How often do you make time for that special someone?


We all have but 24 hours in a day. Making time isn’t about fabricating more but rather prioritizing your time. Making time goes one step further as someone special deserves more than just the leftovers of your time but the best quality time.

So how are you doing with that? I know I need to work on that. I know I make time after a busy day to have a date night on Wednesday but how high quality is it? I know I have been blessed to get a few days away to go to a wedding and enjoy some time away and it makes me consider how it is supposed to be when it is quality time.

If we consider 10pm to 6am off the table. If we consider 8am-5pm off the table weekdays. That leaves us 5pm-10pm weekdays and longer on weekends. How can we creatively make quality time during these windows? It requires thought and preparation. It requires prioritization of things like serving and supporting our family.

How about you? Ever mapped it out? Do you setup safe and firm boundaries for that time to keep it for those special in your heart? Spouse? Kids? Family? Friends?


How often do you make time for that special someone?


God’s Word for today comes from:

  • Ezra 8
  • Ezekiel 38
  • Ezekiel 39:1-24
  • Acts 21:37-40
  • Acts 22:1-11
  • Revelation 14:6-13
  • Psalms 132

How do you make sure you remember? Remember events like a wedding or trips like a few days away in Mexico or birthdays or plans? Do you have tools and plans to help? Do you have a process or routine? Do you have a log or blog or something?

How do you make sure that you are in the right state of mind? How do you make sure you are bringing your best? How are you making sure that it is more than leftovers but is quality? Why not seek God’s plan and purpose so that in and they it all, He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory, in Jesus’s name.

We need to remember when we face a trial or problem that we are not alone? We need to remember that the battle belongs to the Lord. We need to remember not to attack each other but instead to come together and focus on solving or breaking down the problem. Jesus has won victory over sin and death. Jesus will be the victor in the end when eternity will either have us with God or apart from God depending on if we decided to follow Jesus and allow Him to be our Savior and Lord. I choose to live out eternity with God.

We need to address the situation in a way that can be received. We need to make time to complete the good works God has prepared in advance for us to accomplish. We need to follow after God who makes a way even when there doesn’t seem to be a way. Will you share your story and testimony with those God brings across your path? Share it for victory comes through the blood of the lamb and the words of our testimony. Will you share the Good News to all those God brings across your path? Will you helped them turn from ways that go against God? Will you point them to love, hope, truth and away from deception, immortality, and selfishness?

Let us persevere! Let’s take hold of our faith in Jesus. Let’s meditate on today’s reading and remember words like:

“This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!””

‭‭Revelation‬ ‭14:12-13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

So let’s make time for God. Let’s invite Him into our heart home. Let’s celebrate God with praise and honor.


So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpases all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejocie with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

New beginnings. New challenges.


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

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


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

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

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

Joshua 1

Today’s reading then continues with Isaiah:

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

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

Isaiah 37

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

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

Matthew 24:32-51

Today’s reading continues into Ephesians:

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

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

Ephesians 6:10-24

Today’s reading comes to a conclusion with Psalms:

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

Psalms 149

When a challenge is coming your way, how do you respond?


Do you view it as an obstacle or an opportunity? Do you view it as a pain or a purpose? Do you view it as a trial or a transformation? How do you view it? Over the years whenever I noticed in my reading Job I used to cringe wondering what was coming my way. I knew some test was coming and so I needed to lean even more into God. My view changed removing my worry and my fear when it happened back in 2013 when the reality of how on my last day on the job at a company I had worked for over 19 years (technically 19 yrs and 1 day) my reading was in Job 42 and verse 12 jumped out at me as I was about to start a new endeavor at a new company. It was a word of hope. It was a word of encouragement. I was the word I needed as I walked out one door that would close behind me and was about to open a new door with many unknowns. So today I am excited to see what God is going to do in and through this season. I am excited to watch His hand lead me and guide me through it all. I am excited because I know that as part of this time I am being called to be a good shepherd to the flock that God has given me. I know that the stay in the boat message and the be a good shepherd meeting are somehow connected to what is about to come. I don’t know what is coming but I know that God won’t make me go it alone. I know that God will is for me and not against me. I know that God is not out there somewhere but He is Emmanuel, God with me. So my hope and trust are in Him. So I will not fear instead I will believe. As I look before me unaware of there is a Jericho or a Red Sea or a Jordan River at flood stage, I know from the message I heard preached this weekend that I have to make sure God has my heart because with God all things are possible and that I will need to walk it out in faith and obedience. I may even need to keep quiet about it until the right time when I shout giving God all the praise, the honor, and the glory as the walls come tumbling down.


Today’s reading comes to use in the book of Exodus.

‘While the people of Israel were still at Rephidim, the warriors of Amalek attacked them. Moses commanded Joshua, “Choose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill. As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle. After the victory, the Lord instructed Moses, “Write this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua: I will erase the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-Nissi (which means “the Lord is my banner”). He said, “They have raised their fist against the Lord ’s throne, so now the Lord will be at war with Amalek generation after generation.”’

Exodus 17:8-16

Will I need to be holding up my hands? Will I need to be holding up someone else’s hands? Will we find something so that whoever’s hands need to be held high will stay up till the victory is won.

Today’s reading continues into Exodus 18 teaching about delegation and prioritization. These are great nuggets to take hold of as I look ahead and consider what it is that is yet to come.

‘Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, heard about everything God had done for Moses and his people, the Israelites. He heard especially about how the Lord had rescued them from Egypt. Earlier, Moses had sent his wife, Zipporah, and his two sons back to Jethro, who had taken them in. (Moses’ first son was named Gershom, for Moses had said when the boy was born, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land.” His second son was named Eliezer, for Moses had said, “The God of my ancestors was my helper; he rescued me from the sword of Pharaoh.”) Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, now came to visit Moses in the wilderness. He brought Moses’ wife and two sons with him, and they arrived while Moses and the people were camped near the mountain of God. Jethro had sent a message to Moses, saying, “I, Jethro, your father-in-law, am coming to see you with your wife and your two sons.” So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law. He bowed low and kissed him. They asked about each other’s welfare and then went into Moses’ tent. Moses told his father-in-law everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and Egypt on behalf of Israel. He also told about all the hardships they had experienced along the way and how the Lord had rescued his people from all their troubles. Jethro was delighted when he heard about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel as he rescued them from the hand of the Egyptians. “Praise the Lord ,” Jethro said, “for he has rescued you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh. Yes, he has rescued Israel from the powerful hand of Egypt! I know now that the Lord is greater than all other gods, because he rescued his people from the oppression of the proud Egyptians.” Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God. Aaron and all the elders of Israel came out and joined him in a sacrificial meal in God’s presence.

The next day, Moses took his seat to hear the people’s disputes against each other. They waited before him from morning till evening. When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he asked, “What are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?” Moses replied, “Because the people come to me to get a ruling from God. When a dispute arises, they come to me, and I am the one who settles the case between the quarreling parties. I inform the people of God’s decrees and give them his instructions.” “This is not good!” Moses’ father-in-law exclaimed. “You’re going to wear yourself out—and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself. Now listen to me, and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should continue to be the people’s representative before God, bringing their disputes to him. Teach them God’s decrees, and give them his instructions. Show them how to conduct their lives. But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you. If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.” Moses listened to his father-in-law’s advice and followed his suggestions. He chose capable men from all over Israel and appointed them as leaders over the people. He put them in charge of groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. These men were always available to solve the people’s common disputes. They brought the major cases to Moses, but they took care of the smaller matters themselves. Soon after this, Moses said good-bye to his father-in-law, who returned to his own land.’

