What do you do with new beginnings?


How do you handle the change? How do you prepare to start over? How do you close out the finish of the previous in order to move forward with the new?

As I ask all these questions, I think of the verse from 2 Corinthians 5:17 which says:

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

2 Corinthians 5:17

Be it a change in your physical, emotional, or spiritual life, how will you get started? Will you turn to the manual for life? Will you turn to God? Will you ask Jesus? Will you ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and direction? Will you ask the Holy Spirit for peace and comfort through the transition? Will you be rejuvenated and excited as you step up and step into this new season?


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

  • Nehemiah 7:5-73
  • Ezekiel 47:13-23
  • Ezekiel 48
  • Acts 24:10-27
  • Revelation 18:1-10
  • Psalms 139

Will you answer the call God puts on your life? Will you pursue the idea He gives you?

Consider the instructions He gives you to accomplish this task. Even if it seems larger than you are able, trust Him. Learn from experiences like the moments when I was given the options of doing what God said or be nothing and receive the call.

Receive what God has for you and what He has prepared in advance for you.

He has gone before us preparing in advance the good works He has for us to do.

He goes before us preparing a room in heaven for all of us who choose to receive the gift of grace through Jesus Christ.

Be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within you.

Be prepared to give an answer for the hope you have.

Be prepared to give an answer for the joy that is in you.

Submit to the authority put over you.

Serve others with the authority you have been given so as to be a servant leader following Jesus’s example.

Don’t be tempted into committing sin, resist the devil and He will flee.

God knows, so you can find rest in Him. Pursue Him and His will for you.


So where are you at today? 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:

Are you ready?


You’ve been through so much. You have pressed in and pressed on. You have persevered and been shaped and transformed. You have been able to consider it pure joy. You have been able to take heart. You have been able let go of the pain. You have been able to forgive. You have been able to let go of the persecution. You have made it to the new starting line. Are you ready for all you have been called to? Are you ready to step into what God has prepared and positioned and called you to? Are you prepared to lead? Are you prepared to be restored? Are you prepared for God’s provision? Are you prepared for prosperity? Are you ready to be …?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started with David after all the service, the running, the hiding, the battles, the pressure, the joys, the sorrows, no being anointed king in 2 Samuel 2…

‘After this, David asked the Lord , “Should I move back to one of the towns of Judah?” “Yes,” the Lord replied. Then David asked, “Which town should I go to?” “To Hebron,” the Lord answered. David’s two wives were Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel. So David and his wives and his men and their families all moved to Judah, and they settled in the villages near Hebron. Then the men of Judah came to David and anointed him king over the people of Judah. When David heard that the men of Jabesh-gilead had buried Saul, he sent them this message: “May the Lord bless you for being so loyal to your master Saul and giving him a decent burial. May the Lord be loyal to you in return and reward you with his unfailing love! And I, too, will reward you for what you have done. Now that Saul is dead, I ask you to be my strong and loyal subjects like the people of Judah, who have anointed me as their new king.” But Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had already gone to Mahanaim with Saul’s son Ishbosheth. There he proclaimed Ishbosheth king over Gilead, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, the land of the Ashurites, and all the rest of Israel. Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he became king, and he ruled from Mahanaim for two years. Meanwhile, the people of Judah remained loyal to David. David made Hebron his capital, and he ruled as king of Judah for seven and a half years. One day Abner led Ishbosheth’s troops from Mahanaim to Gibeon. About the same time, Joab son of Zeruiah led David’s troops out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. The two groups sat down there, facing each other from opposite sides of the pool. Then Abner suggested to Joab, “Let’s have a few of our warriors fight hand to hand here in front of us.” “All right,” Joab agreed. So twelve men were chosen to fight from each side—twelve men of Benjamin representing Ishbosheth son of Saul, and twelve representing David. Each one grabbed his opponent by the hair and thrust his sword into the other’s side so that all of them died. So this place at Gibeon has been known ever since as the Field of Swords. A fierce battle followed that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by the forces of David. Joab, Abishai, and Asahel—the three sons of Zeruiah—were among David’s forces that day. Asahel could run like a gazelle, and he began chasing Abner. He pursued him relentlessly, not stopping for anything. When Abner looked back and saw him coming, he called out, “Is that you, Asahel?” “Yes, it is,” he replied. “Go fight someone else!” Abner warned. “Take on one of the younger men, and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel kept right on chasing Abner. Again Abner shouted to him, “Get away from here! I don’t want to kill you. How could I ever face your brother Joab again?” But Asahel refused to turn back, so Abner thrust the butt end of his spear through Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He stumbled to the ground and died there. And everyone who came by that spot stopped and stood still when they saw Asahel lying there. When Joab and Abishai found out what had happened, they set out after Abner. The sun was just going down as they arrived at the hill of Ammah near Giah, along the road to the wilderness of Gibeon. Abner’s troops from the tribe of Benjamin regrouped there at the top of the hill to take a stand. Abner shouted down to Joab, “Must we always be killing each other? Don’t you realize that bitterness is the only result? When will you call off your men from chasing their Israelite brothers?” Then Joab said, “God only knows what would have happened if you hadn’t spoken, for we would have chased you all night if necessary.” So Joab blew the ram’s horn, and his men stopped chasing the troops of Israel. All that night Abner and his men retreated through the Jordan Valley. They crossed the Jordan River, traveling all through the morning, and didn’t stop until they arrived at Mahanaim. Meanwhile, Joab and his men also returned home. When Joab counted his casualties, he discovered that only 19 men were missing in addition to Asahel. But 360 of Abner’s men had been killed, all from the tribe of Benjamin. Joab and his men took Asahel’s body to Bethlehem and buried him there in his father’s tomb. Then they traveled all night and reached Hebron at daybreak.’

2 Samuel 2

‘The following message came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah. This was also the eighteenth year of the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar. Jerusalem was then under siege from the Babylonian army, and Jeremiah was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace. King Zedekiah had put him there, asking why he kept giving this prophecy: “This is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will take it. King Zedekiah will be captured by the Babylonians and taken to meet the king of Babylon face to face. He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, and I will deal with him there,’ says the Lord . ‘If you fight against the Babylonians, you will never succeed.’” At that time the Lord sent me a message. He said, “Your cousin Hanamel son of Shallum will come and say to you, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth. By law you have the right to buy it before it is offered to anyone else.’” Then, just as the Lord had said he would, my cousin Hanamel came and visited me in the prison. He said, “Please buy my field at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. By law you have the right to buy it before it is offered to anyone else, so buy it for yourself.” Then I knew that the message I had heard was from the Lord . So I bought the field at Anathoth, paying Hanamel seventeen pieces of silver for it. I signed and sealed the deed of purchase before witnesses, weighed out the silver, and paid him. Then I took the sealed deed and an unsealed copy of the deed, which contained the terms and conditions of the purchase, and I handed them to Baruch son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah. I did all this in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed, and all the men of Judah who were there in the courtyard of the guardhouse. Then I said to Baruch as they all listened, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Take both this sealed deed and the unsealed copy, and put them into a pottery jar to preserve them for a long time.’ For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Someday people will again own property here in this land and will buy and sell houses and vineyards and fields.’” Then after I had given the papers to Baruch, I prayed to the Lord : “O Sovereign Lord ! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you! You show unfailing love to thousands, but you also bring the consequences of one generation’s sin upon the next. You are the great and powerful God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. You have all wisdom and do great and mighty miracles. You see the conduct of all people, and you give them what they deserve. You performed miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt—things still remembered to this day! And you have continued to do great miracles in Israel and all around the world. You have made your name famous to this day. “You brought Israel out of Egypt with mighty signs and wonders, with a strong hand and powerful arm, and with overwhelming terror. You gave the people of Israel this land that you had promised their ancestors long before—a land flowing with milk and honey. Our ancestors came and conquered it and lived in it, but they refused to obey you or follow your word. They have not done anything you commanded. That is why you have sent this terrible disaster upon them. “See how the siege ramps have been built against the city walls! Through war, famine, and disease, the city will be handed over to the Babylonians, who will conquer it. Everything has happened just as you said. And yet, O Sovereign Lord , you have told me to buy the field—paying good money for it before these witnesses—even though the city will soon be handed over to the Babylonians.” Then this message came to Jeremiah from the Lord : “I am the Lord , the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me? Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I will hand this city over to the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and he will capture it. The Babylonians outside the walls will come in and set fire to the city. They will burn down all these houses where the people provoked my anger by burning incense to Baal on the rooftops and by pouring out liquid offerings to other gods. Israel and Judah have done nothing but wrong since their earliest days. They have infuriated me with all their evil deeds,” says the Lord . “From the time this city was built until now, it has done nothing but anger me, so I am determined to get rid of it. “The sins of Israel and Judah—the sins of the people of Jerusalem, the kings, the officials, the priests, and the prophets—have stirred up my anger. My people have turned their backs on me and have refused to return. Even though I diligently taught them, they would not receive instruction or obey. They have set up their abominable idols right in my own Temple, defiling it. They have built pagan shrines to Baal in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing. What an incredible evil, causing Judah to sin so greatly! “Now I want to say something more about this city. You have been saying, ‘It will fall to the king of Babylon through war, famine, and disease.’ But this is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: I will certainly bring my people back again from all the countries where I will scatter them in my fury. I will bring them back to this very city and let them live in peace and safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God. And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me. I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land. “This is what the Lord says: Just as I have brought all these calamities on them, so I will do all the good I have promised them. Fields will again be bought and sold in this land about which you now say, ‘It has been ravaged by the Babylonians, a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’ Yes, fields will once again be bought and sold—deeds signed and sealed and witnessed—in the land of Benjamin and here in Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the hill country, in the foothills of Judah and in the Negev, too. For someday I will restore prosperity to them. I, the Lord , have spoken!”’

