Category Archives: Opportunity

Are you walking? Are you running? Are you gliding? Are you bobbing? Are you weaving? Are you spinning?

Imagine gliding across the water at up to 26 MPH, bobbing, weaving, turning, and getting to see amazing things like alligators, turtles, and many varieties of birds. Reeds flying by, water splashing up from time to time. Exhilarating and amazing adventure where you can’t see where you are going but the drive is able to bring you thru what would appear to a path through the place. It kind of reminds me of where I have read that God will make a way even when there doesn’t seem to be a way. It kind of reminds me of where I have read that God knows the beginning from the end. It kind of reminds me of where I have read that nothing is a surprise to God. It kind of reminds me of where I have read that God know even before we ask what we have need of.

Day 11: 2020 Hindsight
— The 49-Week Challenge – Day 11 —

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 11 link above or want to join link here to join me and sign up.

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

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

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

My Notes:

  • Do you realize how big of a deal it really is?
  • Do you realize how important you are to God?
  • Do you realize how far God will go to try and get you to choose and love Him?
  • Do you realize there is a time and a place for everything?
  • Do you realize that not everyone who acts like they are looking for your best interest really are?
  • Do you realize that we need to listen and obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit what the truth is and what we are to do, like the warning received by the Magi?
  • Do you realize that we need to listen and obey the direction of the Holy Spirit what we should do, like the direction and warning provided to Joseph because Herod was about to go and kill all the children and God had foretold how it would be said that “Out of Egypt I called my son” as well as when Joseph was directed to go back home which would fulfill what God had foretold of how “he would be called a Nazarene“?
  • In Micah we even see how God foretold so long ago how Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.
  • God has a plan that is good for those who will choose Him to be their Lord
  • In Hosea, we learn about how Jesus was to be called out of Egypt.
  • What is it going to take for people to turn back to God? Will it be natural disasters? Will it be storms? Will it be fire? Will it be flooding? Will it be wars or threats of wars? What is it going to take?
  • What will it take for you to see clearly?
  • What will it take for your ears to be opened in order to hear God’s word?
  • Do you realize the protection God has put over you? Do you realize the blessings that are available to God’s people?
  • Will you only speak what God gives you to speak?
  • Do you realize there is a good way and a bad way to live your life?
  • Do you realize there is a possibility of doing something accidentally or intentionally?
  • Jesus is our redeemer! We have all missed the mark! Jesus paid it all!

As day 11 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

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

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

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

Are you willing to hear from God? Are you willing to resist God? Are you willing to question God? Where are you at today?

The Book of Job. – Day 46

What could it be? Why is it hard to sleep through the night? Don’t feel like you can go to sleep while in bed but it is too early to get up. What do you do? How do you try to go back to sleep? You don’t want to ruin the next day by being exhausted, so what do you do? Do you pray? Do you get up? Do you put on the TV? What do you do? What could it be? Are you willing to ask? Are you willing to listen? Are you willing to obey?

Today’s reading from God’s Word: Job 41

‘“ Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook? Or press down his tongue with a cord? Can you put a rope [made] of rushes into his nose Or pierce his jaw through with a hook? Will he make many supplications to you [begging to be spared]? Or will he speak soft words to you [to coax you to treat him kindly]? Will he make a covenant or an arrangement with you? Will you take him for your servant forever? Will you play with him as with a bird? Or will you bind him [and put him on a leash] for your maidens? Will traders bargain over him? Will they divide him up among the merchants? Can you fill his skin with harpoons, Or his head with fishing spears? Lay your hand on him; Remember the battle [with him]; you will not do such [an ill-advised thing] again! Behold, his [assailant’s] hope and expectation [of defeating Leviathan] is false; Will not one be overwhelmed even at the sight of him? No one is so fierce [and foolhardy] that he dares to stir up Leviathan; Who then is he who can stand before Me [or dares to contend with Me, the beast’s creator]? Who has first given to Me that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine. [Who can have a claim against Me who made the unmastered beast?] “I will not keep silence concerning his limbs, Nor his mighty strength, nor his orderly frame. Who can penetrate or strip off his outer armor? Who can come to his jaws with a double bridle? Who can open the doors (jaws) of his face? Around his [open jaws and] teeth there is terror. His strong scales are his pride, Bound together as with a tight seal. One is so near to another That no air can come between them. They are joined one to another; They stick together and cannot be separated. His sneezes flash forth light, And his eyes are like the [reddish] eyelids of the dawn. Out of his mouth go burning torches, And sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nostrils smoke goes forth As from a boiling pot and [as from] burning rushes. His breath kindles coals, And a flame goes forth from his mouth. In Leviathan’s neck resides strength, And dismay and terror dance before him. The folds of his flesh are joined together, Firm on him and immobile [when he moves]. His heart is as hard as a stone, Indeed, as solid as a lower millstone. When he raises himself up, the mighty are afraid; Because of the crashing they are bewildered. The sword that reaches him cannot avail, Nor [does] the spear, the dart, or the javelin. He considers iron as straw, Bronze as rotten wood. The arrow cannot make him flee; Slingstones are treated as stubble by him. Clubs [also] are regarded as stubble; He laughs at the rushing and the rattling of the javelin. His underparts are like sharp pieces of broken pottery; He moves across and spreads out [grooves] like a threshing sledge on the mire (muddy river banks). He makes the deep water boil like a pot; He makes the sea like a [foaming] pot of ointment. Behind him he makes a shining wake; One would think the deep to be gray-haired [with foam]. Upon earth there is nothing like him—no equal exists, A creature made without fear. He looks on everything that is high [without terror]; He is monarch over all the sons of pride. [And now, Job, who are you who does not dare to disturb the beast, yet who dares resist Me, the beast’s creator? Everything under the heavens is Mine; therefore, who can have a claim against God?]”’

