Ever heard the statement “We can do it the easy way or the hard way, it’s up to you”?


It’s an interesting thought to consider. I am pretty sure the easy way isn’t super easy which means the hard way will be really hard. Our decisions have consequences and based on them we will either enjoy the outcome or have to deal with the outcome. Be it this question or today’s reading, we are faced with a decision we each have to make individually. We have all been given free will and so we each have to choose for ourselves rather than being robots or controlled or manipulated.

We have a choice to make, will we obey God’s commandments? We have a choice to make, will we ask Jesus into our hearts to be our Lord and Savior? We have a choice to make, will we love God and love people?

Or…will will choose to deal with the consequences and do it the hard way?

We have a choice to make, do we want to be blessed or do we want to be cursed? We have a choice to hear God’s Word and do it or deal with the consequences!

We have a choice to make, will you put your hope and trust in God or will you put it somewhere else and realize the foolishness of the later decision when it is too late?

How bad does it really have to get before you will turn back to God? How far down the downward spiral do you need to ride before you stop and look up and ask for help, ask for forgiveness, be humble, and seek God?

In the midst of the circumstances, we can find hope! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! We need to call on Him and invite Him into our heart and our lives! Do you want to be saved? Do you want to be saved from the consequences of the past? Jesus came to solve the problem! Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, but that through Him, the world could be saved!

Do you see the unfairness taking place around you? Do you see bad people taking advantage of weak people? Do you see people suffering? How do you react? How do you respond? Is there anything that you could do today? Is there anything that you could influence to help?

Don’t lose hope when you can’t as God knows and justice will prevail! God sees and knows what is going on and at the right time, justice will prevail! God’s not slow, He’s patient and doesn’t want anyone to perish but that everyone would come to a point of repentance and turn back to God and be saved!

Have you been transformed by the love of Jesus yet? Have you been transformed by inviting Jesus into your heart? Are you now living as a new creation where the old ways are gone and the new way is taking over?

So let’s praise God! Let’s rejoice in the Lord and as Paul said “and again I say rejoice“.  Let’s exalt God to the highest place – for there is nobody who is higher or better! Let’s praise His holy name!

Are you prepared for the conversation you are about to have? Are you giving it up to God to help you with wisdom and discernment for the conversation?

You do realize there are no surprises for God right? He knows every thought!

Will you allow God’s love into your heart? Will you allow that love to flow from your life? Will you align yourself with God? Will you prepare yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually to be used as an instrument of God to the world around you? Will you be an ambassador of peace? Will you share the love? Will you share the hope that is within you? Will you point people to God that their lives can be transformed? Will you share with them how they need Jesus? Will you provide correction if you see them walking away? Will you help them to turn back to God? Will you refresh and encourage those who are in the midst of the trials and troubles?

Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day! I praise You God for a great birthday and for the love you pour into my life! I thank You Lord for Your Word that is alive and speaks life to me each day! I am thankful Lord that there are no surprises for You and that I can put all of my hope and trust in You each day! You know what is coming and so I ask Lord for Your help and Your wisdom to prepare me to be ready for the work that is coming today! Grant me courage to complete the work You have for me to do! Grant me wisdom and discernment on how to act and how to respond in the situations that come my way. Lord, forgive me for the work I didn’t complete and help me to get back on track in order that in and through this day, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Check out today’s reading from God’s Word comes from: Jeremiah 1112, Psalms 97, Acts 23, and 2 Corinthians 7.


Images to contemplate

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Benefits of alignment with God…


Do you realize there is such thing as absolute truth? Do you realize there is such thing as right and wrong? Do you realize there is such thing as good and evil? Do you realize that we all get to choose? Do you realize that our choices have outcomes? Do you realize that our decisions and our actions have consequences? Do you realize that your thoughts do matter? Do you realize that your beliefs do matter? Do you realize that your actions are driven by them both?

So when you think about your life, how are you aligned? What is the impact of that alignment on yourself and on the world around you?

Are you being fair to one another? Are you taking advantage of others? Are you worshipping people or things that won’t help and are leading you down a trail to destruction? Are you putting your trust in things that will return void? will have no return? Are you living a life that being deceptive? stealing? killing? committing adultery? lying under oath? Do you see this being done by others? If you see something, do you say something?

Why not turn to God and align with Him by being obedient to His commands?

What will happen if you get what you want?

Will be the outcomes and consequences?


Let’s consider what Jeremiah has to share today as there are many parallels throughout time with what is taking place right now…

Jeremiah Speaks at the Temple

1The lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2“Go to the entrance of the lord’s Temple, and give this message to the people: ‘O Judah, listen to this message from the lord! Listen to it, all of you who worship here! 3This is what the lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says:
“‘Even now, if you quit your evil ways, I will let you stay in your own land. 4But don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the lord’s Temple is here. They chant, “The lord’s Temple is here! The lord’s Temple is here!” 5But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice; 6only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols. 7Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever.
8“‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! 9Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, 10and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? 11Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the lord, have spoken!
12“‘Go now to the place at Shiloh where I once put the Tabernacle that bore my name. See what I did there because of all the wickedness of my people, the Israelites. 13While you were doing these wicked things, says the lord, I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer. 14So just as I destroyed Shiloh, I will now destroy this Temple that bears my name, this Temple that you trust in for help, this place that I gave to you and your ancestors. 15And I will send you out of my sight into exile, just as I did your relatives, the people of Israel.’

Judah’s Persistent Idolatry

16“Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don’t beg me to help them, for I will not listen to you. 17Don’t you see what they are doing throughout the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18No wonder I am so angry! Watch how the children gather wood and the fathers build sacrificial fires. See how the women knead dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. And they pour out liquid offerings to their other idol gods! 19Am I the one they are hurting?” asks the lord. “Most of all, they hurt themselves, to their own shame.”
20So this is what the Sovereign lord says: “I will pour out my terrible fury on this place. Its people, animals, trees, and crops will be consumed by the unquenchable fire of my anger.”
21This is what the lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Take your burnt offerings and your other sacrifices and eat them yourselves! 22When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them. 23This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’
24“But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward. 25From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets—day in and day out. 26But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful—even worse than their ancestors.
27“Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond. 28Say to them, ‘This is the nation whose people will not obey the lord their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips. 29Shave your head in mourning, and weep alone on the mountains. For the lord has rejected and forsaken this generation that has provoked his fury.’