Jeremiah 32

‘Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus said, “Listen, we’re going up to Jerusalem, where all the predictions of the prophets concerning the Son of Man will come true. He will be handed over to the Romans, and he will be mocked, treated shamefully, and spit upon. They will flog him with a whip and kill him, but on the third day he will rise again.” But they didn’t understand any of this. The significance of his words was hidden from them, and they failed to grasp what he was talking about. As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening. They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.’

Luke 18:31-43

‘The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. ‘

Hebrews 10:1-4

‘What mighty praise, O God, belongs to you in Zion. We will fulfill our vows to you, for you answer our prayers. All of us must come to you. Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all. What joy for those you choose to bring near, those who live in your holy courts. What festivities await us inside your holy Temple. You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas. You formed the mountains by your power and armed yourself with mighty strength. You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations. Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy. You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile. The river of God has plenty of water; it provides a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so. You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops. You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture, and the hillsides blossom with joy. The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep, and the valleys are carpeted with grain. They all shout and sing for joy!’

Psalms 65

Is it the end or just a new beginning…


Is it the end of the race or just the start of the next lap?

Consider what you have learned in this chapter of your life. Consider the life lessons that have shaped you and changed you. Consider the life lessons that you will take with you and be able to share with others. Consider the people who poured into your life. Consider the people whose lives you got to pour into. This isn’t the end, it is just the beginning of the next chapter of your life.

Remember graduating from kindergarten? Remember graduating from primary school? Remember graduating from middle school? Remember graduating from High School? Remember graduating from College or University? Remember getting married? Remember that first date? Remember that first special someone you dated? Each was a chapter with a beginning and a new beginning. Ever heard the saying “It’s not over till it is over”? And realistically the short period of time we get to spend on earth won’t be the end either but rather the beginning of eternity. We each get to choose where we will spend eternity – with God or apart from God. It will be eternity and that chapter won’t end. So we need to choose wisely and decide before we get there how we want to spend the rest of eternity. It will be the final chapter. I look forward to getting to see Jesus face to face. I look forward to getting to heaven and seeing what it entails. I remember that night crying as I read the book Heaven is For Real when the little boy asks his mom about his sister that he met in heaven while he was temporarily there. It made me consider the 2 children I will get to meet. It made me reflect on the thoughts of my younger days relating to Philip the evangelist who had 4 daughters and when I asked God if I was going to have 4 daughters or if I would have a son. I remember the morning reading that spoke to me about Abraham and the promise of Isaac. So I knew I would have a son but it wasn’t till that night reading Heaven is for Real that I realized I also may have 4 daughters as I have 2 on earth and the two children in heaven may be my other 2. God is so good. God’s plans are good. God is love. And so we get to choose who we will serve, who we will follow, and where we will spend eternity. So choose wisely!

Don’t give up! Pray without ceasing! Don’t lose hope! Don’t lose faith! Don’t give up! Fear Not, Just Believe in God! Ask Jesus into your heart and be transformed and ready for a new beginning and eternity with God! Persevere even in the midst of trials. Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds! Take hope even in the midst of troubles. In this world we will have troubles but take hope!


Today’s morning reading from God’s Word starts with the end of 1 Samuel in chapter 31…

‘Now the Philistines attacked Israel, and the men of Israel fled before them. Many were slaughtered on the slopes of Mount Gilboa. The Philistines closed in on Saul and his sons, and they killed three of his sons—Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malkishua. The fighting grew very fierce around Saul, and the Philistine archers caught up with him and wounded him severely. Saul groaned to his armor bearer, “Take your sword and kill me before these pagan Philistines come to run me through and taunt and torture me.” But his armor bearer was afraid and would not do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it. When his armor bearer realized that Saul was dead, he fell on his own sword and died beside the king. So Saul, his three sons, his armor bearer, and his troops all died together that same day. When the Israelites on the other side of the Jezreel Valley and beyond the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their towns and fled. So the Philistines moved in and occupied their towns. The next day, when the Philistines went out to strip the dead, they found the bodies of Saul and his three sons on Mount Gilboa. So they cut off Saul’s head and stripped off his armor. Then they proclaimed the good news of Saul’s death in their pagan temple and to the people throughout the land of Philistia. They placed his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths, and they fastened his body to the wall of the city of Beth-shan. But when the people of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all their mighty warriors traveled through the night to Beth-shan and took the bodies of Saul and his sons down from the wall. They brought them to Jabesh, where they burned the bodies. Then they took their bones and buried them beneath the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted for seven days.’

1 Samuel 31

‘“In that day,” says the Lord , “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people. This is what the Lord says: “Those who survive the coming destruction will find blessings even in the barren land, for I will give rest to the people of Israel.” Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel. You will again be happy and dance merrily with your tambourines. Again you will plant your vineyards on the mountains of Samaria and eat from your own gardens there. The day will come when watchmen will shout from the hill country of Ephraim, ‘Come, let us go up to Jerusalem to worship the Lord our God.’” Now this is what the Lord says: “Sing with joy for Israel. Shout for the greatest of nations! Shout out with praise and joy: ‘Save your people, O Lord , the remnant of Israel!’ For I will bring them from the north and from the distant corners of the earth. I will not forget the blind and lame, the expectant mothers and women in labor. A great company will return! Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care. They will walk beside quiet streams and on smooth paths where they will not stumble. For I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my oldest child. “Listen to this message from the Lord , you nations of the world; proclaim it in distant coastlands: The Lord , who scattered his people, will gather them and watch over them as a shepherd does his flock. For the Lord has redeemed Israel from those too strong for them. They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem. They will be radiant because of the Lord ’s good gifts— the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil, and the healthy flocks and herds. Their life will be like a watered garden, and all their sorrows will be gone. The young women will dance for joy, and the men—old and young—will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing. The priests will enjoy abundance, and my people will feast on my good gifts. I, the Lord , have spoken!” This is what the Lord says: “A cry is heard in Ramah— deep anguish and bitter weeping. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted— for her children are gone.” But now this is what the Lord says: “Do not weep any longer, for I will reward you,” says the Lord . “Your children will come back to you from the distant land of the enemy. There is hope for your future,” says the Lord . “Your children will come again to their own land. I have heard Israel saying, ‘You disciplined me severely, like a calf that needs training for the yoke. Turn me again to you and restore me, for you alone are the Lord my God. I turned away from God, but then I was sorry. I kicked myself for my stupidity! I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.’ “Is not Israel still my son, my darling child?” says the Lord . “I often have to punish him, but I still love him. That’s why I long for him and surely will have mercy on him. Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Mark well the path by which you came. Come back again, my virgin Israel; return to your towns here. How long will you wander, my wayward daughter? For the Lord will cause something new to happen— Israel will embrace her God. ” This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “When I bring them back from captivity, the people of Judah and its towns will again say, ‘The Lord bless you, O righteous home, O holy mountain!’ Townspeople and farmers and shepherds alike will live together in peace and happiness. For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.” At this, I woke up and looked around. My sleep had been very sweet. “The day is coming,” says the Lord , “when I will greatly increase the human population and the number of animals here in Israel and Judah. In the past I deliberately uprooted and tore down this nation. I overthrew it, destroyed it, and brought disaster upon it. But in the future I will just as deliberately plant it and build it up. I, the Lord , have spoken! “The people will no longer quote this proverb: ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste.’ All people will die for their own sins—those who eat the sour grapes will be the ones whose mouths will pucker.’

