Category Archives: Morning Bible Reading…

Where will you turn for wisdom?


In a situation where it feels too big or bigger than you thought? In a situation where you need help or wisdom? In a situation where you need answers? In a situation where you aren’t sure where to turn? Do you need to see it to believe it? Can you believe it without seeing it? So what are you going to do about it? Where will you turn for wisdom?

Today’s reading continues with Samson…

Riddle of the Lion

1Then Samson went down to Timnah and eyed in Timnah a woman, one of the daughters of the Philistines. 2So he came back and told his father and mother saying, “I have seen a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines. So now get her for me as a wife.” 3Then his father and his mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your kinsmen, or among all our people, that you are going to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is the right one in my eyes.” 4But his father and mother did not know that it was of Adonai, for He was seeking a pretext against the Philistines. For at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel. 5While his father and mother went down to Timnah, Samson went to the vineyards of Timnah, and behold, a young lion came roaring at him. 6Then the Ruach Adonai came mightily upon him, and he tore him apart as one would have split a young goat—yet he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. 7So he went down and talked with the woman, and she looked right in Samson’s eyes. 8After a while he returned to get her, but turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion; and behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass of the lion. 9So he scraped it into his hands and went on, eating as he went. Now when he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them and they ate it, though he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey from the carcass of the lion. 10Then his father went down to the woman, and Samson made a banquet there, for so the young men used to do. 11Now it came to pass, when they saw him, they brought 30 companions to be with him. 12Then Samson said to them, “Let me now propose a riddle to you. If you can indeed solve it for me during the seven days of the banquet, and figure it out, then I will give you 30 linen garments and 30 changes of clothes; 13but if you cannot solve it for me, then you must give me 30 linen garments and 30 changes of clothes.” “Propose your riddle,” they said to him. “Let’s hear it!” 14So he said to them, “Out of the eater came forth food, out of the strong came forth sweet.” But for three days they could not solve the riddle. 15Now on the seventh day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax your husband so that he will explain the riddle to us—or else we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us?” 16So Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “You only hate me! You don’t love me! You proposed a riddle to the sons of my people—yet you haven’t explained it to me!” “Look,” he said, “I haven’t explained it to my father or my mother, so should I explain it to you?” 17But she wept before him the seven days while their banquet lasted. So it was on the seventh day he told her, because she nagged him. Then she told the riddle to the sons of her people. 18So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day, before the sun went down, “What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?” But he responded to them, “If you hadn’t plowed with my heifer, you wouldn’t have solved my riddle.” 19Then the Ruach Adonai came mightily upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed 30 of their men, took their spoil, and gave the changes of clothes to those who solved the riddle. Since his rage was burning, he went up to his father’s house. 20But Samson’s wife was given to his companion who had been his best man.

–from Judges 14

Beware of temptation! Leave the honey alone! Don’t cheat! Don’t trick! Don’t lie! Do you really want to deal with the wrath of an injured man?  a hurt man? a cheated man?

Victory with a Jawbone

1But after a while, during the time of wheat harvest, Samson visited his wife with a young goat. “I am going to my wife in her room,” he said. But her father would not let him enter. 2“I thought for sure you had utterly hated her,” her father said, “so I gave her to your best man. Her younger sister—isn’t she better than her? Please, let her be yours instead.” 3Then Samson said to them, “This time I am blameless from the Philistines when I do harm to them.” 4So Samson went and caught 300 foxes, and took torches, turned the foxes tail to tail and put one torch between every two tails. 5Then he set fire to the torches and released them into the standing grain of the Philistines, Thus he burned up both the stacks and the standing grain, along with vineyards and olive trees. 6Then the Philistines asked, “Who did this?” They were told, “Samson, son-in-law of the Timnite, because he took his wife and gave her to his best man.” So the Philistines came up and burnt her and her father with fire. 7Then Samson said to them, “Since you have acted like this, surely I will take revenge on you—after that I will quit.” 8So he struck them leg upon thigh with a great slaughter. Then he went down and stayed in the cleft of the rock of Etam. 9Then the Philistines went up and camped in Judah and spread out in Lehi. 10The men of Judah asked, “Why have you marched against us?” They replied, “We have come to arrest Samson—to do to him as he did to us.” 11Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Don’t you realize that the Philistines are ruling over us? So what is this that you have done to us?” He said to them, “As they did to me, so I have done to them.” 12“We have come down to bind you,” they said to him, “so that we may hand you over to the Philistines.” So Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you yourselves won’t kill me.” 13“No, we won’t kill you,” they said to him, “but we will bind you fast and hand you over to them.” So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock. 14When he arrived at Lehi, the Philistines shouted upon meeting him. But the Ruach Adonai came mightily upon him so that the ropes that were on his arms became like flax burned with fire and his bonds melted off his wrists. 15Then he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached out and took it, and killed a thousand men with it. 16Then Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, a heap … two heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey I struck down a thousand men.” 17As soon as he had finished speaking, he threw the jawbone from his hand. Then he named that place Ramat-lehi. 18Then he became very thirsty, so he called to Adonai and said, “You have granted this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant. So now, will I die of thirst and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?” 19But God split the hollow place that is in Lehi, and water came out of it. When he drank, he regained his strength and revived. Therefore he called it En-hakkore, which is in Lehi to this day. 20Then he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines for 20 years.

–from Judges 15

Can you trust them? Can they trust you? What will come of it? Consider your thoughts! Consider your actions! Consider the response or repercussions! Do you really want to tease? Do you really want to trick? What will that cause? Will you walk in the power of the Spirit or will you try to go it in your own strength? Do you realize the difference? Do you realize the risk? Do you realize the consequences? What are you going to do about it?

Delilah Betrays Samson

1Once Samson went to Gaza and eyed a prostitute there, so he went to her. 2The Gazites were told, “Samson has come here.” So they surrounded him, lay in ambush for him all night at the gate of the city, and kept quiet all night saying, “When morning light comes, then we kill him.” 3But Samson lay in bed till midnight, got up at midnight, grabbed the doors of the city gate along with the two gateposts and pulled them up bar and all. Then he put them on his shoulders and carried them up to the top of the mountain that is near Hebron. 4It came about afterward that he fell in love with a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5So the Philistine lords came up to her and said to her, “Coax him, see where his great strength comes from and by what we may overpower him, so we may bind him to subdue him—then we’ll each of us give you 1,100 pieces of silver.” 6So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me please, where does your great strength come from? How could you be bound to subdue you?” 7Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh cords that have never been dried, then I would be weak and be like any other man.” 8So the Philistine lords brought up to her seven fresh cords that had never been dried, and she bound him with them, 9while an ambush was waiting in an inner room. “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” she said to him. But he broke the cords just as a strand of straw snaps when it touches fire. So his strength remained unknown. 10Delilah said to Samson, “Oh, you deceived me! You lied to me! Now tell me please, how you can be bound?” 11He told her, “If they only bind me with new ropes never used for work, then I will be weak and be like any other man.” 12So Delilah took new ropes, tied him up with them and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” Yet while the ambush was waiting in the inner room, he snapped them from his arms like a thread. 13So Delilah said to Samson, “Up to now you’ve mocked me and told me lies! Tell me how you can be bound!” He told her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web of a loom.” 14So she pinned it with a pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled away the pin of the loom and the web. 15“How can you say, ‘I love you,’” she said to him, “when your heart is not with me? This is three times you’ve deceived me and not told me where your great strength comes from.” 16Now it came about when she nagged him daily with her speeches and kept bothering him, his soul was annoyed to death. 17So he divulged to her all his heart and said to her, “No razor has ever been upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will go from me, and I will be weak and be like any other man.” 18Now when Delilah realized that he had confided to her all his heart, she sent and called for the Philistine lords saying, “Come up this time, for he has told me all his heart.” So the Philistine lords came up to her and brought the silver in their hand. 19Then she made him sleep upon her knees, and she called for a man and had the seven locks of his head shaved off. She even began to humiliate him while his strength departed from him. 20Then she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” When he awoke from his sleep, he thought, “I’ll go out as at other times, and shake myself off.” He did not comprehend that Adonai had departed from him. 21Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes. They brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he became a grinder in the prison. 22However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it was shaved off.

