THRIVE: How much change needs to happen for thriving to begin?


As my workday was coming to a close yesterday I got a message for a late meeting/call. It was to discuss that there would be more change. It wasn’t a surprise to me based on where things were at but it is still a change and a feeling of loss. One more layer is being peeled off. One more layer is being taken away. One more step towards the impact or the outcome of change. So what is or will be next?

Today’s verse of the day comes to us from 2 Corinthians 5:17 and says:

‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! ‘

2 Corinthians 5:17

It points to the importance of Jesus! It points to the importance of inviting Him into our hearts, our lives, and our every situation. It points beyond knowing Jesus or knowing about Jesus and moves to having a living relationship with Him. Its not about rituals and routines but rather about an intimate relationship with Jesus. When we start this relationship a transformation takes place. God creates a new heart in us. God creates a new mind in us. God creates a new us, a new creation where the old ways of thinking, seeing, acting, and being are gone and a new way o life has begun.

Are you living this new life yet? Do you have a relationship with Jesus yet? Are you looking for a change? Are you looking for a new way? Are you looking for a better way? Invite Jesus in today! Let’s pray:

Dear God
I admit I am a sinner and need your forgiveness; I believe that Jesus Christ died in my place paying the penalty for my sins. I am willing right now to turn from my sin and accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord. I commit myself to you and ask you to send the Holy Spirit into my life, to fill me and take control, and to help me become the kind of person you want me to be. Thank You Father for loving me. In Jesus' name. 
Amen.

Today’s post from Be The Dads is Finding Dad – Day3.


Did you hear about that “new” thing? Do you realize how much history repeats and how not much new happens?


If it’s news does it make it new? Nope. If it is portrayed as different does it make it new? Nope? What’s new? Let’s see what the dictionary has to say:

Definition of New from Oxford Dictionary per bing.com

https://www.bing.com/search?q=define%20new&qs=n&form=QBRE&sp=-1&pq=define%20&sc=8-7&sk=&cvid=93F0577EC5CB4883B1A69FB6FFC5EEC7
Oxford Dictionary definition of New

Because it looks different the next time, it gets called new. Because it feels different the next time, it gets called new. Because it sounds different the next time, it gets called new. Because it tastes different the next time, it gets called new. Because it smells different the next time, it gets called new. But is it really new?

How do you respond to what others are considering new? How do you react to what others are considering new? Ever heard the quote about history by George Santayana?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

George Santayana

Ever heard other similar quotes?

  • Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. — Edmund Burke
  • Learn from history or you’re doomed to repeat it. — Jesse Ventura
  • He who doesn’t understand history is doomed to repeat it. — Pittacus Lore
  • The philosopher and historian George Santayana once remarked that those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat its mistakes. A perusal of some of the essays will reveal that this is not always true. In some cases psychologists have known about mistakes of the past and sought to repeat them. But the recurrence can sometimes be fruitful: going round in circles can be a good thing, provided the circle is large that when one returns to the task one sees it in a new light and the error brings new insights. — Noel Sheehy

So is it new or is it history? Is it a repetition because we didn’t know or is someone pulling the strings in order to force something to repeat? This past year our church went through the book of Acts and there were so many things that mirrored what is going on in society today, thousands of years later. Ever considered that there might be a book that can help you navigate through life, even if it seems new? Ever considered the information you could pull from the lessons taught through the Bible? Might you consider starting your journey into the Bible today? Consider insights like Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 which says:

‘I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good as long as they live; and also that every man should eat and drink and see and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God. ‘

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

Consider insights like Esther 4:14 which says:

‘For if you remain silent at this time, liberation and rescue will arise for the Jews from another place, and you and your father’s house will perish [since you did not help when you had the chance]. And who knows whether you have attained royalty for such a time as this [and for this very purpose]?” ‘

Esther 4:14

Consider insights like Genesis 45:5-8 which says:

‘Now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me ahead of you to save life and preserve our family. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five more years in which there will be no plowing and harvesting. God sent me [to Egypt] ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on the earth, and to keep you alive by a great escape. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt. ‘

Genesis 45:5-8

Consider insights like Psalms 13:1 which says:

‘How long, O Lord ? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? ‘

Psalms 13:1

So are you ready to experience something old in a new way? Are you ready to look at something old in a new way? Are you ready for today? It’s a new day! Are you ready for today? It’s a new work week! Are you ready for today? Will look at it in a new way?


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for October 18th


Qué Será, Será


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.’

Ecclesiastes 1:9

Let’s take a bigger view at what Solomon is saying about life. Let’s dig a bit deeper by using the Amplified version with additional context from verses around this one.

‘The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher. “Vanity of vanities! All [that is done without God’s guidance] is vanity [futile, meaningless—a wisp of smoke, a vapor that vanishes, merely chasing the wind].” What advantage does man have from all his work Which he does under the sun (while earthbound)? One generation goes and another generation comes, But the earth remains forever. Also, the sun rises and the sun sets; And hurries to the place where it rises again. The wind blows toward the south, Then circles toward the north; The wind circles and swirls endlessly, And on its circular course the wind returns. All the rivers flow into the sea, Yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, There they flow again. All things are wearisome and all words are frail; Man cannot express it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor is the ear filled with hearing. That which has been is that which will be [again], And that which has been done is that which will be done again. So there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it can be said, “See this, it is new”? It has already existed for [the vast] ages [of time recorded or unrecorded] Which were before us. There is no remembrance of earlier things, Nor also of the later things that are to come; There will be for them no remembrance By generations who will come after them. ‘

Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Ever taken time to absorb the wisdom God had given to Solomon?
  • Ever taken time to consider the lessons God provides us through the wisdom He gave Solomon?
  • Ever considered the benefits of constancy in the world, the universe, and life?
  • Ever taken things for granted because of that constancy?
  • Ever taken for granted the patterns of life like days, weeks, seasons, and years?
  • Ever taken for granted directions like up, down, left, right?
  • Ever taken hold of the benefits of constancy?
  • Do you find constancy and consistency boring?
  • Do you appreciate the constancy of life as a gift from God?
  • Do you appreciate the constancy of life because it allows you to live your life without worry or fear thanks to God?
  • With things that come into our lives, have you considered how much of it remains constant?
  • Do you appreciate the stability that is life?
  • Do you appreciate the stability and constancy of life that keeps you from needing to spend too much energy on living or surviving?
  • Do you appreciate how this allows you to spend your energy on doing things that can make a difference in the lives of others?
  • Do you appreciate how this allows you to spend your energy on doing things that can care for others?
  • Do you appreciate how this allows you to spend your energy on doing things and taking risks that will allow you to accomplish greater things for God?

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • What are some things you appreciated about God’s gift of constancy?
  • How can you use the security of constancy to focus your energies on things that matter?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“One cure for boredom is to forget yourself through activities which bring you in touch with people and ideas outside yourself.”

Blanche McKeown

So where are you at today? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your life and your heart? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


A New Work Week Begins…


It’s an interesting day as my body got me up much earlier than I normally do. No specific thoughts that were causing worry or anxiety just a sense of let’s get going. So I prayed as I always do before getting out of bed for my wife, kids, family, and the day ahead and then rolled over and got out of bed. I had tried to go back to sleep but it just wasn’t going to happen.

So a new work week begins and so new thoughts are starting to bounce around in my head. Between yesterday’s devotional on All Things New captured in my post Sick and tired of being sick and tired? Ready for something news? What’s it going to take? and this morning’s devotional of Starting Over, it makes me wonder what God is planning and preparing as the year continues. I keep drawing closer. I keep praying. I keep asking. I keep seeking. And His Word continues to speak. I reflect on my mid year conversations and God’s Word continues to speak. I reflect on the larger purpose/plan with the theme around Be The Dads that God put in my head as I was praying and reading through the Matthew Barnett book The Cause within You: Finding the One Great Thing God Created You to Do in This World that I had picked up on one of his visits to our church. As I consider how my family has grown up with my oldest preparing to head out in January, my middle preparing to head out in August, and my youngest continuing his journey, where I am and what I do will need to adjust too as we get closer (my wife and I) to becoming empty nesters – still a few more years to go before that happens but it is on the radar now.

So I need to be moldable in God’s hands. I need to be ready for the good works He is preparing in advance for me to accomplish. I need to prepare spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally for what is yet to come. He’s not done with me yet. I know my final destination will be in eternity with Him and I want to finish the race on this side strong in hopes of hearing Him say the words “well done good and faithful servant”. And so today as I try to process the early morning wake up call and what this day and this week will contain, I turn to God and His Word to receive guidance, wisdom, and strength to make it a reality.


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for October 4th


Starting Over


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.’

Jeremiah 18:3-4

Let’s pause and grasp the context of today’s verses by looking at more of the chapter in the Amplified version:

‘The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will make you hear My words.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and saw that he was working at the wheel. But the vessel that he was making from clay was spoiled by the potter’s hand; so he made it over, reworking it and making it into another pot that seemed good to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” says the Lord. “Look carefully, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. At one moment I might [suddenly] speak concerning a nation or kingdom, that I will uproot and break down and destroy; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent and reverse My decision concerning the devastation that I intended to do. Or at another time I might [suddenly] speak about a nation or kingdom that I will build up or establish; and if they do evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will reverse My decision concerning the good with which I had promised to bless them. Now then, say to the men of Judah and to the citizens of Jerusalem, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am shaping a disaster and working out a plan against you. Turn back, each of you from his evil way; correct your habits and change your actions for the better.” ’ But they will say, ‘That is hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act in accordance with the stubbornness of his evil heart.’ “Therefore thus says the Lord, ‘Ask now among the nations, Who has heard of such things? The virgin Israel Has done a very vile and horrible thing. Will the snow of [Mount] Lebanon melt and vanish from its rocks [which tower above Israel]? Will the cold, rushing waters of foreign lands [that flow down from the distant land] be dried up? Yet My people have forgotten Me; They burn incense to worthless gods, They have stumbled from their ways From the ancient roads, To walk in pathways, Not on a highway, Making their land a desolation and a horror, A thing to be hissed at perpetually; Everyone who passes by will be astounded And shake his head [in scorn]. I will scatter them like an east wind Before the enemy; I will show them My back and not My face In the day of their disaster [says the Lord].’ ” Then [my enemies] said, “Come and let us work out schemes against Jeremiah. Surely the law is not going to be lost to the priest [as Jeremiah predicts], nor the counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come and let us strike him with our tongue [by making charges against him before the king], and let us ignore anything he says.” Pay attention to me, O Lord [and intercede]; Listen to what my adversaries are saying [and are plotting against me]— Should good be repaid with evil? Yet they have dug a pit for me. Remember [with compassion] that I stood before You To speak good on their behalf, To turn Your anger away from them. Therefore, give their children over to the famine; Give them over to the power of the sword. And let their wives become childless and widowed; Let their men meet death [by virulent disease], Their young men be struck down by the sword in battle. Let an outcry be heard from their houses When You suddenly bring [a troop of] raiders upon them, For they have dug a pit to capture me And have hidden snares for my feet. Yet You, O Lord, know All their deadly plotting against me; Do not forgive their wickedness Or blot out their sin from Your sight. But let them be overthrown before You; Deal with them in the time of Your anger.’