Exodus 18

What is it that I need to accomplish? What is it that God will do in and through it? What can I do to share the load? What should be my role? Who can I give the other things to? What and how would they bring issues to me? Today’s reading takes us into Job 1.

‘There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil. He had seven sons and three daughters. He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area. Job’s sons would take turns preparing feasts in their homes, and they would also invite their three sisters to celebrate with them. When these celebrations ended—sometimes after several days—Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, “Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice. One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the Lord , and the Accuser, Satan, came with them. “Where have you come from?” the Lord asked Satan. Satan answered the Lord , “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.” Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.” Satan replied to the Lord , “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!” “All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the Lord ’s presence. One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger arrived at Job’s home with this news: “Your oxen were plowing, with the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided us. They stole all the animals and killed all the farmhands. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “The fire of God has fallen from heaven and burned up your sheep and all the shepherds. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, a third messenger arrived with this news: “Three bands of Chaldean raiders have stolen your camels and killed your servants. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother’s home. Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord !” In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.’

Job 1

Beware the accuser. When there had been a reset, God made a new way. My hope and my trust are in God alone. Don’t worry or fear the news. Walk out life humility. Praise God in and through it all. I look and meditate on what I will learn through this time and look towards the end where by being faithful and obedient God will take what was planned for evil and turn it around and use it for good. I will keep my trust in Jesus because of all that He has done in and through my life. The blessings that go beyond having and into providing and preparing and giving me a hope and a future. He has taught me to consider it pure joy when I face trials of many kinds as through faith and perseverance I can walk out the other end complete and lacking nothing.

Today’s reading bring us into the New Testament and starts in John 19.

‘Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was Passover week). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also may continue to believe. ) These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and “They will look on the one they pierced.”’

John 19:28-37

Jesus knew why He had come. Jesus knew His purpose. Jesus knew the plan. Jesus knew that the victory was His. I know that the battle has already been won. I know that I need not fear thanks to Jesus. Instead of fear I believe in Jesus. Instead of worrying, I lift up my cares and prayers to Jesus because He cares for me.

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 4.

‘I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children. For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. So I urge you to imitate me. That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go. Some of you have become arrogant, thinking I will not visit you again. But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me, and then I’ll find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power. For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. Which do you choose? Should I come with a rod to punish you, or should I come with love and a gentle spirit?’

1 Corinthians 4:14-21

So I will choose to live by God’s power. So I will choose to walk humbly. So I will choose to allow my actions do the talking for me. Faith without works is dead God’s Word says and so I will allow my works to speak of my faith in God. My works don’t save me but rather I works to show God’s workmanship in and through me. I have been saved by grace through faith in my Lord Jesus Christ, not by works as I can’t boast. Jesus paid it all. He has fulfilled His purpose and His plan and one day He will be returning on a white horse. But God’s will is that nobody would perish but that everyone would have eternal life through Jesus. God won’t force anyone, we need to choose on our own what we will believe.

Today’s reading concludes in Psalms. Today’s psalm comes to use from Psalms 49. Let’s meditate on these words together.

‘Listen to this, all you people! Pay attention, everyone in the world! High and low, rich and poor—listen! For my words are wise, and my thoughts are filled with insight. I listen carefully to many proverbs and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp. Why should I fear when trouble comes, when enemies surround me? They trust in their wealth and boast of great riches. Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death by paying a ransom to God. Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough to live forever and never see the grave. Those who are wise must finally die, just like the foolish and senseless, leaving all their wealth behind. The grave is their eternal home, where they will stay forever. They may name their estates after themselves, but their fame will not last. They will die, just like animals. This is the fate of fools, though they are remembered as being wise. Interlude Like sheep, they are led to the grave, where death will be their shepherd. In the morning the godly will rule over them. Their bodies will rot in the grave, far from their grand estates. But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave. Interlude So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich and their homes become ever more splendid. For when they die, they take nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them into the grave. In this life they consider themselves fortunate and are applauded for their success. But they will die like all before them and never again see the light of day. People who boast of their wealth don’t understand; they will die, just like animals.’

Psalms 49

What will it take for you to walk towards God rather than continuing to walk away?


What will happen as you walk out of the protection of God’s hand? What will happen as you walk outside of His protection? We all have freewill and so we get to choose how we will walk out this life. Will it take a sign or wonder to get your attention and make you return to God’s plans and purpose? Will it take something really good or something really bad to happen to you for you to realize you have gone too far? Do you realize that God provides boundaries for His blessings? Do you realize the boundaries aren’t to just keep you from going outside of them but they are also to protect you from what is outside of them. Will you lean on God rather than your own understanding? Will you keep rejecting God’s direction in order to see how far you can get outside of the boundaries? Are you willing to let go of that stuff that God can’t have come inside the boundaries? Are you ready and prepared for the opportunities so that you are willing to step even before you see the blessings? Will you continue to press forward even if you don’t see it immediately? So are you ready and prepared for the opportunity that God is putting into place? When you get there will you be able to receive the incredible miracles and blessings? Don’t just wander but instead get ready and be prepared to receive the blessings God has within the boundaries He has setup.

Today’s reading starts us out in Exodus 7.

‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pay close attention to this. I will make you seem like God to Pharaoh, and your brother, Aaron, will be your prophet. Tell Aaron everything I command you, and Aaron must command Pharaoh to let the people of Israel leave his country. But I will make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn so I can multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. Even then Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you. So I will bring down my fist on Egypt. Then I will rescue my forces—my people, the Israelites—from the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment. When I raise my powerful hand and bring out the Israelites, the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord .” So Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded them. Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty-three when they made their demands to Pharaoh.

Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Pharaoh will demand, ‘Show me a miracle.’ When he does this, say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down in front of Pharaoh, and it will become a serpent. ’” So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did what the Lord had commanded them. Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a serpent! Then Pharaoh called in his own wise men and sorcerers, and these Egyptian magicians did the same thing with their magic. They threw down their staffs, which also became serpents! But then Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. Pharaoh’s heart, however, remained hard. He still refused to listen, just as the Lord had predicted. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is stubborn, and he still refuses to let the people go. So go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes down to the river. Stand on the bank of the Nile and meet him there. Be sure to take along the staff that turned into a snake. Then announce to him, ‘The Lord , the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to tell you, “Let my people go, so they can worship me in the wilderness.” Until now, you have refused to listen to him. So this is what the Lord says: “I will show you that I am the Lord .” Look! I will strike the water of the Nile with this staff in my hand, and the river will turn to blood. The fish in it will die, and the river will stink. The Egyptians will not be able to drink any water from the Nile.’” Then the Lord said to Moses: “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and raise your hand over the waters of Egypt—all its rivers, canals, ponds, and all the reservoirs. Turn all the water to blood. Everywhere in Egypt the water will turn to blood, even the water stored in wooden bowls and stone pots.’” So Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them. As Pharaoh and all of his officials watched, Aaron raised his staff and struck the water of the Nile. Suddenly, the whole river turned to blood! The fish in the river died, and the water became so foul that the Egyptians couldn’t drink it. There was blood everywhere throughout the land of Egypt. But again the magicians of Egypt used their magic, and they, too, turned water into blood. So Pharaoh’s heart remained hard. He refused to listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had predicted. Pharaoh returned to his palace and put the whole thing out of his mind. Then all the Egyptians dug along the riverbank to find drinking water, for they couldn’t drink the water from the Nile. Seven days passed from the time the Lord struck the Nile.’