Samson Avenged

23Now the Philistine lords gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, as they said, “Our god has given our enemy Samson into our hand.” 24When the people saw him, they praised their god, as they said, “Our god has given into our hand our enemy and the destroyer of our country, who has slain many of us.” 25Now it came about when their hearts were merry that they said, “Call for Samson, that he may amuse us.” So they called for Samson from the prison, and he did make them laugh, when they made him stand between the pillars. 26Then Samson said to the lad that held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the temple rests, so I may lean on them.” 27Now the temple was full of men and women. All the Philistine lords were there and about 3,000 men and women on the roof looking on while Samson was amusing them. 28Then Samson called out to Adonai and said, “My Lord Adonai, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, so that I may this once take revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29Then Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the temple rested and leaned on them, one with his right hand and the other with his left. 30Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” He bent with all his might so that the temple fell on the lords and on all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed during his life. 31Then his kinsmen and all his father’s household came down, lifted him, brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. For he had judged Israel 20 years.

–from Judges 16

What is your part in God’s plan? What’s your purpose in God’s plan? What is your calling?

Is your focus on the now and the temporary? Is your focus on the future and the eternal?

Greetings

1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the community of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah: 2Grace to you and shalom from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah!

Troubles From an Eternal Perspective

3We ought to always thank God for you, brothers and sisters, as is appropriate, because your faithfulness grows wonderfully, and the love of each one of you for one another continually increases. 4Therefore, we ourselves boast of you among the communities of God—about your perseverance and faithfulness through all the persecutions and troubles that you endure. 5This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, so that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. ( 6For after all, it is right in the sight of God to pay back trouble to those who trouble you, 7and relief to you who suffer trouble along with us. At the revelation of the Lord Yeshua from heaven with His mighty angels 8in flaming fire, He will command judgment on those who do not know God and do not heed the Good News of our Lord Yeshua. 9They will pay the price of eternal ruin, away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power— 10on that Day when He comes to be glorified among His kedoshim and marveled at by all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.) 11With this in mind, we pray for you constantly, that our God may consider you worthy of the calling and fulfill with power every good desire and work of faith, 12so the name of our Lord Yeshua may be glorified in you, and you in Him, in keeping with the grace of our God and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah.

–from 2 Thessalonians 1

Yes, things are looking tough and out of place! Yes, things are looking that they are spiraling out of control! But don’t lose hope and don’t lose faith, put your trust in God! We live by faith and not by sight! Let’s believe what God says rather than worry because of what we are seeing! Where does your hope come from? As for me and my house, our hope comes from the Lord!

The Man of Lawlessness

1Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, concerning the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah and our gathering together to Him, 2not to get shaken out of your mind or disturbed—either by a spirit or a word or a letter as if through us—as though the Day of the Lord has come. 3Let no one deceive you in any way, for the Day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the one destined to be destroyed. 4He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in the Temple of God, proclaiming himself that he is God. 5Don’t you remember that when I was still with you I was telling you these things? 6And you know what now holds back, for him to be revealed in his own time. 7For the mystery of lawlessness is already operating; only there is one who holds back just now, until he is taken out of the way. 8Then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Yeshua will slay him with the breath of His mouth and wipe him out with the appearance of His coming. 9The coming of the lawless one is connected to the activity of satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10and with every kind of wicked deception toward those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11For this reason God sends them a delusional force, to lead them to believe what is false, 12so that they may be judged—all those who did not believe the truth but delighted in wickedness.

Firstfruits of Salvation

13But we should always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits for salvation through sanctification by the Ruach and belief in the truth. 14He called you to this salvation through our proclaiming the Good News, for you to gain the glory of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 15So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold on to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by our letter. 16Now may our Lord Yeshua the Messiah Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, 17comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good deed and word.

–from 2 Thessalonians 2

Your past doesn’t have to define your future!


What you’ve gone through, what you’ve experience, how you were treated, who you were, where you’ve been – those are behind you. Yes they shaped you, but they don’t have to define you and your future! Those things people have said about you aren’t what you have to be or become! We all get to choose! We all have choice! The main reason is God’s plans for us is good! God is good and God is love! So we have to choose who we will be be. If we were good or thought we were and then had an encounter with Jesus that transformed us just like Paul. If we weren’t so good and got into trouble and then had an encounter with Jesus that transformed us. Where are you at right now? How will you choose to finish this race called life? Will you choose good? Will you choose faith? Will you choose obedience? Will you choose to finish strong? Your past doesn’t have to define your future!