The Valley of Slaughter

30“The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes,” says the lord. “They have set up their abominable idols right in the Temple that bears my name, defiling it. 31They have built pagan shrines at Topheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing! 32So beware, for the time is coming,” says the lord, “when that garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. They will bury the bodies in Topheth until there is no more room for them. 33The bodies of my people will be food for the vultures and wild animals, and no one will be left to scare them away. 34I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in the streets of Jerusalem. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard in the towns of Judah. The land will lie in complete desolation.

–from Jeremiah 7

Do you hear what the news is telling you? Do you hear how it varies by source? Do you know what is truth? Do you realize which is truth and which is deception? Do you realize what is truth and what is false?

Do you see where you are at? Did you fall down? Will you get back up? Are you on the wrong road? Will you turn around in order to get back on track?

I really don’t want to see history repeat itself and watch people walk away from God and not turn back. I don’t want them to fall and not get back up. I don’t want them to be clueless of where they are at. The truth will set them free — if they are willing to hear it and receive it!

Don’t be deceived by greed! Don’t be deceived by frauds!

Do you know Jesus? Or do you have a peace which really isn’t peaceful.

Do you know Jesus and even in the midst of chaos or craziness you are able to find a peace that goes beyond all understanding?

Do you know Jesus? Or do you have a hope that is more like wishing?

Do you know Jesus and even in the midst of trials and troubles you have hope beyond your circumstances?

1“In that day,” says the lord, “the enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people of Jerusalem. 2They will spread out their bones on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars—the gods my people have loved, served, and worshiped. Their bones will not be gathered up again or buried but will be scattered on the ground like manure. 3And the people of this evil nation who survive will wish to die rather than live where I will send them. I, the lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!

Deception by False Prophets

4“Jeremiah, say to the people, ‘This is what the lord says:
“‘When people fall down, don’t they get up again?
When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back?
5Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path?
Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back?
They cling tightly to their lies
and will not turn around.
6I listen to their conversations
and don’t hear a word of truth.
Is anyone sorry for doing wrong?
Does anyone say, “What a terrible thing I have done”?
No! All are running down the path of sin
as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle!
7Even the stork that flies across the sky
knows the time of her migration,
as do the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane.
They all return at the proper time each year.
But not my people!
They do not know the lord’s laws.
8“‘How can you say, “We are wise because we have the word of the lord,”
when your teachers have twisted it by writing lies?
9These wise teachers will fall
into the trap of their own foolishness,
for they have rejected the word of the lord.
Are they so wise after all?
10I will give their wives to others
and their farms to strangers.
From the least to the greatest,
their lives are ruled by greed.
Yes, even my prophets and priests are like that.
They are all frauds.
11They offer superficial treatments
for my people’s mortal wound.
They give assurances of peace
when there is no peace.
12Are they ashamed of these disgusting actions?
Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush!
Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered.
They will be brought down when I punish them,
says the lord.
13I will surely consume them.
There will be no more harvests of figs and grapes.
Their fruit trees will all die.
Whatever I gave them will soon be gone.
I, the lord, have spoken!’
14“Then the people will say,
‘Why should we wait here to die?
Come, let’s go to the fortified towns and die there.
For the lord our God has decreed our destruction
and has given us a cup of poison to drink
because we sinned against the lord.
15We hoped for peace, but no peace came.
We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror.’
16“The snorting of the enemies’ warhorses can be heard
all the way from the land of Dan in the north!
The neighing of their stallions makes the whole land tremble.
They are coming to devour the land and everything in it—
cities and people alike.
17I will send these enemy troops among you
like poisonous snakes you cannot charm.
They will bite you, and you will die.
I, the lord, have spoken!”

Jeremiah Weeps for Sinful Judah

18My grief is beyond healing;
my heart is broken.
19Listen to the weeping of my people;
it can be heard all across the land.
“Has the lord abandoned Jerusalem?” the people ask.
“Is her King no longer there?”
“Oh, why have they provoked my anger with their carved idols
and their worthless foreign gods?” says the lord.
20“The harvest is finished,
and the summer is gone,” the people cry,
“yet we are not saved!”
21I hurt with the hurt of my people.
I mourn and am overcome with grief.
22Is there no medicine in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why is there no healing
for the wounds of my people?

–from Jeremiah 8

Would you rather make a course correction or get corrected? Are you willing to do what is right no matter the consequences? Are you willing to be obedient to God no matter the warnings? Are you more interested in your eternity than your present?

Paul’s Journey to Jerusalem

1After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, we sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and then went to Patara. 2There we boarded a ship sailing for Phoenicia. 3We sighted the island of Cyprus, passed it on our left, and landed at the harbor of Tyre, in Syria, where the ship was to unload its cargo.
4We went ashore, found the local believers, and stayed with them a week. These believers prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem. 5When we returned to the ship at the end of the week, the entire congregation, including women and children, left the city and came down to the shore with us. There we knelt, prayed, 6and said our farewells. Then we went aboard, and they returned home.
7The next stop after leaving Tyre was Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed for one day. 8The next day we went on to Caesarea and stayed at the home of Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen to distribute food. 9He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy.
10Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. 11He came over, took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.’” 12When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
13But he said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” 14When it was clear that we couldn’t persuade him, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

Paul Arrives at Jerusalem

15After this we packed our things and left for Jerusalem. 16Some believers from Caesarea accompanied us, and they took us to the home of Mnason, a man originally from Cyprus and one of the early believers. 17When we arrived, the brothers and sisters in Jerusalem welcomed us warmly.
18The next day Paul went with us to meet with James, and all the elders of the Jerusalem church were present. 19After greeting them, Paul gave a detailed account of the things God had accomplished among the Gentiles through his ministry.
20After hearing this, they praised God. And then they said, “You know, dear brother, how many thousands of Jews have also believed, and they all follow the law of Moses very seriously. 21But the Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They’ve heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow other Jewish customs. 22What should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come.
23“Here’s what we want you to do. We have four men here who have completed their vow. 24Go with them to the Temple and join them in the purification ceremony, paying for them to have their heads ritually shaved. Then everyone will know that the rumors are all false and that you yourself observe the Jewish laws.
25“As for the Gentile believers, they should do what we already told them in a letter: They should abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality.”