— Job 41:1-34

Today’s study includes information from:

Study Notes:

Today’s summary from the study notes: Job Chapter 41 Explained (visit the links above to dig in deeper verse by verse):

Verses 1-11: “Leviathan is a symbol of evil, drawn in part from Ugaritic myths about a fire-breathing sea dragon (Psalms 74:14; 104:26; Isa. 27:1). Dr. Henry Morris points out that the “Leviathan” was evidently the greatest of the marine reptiles or dinosaurs, something like a plesiosaur, perhaps, though modern commentators tend to call it a crocodile.” Ultimately, Leviathan points to Satan, the paragon of evil, whom Yahweh has in control and one day will destroy (e.g., Isa. 27:1; Rev. 20:1-3).

Job Chapter 41 Explained

Sometimes being tempted isn’t about trying to get you to do something that looks pleasurable. Sometimes being tempted is about trying to distract you from the truth. Sometimes being tempted isn’t about trying to get you to something. Sometimes being tempted is about trying to draw you away from God. We see how Job was being tempted by the devil to curse God, to turn his back on God, and to even walk away from God through the trials and troubles that Satan put on him and even through how Job’s wife and friends treated him.

So where are you at today? What lies or troubles has Satan tried to deceive you with? What pain and suffering has he tried to use your friends and family to push you away from God? Was it trying to devalue who you are and what you do? Was it trying to devalue the importance to God in the role He has put you in? Was it trying to remove you from that place where God can use you and work through you? Was it thru lies that in your current role you can’t grow or you are not valued or you are or will be stuck if you stay there? Was it thru temptation of something new that would be better for you? Was it thru speaking of your value and worth and yet going behind your back to prevent you from moving on? Was it thru opportunities to redefine the role and the way things work and yet limiting what is possible and available or preventing you from full visibility and transparency? Was it related to risk vs reward? Was it related to new vs old? Was it related to valued vs undervalued? Was it related to opportunity vs disadvantage? Was it related to opportunity vs restriction? Was it related to opportunity vs responsibility? Where are you at today? Where is it that God desires for you to be? What is your role in God’s plan and purpose? How in the midst of change and transition are you to be positioned and to participate? How in the midst of reorganization and restructuring are you to be engaged and perform? Will you take that time available to you to understand and get prepared?

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

Let’s pray:

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

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

Do you realize the importance of equally yoked? Do you realize the consequences of being unequally yoked?

Do you realize the benefits? Do you realize the strength? Do you realize the consequences when you aren’t? Do you understand what to look for in order to be? Do you realize how much it will help keep unity? Do you realize how much it will help build strength? Do you realize how much it will help with direction and helping 1+1 > 2? Do you realize the blessings that come from being equally yoked? Do you realize the power of join equally yoked? Today’s reading starts in Genesis 24 where Abraham is looking for a wife for his son Isaac.