Today’s reading gets us started in the book of Judges…

Jephthah’s Valor and Vow

1Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, but he was son of a prostitute, while Gilead was Jephthah’s father. 2But Gilead’s wife bore him sons, and when the wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You won’t inherit in our father’s house, for you are a son of another woman.” 3Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob. Some worthless fellows joined with Jephthah and went out with him. 4Now it came about after a while that the children of Ammon fought with Israel. 5When the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6They said to Jephthah, “Come and be our chief, so we may fight the children of Ammon.” 7Jephthah then said to the elders of Gilead, “Didn’t you hate me and drive me out of my father’s house? So why are you coming to me now that you’re in trouble?” 8“Here is why we’re now turning to you,” the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah. “Come with us, fight the children of Ammon, and then you will become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” 9So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you take me back home to fight the children of Ammon, and Adonai gives them over to me, I should become your head!” 10The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “Let Adonai be witness between us if we don’t do as you say.” 11Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and chief over them, after Jephthah repeated all his terms before Adonai at Mizpah. 12Then Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the children of Ammon saying, “What have you to do with me, that you have come to me to make war on my land?” 13The king of the children of Ammon answered the messengers of Jephthah, “Because Israel took away my land, when they came up from Egypt, from the Arnon to the Jabbok as far as the Jordan. Now therefore, return them peaceably.” 14But Jephthah sent messengers again to the king of the children of Ammon, 15and said to him, “Thus says Jephthah, ‘Israel did not take away the land of Moab or the land of the children of Ammon. 16For upon departing from Egypt, Israel traveled through the wilderness to the Sea of Reeds and came to Kadesh, 17then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom saying, “Please, let me pass through your land,” but the king of Edom would not consent. Similarly he sent word to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel, after staying at Kadesh, 18traveled through the wilderness, around the land of Edom and the land of Moab, came to the east side of the land of Moab and they camped on the other side of the Arnon. But they did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the border of Moab. 19Then Israel sent messengers to King Sihon of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, “Please, let us pass through your land to my place.” 20But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory. So Sihon gathered all his troops, camped in Jahaz and fought against Israel. 21But Adonai God of Israel gave Sihon and all his troops into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them. So Israel took possession of all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. 22Thus they possessed all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok, and from the wilderness as far as the Jordan. 23So now Adonai God of Israel dispossessed the Amorites from before His people Israel. So should you possess their land? 24Don’t you possess what Chemosh your god gives you to possess? Likewise, whatever Adonai our God has dispossessed from before us, this we will possess. 25Besides, are you any better than Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them? 26While Israel was living in Heshbon and its villages, in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities on both sides of the Arnon for 300 years, why didn’t you try to recover them all that time? 27So I myself have not transgressed against you, yet you are doing me harm by waging war against me. May Adonai, the Judge, judge today between Bnei-Yisrael and the children of Ammon.’” 28However, the king of the children of Ammon paid no attention to the words of Jephthah that he sent him. 29Then the Ruach Adonai came upon Jephthah, so he marched through Gilead and Manasseh, and passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he crossed over to the children of Ammon. 30Then Jephthah vowed a vow to Adonai and said, “If You will indeed give the children of Ammon into my hand, 31then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return safely from the children of Ammon, it will be Adonai’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” 32So Jephthah crossed over to the children of Ammon to fight against them, and Adonai gave them into his hand. 33So he utterly defeated them from Aroer until you come to Minnith—20 towns—and as far as Abel-cheramim. So the children of Ammon were subdued before Bnei-Yisrael. 34Now when Jephthah arrived at his home in Mizpah, behold, his daughter was coming out to meet him with tambourines and with dances. Now she was his only child. Besides her he had no son or daughter. 35Upon seeing her, he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You made me bow down in grief—you’ve made me miserable! For I have opened my mouth to Adonai, and I cannot take it back.” 36“My father, you have opened your mouth to Adonai,” she said to him. “Do to me what proceeded from your mouth—since Adonai brought vengeance on your enemies, the children of Ammon.” 37She said further to her father, “Let this thing be done for me. Let me be alone two months, so that I may go on the mountains and mourn my virginity, I and my companions.” 38“Go!” he said. So he sent her away for two months. So she left, she and her companions, and mourned on the mountains because of her virginity. 39Then at the end of two months she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow he had made—so she was never intimate with a man. So it became a custom in Israel, 40that the daughters of Israel would go annually to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.

–from Judges 11

Be careful what you say! Be careful what you promise! Make sure you are good to your word! Don’t lie! Don’t make promises you can’t keep! Don’t make promises you won’t keep! Consider your words carefully before you say them for you need to consider what could and would be rather than just jumping into it and getting put into a situation or position you may regret. We all get to choose if we will be faithful or not! We all get to choose if we will be obedient or not! So let’s choose life and life to the full! Let’s choose integrity and honesty! Let’s choose faith and obedience!

1Then the men of Ephraim were summoned and crossed over to Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, “Why did you cross over to fight against the children of Ammon without calling us to go with you? We will burn your house over you with fire.” 2So Jephthah responded to them, “I and my people were in a bitter conflict with the children of Ammon, yet when I called you, you didn’t deliver me from their hand. 3So when I saw that you weren’t going to deliver, I put my life in my hand and crossed over against the children of Ammon, and Adonai gave them into my hand. So why have you come up to me today, to fight me?” 4Then Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought Ephraim. The men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, because they said, “You Gileadites are just fugitives of Ephraim in the midst of Ephraim and in the midst of Manasseh.” 5The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan opposite Ephraim. So when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead would ask him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” 6then they would say to him, “Say now, ‘Shibboleth,’” and he said “Sibboleth” since he could not pronounce it right, then they would seize him and slay him at the fords of the Jordan. At that time 42,000 of Ephraim fell. 7Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in one of the towns of Gilead. 8After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. 9Now he had 30 sons, and 30 daughters—he sent them outside and brought in 30 girls from outside for his sons. He judged Israel seven years, 10then Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem. 11Then after him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel. He judged Israel ten years, 12then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun. 13After him Abdon son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel. 14He had 40 sons and 30 grandsons who rode on 70 donkeys, and he judged Israel eight years. 15Then Abdon son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.

–from Judges 12

Take a look at the world around you. Consider the roller coaster of life. The ups! The Downs! The twists! The turns! The loops! The good! The bad! The pattern seems to be turning to God and turning away from God! Where are you at? Have you chosen to follow God? Have you had a divine appointment that has changed your life and started your relationship Jesus? Take a look around you. Do you see where the people around you are heading? Your neighbors? Your town or city? Your state or province? Your country? What are the politicians doing? What the people doing? What are the judges doing? What are the leaders doing? Do we need a revival? Is your place in a revival? Are you desiring a revival where you are at? Will you be called to a higher standard? Will you live to that calling? Will you be obedient to the point of setting in a motion a legacy?

Birth of Samson

1Bnei-Yisrael again did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, and Adonai gave them into the hand of the Philistines for 40 years. 2Now there was a certain man from Zorah, from a Danite clan, whose name was Manoah. His wife was barren and bore no children. 3Then the angel of Adonai appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold now, you are barren and have not borne children, but you will conceive and bear a son. 4Now therefore be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. 5For behold, you will conceive and bear a son. Let no razor come upon his head, for the boy will be a Nazirite to God from the womb. He will begin to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” 6Then the woman came and told her husband saying, “A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome! But I did not ask him where he was from, nor did he tell me his name. 7He said to me, ‘Behold, you will conceive and bear a son. So, drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child will be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.” 8Then Manoah entreated Adonai and said, “My Lord, please let the man of God whom You have sent come to us again and teach us what we will do for the boy to be born.” 9God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she was sitting in the field, but her husband Manoah was not with her. 10So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, and said to him, “Look, the man that came to me the other day has appeared to me!” 11So Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he asked him, “Are you the one who spoke to the woman?” “I am,” he said. 12Then Manoah said, “Now may your words come about! What will be the child’s rule and his mission?” 13The angel of Adonai said to Manoah, “Let the woman abstain from all that I mentioned to her. 14She should not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, or drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. She must observe all that I commanded her.” 15Then Manoah said to the angel of Adonai, “Please, let us detain you so that we may prepare a young goat for you.” 16But the angel of Adonai said to Manoah, “If you could detain me, I would not eat your food. But if you present a burnt offering, then offer it to Adonai.” For Manoah did not realize that he was the angel of Adonai. 17Then Manoah asked the angel of Adonai, “What is your name, so that when your words come to pass we may honor you?” 18But the angel of Adonai said to him, “Why do you ask for my name? It is wonderful.” 19Manoah took the young goat with the meal offering and offered them on the rock to Adonai, and He did something wonderful as Manoah and his wife were watching. 20For it came about when the flame went up from off the altar toward heaven that the angel of Adonai ascended in the flame of the altar. Manoah and his wife were looking on, then they fell on their faces to the ground. 21But the angel of Adonai appeared no more to Manoah or to his wife. Then Manoah realized that he was the angel of Adonai. 22Manoah said to his wife, “We will surely die, because we have seen God.” 23But his wife said to him, “If Adonai had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a meal offering from our hand, nor would He have shown us all these things or let us hear such things as these at this time.” 24Then the woman bore a son, and called his name Samson. So the boy grew up and Adonai blessed him. 25The Ruach Adonai began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

–from Judges 13

Oh how will you make a difference. What will it take for you to listen and obey? Is today your day? As we move forward today, let’s walk trusting in God! As we move forward today, let’s walk in obedience to God’s calling! As we move forward today, let’s use our words wisely! As we move forward today, let’s be encouragers! As we move forward today, let’s correct those who need discipline! As we move forward today, let’s comfort the fainthearted! As we move forward today, let’s help the weak! As we move forward today, let’s be patient with everyone! As we move forward today, let’s pursue what is good for one another and for all! Rejoice always, pray constantly, in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Jesus! Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophetic messages, but test all things, hold fast to what is good, keep away from every kind of evil.