Paul Is Arrested

26So Paul went to the Temple the next day with the other men. They had already started the purification ritual, so he publicly announced the date when their vows would end and sacrifices would be offered for each of them.
27The seven days were almost ended when some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the Temple and roused a mob against him. They grabbed him, 28yelling, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who preaches against our people everywhere and tells everybody to disobey the Jewish laws. He speaks against the Temple—and even defiles this holy place by bringing in Gentiles.” 29(For earlier that day they had seen him in the city with Trophimus, a Gentile from Ephesus, and they assumed Paul had taken him into the Temple.)
30The whole city was rocked by these accusations, and a great riot followed. Paul was grabbed and dragged out of the Temple, and immediately the gates were closed behind him. 31As they were trying to kill him, word reached the commander of the Roman regiment that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32He immediately called out his soldiers and officers and ran down among the crowd. When the mob saw the commander and the troops coming, they stopped beating Paul.
33Then the commander arrested him and ordered him bound with two chains. He asked the crowd who he was and what he had done. 34Some shouted one thing and some another. Since he couldn’t find out the truth in all the uproar and confusion, he ordered that Paul be taken to the fortress. 35As Paul reached the stairs, the mob grew so violent the soldiers had to lift him to their shoulders to protect him. 36And the crowd followed behind, shouting, “Kill him, kill him!”

Paul Speaks to the Crowd

37As Paul was about to be taken inside, he said to the commander, “May I have a word with you?”
“Do you know Greek?” the commander asked, surprised. 38“Aren’t you the Egyptian who led a rebellion some time ago and took 4,000 members of the Assassins out into the desert?”
39“No,” Paul replied, “I am a Jew and a citizen of Tarsus in Cilicia, which is an important city. Please, let me talk to these people.” 40The commander agreed, so Paul stood on the stairs and motioned to the people to be quiet. Soon a deep silence enveloped the crowd, and he addressed them in their own language, Aramaic.

–from Acts 21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who is ready for change?


Change seems to be the only constant in life. Sometimes people get comfortable which gives them a false sense of security. Are you looking for change or more of the same? Will you keep doing the same thing and hope that the outcome changes? Will you decide it’s time for a change and go and do something different?

what-is-insanity-by-albert-einstein

Take a look around and see what is taking place that needs change. Consider what things are working and also what things are not. What do you want to do about it? Will you step up and step out and do something about it? Will we come together as people and turn away from the evil and negative things that have been taking place? Will we put aside our differences in order to unify in alignment with God? and God’s will? Will we do it for God and with God before things get so out of hand that something more drastic needs to happen?

We’ve been given a way! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life – nobody gets to the Father except through Him!

We’ve been offered a gift! Jesus gave His life on the cross so that we can be reconciled to God! He conquered the grave so that we could have hope!

Will you choose to receive it? Will you choose to follow after Him?


Today’s reading from 2 Kings 23 continues from yesterday where we see how after Josiah’s enlightenment starts looking at ways to implement change…

Josiah’s Religious Reforms

1Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2And the king went up to the Temple of the lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the lord’s Temple. 3The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the lord’s presence. He pledged to obey the lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.
4Then the king instructed Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the Temple gatekeepers to remove from the lord’s Temple all the articles that were used to worship Baal, Asherah, and all the powers of the heavens. The king had all these things burned outside Jerusalem on the terraces of the Kidron Valley, and he carried the ashes away to Bethel. 5He did away with the idolatrous priests, who had been appointed by the previous kings of Judah, for they had offered sacrifices at the pagan shrines throughout Judah and even in the vicinity of Jerusalem. They had also offered sacrifices to Baal, and to the sun, the moon, the constellations, and to all the powers of the heavens. 6The king removed the Asherah pole from the lord’s Temple and took it outside Jerusalem to the Kidron Valley, where he burned it. Then he ground the ashes of the pole to dust and threw the dust over the graves of the people. 7He also tore down the living quarters of the male and female shrine prostitutes that were inside the Temple of the lord, where the women wove coverings for the Asherah pole.
8Josiah brought to Jerusalem all the priests who were living in other towns of Judah. He also defiled the pagan shrines, where they had offered sacrifices—all the way from Geba to Beersheba. He destroyed the shrines at the entrance to the gate of Joshua, the governor of Jerusalem. This gate was located to the left of the city gate as one enters the city. 9The priests who had served at the pagan shrines were not allowed to serve at the lord’s altar in Jerusalem, but they were allowed to eat unleavened bread with the other priests.
10Then the king defiled the altar of Topheth in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, so no one could ever again use it to sacrifice a son or daughter in the fire as an offering to Molech. 11He removed from the entrance of the lord’s Temple the horse statues that the former kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were near the quarters of Nathan-melech the eunuch, an officer of the court. The king also burned the chariots dedicated to the sun.
12Josiah tore down the altars that the kings of Judah had built on the palace roof above the upper room of Ahaz. The king destroyed the altars that Manasseh had built in the two courtyards of the lord’s Temple. He smashed them to bits and scattered the pieces in the Kidron Valley. 13The king also desecrated the pagan shrines east of Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Corruption, where King Solomon of Israel had built shrines for Ashtoreth, the detestable goddess of the Sidonians; and for Chemosh, the detestable god of the Moabites; and for Molech,the vile god of the Ammonites. 14He smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. Then he desecrated these places by scattering human bones over them.
15The king also tore down the altar at Bethel—the pagan shrine that Jeroboam son of Nebat had made when he caused Israel to sin. He burned down the shrine and ground it to dust, and he burned the Asherah pole. 16Then Josiah turned around and noticed several tombs in the side of the hill. He ordered that the bones be brought out, and he burned them on the altar at Bethel to desecrate it. (This happened just as the lord had promised through the man of God when Jeroboam stood beside the altar at the festival.)
Then Josiah turned and looked up at the tomb of the man of God who had predicted these things. 17“What is that monument over there?” Josiah asked.
And the people of the town told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and predicted the very things that you have just done to the altar at Bethel!”
18Josiah replied, “Leave it alone. Don’t disturb his bones.” So they did not burn his bones or those of the old prophet from Samaria.
19Then Josiah demolished all the buildings at the pagan shrines in the towns of Samaria, just as he had done at Bethel. They had been built by the various kings of Israel and had made the lordvery angry. 20He executed the priests of the pagan shrines on their own altars, and he burned human bones on the altars to desecrate them. Finally, he returned to Jerusalem.