Jeremiah 18:1-23

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Even when broken beyond repair, we can be made new in the Potter’s hands.
  • God’s not ready to give up on us and so we shouldn’t be willing to give up on us either.
  • Let’s give what is broken or holding us back to God and allow Him to start over, make us new, transform us.
  • Let’s allow God to take our fears and replace them with faith like He did with Abraham.
  • Let’s allow God to take our lies and replace them with His truth like He did with Jacob.
  • Let’s allow God to take our denials and rejection and replace them with His forgiveness and purpose like He did with Peter.
  • Just like all the people God gave a do-over or who God allowed to start over, let’s not lose hope but instead take hold of the reality of who He is in order that we too can be healed, forgiven, restored, and be able to start a new as we begin our today.
  • Let’s choose to be smooth, workable, and sticky so that we can be molded by God.
  • Let’s allow God to take away the rough and hard edges.
  • Let’s allow God to continue to form us and mold us to be useful.
  • Let’s allow God to continue to form us and mold us to be beautiful.
  • Let’s allow God to work out imperfections or flaws so that we can become who He has created us to be.
  • Let’s live with the hope that God isn’t going to throw us away but rather His plan for us is good and comes with hope and a future!
  • Let’s be ok if He needs to start over with us because we know He is doing so out of love!
  • Let’s be ok if He needs to start over with us because we know that He will remove the flaws and imperfections.
  • Let’s rejoice in the reality of when He starts over as He removes the flaws and adds in elements necessary for us to be better like His Spirit, accountability friends, and the guidance of His Word!
  • Let’s not become impatient as it takes time!
  • Let’s remember we are being molded for His purpose and for a specific use!
  • Let’s allow Him to both mold us into the vessel He desires and then be ready when the time is right to be used for His purpose.
  • If we need to wait to become useful again, don’t lose hope or start to worry! God’s timing is perfect!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • What kind of flaws can make us unusable to the Potter?
  • What’s your role and what’s God’s role in shaping you?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“The God who made you can make you over.”

Zig Ziglar

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


So where are you at today? Are you feeling broken or out of sorts and in the need to be renewed or remade? Are you feeling damaged or confused and in needs of repair or hope? Are you looking to find a way to make today count? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Sick and tired of being sick and tired? Ready for something news? What’s it going to take?


What are you going through today? Are you on a treadmill of experiences? Are you feeling like you are on a hamster wheel? Are you trying to find a way out or a way off? Are you ready for something new? Are you ready for a change? Are you wondering which way to turn? Are you wondering what it would take? Could today be your day for things to become new? Could today be your day to get off the treadmill of life? Could today be your day to stop going round and round in the hamster wheel? What is it going to take for you to get sick and tired of being sick and tired and grab a hold of something new? Would it take an act of God? Would it take a vision of heaven? Would it take a dream of the next step? Would it take a God given purpose that would make a difference? What’s it going to take? Would it require that everything change?

Person running on a hamster wheel

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
― Henry Ford

The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for October 3rd


All Things New


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”’

Revelation 21:4-5

Let’s take a moment and gather a bit more context from the chapter using the Amplified version:

‘Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away (vanished), and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, arrayed like a bride adorned for her husband; and then I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “See! The tabernacle of God is among men, and He will live among them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them [ as their God, ] and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be death; there will no longer be sorrow and anguish, or crying, or pain; for the former order of things has passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true [they are accurate, incorruptible, and trustworthy].” And He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the one who thirsts I will give [water] from the fountain of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes [the world by adhering faithfully to Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior] will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But as for the cowards and unbelieving and abominable [who are devoid of character and personal integrity and practice or tolerate immorality], and murderers, and sorcerers [with intoxicating drugs], and idolaters and occultists [who practice and teach false religions], and all the liars [who knowingly deceive and twist truth], their part will be in the lake that blazes with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” ‘

Revelation 21:1-8

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • What are your views on eternity?
  • Do you wonder what life after death is like?
  • Do you have a desire, interest, curiosity about about the afterlife?
  • Do you realize that God put a desire in our hearts for eternity?
    • ‘He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God]—yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from the beginning to the end. ‘
      Ecclesiastes 3:11
  • Do you feel like there is life after death?
  • Do you feel like there is more than just what we experience in our lives?
  • Do you realize you aren’t alone in that feeling because people from every culture and in every age have tried to identify what it might be like?
  • Have you ever read the book of Revelation in order to learn about what heaven is like?
  • Have you ever read the book of Revelation and felt like the return of Jesus is getting closer?
  • I know when I started my reading of God’s Word in conjunction with this blog that is how I felt and also how come this blog has the name it does. I started in 2005 and the book of Revelation is how I got the “to eternity” part, hence From 2005 to Eternity!
  • Are you ready for the day when all wrongs will be made right?
  • Are you looking forward to the day when all wrongs will be made right?
  • Are you ready and looking forward to the day when every pain will be comforted?
  • Are you ready and looking forward to the day when every tear will be dried?
  • Are you ready and looking forward to the day when all of the confusion, doubt, and heartache will pass away?
  • Are you ready and looking forward to the day when bitterness, resentment, and strains of every kind and in every relationship will vanish?
  • Are you ready and looking forward to the day when all things will be made new?
  • From God’s Word what do you think are some assumptions we can make about heaven?
  • Things that bring us joy will be amplified?
  • Love, affirmation, understanding, and encouragement will thrill us because they won’t be tainted by selfishness?
  • Laughter will be more heartily than ever before?
  • We will worship God more effectively and wholeheartedly?
  • All the things that cause pain, suffering, anxiety will vanish in the light of God’s love!
  • Are you looking forward to getting spend eternity with God?
  • Are you looking forward to being in heaven with God?
  • Are you looking forward as those who had been oppressed in the past?
  • Are you looking forward to heaven as those who were slaves had done in history?
  • Are you looking forward to heaven as those who were poor and desolate had done in history?
  • Are you looking forward to heaven as those who were sick and disabled had done in history?
  • Are you looking forward to heaven as those who were prisoners had done in history?
  • Or is life ok, going well for you and you are still looking forward to spending eternity with God in heaven knowing that it will even be better?
  • Not sure? Why not take some time today to consider and meditate on it?

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • How do you think heaven will be different from your life now?
  • What do you look forward to most?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“When the darkness of dismay comes, endure until it is over, because out of it will come that following of Jesus which is an unspeakable joy.”

—  OSWALD CHAMBERS

Today’s reading from Tanakh:

  • Proverbs 25 (God knows! even those things that incapable of being fully explored or understood)
  • Proverbs 26 (Understand the season, the reason, the purpose)
  • Proverbs 27 (Don’t brad! Don’t fill yourself up! Don’t be prideful! Instead be wise)

So where are you at today? Are you at a crossroad on which you need to make a decision? Are you at a turning point where you need to decide to move forward to turnaround? Are you ready to step off the wheel and start pursuing your God given purpose? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Is the good life something done to you or something you do for others?


If you think of someone living the good life is it someone who has received or someone who is giving? When you think of someone living the good life is it someone who is doing something great for others or who is sitting back with all the luxuries of this world? What makes someone’s life a good life? Is it the amount they are able to collect, enjoy, and status? Is it the amount that is being poured out into others, the community, and those in need?

Ever taken a look to see what is out there on “the good life”? Doing a search it was interesting to see and read from sources like Forbes which provides The Ten Golden Rules on Living the Good Life, Planet of Success which provides What Is the Good Life?, and Psychology Today which provides What Is the Good Life? Happiness is a process. It is interesting to see what the world thinks of when it comes to the good life. It is interesting to see what things align with the Bible and what things differ. It is interesting to see how even those in the world speak as though they are not of the world based on how they are defining the good life.

How about you? How do you define the good life? Have you decided to live the good life? Are you living the good life? What would it take for you to live the good life? Why not get started today? Let’s live The Good Life!


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for September 16th


The Good Life


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. ‘

James 3:13

Do you realize the context of this? Let’s see if we can expand upon it through God’s Word and using the Amplified translation:

Who is there among you who is wise and intelligent? Then let him by his noble living show forth his [good] works with the [unobtrusive] humility [which is the proper attribute] of true wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry, selfish ambition) in your hearts, do not pride yourselves on it and thus be in defiance of and false to the Truth. This [superficial] wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual (animal), even devilish (demoniacal). For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure (undefiled); then it is peace-loving, courteous (considerate, gentle). [It is willing to] yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; it is wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned (free from doubts, wavering, and insincerity). And the harvest of righteousness (of conformity to God’s will in thought and deed) is [the fruit of the seed] sown in peace by those who work for and make peace [in themselves and in others, that peace which means concord, agreement, and harmony between individuals, with undisturbedness, in a peaceful mind free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts].’

James 3:13-18

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • What characteristics come to mind when you think of people seem to have figured out the secret of this life?
  • Is it that they are grounded? Are you standing on the solid rock today so you can be grounded too? The solid rock that is Jesus?
  • Is it that they are unflappable? Are you able to stand firm and not be tossed by the wind or the waves? Do you have firm footing and focus on Jesus?
  • Is it their patience and how in the moment they can remain calm? Are you holding on tight to true love, unconditional love, the kind of love that starts with patience?
  • Is it their clarity of mind and how they can process listen to understand, speak to inform, and then make good decisions? Are you taking every thought captive?
  • Do you realize that it is probably because they have figured out how to tap into God’s wisdom? They aren’t superpowers for one or some but rather it is something that is available for all those who choose to turn to God and receive it because He gives it out without finding fault.
  • Will you turn to God’s Word, the Bible, to seek for wisdom?
  • Will you turn to Proverbs and learn about wise living?
  • Will you decide to put God first? Remember how we are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteous and that He will take care of the rest?
  • Have you had an encounter with God and come to the reality and realization of how awesome He is, how loving He is, and how much He can be trusted?
  • Once you do, your response in situations will change.
  • Once you do, your response will be filtered through Him.
  • Once you do, your response to situations will change.
  • Once you do, your response to interactions will change.
  • Once you do, your response to decisions will change.
  • Once you do, your heart will be different and the overflow of your heart that causes your mouth to speak will also be different.
  • Once you do, your purpose in life changes.
  • Once you do, God’s purpose comes into focus and leads your direction.
  • Once you do, pursuing God’s purpose and plan for your life with an open mind and a heart filled to overflowing with His love causes you to be living the most incredible life possible.
  • So are you ready to live life with integrity?
  • So are you ready to live life in a way that will make others successful?
  • So are you ready to live a life in a way that makes your spouse and kids know how much they are loved?
  • So are you ready to live a life with stewardship of all God gives to you?
  • So are you ready to live a life that is filled with thankfulness?
  • So are you ready to live a life where you don’t have anything to prove and as such you don’t need to brag or defend yourself?
  • So are you ready to live a life of reconciliation with others so that everyone comes out of the situation healthy and with respect and their reputation in tact?
  • So where are you at today?
  • Are you ready to live this kind of a life?
  • Do you know where you are at today?
  • That is a great place to start and to invite Jesus into the process with you.
  • Draw near to God and He will draw near to you!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • Give yourself an honest assessment of your life at this point.
  • In what areas do you need to grow in God’s wisdom?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“The best portion of a good man’s life: his little, nameless unremembered acts of kindness and love.”

― William WordsworthLyrical Ballads

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


So where are you at today? What is on your mind? What acts of kindness and of love will you do? What good conduct will you perform thanks to God’s wisdom? Do you know God? Are you living out your life in relationship with God? Would you like to invite Him into your life today so that you can live out the rest of your life with Him? Would you like to invite Him into your life today so that you can live out all of eternity with Him? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Who deserves to live?


Is life important to you? Is living important to you? Do you think everyone deserves to live? Do you think everyone should get a change to live? What does life mean to you? What does living mean to you?

Are you someone who leads with love because you think everyone’s life is important? Are you someone who leads with love because you think everyone’s life matters? Are you someone who leads with love because you think everyone deserves to live?

What is life? How do you define it? What is living? How do you define it?

What has life? What is living? What doesn’t have life? What isn’t living?

Do you think life is inviolable? Do you think life is absolute? Do you think life should be considered or regarded as too important or valuable to be interfered with? Do you think life should be set apart? Do you think life should be protected? Do you think life should be defended? Do you think life should be secure?

So as you consider your today, is there anything that would change your answer to “Who deserves to live?”?

Do you realize how important you and your life are? Do you realize who your life is important to?

Would you be ready to give life a chance? Would you be ready for your life to change?

Are you willing to give life a chance for someone else? Would you be ready to allow someone else’s life to be changed?