Exodus 7

Today’s reading continues into Exodus 8.

‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go back to Pharaoh and announce to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so they can worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will send a plague of frogs across your entire land. The Nile River will swarm with frogs. They will come up out of the river and into your palace, even into your bedroom and onto your bed! They will enter the houses of your officials and your people. They will even jump into your ovens and your kneading bowls. Frogs will jump on you, your people, and all your officials.’” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Raise the staff in your hand over all the rivers, canals, and ponds of Egypt, and bring up frogs over all the land.’” So Aaron raised his hand over the waters of Egypt, and frogs came up and covered the whole land! But the magicians were able to do the same thing with their magic. They, too, caused frogs to come up on the land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and begged, “Plead with the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people. I will let your people go, so they can offer sacrifices to the Lord .” “You set the time!” Moses replied. “Tell me when you want me to pray for you, your officials, and your people. Then you and your houses will be rid of the frogs. They will remain only in the Nile River.” “Do it tomorrow,” Pharaoh said. “All right,” Moses replied, “it will be as you have said. Then you will know that there is no one like the Lord our God. The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials, and your people. They will remain only in the Nile River.” So Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh’s palace, and Moses cried out to the Lord about the frogs he had inflicted on Pharaoh. And the Lord did just what Moses had predicted. The frogs in the houses, the courtyards, and the fields all died. The Egyptians piled them into great heaps, and a terrible stench filled the land. But when Pharaoh saw that relief had come, he became stubborn. He refused to listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had predicted.

So the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Raise your staff and strike the ground. The dust will turn into swarms of gnats throughout the land of Egypt.’” So Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded them. When Aaron raised his hand and struck the ground with his staff, gnats infested the entire land, covering the Egyptians and their animals. All the dust in the land of Egypt turned into gnats. Pharaoh’s magicians tried to do the same thing with their secret arts, but this time they failed. And the gnats covered everyone, people and animals alike. “This is the finger of God!” the magicians exclaimed to Pharaoh. But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard. He wouldn’t listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted.

Then the Lord told Moses, “Get up early in the morning and stand in Pharaoh’s way as he goes down to the river. Say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so they can worship me. If you refuse, then I will send swarms of flies on you, your officials, your people, and all the houses. The Egyptian homes will be filled with flies, and the ground will be covered with them. But this time I will spare the region of Goshen, where my people live. No flies will be found there. Then you will know that I am the Lord and that I am present even in the heart of your land. I will make a clear distinction between my people and your people. This miraculous sign will happen tomorrow.’” And the Lord did just as he had said. A thick swarm of flies filled Pharaoh’s palace and the houses of his officials. The whole land of Egypt was thrown into chaos by the flies. Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron. “All right! Go ahead and offer sacrifices to your God,” he said. “But do it here in this land.” But Moses replied, “That wouldn’t be right. The Egyptians detest the sacrifices that we offer to the Lord our God. Look, if we offer our sacrifices here where the Egyptians can see us, they will stone us. We must take a three-day trip into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, just as he has commanded us.” “All right, go ahead,” Pharaoh replied. “I will let you go into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God. But don’t go too far away. Now hurry and pray for me.” Moses answered, “As soon as I leave you, I will pray to the Lord , and tomorrow the swarms of flies will disappear from you and your officials and all your people. But I am warning you, Pharaoh, don’t lie to us again and refuse to let the people go to sacrifice to the Lord .” So Moses left Pharaoh’s palace and pleaded with the Lord to remove all the flies. And the Lord did as Moses asked and caused the swarms of flies to disappear from Pharaoh, his officials, and his people. Not a single fly remained. But Pharaoh again became stubborn and refused to let the people go.’

Exodus 8

How hard will your heart be? How long will it take for your heart to be softened to God’s direction and instruction? Don’t allow pride and selfishness keep you from receiving what God has planned for you. Consider the boundaries God has put into His Word and meditate on them so that you may live within His blessings. Let’s be prepared! Let’s respond to God’s commands.

Today’s reading continues into 2 Chronicles 30.

‘King Hezekiah now sent word to all Israel and Judah, and he wrote letters of invitation to the people of Ephraim and Manasseh. He asked everyone to come to the Temple of the Lord at Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of the Lord , the God of Israel. The king, his officials, and all the community of Jerusalem decided to celebrate Passover a month later than usual. They were unable to celebrate it at the prescribed time because not enough priests could be purified by then, and the people had not yet assembled at Jerusalem. This plan for keeping the Passover seemed right to the king and all the people. So they sent a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north, inviting everyone to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of the Lord , the God of Israel. The people had not been celebrating it in great numbers as required in the Law. At the king’s command, runners were sent throughout Israel and Judah. They carried letters that said: “O people of Israel, return to the Lord , the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, so that he will return to the few of us who have survived the conquest of the Assyrian kings. Do not be like your ancestors and relatives who abandoned the Lord , the God of their ancestors, and became an object of derision, as you yourselves can see. Do not be stubborn, as they were, but submit yourselves to the Lord . Come to his Temple, which he has set apart as holy forever. Worship the Lord your God so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. “For if you return to the Lord , your relatives and your children will be treated mercifully by their captors, and they will be able to return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful. If you return to him, he will not continue to turn his face from you.”

The runners went from town to town throughout Ephraim and Manasseh and as far as the territory of Zebulun. But most of the people just laughed at the runners and made fun of them. However, some people from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem. At the same time, God’s hand was on the people in the land of Judah, giving them all one heart to obey the orders of the king and his officials, who were following the word of the Lord . So a huge crowd assembled at Jerusalem in midspring to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. They set to work and removed the pagan altars from Jerusalem. They took away all the incense altars and threw them into the Kidron Valley. On the fourteenth day of the second month, one month later than usual, the people slaughtered the Passover lamb. This shamed the priests and Levites, so they purified themselves and brought burnt offerings to the Temple of the Lord . Then they took their places at the Temple as prescribed in the Law of Moses, the man of God. The Levites brought the sacrificial blood to the priests, who then sprinkled it on the altar. Since many of the people had not purified themselves, the Levites had to slaughter their Passover lamb for them, to set them apart for the Lord . Most of those who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not purified themselves. But King Hezekiah prayed for them, and they were allowed to eat the Passover meal anyway, even though this was contrary to the requirements of the Law. For Hezekiah said, “May the Lord , who is good, pardon those who decide to follow the Lord , the God of their ancestors, even though they are not properly cleansed for the ceremony.” And the Lord listened to Hezekiah’s prayer and healed the people. So the people of Israel who were present in Jerusalem joyously celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. Each day the Levites and priests sang to the Lord , accompanied by loud instruments. Hezekiah encouraged all the Levites regarding the skill they displayed as they served the Lord . The celebration continued for seven days. Peace offerings were sacrificed, and the people gave thanks to the Lord , the God of their ancestors. The entire assembly then decided to continue the festival another seven days, so they celebrated joyfully for another week. King Hezekiah gave the people 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep and goats for offerings, and the officials donated 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep and goats. Meanwhile, many more priests purified themselves. The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced, including the priests, the Levites, all who came from the land of Israel, the foreigners who came to the festival, and all those who lived in Judah. There was great joy in the city, for Jerusalem had not seen a celebration like this one since the days of Solomon, King David’s son. Then the priests and Levites stood and blessed the people, and God heard their prayer from his holy dwelling in heaven.’