Jeremiah 31:1-30

‘One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’” Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man#18:8 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself. returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer#18:11 Some manuscripts read stood and prayed this prayer to himself.: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”’

Luke 18:1-14

‘So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant. Now when someone leaves a will, it is necessary to prove that the person who made it is dead. The will goes into effect only after the person’s death. While the person who made it is still alive, the will cannot be put into effect. That is why even the first covenant was put into effect with the blood of an animal. For after Moses had read each of God’s commandments to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, and sprinkled both the book of God’s law and all the people, using hyssop branches and scarlet wool. Then he said, “This blood confirms the covenant God has made with you.” And in the same way, he sprinkled blood on the Tabernacle and on everything used for worship. In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.’

Hebrews 9:11-22

‘O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely. But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin. They will go down into the depths of the earth. They will die by the sword and become the food of jackals. But the king will rejoice in God. All who swear to tell the truth will praise him, while liars will be silenced.’

Psalms 63

Do you have a plan? Are you ready? Get ready! Get set! Go!


So what’s the plan? You need a plan, not only for you but also for others. Where there is no vision the people perish. Once you have the plan you need to get ready. You need to be prepared. Not only you but the others too. You don’t want to end up like the people who didn’t bring enough oil and didn’t make it. You want to be clear and help everyone get ready like Joshua did in chapter 3. So once we have a plan and we get prepared we will need to go when we get the sign, be it sound to start the race, be it the priests walking to the Jordan river, or whatever sign it is that says or tells you to start to run the plan. And remember… Remember what God did in and through it. Remember how God showed up through it. Remember to share it with others so they too will know how good God is. Let us be good stewards of what God has given that one day we will hear Him say “well done, my good and faithful servant“. Let us put our trust and hope in God so that even when it gets hard and tiring, He will renew our strength.


Today’s reading begins with Joshua:

‘Early the next morning Joshua and all the Israelites left Acacia Grove and arrived at the banks of the Jordan River, where they camped before crossing. Three days later the Israelite officers went through the camp, giving these instructions to the people: “When you see the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God, move out from your positions and follow them. Since you have never traveled this way before, they will guide you. Stay about half a mile behind them, keeping a clear distance between you and the Ark. Make sure you don’t come any closer.” Then Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you.” In the morning Joshua said to the priests, “Lift up the Ark of the Covenant and lead the people across the river.” And so they started out and went ahead of the people. The Lord told Joshua, “Today I will begin to make you a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites. They will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses. Give this command to the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: ‘When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop there.’” So Joshua told the Israelites, “Come and listen to what the Lord your God says. Today you will know that the living God is among you. He will surely drive out the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites ahead of you. Look, the Ark of the Covenant, which belongs to the Lord of the whole earth, will lead you across the Jordan River! Now choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. The priests will carry the Ark of the Lord , the Lord of all the earth. As soon as their feet touch the water, the flow of water will be cut off upstream, and the river will stand up like a wall.” So the people left their camp to cross the Jordan, and the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them. It was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho. Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Lord ’s Covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by. They waited there until the whole nation of Israel had crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’

Joshua 3

and

‘When all the people had crossed the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Now choose twelve men, one from each tribe. Tell them, ‘Take twelve stones from the very place where the priests are standing in the middle of the Jordan. Carry them out and pile them up at the place where you will camp tonight.’” So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel. He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord ’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” So the men did as Joshua had commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River, one for each tribe, just as the Lord had told Joshua. They carried them to the place where they camped for the night and constructed the memorial there. Joshua also set up another pile of twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan, at the place where the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant were standing. And they are there to this day. The priests who were carrying the Ark stood in the middle of the river until all of the Lord ’s commands that Moses had given to Joshua were carried out. Meanwhile, the people hurried across the riverbed. And when everyone was safely on the other side, the priests crossed over with the Ark of the Lord as the people watched. The armed warriors from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh led the Israelites across the Jordan, just as Moses had directed. These armed men—about 40,000 strong—were ready for battle, and the Lord was with them as they crossed over to the plains of Jericho. That day the Lord made Joshua a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites, and for the rest of his life they revered him as much as they had revered Moses. The Lord had said to Joshua, “Command the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant to come up out of the riverbed.” So Joshua gave the command. As soon as the priests carrying the Ark of the Lord ’s Covenant came up out of the riverbed and their feet were on high ground, the water of the Jordan returned and overflowed its banks as before. The people crossed the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month. Then they camped at Gilgal, just east of Jericho. It was there at Gilgal that Joshua piled up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan River. Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over. He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord ’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.”’

Joshua 4

Today’s reading then brings us into Isaiah:

‘“Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. Tell her that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned. Yes, the Lord has punished her twice over for all her sins.” Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord ! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The Lord has spoken!” A voice said, “Shout!” I asked, “What should I shout?” “Shout that people are like the grass. Their beauty fades as quickly as the flowers in a field. The grass withers and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the Lord . And so it is with people. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” O Zion, messenger of good news, shout from the mountaintops! Shout it louder, O Jerusalem. Shout, and do not be afraid. Tell the towns of Judah, “Your God is coming!” Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes. He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.

Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale? Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord ? Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him? Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice? Does he need instruction about what is good? Did someone teach him what is right or show him the path of justice? No, for all the nations of the world are but a drop in the bucket. They are nothing more than dust on the scales. He picks up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand. All the wood in Lebanon’s forests and all Lebanon’s animals would not be enough to make a burnt offering worthy of our God. The nations of the world are worth nothing to him. In his eyes they count for less than nothing— mere emptiness and froth. To whom can you compare God? What image can you find to resemble him? Can he be compared to an idol formed in a mold, overlaid with gold, and decorated with silver chains? Or if people are too poor for that, they might at least choose wood that won’t decay and a skilled craftsman to carve an image that won’t fall down! Haven’t you heard? Don’t you understand? Are you deaf to the words of God— the words he gave before the world began? Are you so ignorant? God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him! He spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them. He judges the great people of the world and brings them all to nothing. They hardly get started, barely taking root, when he blows on them and they wither. The wind carries them off like chaff. “To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One. Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing. O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.’

Isaiah 40

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament:

‘“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver A talent is equal to 75 pounds or 34 kilograms. to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip. “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money. “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’ “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’ “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’ “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’ “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’’

Matthew 25:14-30

and

‘And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear. It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me. But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice. For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance.

For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith. And when I come to you again, you will have even more reason to take pride in Christ Jesus because of what he is doing through me.

Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.’

Philippians 1:12-30

Today’s reading concludes with a new start in Psalms:

‘Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord , meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly. For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.’

Psalms 1

New beginnings. New challenges.


So what do you do when change is at hand? What do you do when a new beginning is here? What do you do when a new challenge comes your way? Are you a glass half full or half empty type of person? Do you consider it a new opportunity to learn and grow? Do you turn to God for wisdom and direction? Do you turn to God for strength and courage? Are you able to stand up and move forward boldly? Do you wait upon the Lord rather than trying to rush it on your own? Do you wait upon the Lord rather than running ahead without a clue how He wants you to handle this?

Here we go… New beginnings! New challenges! Make sure to go with God’s blessings and direction! Obey His command “be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged.“! So let’s take hold of God’s Word that will last. Let’s take hold of God who is love for love is the greatest of faith, hope, and love. Let’s not do it in our own strength but instead let’s put on the full armor of God so we can stand firm!


Today’s reading brings us into a new book starting with Joshua:

‘After the death of Moses the Lord ’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you— from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’ No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua then commanded the officers of Israel, “Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Then Joshua called together the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. He told them, “Remember what Moses, the servant of the Lord , commanded you: ‘The Lord your God is giving you a place of rest. He has given you this land.’ Your wives, children, and livestock may remain here in the land Moses assigned to you on the east side of the Jordan River. But your strong warriors, fully armed, must lead the other tribes across the Jordan to help them conquer their territory. Stay with them until the Lord gives them rest, as he has given you rest, and until they, too, possess the land the Lord your God is giving them. Only then may you return and settle here on the east side of the Jordan River in the land that Moses, the servant of the Lord , assigned to you.” They answered Joshua, “We will do whatever you command us, and we will go wherever you send us. We will obey you just as we obeyed Moses. And may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. Anyone who rebels against your orders and does not obey your words and everything you command will be put to death. So be strong and courageous!”’