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for August 7th


Sanctity of Life


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘“You shall not murder.’

Exodus 20:13

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Ever killed someone? Most of us haven’t and can check the commandment from today’s verse off the list.
  • Ever taken a hold of how Jesus raised the bar on the commandments and what He said as it relates to this one?
  • Remember how he upped the game when He said if we look at someone with lust that we have committed adultery in our hearts?
  • On the topic of murder, He upped the game too by saying we shouldn’t hate as hating someone is the same as murder!
  • Remember how Jesus encapsulated the 10 Commandments in 2? Love God! Love People!
  • Are you ready to forgive rather than hate?
  • We need to get rid of hate in our hearts! We can’t allow it to take root!
  • We need to allow the Holy Spirit to help us with anger and resentment so that it doesn’t turn into hate!
  • We need to give those negative thoughts and feelings over to God rather than dwelling on them and allowing them to become hate!
  • We need to give those negative thoughts and feelings over to God in order to find and be able to have reconciliation and forgiveness!
  • We need to give up grudges so that we aren’t holding onto hatred! We need to forgive others so God will forgive us! Remember that lesson I learned about forgiveness? Ever checked out the Story Slam I shared on forgiveness?
  • So let’s not allow hate to take root in our hearts for it is the opposite of love and so we need to allow love to overpower and overwhelm hate and replace it in our hearts!
  • Want to look into what the Bible says about hate? Check these out:
    • 1 John 4:19-20
    • 1 John 2:8-11
    • 1 John 1:6
    • 1 John 3:14-15
    • Leviticus 19:17-18
    • Psalm 97:10
    • Romans 12:9
    • Proverbs 13:5
    • Proverbs 8:13
    • Proverbs 10:12
    • 1 Peter 4:8
    • 1 John 4:7
    • Malachi 1:2-3
    • Proverbs 6:16-19
    • Psalm 5:5
    • Psalm 11:5
    • Matthew 5:23-24
    • Hebrews 12:15
    • Ephesians 4:31
    • Matthew 10:22
    • Matthew 24:9
    • Ecclesiastes 3:7-8
    • Proverbs 10:18
    • Galatians 5:20-21
    • Genesis 37:3-5
  • Do you realize it is ok to hate evil though?
  • Do you realize it is ok to hate falsehood?
  • Do you realize it is ok to hate what God hates?
  • Do you realize that the key is to let love have the power?
  • Do you realize what can happen to you if you allow yourself to hate?
  • Do you realize what can happen if you aren’t quick to forgive?
  • Don’t allow bitterness to take root and cause hatred to have a home in your heart!
  • Let’s receive God’s gift of grace in order to be able to share it with others and love our enemies rather than wanting to kill them!
  • God searches our hearts, not just what is on the outside!
  • Since God knows what is in our heart, hatred in there is equivalent to murder!
  • God is checking out our motives and intentions!
  • Have you accepted and received God’s forgiveness?
  • Have you found that it helps you be able to forgive others?
  • Don’t seek revenge, give it over to God for He has said that vengeance is His!
  • So let’s go to the next level that Jesus has called us to!
  • Let’s not hate our enemies but let’s love them!
  • Let’s lead with love and forgiveness!
  • Let’s pray for those who persecute us!
  • Let’s treat others better than they treat us!
  • Let’s treat others the way we want to be treated!
  • Let’s lead with love so that there is no sign of hatred and hence no accusations of murder!
  • Let’s follow God’s purpose and example for our lives!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • What do you think Jesus meant when He said that hatred is like murder?
  • Is there animosity in your heart that needs to be replaced with God’s love? If so, how can that happen?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Wicked men obey from fear; good men, from love.”

Aristotle

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


So where are you at today? What is the state of your heart? Remember how from the overflow of your heart the mouth speaks? What are your words saying about the state of your heart? Have you invited Jesus into your heart to bring healing and health? Have you invited Jesus into your heart to be your Lord and Savior? Have you invited Jesus into your heart to get rid of the negative and harmful things stored up in your heart from the past? Have you invited Jesus into your heart to help you uproot the bitterness and anger that has found root in your heart? If not, would you consider it today? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Don’t overcomplicate it, keep it simple!


Faced with a situation do you try to break it down into its simplest parts? Faced with a problem do you try to break into simple parts? Face with a crisis do you stop, be still and evaluate, and then lean in on God for instructions, directions, wisdom, and discernment to help you get through it? Just because a problem is complicated doesn’t mean it can’t be broken up into simpler pieces.

In life you will find some people take something simple and overcomplicate it. You will find people take complicated things and overcomplicate it. You will find others who are problem solvers who will look to simplify in order to make progress and solve the problem. What do you do? How do you respond?

The devil wants to overwhelm you. The devil wants to keep you from achieving. The devil wants to rob you of what you have and what you could have. The devil wants to kill you, your dreams, and your goals. The devil wants to destroy you, your plans, your dreams, your success. But that isn’t God’s plan!

Jesus tells us: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

In this world we will have problems but Jesus shares the truth about when we have problems to face when He tells us: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Just because we face problems doesn’t mean we can’t overcome them. Just because we face trials of many kinds doesn’t mean we can’t have joy. We learn through God’s Word about facing trials when it says in the Amplified translation: ‘ Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.’James 1:2-4

So don’t grow weary in doing good! When we are feeling weary or weak, let’s turn to God because He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. So let’s keep it simple! Let’s not overcomplicate the situation! Let’s not get pulled into the lies and deception and distractions the devil will throw our way!


The One Year Daily Insights
with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard 
for May 29th


Plain and Simple


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. ‘

I John 5:11-12

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Do you think your destiny is based on a grade?
  • Do you think your destiny is based on your ability to be sinless?
  • Do you think your destiny is based on your service and good deeds?
  • Do you think your destiny is based on how well you avoided sins and did good?
  • Do you think your destiny is based on being able to pass the test?
  • Is your destiny based on you or on God? or both?
  • Your part is to believe and receive! Jesus already paid the bill in full!
  • So have you believed and received Jesus into your heart and started living life in relationship with Him?
  • Do you have Jesus in your heart?
  • Do you hold onto the promises and truth of Jesus rather than the balancing act of good acts vs sinful acts?
  • Do you believe God’s Word where John shares with us that it isn’t about balancing the good and the bad but rather it is about having Jesus!
  • Do you have Jesus in your heart?
  • Salvation is a gift from God that we get to choose if we will accept and receive it or not!
  • We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ!
  • We aren’t saved by works or else we could become prideful and start to boast about it!
  • We can’t earn salvation, we need to choose to receive it!
  • It is in our humility in realizing that we can’t do enough good things to buy salvation!
  • So we have nothing to offer and yet Jesus is offering us salvation!
  • We come with empty hands and an open heart and accept the gift of God, Jesus Christ, into our hearts which provides us with salvation!
  • So let’s put all of our hope and trust in Jesus who paid it all! He paid it once for all when He gave His life, His sinless life, on the cross as the payment for you and me to be able to receive salvation!
  • Will you accept the gift of Jesus and His gift of eternal life with God, as a member of God’s family?
  • Will you turn from your own ways, turn back to God, and embrace Jesus and live out the rest of your life in relationship with Him?
  • John’s message today keeps things plain and simple!
  • Don’t get fooled by the devil trying to tempt you or cause you to become prideful!
  • Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! He is the only way to the Father!
  • Jesus is all we have!
  • Jesus is all we need!
  • By having Him in our hearts, it overflows into the things we do!
  • Remember from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks, right?
  • So when we have Jesus in our hearts, the overflow is good words, good works, good service, fellowship with other believers. Not in order to check boxes or get good grades but rather because of the love that is in our hearts is overflowing into the world around us!
  • So can you be confident of your final destination? Have you invited Jesus into your heart?

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • How can someone know that he or she “has the Son”?
    • It is a decision they make to invite Jesus into their hearts and follow Him all the days of their lives.
    • We can see evidence of it by the fruit that is produced
  • Do you? How does your grasp of the simplicity and humility of your faith in Christ affect your attitude and actions?
    • Yes
    • It helps me through the good and the rough days
    • It helps me to lean in and spend time in God’s Word
    • It helps me to serve others better
    • It helps me to stand firm upon the rock of Jesus Christ!
    • It helps me find joy everyday! Happy Today!

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“All self effort is but sinking sand, Christ alone is the rock of our salvation.”

Henry Allen Ironside

“Christianity is not a religion; it is a relationship with a person — Jesus Christ.”

Zig Ziglar

Today’s reading from Tanakh:

  • Isaiah 55(sefaria.org)
    • Ho, all who are thirsty, Come for water, Even if you have no money; Come, buy food and eat: Buy food without money, Wine and milk without cost.
    • Why do you spend money for what is not bread, Your earnings for what does not satisfy? Give heed to Me, And you shall eat choice food And enjoy the richest viands.
    • Incline your ear and come to Me; Hearken, and you shall be revived. And I will make with you an everlasting covenant, The enduring loyalty promised to David.
  • Isaiah 56 (sefaria.org)
  • Isaiah 57 (sefaria.org)

So are you ready to simplify things and keep it plain so that people can understand it? Are you ready to take hold of the reality and the truth in order to keep things plain and simple? Are you ready to accept and receive eternal life? Could today be your day?

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


“Where will you be when get where you are going? Where will you spend eternity?”


Today’s title came from my morning reading from the book DEATH ROW Chaplain by Rev. Earl Smith. I purchased the book when Rev. Earl Smith spoke at a men’s conference that I had brought my son. We were blessed enough to have the opportunity to get a picture of my son with him too. Today’s reading was pretty heavy as it spoke of the people who died from death row. The chapter ended with the reality that it is a question we need to all ask ourselves. What is going to be our final destination?

For those on death row, knowing their time was drawing near, it is interesting to think about how even so, not all of them would make the decision to be forgiven and spend eternity with God. It is also interesting to learn how many of them actually grew up in “Christian” families. It is even more interesting to learn approximately the age at which they stepped away from God too. And yet with approximately just over 17 years on death row, they each had to make the decision for themselves as whether they would change or not. How would they handle the families of the victims? How would they handle the decisions of faith? How would they handle the decision of their last meals? How would they handle the decision to appeal or accept the charges and the penalty?

So what about you? Where will you be when you get where you are going? Where will you be spending eternity? Do you know the options? Do you know the choices? Do you know how to pick?

What if you were given the options and got to make a trade? Would you trade eternity with God for gains of the world? Would you give up eternity with God for the temporary thrill here on earth? What if the devil tempted you with all these shiny things he would give you but you would have to give up your soul and spend eternity in hell with him? Would you give up your birthrights for some stew? Before you decide to give it up, consider the consequences both here on earth and in eternity!

Do you know where you are going? Do you know where you’ve been? Do you realize the decision you have to make to get where you want to spend eternity? If you get to the end and still have questions, please use one of the communications options at the end of this blog post to reach out and ask. I give options to comment, to email, and to text me.