Josiah Celebrates Passover

21King Josiah then issued this order to all the people: “You must celebrate the Passover to the lord your God, as required in this Book of the Covenant.” 22There had not been a Passover celebration like that since the time when the judges ruled in Israel, nor throughout all the years of the kings of Israel and Judah. 23But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign, this Passover was celebrated to the lord in Jerusalem.
24Josiah also got rid of the mediums and psychics, the household gods, the idols, and every other kind of detestable practice, both in Jerusalem and throughout the land of Judah. He did this in obedience to the laws written in the scroll that Hilkiah the priest had found in the lord’s Temple. 25Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.
26Even so, the lord was very angry with Judah because of all the wicked things Manasseh had done to provoke him. 27For the lord said, “I will also banish Judah from my presence just as I have banished Israel. And I will reject my chosen city of Jerusalem and the Temple where my name was to be honored.”
28The rest of the events in Josiah’s reign and all his deeds are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah.
29While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, went to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah and his army marched out to fight him, but King Neco killed him when they met at Megiddo. 30Josiah’s officers took his body back in a chariot from Megiddo to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. Then the people of the land anointed Josiah’s son Jehoahaz and made him the next king.

Jehoahaz Rules in Judah

31Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. 32He did what was evil in the lord’s sight, just as his ancestors had done.
33Pharaoh Neco put Jehoahaz in prison at Riblah in the land of Hamath to prevent him from ruling in Jerusalem. He also demanded that Judah pay 7,500 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of gold as tribute.

Jehoiakim Rules in Judah

34Pharaoh Neco then installed Eliakim, another of Josiah’s sons, to reign in place of his father, and he changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. Jehoahaz was taken to Egypt as a prisoner, where he died.
35In order to get the silver and gold demanded as tribute by Pharaoh Neco, Jehoiakim collected a tax from the people of Judah, requiring them to pay in proportion to their wealth.
36Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother was Zebidah, the daughter of Pedaiah from Rumah. 37He did what was evil in the lord’s sight, just as his ancestors had done.

–from 2 Kings 23

What needs to be changed? What needs to be updated? What needs to stay the same?

What do we need to start doing? What do we need to stop doing? What do we need to keep doing?

Where are you at today? Will you be part of the spark? Will you be part of the start? Will you be part of the light? Will you be part of the salt? What will be your part?

Don’t assume that you know, but rather turn to God and ask Him for wisdom in the situation so that you don’t go out to fight a battle that was never yours to begin with.

Josiah Celebrates Passover

1Then Josiah announced that the Passover of the lord would be celebrated in Jerusalem, and so the Passover lamb was slaughtered on the fourteenth day of the first month. 2Josiah also assigned the priests to their duties and encouraged them in their work at the Temple of the lord. 3He issued this order to the Levites, who were to teach all Israel and who had been set apart to serve the lord: “Put the holy Ark in the Temple that was built by Solomon son of David, the king of Israel. You no longer need to carry it back and forth on your shoulders. Now spend your time serving the lord your God and his people Israel. 4Report for duty according to the family divisions of your ancestors, following the directions of King David of Israel and the directions of his son Solomon.
5“Then stand in the sanctuary at the place appointed for your family division and help the families assigned to you as they bring their offerings to the Temple. 6Slaughter the Passover lambs, purify yourselves, and prepare to help those who come. Follow all the directions that the lord gave through Moses.”
7Then Josiah provided 30,000 lambs and young goats for the people’s Passover offerings, along with 3,000 cattle, all from the king’s own flocks and herds. 8The king’s officials also made willing contributions to the people, priests, and Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, the administrators of God’s Temple, gave the priests 2,600 lambs and young goats and 300 cattle as Passover offerings. 9The Levite leaders—Conaniah and his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel, as well as Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad—gave 5,000 lambs and young goats and 500 cattle to the Levites for their Passover offerings.
10When everything was ready for the Passover celebration, the priests and the Levites took their places, organized by their divisions, as the king had commanded. 11The Levites then slaughtered the Passover lambs and presented the blood to the priests, who sprinkled the blood on the altar while the Levites prepared the animals. 12They divided the burnt offerings among the people by their family groups, so they could offer them to the lord as prescribed in the Book of Moses. They did the same with the cattle. 13Then they roasted the Passover lambs as prescribed; and they boiled the holy offerings in pots, kettles, and pans, and brought them out quickly so the people could eat them.
14Afterward the Levites prepared Passover offerings for themselves and for the priests—the descendants of Aaron—because the priests had been busy from morning till night offering the burnt offerings and the fat portions. The Levites took responsibility for all these preparations.
15The musicians, descendants of Asaph, were in their assigned places, following the commands that had been given by David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, the king’s seer. The gatekeepers guarded the gates and did not need to leave their posts of duty, for their Passover offerings were prepared for them by their fellow Levites.
16The entire ceremony for the lord’s Passover was completed that day. All the burnt offerings were sacrificed on the altar of the lord, as King Josiah had commanded. 17All the Israelites present in Jerusalem celebrated Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. 18Never since the time of the prophet Samuel had there been such a Passover. None of the kings of Israel had ever kept a Passover as Josiah did, involving all the priests and Levites, all the people of Jerusalem, and people from all over Judah and Israel. 19This Passover was celebrated in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign.