Joshua 1

Today’s reading then continues with Isaiah:

‘When King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes and put on burlap and went into the Temple of the Lord . And he sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the court secretary, and the leading priests, all dressed in burlap, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They told him, “This is what King Hezekiah says: Today is a day of trouble, insults, and disgrace. It is like when a child is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to deliver the baby. But perhaps the Lord your God has heard the Assyrian chief of staff, sent by the king to defy the living God, and will punish him for his words. Oh, pray for those of us who are left!” After King Hezekiah’s officials delivered the king’s message to Isaiah, the prophet replied, “Say to your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me from the Assyrian king’s messengers. Listen! I myself will move against him, and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land, where I will have him killed with a sword.’” Meanwhile, the Assyrian chief of staff left Jerusalem and went to consult the king of Assyria, who had left Lachish and was attacking Libnah. Soon afterward King Sennacherib received word that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia was leading an army to fight against him. Before leaving to meet the attack, he sent messengers back to Hezekiah in Jerusalem with this message: “This message is for King Hezekiah of Judah. Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria. You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different? Have the gods of other nations rescued them—such nations as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? My predecessors destroyed them all! What happened to the king of Hamath and the king of Arpad? What happened to the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?” After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the Lord ’s Temple and spread it out before the Lord . And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the Lord : “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. Bend down, O Lord , and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord , and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God. “It is true, Lord , that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord , are God. ”

Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: Because you prayed about King Sennacherib of Assyria, the Lord has spoken this word against him: “The virgin daughter of Zion despises you and laughs at you. The daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head in derision as you flee. “Whom have you been defying and ridiculing? Against whom did you raise your voice? At whom did you look with such haughty eyes? It was the Holy One of Israel! By your messengers you have defied the Lord. You have said, ‘With my many chariots I have conquered the highest mountains— yes, the remotest peaks of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars and its finest cypress trees. I have reached its farthest heights and explored its deepest forests. I have dug wells in many foreign lands and refreshed myself with their water. With the sole of my foot, I stopped up all the rivers of Egypt!’ “But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen. I planned for you to crush fortified cities into heaps of rubble. That is why their people have so little power and are so frightened and confused. They are as weak as grass, as easily trampled as tender green shoots. They are like grass sprouting on a housetop, scorched before it can grow lush and tall. “But I know you well— where you stay and when you come and go. I know the way you have raged against me. And because of your raging against me and your arrogance, which I have heard for myself, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth. I will make you return by the same road on which you came.” Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Here is the proof that what I say is true: “This year you will eat only what grows up by itself, and next year you will eat what springs up from that. But in the third year you will plant crops and harvest them; you will tend vineyards and eat their fruit. And you who are left in Judah, who have escaped the ravages of the siege, will put roots down in your own soil and grow up and flourish. For a remnant of my people will spread out from Jerusalem, a group of survivors from Mount Zion. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen! “And this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria: “‘His armies will not enter Jerusalem. They will not even shoot an arrow at it. They will not march outside its gates with their shields nor build banks of earth against its walls. The king will return to his own country by the same road on which he came. He will not enter this city,’ says the Lord . ‘For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it.’” That night the angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there. One day while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords. They then escaped to the land of Ararat, and another son, Esarhaddon, became the next king of Assyria.’

Isaiah 37

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting in Matthew:

‘“Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. But what if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Matthew 24:32-51

Today’s reading continues into Ephesians:

‘A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.

To bring you up to date, Tychicus will give you a full report about what I am doing and how I am getting along. He is a beloved brother and faithful helper in the Lord’s work. I have sent him to you for this very purpose—to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you. Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters, and may God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness. May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.’

Ephesians 6:10-24

Today’s reading comes to a conclusion with Psalms:

‘Praise the Lord ! Sing to the Lord a new song. Sing his praises in the assembly of the faithful. O Israel, rejoice in your Maker. O people of Jerusalem, exult in your King. Praise his name with dancing, accompanied by tambourine and harp. For the Lord delights in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. Let the faithful rejoice that he honors them. Let them sing for joy as they lie on their beds. Let the praises of God be in their mouths, and a sharp sword in their hands— to execute vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with shackles and their leaders with iron chains, to execute the judgment written against them. This is the glorious privilege of his faithful ones. Praise the Lord !’

Psalms 149

Let’s get started!


The preparation is done. The place is all setup. Now let’s get going. Let’s get started! Let’s do what God has prepared for us to do! Let’s do what God has called for us to do! Let’s be good stewards, good and faithful servants, and finish strong! Let’s be bold and courageous! Let’s get started!


Today’s readings gets us started in Leviticus 9.

‘After the ordination ceremony, on the eighth day, Moses called together Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel. He said to Aaron, “Take a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering, both without defects, and present them to the Lord . Then tell the Israelites, ‘Take a male goat for a sin offering, and take a calf and a lamb, both a year old and without defects, for a burnt offering. Also take a bull and a ram for a peace offering and flour moistened with olive oil for a grain offering. Present all these offerings to the Lord because the Lord will appear to you today.’” So the people presented all these things at the entrance of the Tabernacle, just as Moses had commanded. Then the whole community came forward and stood before the Lord . And Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded you to do so that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.” Then Moses said to Aaron, “Come to the altar and sacrifice your sin offering and your burnt offering to purify yourself and the people. Then present the offerings of the people to purify them, making them right with the Lord , just as he has commanded.” So Aaron went to the altar and slaughtered the calf as a sin offering for himself. His sons brought him the blood, and he dipped his finger in it and put it on the horns of the altar. He poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. Then he burned on the altar the fat, the kidneys, and the long lobe of the liver from the sin offering, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. The meat and the hide, however, he burned outside the camp. Next Aaron slaughtered the animal for the burnt offering. His sons brought him the blood, and he splattered it against all sides of the altar. Then they handed him each piece of the burnt offering, including the head, and he burned them on the altar. Then he washed the internal organs and the legs and burned them on the altar along with the rest of the burnt offering. Next Aaron presented the offerings of the people. He slaughtered the people’s goat and presented it as an offering for their sin, just as he had first done with the offering for his own sin. Then he presented the burnt offering and sacrificed it in the prescribed way. He also presented the grain offering, burning a handful of the flour mixture on the altar, in addition to the regular burnt offering for the morning. Then Aaron slaughtered the bull and the ram for the people’s peace offering. His sons brought him the blood, and he splattered it against all sides of the altar. Then he took the fat of the bull and the ram—the fat of the broad tail and from around the internal organs—along with the kidneys and the long lobes of the livers. He placed these fat portions on top of the breasts of these animals and burned them on the altar. Aaron then lifted up the breasts and right thighs as a special offering to the Lord , just as Moses had commanded. After that, Aaron raised his hands toward the people and blessed them. Then, after presenting the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offering, he stepped down from the altar. Then Moses and Aaron went into the Tabernacle, and when they came back out, they blessed the people again, and the glory of the Lord appeared to the whole community. Fire blazed forth from the Lord ’s presence and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When the people saw this, they shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground.’

Leviticus 9

Today’s reading continues in Leviticus 10.

‘Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu put coals of fire in their incense burners and sprinkled incense over them. In this way, they disobeyed the Lord by burning before him the wrong kind of fire, different than he had commanded. So fire blazed forth from the Lord ’s presence and burned them up, and they died there before the Lord . Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord meant when he said, ‘I will display my holiness through those who come near me. I will display my glory before all the people.’” And Aaron was silent. Then Moses called for Mishael and Elzaphan, Aaron’s cousins, the sons of Aaron’s uncle Uzziel. He said to them, “Come forward and carry away the bodies of your relatives from in front of the sanctuary to a place outside the camp.” So they came forward and picked them up by their garments and carried them out of the camp, just as Moses had commanded. Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not show grief by leaving your hair uncombed or by tearing your clothes. If you do, you will die, and the Lord ’s anger will strike the whole community of Israel. However, the rest of the Israelites, your relatives, may mourn because of the Lord ’s fiery destruction of Nadab and Abihu. But you must not leave the entrance of the Tabernacle or you will die, for you have been anointed with the Lord ’s anointing oil.” So they did as Moses commanded.