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard 
for March 20th


The one trade you should never make


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY: Mark 8:36

‘For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? ‘


POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • We each get to live in two worlds – The physical world and the spiritual world
  • The physical world is very tangible
  • The spiritual world is the most important
  • Will you choose to store up treasures in heaven where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
  • Will you choose to make money and use it to get more and more stuff?
  • To make the decision, we need a new heart and to invite Jesus into our heart to help become new creations!
  • To make the decision, we need to prioritize people over stuff and as such start helping the poor and the needy!
  • To make the decision, we need to live our lives pursuing God’s plan and will for our lives without fear and worry, taking risks that will honor God!
  • To make the decision, we need to be focused on God more than stuff, on God more than comparing ourselves to our neighbors and what they have, on God rather than burning ourselves out pursuing the desires of this world and competing to out do our neighbors! Let’s keep it simple!
  • To make the decision, we need to take hold of the truth of God’s Word and seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, trusting God for all of our needs! God knows what we have need of even before we ask!
  • To make the decision, we need to give up worry and fear for faith and hope in God! We need to trust God rather than our own understanding! We need to trust God and cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us! We need to trust God and allow our faith to overwhelm our fears!
  • Are you trying to keep score based on your wealth?
  • Are you trying to keep score based on your stuff or possessions?
  • Are you trying to get enough stuff to make you happy? Do you realize stuff can’t / doesn’t make you happy?
  • Consider what Jesus teaches us… One soul is worth more than all the gold in the world, all the oil in the world, every piece of real estate in the world, every piece of jewelry in the world, every stock in the world, every car in the world, along with anything else of value on this planet!
  • Jesus came and paid the price, giving up His own life to pay the price of sin once and for all so that we can accept it, receive it, and have a path way to eternity with Him in heaven, avoiding the penalty of sin which would have sent us to eternal death in hell with the devil.
  • He gave his life on the cross for all of us! You, me, our families, our neighbors, our coworkers, the happy and the cranky people, the joyful and the sad people, everyone around the world!
  • So are you ready to change your focus from doing things that are temporary to those that are eternal?
  • Are you ready to change your perspective from doing things that will be enjoyed temporarily to those that will last forever?
  • Consider what 1 Corinthians 13 says will last and what the greatest is:
    • ‘ And so faith, hope, love abide [faith–conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope–joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love–true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.’ — 1 Corinthians 13:13
  • Are you ready to invest in others because their souls are that important?
  • Are you ready to invest in others so that their souls will be able to find their way into heaven for eternity?
  • Are you ready to go from focusing on what you can see, right here and right now, to focusing on what is yet to come and will last forever?
  • Are you ready to go from focusing on what you can touch, right here and right now, to focusing on what will last forever, what is eternal, and what really needs your focus?

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
What’s the lure of stuff? Why do we let it rule (or at least shape) our lives?
  • We know we need stuff to live. Even though God is our provider and as we read
    • ‘“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.’ — Matthew 7:7-12
  • We need to remember the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it!
  • People are worried or fearful of how will their needs be met. We read what God says
    • ‘“Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.’ — Matthew 10:27-31
How would your life be different if you were gripped with the reality that a single soul is more important than all the world’s wealth?
  • Would spend more time investing in people
  • Would spend more time pouring into people
  • Would spend more time reaching out to people
  • Would allow God to fill us to overflowing in order to be able to overflow into the lives of all the people God brings into our lives for the glory of His kingdom!

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

I see many people die because they judge that life is not worth living. I see others paradoxically getting killed for the ideas or illusions that give them a reason for living (what is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason for dying). I therefore conclude that the meaning of life is the most urgent of questions.

Albert CamusThe Myth of Sisyphus

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


Jesus is the answer to where we will spend our eternity. We are faced with the choice of receiving the gift of God by faith through grace, Jesus! God sent Jesus out of love for us! ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. ‘ — John 3:16

So today, what will you choose?

'“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.'

Matthew 7:13-14
https://my.bible.com/bible/114/MAT.7.13-14
Narrow Path vs Broad Path. ‘“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.’ — Matthew 7:13-14

Where are you at today? Are you looking for guidance? Are you wondering where to turn? Are you at the end of your rope and needing help? Are you ready for some help? Are you ready to turn to God and ask? seek? knock? Let’s pray together.

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


It’s a New Day!


The week ended so differently thank what I could have planned or expected. The week’s reading plan was going to end on Thursday. I was prompted to set Friday’s post to be on ADVENT on Wednesday. So Thursday I finished my reading of God’s Word for the year and just like every other year, God’s Word has been alive and spoken hope and life into my life no matter what situation came my way, God knew the right words for the right day. I could feel a new day coming as I was drawing to a close. I wasn’t sure if it would be related to the first Advent and hence why for the next little while I will be getting reading from Christmas plans. I wasn’t sure if it would be related to the second Advent as even over dinner we have been having conversation with everything going on around the world that Jesus is coming back and how we need to be ready and the reading plan finished strong this time in the book of Revelation. God had a plan for Friday for me. He had an ADVENT plan for me and so I needed to be prepared and hence the prompting on Wednesday to select ADVENT as my word for Friday. As I prayed yesterday morning for God’s wisdom and direction, for God’s favor and confirmation, He provided support and guidance and love and encouragement throughout the day from my friends and leaders and managers to finish the day knowing that although I felt like there had already been too many changes in the year that there would be one more that spoke to me “don’t worry, I’ve got you”. Today as I begin, it’s a new day! Lots of exciting changes and opportunities are starting. Lots of support and encouragement from so many leaders this past week helped to confirm and reaffirm God’s plan. The door was swung so wide open that I couldn’t miss it. As I prepare for today’s devotional, I just want to thank and praise God and so I am selecting the following song to be the intro into this new day.



Don’t grow weary in doing good! Weariness can try to rob you of your joy! Allow the Christmas season to replenish and fill you with joy and replace the weariness! Let’s remember and take hold of the reality that You Can’t Cancel Christmas!


✨MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU✨

A Weary World Rejoices
– Five Days of Preparing Your Heart for Christmas

Our first Christmas devotional has the prelude of:

Weariness can steal the joy from our Christmas journey! Let the Nativity refresh your heart as you walk with Zechariah, Elizabeth, Joseph, Mary and the shepherds in preparation to experience Emmanuel this holiday season.

A Weary World Rejoices – Five Days of Preparing Your Heart for Christmas

So today’s focus as we read from God’s Word are (Day 1):

Today’s Reading:


My Notes:

  • ‘ In the days when Herod was king of Judea there was a certain priest whose name was Zachariah, of the daily service (the division) of Abia; and his wife was also a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they both were righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But they had no child, for Elizabeth was barren; and both were far advanced in years. Now while on duty, serving as priest before God in the order of his division, As was the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter [the sanctuary of] the temple of the Lord and burn incense. [Exod. 30:7.] And all the throng of people were praying outside [in the court] at the hour of incense [burning]. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zachariah saw him, he was troubled, and fear took possession of him. But the angel said to him, Do not be afraid, Zachariah, because your petition was heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you must call his name John [God is favorable]. And you shall have joy and exultant delight, and many will rejoice over his birth, For he will be great and distinguished in the sight of the Lord. And he must drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit even in and from his mother’s womb. [Num. 6:3.] And he will turn back and cause to return many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God, And he will [himself] go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn back the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient and incredulous and unpersuadable to the wisdom of the upright [which is the knowledge and holy love of the will of God]–in order to make ready for the Lord a people [perfectly] prepared [in spirit, adjusted and disposed and placed in the right moral state]. [Isa. 40:3; Mal. 4:5, 6.] And Zachariah said to the angel, By what shall I know and be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years. And the angel replied to him, I am Gabriel. I stand in the [very] presence of God, and I have been sent to talk to you and to bring you this good news. [Dan. 8:16; 9:21.] Now behold, you will be and will continue to be silent and not able to speak till the day when these things take place, because you have not believed what I told you; but my words are of a kind which will be fulfilled in the appointed and proper time. Now the people kept waiting for Zachariah, and they wondered at his delaying [so long] in the sanctuary. But when he did come out, he was unable to speak to them; and they [clearly] perceived that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary; and he kept making signs to them, still he remained dumb. And when his time of performing priestly functions was ended, he returned to his [own] house.’
    — Luke 1:5-23
    • Angel encounters – ever since that Easter where I got the benefit of playing an angel I have always had a special place for them and their role throughout scripture. Their appearance always causes people to worry or fear. The angels before delivering their message try to deescalate things by telling them not to fear – do not be afraid. How would you respond if God sent you a message through an angel?
    • Turn back to God – what would it take for you to turn back to God? Would it be a vision of heaven? Would it be a vision of hell? Would it be good times? Would it be tough times? Would it be from a person? Would it be from an angel?
    • Ready, Prepared, for an encounter with God – Are you ready mentally? Are you ready emotionally? Are you ready physically? Are you ready spiritually?
    • Is it possible that if it sounds too good to be true that it could still be true? – Imagine being Zachariah and receiving the message of the promise of John in your old age and your wife’s old age, how would you respond? Would you accept it or would the doubt of all the noise of the people over the years saying if it sounds too good to be true then probably is too good to be true. Would it matter the source? What if it was from an angel? Would it matter which angel delivered the message? What if it was from the Word of God after you prayed a specific question? What if it was a song on the radio or a tweet on your phone after praying a specific question? What would it take for you to believe it? Maybe 9 months of not being able to say something to anyone about what you experiences. Maybe 9 months of seeing God’s hand at work.
  • ‘ Now Zachariah his father was filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, Blessed (praised and extolled and thanked) be the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come and brought deliverance and redemption to His people! And He has raised up a Horn of salvation [a mighty and valiant Helper, the Author of salvation] for us in the house of David His servant– This is as He promised by the mouth of His holy prophets from the most ancient times [in the memory of man]– That we should have deliverance and be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who detest and pursue us with hatred; To make true and show the mercy and compassion and kindness [promised] to our forefathers and to remember and carry out His holy covenant [to bless, which is all the more sacred because it is made by God Himself], That covenant He sealed by oath to our forefather Abraham: To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our foes, might serve Him fearlessly In holiness (divine consecration) and righteousness [in accordance with the everlasting principles of right] within His presence all the days of our lives. And you, little one, shall be called a prophet of the Most High; for you shall go on before the face of the Lord to make ready His ways, [Isa. 40:3; Mal. 4:5.] To bring and give the knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness and remission of their sins. Because of and through the heart of tender mercy and loving-kindness of our God, a Light from on high will dawn upon us and visit [us] [Mal. 4:2.] To shine upon and give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to direct and guide our feet in a straight line into the way of peace. [Isa. 9:2.]’
    — Luke 1:67-79

As I reflect on today’s reading and even the consideration that it may take 9 months of going through something to realize the reality of what God has planned and in store for you. Be it a promised son. Be it a new day! Whatever the promise, whatever the timing, look for a way to be refilled and replenished so that you are able to press in and press on. In the midst of the trials, spend time in God’s Word and with God! In the midst of the troubles, spend time in God’s Word and with God! God wants a relationship with us and so we should talk with Him through it all, some may even put it as praying without ceasing!


Where are you at today? Are you feeling weary? Are you looking for support and encouragement? Are you wanting to get your journey with God started? Let’s pray together.

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?

Did you pray this with me? Would you like to connect and discuss it with me? Would you like to make time to start your walk with Jesus? Do you have questions? Please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.


It’s new but is it better? Is it really new? Is it just different?


Ever heard that there is nothing new under the Sun? Ever heard people try to reformulate something and then put it out there as new? Is it new? Is it better? Is it different? What impact is the change supposed to make? What improvement is the change supposed to make? Who will benefit? How will they benefit? Will it be real or just a perception? Will it be truth or an illusion? Will it make things better in the long run? Will it help the group? Will it help the customers? When we consider the who, what, where, when, why, and how elements can we answer them and understand them? So how should you respond? How will you respond? How much time should you give it before you need to make a decision or act? Where will you turn for such wisdom and guidance? Do you have a source you can depend on that is the same yesterday, today, and forever? Will you share your hope with those around you who may struggle? Will you share your joy with those around you who may need it? Will you share the love of God with everyone so that you can be the difference and make a difference? Are you ready for a transformation?


Day 59: 2020 Hindsight
— The 49-Week Challenge 
 Day 59 —

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 59 link to join link here to join me and sign up.

January is in the rear view mirror

With January in the rear view mirror, let’s share our takeaways from today’s reading! Did you catch and promises to trust? Did you catch any commands to obey? Did you catch any truths to embrace? Did you catch any warnings to heed? Did you catch any encouragement to rest in? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the world? What verse stood out most to you today?

If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.