Josiah Dies in Battle

20After Josiah had finished restoring the Temple, King Neco of Egypt led his army up from Egypt to do battle at Carchemish on the Euphrates River, and Josiah and his army marched out to fight him. 21But King Neco sent messengers to Josiah with this message:
“What do you want with me, king of Judah? I have no quarrel with you today! I am on my way to fight another nation, and God has told me to hurry! Do not interfere with God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.”
22But Josiah refused to listen to Neco, to whom God had indeed spoken, and he would not turn back. Instead, he disguised himself and led his army into battle on the plain of Megiddo. 23But the enemy archers hit King Josiah with their arrows and wounded him. He cried out to his men, “Take me from the battle, for I am badly wounded!”
24So they lifted Josiah out of his chariot and placed him in another chariot. Then they brought him back to Jerusalem, where he died. He was buried there in the royal cemetery. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for him. 25The prophet Jeremiah composed funeral songs for Josiah, and to this day choirs still sing these sad songs about his death. These songs of sorrow have become a tradition and are recorded in The Book of Laments.
26The rest of the events of Josiah’s reign and his acts of devotion (carried out according to what was written in the Law of the lord), 27from beginning to end—all are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah.

–from 2 Chronicles 35

We need to realize it isn’t Jesus plus, it’s just Jesus that is the answer! Don’t allow others to add weights or burdens that were never yours to carry! Ask God what it is that He would have you do today! Ask God how He would like you to do it! And then allow Him to receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Consider what change may be required to help you get to the next level God desires for you? Could it be going a different way? Could it be a new partnership? I am sure whatever it is, the important part is to stay aligned with God’s will and walking in His way! I am sure whatever it is, the important part is to walk out God’s work for your life to bring truth, hope, and love to those in need. Could it be that what is best is to divide and conquer in order to reach more people and spread/share the good news?

Consider what it will take for things to go well. Receiving Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Consider the things we need to avoid as we read from today’s reading…

The Council at Jerusalem

1While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers: “Unless you are circumcised as required by the law of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2Paul and Barnabas disagreed with them, arguing vehemently. Finally, the church decided to send Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, accompanied by some local believers, to talk to the apostles and elders about this question. 3The church sent the delegates to Jerusalem, and they stopped along the way in Phoenicia and Samaria to visit the believers. They told them—much to everyone’s joy—that the Gentiles, too, were being converted.
4When they arrived in Jerusalem, Barnabas and Paul were welcomed by the whole church, including the apostles and elders. They reported everything God had done through them. 5But then some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and insisted, “The Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses.”
6So the apostles and elders met together to resolve this issue. 7At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: “Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe. 8God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. 9He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith. 10So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? 11We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”
12Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.
13When they had finished, James stood and said, “Brothers, listen to me. 14Peter has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people for himself. 15And this conversion of Gentiles is exactly what the prophets predicted. As it is written:
16‘Afterward I will return
and restore the fallen house of David.
I will rebuild its ruins
and restore it,
17so that the rest of humanity might seek the lord,
including the Gentiles—
all those I have called to be mine.
The lord has spoken—
18he who made these things known so long ago.’
19“And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood. 21For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.”

The Letter for Gentile Believers

22Then the apostles and elders together with the whole church in Jerusalem chose delegates, and they sent them to Antioch of Syria with Paul and Barnabas to report on this decision. The men chosen were two of the church leaders—Judas (also called Barsabbas) and Silas. 23This is the letter they took with them:
“This letter is from the apostles and elders, your brothers in Jerusalem. It is written to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. Greetings!
24“We understand that some men from here have troubled you and upset you with their teaching, but we did not send them! 25So we decided, having come to complete agreement, to send you official representatives, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27We are sending Judas and Silas to confirm what we have decided concerning your question.
28“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements: 29You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell.”
30The messengers went at once to Antioch, where they called a general meeting of the believers and delivered the letter. 31And there was great joy throughout the church that day as they read this encouraging message.
32Then Judas and Silas, both being prophets, spoke at length to the believers, encouraging and strengthening their faith. 33They stayed for a while, and then the believers sent them back to the church in Jerusalem with a blessing of peace. 35Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch. They and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord there.

Paul and Barnabas Separate

36After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are doing.” 37Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. 38But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work. 39Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus. 40Paul chose Silas, and as he left, the believers entrusted him to the Lord’s gracious care. 41Then he traveled throughout Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches there.

–from Acts 15

 

There is a right way and a wrong way!


Ever tried to get something done but there seemed to be something missing? Ever tried a modified way and it didn’t turn out right? Ever though you could do it your way and then discovered it doesn’t work that way? Did you ever research the instructions or directions on how to do it right? Ever found the instructions or manuals that gave you the specifics on what to do and how to get it done and then realized how much better and easier it was when you followed them?

There is such thing as a right way and a wrong way! So let’s turn to the one who knows and make sure to get the directions or instructions before we start so that we can avoid the consequences of doing it wrong. Would you rather look good in God’s eyes and a little off in the eyes of people or look good in people’s eyes and not so good in God’s? Let’s live in a way that will bring God all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name!

Today’s reading starts with David getting it done right…after having dealt with the consequences of failing the first time…