Then the Lord said to Aaron, “You and your descendants must never drink wine or any other alcoholic drink before going into the Tabernacle. If you do, you will die. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation. You must distinguish between what is sacred and what is common, between what is ceremonially unclean and what is clean. And you must teach the Israelites all the decrees that the Lord has given them through Moses.” Then Moses said to Aaron and his remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, “Take what is left of the grain offering after a portion has been presented as a special gift to the Lord , and eat it beside the altar. Make sure it contains no yeast, for it is most holy. You must eat it in a sacred place, for it has been given to you and your descendants as your portion of the special gifts presented to the Lord . These are the commands I have been given. But the breast and thigh that were lifted up as a special offering may be eaten in any place that is ceremonially clean. These parts have been given to you and your descendants as your portion of the peace offerings presented by the people of Israel. You must lift up the thigh and breast as a special offering to the Lord , along with the fat of the special gifts. These parts will belong to you and your descendants as your permanent right, just as the Lord has commanded.” Moses then asked them what had happened to the goat of the sin offering. When he discovered it had been burned up, he became very angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s remaining sons. “Why didn’t you eat the sin offering in the sacred area?” he demanded. “It is a holy offering! The Lord has given it to you to remove the guilt of the community and to purify the people, making them right with the Lord . Since the animal’s blood was not brought into the Holy Place, you should have eaten the meat in the sacred area as I ordered you.” Then Aaron answered Moses, “Today my sons presented both their sin offering and their burnt offering to the Lord . And yet this tragedy has happened to me. If I had eaten the people’s sin offering on such a tragic day as this, would the Lord have been pleased?” And when Moses heard this, he was satisfied.’

Leviticus 10

Today’s gets us started in the book of Proverbs 1.

‘These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel. Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles. Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck. My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them! They may say, “Come and join us. Let’s hide and kill someone! Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent! Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave ; let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death. Think of the great things we’ll get! We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take. Come, throw in your lot with us; we’ll all share the loot.” My child, don’t go along with them! Stay far away from their paths. They rush to commit evil deeds. They hurry to commit murder. If a bird sees a trap being set, it knows to stay away. But these people set an ambush for themselves; they are trying to get themselves killed. Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money; it robs them of life.

Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square. She calls to the crowds along the main street, to those gathered in front of the city gate: “How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools hate knowledge? Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise. “I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention. You ignored my advice and rejected the correction I offered. So I will laugh when you are in trouble! I will mock you when disaster overtakes you— when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone, and anguish and distress overwhelm you. “When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me. For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord . They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes. For simpletons turn away from me—to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency. But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.”’

Proverbs 1

Today’s reading gets us started in the New Testament starting with Mark 9.

‘When they returned to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd surrounding them, and some teachers of religious law were arguing with them. When the crowd saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with awe, and they ran to greet him. “What is all this arguing about?” Jesus asked. One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.” Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth. “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father. He replied, “Since he was a little boy. The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” he said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!” Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd as people said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up. Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?” Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.”

Leaving that region, they traveled through Galilee. Jesus didn’t want anyone to know he was there, for he wanted to spend more time with his disciples and teach them. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. He will be killed, but three days later he will rise from the dead.” They didn’t understand what he was saying, however, and they were afraid to ask him what he meant.’

Mark 9:14-32

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 15.

‘But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?” What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed. Similarly there are different kinds of flesh—one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory. It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies. The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man.’

1 Corinthians 15:35-49

As today’s reading brings us into the book of Psalms, let’s meditate on what God has said and then let us read today’s psalm from Psalms 76.

‘God is honored in Judah; his name is great in Israel. Jerusalem is where he lives; Mount Zion is his home. There he has broken the fiery arrows of the enemy, the shields and swords and weapons of war. Interlude You are glorious and more majestic than the everlasting mountains. Our boldest enemies have been plundered. They lie before us in the sleep of death. No warrior could lift a hand against us. At the blast of your breath, O God of Jacob, their horses and chariots lay still. No wonder you are greatly feared! Who can stand before you when your anger explodes? From heaven you sentenced your enemies; the earth trembled and stood silent before you. You stand up to judge those who do evil, O God, and to rescue the oppressed of the earth. Interlude Human defiance only enhances your glory, for you use it as a weapon. Make vows to the Lord your God, and keep them. Let everyone bring tribute to the Awesome One. For he breaks the pride of princes, and the kings of the earth fear him.’

Psalms 76

Are you ready for a new beginning?


Are you ready to do what you were called to do? Are you ready to do what you have been created to do? Are you ready to be anointed for the role you have been positioned to do? Are you ready to do what is required of you in this new beginning? Are you ready to accomplish the plans and purposes associated with this new role? Are you ready for a new beginning?


Today’s reading begins in Leviticus 8.

‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Bring Aaron and his sons, along with their sacred garments, the anointing oil, the bull for the sin offering, the two rams, and the basket of bread made without yeast, and call the entire community of Israel together at the entrance of the Tabernacle. ” So Moses followed the Lord ’s instructions, and the whole community assembled at the Tabernacle entrance. Moses announced to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded us to do!” Then he presented Aaron and his sons and washed them with water. He put the official tunic on Aaron and tied the sash around his waist. He dressed him in the robe, placed the ephod on him, and attached the ephod securely with its decorative sash. Then Moses placed the chestpiece on Aaron and put the Urim and the Thummim inside it. He placed the turban on Aaron’s head and attached the gold medallion—the badge of holiness—to the front of the turban, just as the Lord had commanded him. Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the Tabernacle and everything in it, making them holy. He sprinkled the oil on the altar seven times, anointing it and all its utensils, as well as the washbasin and its stand, making them holy. Then he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head, anointing him and making him holy for his work. Next Moses presented Aaron’s sons. He clothed them in their tunics, tied their sashes around them, and put their special head coverings on them, just as the Lord had commanded him. Then Moses presented the bull for the sin offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the bull’s head, and Moses slaughtered it. Moses took some of the blood, and with his finger he put it on the four horns of the altar to purify it. He poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. Through this process, he made the altar holy by purifying it. Then Moses took all the fat around the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat around them, and he burned it all on the altar. He took the rest of the bull, including its hide, meat, and dung, and burned it on a fire outside the camp, just as the Lord had commanded him. Then Moses presented the ram for the burnt offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the ram’s head, and Moses slaughtered it. Then Moses took the ram’s blood and splattered it against all sides of the altar. Then he cut the ram into pieces, and he burned the head, some of its pieces, and the fat on the altar. After washing the internal organs and the legs with water, Moses burned the entire ram on the altar as a burnt offering. It was a pleasing aroma, a special gift presented to the Lord , just as the Lord had commanded him. Then Moses presented the other ram, which was the ram of ordination. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the ram’s head, and Moses slaughtered it. Then Moses took some of its blood and applied it to the lobe of Aaron’s right ear, the thumb of his right hand, and the big toe of his right foot. Next Moses presented Aaron’s sons and applied some of the blood to the lobes of their right ears, the thumbs of their right hands, and the big toes of their right feet. He then splattered the rest of the blood against all sides of the altar. Next Moses took the fat, including the fat of the broad tail, the fat around the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat around them, along with the right thigh. On top of these he placed a thin cake of bread made without yeast, a cake of bread mixed with olive oil, and a wafer spread with olive oil. All these were taken from the basket of bread made without yeast that was placed in the Lord ’s presence. He put all these in the hands of Aaron and his sons, and he lifted these gifts as a special offering to the Lord . Moses then took all the offerings back from them and burned them on the altar on top of the burnt offering. This was the ordination offering. It was a pleasing aroma, a special gift presented to the Lord . Then Moses took the breast and lifted it up as a special offering to the Lord . This was Moses’ portion of the ram of ordination, just as the Lord had commanded him. Next Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood that was on the altar, and he sprinkled them on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments. In this way, he made Aaron and his sons and their garments holy. Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons, “Boil the remaining meat of the offerings at the Tabernacle entrance, and eat it there, along with the bread that is in the basket of offerings for the ordination, just as I commanded when I said, ‘Aaron and his sons will eat it.’ Any meat or bread that is left over must then be burned up. You must not leave the Tabernacle entrance for seven days, for that is when the ordination ceremony will be completed. Everything we have done today was commanded by the Lord in order to purify you, making you right with him. Now stay at the entrance of the Tabernacle day and night for seven days, and do everything the Lord requires. If you fail to do this, you will die, for this is what the Lord has commanded.” So Aaron and his sons did everything the Lord had commanded through Moses.’