Keep Watch for the Day of the Lord

1Now concerning the times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. 2For you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night. 3When they are saying, “Shalom and safety,” sudden destruction comes upon them like a woman having birth pains in the womb—there is no way they will escape. 4But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the dark, so that the Day might overtake you like a thief. 5For you all are sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night or of darkness— 6so then, let us not sleep as the others do, but let us remain on the alert and sober-minded. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night; and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8But since we are of the day, let us be sober-minded—putting on the breastplate of faithfulness and love, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9For God did not destine us for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 10He died for us so that, whether we may be awake or asleep, we may live together with Him. 11Therefore encourage one another and build each other up—just as you in fact are doing.

Instructions for Community Life

12Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to recognize those who work hard among you and are over you in the Lord and correct you, 13and to esteem them beyond all measure in love because of their work. Keep shalom among yourselves. 14We urge you, brothers and sisters, correct the unruly, comfort the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15See that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. 16Rejoice always, 17pray constantly, 18in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Messiah Yeshua. 19Do not quench the Spirit, 20do not despise prophetic messages, 21but test all things, hold fast to what is good, 22keep away from every kind of evil. 23Now may the God of shalom Himself make you completely holy; and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept complete, blameless at the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 24Faithful is the One who calls you—and He will make it happen!

Closing Greetings

25Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26Greet all the brothers and sisters with a holy kiss. 27I charge you under oath, by the Lord, that this letter be read to all the brothers and sisters. 28The grace of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah be with you.

–from 1 Thessalonians 5

 

Whose side are you on?


Everyday we are faced with choices. Everyday we choose. Are you consistent? Are you aligned? Are you moving forward? Are you moving back? Are you moving to the left? Are you moving to the right? Whose side are you on? What is driving your decisions and direction?

Today’s reading starts in the book of Judges…

Bloodshed of Abimelech and Shechem

1Now Abimelech son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem, to his mother’s brothers, and spoke to them and the whole clan of his mother’s father’s household saying, 2“Speak now, in the ears of all the leaders of Shechem: Which is better for you, that 70 men—all the sons of Jerubbaal—rule over you, or that a single man rules over you? Remember also that I am your flesh and bone.” 3When his mother’s brothers discussed all these words of his in the ears of all Shechem’s leaders, their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is our brother.” 4So they gave him 70 pieces of silver from the temple of Baal-berith. Abimelech then hired idle and reckless fellows, who followed him. 5Then he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and slew his brothers, the sons of Jerubbaal, 70 men, on top of one stone. But Jotam, the youngest son of Jerubbaal, survived, for he hid himself. 6Then all the leaders of Shechem and all Beth-millo assembled themselves together and went and made Abimelech king at the terebinth of the pillar that was in Shechem. 7Now when they told Jotam, he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, lifted up his voice, called out and said to them, “Listen to me, O lords of Shechem, that God may listen to you! 8Once the trees set out to anoint a king over them. So they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’ 9But the olive tree said to them, ‘Should I stop yielding my oil, that honors God and man, and go wave over the trees?’ 10Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 11But the fig tree said to them, ‘Should I stop yielding my sweetness and my delicious fruit, and go wave over the trees?’ 12So the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 13But the vine said to them, ‘Should I stop yielding my new wine, which cheers God and man, and go wave over the trees?’ 14Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 15And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If you truly are going to anoint me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shadow; but if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’ 16“So now, if you have acted in truth and integrity by making Abimelech king, and if you have dealt kindly with Jerubbaal and his household, and have done for him as he deserved— 17for my father fought for you, and risked his life and delivered you from the hand of Midian, 18but you have risen up against my father’s household today and have slain his sons—70 men on one stone—and have made Abimelech, son of his maidservant, king over the lords of Shechem just because he is your brother— 19if you then have dealt in truth and integrity with Jerubbaal and with his household today, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you. 20But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech and devour the lords of Shechem and Beth-millo, and let fire come out from the lords of Shechem and from Beth-millo and devour Abimelech!” 21Then Jotam ran away and fled, and went to Beer and remained there because of his brother Abimelech. 22After Abimelech had ruled over Israel for three years, 23God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the lords of Shechem. So the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech— 24in order that the violence done to Jerubbaal’s 70 sons might come due, so their blood might be laid on their brother Abimelech who slew them, and on the lords of Shechem who strengthened his hands to slay his brothers. 25So the lords of Shechem set up ambushers on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed anyone who passed by them along that road. So it was reported to Abimelech. 26Now Gaal son of Ebed had come with his relatives and moved to Shechem, and the lords of Shechem put their trust in him. 27When they went out into the field, they gathered grapes of their vineyards, trod them and had a party. Then they went into the house of their god, ate and drank, and cursed Abimelech. 28Then Gaal son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Isn’t he the son of Jerubbaal? Isn’t Zebul his deputy? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem—but why should we serve him? 29Now, if this people were under my hand, then I would get rid of Abimelech.” So he said to Abimelech, “Muster your army and come out!” 30When Zebul the governor of the city heard the words of Gaal son of Ebed, his anger burned. 31So he sent messengers to Abimelech in deceit saying, “Watch out, Gaal son of Ebed and his relatives have moved to Shechem, and look, they are inciting the city against you. 32So now, arise by night, you and the people who are with you, and lie in wait in the field. 33So it will be in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, you will rise early and advance on the city; and behold, when he and the people who are with him come out against you, then you should do to them whatever your hand finds.” 34So Abimelech and all the people who were with him rose up by night and lay in wait against Shechem in four columns. 35Now Gaal son of Ebed went out and stood at the entrance of the city gate. Then Abimelech and the people who were with him emerged from the ambush. 36When Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, “Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains!” But Zebul said to him, “You’re seeing the shadow of the mountains as if they were men.” 37Then Gaal spoke up again and said, “Look, people are coming down from the middle of the land, and one column is coming by the road of the Diviner’s Oak.” 38Then Zebul said to him, “Where is your mouth now? With it you said, ‘Who is Abimelech that we should serve him?’ Isn’t this the people that you have trashed? Now go out and fight him!” 39So Gaal went out ahead of the lords of Shechem and fought with Abimelech. 40But Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and many fell wounded up to the entrance of the gate. 41While Abimelech stayed in Arumah, Zebul drove Gaal and his relatives out so that they could not stay in Shechem. 42Now it came to pass the next day that the people went out into the field, and it was reported to Abimelech. 43So he took his people, divided them into three columns, and lay in ambush in the field. When he looked and saw the people were coming out of the city, he pounced on them and struck them down. 44Then Abimelech and the column that was with him rushed forward and stood at the entrance of the city gate, and the other two columns rushed on all who were in the open field and struck them down. 45So Abimelech fought against the city all that day, captured the city and killed the people that were in it. Then he razed the city and sowed it with salt. 46Now when all the lords of Shechem’s Tower heard about it, they went into the vault of the temple of El-berith. 47When Abimelech was told that all the lords of Shechem’s Tower had gathered there, 48he and all the people with him went up to Mount Zalmon. Then Abimelech took an axe in his hand and cut down a branch from the trees and lifted it up and laid it on his shoulder. Then he said to the people who were with him, “What you’ve seen me do, hurry and do likewise.” 49So all the people likewise each cut down his branch and followed Abimelech. He laid them against the vault and set the vault on fire over them. So all the people of Shechem’s Tower also died—about a thousand men and women. 50Then Abimelech went to Thebez, camped against Thebez and captured it. 51But there was a strong tower in the center of the city, and all the men and women with all the city leaders fled there and shut themselves in, and went up to the roof of the tower. 52So Abimelech came to the tower and fought against it, and approached the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 53But a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head and crushed his skull. 54Then he called quickly to the young man, his armor-bearer, and said to him, “Draw your sword and kill me, lest they say of me, ‘A woman slew him.’” So his young man thrust him through, and he died. 55So when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they each departed to his place. 56Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech—what he had done to his father by slaying his 70 brothers. 57Also all the wickedness of the men of Shechem God requited on their heads. Thus on them came the curse of Jotam son of Jerubbaal.