Today’s reading from God’s Word – the Bible comes to us from:

(I have chosen to use NIV translation, but feel free to choose whichever version you feel more comfortable with)


My Notes:

  • Ever heard of the word TRANSFIGURED? It means to transform into something more beautiful or elevated. It means to transform outwardly and usually for the better.
  • Ever read of a case where someone was transfigured?
  • Can you imagine the response or reaction to being present when someone is transfigured?
  • What would you response be to a loud, deep, booming voice without someone visible to have said it? I know for me it shocked me, it surprised me, it made me look all around and realize there was nobody else in the room.
  • Would it take a still quiet voice to get your attention and response or does it need to be loud?
  • Will you choose to respond out of faith or out of fear?
  • Will you decided to do it when you are prompted by the Spirit in a still quiet voice?
  • Are you getting prepared before you start your day so that you are ready to respond and accomplish the will of God in and through your life?
  • Do you have faith? Even just a little bit of faith? Will you choose to believe?
  • Will you trust God to provide? Will you trust God that when He calls you too it, He will provide and get you through it?
  • What needs to die for something better to live?
  • Consider how a seed needs to go into the ground and die for the plant to grow and produce more.
  • Will you allow God to get the glory through the good and bad times?
  • Will you praise God when He takes what the enemy planned for evil and used it for good?
  • Will you trust God enough that even when you look or feel cornered?
  • Will you trust God enough that you won’t fear and you won’t worry?
  • Imagine the miracle when God makes a way when there didn’t seem to be a way!
  • God goes before you preparing the good works He has planned for you!
  • God goes behind you to protect you as you move forward after His plan and His will.
  • Imagine finding the Egyptian’s stuff at the bottom of the Red Sea
  • God will use those in authority over you for His glory! The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord!

As day 59 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not join me in this prayer?

Did you pray with me? Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision? Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Today’s devotional comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit www.life.church — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through Bible.com

It’s a new day!


Up and at ’em. Dressed and ready to go. But before I can get my day started I need God’s Word and wisdom. I need to get prepared and the best way I have found to make that happen is to jump into God’s Word which provides with wisdom and discernment to get my day started. It helps bring questions and curiosities to the surface and answers and revelations to help me get ready for today. God’s Words never returns void!


Day 41: 2020 Hindsight
— The 49-Week Challenge
– Day 41 —


Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 41 link to join link here to join me and sign up.

Let’s share our takeaways from today’s reading! Did you catch and promises to trust? Did you catch any commands to obey? Did you catch any truths to embrace? Did you catch any warnings to heed? Did you catch any encouragement to rest in? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the world? What verse stood out most to you today?

If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.


Today’s reading from God’s Word – the Bible comes to us from: (I have chosen to use NIV translation, but feel free to choose whichever version you feel more comfortable with)


My Notes:

  • Be aware of your surroundings!
  • Be aware of the hearts of the people around you!
  • Be aware that some may be hard and so may not be receptive to you and will require time and effort to build a real relationship of love and trust in order for them to be able to receive the seed of Good News.
  • Be aware that some may be sharp and so need to tread carefully to that neither of you get hurt, it will require that you tread carefully and remove the sharp edges in order to provide room and space for water to go and the seeds to be planted before they will be ready and available to receive the see of Good News.
  • Be aware that some may be filled with thorns and require much more careful and sensitive behaviors, it may require approaching the situation with gloves to protect yourself and still be able to show you care as you pull out the thorns and allow for the sun, the water, and the seed to come in and take root in order for them to be ready and willing to receive the seed of Good News.
  • Some may be ready and have their hearts in a situation to receive the Good News and be saved.
  • In any of these cases we need to be prepared.
  • In any of these cases we need to be willing to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in order to know how to act, respond, and engage.
  • Let’s allow our lights to shine into this dark world.
  • Let’s not allow fear or worry or doubt to turn or hide our lights.
  • Let’s take hold of God’s Word and put it into practice.
  • No matter the storm that comes our way, let’s pray and trust Jesus who can calm the storm or calm our hearts in the midst of the storm.
  • Let’s be ambassadors of peace! Let’s be ambassadors of restoration! Let’s do it because the redeemed of the Lord say so!
  • We each have a part to play!
  • We each have something to carry!
  • Let’s be prepared for this new day and allow the joy of the Lord to be our strength!
  • Trust in God’s timing! He is never late! rarely early! always on time!
  • Will you allow the power of Jesus to engage you?
  • Will you allow the power of Jesus to transform you?
  • Will you allow the power of Jesus to direct you?
  • Let’s live out today glorifying God as living sacrifices!
  • Be prepared for the call of the Lord!
  • Be the one who can answer God’s call He has for you.
  • God has sent the Holy Spirit to give us power to accomplish His purpose, will you be prepared and willing to do what He asks of you?
  • Don’t allow nature or man to cause fear in your heart!
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind!
  • Believe the Lord!
  • Believe the Word of God!
  • Take hold of the promises of Isaiah about Jesus

‘Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the Lord ’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied ; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.’

Isaiah 53
  • We learn even that back then God was preparing people for the arrival of Jesus!
  • Praise God!
  • Trust God’s timing!
  • Trust God’s plan!
  • Trust God’s purpose!
  • Be prepared for what He will ask of you today!
  • Be bold and courageous for what comes your way!
  • Fear not, Just Believe!

As day 41 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not join me in this prayer?

Did you pray with me? Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision? Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Today’s devotional comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit www.life.church — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through Bible.com

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

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.

4 days…


Timing… Perspective… Position… Placement… Action… Response… Questions… Answers… Retrospective… Control… Preparation… Faith… Peace… Joy… Hope… Trust… Love… Sow… Reap… Invest… Return… Steward… Selfless… Serve… Heart… Lead… Follow… Obey… Humility… Turn… Patience… Kindness… Goodness… Self-Control… Faithful… Gentleness… Endurance… Restraint…

What will be next? What will end? What will begin? What will continue? What will change? What will stay the same?

Where will you turn? Who will you talk to? When will you notice? When will you realize? Why will it take so long? Why not sooner? Why not now? How will it impact you? How will it make a difference? How will you respond? How will you react? How will you know?

The countdown continues…


Today’s reading comes from Nehemiah 7-8, and 1 John 1. Let’s take hold of all God has to say today and let’s share His hope and His love with the world around us so that they may hear the Good News of Jesus and respond before their time runs out.

What happens to people when they accomplish something? What happens to people when they meet their goals? What happens when it is finished? What’s next? New plan? New purpose? New schedule? New direction? What things will stay the same? What things will change? Will we need to take a count or audit of what is left? Will we need to consider the skills and talents of the remnant? Will we need to press on to the next milestone? Will there be new goals? Will there be new work?

1And now the wall had been rebuilt, the gates had all been put in place, and the Temple guards, the members of the sacred choir, and the other Levites had been assigned their work. 2I put two men in charge of governing the city of Jerusalem: my brother Hanani and Hananiah, commanding officer of the fortress. Hananiah was a reliable and God-fearing man without equal. 3I told them not to have the gates of Jerusalem opened in the morning until well after sunrise and to have them closed and barred before the guards went off duty at sunset. I also told them to appoint guards from among the people who lived in Jerusalem and to assign some of them to specific posts and others to patrol the area around their own houses.

The List of Those Who Returned from Exile

(Ezra 2.1-70)
4Jerusalem was a large city, but not many people were living in it, and not many houses had been built yet. 5God inspired me to assemble the people and their leaders and officials and to check their family records. I located the records of those who had first returned from captivity, and this is the information I found:
6Many of the exiles left the province of Babylon and returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own hometown. Their families had been living in exile in Babylonia ever since King Nebuchadnezzar had taken them there as prisoners. 7Their leaders were Zerubbabel, Joshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah.
8-25This is the list of the clans of Israel, with the number of those from each clan who returned from exile:
Parosh – 2,172
Shephatiah – 372
Arah – 652
Pahath Moab (descendants of Jeshua and Joab) – 2,818
Elam – 1,254
Zattu – 845
Zaccai – 760
Binnui – 648
Bebai – 628
Azgad – 2,322
Adonikam – 667
Bigvai – 2,067
Adin – 655
Ater (also called Hezekiah) – 98
Hashum – 328
Bezai – 324
Hariph – 112
Gibeon – 95
26-38People whose ancestors had lived in the following towns also returned:
Bethlehem and Netophah – 188
Anathoth – 128
Beth Azmaveth – 42
Kiriath Jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth – 743
Ramah and Geba – 621
Michmash – 122
Bethel and Ai – 123
The other Nebo – 52
The other Elam – 1,254
Harim – 320
Jericho – 345
Lod, Hadid, and Ono – 721
Senaah – 3,930
39-42This is the list of the priestly clans that returned from exile:
Jedaiah (descendants of Jeshua) – 973
Immer – 1,052
Pashhur – 1,247
Harim – 1,017
43-45Clans of Levites who returned from exile:
Jeshua and Kadmiel (descendants of Hodaviah) – 74
Temple musicians (descendants of Asaph) – 148
Temple guards (descendants of Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita, and Shobai) – 138
46-56Clans of Temple workers who returned from exile:
Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth,
Keros, Sia, Padon,
Lebana, Hagaba, Shalmai,
Hanan, Giddel, Gahar,
Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda,
Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah,
Besai, Meunim, Nephushesim,
Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur,
Bazlith, Mehida, Harsha,
Barkos, Sisera, Temah,
Neziah, and Hatipha.
57-59Clans of Solomon’s servants who returned from exile:
Sotai, Sophereth, Perida,
Jaalah, Darkon, Giddel,
Shephatiah, Hattil, Pochereth Hazzebaim, and Amon.
60The total number of descendants of the Temple workers and of Solomon’s servants who returned from exile was 392.
61-62There were 642 belonging to the clans of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda who returned from the towns of Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer; but they could not prove that they were descendants of Israelites.
63-64The following priestly clans could find no record to prove their ancestry: Hobaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai. (The ancestor of the priestly clan of Barzillai had married a woman from the clan of Barzillai of Gilead and taken the name of his father-in-law’s clan.) Since they were unable to prove who their ancestors were, they were not accepted as priests. 65 The Jewish governor told them that they could not eat the food offered to God until there was a priest who could use the Urim and Thummim.
66-69Total number of exiles who returned – 42,360.
Their male and female servants – 7,337
Male and female musicians – 245
Horses – 736
Mules – 245
Camels – 435
Donkeys – 6,720
70-72Many of the people contributed to help pay the cost of restoring the Temple:
The governor 270 ounces of gold
50 ceremonial bowls
530 robes for priests
Heads of clans 337 pounds of gold
3,215 pounds of silver
The rest of the people 337 pounds of gold
2,923 pounds of silver
67 robes for priests
73  The priests, the Levites, the Temple guards, the musicians, many of the ordinary people, the Temple workers—all the people of Israel—settled in the towns and cities of Judah.
–Nehemiah 7

How about setting a common ground? How about setting up a firm foundation on which to build everything else? How about aligning things with a cornerstone so that as things start to get built up they are in line? How about using good resources to ensure it lasts?

Consider the solid foundation which is Jesus Christ! Consider the cornerstone to align with to be Jesus Christ! Consider the common ground to be rules of higher standards Jesus has called us to! Let’s first love God with all of our hearts, mind, soul, and strength! Let’s love our neighbors as ourselves! Let’s lead with love! Let’s put Jesus in the middle of all our relationships so that we can come together with common purposes! A chord of three strands is not easily broken! Let’s point people back to God! Let’s turn our lives back to God! Let’s walk with Him and in His ways! Let’s start a revival where God is glorified and lives are transformed for eternity! None of the “stuff” will last forever, only people! So we need to have God’s eyes and God’s ears and God’s heart for the people around us! God sent Jesus to save the world! His hope was that nobody would perish but that everyone would come to faith in Jesus! So let’s ask God how He would have us kick things off! Let’s ask God for clarity and vision, purpose and passion for His plan! Let’s ask God to make us sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit so that in every situation we will be able to step up and step in and help people be restored to God!