Leviticus 8

Today’s reading continues into the conclusion of the book of Job which happens to be the reading I received the day before I was about to start a new job back in 2013. It was the day that I realized there is purpose and a plan when we go through tough times. It was the day that I realized when I got to the book of Job there was something to look forward to. It was the day when I realized leaving the old behind and stepping out and stepping up and stepping forward into all that God has in store would be incredible, so let’s continue into today’s reading with Job 42.

‘Then Job replied to the Lord : “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”

After the Lord had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has. So take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf. I will not treat you as you deserve, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite did as the Lord commanded them, and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer. When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the Lord had brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of money and a gold ring. So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters. He named his first daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land no women were as lovely as the daughters of Job. And their father put them into his will along with their brothers. Job lived 140 years after that, living to see four generations of his children and grandchildren. Then he died, an old man who had lived a long, full life.’

Job 42

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament, the part of the Bible that points to a savior, a redeemer, a hope that goes beyond our situations, a hope like the hope I found when I got to Job 42 so many years ago. Today’s reading continues into Mark 9.

‘Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus. Peter exclaimed, “Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials —one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, when they looked around, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus with them. As they went back down the mountain, he told them not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept it to themselves, but they often asked each other what he meant by “rising from the dead.” Then they asked him, “Why do the teachers of religious law insist that Elijah must return before the Messiah comes? ” Jesus responded, “Elijah is indeed coming first to get everything ready. Yet why do the Scriptures say that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be treated with utter contempt? But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they chose to abuse him, just as the Scriptures predicted.”’

Mark 9:2-13

Today’s reading then brings us into 1 Corinthians 15.

‘But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back. After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. For the Scriptures say, “God has put all things under his authority.” (Of course, when it says “all things are under his authority,” that does not include God himself, who gave Christ his authority.) Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere. If the dead will not be raised, what point is there in people being baptized for those who are dead? Why do it unless the dead will someday rise again? And why should we ourselves risk our lives hour by hour? For I swear, dear brothers and sisters, that I face death daily. This is as certain as my pride in what Christ Jesus our Lord has done in you. And what value was there in fighting wild beasts—those people of Ephesus —if there will be no resurrection from the dead? And if there is no resurrection, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.’

1 Corinthians 15:20-34

As today’s reading brings us to a close, let’s meditate on all that we have read and receive the promises of God. As today’s reading comes to a close, let’s learn from our past and be ready for what is yet to come. As today’s reading comes to a close, let’s take hold of God’s Word and meditate on what we have heard and close together with today’s psalm, Psalms 75.

‘We thank you, O God! We give thanks because you are near. People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds. God says, “At the time I have planned, I will bring justice against the wicked. When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil, I am the one who keeps its foundations firm. Interlude “I warned the proud, ‘Stop your boasting!’ I told the wicked, ‘Don’t raise your fists! Don’t raise your fists in defiance at the heavens or speak with such arrogance.’” For no one on earth—from east or west, or even from the wilderness— should raise a defiant fist. It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall. For the Lord holds a cup in his hand that is full of foaming wine mixed with spices. He pours out the wine in judgment, and all the wicked must drink it, draining it to the dregs. But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. For God says, “I will break the strength of the wicked, but I will increase the power of the godly.”’

Psalms 75

It was good! Can we live out the rest of our lives to keep it good?


Today is the beginning of the year. Today is the first day and so we can consider and contemplate how 2019 will be. As we awake it is good, nothing has happened to make it anything else. Today is the day that the Lord has made, so lets rejoice and be glad in it. Leave the past where it belongs, behind you – forgiving and moving forward into today which has another name – the present – so let’s take hold of the gift of today and live it out to the fullest in order that in and through it all God will receive all the praise, the honor, and the glory. When God started as we read in Genesis 1 each day was a progression from the previous and each one completed as good.

Will everyone take hold of this view or plan? Unfortunately no and we can’t control what happens or takes place when others do what they do. We can’t control what they do or what they say but we can handle how we will respond. God has called and purposed for us to live our lives in a way that will bring Him praise, honor, and glory. God’s plan has always been good and for our good. God’s plan is to give us a hope and a future no matter what others end up doing or saying that may try to get us off track. So choose to forgive. Choose to leave the past where it belongs, behind you. Take hold of what God has for you to do today so that in all things and at all times you live out your life in a way that will bring God all the glory. When God explains the genealogy in 1 Chronicles 1 we learn about the generations and we know that things didn’t always go smooth and people didn’t always live out their lives in alignment with God’s purposes and plans too. So let’s take hold of the promise we have in Jesus so that our lives that have been transformed by the sacrifice of Jesus and the receiving of the gift of grace from God we can live out our today as new creations where the new has come and the old is gone.

We learn about God’s love through Jesus and we read about the revelation from John 1:1-18

‘In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’” From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.’

John 1:1-18

Will it be easy? No. Will there be trials and challenges? Yes. As we read from James 1:1-11

‘This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to the “twelve tribes”—Jewish believers scattered abroad. Greetings! Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.’

James 1:1-11

So just because trouble comes our way we don’t have to turn in despair but rather we can receive it with joy no matter what kind of trouble it is. Let’s allow it to test our faith so that it can grow. Let’s allow our faith to endure it and develop so that when we are finished, we will be perfect, complete, and lacking nothing. Don’t try to go it alone or do it in your own strength. Instead, ask God for wisdom believing that He will answer you, for if we ask for wisdom believing, He will provide wisdom generously and without finding fault. God’s Word never returns void and is alive speaking into your very situation. We have a limited time here on earth and so we need to make the most of it so that in the end it will be less about us and more about giving God the glory in what He has done in and through us. The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. So every good and perfect gift comes from Him and so lets be good stewards of them to bring Him the praise, the honor, and the glory.

Let’s meditate on the Word of the Lord. Let’s live out our lives with the hope of Jesus that is within us so that each day we will remember the hope of everlasting life spent with God rather than going against God and having to spend eternity apart from God. Let’s take hold of all that Psalm 1 provides us so that in and through it all we will live out our today in a way that will glorify God yesterday, today, and forever.


Today’s reading came to us from:


God’s timing is perfect and after a yesterday that could have held me back or caused me to spin out of control, today I choose to make it about glorifying God and living out my today in a way that will allow Him to say that it is good and allowing Him to say well done my good and faithful servant. Today I choose to forgive yesterday and consider all that happened as joy. Today I choose to walk in that joy asking God for wisdom to help me with every thought, every word, and every action that I will need to take so that in and through it all He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

Do you need a change? Is it on the inside or the outside?


Do you know what it will take? Do you know what to do? Do you know where to turn? Do you realize the benefits it has?

Have you already made the decision and started moving forward in change? Has it been a mental change? Has it been a physical change? Has it been a heart change? Has it been a spiritual change?

As I ponder these questions, I am so glad that I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior because when I made that decision, I was transformed. I know spiritually I had begun the transformation from the inside out. As I ponder these questions and with knowing through God’s Word that my body is the temple for the Holy Spirit, I am considering what can I do to help make the outside better too. I have purchased workout equipment which probably a good start. I am now considering diet, and how I eat to help as well.

I know that because of the big decision to receive Jesus, it has impacted my life for eternity. I am now considering best ways to live a longer and healthier life to be able to be around for the next generations where not only can I share the importance of living with and for God but also living and eating well. I want to see them grow up and develop into all that God has purposed and planned for each of their lives. Time goes by so fast and so I need to make time to do what is right and make sure to stay on track for all the things God has planned and purposed for my life too.

Will you allow God to radiate in your life to the point where your life will point others to God and to believe in Him? Will you allow God to work in and through your life so that when others see your good works they will praise your Father in heaven?

When someone looks into your eyes, what do they learn? When you look into the eyes of others, what do you learn? Ever heard that the eyes are the window to the soul? Ever considered that windows tell a story based on what you can see? Consider windows you can look in through and see the beauty, the love, the hope. Consider tinted windows where you can’t see anything but darkness or maybe a reflection of yourself. Consider windows that do the screening so that they tell one story without actually knowing what is on the inside, you might be able to get close enough to look through the dots and see in, but from a distance you only case see what it was designed to say. When people take a look into your eyes what do they see? When you look through your eyes how do you see? Is your vision keeping you from seeing others as God does? Are you allowing God glasses to help you see the people He has brought into your life in the way He does so that you can see, hear, understand, and respond like you should?