–from Judges 9

Every action will trigger a reaction! So consider what you will do and get wisdom to ensure you are going in the right direction. Do you need someone to be the guard or the judge to help you stay aligned? Can you manage yourself and keep yourself from swaying away from the truth? Will you remember to turn back to God who is faithful and just? Will allow Him to be the standard bearer for you? When He corrects, He doesn’t destroy, He cleanses!

Troubles in Gilead

1After Abimelech, Tola son of Puah son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, arose to deliver Israel. He dwelt in Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim. 2He judged Israel for 23 years, then died and was buried in Shamir. 3After him Jair the Gileadite arose, and judged Israel for 23 years. 4He had 30 sons who rode on 30 donkeys and had 30 towns in the land of Gilead, which are called Jair’s Villages to this day. 5Then Jair died and was buried in Kamon. 6Then Bnei-Yisrael again did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes. They worshipped the Baalim, the Ashtaroth, gods of Aram, gods of Zidon, gods of Moab, gods of the children of Ammon and gods of the Philistines. They abandoned Adonai and did not worship Him. 7So Adonai’s anger burned against Israel, and He sold them over into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the children of Ammon. 8They shattered and crushed Bnei-Yisrael that year—for 18 years all Bnei-Yisrael who were beyond the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead. 9Then the children of Ammon also crossed over the Jordan to fight against Judah, Benjamin and the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was greatly distressed. 10Then Bnei-Yisrael cried out to Adonai saying, “We have sinned against You, for we have forsaken our God and have worshipped the Baalim.” 11So Adonai said to Bnei-Yisrael, “Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the children of Ammon, the Philistines, 12the Zidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites who oppressed you? When you cried out to Me, I delivered you from their hand. 13Yet you have forsaken Me and worshipped other gods; therefore I will deliver you no more. 14Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your distress.” 15Then Bnei-Yisrael said to Adonai, “We have sinned. Do to us whatever seems good to You, but please, deliver us this day.” 16Then they removed the foreign gods from among them, and worshipped Adonai. So His soul could not bear the misery of Israel. 17Then the children of Ammon were summoned and camped in Gilead. Bnei-Yisrael gathered together and camped in Mizpah. 18The people of the princes of Gilead said one to another, “Whoever begins to fight against the children of Ammon will be chief over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”

–from Judges 10

Where are you at today? Need help? Cry out to God! Ask Jesus to come into your heart! As God to forgive you! Ask Him to help you! Ask with all of your heart, mind, and soul! Turn back to Him!

Let’s fight the good fight! Let’s not give up! Let’s stand firm putting on the full armor of God! Let’s love! Let’s be faithful! Let’s be just! Let’s be imitators of Jesus so that our lives will point others to Him!

1So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind alone in Athens. 2We sent Timothy, our brother and co-worker for God in proclaiming the Good News of Messiah, in order to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3so that no one would be shaken by these afflictions. For you yourselves know we are destined for this. 4For even when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer persecution— just as has happened, as you know. 5For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faithfulness, for fear that the tempter had tempted you and that our labor might be in vain. 6But now that Timothy has come to us from you and brought us the good news of your faithfulness and love, and that you always have good memories of us, longing to see us just as we long to see you— 7because of this, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and trouble, we were comforted about you by your faithfulness. 8For now we live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9For what thanks would be enough to offer to God, in return for all the joy we feel before our God because of you? 10Night time and day time we keep praying more than ever to see you face to face, and mend any shortcomings in your faith.

Thanks, Joy, and Love Before God

11Now may our God and Father Himself and Yeshua our Lord direct our way to you. 12May the Lord also cause you to increase and overflow in love for one another and for all people, just as we also do for you, 13in order to strengthen your hearts as blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Yeshua with all His kedoshim. Amen.

–from 1 Thessalonians 3

Let’s allow God to direct our path! Let’s listen to the still quiet voice that is the Holy Spirit who is our comforter and our guide! Let’s not go it our own way but rather go it God’s way! There is truth! There is right and wrong! There is a difference! And the way we choose to live makes a difference not only for ourselves but also those around us! So let’s live a life set apart, different from what the world is proclaiming and live the life that God created us and wants us to live!

Walking in Sanctification

1Finally then, brothers and sisters, we ask you and appeal in the Lord Yeshua—just as you received from us the way you ought to walk and please God (as in fact you are walking)—that you keep progressing more and more. 2For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Yeshua. 3For this is the will of God—your sanctification: to abstain from sexual immorality; 4to know, each of you, how to gain control over his own body in holiness and honor— 5not in the passion of lust like the pagans who do not know God; 6and not to overstep his brother and take advantage of him in this matter— because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, as we told you before and solemnly warned you. 7For God did not call us to impurity, but in holiness. 8Consequently, the one who rejects this is not rejecting man, but God, who gives His Ruach ha-Kodesh to you. 9Now concerning brotherly love, you have no need for anyone to write you—for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another. 10In fact, you even practice it toward all your brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to keep progressing more and more 11and aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, just as we directed you— 12so you may behave properly toward outsiders and not have need of anything.

The Shofar Call of Messiah’s Return

13Now we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest who have no hope. 14For if we believe that Yeshua died and rose again, so with Him God will also bring those who have fallen asleep in Yeshua. 15For this we tell you, by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall in no way precede those who are asleep. 16For the Lord Himself shall come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the blast of God’s shofar, and the dead in Messiah shall rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left behind, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air—and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.

–from 1 Thessalonians 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you know what it will take to get it done?


Do you have enough? Do you have too much? Do you know how? Do you know who? Do you have a criteria? Do you have a model? Do you have instructions? Do you have a plan?

Consider what it will take to get it done God’s way. Consider the faith it will take to let it go and do it God’s way. Consider the fact that it’s not all about you and what you can do, but rather it’s all about God and how He wants to do it and how it will glorify Him. It’s not all about pumping you us, it’s about showing people God’s power and love and faithfulness! Listen to God’s direction so that you will be encouraged to do what He is calling you to do!