Ezra Reads the Law to the People

1By the seventh month the people of Israel were all settled in their towns. On the first day of that month they all assembled in Jerusalem, in the square just inside the Water Gate. They asked Ezra, the priest and scholar of the Law which the Lord had given Israel through Moses, to get the book of the Law. 2So Ezra brought it to the place where the people had gathered—men, women, and the children who were old enough to understand. 3There in the square by the gate he read the Law to them from dawn until noon, and they all listened attentively.
4Ezra was standing on a wooden platform that had been built for the occasion. The following men stood at his right: Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah; and the following stood at his left: Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
5As Ezra stood there on the platform high above the people, they all kept their eyes fixed on him. As soon as he opened the book, they all stood up. 6Ezra said, “Praise the Lord, the great God!”
All the people raised their arms in the air and answered, “Amen! Amen!” They knelt in worship, with their faces to the ground.
7Then they rose and stood in their places, and the following Levites explained the Law to them: Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah. 8They gave an oral translation of God’s Law and explained it so that the people could understand it.
9When the people heard what the Law required, they were so moved that they began to cry. So Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra, the priest and scholar of the Law, and the Levites who were explaining the Law told all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God, so you are not to mourn or cry. 10Now go home and have a feast. Share your food and wine with those who don’t have enough. Today is holy to our Lord, so don’t be sad. The joy that the Lord gives you will make you strong.”
11The Levites went around calming the people and telling them not to be sad on such a holy day. 12So all the people went home and ate and drank joyfully and shared what they had with others, because they understood what had been read to them.

The Festival of Shelters

13The next day the heads of the clans, together with the priests and the Levites, went to Ezra to study the teachings of the Law. 14 They discovered that the Law, which the Lord gave through Moses, ordered the people of Israel to live in temporary shelters during the Festival of Shelters. 15So they gave the following instructions and sent them all through Jerusalem and the other cities and towns: “Go out to the hills and get branches from pines, olives, myrtles, palms, and other trees to make shelters according to the instructions written in the Law.”
16So the people got branches and built shelters on the flat roofs of their houses, in their yards, in the Temple courtyard, and in the public squares by the Water Gate and by the Ephraim Gate. 17All the people who had come back from captivity built shelters and lived in them. This was the first time it had been done since the days of Joshua son of Nun, and everybody was excited and happy. 18From the first day of the festival to the last they read a part of God’s Law every day. They celebrated for seven days, and on the eighth day there was a closing ceremony, as required in the Law.
–Nehemiah 8

Time is short! Life is like a mist! This world in its present form is passing away! We should live like stewards rather than owners as the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it! We should live like servants as we serve the Lord! Be God’s hands and arms of love extended! See the world like He does! Hear the cries like He does! Ask Him for wisdom so that you know what to do! Ask Him for sensitivity to the Holy Spirit in every situation because there may be more to it than what is on the surface! Let’s meditate on the Word of the Lord always! Let’s hope and trust Jesus in everything! Let’s live for eternity so that not only will we get to spend eternity with God but also that we can help others come into this same relationship!

The Word of Life

1 We write to you about the Word of life, which has existed from the very beginning. We have heard it, and we have seen it with our eyes; yes, we have seen it, and our hands have touched it. 2 When this life became visible, we saw it; so we speak of it and tell you about the eternal life which was with the Father and was made known to us. 3What we have seen and heard we announce to you also, so that you will join with us in the fellowship that we have with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4We write this in order that our joy may be complete.

God Is Light

5Now the message that we have heard from his Son and announce is this: God is light, and there is no darkness at all in him. 6If, then, we say that we have fellowship with him, yet at the same time live in the darkness, we are lying both in our words and in our actions. 7But if we live in the light—just as he is in the light—then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from every sin.
8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us. 9But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make a liar out of God, and his word is not in us.

–1 John 1

Make time with God! Make time to hear from Him! Make time to do what He is calling you to do! Make time to speak life into the people He sends to you!

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

It’s time to decide…


Which way will you go? Who will you follow? How will you live? What will that look like? Where will that take you? When will you choose? When will you decide?

It’s time to decide!


If the people before you were heading the wrong way, will you follow? If the people before were heading the wrong way, will you turn around and head in the right direction? It’s now in your hands so choose wisely!

1Now in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, son of Nebat, Abijam became king over Judah. 2He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom. 3He walked in all the sins of his father which he had done before him; and his heart was not wholly devoted to Adonai his God, like the heart of his father David. 4Nevertheless, for David’s sake, Adonai his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, raising up his son after him and establishing Jerusalem. 5For David did what was right in Adonai’s eyes and did not turn aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. 6As there had been war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life, 7so there was war between Abijam and Jeroboam. The rest of the deeds of Abijam and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 8Then Abijam slept with his fathers so they buried him in the city of David, and his son Asa became king in his place.

Asa Starts Out Right

9In the twentieth year of King Jeroboam of Israel, Asa began to reign over Judah. 10He reigned 41 years in Jerusalem; his mother’s name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom. 11Now Asa did what was right in Adonai’s eyes, like his father David. 12He also expelled the male prostitutes from the land and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. 13Also he deposed his mother Maacah from being queen mother, because she had made an abominable image as an Asherah pole. So Asa cut down her image and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 14But they did not take away the high places. Nevertheless Asa’s heart was wholly devoted to Adonai all his days. 15He brought into the House of Adonai the consecrated things of his father as well as his own consecrated things of silver, gold, and utensils. 16Now there was war between Asa and King Baasa of Israel all their days. 17King Baasa of Israel marched against Judah, and he built up Ramah to prevent anyone from going out or coming in to King Asa of Judah. 18Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasuries of Adonai’s House and the treasuries of the royal palace, and delivered them into the hand of his officials. King Asa sent them to Ben-Hadad son of Tabrimmon, son of Hezion, king of Aram, who resided in Damascus, saying: 19“Let there be a treaty between me and you, as it was between my father and your father. I have just sent you a present of silver and gold; go, break your treaty with King Baasa of Israel, so that he may withdraw from me.” 20So Ben-Hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel, conquering Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah and all Chinneroth, as well as all the land of Naphtali. 21When Baasa heard it, he stopped fortifying Ramah and remained in Tirzah. 22Then King Asa made a proclamation to all Judah—none was exempted—and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber which Baasa had built. Then King Asa built Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah with them. 23Now the rest of all the deeds of Asa, all his might, all he did and the cities that he built—are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? But in his old age he was diseased in his feet. 24And Asa slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of his father David, and his son Jehoshaphat became king his place.

End of Jeroboam’s Line

25Nadab son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of King Asa of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. 26He also did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, walking in the way of his father and in his sins that he caused Israel to commit. 27Then Baasa son of Ahijah of the house of Issachar conspired against him, and Baasa struck him down at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines, while Nadab and all Israel were besieging Gibbethon. 28So Baasa slew him, in the third year of King Asa of Judah, and became king in his place. 29As soon as he became king, he struck down all the household of Jeroboam. He did not spare Jeroboam anything with breath until he had destroyed him, just as was the word of Adonai that He spoke by the hand of His servant Ahijah the Shilonite, 30because of the sins Jeroboam had committed and caused Israel to commit, by which he utterly provoked Adonai, God of Israel. 31Now the rest of the deeds of Nadab and all he did—are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 32So there was war between Asa and King Baasa of Israel all their days. 33In the third year of King Asa of Judah, Baasa son of Ahijah began to reign over all Israel in Tirzah, reigning 24 years. 34He did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, and followed the way of Jeroboam and the sin that he had made Israel commit.

–from 1 Kings 15

Will you start strong? Will continue strong? Will you finish strong? Trust God in and through it all!

Asa’s Reforms Bring Adonai’s Rest

1Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of Adonai his God. 2He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. 3He commanded Judah to seek Adonai, the God of their fathers, and to obey the Torah and the mitzvah. 4He also removed the high places and the incense stands out of all the cities of Judah. So the kingdom remained untroubled under him. 5He built up fortified cities in Judah, for the land was untroubled and he was not engaged in warfare during those years because Adonai had given him rest. 6Then he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars, while the land is still ours because we have sought Adonai Eloheinu. We sought Him and He has given us rest all around.” So they built and were successful.

Appeal to Defeat the Cushites

7Now Asa had an army of 300,000 men from Judah who bore shields and spears and 280,000 from Benjamin who bore shields and drew bows. All of these were valiant warriors. 8Then Zerah the Cushite marched against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots. When he arrived at Mareshah, 9Asa went out to meet him and they arrayed for battle in the valley of Zephath at Mareshah. 10Then Asa cried to Adonai his God and said, “Adonai, there is no one like You to help in battle between the mighty and the powerless. Help us, Adonai Eloheinu, for we rely on You and in Your Name we have come against this multitude. You are Adonai Eloheinu! Let no man prevail against You.” 11So Adonai struck down the Cushites before Asa and before Judah. The Cushites fled 12and Asa and the people who were with him pursued them to Gerar. So many of the Cushites fell that they could not recover because they were shattered before Adonai and before His army. They carried away very much spoil. 13They destroyed all the cities around Gerar, for the terror from Adonai came on them. They plundered all the cities, for there was much spoil in them. 14They also attacked the tents of herdsmen and carried off many sheep and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.

–from 2 Chronicles 14

Stick with God! Don’t stray from Him! Build up your relationship and trust in Him! Don’t turn away from Him! Walk through life with Him! Be patient! Be obedient! Be true! Finish strong and receive the reward!

Prophets Encourage Further Reforms

1The Ruach Elohim came upon Azariah the son of Oded. 2He went out to meet Asa, and said to him, “Listen to me Asa, all Judah and Benjamin. Adonai is with you as long as you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you. But if you forsake Him, He will spurn you. 3For many days Israel was without the true God, without a teaching kohen and without Torah. 4But in their distress they turned to Adonai, the God of Israel, and sought Him, and He was found by them. 5In those times there was no shalom for anyone coming or going, for there were many conflicts among all the inhabitants of the lands. 6Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every kind of distress. 7But you, chazak! Do not let your hands be slack for there is reward for your labor.” 8When Asa heard these words as well as the prophecy of the prophet Oded, he took courage and removed the abominations from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns that he had seized in the hill country of Ephraim. He also repaired Adonai’s altar that was in front of Adonai’s entryway. 9He gathered all Judah and Benjamin, as well as those dwelling with them from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon—for many had defected to him from Israel when they saw that Adonai his God was with him. 10So they assembled at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. 11On that day they sacrificed to Adonai 700 bulls and 7,000 sheep from the spoil that they had brought. 12They entered into a covenant to seek Adonai, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul. 13Whoever would not seek Adonai, God of Israel, would be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman. 14They also made an oath to Adonai with a loud voice, with shouting, with trumpets and with shofarot. 15All Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and sought Him with all their will and He was found by them. Then Adonai gave them rest all around. 16He also deposed Maacah, the mother of King Asa, from being queen because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. Asa cut down her abominable image, crushed it and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 17Though the high places were not removed from Israel, still Asa’s heart was completely committed to Adonai all his days. 18He brought into the House of God his father’s consecrated articles, as well as his consecrated articles of silver and gold, and utensils.

–from 2 Chronicles 15

Keep your eyes on God! Remember His faithfulness! Turn to God first for answers, as you did when you first believed! Don’t allow fear to be the motivation or driver! Fear Not, Just Believe! Don’t be fooled! Don’t be tricked! Don’t allow pride to get in the way of all God had planned! Stand firm! Put on the full armor of God! Finish strong!