‘Abraham was now a very old man, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. One day Abraham said to his oldest servant, the man in charge of his household, “Take an oath by putting your hand under my thigh. Swear by the Lord , the God of heaven and earth, that you will not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women. Go instead to my homeland, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son Isaac.” The servant asked, “But what if I can’t find a young woman who is willing to travel so far from home? Should I then take Isaac there to live among your relatives in the land you came from?” “No!” Abraham responded. “Be careful never to take my son there. For the Lord , the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and my native land, solemnly promised to give this land to my descendants. He will send his angel ahead of you, and he will see to it that you find a wife there for my son. If she is unwilling to come back with you, then you are free from this oath of mine. But under no circumstances are you to take my son there.” So the servant took an oath by putting his hand under the thigh of his master, Abraham. He swore to follow Abraham’s instructions. Then he loaded ten of Abraham’s camels with all kinds of expensive gifts from his master, and he traveled to distant Aram-naharaim. There he went to the town where Abraham’s brother Nahor had settled. He made the camels kneel beside a well just outside the town. It was evening, and the women were coming out to draw water. “O Lord , God of my master, Abraham,” he prayed. “Please give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham. See, I am standing here beside this spring, and the young women of the town are coming out to draw water. This is my request. I will ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug.’ If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’—let her be the one you have selected as Isaac’s wife. This is how I will know that you have shown unfailing love to my master.” Before he had finished praying, he saw a young woman named Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel, who was the son of Abraham’s brother Nahor and his wife, Milcah. Rebekah was very beautiful and old enough to be married, but she was still a virgin. She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came up again. Running over to her, the servant said, “Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.” “Yes, my lord,” she answered, “have a drink.” And she quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and gave him a drink. When she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels, too, until they have had enough to drink.” So she quickly emptied her jug into the watering trough and ran back to the well to draw water for all his camels. The servant watched her in silence, wondering whether or not the Lord had given him success in his mission. Then at last, when the camels had finished drinking, he took out a gold ring for her nose and two large gold bracelets for her wrists. “Whose daughter are you?” he asked. “And please tell me, would your father have any room to put us up for the night?” “I am the daughter of Bethuel,” she replied. “My grandparents are Nahor and Milcah. Yes, we have plenty of straw and feed for the camels, and we have room for guests.” The man bowed low and worshiped the Lord . “Praise the Lord , the God of my master, Abraham,” he said. “The Lord has shown unfailing love and faithfulness to my master, for he has led me straight to my master’s relatives.” The young woman ran home to tell her family everything that had happened. Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, who ran out to meet the man at the spring. He had seen the nose-ring and the bracelets on his sister’s wrists, and had heard Rebekah tell what the man had said. So he rushed out to the spring, where the man was still standing beside his camels. Laban said to him, “Come and stay with us, you who are blessed by the Lord ! Why are you standing here outside the town when I have a room all ready for you and a place prepared for the camels?” So the man went home with Laban, and Laban unloaded the camels, gave him straw for their bedding, fed them, and provided water for the man and the camel drivers to wash their feet. Then food was served. But Abraham’s servant said, “I don’t want to eat until I have told you why I have come.” “All right,” Laban said, “tell us.” “I am Abraham’s servant,” he explained. “And the Lord has greatly blessed my master; he has become a wealthy man. The Lord has given him flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, a fortune in silver and gold, and many male and female servants and camels and donkeys. “When Sarah, my master’s wife, was very old, she gave birth to my master’s son, and my master has given him everything he owns. And my master made me take an oath. He said, ‘Do not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women. Go instead to my father’s house, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son.’ “But I said to my master, ‘What if I can’t find a young woman who is willing to go back with me?’ He responded, ‘The Lord , in whose presence I have lived, will send his angel with you and will make your mission successful. Yes, you must find a wife for my son from among my relatives, from my father’s family. Then you will have fulfilled your obligation. But if you go to my relatives and they refuse to let her go with you, you will be free from my oath.’ “So today when I came to the spring, I prayed this prayer: ‘O Lord , God of my master, Abraham, please give me success on this mission. See, I am standing here beside this spring. This is my request. When a young woman comes to draw water, I will say to her, “Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.” If she says, “Yes, have a drink, and I will draw water for your camels, too,” let her be the one you have selected to be the wife of my master’s son.’ “Before I had finished praying in my heart, I saw Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and drew water. So I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ She quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and said, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’ So I drank, and then she watered the camels. “Then I asked, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She replied, ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel, and my grandparents are Nahor and Milcah.’ So I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her wrists. “Then I bowed low and worshiped the Lord . I praised the Lord , the God of my master, Abraham, because he had led me straight to my master’s niece to be his son’s wife. So tell me—will you or won’t you show unfailing love and faithfulness to my master? Please tell me yes or no, and then I’ll know what to do next.” Then Laban and Bethuel replied, “The Lord has obviously brought you here, so there is nothing we can say. Here is Rebekah; take her and go. Yes, let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has directed.” When Abraham’s servant heard their answer, he bowed down to the ground and worshiped the Lord . Then he brought out silver and gold jewelry and clothing and presented them to Rebekah. He also gave expensive presents to her brother and mother. Then they ate their meal, and the servant and the men with him stayed there overnight. But early the next morning, Abraham’s servant said, “Send me back to my master.” “But we want Rebekah to stay with us at least ten days,” her brother and mother said. “Then she can go.” But he said, “Don’t delay me. The Lord has made my mission successful; now send me back so I can return to my master.” “Well,” they said, “we’ll call Rebekah and ask her what she thinks.” So they called Rebekah. “Are you willing to go with this man?” they asked her. And she replied, “Yes, I will go.” So they said good-bye to Rebekah and sent her away with Abraham’s servant and his men. The woman who had been Rebekah’s childhood nurse went along with her. They gave her this blessing as she parted: “Our sister, may you become the mother of many millions! May your descendants be strong and conquer the cities of their enemies.” Then Rebekah and her servant girls mounted the camels and followed the man. So Abraham’s servant took Rebekah and went on his way. Meanwhile, Isaac, whose home was in the Negev, had returned from Beer-lahai-roi. One evening as he was walking and meditating in the fields, he looked up and saw the camels coming. When Rebekah looked up and saw Isaac, she quickly dismounted from her camel. “Who is that man walking through the fields to meet us?” she asked the servant. And he replied, “It is my master.” So Rebekah covered her face with her veil. Then the servant told Isaac everything he had done. And Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent, and she became his wife. He loved her deeply, and she was a special comfort to him after the death of his mother.’

Genesis 24

Do you realize the short term benefits? Do you realize the long term benefits? Do you realize the joy it will bring? Do you realize the pain it will prevent?

Today’s reading continues into 1 Chronicles 19 where we see how having the wrong advisors can impact your future? Do you realize the importance of doing what is right even when it isn’t easy? Do you realize the importance of doing what God plans and purposes for you? Let’s catch up what happens in 1 Chronicles.

‘Some time after this, King Nahash of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun became king. David said, “I am going to show loyalty to Hanun because his father, Nahash, was always loyal to me.” So David sent messengers to express sympathy to Hanun about his father’s death. But when David’s ambassadors arrived in the land of Ammon, the Ammonite commanders said to Hanun, “Do you really think these men are coming here to honor your father? No! David has sent them to spy out the land so they can come in and conquer it!” So Hanun seized David’s ambassadors and shaved them, cut off their robes at the buttocks, and sent them back to David in shame. When David heard what had happened to the men, he sent messengers to tell them, “Stay at Jericho until your beards grow out, and then come back.” For they felt deep shame because of their appearance. When the people of Ammon realized how seriously they had angered David, Hanun and the Ammonites sent 75,000 pounds of silver to hire chariots and charioteers from Aram-naharaim, Aram-maacah, and Zobah. They also hired 32,000 chariots and secured the support of the king of Maacah and his army. These forces camped at Medeba, where they were joined by the Ammonite troops that Hanun had recruited from his own towns. When David heard about this, he sent Joab and all his warriors to fight them. The Ammonite troops came out and drew up their battle lines at the entrance of the city, while the other kings positioned themselves to fight in the open fields. When Joab saw that he would have to fight on both the front and the rear, he chose some of Israel’s elite troops and placed them under his personal command to fight the Arameans in the fields. He left the rest of the army under the command of his brother Abishai, who was to attack the Ammonites. “If the Arameans are too strong for me, then come over and help me,” Joab told his brother. “And if the Ammonites are too strong for you, I will help you. Be courageous! Let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. May the Lord ’s will be done.” When Joab and his troops attacked, the Arameans began to run away. And when the Ammonites saw the Arameans running, they also ran from Abishai and retreated into the city. Then Joab returned to Jerusalem. The Arameans now realized that they were no match for Israel, so they sent messengers and summoned additional Aramean troops from the other side of the Euphrates River. These troops were under the command of Shobach, the commander of Hadadezer’s forces. When David heard what was happening, he mobilized all Israel, crossed the Jordan River, and positioned his troops in battle formation. Then David engaged the Arameans in battle, and they fought against him. But again the Arameans fled from the Israelites. This time David’s forces killed 7,000 charioteers and 40,000 foot soldiers, including Shobach, the commander of their army. When Hadadezer’s allies saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they surrendered to David and became his subjects. After that, the Arameans were no longer willing to help the Ammonites.’