2 Chronicles 30

Today’s reading then takes us into the New Testament in John 16.

‘“In a little while you won’t see me anymore. But a little while after that, you will see me again.” Some of the disciples asked each other, “What does he mean when he says, ‘In a little while you won’t see me, but then you will see me,’ and ‘I am going to the Father’? And what does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand.” Jesus realized they wanted to ask him about it, so he said, “Are you asking yourselves what I meant? I said in a little while you won’t see me, but a little while after that you will see me again. I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world. So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy. At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy. “I have spoken of these matters in figures of speech, but soon I will stop speaking figuratively and will tell you plainly all about the Father. Then you will ask in my name. I’m not saying I will ask the Father on your behalf, for the Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God. Yes, I came from the Father into the world, and now I will leave the world and return to the Father.” Then his disciples said, “At last you are speaking plainly and not figuratively. Now we understand that you know everything, and there’s no need to question you. From this we believe that you came from God.” Jesus asked, “Do you finally believe? But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”’

John 16:16-33

Will you be ready for the joy of the Lord? Will you allow the joy of the Lord to be your strength? Will you consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds? Will you take heart because Jesus has overcome the world? Will you receive the good news? Will you share the good news?

Today’s reading continues in 1 Corinthians 1.

‘I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter, ” or “I follow only Christ.” Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not! I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, for now no one can say they were baptized in my name. (Oh yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas, but I don’t remember baptizing anyone else.) For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News—and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power.’

1 Corinthians 1:10-17

So as we close today in the book of Psalms, let’s meditate on today’s psalm, Psalms 42.

‘As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? Day and night I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, “Where is this God of yours?” My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you— even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar. I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life. “O God my rock,” I cry, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?” Their taunts break my bones. They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?” Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!’

Psalms 42

In this world you will have troubles! How will you deal with them?


If we consider two verses around troubles and trials, let’s consider how to respond to them.

33 “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.”

–from John 16:33

Secondly let’s remember how we should respond to trials.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

–from James 1:2-4

So first when trouble rears its head we can take heart and have hope because we know that Jesus has overcome the world! Secondly, we can consider it pure joy because we know that our faith is being built up, our perseverance is being strengthened and in the end working in and through it that we will be mature, complete, and lacking nothing!

A crisis is a combination of danger and opportunity! There is danger or else there wouldn’t be a crisis in the mix. However, depending on how we respond it can provide an opportunity for something else to be the outcome. Consider the TV show MacGyver, there is always a crisis filled with danger, but we see how MacGyver takes it as an opportunity and comes up with some incredible solution that saves the day.

Are you facing a crisis today? What danger is involved? What opportunities are around it? Consider why is it a crisis… Is it because it was unexpected? Is it because it is a life or death situation? Take a moment to hear from the Holy Spirit and learn if there are opportunities in the moment. Opportunities to turn things around. Opportunities to learn something. Opportunities to make a difference.

When a crisis arises, does it matter which part of your life and does it impact your response? Your life, your health, your family, your church, your community, your workplace, your nation? Will you invite God into the situation when it starts or will you wait until you are at your wits end?

27They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end.

–from Psalm 107:27

What if someone is challenging your faith? The truth of Jesus Christ? Would you respond differently?

5We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

–from Galatians 2:5

What if it is such a bad day? What if it was a life or death situation that goes beyond just yourself?

3-4 They said to him, “Hezekiah says, ‘This is a black day. We’re in crisis. We’re like pregnant women without even the strength to have a baby! Do you think your God heard what the Rabshekah said, sent by his master the king of Assyria to mock the living God? And do you think your God will do anything about it? Pray for us, Isaiah. Pray for those of us left here holding the fort!’”

–from Isaiah 37:3-4The Message (MSG)

So we know that in this world we will have troubles, so let’s prepare for what could be coming our way by filling ourselves up through a relationship with God and don’t wait to get to your wits end before inviting Him into the situation, but cry out to Jesus and ask Him for wisdom and discernment for the situation and then wait upon the answer of the Holy Spirit to speak life, truth, and grant you peace beyond understandings beyond the circumstances and beyond the crisis.


How to Deal with Unexpected Difficulties

Day 258: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Cry out to the Lord in prayer … Psalm 107:23-32
  2. Use skill, diplomacy and courage … Galatians 2:1-10
  3. Bring to the Lord the ‘impossible’ situation … Isaiah 36:1-37:38

Today’s reading from God’s Word:

 

 

Do you know how you can turn things around…Do you know the 3 Ps


When given lemons do you make lemonade? When you face opposition do you look for the opportunities? When you face a test are you looking for how it will give you a testimony?

What is your perspective? What is your view on life? How will respond? What will you do?

How have the trials of life changed you? How have the actions of others impacted you?

Do you realize words have power? Power to build up! Power to tear down! Power to speak life! Power to speak death! Do you realize how others may interpret what you are saying? Do you consider that before you speak? 

We may not know what is going on in someone else’s life but we do know that hurting people hurt people. So next time you face opposition why not look for the opportunity it provides!


Opposition Turned into Opportunity — Day 185: Bible in one year 2017

Psalm 80:1-7, Acts 23:12-35, 2 Kings 8:16-9:3
https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/185


  1. God’s presence … Psalm 80:1-7
  2. God’s protection … Acts 23:12-35
  3. God’s peace … 2 Kings 8:16-9:3

Do you realize how much you are needed?


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

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

Deborah’s Song

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

–from Judges 5

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

Midianite Oppression

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

Calling of Gideon

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

Signs of the Fleece

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

–from Judges 6

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

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

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

Devote Yourselves to Prayer

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

Further Instructions and Greetings

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

–from Colossians 4

 

 

 

 

He got you here so will you do your part?


Ever gotten the opportunity to be somewhere or get somewhere? Now that He got you there, what are you going to do about it? You know what you need to do, but are you going to do it? Will you handle your part of the task? You know you can! You have the power! You have the backing! Will you ask Him and then go and do what He is calling you to do? What’s holding you back? Why won’t you complete the work that has been set before you? If you won’t then you will have to deal with the consequences of your decision, so don’t complain, just do it!

Today’s reading gets started on this subject…

Inheritance of Ephraim

1The allotment for the children of Joseph went from the Jordan at Jericho to the waters of Jericho on the east to the wilderness, going up from Jericho through the hill country to Bethel. 2From Bethel it went out to Luz, then continued to the border of the Archites at Ataroth. 3Then it went down westward to the territory of the Japhletites, to the territory of Lower Beth-horon, on to Gezer, and ended at the sea. 4So the children of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, received their portion. 5Now the territory of the children of Ephraim according to their clans was as follows: the border of their inheritance eastward was Atroth-addar, up to Upper Beth-horon. 6Then the border went out westward at Mich-methath on the north, then the border turned eastward to Taanath-shiloh, and passed by it to the east of Janoah. 7Then it went down from Janoah to Ataroth and to Naarah, then reached Jericho and came out at the Jordan. 8From Tappuah the border went along westward to the Wadi Kanah and ended at the sea. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Ephraim according to their clans, 9together with the towns which were set apart for the children of Ephraim in the midst of the inheritance of the children of Manasseh, all these towns with their villages. 10But they did not drive out the Canaanites that were living in Gezer, so the Canaanites continued to live in the midst of Ephraim to this day, and became forced laborers.