Let’s first start by taking a look into today’s reading and how God works in and through Gideon…

1Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him, rose up early and camped beside En-harod, while the camp of Midian was north of them, by Gibeath-moreh, in the valley. 2But Adonai said to Gideon, “Too many are the people who are with you, for Me to give the Midianites into their hand. Otherwise Israel would glorify itself against Me saying, ‘My own hand has delivered me.’ 3So now, make proclamation in the ears of the people saying, ‘Whoever is afraid or anxious may turn back and leave from Mount Gilead.’” So 22,000 people turned back, while ten thousand remained. 4But Adonai said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Now it will be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This will go with you,’ he will go with you, but anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one will not go with you,’ he will not go.” 5So he brought the troops down to the water, and Adonai said to Gideon, “You are to set apart everyone who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, and everyone who bows down on his knees to drink.” 6Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people bowed down on their knees to drink water. 7Then Adonai said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will deliver you and give the Midianites into your hand. So let all the other people go, every man to his place.” 8So the 300 took provisions and their shofarot in their hands. He sent all the other men of Israel each to his tent, but he kept the 300 men. Now the camp of Midian was below him in the valley. 9It came to pass the same night that Adonai said to him, “Arise, get down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand. 10But if you are afraid to go down, first go down to the camp with your attendant Purah. 11Then you will hear what they are saying, and after that your hands will be strengthened to attack the camp.” So he went down with his attendant Purah to an outpost of the army that was in camp. 12Now the Midianites, the Amalekites and all the people of the east were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were countless, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. 13Yet when Gideon came, behold, there was a man relating a dream to his fellow, saying, “Listen, I just now had a dream: there was a loaf of barley bread that came tumbling into the camp of Midian, came up to a tent and struck it so it fell, and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.” 14His companion answered and said, “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, a man of Israel—God has delivered Midian and all the camp into his hand!” 15Now when Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. Then he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise! For Adonai has given into your hand the camp of Midian.” 16Then he divided the 300 men into three columns, and he put into the hands of all of them shofarot and empty pitchers, with torches inside the pitchers. 17Then he said to them, “Watch me and do likewise. So behold, when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do just as I do. 18When I and all that are with me blow the shofar, then you also blow the shofarot all around the camp, and say, ‘For Adonai and for Gideon!’” 19So Gideon and the 300 men who were with him came up to the outermost part of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just posted the watch. Then they blew the shofarot and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands. 20When the three columns blew the shofarot and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the shofarot in their right hands to blow, and they shouted, “A sword for Adonai and for Gideon!” 21Each one stood in his place around the camp, and then the entire army ran, shouting as they fled. 22Now when they blew the 300 shofarot, Adonai set every man’s sword against his fellow throughout the entire army. So the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath. 23Then men of Israel were summoned from Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh, and they pursued Midian. 24Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim saying, “Come down against Midian and seize the waters down to Beth-barah, all along the Jordan.” So all the men of Ephraim were summoned and took control of the waterside as far as Beth-barah by the Jordan. 25Then they captured the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb; they slew Oreb at the Rock of Oreb and they slew Zeeb at the Winepress of Zeeb. They kept pursuing Midian, and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon from across the Jordan.

–from Judges 7

It’s not by might! It’s not by strength! It’s not by numbers! It’s by faith! It’s by obedience! Then we will see the glory of God and how He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine! The battle belongs to the Lord! Victory is the Lord’s!

Ever been criticized for not doing it the way others expected? Ever been criticized because you didn’t do it someone else’s way? Ever been criticized because the way you approached something? Ever been criticized even though you won?

Gideon did too, let’s see how this took place as we continue into today’s reading…

Gideon’s Victories, Ephod and Death

1Now the men of Ephraim said to him, “What is this thing you have done to us, not calling us when you went to fight against Midian?” So they criticized him sharply. 2But he said to them, “What have I now done compared to you? Is not the gleaning of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? 3God has given into your hand the princes of Midian—Oreb and Zeeb—so what was I able to do compared to you?” Their anger with him subsided after he said this. 4Then Gideon reached the Jordan and crossed over. He and the 300 men with him were exhausted, yet still pursuing. 5He said to the men of Succoth, “Please, give loaves of bread to the people on foot with me, for they are exhausted, and I am chasing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” 6But the officials of Succoth said, “Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand? So why we should give bread to your army?” 7Gideon replied, “Therefore when Adonai delivers Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will thresh your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and briers.” 8From there he went up to Penuel and spoke to them similarly, but the men of Penuel answered him just as the men of Succoth had answered. 9So he spoke also to the men of Penuel saying, “When I come back safely, I will tear down this tower.” 10Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and with them their armies of about 15,000 men, all who were left of all the army of the people of the east—the fallen were 120,000 swordsmen. 11Now Gideon went up by the road of the tent dwellers on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and ambushed the camp when it was off guard. 12When Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued them and captured the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and routed the whole army. 13Gideon son of Joash returned from the battle by the Ascent of Heres. 14He captured a boy from the people of Succoth and questioned him, so he wrote down for him the officials of Succoth and its elders—77 men. 15When he came to the men of Succoth, he said, “Behold Zebah and Zalmunna—about whom you mocked me saying, ‘Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand? Why should we give bread to your exhausted men?’” 16Then he seized the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he punished the men of Succoth. 17He also tore down the tower of Penuel and slew the men of the city. 18Then he asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?” “As you are, so they were,” they answered. “Each one looked like the children of a king.” 19“They were my brothers, the sons of my mother,” he said. “As Adonai lives, if only you had let them live, I would not kill you.” 20Then he said to Jeter his first-born, “Arise, kill them!” But the boy could not draw his sword, for he was afraid, since he was still a youth. 21Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise up yourself and fall on us—for as the man is, so is his strength.” So Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments that were on their camels’ necks. 22Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son, and your grandson as well. For you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.” 23But Gideon replied to them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. Adonai alone will rule over you.” 24Yet Gideon said to them, “I would make a request of you, that you would give me every man an earring from his spoil.” (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) 25“We’ll certainly give them!” they replied. So they spread out a robe, and each one of them threw an earring from his spoil. 26So the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold—besides the crescent ornaments, the pendants and the purple robes that were on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were on their camels’ necks. 27Gideon made it into an ephod, and put it in his town Ophrah. But all Israel prostituted themselves after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his household. 28So Midian was subdued before Bnei-Yisrael, and they lifted up their heads no more. The land had tranquility for 40 years in the days of Gideon. 29Jerubbaal son of Joash went and lived in his own house. 30Now Gideon had 70 sons of his own issue, for he had many wives. 31Also his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son—he called his name Abimelech. 32Then Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age, and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. 33But it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that Bnei-Yisrael again prostituted themselves after the Baalim, and made Baal-berith their god. 34So Bnei-Yisrael did not remember Adonai their God, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side. 35Nor did they show kindness to the household of Jerubbaal, namely Gideon, in accord with all the goodness which he had done for Israel.