Ark Comes Into Jerusalem

1Now David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, 30,000. 2Then David and all the people who were with him arose and set out from Baale-judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the very Name of Adonai-Tzva’ot who is enthroned between the cheruvim. 3So they loaded the ark of God on a new cart and carried it out of the house of Abinadab that was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, Abinadab’s sons, drove the new cart 4as they brought it from the house of Abinadab (which was on the hill) with the ark of God, and Ahio was walking in front of the ark. 5Meanwhile David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating before Adonai with all kinds of instruments made of cypress wood, with harps, lyres, tambourines, three-stringed instruments and cymbals. 6But when they reached the threshing floor of Nahon, Uzzah reached out to the ark of God and grasped it, for the oxen had stumbled. 7Then the anger of Adonai was kindled against Uzzah. God struck him down there for his irreverence, so that he died there beside the ark of God. 8David was upset because of Adonai’s outburst against Uzzah. That place is called Perez-uzzah to this day. 9So David was frightened of Adonai that day. Then he said, “How can the ark of Adonai come to me?” 10David was unwilling to move the ark of Adonai to him, to the City of David; instead, David diverted it to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. 11So the ark of Adonai remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months; meanwhile Adonai blessed Obed-edom and his entire household. 12Then it was reported to King David saying, “Adonai has blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought the ark of God up from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with joy. 13Now when the bearers of the ark of Adonai had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. 14Meanwhile, David was dancing before Adonai with all his might while he was wearing a linen ephod. 15So David and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of Adonai with shouting and with the sound of the shofar. 16But as the ark of Adonai entered the city of David, Saul’s daughter Michal looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before Adonai, so she despised him in her heart. 17They brought in the ark of Adonai and set it in its place in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it. Then David offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before Adonai. 18When David had finished offering the burnt offering and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the Name of Adonai-Tzva’ot. 19Then he distributed to all the people—to the whole multitude of Israel, men and women alike—to everyone a loaf of bread, a cake made in a pan and a raisin cake. Then all the people departed, each to his home. 20David returned to bless his own household. But Saul’s daughter Michal came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel distinguished himself today, when he uncovered himself today in the eyes of the slave girls of his subjects, as any vulgar fellow would shamelessly uncover himself!” 21“It was before Adonai,” David said to Michal, “who chose me instead of your father and all his household, appointing me ruler over the people of Adonai, over Israel! So I danced Before Adonai, 22and will dishonor myself even more than this, and will be low in my own eyes. Yet in the eyes of the slave girls whom you mentioned, I will be honored.” 23So Saul’s daughter Michal had no children to the day of her death.

–from 2 Samuel 6

Everyone needs to be ready! They have to be prepared! They need to do it God’s way for it to go well!

Ark Enters Jerusalem

1David built houses made for himself in the City of David; he then prepared a place for the Ark of God and pitched a tent for it. 2Then David said, “No one should carry the Ark of God except the Levites, for Adonai has chosen them to carry the Ark of Adonai and to serve Him forever.” 3David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring the Ark of Adonai up to its place that he had prepared for it. 4David gathered together the sons of Aaron and the Levites: 5from the sons of Kohath: Uriel the leader and 120 of his kinsmen; 6from the sons of Merari: Asaiah the leader and 220 0f his kinsmen; 7from the sons of Gershom: Joel the leader with 130 of his kinsmen; 8from the sons of Elizaphan: Shemaiah the leader with 200 of his kinsmen; 9from the sons of Hebron: Eliel the leader with 80 of his kinsmen; 10from the sons of Uzziel: Amminadab the leader and 112 of his kinsmen. 11David summoned Zadok and Abiathar the kohanim, along with the Levites, Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel and Amminadab. 12He told them, “You are the heads of the Levitical families. Sanctify yourselves, you and your kinsmen, so that you may bring up the Ark of Adonai, the God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it. 13Because you were not there the first time, Adonai our God burst out upon us, for we did not seek Him regarding the prescribed way.” 14So the kohanim and the Levites sanctified themselves in order to bring up the Ark of Adonai, the God of Israel. 15The Levites carried the Ark of God on their shoulders with poles, just as Moses commanded according to the word of Adonai. 16David ordered the leaders of the Levites to appoint their kinsmen, the singers, with musical instruments, harps, lyres, and cymbals, to joyfully make their voices heard. 17So the Levites appointed Heman son of Joel; from his brothers, Asaph son of Berechiah; from their brothers the descendants of Merari, Ethan son of Kushaiah; 18and with them their relatives second in rank: Zechariah, Ben, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphalehu and Mikneiahu, and the gatekeepers Obed-edom and Jeiel. 19The singers Heman, Asaph, and Ethan were to sound the bronze cymbals; 20Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoh, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah and Benaiah were to play harps according to alamoth , 21but Mattitiah, Eliphalehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jehiel and Azaziah were to lead with lyres, according to the sheminith . 22Chenaniah, leader of the Levites in music, was to direct the music because he was a master. 23Berechiah and Elkanah were gatekeepers for the Ark. 24The kohanim Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah and Eliezez were to blow the trumpets before the Ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah were gatekeepers for the Ark. 25So David and the elders of Israel and the commanders of the thousands went to bring up the Ark of the Covenant of Adonai out of the house of Obed-edom with rejoicing. 26Because God helped the Levites who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant of Adonai, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. 27Now David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who were carrying the Ark, and as were the singers and Henaniah the leader of the songs of the singers. David also wore a linen ephod. 28Thus all Israel brought up the Ark of the Covenant of Adonai with shouting, with the sound of the shofar, trumpets and cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps. 29As the Ark of the Covenant of Adonai came to the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked out the window. When she saw King David dancing and celebrating, she despised him in her heart.

–from 1 Chronicles 15

We are the living temples of God when we invite Jesus into our lives and allow the Holy Spirit to move into our hearts! So I pray God’s peace that goes beyond all understanding to fill you up! God’s Word is written on our hearts and in our minds! We are His people and He is our God!

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

1A Song of Ascents. Of David. I rejoiced when they said to me, “Let us go to the House of Adonai.” 2Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem—3Jerusalem, built as a city joined together. 4There the tribes go up, the tribes of Adonai —as a testimony to Israel— to praise the Name of Adonai. 5For there thrones for judgment are set up, the thrones of the house of David. 6Pray for the peace of Jerusalem— “May those who love you be at peace! 7May there be shalom within your walls— quietness within your palaces.” 8For the sake of my brothers and friends, I now say: “Shalom be within you.” 9For the sake of the House of Adonai our God, I will seek your good.

–from Psalms 122

What will you do to be able to live in godliness and respectfulness? What is it going to take for you to be able to live in peace? How will you share the love of God and His truth in order that others may turn to Jesus and be saved?