1 Chronicles 19

Let’s continue to hear about David and what happens we do or don’t align and obey God’s direction. Today’s reading continues into 1 Chronicles 20.

‘In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, Joab led the Israelite army in successful attacks against the land of the Ammonites. In the process he laid siege to the city of Rabbah, attacking and destroying it. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem. Then David went to Rabbah and removed the crown from the king’s head, and it was placed on his own head. The crown was made of gold and set with gems, and he found that it weighed seventy-five pounds. David took a vast amount of plunder from the city. He also made slaves of the people of Rabbah and forced them to labor with saws, iron picks, and iron axes. That is how David dealt with the people of all the Ammonite towns. Then David and all the army returned to Jerusalem. After this, war broke out with the Philistines at Gezer. As they fought, Sibbecai from Hushah killed Saph, a descendant of the giants, and so the Philistines were subdued. During another battle with the Philistines, Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi, the brother of Goliath of Gath. The handle of Lahmi’s spear was as thick as a weaver’s beam! In another battle with the Philistines at Gath, they encountered a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in all, who was also a descendant of the giants. But when he defied and taunted Israel, he was killed by Jonathan, the son of David’s brother Shimea. These Philistines were descendants of the giants of Gath, but David and his warriors killed them.’

1 Chronicles 20

How much will you trust God? How much will you believe Jesus? Will you stay or will you go? Will you stand or will you run? Will you do what is right or reject the idea? Let’s catch up in today’s reading from John 6.

‘Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?” Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again? The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But some of you do not believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.) Then he said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.” At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God. ” Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him.’

John 6:60-71

It’s not about what we can do in our own strength. It’s a matter of doing what we do in spirit and in truth. It’s important to know the truth for the truth will set us free. It’s also important to lead in truth and in love. Will you take hold of the truth and not allow fear of man to keep you from doing what God is telling you is right? Let’s take hold of what happens today and the impact of it in Galatians 2.

‘But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions? “You and I are Jews by birth, not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles. Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.” But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.’

Galatians 2:11-21

So let’s live for God! Let’s allow the power and the promises of Jesus be our purpose. Jesus came to make a way that we couldn’t have made ourselves. Jesus came that we may have life and life more abundantly. Jesus came to give Himself in order that we could be saved and reconciled back to God. So how will you choose to live? How will you respond if the people from your past question your new life? Will you stand firm on the rock of Jesus Christ? Will you share your testimony of transformation – how the old is gone and the new is come? Will you share that the joy of the Lord is your strength? Will you share that you are born again? Will you have bold faith?

Today’s reading concludes in Psalms 16 – let’s close meditating on all it has to say.

‘Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge. I said to the Lord , “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.” The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them! Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods. I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood or even speak the names of their gods. Lord , you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance! I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.’

Psalms 16

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

  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

Ever noticed the difference between comfort and comfortable?

Today the word comfort came up and it triggered memories for me about a time when God called me to move but my response was how great things were where I was at and how comfortable it was. Later, I realized that God has called me to move because He knew what was coming and was providing me with a way out, a way to avoid it, a way to do something different. My unwillingness to be obedient caused me to have to deal with the casualties. The VP left the company, the org got broken up and I ended up in a new division with new leadership. It further changed as I gave up my old project for a new one which was later was taken away from me and started the downward spiral of bitterness and anger. Each day God would tell me I should forgive them and each day I would have the excuse that He knew what they had done for me, how could I forgive them. Right up till the moment when I discovered the key to freedom being forgiveness! I learned at the same time how when we forgive others, it opens the door for God to forgive us! Later as I changed jobs and was contacted by a recruiter, I shared part of the story about being comfortable and how I should have realized in the moment that there was a problem because I had become comfortable!

Today’s word though begins not with comfortable, but with comfort. No matter where you are you can find comfort. No matter what you are going thru you can find comfort. No matter when you are in your timeline you can find comfort. No matter who you are you can find comfort. No matter why you feel the way you do you can find comfort.

Comfort – receive it from God! Some may call it peace – a peace that goes beyond all understanding. Some may call it hope – a hope for what is dreamed for but not what is yet visible. Some may call it a relief or release or an easing – a freedom from what had or has happened. Some may call it support or reassurance – that sense of support while going into, thru, or out of a tough situation. God’s offer of comfort is what got me started into today’s post. So wherever you are at today, stick close to God! Whatever you are going thru receive His offer of comfort! Whenever you run into challenging time, call out to Him for wisdom and discernment and accept His offer of comfort in and thru it all. Accept His good news! Ever heard of the Good News? It’s Jesus! He came to save! He came to sacrifice! He came to lead! He came to reach us! He came to teach us! He came to embrace us! Be it the Good News of Jesus’ birthGood News of Jesus’ birth…or…the Good News of the Kingdom of God – let’s receive God’s comfort and take hold of the Good News!

Today’s reading begins with Isaiah 40…with a message of Hope to the people of how Jesus the savior will be coming…

Comfort, Proclaim Good News

1“Comfort, comfort My people,” says your God. 2Speak kindly to the heart of Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been removed. For she has received from Adonai’s hand double for all her sins. 3A voice cries out in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of Adonai, Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4Every valley will be lifted up, every mountain and hill made low, the rough ground will be a plain and the rugged terrain smooth. 5The glory of Adonai will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together.” For the mouth of Adonai has spoken. 6A voice is saying, “Cry out!” So I said, “What shall I cry out?” “All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. 7The grass withers, the flower fades. For the breath of Adonai blows on it. Surely the people are grass. 8The grass withers, the flower fades. But the word of our God stands forever.” 9Get yourself up on a high mountain, you who bring good news to Zion! Lift up your voice with strength, you who bring good news to Jerusalem! Lift it up! Do not fear! Say to the cities of Judah: “Behold your God!” 10Look, Adonai Elohim comes with might, with His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him. 11Like a shepherd, He tends His flock. He gathers the lambs in His arms carries them in his bosom, and gently guides nursing ewes.