–from Judges 8

So why do you do what you do? So what is your motivation? So where do you point people in your walk? Where do you point people when it comes to your victories? Do you take it or do you point people to God? God is so good! God is so faithful! Even when we are weak, we need convincing, we need hope, we need encouragement, we need strength, we need courage, we need… God is faithful! God made a promise to Abraham and has kept and is continuing to keep His word! So how will we take the promises He has given us? Will we walk with Him? Will we turn back to Him when we stumble? Let’s walk with God! Let’s receive His grace! Let’s do it His way!

Consider what would Jesus do! Let’s be imitators! Let’s be ambassadors! Let’s make a difference in this world around us!

Greetings

1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the community of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah: Grace to you and shalom.

Good News with Power

2We always give thanks to God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers—continually 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadiness of hope in our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 4We know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that you are chosen, 5because our Good News did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Ruach ha-Kodesh and with complete certainty—just as you know what kind of men we proved to be while among you for your sake. 6You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having accepted the message in much tribulation, with the joy of the Ruach ha-Kodesh. 7So you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8For the word of the Lord rang out from you—not just in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faithfulness toward God has gone out, so that we have no need to say anything. 9For they themselves bring news about what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead—Yeshua, the One delivering us from the coming wrath.

–from 1 Thessalonians 1

Let’s aim for the goal! Let’s finish the race strong! Let’s live to glorify God in all we think, say, and do!

Let’s purpose to please God over pleasing people! Let’s make sure our motives are pure! Let’s be humble! Let’s be servant leaders! Let’s not allow pride to trip us up!

Cherishing Spiritual Children

1For you yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not in vain. 2On the contrary, after we had first suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to tell you the Good News of God—even in the midst of much opposition. 3For our urging is not out of deceit or impure motives or trickery. 4But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News, so we declare it—not pleasing men but rather God, who examines our hearts. 5For as you know and God is witness, we never came with a word of flattery or a motive of greed— 6or seeking glory from people, whether from you or from others, 7even though we could have thrown our weight around as emissaries of Messiah. Rather, we proved to be infants among you. Like a nursing mother cherishes her children, 8in this way we were yearning for you. We were delighted to share with you not only the Good News of God but also our very souls, because you had become dear to us. 9For you recall, brothers and sisters, our labor and hardship—working night and day, so as not to burden any of you while we proclaimed to you the Good News of God. 10You are witnesses, along with God, of how devoutly and righteously and blamelessly we behaved toward you who believe. 11For you know how, as a father with his own children, 12we exhorted and encouraged and urged each one of you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. 13For this reason, we also thank God constantly that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it truly is—the word of God, which does its work in you who believe. 14For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s communities in Messiah Yeshua that are in Judea—for you suffered the same things at the hands of your own countrymen as they did from the Judean leaders, 15who killed both the Lord Yeshua and the prophets and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God and hostile to all people, 16hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they might be saved. As a result, they constantly fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last.

Longing to Visit and Reassure

17But brothers and sisters, after we were orphaned by separation from you for a short time (in person, not in heart), we were all the more eager in our great longing to see you face to face. 18For we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, more than once—but satan thwarted us. 19For who is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Yeshua at His coming? Is it not you? 20For you are our glory and joy!

–from 1 Thessalonians 2

 

Do you realize how much you are needed?


God has a plan for you! God has a purpose for you! He has you right there, right now on purpose for a purpose! So…what are you going to do about it? What will you do with what God is calling you to do? Those around you need you to step up and step in! Those around you need you to speak up and speak out! Those around you need to see light and the spice of life! Those around you need hope and love and truth! What role will you play in the lives of God has brought into your life? Are you “too busy” and not reaching out? Are you “too busy” and not sharing God’s love? Are you “too busy” and missing out on many opportunities that are all around you? Do you realize how much you are needed?

Let’s start today’s reading and hear what God has to say in and through His Word…

Deborah’s Song

1Then Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang on that day saying: 2“When leaders take the lead in Israel, when people freely offer themselves, bless Adonai! 3Listen, O kings! Give ear, O rulers! I, to Adonai I will sing, I will sing praise to Adonai, the God of Israel. 4Adonai, when You came out from Seir, when You marched from Edom’s field, the earth trembled, the heavens also dropped, yes, the clouds dropped water. 5The mountains quaked before Adonai, this Sinai at the presence of Adonai, the God of Israel! 6In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the days of Yael, the highways were deserted, travelers walked by crooked paths. 7 Villages were deserted in Israel, deserted, until I, Deborah, arose, a mother in Israel arose. 8They chose new gods— then war was in the gates. No shield or spear was seen among 40,000 in Israel! 9My heart is with Israel’s rulers, who offer themselves freely among the people. Bless Adonai! 10Riders on white donkeys, sitting on saddle blankets, traveling on the road, sing! 11Louder than the sound of archers, at the watering places! There let them rehearse the righteous acts of Adonai, the righteous deeds for His villages in Israel. Then the people of Adonai went down to the gates. 12Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, utter a song! Arise, Barak, lead away your captives, O son of Abinoam! 13Then a remnant of nobles came down. Adonai’s people came down to me with the mighty ones. 14Those with root in Amalek are from Ephraim, following you, Benjamin, with your peoples. From Machir came down rulers, and from Zebulun wielding the marshal’s staff. 15Issachar’s chiefs were with Deborah. Issachar was with Barak. Into the valley they rushed at his heels. Among the divisions of Reuben there were great resolves of heart. 16Why did you stay in the sheepfolds— to hear the piping for the flocks? Among the clans of Reuben there was much searching of heart. 17Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan, and Dan, why did he stay by the ships? Asher sat at the seacoast, dwelling by its docks. 18Zebulun is a people who jeopardized their lives to death, and Naphtali also, on the heights of the battlefield. 19The kings came, they fought, then the kings of Canaan fought, at Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo, but they took no spoil of silver. 20From heaven, the stars fought, in their courses they fought Sisera. 21The Kishon torrent swept them away— that ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon! O my soul, march on with strength! 22Then the horses’ hooves beat from the dashing, the dashing of his mighty steeds. 23‘Curse Meroz!’ said the angel of Adonai, ‘Utterly curse its inhabitants, for they came not to the aid of Adonai, to the aid of Adonai among the mighty.’ 24Blessed above women is Yael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, above women in the tent is she blessed. 25 Water he asked, milk she gave him. In a lordly bowl she brought him butter. 26Her hand reached for the tent pin, her right hand to the workmen’s hammer, and with the hammer she struck Sisera, she smashed his head— yes, she crushed and pierced his temple. 27At her feet he collapsed, he fell, he lay. Between her feet he bowed, he fell. Where he bowed, there he fell dead. 28Through the window, Sisera’s mother looked out, through the lattice. and lamented shrilly: ‘Why does his chariot delay in coming? Why do the wheels of his chariots tarry?’ 29The wisest of her princesses answer her, yes, she repeats the words to herself: 30‘Are they not finding, dividing the spoil? A maiden, maidens for every warrior! To Sisera a spoil of dyed garments— a spoil of dyed garments of embroidery, double-dyed garments of embroidery for the necks of every spoiler!’ 31So let all Your enemies perish, Adonai! But may those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might.” Then the land had peace for 40 years.