–from Joshua 16

and

Inheritance of Manasseh

1Now this was the allotment for the tribe of Manasseh, the firstborn of Joseph. To Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead, since he was a man of war, he got Gilead and Bashan. 2So for the rest of the children of Manasseh according to their clans—for the sons of Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher and Shemida—these were the male children of Manasseh son of Joseph according to their clans. 3But Zelophehad, son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh, had no sons but only daughters—these were the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 4So they appeared before Eleazar the kohen, before Joshua son of Nun and before the leaders saying: “Adonai commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our kinsmen.” Therefore according to the commandment of Adonai he gave them a portion among their father’s kinsmen. 5Thus ten shares fell to Manasseh, besides the land of Gilead and Bashan that is beyond the Jordan, 6because the daughters of Manasseh received a portion among his sons. Meanwhile the land of Gilead belonged to the rest of the sons of Manasseh. 7The border of Manasseh ran from Asher to Michmethath, which is facing Shechem. Then the border went along southward to the inhabitants of En-tappuah. 8The land of Tappuah belonged to Manasseh, but Tappuah on the border of Manasseh belonged to the children of Ephraim. 9Next the border went down to the Wadi Kanah, south of the wadi, by towns belonging to Ephraim among Manasseh’s towns. But the border of Manasseh was on the north side of the wadi, and ended at the sea. 10The south side belonged to Ephraim and the north side belonged to Manasseh, and the sea was its border. They reached to Asher on the north and to Issachar on the east. 11Within Issachar and Asher, Manasseh possessed Beth-shean and its villages, Ibleam and its villages, the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, the inhabitants of En-dor and its villages, the inhabitants of Taanach and its villages, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages—three regions. 12Yet the children of Manasseh could not take possession of these towns, because the Canaanites were resolved to live in that land. 13But when Bnei-Yisrael became stronger, that they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not utterly dispossess them. 14Then the children of Joseph spoke to Joshua saying: “Why have you given us only one allotment and one portion for an inheritance? For we are a numerous people whom Adonai has thus far blessed?” 15So Joshua said to them, “If you have so many people, go you up to the forest and clear a place for yourself there in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.” 16“The hill country will not be enough for us,” the children of Joseph replied. “But all the Canaanites who inhabit the valley land have iron chariots—both those who are in Beth-shean and its villages and those who are in the Jezreel Valley.” 17But Joshua spoke to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and to Manasseh saying: “You are a numerous people with great strength! You shouldn’t have just one allotment, 18because the hill country should be yours. Though it is a forest, you will clear it, and to its farthest borders it will be yours—for you will drive out the Canaanites, even though they have iron chariots and even though they are strong.”

–from Joshua 17

and

Scouting the Land Further

1Then the whole congregation of Bnei-Yisrael assembled at Shiloh and set up the Tent of Meeting there, after the land was now subdued before them. 2Yet there remained among Bnei-Yisrael seven tribes that still had not received their portions. 3So Joshua said to Bnei-Yisrael, “How long will you be slack about going in to possess the land which Adonai, the God of your fathers, has given you? 4Appoint for yourselves three men from each tribe, and I will send them, and they will arise and walk through the land, and describe it according to their inheritance, and then return to me. 5They are to divide it into seven portions: Judah will remain within its territory in the south, and the house of Joseph will remain within their territory in the north. 6After you have described the seven portions of land, bring the description here to me. Then I will cast lots for you here before Adonai our God. 7But the Levites have no portion among you—for the priesthood of Adonai is their inheritance. Also Gad, Reuben and the half-tribe of Manasseh have received their inheritance beyond the Jordan eastward, which Moses the servant of Adonai gave them.” 8So the men arose and went, and Joshua charged those who went to write a description of the land, saying: “Go and walk through the land and describe it, then return to me, and I will cast lots for you here before Adonai in Shiloh.” 9So the men went, passing through the land, and described it in a scroll, town by town, in seven parts. Then they came to Joshua at the camp at Shiloh. 10Then Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before Adonai, and there Joshua apportioned the land to Bnei-Yisrael according to their divisions.

Inheritance of Benjamin

11Now the lot of the tribe of the children of Benjamin came up, for their clans. The territory of their allotment lay between the children of Judah and the children of Joseph. 12Now their border on the north side was from the Jordan—the border went up to the side of Jericho on the north, and went up through the hill country westward, and it ended at the wilderness of Beth-aven. 13Then the border passed from there to Luz, to the side of Luz (that is, Bethel) southward. Next the border went down to Atroth-addar, near the mountain that lies to the south of Lower Beth-horon. 14On the west side, from the hill facing Beth-horon southward, the border curved, turning about southward, and ended at Kiriath-baal (that is, Kiriath-jearim), a town of the children of Judah. This was the west side. 15Then the south side was from the outskirts of Kiriath-jearim, then the border went westward, going to the spring of the Waters of Nephtoah. 16Then the border went down to the foot of the mountain by the Valley of Ben-hinnom, which is at the northern end of the Valley of Rephaim. Then it went down to the Valley of Hinnom, to the slope of the Jebusite southward, and went down to En-rogel. 17Then it curved north, and went to En-shemesh and ran to Geliloth opposite the Ascent of Adummim, and went down to the Stone of Bohan son of Reuben. 18Next it passed northward to the slope facing the Arabah (of the Jordan Valley), and went down to the Arabah. 19Then the border passed along the side of Beth-hoglah northward, and the border ended at the northern bay of the Salt Sea, at the south end of the Jordan. This was the southern border. 20The Jordan was to be the border on the east side. This was the inheritance of the children of Benjamin, and its borders all around according to their clans. 21Now the towns of the tribe of the children of Benjamin according to their clans were: Jericho, Beth-hoglah, Emek-keziz, 22Beth-arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel, 23Avvim, Parah, Ophrah, 24Chephar-ammonah, Ophni, and Geba—12 towns with their villages. 25Gibeon, Ramah, Beerot, 26Mizpeh, Chephirah, Mozah, 27Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah, 28Zela, Eleph, and Jebus (that is, Jerusalem), Gibeah, and Kiriath—14 towns with their villages. This is the inheritance of the children of Benjamin according to their clans.

–from Joshua 8

So let’s walk out today in alignment with God and His plans for our lives! Let’s follow the example of Jesus in the way we live and treat others! Let’s be humble and serve others giving them respect and treating them as we would want to be treated! Let’s be walking in unity with God and one another! Let’s be united in mind, heart, and soul! Let’s be living and acting out of selflessness! Let’s be humble and obedient to God’s call upon our lives! Let’s not try to pump up ourselves, but rather let’s focus on becoming more like Jesus! Let’s allow the world around us to see it in and through us! Let’s allow our lights to shine in this dark world that other may see it and look to God our Father and glorify Him! Let’s be salt that spices up the world in which we live! Let’s not grumble or argue, but rather let’s have a heart that looks for good and isn’t trying to point blame or accusations! Rather, let’s be encouragers and motivators!