Who Is Like Him?

12Who has measured the waters in the palm of His hand, or measured out heaven with a span, or calculated the dust of the earth in a measure, or weighed the mountains in scales, or the hills in a balance? 13Who can fathom the Ruach Adonai? Or instruct Him as His counselor? 14With whom did He consult, and who instructed Him? Who taught Him in the path of justice or taught Him knowledge? Who informed Him about the way of understanding? 15Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and count as a speck of dust on the scales. Behold, the islands weigh as fine dust. 16Lebanon is not enough to burn, or its animals enough for a burnt offering. 17All the nations are as nothing before Him. By Him they are accounted null and void. 18To whom then will you liken God? To what likeness will you compare Him? 19To an idol? A craftsman casts it, a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it. 20One too poor for such an offering chooses wood that will not rot. He looks for a skilled craftsman to prepare him an idol that will not totter. 21Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22He sits above the circle of the earth— its inhabitants are like grasshoppers— He stretches out the skies like a curtain, spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. 23He reduces princes to nothing. He makes the judges of the earth a confusion. 24Scarcely are they planted, scarcely are they sown, scarcely their stem takes root in the earth, when He blows on them and they wither, and a storm carries them off as stubble. 25“To whom then will you liken Me? Or who is My equal?” says the Holy One. 26Lift up your eyes on high, and see! Who created these? The One who brings out their host by number, the One who calls them all by name. Because of His great strength and vast power, not one is missing. 27Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, “My way is hidden from Adonai, and the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”? 28Have you not known? Have you not heard? Adonai is the eternal God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not grow tired or weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 29He gives strength to the weary, and to one without vigor He adds might. 30Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, 31but they who wait for Adonai will renew their strength. They will soar up with wings as eagles. They will run, and not grow weary. They will walk, and not be faint.

–from Isaiah 40

Jesus is the conqueror! He conquered the grave and defeated death! He gave His life on the cross to conquer sin! He was the ultimate sacrifice for you and me so that we could be reconciled back unto God! He took justice into His own hands since He knew we couldn’t do enough to be able to do it ourselves!

No matter where you are today, turn to God! No matter what you are going thru, turn to God! No matter how life is going, turn to God! No matter who you are, turn to God! No matter the date or the time, no matter when in your life you are at, turn to God!

Ask Jesus into your life and be transformed!

Coming Conqueror

1“Be silent before Me, O islands! Let peoples renew their strength. Let them draw near, then let them speak. Let us come together for judgment. 2Who has stirred up one from the east? He calls justice to His feet. He gives nations over to him and subdues kings. He makes them like dust with his sword, as driven stubble with his bow. 3He pursues them, passing on safely, by a path his feet had not traveled. 4Who has performed and done it? Calling forth the generations from the beginning, I, Adonai, am the first and the last, I am He!” 5The coastlands have seen and fear. The ends of the earth tremble. They draw near and come. 6Each one helps his neighbor and says to his brother, “Be strong!” 7The craftsman encourages the smith, who smooths with the hammer, who strikes with the anvil, saying of the soldering, “It’s good!” as he fastens it with nails so that it will not totter.

My Servant, My Friend

8“But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, descendant of Abraham, My friend— 9I took hold of you from the ends of the earth, and called from its uttermost parts, and said to you, ‘You are My servant— I have chosen you, not rejected you. 10Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Surely I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. 11Behold, all who were angry at you will be ashamed and disgraced. Those who quarrel with you will be as nothing and perish. 12Though you will look for those who contended with you, you will not find them. Those who warred against you will be as nothing at all. 13For I am Adonai your God who upholds your right hand, who says to you, “Fear not, I will help you.” 14Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you.” It is a declaration of Adonai, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. 15“Look, I will make you a threshing sledge, new, with sharp, double-edged spikes. You will thresh the mountains and grind them up, and will make the hills like chaff. 16You will winnow them, and a wind will carry them away, a storm-wind will scatter them. But you will rejoice in Adonai. You will glory in the Holy One of Israel. 17“The poor and needy ask for water, but there is none, Their tongues are parched with thirst. I, Adonai, will answer them, I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. 18I will open rivers on the bare hills and springs in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water and the dry land into fountains of water. 19I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, the myrtle and the olive tree. I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine together with the box tree— 20so they may see and know, consider and understand together, that the hand of Adonai has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.”

Challenge to Idolaters

21“Present your case,” says Adonai. “Bring forth your reasons,” says the King of Jacob. 22Let them bring forth and tell us what will happen. The former things, what were they? Tell us, that we may consider them and know their outcome. Or announce to us things to come. 23Declare the things coming afterward, so we may know that you are gods! Indeed, do good or do evil, so we may all see and be awestruck. 24Behold, you are nothing, and your work is null. Whoever chooses you is loathsome. 25“I have stirred up one from the north, and he has come. From the rising of the sun, He will call upon My Name. He will trample rulers as on mortar, like a potter treading clay.” 26Who told this from the beginning, so that we may know? Or from former times, so we may say, “He is right”? In fact, no one foretold it, In fact, no one announced it. In fact, no one heard Your words. 27First it was to Zion: “Behold, here they are!” And to Jerusalem: “I will give a herald of good news.” 28But when I look, there is no one. There is no counselor among them. When I ask them, they have no response. 29Indeed, they are all a delusion. Their works are null. Their molten images are wind and waste.

