, when he came close to the house, he heard the music and dancing.  26 So he called one of the servants and asked him, ‘What’s going on?’  27 ‘Your brother has come back home,’ the servant answered, ‘and your father has killed the prize calf, because he got him back safe and sound.’  28 The older brother was so angry that he would not go into the house; so his father came out and begged him to come in.  29 But he spoke back to his father, ‘Look, all these years I have worked for you like a slave, and I have never disobeyed your orders. What have you given me? Not even a goat for me to have a feast with my friends!  30 But this son of yours wasted all your property on prostitutes, and when he comes back home, you kill the prize calf for him!’  31 ‘My son,’ the father answered, ‘you are always here with me, and everything I have is yours.  32 But we had to celebrate and be happy, because your brother was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.’”
–from Luke 15:11-32
God wants you to come home! God’s just like that dad who was waiting and watching hoping that one day you will come home! When you do, there will be so much rejoicing on earth and in heaven because you chose to come home! There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Will you come  home? Will you turn back? Will you realize how far you have gone and come back home? As is always the case, we have freewill to choose! Is today the day you will choose to come home?
Today’s reading speaks about when God calls Israel to come home…

Israel’s Return Home

1The Lord says, “The time is coming when I will be the God of all the tribes of Israel, and they will be my people. 2In the desert I showed mercy to those people who had escaped death. When the people of Israel longed for rest, 3I appeared to them from far away. People of Israel, I have always loved you, so I continue to show you my constant love. 4Once again I will rebuild you. Once again you will take up your tambourines and dance joyfully. 5Once again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria, and those who plant them will eat what the vineyards produce. 6Yes, the time is coming when sentries will call out on the hills of Ephraim, ‘Let’s go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.’” 7The Lord says, “Sing with joy for Israel, the greatest of the nations. Sing your song of praise, ‘The Lord has saved his people; he has rescued all who are left.’ 8I will bring them from the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. The blind and the lame will come with them, pregnant women and those about to give birth. They will come back a great nation. 9My people will return weeping, praying as I lead them back. I will guide them to streams of water, on a smooth road where they will not stumble. I am like a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my oldest son.” 10The Lord says, “Nations, listen to me and proclaim my words on the far-off shores. I scattered my people, but I will gather them and guard them as a shepherd guards his flock. 11I have set Israel’s people free and have saved them from a mighty nation. 12They will come and sing for joy on Mount Zion and be delighted with my gifts—gifts of grain and wine and olive oil, gifts of sheep and cattle. They will be like a well-watered garden; they will have everything they need. 13Then the young women will dance and be happy, and men, young and old, will rejoice. I will comfort them and turn their mourning into joy, their sorrow into gladness. 14I will fill the priests with the richest food and satisfy all the needs of my people. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

The Lord’s Mercy on Israel

15The Lord says, “A sound is heard in Ramah, the sound of bitter weeping. Rachel is crying for her children; they are gone, and she refuses to be comforted. 16Stop your crying and wipe away your tears. All that you have done for your children will not go unrewarded; they will return from the enemy’s land. 17There is hope for your future; your children will come back home. I, the Lord, have spoken. 18“I hear the people of Israel say in grief, ‘Lord, we were like an untamed animal, but you taught us to obey. Bring us back; we are ready to return to you, the Lord our God. 19We turned away from you, but soon we wanted to return. After you had punished us, we hung our heads in grief. We were ashamed and disgraced because we sinned when we were young.’ 20“Israel, you are my dearest child, the one I love best. Whenever I mention your name, I think of you with love. My heart goes out to you; I will be merciful. 21Set up signs and mark the road; find again the way by which you left. Come back, people of Israel, come home to the towns you left. 22How long will you hesitate, faithless people? I have created something new and different, as different as a woman protecting a man.”