Let’s see what today’s reading has to say in it’s conclusion…

Messiah’s Example of Humility

1Therefore if there is any encouragement in Messiah, if there is any comfort of love, if there is any fellowship of the Ruach, if there is any mercy and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same love, united in spirit, with one purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfishness or conceit, but with humility consider others as more important than yourselves, 4looking out not only for your own interests but also for the interests of others. 5Have this attitude in yourselves, which also was in Messiah Yeshua, 6Who, though existing in the form of God, did not consider being equal to God a thing to be grasped. 7But He emptied Himself— taking on the form of a slave, becoming the likeness of men and being found in appearance as a man. 8He humbled Himself— becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, in heaven and on the earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue profess that Yeshua the Messiah is Lord— to the glory of God the Father.

Work Out Your Salvation

12Therefore, my loved ones, just as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence—work out your salvation with fear and trembling. 13For the One working in you is God—both to will and to work for His good pleasure. 14Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15so that you might be blameless and innocent, children of God in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation. Among them you shine as lights in the world, 16holding fast to the word of life, so that I may boast in the day of Messiah that I did not run or labor in vain. 17But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and the service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. 18The same way, you also—rejoice and share your joy with me!

Sending and Receiving Encouragement

19But I hope in the Lord Yeshua to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too might be encouraged when I know the news about you. 20I have no one else like him who will genuinely care about you— 21for all seek after their own interests, not those of Messiah Yeshua. 22But you know Timothy’s proven character, that he served with me in spreading the Good News like a son with his father. 23Therefore I hope to send him immediately, as soon as I see how things go with me. 24And I trust in the Lord that soon I too will come myself. 25But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus—my brother and co-worker and fellow soldier, as well as your messenger and aide to my need. 26For he was longing for you all and troubled because you heard that he was sick. 27He certainly was sick, close to death. But God had mercy on him—and not only on him but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow. 28Therefore I have sent him with special urgency, so that when you see him again you might rejoice and I might be less worried about you. 29So welcome him in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard, 30because he came close to death for the work of Messiah, risking his life to make up for what was lacking in your service to me.

–from Philippians 2

 

Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Press on!


Ever been faced with a challenging situation? Ever been faced with a tough decision? Ever been put in a situation where you needed to defend your stance? Ever been in a situation where things were getting tough? Ever been in a situation where you felt like everything was falling down around you? Ever been in a situation where you weren’t sure what was going to happen next?

Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Press on!


This morning’s reading starts on just such a topic…

1“I have told you this, so that you will not give up your faith. 2You will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time will come when those who kill you will think that by doing this they are serving God. 3People will do these things to you because they have not known either the Father or me. 4But I have told you this, so that when the time comes for them to do these things, you will remember what I told you.

The Work of the Holy Spirit

“I did not tell you these things at the beginning, for I was with you. 5But now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me where I am going. 6And now that I have told you, your hearts are full of sadness. 7But I am telling you the truth: it is better for you that I go away, because if I do not go, the Helper will not come to you. But if I do go away, then I will send him to you. 8And when he comes, he will prove to the people of the world that they are wrong about sin and about what is right and about God’s judgment. 9They are wrong about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10they are wrong about what is right, because I am going to the Father and you will not see me any more; 11and they are wrong about judgment, because the ruler of this world has already been judged.
12“I have much more to tell you, but now it would be too much for you to bear. 13When, however, the Spirit comes, who reveals the truth about God, he will lead you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own authority, but he will speak of what he hears and will tell you of things to come. 14He will give me glory, because he will take what I say and tell it to you. 15All that my Father has is mine; that is why I said that the Spirit will take what I give him and tell it to you.

–from John 16

Allow the Holy Spirit to be your comforter and your guide! Allow the Holy Spirit to give you the wisdom and discernment you need to make the decision! Realize that you aren’t the first and won’t be the last who will be confronted or challenged or questioned and that by the power of God, you will make it, so don’t give up or give in! Remember Jesus has already won the victory for us and that He is coming back for us! He will take those of us who lived till then and those who died before His return! So let’s let our lives be worship! Let’s be living sacrifices to God!

Worship in Heaven

1At this point I had another vision and saw an open door in heaven. And the voice that sounded like a trumpet, which I had heard speaking to me before, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.” 2At once the Spirit took control of me. There in heaven was a throne with someone sitting on it. 3His face gleamed like such precious stones as jasper and carnelian, and all around the throne there was a rainbow the color of an emerald. 4In a circle around the throne were twenty-four other thrones, on which were seated twenty-four elders dressed in white and wearing crowns of gold. 5From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder. In front of the throne seven lighted torches were burning, which are the seven spirits of God. 6Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
Surrounding the throne on each of its sides, were four living creatures covered with eyes in front and behind. 7The first one looked like a lion; the second looked like a bull; the third had a face like a human face; and the fourth looked like an eagle in flight. 8Each one of the four living creatures had six wings, and they were covered with eyes, inside and out. Day and night they never stop singing:
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come.” 9The four living creatures sing songs of glory and honor and thanks to the one who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever. When they do so, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before the one who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever. They throw their crowns down in front of the throne and say, 11“Our Lord and God! You are worthy to receive glory, honor, and power. For you created all things, and by your will they were given existence and life.”

–from Revelation 4

Don’t give up, for He will get you thru it! He works all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes, so don’t give up!

1But men younger than I am make fun of me now! Their fathers have always been so worthless that I wouldn’t let them help my dogs guard sheep. 2They were a bunch of worn-out men, too weak to do any work for me. 3They were so poor and hungry that they would gnaw dry roots—at night, in wild, desolate places. 4They pulled up the plants of the desert and ate them, even the tasteless roots of the broom tree! 5Everyone drove them away with shouts, as if they were shouting at thieves. 6They had to live in caves, in holes dug in the sides of cliffs. 7Out in the wilds they howled like animals and huddled together under the bushes. 8A worthless bunch of nameless nobodies! They were driven out of the land. 9Now they come and laugh at me; I am nothing but a joke to them. 10They treat me with disgust; they think they are too good for me, and even come and spit in my face. 11Because God has made me weak and helpless, they turn against me with all their fury. 12This mob attacks me head-on; they send me running; they prepare their final assault. 13They cut off my escape and try to destroy me; and there is no one to stop them. 14They pour through the holes in my defenses and come crashing down on top of me; 15I am overcome with terror; my dignity is gone like a puff of wind, and my prosperity like a cloud. 16Now I am about to die; there is no relief for my suffering. 17At night my bones all ache; the pain that gnaws me never stops. 18God seizes me by my collar and twists my clothes out of shape. 19He throws me down in the mud; I am no better than dirt. 20I call to you, O God, but you never answer; and when I pray, you pay no attention. 21You are treating me cruelly; you persecute me with all your power. 22You let the wind blow me away; you toss me about in a raging storm. 23I know you are taking me off to my death, to the fate in store for everyone. 24Why do you attack a ruined man, one who can do nothing but beg for pity? 25Didn’t I weep with people in trouble and feel sorry for those in need? 26I hoped for happiness and light, but trouble and darkness came instead. 27I am torn apart by worry and pain; I have had day after day of suffering. 28I go about in gloom, without any sunshine; I stand up in public and plead for help. 29My voice is as sad and lonely as the cries of a jackal or an ostrich. 30My skin has turned dark; I am burning with fever. 31Where once I heard joyful music, now I hear only mourning and weeping.