Asa Backslides

1In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign, King Baasa of Israel marched against Judah and fortified Ramah in order to prevent anyone from leaving or coming to King Asa of Judah. 2In response, Asa brought out silver and gold from the treasuries of the House of Adonai and from the royal palace, and sent them to King Ben-hadad of Aram who lived in Damascus saying, 3“Let there be a covenant between you and me, as there was between my father and your father. Look, I have sent you silver and gold. Go, break your covenant with King Baasha of Israel so that he may withdraw from me.” 4So Ben-hadad consented to King Asa’s request and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel. They ravaged Ijon, Dan, Abelmaim and all the storage cities of Naphtali. 5When Baasa heard, he stopped building Ramah and stopped his work. 6Then King Asa took up all of Judah to carry away the stones of Ramah and the timber with which Baasa had been building—with them he fortified Geba and Mizpah. 7At that time the seer Hanani came to King Asa of Judah and said to him: “Because you have depended on the king of Aram, and not depended on Adonai your God, therefore the army of the king of Aram has escaped out of your hand. 8Were not the Cushites and the Libyans a mighty army with many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on Adonai, He delivered them into your hand. 9For the eyes of Adonai range throughtout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are wholly His. You have acted foolishly in this matter. Indeed, from now on you will have wars.” 10Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in the prison for he was enraged at him for this. Also Asa oppressed some of the people at the same time. 11Behold, the acts of Asa, from beginning to end, are written in the book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12Now in the thirty-nineth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet. His illness was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek Adonai but physicians. 13Finally Asa slept with his fathers, dying in the forty-first year of his reign. 14He was buried in his own tomb, which he had hewn out for himself in the city of David. They laid him in his resting place, which was filled with sweet spices and various blended perfumes and they made a very large fire for him.

–from 2 Chronicles 16

It’s time to choose before it is too late! It’s time to ask Jesus into your heart and to start that relationship with Him! It’s time to be filled up and encouraged by Him and begin the journey as the new you, as the new creation with the old gone and the new, born again! It’s time to choose to be different! It’s time to choose to make a difference! It’s time to live out a life of faith that will bring God all the praise, the honor, and the glory! It’s time to choose life! It’s time to choose now in order to get to experience the greater things of God!

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

1Then I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2I looked, and behold, there was a white horse. The one riding on it had a bow, and a crown was given to him. He went out as a conqueror so he might conquer. 3When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come!” 4Then another horse came out, fiery red. The one riding on it was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another. He was given a great sword. 5When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come!” And behold, I saw a black horse. The one riding on it held a balance scale in his hand. 6Then I heard something like a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius—but do no harm to the oil and wine!” 7When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living creature saying, “Come!” 8Behold, I saw a horse, pale greenish gray. The name of the one riding on it was Death, and Sheol was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill by sword and by famine and by plague and by the wild beasts of the earth. 9When the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those slaughtered for the sake of the word of God and for the witness they had. 10And they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “O Sovereign Master, holy and true, how long before You judge those who dwell on the earth and avenge our blood?” 11Then a white robe was given to each of them, and they were told to rest a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants was complete—their brothers and sisters who were to be killed as they had been. 12I saw when the Lamb opened the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake. The sun became as black as sackcloth made of goat’s hair, and the full moon became like blood. 13The stars of heaven fell to the earth like a fig tree drops unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14The heaven ripped apart like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved from their places. 15Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the military commanders and the rich and the mighty and everyone—slave and free—hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16And they tell the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. 17For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

–from The Revelation 6

How much pain do you want to suffer? How much pain do you want to endure?

It’s time to choose! It’s time to decide!

 

 

 

Faith+Obedience -> Blessings


Will you be faithful? Will you be obedient? Will you choose wisely and be blessed? This world is filled with things to try and lure you away from God! There are things that will tempt you to go it alone! There are things that will tempt you to worship creation rather than the creator! There are things that will tempt you to walk against the way God planned and asked! There will be things that will try to get you to sway to the left or the right! So what will you do about it? How will you respond? We all have a choice! We all get to choose! So choose wisely! Find ways to remember what God has done! Find ways to put down markets so that you won’t forget! Then walk in faith and obedience to God’s calling on your life! Walk in His blessings! And give Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory He deserves! The Spirit will come upon us when we choose to receive Jesus and invite Him into our hearts! We can then allow Him to guide our steps, our thoughts, our words, and our actions! It’s more than a temporary thing! It’s God working in us!

Today’s reading continues in the book of Judges to kick off today…

1Now these are the nations that Adonai left, to test all Israel who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan. 2It was only in order that the generations of Bnei-Yisrael might learn from war, which they had not experienced before. 3These nations included the five Philistine lords, and all the Canaanites, Zidonians and the Hivites living in the hill country of Lebanon from Mount Baal-hermon to the entrance of Hamath. 4They were for testing Israel, to know whether they would obey the mitzvot of Adonai, which He had commanded their fathers by Moses’ hand. 5But Bnei-Yisrael settled among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, 6and took their daughters for themselves as wives, gave their own daughters to their sons, and worshipped their gods. 7Bnei-Yisrael did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, forgot Adonai their God and worshipped the Baalim and the Asherahs.

Othniel, Ehud and Shamgar

8So Adonai’s anger burned against Israel, and He sold them over into the hand of King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram-naharaim, and Bnei-Yisrael served Cushan-rishathaim for eight years. 9When Bnei-Yisrael cried out to Adonai, Adonai raised up a deliverer for Bnei-Yisrael to deliver them—Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger kinsman. 10The Spirit of Adonai came upon him as he judged Israel. When he went out to war, Adonai gave King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram into his hand so that he had the upper hand over Cushan-rishathaim. 11Then the land had peace 40 years. When Othniel son of Kenaz died, 12Bnei-Yisrael again did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes. So Adonai strengthened King Eglon of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in Adonai’s eyes. 13So he gathered to himself the people of Ammon and Amalek, then went and defeated Israel and took possession of the City of Palms. 14Bnei-Yisrael became subject to King Eglon of Moab for 18 years. 15But when Bnei-Yisrael cried out to Adonai, Adonai raised up a deliverer for them, Ehud son of Gera the Benjamite—a left-handed man. Now Bnei-Yisrael sent tribute with him to King Eglon of Moab. 16Ehud made himself a double-edged sword, a cubit in length, which he girded on his right thigh under his cloak. 17Then he presented the tribute to King Eglon of Moab. Eglon was a very fat man. 18Now when Ehud had finished presenting the tribute, he dismissed the people who had carried the tribute, 19but he himself turned back, at the idols that were near Gilgal, and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” “Keep silence!” he replied, so all his attendants left him. 20Then Ehud approached him while he was sitting alone in a roof chamber where it was cool, and said, “I have a message from God for you,” so he arose from his throne. 21Then Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and thrust it into his belly. 22Even the handle went in after the blade and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not withdraw the sword out of his belly—and the filth came out. 23Then Ehud went out by the porch, shut the doors of the roof chamber on him, and locked them. 24After he had gone out, his courtiers came and looked, but behold, the doors of the roof chamber were locked. So they said, “He is only relieving himself in the cool chamber.” 25So they waited till they were embarrassed, but behold, he still did not open the doors of the roof chamber. So they took the key and opened them—and behold, their master was lying dead on the floor. 26But Ehud escaped while they were lingering, passed beyond the idols and escaped to Seirah. 27When he arrived, he blew the shofar in the hill country of Ephraim, so Bnei-Yisrael went down with him from the hill country, and he was in front of them. 28He said to them, “Follow me, for Adonai has delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand.” So they went down after him and seized the fords of the Jordan opposite Moab, and allowed no one to cross over. 29Then they struck down at that time about 10,000 men of Moab—all stout men of valor—not a man escaped. 30So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. Then the land had peace for 80 years. 31After him came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down 600 Philistine men with an ox-goad. So he also delivered Israel.

–from Judges 3

Will you live for today and God’s plans and purposes in your life? Will you do what God asks of you? Will you be a voice to speak truth, hope, love, and life into the dark world around you? Will you be the voice of encouragement that the world around you needs to hear? Will you point people away from yourself and back to God? Will you give them the hope that there is a savior and His name is Jesus? Will you go where God goes? Will you stay where God stays? Will you do what He asks of you out of faith and in obedience?

Deborah, Barak and Yael

1But Bnei-Yisrael again did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes after Ehud had died. 2So Adonai sold them over into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. His army commander was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-ha-goyim. 3So Bnei-Yisrael cried out to Adonai, for he had 900 iron chariots, and had harshly oppressed Bnei-Yisrael for 20 years. 4Now Deborah, a woman who was a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. 5She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and Bnei-Yisrael came up to her for judgment. 6Now she sent and summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “Hasn’t Adonai, God of Israel, commanded, ‘Go, march to Mount Tabor, and take with you 10,000 men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun? 7Then at the Kishon torrent, I will draw out to you Sisera, commander of Jabin’s army with his chariots and his multitude, and I will give him into your hand.’” 8But Barak said to her, “If you are going with me, then I will go. But if you aren’t going with me, I won’t go.” 9“Surely I will go with you,” she said. “However, no honor will be yours on the way that you are about to go—for Adonai will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” So Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10Then Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali together to Kedesh, and 10,000 men marched up after him, and Deborah went up with him. 11Now Heber the Kenite had separated himself from the Kenites, from the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far as the oak in Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh. 12They told Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor. 13So Sisera ordered all his chariots—900 iron chariots—and all the troops that were with him, from Harosheth-ha-goyim to the Kishon. 14Then Deborah said to Barak, “Arise! For this is the day in which Adonai will deliver Sisera into your hand. Has Adonai not gone out before you?” So Barak came down from Mount Tabor with 10,000 men following him. 15Adonai threw Sisera and all his chariots and all his army into confusion before Barak with the edge of the sword. Then Sisera got down from his chariot and fled away on foot. 16But Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth-ha-goyim. The whole army of Sisera fell by the sword; not one was left. 17Meanwhile Sisera fled on foot to the tent of Yael the wife of Heber the Kenite, for there was peace between King Jabin of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18So Yael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me! Don’t be afraid!” So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a blanket. 19He said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a skin of milk and made him drink some, and covered him. 20Then he said to her, “Stand at the entrance of the tent, and if anyone comes and asks you saying, ‘Is there a man here?’ then you will say, ‘There’s no one.’” 21Then Yael, Heber’s wife, took a tent pin and got a hammer in her hand, approached him stealthily and drove the pin into his temple until it pierced through into the ground—for he was exhausted and in a deep sleep. So he died. 22Now behold, as Barak was pursuing Sisera, Yael came out to meet him and said to him, “Come, I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” So he entered with her, and behold, Sisera was lying dead, with a tent-pin in his temple! 23So on that day God subdued King Jabin of Canaan before Bnei-Yisrael. 24The hand of Bnei-Yisrael pressed hard on King Jabin of Canaan until they had cut off King Jabin of Canaan.

–from Judges 4

Out of your obedience to God, God can work miracles! Out of your faith in God, God can do miracles! So how do you want to go about this? Will you go His way? How will you respond to those who doubt? How will you respond to those who deny? How will you respond to those who don’t believe? Will you stand firm? Will you stand strong? Will you anchor yourself to the truth of God?

There Is No God?

1For the music director, of David. The fool said in his heart: “There is no God.” They are corrupt; their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. 2Adonai looked down from heaven on the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. 3They all turned aside, became corrupt. There is no one who does good —not even one. 4“Will evildoers never understand— those who consume My people as they eat bread— and never call on Adonai?” 5There they are, in great dread. For God is with the righteous generation. 6You would frustrate the plan of the lowly. Surely Adonai is his refuge! 7O may He give Israel’s salvation out of Zion! When Adonai restores His captive people, Jacob will rejoice, Israel will be glad!