–from Isaiah 41

Been thru a tough time? Natural tendency is to go back to what you know, what is comfortable, but is that really where God wants you? Imagine being thru the trauma of having watched Jesus be taken away, beaten, and crucified! Imagine your hopes and your dreams when He was buried in that cave! The way they must have felt…The thoughts that went thru their minds…The fear and doubt of what they were to do next…Do try to go back to being comfortable! You can allow God to comfort you thru each day, because we know that in this world we will have troubles but we also know that we can take hope because Jesus has overcome the world! You can allow God to comfort you thru each day, because we will face trials and with God’s comfort, He can help us walk thru the trials of each day considering them pure joy, because it tests our faith and the testing of our faith produces perseverance and when we allow perseverance to complete its work, it will bring us to the place of maturity and completeness, lacking nothing!

So let’s not grow weary in doing good works! Let’s not try to get comfortable rather than finding comfort through Jesus! Let’s allow Jesus’ love restore us!

Fish for Breakfast with the Risen One

1After these things, Yeshua revealed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. Now here is how He appeared. 2Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in the Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two of the other disciples were together. 3Simon Peter said to them, “I’m going fishing.” “We’re coming with you too,” they said. They went out and got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 4At dawn, Yeshua stood on the beach; but the disciples didn’t know that it was Yeshua. 5So Yeshua said to them, “Boys, you don’t happen to have any fish, do you?” “No,” they answered Him. 6He said to them, “Throw the net off the right side of the boat, and you’ll find some.” So they threw the net, and they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. 7Therefore the disciple whom Yeshua loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tied his outer garment around himself—for he was stripped down for work—and threw himself into the sea. 8But the other disciples came in the boat from about two hundred cubits offshore, dragging the net full of fish. 9So when they got out onto the land, they saw a charcoal fire with fish placed on it, and bread. 10Yeshua said to them, “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught.” 11Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net to shore. There were 153 fish, many of them big; but the net was not broken. 12Yeshua said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing it was the Lord. 13Yeshua comes and takes the bread and gives it to them, and likewise the fish. 14This was now the third time that Yeshua was revealed to the disciples after He was raised from the dead.

Love Restores Peter

15When they had finished breakfast, Yeshua said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs!” 16He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Take care of My sheep!” 17He said to him a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him for a third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You!” Yeshua said to him, “Feed My sheep!” 18“Amen, amen I tell you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19Now this He said to indicate by what kind of death Peter was going to glorify God. And after this, Yeshua said to him, “Follow Me!” 20Peter, turning around, sees the disciple following. This was the one whom Yeshua loved, who also had reclined against Yeshua’s chest at the seder meal and said, “Master, who is the one who is betraying You?” 21Seeing him, Peter said to Yeshua, “Lord, what about him?” 22Yeshua said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” 23Therefore this saying went out among the brothers and sisters, that this disciple would not die. Yet Yeshua did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?”

John’s Witness

24This is the disciple who is an eyewitness of these things and wrote these things. We know that his testimony is true. 25There are also many other things that Yeshua did. If all of them were to be written one by one, I suppose that not even the world itself will have room for the books being written!

–from John 21

So let’s walk out our lives as God’s plan! Let’s walk out our lives as God’s created it to be! Let’s walk out our lives thru the highs and lows allowing God’s love and comfort to protect us through the journey! Let’s come together in unity pursuing the things of God! Let’s be Jesus with skin on to the world around us! Sharing Him with each one God brings into our lives!

1Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Messiah.

Headship and Coverings

2Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firm the traditions just as I passed them on to you. 3But I want you to know that the head of every man is Messiah, and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Messiah is God. 4Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered dishonors his head. 5But every woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered dishonors her head. For it is one and the same as having been shaved. 6For if a woman does not cover her head, let her cut off her hair. But if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, let her cover her head. 7For surely a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God. But the woman is the glory of man. 8For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9Neither was man created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. 10For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11In any case—in the Lord—woman is not independent of man and man is not independent of woman. 12For just as the woman came from the man, so also the man comes through the woman—but all things are from God. 13Judge for yourselves—is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14Doesn’t the natural order of things teach you—if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace for him; 15but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory, for her hair was given to her as a covering. 16But if anyone intends to be contentious, we have no such custom—nor do God’s communities.

Unity at the Lord’s Table

17But in giving you this instruction I do not praise you, for when you meet together it does more harm than good. 18For first of all, when you come together as Messiah’s community, I hear that there are divisions among you; and to some extent I believe it— 19for there must be factions among you, so that those among you who are tried and true may be evident. 20Therefore, when you meet together in the same place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper— 21for each one takes his own supper beforehand, and one goes hungry while another gets drunk. 22What! It is certainly not that you do not have houses, is it? Don’t you have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise God’s community and try to humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? I don’t praise you for this! 23For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you—that the Lord Yeshua, on the night He was betrayed, took matzah ; 24and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you. Do this in memory of Me.” 25In the same way, He also took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in memory of Me.” 26For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 27Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the Lord’s cup in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28But a man must examine himself, and then let him eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29For the one who eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and quite a few have died. 31For if we were judging ourselves thoroughly, we wouldn’t be coming under judgment. 32But when we are judged, we are being disciplined by the Lord so that we might not be condemned along with the world. 33So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34If anyone is hungry let him eat at home, so that when you meet it doesn’t lead to judgment. And the rest I will put in order when I come.

–from 1 Corinthians 11








Ever been rejected?

Do you remember that time? Do you remember how you felt? Do you remember the anger? Do you remember the resentment? Do you remember the sadness? Do you remember the feeling of betrayal? Do you remember the thoughts you had for them? Do you remember the feelings? Do you remember walking away? Do you remember how you thought you would respond or react?

Ever considered it was for a reason? Ever considered it was for your benefit? Ever considered it was to prevent you from being a part of something you were never meant to be a part of? Ever considered it was for your protection? Ever considered it was for a plan greater than you knew? Ever considered it wasn’t rejection but a plan for protection? Ever considered it was to keep you for doing or saying something that would have disqualified you from the greater plan?