–from Job 30

When we know Jesus and have Him with us, we don’t need to worry or fear! In this world we will have troubles, but take heart for Jesus has already overcome the world! So with Him in our lives we don’t have to worry or give up! All things are possible for those who believe! Do you know Jesus? Have you asked Him into your life yet? Is today your day?

So keep your eyes open and realize the signs of the time! God’s Word gives us direction and wisdom! God’s Word shows what has happened so we don’t need to be afraid, but we do need to be prepared! Prepared in and out of season! We don’t exactly when He will return, but He has promised He is coming back!

The Locusts as a Warning of the Day of the Lord

1Blow the trumpet; sound the alarm on Zion, God’s sacred hill. Tremble, people of Judah! The day of the Lord is coming soon. 2It will be a dark and gloomy day, a black and cloudy day. The great army of locusts advances like darkness spreading over the mountains. There has never been anything like it, and there never will be again. 3Like fire they eat up the plants. In front of them the land is like the Garden of Eden, but behind them it is a barren desert. Nothing escapes them. 4They look like horses; they run like war-horses. 5As they leap on the tops of the mountains, they rattle like chariots; they crackle like dry grass on fire. They are lined up like a great army ready for battle. 6As they approach, everyone is terrified; every face turns pale. 7They attack like warriors; they climb the walls like soldiers. They all keep marching straight ahead and do not change direction 8or get in each other’s way. They swarm through defenses, and nothing can stop them. 9They rush against the city; they run over the walls; they climb up the houses and go in through the windows like thieves. 10The earth shakes as they advance; the sky trembles. The sun and the moon grow dark, and the stars no longer shine. 11The Lord thunders commands to his army. The troops that obey him are many and mighty. How terrible is the day of the Lord! Who will survive it?

A Call to Repentance

12“But even now,” says the Lord, “repent sincerely and return to me with fasting and weeping and mourning. 13Let your broken heart show your sorrow; tearing your clothes is not enough.” Come back to the Lord your God. He is kind and full of mercy; he is patient and keeps his promise; he is always ready to forgive and not punish. 14Perhaps the Lord your God will change his mind and bless you with abundant crops. Then you can offer him grain and wine. 15Blow the trumpet on Mount Zion; give orders for a fast and call an assembly! 16Gather the people together; prepare them for a sacred meeting; bring the old people; gather the children and the babies too. Even newly married couples must leave their homes and come. 17The priests, serving the Lord between the altar and the entrance of the Temple, must weep and pray: “Have pity on your people, Lord. Do not let other nations despise us and mock us by saying, ‘Where is your God?’”

God Restores Fertility to the Land

18Then the Lord showed concern for his land; he had mercy on his people. 19He answered them: “Now I am going to give you grain and wine and olive oil, and you will be satisfied. Other nations will no longer despise you. 20I will remove the locust army that came from the north and will drive some of them into the desert. Their front ranks will be driven into the Dead Sea, their rear ranks into the Mediterranean. Their dead bodies will stink. I will destroy them because of all they have done to you. 21“Fields, don’t be afraid, but be joyful and glad because of all the Lord has done for you. 22Animals, don’t be afraid. The pastures are green; the trees bear their fruit, and there are plenty of figs and grapes. 23“Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice at what the Lord your God has done for you. He has given you the right amount of autumn rain; he has poured down the winter rain for you and the spring rain as before. 24The threshing places will be full of grain; the pits beside the presses will overflow with wine and olive oil. 25I will give you back what you lost in the years when swarms of locusts ate your crops. It was I who sent this army against you. 26Now you will have plenty to eat, and be satisfied. You will praise the Lord your God, who has done wonderful things for you. My people will never be despised again. 27Then, Israel, you will know that I am among you and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other. My people will never be despised again.

The Day of the Lord

28“Afterward I will pour out my Spirit on everyone: your sons and daughters will proclaim my message; your old people will have dreams, and your young people will see visions. 29At that time I will pour out my Spirit even on servants, both men and women. 30“I will give warnings of that day in the sky and on the earth; there will be bloodshed, fire, and clouds of smoke. 31The sun will be darkened, and the moon will turn red as blood before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. 32But all who ask the Lord for help will be saved. As the Lord has said, ‘Some in Jerusalem will escape; those whom I choose will survive.’”

–from Joel 2

Realize the time in which we are living! Realize the signs taking place around you! What are you seeing? What are you hearing? And what are you going to do with that information? What are you going to do about it? Let’s get ready! Let’s be ready! Let’s share the hope and the reason for the hope that is within us!

God Will Judge the Nations

1The Lord says, “At that time I will restore the prosperity of Judah and Jerusalem. 2I will gather all the nations and bring them to the Valley of Judgment. There I will judge them for all they have done to my people. They have scattered the Israelites in foreign countries and divided Israel, my land. 3They threw dice to decide who would get the captives. They sold boys and girls into slavery to pay for prostitutes and wine.
4“What are you trying to do to me, Tyre, Sidon, and all of Philistia? Are you trying to pay me back for something? If you are, I will quickly pay you back! 5You have taken my silver and gold and carried my rich treasures into your temples. 6You have taken the people of Judah and Jerusalem far from their own country and sold them to the Greeks. 7Now I am going to bring them out of the places to which you have sold them. I will do to you what you have done to them. 8I will let your sons and daughters be sold to the people of Judah; they will sell them to the far-off Sabeans. I, the Lord, have spoken.
9“Make this announcement among the nations: ‘Prepare for war; call your warriors; gather all your soldiers and march! 10Hammer the points of your plows into swords and your pruning knives into spears. Even the weak must fight. 11Hurry and come, all you surrounding nations, and gather in the valley.’” Send down, O Lord, your army to attack them! 12“The nations must get ready and come to the Valley of Judgment. There I, the Lord, will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. 13They are very wicked; cut them down like grain at harvest time; crush them as grapes are crushed in a full wine press until the wine runs over.” 14Thousands and thousands are in the Valley of Judgment. It is there that the day of the Lord will soon come. 15The sun and the moon grow dark, and the stars no longer shine.

God Will Bless His People

16The Lord roars from Mount Zion; his voice thunders from Jerusalem; earth and sky tremble. But he will defend his people. 17“Then, Israel, you will know that I am the Lord your God. I live on Zion, my sacred hill. Jerusalem will be a sacred city; foreigners will never conquer it again. 18At that time the mountains will be covered with vineyards, and cattle will be found on every hill; there will be plenty of water for all of Judah. A stream will flow from the Temple of the Lord, and it will water Acacia Valley. 19“Egypt will become a desert, and Edom a ruined waste, because they attacked the land of Judah and killed its innocent people. 20-21I will avenge those who were killed; I will not spare the guilty. But Judah and Jerusalem will be inhabited forever, and I, the Lord, will live on Mount Zion.”

–from Joel 3

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


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

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

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

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

Lazarus Is Brought to Life

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

–from John 11

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

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

Courage before God

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

–from 1 John 3

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

The Second Dialogue (15.1—21.34)

Eliphaz

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

–from Job 15

What will you do with what you have been given?