–from Psalms 14

Will you be one who speaks up? Will you be one who speaks out? Do you see what is going on around you? Do you see the direction that the world is heading? What will they accept? What will they reject? What will they believe? What will they doubt? What will they fear? Why? Do they not see that there is a difference? Do they not see that it matters? What can you do today? What will you do today? Let’s live out what today’s reading concludes with from the book of Colossians…

Put Off the Old, Put On the New

1Therefore, if you have been raised up with Messiah, keep seeking the things above—where Messiah is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2Focus your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Messiah in God. 4When Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him, in glory! 5Therefore, put to death what is earthly in you—sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed—for that is idolatry. 6Because of such things God’s wrath is coming upon the sons of disobedience. 7At one time you also walked in these ways, when you used to live in these ways. 8But now, set them all aside—anger, rage, malice, slander, and foul language out of your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another. After all, you have taken off the old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self that is being renewed in knowledge, according to the image of the One who created him. 11Here there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, savage, slave and free; but Messiah is all, and in all. 12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves in tender compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience— 13bearing with one another and forgiving each other, if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord pardoned you, so also you must pardon others. 14But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfect harmony. 15Let the shalom of Messiah rule in your hearts—to this shalom you were surely called in one body. Also be thankful. 16Let the word of Messiah dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another with all wisdom in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Yeshua, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Orderly, Mutual Relationships

18Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives and do not become harsh toward them. 20Children, obey your parents in every respect, for this is pleasing to the Lord. 21Fathers, do not provoke your children, so they will not become discouraged. 22Slaves, obey your human masters in every respect—not just within your master’s sight as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it from the soul, as for the Lord and not for people. 24For you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as a reward. It is to the Lord Messiah you are giving service. 25For the one doing wrong will be paid back for what he did wrong, and there is no favoritism.

–from Colossians 3

Now that everything clear up…be ready to go! Do not be fooled!


You took care of the cause of your issues. You cleared the air on why it happened. Now will you take up the charge to get it done the right way? Don’t be afraid of what is to come because of a past failure! Learn from the failures and move forward from them! Stick close to God and follow His direction and wisdom! Be bold and courageous! Don’t be afraid! Don’t be worried! Don’t be dismayed!

Today’s reading begins with Joshua after having taken care of the issue that caused the defeat against Ai in Joshua 7. Now God calls them to go against Ai again but this time after they defeat them like they did in Jericho, they are allowed to take the spoils of victory…

1Then Adonai said to Joshua: “Do not be afraid or dismayed. Take all the people of war with you and arise, go up to Ai. Behold, I have given the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land into your hand. 2Then you will do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king—except you will take its spoil and its cattle as plunder for yourselves. Set an ambush for the city behind it.” 3So Joshua and all the people of war arose to go up to Ai. Joshua selected 30,000 men, valiant warriors, and sent them at night. 4He commanded them saying: “Look, you are going to ambush the city from behind it. Don’t go too far from the city, but all of you be ready. 5Then I and all the troops with me will approach the city. Then it will be when they come out against us, like the first time, that we will flee before them. 6So they will come out after us until we have drawn them away from the city. For they will think, ‘They are fleeing before us like the first time.’ While we are fleeing before them, 7you will rise up from the ambush and take possession of the city, for Adonai your God will give it into your hand. 8Now when you have seized the city, you will set the city on fire—according to the word of Adonai you must do. See that you do as I have ordered you.” 9So Joshua sent them off, and they went to the ambush site, taking position between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai. But Joshua spent that night among the people. 10Then Joshua rose up early in the morning and mustered the people. He and the elders of Israel marched before the people to Ai. 11All the people of war with him went up, advanced, and came in front of the city. They camped to the north of Ai, with a valley between him and Ai. 12But he had taken about 5,000 men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city. 13So they stationed the people, the main army that was to the north of the city, and its rear guard to the west of the city. Then Joshua walked that night in the midst of the valley. 14So it came to pass when the king of Ai saw this, the men of the city hurried and rose up early, and went out to meet Israel in battle, he and all his people at the appointed place facing the Arabah. But he did not know that there was an ambush against him behind the city. 15So Joshua and all Israel pretended to be beaten before them and fled by the way of the wilderness. 16Then all the people who were in Ai were summoned to pursue them, so they pursued Joshua and were drawn away from the city. 17Not a man was left in Ai or Bethel who did not go out after Israel, so they left the city open as they chased after Israel. 18Then Adonai said to Joshua, “Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand.” So Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand toward the city. 19As soon as he stretched out his hand, the ambush arose quickly from their place, ran and entered the city and captured it; and immediately set the city on fire. 20Now the men of Ai looked back and saw, behold, the smoke of the city rising up to the sky! They had no place to flee this way or that, since the people who had been fleeing to the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers. 21When Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had captured the city and that the smoke of the city rose up, they turned back and struck down the men of Ai. 22The others also came out of the city against them, so they were surrounded by Israel, some on this side and some on that side. They struck them down until not one survivor or fugitive was left. 23But they captured the king of Ai alive and brought him to Joshua. 24After Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the field in the wilderness where they pursued them, and all of them were fallen by the edge of the sword until they were consumed, all Israel returned to Ai and struck it with the edge of the sword. 25All who fell that day, both men and women, were 12,000—all the people of Ai. 26For Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he stretched out the javelin, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. 27Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took as their plunder, according to the word of Adonai which He had commanded Joshua. 28So Joshua burnt Ai and made it a permanent heap of desolation to this day. 29Then he hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening. At sunset Joshua commanded that they take his carcass down from the tree, cast it at the entrance of the gate of the city, and piled over it a great heap of stones, which remains to this day. 30Then Joshua built an altar to Adonai, God of Israel, on Mount Ebal, 31as Moses the servant of Adonai had commanded Bnei-Yisrael, as written in the scroll of the Torah of Moses, an altar of uncut stones on which no man had wielded any iron tool. They offered on it burnt offerings to Adonai and sacrificed fellowship offerings. 32 There on the stones he wrote a copy of the Torah of Moses, which he had written, in the presence of Bnei-Yisrael. 33Then all Israel, with their elders and officials, and their judges, were standing on both sides of the ark facing the Levitical kohanim carrying the ark of the covenant of Adonai—the outsider as well as the native-born. Half of them stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal—just as Moses the servant of Adonai had commanded before—in order to bless the people of Israel. 34Then afterward he read all the words of the Torah—the blessing and the curse—according to all that is written in the book of the Torah. 35There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, including the women and the little ones and the outsiders walking among them.

–from Joshua 8

Remember where you hope comes from and don’t jump into anything without first consulting with God! Things may not be as they seem and it may be a trick or a trap! Some people may be out to deceive or trick you! Some people may be trying to fool you! So in order to make sure, seek God’s wisdom before making any big decisions, any small decisions, and any decisions somewhere in between to make sure He’s got your back! Don’t just assume because you know that has a tendency to do!

Gibeonites Connive a Treaty

1Now when all the kings who were west of the Jordan, in the hill country, in the lowland and along the shore of the Great Sea to the vicinity of Lebanon—the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites—heard about it, 2they gathered themselves together as a unified alliance to fight against Joshua and Israel. 3But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4they acted craftily. They went and traveled as ambassadors, took worn-out sacks for their donkeys and worn-out wine skins, cracked and patched up, 5along with worn-out, patched up sandals on their feet and worn-out clothes on them. All the bread of their provision was dry and had become crumbly. 6Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country. So now, make a treaty-covenant with us.” 7Then the men of Israel said to the Hivites: “Perhaps you are living among us. How then should we make a covenant with you?” 8But they said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” Then Joshua asked them, “Who are you? Where do you come from?” 9So they replied to him: “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the Name of Adonai your God. For we have heard the report of Him and all that He did in Egypt, 10and all that He did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan—to King Sihon of Heshbon and to King Og of Bashan, who was at Ashtaroth. 11 So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us saying, ‘Take provisions in your hand for the journey, go to meet them and say to them: “We will be your subjects, so now make a treaty-covenant with us.’” 12This is our bread, which was hot when we took it for our provision from our homes on the day we left to come to you, but now behold, it is dry and crumbly. 13And these wineskins, which we were new when we filled them, but now see, they are cracked. Also these our garments and our sandals are worn-out because of the very long journey.” 14So the men of Israel took some of their provisions, and did not seek counsel from Adonai’s mouth. 15So Joshua made peace with them and cut a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the community swore to them. 16But it came about at the end of three days after they had cut a covenant with them, they heard that they were their neighbors, and were living among them. 17So Bnei-Yisrael journeyed and came to their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. 18But Bnei-Yisrael did not strike them, because the leaders of the community had sworn to them by Adonai, God of Israel. Then the entire community murmured against the leaders, 19but all the leaders answered the entire community, “We have sworn to them by Adonai, God of Israel, so now we cannot touch them. 20This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, lest wrath be upon us because of the oath which we swore to them.” 21“Yes, let them live,” the leaders said further, “but let them chop wood and draw water for the entire community.” So the leaders decreed concerning them. 22Then Joshua summoned them and he spoke to them saying: “Why have you deceived us saying: ‘We are very far from you,’ when you are living among us?23Now therefore, you are cursed, and you will never cease to be servants, wood-choppers and water-carriers for the House of my God.” 24So they answered Joshua and said: “It was because your servants were clearly told that Adonai your God had commanded His servant Moses to give you all the land and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land before you. So we were very afraid for our lives because of you, and so we did this. 25Now behold, we are in your hand. Whatever seems good and right in your eyes to do to us, do.” 26Thus he did to them, delivering them from the hand of Bnei-Yisrael, so they did not slay them. 27 On that day Joshua made them wood-choppers and water-carriers for the community, and for the altar of Adonai in the place which He would choose. So it is to this day.

–from Joshua 9

So how do we make the team stronger? Unity! How do we keep everyone on track and accountable? Unity! How will we come together as a group? In unity! We each have a purpose and are part of God’s plan! When we stick together we are stronger than we are alone! When we come together in unity with each other and with God, there is no limit to what God can and will do in and through our lives! Let’s put away our old ways and tendencies and let’s go forward in God’s!

Unity of the Body and of God

1Therefore I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you were called— 2with complete humility and gentleness, with patience, putting up with one another in love, 3making every effort to keep the unity of the Ruach in the bond of shalom. 4There is one body and one Ruach, just as you also were called in one hope of your calling; 5one Lord, one faith, one immersion; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7But to each one of us grace was given in keeping with the measure of Messiah’s gift. 8Therefore it says, “When He went up on high, He led captive a troop of captives and gave gifts to his people.” 9Now what does “He went up” mean, except that He first went down to the lower regions of the earth? 10The One who came down is the same One who went up far above all the heavens, in order to fill all things. 11He Himself gave some to be emissaries, some as prophets, some as proclaimers of the Good News, and some as shepherds and teachers— 12to equip the kedoshim for the work of service, for building up the body of Messiah. 13This will continue until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of Ben-Elohim—to mature adulthood, to the measure of the stature of Messiah’s fullness. 14As a result, we are no longer to be like children, tossed around by the waves and blown all over by every wind of teaching, by the trickery of men with cunning in deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all ways into Messiah, who is the Head. 16From Him the whole body is fitted and held together by every supporting ligament. The proper working of each individual part produces the body’s growth, for building itself up in love.

Put Off The Old, Put On The New

17So I tell you this, indeed I insist on it in the Lord—walk no longer as the pagans do, stumbling around in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance in them due to the hardness of their heart. 19Since they are past feeling, they have turned themselves over to indecency for the practice of every kind of immorality, with greed for more. 20However, you did not learn Messiah in this way— 21if indeed you have heard Him and were taught in Him, as the truth is in Yeshua. 22With respect to your former lifestyle, you are to lay aside the old self corrupted by its deceitful desires, 23be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24and put on the new self—created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 25So lay aside lying and “each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26“Be angry, yet do not sin.” Do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27nor give the devil a foothold. 28The one who steals must steal no longer—instead he must work, doing something useful with his own hands, so he may have something to share with the one who has need. 29Let no harmful word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for building others up according to the need, so that it gives grace to those who hear it. 30Do not grieve the Ruach ha-Kodesh of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness and rage and anger and quarreling and slander, along with all malice. 32Instead, be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other just as God in Messiah also forgave you.

–from Ephesians 4