The Future Prosperity of God’s People

23The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says, “When I restore the people to their land, they will once again say in the land of Judah and in its towns, ‘May the Lord bless the sacred hill of Jerusalem, the holy place where he lives.’ 24People will live in Judah and in all its towns, and there will be farmers, and shepherds with their flocks. 25I will refresh those who are weary and will satisfy with food everyone who is weak from hunger. 26So then, people will say, ‘I went to sleep and woke up refreshed.’ 27“I, the Lord, say that the time is coming when I will fill the land of Israel and Judah with people and animals. 28And just as I took care to uproot, to pull down, to overthrow, to destroy, and to demolish them, so I will take care to plant them and to build them up. 29 When that time comes, people will no longer say, ‘The parents ate the sour grapes, But the children got the sour taste.’ 30Instead, those who eat sour grapes will have their own teeth set on edge; and everyone will die because of their own sin.” 31 The Lord says, “The time is coming when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt. Although I was like a husband to them, they did not keep that covenant. 33 The new covenant that I will make with the people of Israel will be this: I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 None of them will have to teach a neighbor to know the Lord, because all will know me, from the least to the greatest. I will forgive their sins and I will no longer remember their wrongs. I, the Lord, have spoken.” 35The Lord provides the sun for light by day, the moon and the stars to shine at night. He stirs up the sea and makes it roar; his name is the Lord Almighty. 36He promises that as long as the natural order lasts, so long will Israel be a nation. 37If one day the sky could be measured and the foundations of the earth explored, only then would he reject the people of Israel because of all they have done. The Lord has spoken. 38“The time is coming,” says the Lord, “when all of Jerusalem will be rebuilt as my city, from Hananel Tower west to the Corner Gate. 39And the boundary line will continue from there on the west to the hill of Gareb and then around to Goah. 40The entire valley, where the dead are buried and garbage is dumped, and all the fields above Kidron Brook as far as the Horse Gate to the east, will be sacred to me. The city will never again be torn down or destroyed.”
–from Jeremiah 31

Don’t lose hope! Don’t consider it lost! Don’t give up! LOVE!


Today is a new day! Today will have its new opportunities! Take on today prepared for whatever it will bring! Get setup! Get ready! Fill up your tank before you get started so that you are filled to overflowing and can not only have a great day but also make today a great day for others! Don’t let the news get you down! Remember that the battle has already been won! Don’t give up in sharing the good news! Don’t give in because of how things look around you!

This is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s put on the full armor of God and be ready!

Let’s consider the sadness, the loss, the despair felt by the people when Lazarus dies and was put into the tomb. Consider how final that seemed to them. But that wasn’t the end of the story! And neither is any setback or loss we face! We know that Christ has already won the victory! We know that in the end times when Jesus comes back, that He wins! So we have reason for the hope that is within us! We have a reason to celebrate the life we have and the life we live, no matter what is taking place in and around us!

Today’s reading speaks to the resurrection power of Jesus! He is able to bring back to life things we think or thought were dead!

Lazarus Is Brought to Life

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

–from John 11

Today where are you at? Don’t give up hope, rather turn to God and give your cares to Him! Cast your cares upon the Lord because He cares for you and He will take care of them! Don’t allow what is taking place around you to keep you from being filled with the joy of the Lord, for the joy of the Lord will be your strength!

Whose rules will you follow? There is one set that will keep you on the narrow road! Don’t allow fear or doubt to rob you of your peace! Don’t allow them to take you off course! Instead, let’s pursue the will of God and do what He asks! Love Him with all our hearts, all our minds, all our strength, and all our soul! Let’s love others as we love ourselves! All the other laws are covered within these two!

Courage before God

19This, then, is how we will know that we belong to the truth; this is how we will be confident in God’s presence. 20If our conscience condemns us, we know that God is greater than our conscience and that he knows everything. 21And so, my dear friends, if our conscience does not condemn us, we have courage in God’s presence. 22We receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23What he commands is that we believe in his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as Christ commanded us. 24Those who obey God’s commands live in union with God and God lives in union with them. And because of the Spirit that God has given us we know that God lives in union with us.

–from 1 John 3

Fear Not! Don’t worry! Trust God! Just Believe! No matter what is going on around you, put your trust in God! Stay connected to Him and His Word! You can count on God’s Word! He knows what He is doing and His timing is perfect! We all need Jesus! It is only because of Jesus that we can walk without fear and trembling! We have all missed the mark, but we are saved by grace through faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Without Him we are wandering, lost in the wilderness, not sure what to do or where to go.

The Second Dialogue (15.1—21.34)

Eliphaz

1-2Empty words, Job! Empty words! 3No one who is wise would talk the way you do or defend himself with such meaningless words. 4If you had your way, no one would fear God; no one would pray to him. 5Your wickedness is evident by what you say; you are trying to hide behind clever words. 6There is no need for me to condemn you; you are condemned by every word you speak. 7Do you think you were the first person born? Were you there when God made the mountains? 8Did you overhear the plans God made? Does human wisdom belong to you alone? 9There is nothing you know that we don’t know. 10We learned our wisdom from gray-haired people—those born before your father. 11God offers you comfort; why still reject it? We have spoken for him with calm, even words. 12But you are excited and glare at us in anger. 13You are angry with God and denounce him. 14Can any human being be really pure? Can anyone be right with God? 15Why, God does not trust even his angels; even they are not pure in his sight. 16And we drink evil as if it were water; yes, we are corrupt; we are worthless.

–from Job 15