What is your attitude about what you have been given? Is it thankfulness or gratefulness or greed or need? Are you being a good steward of what you have? Are you being grateful and being a conduit of the blessings to others? Are you walking in an attitude of gratitude? Are you feeling the fullness and wanting more? Are you hoarding it or sharing it? Are you needing more or caring more? When you are put in such a place at such a time as this, what will you do? What purpose do you find? What purpose will you fill? You have been given talents and skills that only you have! You have been given opportunities and connections for a reason. What will you do with what you have been given?

Imagine if …

Once there was a man who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a hole for the wine press, and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to tenants and left home on a trip.

What would you do? How would you respond? What if you were the person who got it all setup? Let’s follow along what happens next…

When the time came to gather the grapes, he sent a slave to the tenants to receive from them his share of the harvest. The tenants grabbed the slave, beat him, and sent him back without a thing.

How would that make you feel if you were the owner? How would you respond? Would you ever respond to such an opportunity with such negativity to the one who was so generous to you? Let’s see how the story continues…

Then the owner sent another slave; the tenants beat him over the head and treated him shamefully. The owner sent another slave, and they killed him; and they treated many others the same way, beating some and killing others.

Imagine the pain of the owner. Imagine the consideration of the owner. Imagine the expectations and the betrayal of the owner. What would you do? How would you respond? Well let’s see how this story continues..

The only one left to send was the man’s own dear son. Last of all, then, he sent his son to the tenants. ‘I am sure they will respect my son,’ he said. But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the owner’s son. Come on, let’s kill him, and his property will be ours!’ So they grabbed the son and killed him and threw his body out of the vineyard.

So would this be the last straw? What more would you or could you do? What have they shown you in regards to respect and stewardship? What message are they sending you as the owner? If you were those people, what would you expect now? Are there any lines that couldn’t or shouldn’t be crossed? Let’s see what happens next…

“He will come and kill those tenants and turn the vineyard over to others.

So where are you at today? What have you been given stewardship over? How are you responding to the one who has given it to you? Are you being a good steward, multiplying what you’ve been given so that when He comes back you will glorify Him? Are you rejecting Him? Are you burying it so that you don’t lose it? Are you investing it so that you will get a multiplication or increase from it? You have been given talents as a gift, what will you do with them?

Talents

God is trusting you with talents and gifts! He is looking for you to be a good steward!

Today’s reading continues after the story of the owner of the vineyard with the following:

Surely you have read this scripture?

‘The stone which the builders rejected as worthless turned out to be the most important of all. This was done by the Lord; what a wonderful sight it is!’

The Jewish leaders tried to arrest Jesus, because they knew that he had told this parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away.
–from Mark 12:1-12

Jesus has come to open the door to salvation. He has come and given His life that we could be reconciled to God. It is by grace we have been saved, not by works so that nobody can boast. For while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us! We can’t do enough to be justified and made right. It is only by the grace of God through our faith in Jesus that we are saved and can get the blessings of living in heaven with God for eternity. So let’s do all we can to shine the light of Jesus into our communities. Let’s not just let it ride on what He has done, but let’s allow our faith shine so bright that we do things to glorify God and allow others to see Jesus working in and through our lives and into our communities. For faith without works is dead! Works don’t save us, it just shines the hope, the love, and the truth of God into the world around us!

Today’s reading continues into 2 Corinthians 7…

1All these promises are made to us, my dear friends. So then, let us purify ourselves from everything that makes body or soul unclean, and let us be completely holy by living in awe of God.

Paul’s Joy

2Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one; we have ruined no one, nor tried to take advantage of anyone. 3I do not say this to condemn you; for, as I have said before, you are so dear to us that we are always together, whether we live or die. 4I am so sure of you; I take such pride in you! In all our troubles I am still full of courage; I am running over with joy.

5Even after we arrived in Macedonia, we did not have any rest. There were troubles everywhere, quarrels with others, fears in our hearts. 6But God, who encourages the downhearted, encouraged us with the coming of Titus. 7It was not only his coming that cheered us, but also his report of how you encouraged him. He told us how much you want to see me, how sorry you are, how ready you are to defend me; and so I am even happier now.

8For even if that letter of mine made you sad, I am not sorry I wrote it. I could have been sorry when I saw that it made you sad for a while. 9But now I am happy—not because I made you sad, but because your sadness made you change your ways. That sadness was used by God, and so we caused you no harm. 10For the sadness that is used by God brings a change of heart that leads to salvation—and there is no regret in that! But sadness that is merely human causes death. 11See what God did with this sadness of yours: how earnest it has made you, how eager to prove your innocence! Such indignation, such alarm, such feelings, such devotion, such readiness to punish wrongdoing! You have shown yourselves to be without fault in the whole matter.

12So, even though I wrote that letter, it was not because of the one who did wrong or the one who was wronged. Instead, I wrote it to make plain to you, in God’s sight, how deep your devotion to us really is. 13That is why we were encouraged.

Not only were we encouraged; how happy Titus made us with his happiness over the way in which all of you helped to cheer him up! 14I did boast of you to him, and you have not disappointed me. We have always spoken the truth to you, and in the same way the boast we made to Titus has proved true. 15And so his love for you grows stronger, as he remembers how all of you were ready to obey his instructions, how you welcomed him with fear and trembling. 16How happy I am that I can depend on you completely!

And I will close today’s reading with Psalm 102

The Prayer of a Troubled Youth

1Listen to my prayer, O Lord,

and hear my cry for help!

2When I am in trouble,

don’t turn away from me!

Listen to me,

and answer me quickly when I call!
3My life is disappearing like smoke;

my body is burning like fire.

4I am beaten down like dry grass;

I have lost my desire for food.

5I groan aloud;

I am nothing but skin and bones.

6I am like a wild bird in the desert,

like an owl in abandoned ruins.

7I lie awake;

I am like a lonely bird on a housetop.

8All day long my enemies insult me;

those who mock me use my name in cursing.
9-10Because of your anger and fury,

ashes are my food,

and my tears are mixed with my drink.

You picked me up and threw me away.

11My life is like the evening shadows;

I am like dry grass.
12But you, O Lord, are king forever;

all generations will remember you.

13You will rise and take pity on Zion;

the time has come to have mercy on her;

this is the right time.

14Your servants love her,

even though she is destroyed;

they have pity on her,

even though she is in ruins.
15The nations will fear the Lord;

all the kings of the earth will fear his power.

16When the Lord rebuilds Zion,

he will reveal his greatness.

17He will hear his forsaken people

and listen to their prayer.
18Write down for the coming generation what the Lord has done,

so that people not yet born will praise him.

19The Lord looked down from his holy place on high,

he looked down from heaven to earth.

20He heard the groans of prisoners

and set free those who were condemned to die.

21And so his name will be proclaimed in Zion,

and he will be praised in Jerusalem

22when nations and kingdoms come together

and worship the Lord.
23The Lord has made me weak while I am still young;

he has shortened my life.

24O God, do not take me away now

before I grow old.
O Lord, you live forever;

25long ago you created the earth,
and with your own hands you made the heavens.

26They will disappear, but you will remain;

they will all wear out like clothes.

You will discard them like clothes,

and they will vanish.

27But you are always the same,

and your life never ends.

28Our children will live in safety,

and under your protection

their descendants will be secure.