So what does your face and your eyes say to the world around you?

What does the Bible say about faces and eyes?


How to Have a Spiritual Facelift

Day 242: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. God’s face … Psalm 104:19-30
  2. Our faces … 2 Corinthians 3:7-18
  3. God’s eyes … 2 Chronicles 35:20-36:23

Today’s reading from God’s Word…

  • Psalms 104:19-30
  • 2 Corinthians 3:7-18
    • 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.

  • 2 Chronicles 35:20-27
  • 2 Chronicles 36

Are you living the new transformation?


This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! –from 2 Corinthians 5:17

Have you allowed the old you to be crucified with Christ so that the new you can live?

For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

–from Romans 6:4

Have you experience baptism yet? Not christening as a baby but full immersion water baptism? As you consider or remember the experience of going into the water and dying with Christ and then coming out of the water reborn with Christ how did or would that impact you?

How has your life changed after starting your relationship with Jesus? Have you shared the experience with others so that they would know the impact of Jesus on your life?

So are you living the new life? Are you ready to live a new life? Are you willing to receive Jesus into your life and be transformed? Is today your day? Are you taking hold of everything that life can be thanks to your relationship with Jesus and all that He has already done for you?

If not, why not start today?


How to Live Your New Life

Day 201: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalms 87, Romans 6:1-14, Hosea 1, Hosea 2

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/201

  1. New song … Psalm 87:1-7
  2. New freedom … Romans 6:1-14
    • You HAVE BEEN saved from the PENALTY of sin
    • You WILL BE saved from the PRESENCE of sin
    • You ARE BEING saved from the POWER of sin
  3. New love … Hosea 1:1-2:23

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that You have planned for it. I thank You Lord for having sent Jesus to demonstrate Your love for us and for His ultimate sacrifice on the cross and resurrection power that conquers both the grave and the power of sin! Thanks You Lord for the truth through Your Word that calls us to live a transformed life leaving the old ways behind and start living out a new life with Jesus! Grant me wisdom for this day Lord that I may accomplish all that You have for me today! Help my light to shine so that You will be seen through me! Help my light shine so that others may see that I am but reflecting the light of Jesus to the world around me. Lord, thank You for loving me so much that You sent Jesus to this world that I can be saved. May this day I glorify You in the name of Jesus by being a conduit of Your truth, Your love, and Your ways to the people around me so that in and through it all that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Don’t be judgmental! Don’t taunt or find joy in the pain of others! Let’s do good to all!


We are to weep with those who are weeping! We are to celebrate with those who celebrate. Not the reverse…Don’t be kicking people when they are down. Don’t be mocking people when they are going thru troubles. Even if they are your enemies, we are not to hate them and only love our neighbors. We are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us! Don’t allow judgment and malice to take root in your heart! Allow your heart to be filled with overflowing of the love of God! Just because someone else is being corrected or given discipline doesn’t mean you should celebrate in it! Seek God in all your way! Acknowledge God in all your ways! Lean not on your own understanding of what is going on because you don’t know it all … the why. Don’t be acting in a way that makes you the next target! Do you really want that attention? God cannot be mocked!

Put your trust in God who is love! His love endures forever! Give thanks to God! Do not fear for the Lord is with you! Do not be afraid for God is your helper! Take refuge in God rather than putting your hope and trust in people. He is trustworthy and His love endures forever! Need help? Call out to God who is your help and your salvation! Ask Jesus into your heart and choose life! Yes, Jesus did get rejected even though He is the foundation and the cornerstone. So align to the cornerstone and stand on the rock of Jesus! Cry out to God and ask for His salvation and help you find success! Let’s praise God! Let’s exalt God! He is good and His love endures forever!

So let’s reflect on the words from Galatians from today’s reading…Let’s start with the plan that we are to do good to all…

Doing Good to All

1Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2Carry each otherʼs burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5for each one should carry their own load. 6Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Not Circumcision but the New Creation

11See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!
12Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh. 14May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. 16Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God.
17From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.

–Galatians 6

It’s a matter of the heart! We need to make the choice and choose to follow after Jesus! We need to ask Him for forgiveness and into our hearts so that we can be new creations with the old being gone and the new having come!

Let’s celebrate with others who have come into the faith! Let’s turn to God with thanksgiving and praise because of the grace and mercy He has brought into their lives! Let’s celebrate how God has allowed love to motivate the works! Let’s celebrate how God has allowed hope to produce endurance! Let’s allow the power of the Holy Spirit to break thru the lies and open up the truth even greater into the lives of the people around us!

Today’s reading concludes with 1 Thessalonians…

1Paul, Silas and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace to you.

Thanksgiving for the Thessaloniansʼ Faith

2We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8The Lordʼs message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell 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—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

–1 Thessalonians 1

 


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 25, 26, Psalms 118, Galatians 6, 1 Thessalonians 1

Do you realize the impact of what you are doing?


Do you realize who you are impacting? Do you realize what impact your words are having on others? Do you realize what impact your actions are having on others? Do you realize what impact your behavior is having on others? Do you realize what impact your attitude is having on others? Do you realize the impact of your decisions? Do you realize the impact of your character? Do you realize the impact of your honesty? Do you realize the impact of your integrity? Do you realize the impact of your intent? Do you realize the impact of your caring? Do you realize the impact of your openness? Do you realize the impact of your authenticity? Do you realize the impact of your reputation? Do you realize the impact of your fairness? Do you realize the impact of your experience?

Is your impact positive or negative? Is your impact improving things? Is your impact helping things? Is your impact building up or tearing down? Is your impact setting others up? for success? for failure?


Let’s jump in to read from Zephaniah to kick off our reading for today…

1The Lord gave this message to Zephaniah when Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah. Zephaniah was the son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah.

Coming Judgment against Judah

2“I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth,” says the Lord. 3“I will sweep away people and animals alike. I will sweep away the birds of the sky and the fish in the sea. I will reduce the wicked to heaps of rubble, and I will wipe humanity from the face of the earth,” says the Lord. 4“I will crush Judah and Jerusalem with my fist and destroy every last trace of their Baal worship. I will put an end to all the idolatrous priests, so that even the memory of them will disappear. 5For they go up to their roofs and bow down to the sun, moon, and stars. They claim to follow the Lord, but then they worship Molech, too. 6And I will destroy those who used to worship me but now no longer do. They no longer ask for the Lord’s guidance or seek my blessings.” 7Stand in silence in the presence of the Sovereign Lord, for the awesome day of the Lord’s judgment is near. The Lord has prepared his people for a great slaughter and has chosen their executioners. 8“On that day of judgment,” says the Lord, “I will punish the leaders and princes of Judah and all those following pagan customs. 9Yes, I will punish those who participate in pagan worship ceremonies, and those who fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit. 10“On that day,” says the Lord, “a cry of alarm will come from the Fish Gate and echo throughout the New Quarter of the city. And a great crash will sound from the hills. 11Wail in sorrow, all you who live in the market area, for all the merchants and traders will be destroyed. 12“I will search with lanterns in Jerusalem’s darkest corners to punish those who sit complacent in their sins. They think the Lord will do nothing to them, either good or bad. 13So their property will be plundered, their homes will be ransacked. They will build new homes but never live in them. They will plant vineyards but never drink wine from them. 14“That terrible day of the Lord is near. Swiftly it comes— a day of bitter tears, a day when even strong men will cry out. 15It will be a day when the Lord’s anger is poured out— a day of terrible distress and anguish, a day of ruin and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, 16a day of trumpet calls and battle cries. Down go the walled cities and the strongest battlements! 17“Because you have sinned against the Lord, I will make you grope around like the blind. Your blood will be poured into the dust, and your bodies will lie rotting on the ground.” 18Your silver and gold will not save you on that day of the Lord’s anger. For the whole land will be devoured by the fire of his jealousy. He will make a terrifying end of all the people on earth.

–from Zephaniah 1

Will you turn to God? Will you ask for forgiveness? Will you humble yourself and pray? Will you follow His commands? Will you love God? Will you love people? Will you seek to do what is right? Will you invite Jesus into your heart? Will you choose Jesus before it is too late? Will you decide before the end times and judgement comes? What would it take? How bad would things have to get? How far down the downward spiral would you have to travel before you start looking up and asking God? We all have to decide for ourselves! Your choice and decision do make a difference! Don’t miss out because of your selfishness or pride!