How did you respond? Were you able to respond God’s way with forgiveness? Were you able to respond in a way that would glorify God? Were you able to respond in a way that would prevent yourself from spiraling out of control into bitterness and fear and anger? Did you provide a testimony that others could see? Did you provide an example that others questioned how it could even be possible? Did you shine for God? Were you salt and light? Were you able to speak hope and life in love?

I’ve gone it both ways! I learned the hard way that forgiveness was the only way to make it through! I learned the hard way that the longer you wait to forgive the worst things get and the further down the spiral you get! I learned the hard way that it is less about what they did or do to you and more about how you respond to it! I learned and was able to share this with others who were in the midst of sadness, bitterness, anger, and frustration! I learned and was able to share with others the power of forgiveness not only for others for your ourselves! I learned that when the next one came my first response was to turn to God, to forgive them for they knew not what they were doing, and then to work on a go forward plan that will and would glorify God! So choose love! Choose forgiveness! And allow God to work in and through you!

Today’s reading’s beginning triggered this reminder to me and in my heart…

David Sent Back from Battle

1Now the Philistines mustered all their armies at Aphek, while the Israelites were camping by the spring in Jezreel. 2As the Philistine lords were proceeding ahead of their hundreds and thousands, David and his men were bringing up the rear with Achish. 3Then the Philistine commanders said, “What are these Hebrews doing here?” Achish said to the Philistine commanders, “No! That’s David, servant of Israel’s King Saul—he’s been with me today for over a year, and I’ve not found any fault in him since the day he defected to me until now.” 4But the Philistine commanders got angry with him, and the Philistine commanders said to him, “Make this man go back—back to his place you assigned him. He must not go down with us to the battle, or in the battle he might become our adversary. For how would this fellow appease his lord? Wouldn’t it be with the heads of our men? 5Isn’t this one David, about whom they were singing in dances saying: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?’” 6So Achish called David and said to him, “As Adonai lives, you have been upright and your going out and your coming in with me, in the army are pleasing in my eyes. For I never found fault with you since the day of your coming to me up to this day. However, the other lords do not approve of you. 7So now, turn around and go back in peace, and you won’t be doing anything to displease the Philistine lords.” 8“But what have I done?” David said to Achish. “What have you found in your servant from the day I have been before you to this day, that I shouldn’t go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?” 9“I know,” Achish answered saying to David. “You are as pleasing in my eyes as an angel of God. Nevertheless, the Philistine commanders have said, ‘He must not go up with us to the battle.’ 10So now, rise up early in the morning, you and the servants of your lord that came with you, and as soon you rise, early in the morning, once there is light, leave.” 11So David rose up early, he and his men, leaving in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. Meanwhile, the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

–from 1 Samuel 29

It might not be rejection! It might not be betrayal! It might be an opportunity to see if you are ready! It might be an opportunity to share the hope that is within you! So before you get your feathers in a ruffle, turn to God and get His perspective! And then live out that hope that is within you in love and forgiveness! Let’s be people of valour! Let’s people who are mighty!

Descendants of Other Tribes

1The sons of Issachar: Tola, Puah, Jashub and Shimron—four. 2The sons of Tola were Uzzi, Rephaiah, Jeriel, Jahmai, Ibsam and Shemuel, heads of their clans. The descendants of Tola were mighty men of valor; their number in the days of David was 22,600. 3The son of Uzzi was Izrahiah, and the sons of Izrahiah: Michael, Obadiah, Joel, Isshiah—all five of them were leaders. 4Along with them, by their generations after their clans were 36,000 troops of the army for battle, for they had many wives and sons. 5Their kinsmen among all the families of Issachar by genealogical records were mighty men of valor—87,700. 6The sons of Benjamin: Bela, Becher and Jediael—three. 7The sons of Bela: Ezbon, Uzzi, Uzziel, Jerimoth and Iri—five. They were heads of clans, mighty men of valor; by genealogical records they were 22,034. 8The sons of Becher: Zemirah, Joash, Eliezer, Elioenai, Omri, Jeremoth, Abijah, Anathoth and Alemeth—all sons of Becher. 9According to their genealogical records, their descendants were heads of their clans, 22,200 mighty men of valor. 10Finally the sons of Jediael: Bilhan. The sons of Bilhan: Jeush, Benjamin, Ehud, Chenaanah, Zethan, Tarshish and Ahishahar. 11All these were sons of Jediael, heads of their clans, mighty men of valor, 17,200 who were able to go out in the army for war. 12Shuppim and Huppim were sons of Ir; Hushim was the son of Aher. 13The sons of Naphtali were Jahziel, Guni, Jezer and Shallum, the sons of Bilhah. 14One of the sons of Manasseh was Asriel, whom she bore; his Aramean concubine bore Machir the father of Gilead. 15Machir took a wife from Huppim and Shuppim. His sister’s name was Maacah. The name of the second was Zelophehad, and Zelophehad had daughters. 16Machir’s wife Maacah bore a son and she named him Peresh. His brother’s name was Sheresh, and his sons were Ulam and Rekem. 17Ulam’s son was Bedan. These were the sons of Gilead son of Machir, son of Manasseh. 18His sister Hammolecheth bore Ish-hod, Abiezer and Mahlah. 19Shemida’s sons were Ahian, Shechem, Likhi and Aniam. 20The descendants of Ephraim: Shuthelah, Bered his son, Tahath his son, Eleadah his son, Tahath his son, 21Zabad his son and Shuthelah his son, also Ezer and Elead. The native-born men of Gath killed them because they came down to raid their cattle. 22Their father Ephraim mourned many days, and his brothers came to comfort him. 23Then he went in to his wife, and she conceived and bore a son and he called him Beriah , because evil had befallen his house. 24His daughter was Sheerah, who built both lower and upper Beth-horon, and also Uzzen-sheerah. 25Rephah was his son, Resheph his son, Telah his son, Tahan his son, 26Ladan his son, Ammihud his son, Elishama his son, 27 Nun his son and Joshua his son. 28Their possessions and settlements were Beth-el and its villages, and to the east Naaran, and to the west Gezer with its villages, as well as Shechem and its villages, as far as Aiah and its villages, 29and along the borders of the children of Manasseh, Beth-shean and its villages, Taanach and its villages, Megiddo and its villages, Dor and its villages. In these lived the children of Joseph son of Israel. 30The sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, and their sister Serah. 31The sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel, who was the father of Birzaith. 32Heber fathered Japhlet, Shomer and Hotham, and their sister Shua. 33The sons of Japhlet were Pasach, Bimhal, and Asvath. These were the children of Japhlet. 34The sons of Shemer: Ahi, Rohgah, Hubbah and Aram. 35The sons of his brother Helem: Zophah, Imna, Shelesh and Amal. 36The sons of Zophah: Suah, Harnepher, Shaul, Beri, Imrah, 37 Bezer, Hod, Shamma, Shilshah, Ithran and Beera. 38The sons of Jether: Jephunneh, Pispa and Ara. 39The sons of Ulla: Arah, Hanniel and Rizia. 40All these were the descendants of Asher, heads of the clans, choice and mighty men of valor, chief of the princes. The number of them recorded by genealogy for service in war was 26,000 men.