Godliness in Prayer and Worship

1Therefore, first of all I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made on behalf of all people— 2for kings and all who are in authority—so we may live a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and respectfulness. 3This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior. 4He desires all men to be saved and come into the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God and there is one Mediator between God and men—a human, Messiah Yeshua, 6who gave Himself as a ransom for all—the testimony at the proper time. 7For this I was appointed a herald and an emissary (I am telling the truth; I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faithfulness and truth. 8So I desire all men to pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without anger and argument. 9Likewise, women are to adorn themselves in appropriate clothing with modesty and sound judgment—not in seductive hairstyles and gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10but what is suitable for women claiming godliness, through good deeds. 11Let a woman receive training in a quiet demeanor with complete respect for order. 12But I do not allow a woman to train or dictate to a man, but to be in a quiet demeanor. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14Also Adam was not deceived but the woman—being deceived, she fell into transgression. 15Nevertheless, she will be sustained through childbearing—if they continue in faithfulness and love and holiness, with sound judgment.

–from 1 Timothy 2

What is the desire of your heart? What instruction is it that you want to follow? What is leading you and your steps? How will you share that it does make a difference?

Qualifications for Oversight and Service

1Trustworthy is the saying: “If any man aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a good work.” 2An overseer, then, must be beyond criticism—the husband of one wife, clear-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not addicted to wine, not violent but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money, 4managing his own household well, keeping his children under control with all respectfulness. 5(But if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s community?) 6He must not be a new believer, or he may become puffed up and fall into the same judgment as the devil. 7Furthermore, he must have a good reputation with those outside, so that he will not fall into disgrace and the devil’s trap. 8Servant-leaders likewise must be dignified, not double-speaking, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9They must keep hold of the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10Also let them first be tested—then let those who are blameless serve as servant-leaders. 11Women likewise must be dignified, not backbiting; clear-minded, trustworthy in every respect. 12Let servant-leaders be husbands of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13For those who have served well as servant-leaders gain for themselves a good standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Messiah Yeshua. 14These things I write to you, hoping to come to you shortly. 15But if I delay, I write so you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God—which is the community of the living God, a pillar and foundation of truth. 16Now beyond question, great is the mystery of godliness: He was revealed in the flesh, Vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Trusted throughout the world, Taken up in glory.

–from 1 Timothy 3

 

 

 

 

What does it mean?


What does it imply? What are the implications? You are being called! What does it mean? What are the implications if you answer the call? How does your work play into this? How is your work an integral part of it? Do you realize how important our work is a key part of the restoration plan? Do you have the right perspective? Has it helped or hindered your sense of calling?

Today’s reading starts with the topic of living as we are called…

17Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 18Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 19For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 20Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. 23You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. 24So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.

–from 1 Corinthians 7

The key is to keep the commandments of God! It’s not about our appearance! It’s not about our social status! Jesus paid the price so that now we can live according to His plans and purposes! so let’s not be concerned about where we were, but not let’s focus on how we can be all that God is calling us to be!

Today’s reading continues with our calling and our gifts…

8For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

–from 1 Corinthians 12

So let’s take a hold of the gifts and talents God has given us! We don’t need to worry or be concerned about what others have, just that we take what we have been given and be good stewards of it by using them to glorify God!

Today’s reading goes on to speak about how we each have a calling, we have each been given gifts for the purpose that God has created us to accomplish…

 6Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

–from Romans 12

We can’t all be the same. We are the body and so we each have a part in the overall health and well being of the body! We can’t complain or shouldn’t complain which part we have to play because each part is important and has a purpose! Some parts may be more visible in what they do and others may be more behind the scenes. Just like the various parts of our human body! And just because you aren’t being used in a way that isn’t as visible, it doesn’t mean your work isn’t any less important! Consider the heart…nobody sees it, but without it the body is dead! Consider the brain…nobody sees it, but without it the connections and collaboration couldn’t take place! We each have a part to play! And they are all important to the overall goal and health! So let’s be cheerful and share the joy of the Lord with those around us! Let’s contribute to the greater good! Let’s be generous in the way we live our lives! Even with the little we have God can take it, multiply it, and provide more than we could ever ask or imagine! Consider the boy who shared his lunch (Matthew 15:32-39/Mark 8:1-13)… Consider the widow and her son who only had a little oil (1 Kings 17:8-16)… What little do you have that God can use for the greater good?

Today’s reading concludes speaking to the importance of unity…

11And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

–from Ephesians 4

We each have a calling that God needs and wants for us to answer! We each have a calling and a purpose that goes beyond just ourselves! We need to work together to bring unity through Jesus so that we can become mature and complete, lacking nothing! It’s not easy! We will face trials of many kinds. We are to consider them pure for joy for in the end, the process will help us to be complete and lacking nothing! Don’t be tossed around or confused! Allow the truth to keep you on track and set you free! Don’t allow the cunning and deceitful schemes of man to rob you of the joy that God put in place for you to receive! So let’s speak truth in love! Let’s grow up in every way Jesus calls us so that as a body, we will be held together strong and be ready and equipped to complete the work as function properly and in unity together sharing the love of God with the world around us, in Jesus’ name!

Not sure where to turn? Not sure what to ask? Turn to God! Turn to His Word that will never return void!


Today’s devotional (day 4) adds some additional insight this way…

Implications of Calling

A biblical view of work runs throughout all of Scripture. Our work plays a part in God’s plan for the restoration of his kingdom. We have lost sight of this perspective and consequently lost our sense of calling.

So, what is calling, and what does it mean for our lives?

There are two types of calling:

  • General calling: The primary meaning of calling in Scripture is general – God calls us out of an old, sinful way of life into a new, redeemed, and faithful way of life.
  • Particular calling: This type of calling, used in I Corinthians 7:17-24, refers to our state or condition of life.

The implication of the general call is to be faithful to the Lord in all areas of our lives – including our families, our church, our nation, and our work. We are called to a new way of life and faithfulness to our Lord. When we are faithful to the callings God has placed upon our lives, we will experience meaning, significance, and wholeness. If our priorities are askew, we will not.