A Call to Repentance

1Gather together—yes, gather together, you shameless nation. 2Gather before judgment begins, before your time to repent is blown away like chaff. Act now, before the fierce fury of the Lord falls and the terrible day of the Lord’s anger begins. 3Seek the Lord, all who are humble, and follow his commands. Seek to do what is right and to live humbly. Perhaps even yet the Lord will protect you— protect you from his anger on that day of destruction.

Judgment against Philistia

4Gaza and Ashkelon will be abandoned, Ashdod and Ekron torn down. 5And what sorrow awaits you Philistines who live along the coast and in the land of Canaan, for this judgment is against you, too! The Lord will destroy you until not one of you is left. 6The Philistine coast will become a wilderness pasture, a place of shepherd camps and enclosures for sheep and goats. 7The remnant of the tribe of Judah will pasture there. They will rest at night in the abandoned houses in Ashkelon. For the Lord their God will visit his people in kindness and restore their prosperity again.

Judgment against Moab and Ammon

8“I have heard the taunts of the Moabites and the insults of the Ammonites, mocking my people and invading their borders. 9Now, as surely as I live,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, “Moab and Ammon will be destroyed— destroyed as completely as Sodom and Gomorrah. Their land will become a place of stinging nettles, salt pits, and eternal desolation. The remnant of my people will plunder them and take their land.” 10They will receive the wages of their pride, for they have scoffed at the people of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 11The Lord will terrify them as he destroys all the gods in the land. Then nations around the world will worship the Lord, each in their own land.

Judgment against Ethiopia and Assyria

12“You Ethiopians will also be slaughtered by my sword,” says the Lord. 13And the Lord will strike the lands of the north with his fist, destroying the land of Assyria. He will make its great capital, Nineveh, a desolate wasteland, parched like a desert. 14The proud city will become a pasture for flocks and herds, and all sorts of wild animals will settle there. The desert owl and screech owl will roost on its ruined columns, their calls echoing through the gaping windows. Rubble will block all the doorways, and the cedar paneling will be exposed to the weather. 15This is the boisterous city, once so secure. “I am the greatest!” it boasted. “No other city can compare with me!” But now, look how it has become an utter ruin, a haven for wild animals. Everyone passing by will laugh in derision and shake a defiant fist.

–from Zephaniah 2

Will you choose to rebel? Will you choose redemption? There are many paths but only one that will lead you to God! Jesus told us that He is the way! Will you turn to Him? Will you allow Him to transform you from the inside out? My redeemer lives! Choose to be redeemed by Jesus! Don’t walk out on God (or think you should or could)! Don’t walk away from God (or think you can hide from Him)! Turn back to God! Ask Him to heal and forgive you! Come with a humble spirit! Allow Jesus to start a work in your heart that will transform you for the rest of your life and the rest of eternity!

Jerusalem’s Rebellion and Redemption

1What sorrow awaits rebellious, polluted Jerusalem, the city of violence and crime! 2No one can tell it anything; it refuses all correction. It does not trust in the Lord or draw near to its God. 3Its leaders are like roaring lions hunting for their victims. Its judges are like ravenous wolves at evening time, who by dawn have left no trace of their prey. 4Its prophets are arrogant liars seeking their own gain. Its priests defile the Temple by disobeying God’s instructions. 5But the Lord is still there in the city, and he does no wrong. Day by day he hands down justice, and he does not fail. But the wicked know no shame. 6“I have wiped out many nations, devastating their fortress walls and towers. Their streets are now deserted; their cities lie in silent ruin. There are no survivors— none at all. 7I thought, ‘Surely they will have reverence for me now! Surely they will listen to my warnings. Then I won’t need to strike again, destroying their homes.’ But no, they get up early to continue their evil deeds. 8Therefore, be patient,” says the Lord. “Soon I will stand and accuse these evil nations. For I have decided to gather the kingdoms of the earth and pour out my fiercest anger and fury on them. All the earth will be devoured by the fire of my jealousy. 9“Then I will purify the speech of all people, so that everyone can worship the Lord together. 10My scattered people who live beyond the rivers of Ethiopia will come to present their offerings. 11On that day you will no longer need to be ashamed, for you will no longer be rebels against me. I will remove all proud and arrogant people from among you. There will be no more haughtiness on my holy mountain. 12Those who are left will be the lowly and humble, for it is they who trust in the name of the Lord. 13The remnant of Israel will do no wrong; they will never tell lies or deceive one another. They will eat and sleep in safety, and no one will make them afraid.” 14Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! 15For the Lord will remove his hand of judgment and will disperse the armies of your enemy. And the Lord himself, the King of Israel, will live among you! At last your troubles will be over, and you will never again fear disaster. 16On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, “Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid! 17For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” 18“I will gather you who mourn for the appointed festivals; you will be disgraced no more. 19And I will deal severely with all who have oppressed you. I will save the weak and helpless ones; I will bring together those who were chased away. I will give glory and fame to my former exiles, wherever they have been mocked and shamed. 20On that day I will gather you together and bring you home again. I will give you a good name, a name of distinction, among all the nations of the earth, as I restore your fortunes before their very eyes. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

–from Zephaniah 3

Jesus knew the price it would cost to be able to redeem the sins of this world! Jesus knew the cost of wanting to make a way when there wasn’t a way! Jesus knew that it would have to be something He took into His own hands in order to provide that way to bridge the gap and reconcile us back to God’s righteousness! And even though we didn’t deserve it, He came and gave His all! He gave His life on the cross! He conquered death! He is now seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for us!

Have you decided to follow after Jesus? Have you decided to ask Him into your heart? Are you now walking in the hope that comes from that relationship? Are you now walking in the truth of Jesus to be able to lead you and guide you all the days of your life?

If not, why not start today? Go questions? Leave me a message!

Let’s get back into God’s Word…His love letter to us!

Paul Preaches in Thessalonica

1Paul and Silas then traveled through the towns of Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2As was Paul’s custom, he went to the synagogue service, and for three Sabbaths in a row he used the Scriptures to reason with the people. 3He explained the prophecies and proved that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead. He said, “This Jesus I’m telling you about is the Messiah.” 4Some of the Jews who listened were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with many God-fearing Greek men and quite a few prominent women.
5But some of the Jews were jealous, so they gathered some troublemakers from the marketplace to form a mob and start a riot. They attacked the home of Jason, searching for Paul and Silas so they could drag them out to the crowd. 6Not finding them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the other believers instead and took them before the city council. “Paul and Silas have caused trouble all over the world,” they shouted, “and now they are here disturbing our city, too. 7And Jason has welcomed them into his home. They are all guilty of treason against Caesar, for they profess allegiance to another king, named Jesus.”
8The people of the city, as well as the city council, were thrown into turmoil by these reports. 9So the officials forced Jason and the other believers to post bond, and then they released them.

Paul and Silas in Berea

10That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. 12As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.
13But when some Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God in Berea, they went there and stirred up trouble. 14The believers acted at once, sending Paul on to the coast, while Silas and Timothy remained behind. 15Those escorting Paul went with him all the way to Athens; then they returned to Berea with instructions for Silas and Timothy to hurry and join him.

Paul Preaches in Athens

16While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city. 17He went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there.
18He also had a debate with some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. When he told them about Jesus and his resurrection, they said, “What’s this babbler trying to say with these strange ideas he’s picked up?” Others said, “He seems to be preaching about some foreign gods.”
19Then they took him to the high council of the city. “Come and tell us about this new teaching,” they said. 20“You are saying some rather strange things, and we want to know what it’s all about.” 21(It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.)
22So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, 23for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.
24“He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. 26From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
27“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.
30“God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. 31For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”
32When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed in contempt, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.” 33That ended Paul’s discussion with them, 34but some joined him and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the council, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

–from Acts 17

Will you allow Jesus to create a new heart you in? Will you allow Jesus to transform you into a new creation? Will you allow Jesus lead you into heaven? Let’s live out our lives to please God! Let’s be God’s ambassadors to this world! Let’s be ambassadors of peace! Let’s not do it to puff ourselves up but to point people to the one who deserves all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Let’s be ambassadors of Christ to the world around us!

New Bodies

1For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. 2We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. 3For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.4While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. 5God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
6So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. 7For we live by believing and not by seeing. 8Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. 9So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. 10For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.

We Are God’s Ambassadors

11Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. 12Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. 13If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. 14Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
16So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
18And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

–from 2 Corinthians 5