–from Judges 5

Will you remember what God has done or will you forget and walk or slip away? Will you go about life His way or try to define your own version of truth? Will you risk the benefits and the blessings to lose it all and feel the pain that comes from walking away from God? Do you realize how much you are needed? Do you realize how important you are to God? Do you realize how important God is to your life? What will you do? Will you ride the rollercoaster of life on your own or will you go through it with God? Will you be in daily relationship with God or will you only turn to Him in times of trouble and need? What will it take for you to step up and step out to lead? I’ve heard it put this way that God doesn’t call the qualified but rather He qualifies the called! This reminds me of when God called me to step up to be president of a HOA and I kept coming up with reasons why I couldn’t, I shouldn’t, I wouldn’t. It came down to that final ultimatum and I didn’t want to end up being nothing. And it’s not about you, it’s about God working in and through you! It’s about giving Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name.

Midianite Oppression

1Then Bnei-Yisrael did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, so Adonai gave them into the hand of Midian for seven years. 2Midian maintained an upper hand over Israel, and because of Midian Bnei-Yisrael made themselves hideouts in the mountains—caves and strongholds. 3Whenever Israel had done their sowing, the Midianites, Amalekites and people from the east would come up and raid them. 4They would set up camp by them, destroy the produce of the land as far as Gaza, and leave nothing in Israel to live on—not a sheep, ox or donkey. 5For they would come up with their cattle and their tents, invade like a multitude of locusts. Both they and their camels were innumerable, and they would come to the land to ruin it. 6So Israel was brought very low because of Midian, and Bnei-Yisrael cried out to Adonai. 7Now it came about when Bnei-Yisrael cried out to Adonai because of Midian, 8that Adonai sent a prophet to Bnei-Yisrael, and he said to them, “Thus says Adonai, God of Israel, ‘It was I who brought you up from Egypt, and brought you out of the house of bondage. 9Then I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all your oppressors, and drove them out from before you and gave you their land. 10Then I said to you, “I am Adonai your God. You are not to fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are dwelling. But you have not obeyed My voice.’”

Calling of Gideon

11Then the angel of Adonai came and sat under the terebinth that was at Ophrah, that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress—in order to hide it from the Midianites. 12Then the angel of Adonai appeared to him and said to him, “Adonai is with you, O mighty man of valor.” 13But Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if Adonai is with us, then why has all this befallen us? So where are all His wonders that our fathers told us about saying ‘Didn’t Adonai bring us up from Egypt?’ But now Adonai has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14Then Adonai turned toward him and said, “Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have not I sent you?” 15Then he said to him, “Me, my Lord? With what would I deliver Israel? Look, my family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16But Adonai said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you will strike down Midian as if it were one man.” 17Then he said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your eyes, then please, show me a sign that it is really You talking with me. 18Please, don’t leave from here, until I come to You and bring out my offering and lay it before You.” So He said, “I will stay until you come back.” 19Then Gideon went in and prepared a kid and matzot from an ephah of flour. He put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, and brought them out to Him under the terebinth and presented them. 20Then the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the matzah and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” So he did so. 21Then the angel of Adonai put out the end of the staff that was in His hand and touched the meat and the matzah . Fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the matzah . Then the angel of Adonai vanished from his sight. 22When Gideon realized that He was the angel of Adonai, Gideon said, “Alas, my Lord Adonai! For I have seen the angel of Adonai face to face!” 23But Adonai said to him, “Shalom to you. Fear not, you will not die.” 24So Gideon built an altar there to Adonai and called it “Adonai-shalom.” To this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. 25Now it came to pass the same night that Adonai said to him, “Take the young bull that belongs to your father and a second bull of seven years old, pull down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father, cut down the Asherah that is beside it, 26build an altar to Adonai your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly manner, and take the second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah pole that you will cut down.” 27So Gideon took ten of his male servants and did as Adonai had spoken to him. But since he was too afraid of his father’s household and the townspeople to do it by day, he did it at night. 28Now when the townspeople arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, the Asherah pole that was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered up on the altar that was built. 29So they said one to another, “Who did this thing?” And when they inquired and asked around, they said: “Gideon son of Joash did this thing.” 30Then the townspeople said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, because he has broken down the altar of Baal, and even cut down the Asherah pole that was beside it.” 31But Joash said to all who stood against him, “So you’re going to defend Baal? You’re going to rescue him? Whoever defends him will be put to death in the morning! If he is a god, let him defend himself—since someone has broken down his altar.” 32So on that day he was called Jerubbaal saying, “Let Baal contend with him, since he broke down his altar.” 33Now all the Midianites, the Amalekites and the people of the east gathered together, crossed over and camped in the valley of Jezreel. 34But the Ruach Adonai clothed Gideon, and he blew the shofar, and Abiezer rallied behind him. 35Then he sent messengers throughout Manasseh, and they also rallied behind him.Then he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, and they came up to join them.

Signs of the Fleece

36Then Gideon said to God, “If You are going to deliver Israel by my hand, as You have spoken, 37see, I am putting a fleece of wool on the threshing-floor. If there is dew only on the fleece, and all the ground is dry, then I will know that You will deliver Israel by my hand, as You have spoken.” 38And it was so. When he rose up early next day, he squeezed the fleece and wrung dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. 39Then Gideon said to God, “Let not Your anger burn against me if I speak once more. Let me please test once more with the fleece—let it now be dry only on the fleece, but let there be dew over all the ground.” 40God did so that night, since it was dry only on the fleece, and there was dew over all the ground.

–from Judges 6

Trust God! Believe Him! Go about it His way! Don’t worry and don’t be afraid! God has a plan and His plan is good! God has a purpose and it is so much bigger than anything we can do on our own! Don’t lose hope! Have faith, trusting in Him, believing that He is good to His Word and faithful! So let’s walk in faith believing! So let’s walk in obedience to His plans! And let’s watch the blessings that will come from it!

How will it bless others? How will reveal God’s glory? How will it point people to the source of truth? People are watching you! They are looking to see how and what you will do in that very situation you are in! Will you be different from the others before you? Will you put first things first? Will you make a difference in the lives around you? Will you show and tell others how important they are? What will you do? How will you do it?

1Masters, give your slaves what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

Devote Yourselves to Prayer

2Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. 3At the same time, keep praying for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the message, to proclaim the mystery of Messiah—for which I am in prison. 4Pray that I may make the mystery clear, as I ought to speak. 5Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, to know how you ought to answer everyone.

Further Instructions and Greetings

7Tychicus—a dearly loved brother and trustworthy servant and fellow slave to the Lord—will tell you all the news about me. 8I sent him to you for this very purpose, so you may know about us and he may encourage your hearts. 9With him I sent Onesimus—a faithful and dear brother, who is one of your own. They will tell you about everything here. 10My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You received instructions about him—if he comes your way, welcome him.) 11Yeshua who is called Justus also sends his greetings. These are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God that are from among the circumcision—they have been a comfort to me. 12Epaphras, who is one of your own, a slave of Messiah Yeshua, greets you. He is always laboring in prayer on your behalf, so you may stand complete and fully assured about everything that is God’s will. 13For I testify that he has gone to much trouble for you and for those in Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14Luke, the dearly loved physician, sends you greetings, and so does Demas. 15Greet the brothers and sisters in Laodicea, as well as Nympha and the community that meets in her house. 16When this letter has been read among you, make sure that it is also read in Messiah’s community of Laodicea. In turn, you should read my letter coming from Laodicea. 17Tell Archippus, “See to it that you complete the service you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” 18This greeting is in my own hand—Paul’s. Remember my chains! Grace be with you.

–from Colossians 4