–from 1 Chronicles 7

So wherever we go, let’s go in the name of the Lord! God’s prepared in advance the good work He has for you to do! Let’s step into it and do what God has called and created us to do! Let’s live our lives in a way that will bring Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name! Let’s be Jesus’ hands extended! Let’s be Jesus’ arms embracing! Let’s make a difference! Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us to help heal and restore, transform and renew! Today is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s not hold back, let’s press forward in faith believing! If we just have faith the size of a mustard seed, we will see mountains move! Let’s not allow fear or doubt to have a place in our hearts! Let’s not allow fear or doubt to take root! Let’s allow faith to fill us to overflowing! Let’s walk with good intentions and respond out of obedience! It’s bigger than us, it’s a call from God! It’s bigger than us and it needs us to have faith in God! Let’s be people of faith who live to make a difference for God and for the people around us! Let’s be the men and women God created us to be so that our family and friends, our neighbors and our community, our local and national will be a better place and God’s love will permeate throughout all of it!

Baruch Ha-Ba! Blessed Is He Who Comes!

1Now as they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Yeshua sent two disciples, 2saying to them, “Go into the village before you. Right away, you’ll find a donkey tied up and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to Me. 3If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Master needs them.’ And right away he will send them.” 4This happened to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet, saying, 5“Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘See, your King is coming to you, humble and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” 6The disciples went and did as Yeshua had directed them. 7They brought the donkey and colt and put their clothing on them, and He sat on the clothing. 8Most of the crowd spread their clothing on the road, and others began cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. 9The crowds going before Him and those following kept shouting, saying, “Hoshia-na to Ben-David! Baruch ha-ba b’shem Adonai! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hoshia-na in the highest!” 10When He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11And the crowds kept saying, “This is the prophet Yeshua, from Natzeret in the Galilee.” 12Then Yeshua entered the Temple and drove out all those selling and buying in the Temple. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those selling doves. 13And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of thieves’!” 14The blind and lame came to Him in the Temple, and He healed them. 15But when the ruling kohanim and Torah scholars saw the wonders He performed, and the children crying out in the Temple and saying, “Hoshia-na to Ben-David,” they became indignant. 16And they said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” Yeshua said to them. “Haven’t you ever read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing toddlers You have prepared praise for Yourself’?” 17Then He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and He spent the night there.

Faith Moves Mountains

18Now early in the morning, as He was returning to the city, He became hungry. 19Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came up to it and found nothing on it except leaves only. And He said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree shriveled up at once. 20When the disciples saw it they were astonished. “How did the fig tree shrivel on the spot?” they asked. 21Yeshua answered them, “Amen, I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. 22And whatever you ask in prayer, trusting, you shall receive.”

Questions about Yeshua’s Authority

23Now when He entered the Temple, the ruling kohanim and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, saying, “By what authority are You doing these things? Who gave You this authority?” 24Yeshua replied to them, “I also will ask you one question. If you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25John’s immersion, where was it from? From heaven or from men?” They began to dialogue among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the crowd, for all hold up John as a prophet.” 27So answering Yeshua, they said, “We don’t know.” Then He said to them, “Neither am I telling you by what authority I do these things.”

A Parable about Intentions and Actions

28“Now what do you think? A man had two sons, and he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go work in the vineyard today.’ 29The son answered, ‘I won’t,’ but afterward he had a change of heart and went. 30The man went to the second son and said the same thing. But he answered, ‘I will, sir,’ and didn’t go. 31Which of the two did the will of the father?” “The first,” they said. Yeshua said to them, “Amen, I tell you, the tax collectors and prostitutes are going ahead of you into the kingdom of God. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him. But the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and even after you saw this, you had no change of heart to believe him.”

Parable of the Vineyard

33“Listen to another parable. There was a master of a household who planted a vineyard. He put a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a tower. Then He leased it to some tenant farmers and went on a journey. 34Now when fruit season drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. 35But grabbing his servants, the tenants beat up one, killed another, and stoned still another. 36Again the master sent other servants, even more than the first, and they did the same thing to them. 37Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38“But when the tenants saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir! Come on, let’s kill him and get his inheritance!’ 39So grabbing him, they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40Therefore when the master of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41“He will bring those miserable men to a miserable end,” they said to Him, “and will lease the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the fruits in their seasons.” 42Yeshua said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures? ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the chief cornerstone. This came from Adonai, and it is marvelous in our eyes.’ 43Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to people producing its fruits. 44Whoever falls on this stone will be shattered; but the one upon whom it falls, it will crush him.” 45When the ruling kohanim and Pharisees heard Yeshua’s parables, they realized He was talking about them. 46Although they were trying to seize Him, they feared the crowds, because they regarded Him as a prophet.

–from Matthew 21


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


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


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