Calling impacts and orients our lives in a variety of ways:

  • A sense of calling gives us perspective on what we do. Whether we succeed or fail, we can sustain motivation to our calling if we remain faithful.
  • Calling can keep us from compromising. Sometimes in our work we face the temptation to compromise our values. We may be challenged to act unethically in order to advance in our careers.
  • We are called to be good stewards of our gifts. I Corinthians 12:8-10, Romans 12:6-8, and Ephesians 4:11-13, list various gifts in the body of Christ. We are called to know our gifts and to use them vigorously for his kingdom. Our “natural” gifts are our “created” gifts – given to us by God. The Fall has withered, misdirected, or twisted our natural gifts. However, the Holy Spirit can redirect these gifts to benefit both the church and the world.
  • Don’t expect a “perfect” use of your gifts. We live in a world that is far from perfect. It is often difficult to find a job that fully fits your gifts. Even if you could land the perfect job, you would find that it wasn’t perfect because you and the people around you are fallen. Although you shouldn’t expect perfection, you should strive to be a good steward of the gifts you were given.

What do you think? How can calling impact and orient your life and work?

–from How Do I Find My Calling? (day 4 of 5)

Whose side are you on anyways?


Do you realize we were all created with a freewill and as such each have to make the decision for ourselves? Do you realize that our choices comes with consequences? Choose wisely and the outcome will be good! Choose wrongly and the outcome will be bad! It may not look like that in the moment, but in the long run if you end up on the wrong side, you will end up on the losing end of things.

Will you choose to be on God’s side or will you choose to be against God? Will you ask Jesus into your heart or decide to go it alone on the windy road away from God? Will you choose to spend eternity with God or to walk away and spend eternity away from God? There are consequences to choosing the wrong side! When you read the end times scriptures, you see that people can end up being in a new place where there is no more sickness, no more sorrow, no more pain, no more tears… or they end up in a place where they are weeping and gnashing of teeth, being thrown in the lake of fire and brimstone.

Choose God’s side! You don’t want to have to deal with the consequences of the other side!


God’s Punishment of Edom

1  The Lord spoke to me. 2“Mortal man,” he said, “denounce the country of Edom. 3Tell the people what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying: “I am your enemy, mountains of Edom! I will make you a desolate wasteland. 4I will leave your cities in ruins And your land desolate; Then you will know that I am the Lord. 5“You were Israel’s constant enemy and let her people be slaughtered in the time of her disaster, the time of final punishment for her sins. 6So then—as surely as I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God—death is your fate, and you cannot escape it. You are guilty of murder, and murder will follow you. 7I will make the hill country of Edom a wasteland and kill everyone who travels through it. 8I will cover the mountains with corpses, and the bodies of those who are killed in battle will cover the hills and valleys. 9I will make you desolate forever, and no one will live in your cities again. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 10“You said that the two nations, Judah and Israel, together with their lands, belonged to you and that you would possess them, even though I, the Lord, was their God. 11So then, as surely as I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God, I will pay you back for your anger, your jealousy, and your hate toward my people. They will know that I am punishing you for what you did to them. 12Then you will know that I, the Lord, heard you say with contempt that the mountains of Israel were desolate and that they were yours to devour. 13I have heard the wild, boastful way you have talked against me.” 14The Sovereign Lord says, “I will make you so desolate that the whole world will rejoice at your downfall, 15just as you rejoiced at the devastation of Israel, my own possession. The mountains of Seir, yes, all the land of Edom, will be desolate. Then everyone will know that I am the Lord.”
–from Ezekiel 35
Will you be someone who will care enough for others to warn them? Will you be someone who will share enough for others to hear the good news? Will live in a way that others will realize that the joy of the Lord is your strength?

God’s Blessing on Israel

1The Lord said, “Mortal man, speak to the mountains of Israel and tell them to listen to the message which I, 2the Sovereign Lord, have for them: Israel’s enemies gloated and said, ‘Now those ancient hills are ours!’ 3“Prophesy, then, and announce what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying. When the neighboring nations captured and plundered the mountains of Israel, everyone made fun of Israel. 4So now listen to what I, the Sovereign Lord, say to you mountains and hills, to you brooks and valleys, to you places that were left in ruins, and to you deserted cities which were plundered and mocked by all the surrounding nations. 5“I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken out in the heat of my anger against the surrounding nations, and especially against Edom. With glee and contempt they captured my land and took possession of its pastures. 6“So prophesy to the land of Israel; tell the mountains, hills, brooks, and valleys what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying in jealous anger because of the way the nations have insulted and humiliated them. 7I, the Sovereign Lord, solemnly promise that the surrounding nations will be humiliated. 8But on the mountains of Israel the trees will again grow leaves and bear fruit for you, my people Israel. You are going to come home soon. 9I am on your side, and I will make sure that your land is plowed again and crops are planted on it. 10I will make your population grow. You will live in the cities and rebuild everything that was left in ruins. 11I will make people and cattle increase in number. There will be more of you than ever before, and you will have many children. I will let you live there as you used to live, and I will make you more prosperous than ever. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 12I will bring you, my people Israel, back to live again in the land. It will be your own land, and it will never again let your children starve. 13“I, the Sovereign Lord, say: It is true that people say that the land eats people and that it robs the nation of its children. 14But from now on it will no longer eat people and rob you of your children. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. 15The land will no longer have to listen to the nations making fun of it or see the peoples sneer at it. The land will no longer rob the nation of its children. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.”

Israel’s New Life

16The Lord spoke to me. 17“Mortal man,” he said, “when the Israelites were living in their land, they defiled it by the way they lived and acted. I regarded their behavior as being as ritually unclean as a woman is during her monthly period. 18I let them feel the force of my anger because of the murders they had committed in the land and because of the idols by which they had defiled it. 19I condemned them for the way they lived and acted, and I scattered them through foreign countries. 20Wherever they went, they brought disgrace on my holy name, because people would say, ‘These are the people of the Lord, but they had to leave his land.’ 21That made me concerned for my holy name, since the Israelites brought disgrace on it everywhere they went. 22“Now then, give the Israelites the message that I, the Sovereign Lord, have for them: What I am going to do is not for the sake of you Israelites, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have disgraced in every country where you have gone. 23When I demonstrate to the nations the holiness of my great name—the name you disgraced among them—then they will know that I am the Lord. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. I will use you to show the nations that I am holy. 24I will take you from every nation and country and bring you back to your own land. 25I will sprinkle clean water on you and make you clean from all your idols and everything else that has defiled you. 26 I will give you a new heart and a new mind. I will take away your stubborn heart of stone and give you an obedient heart. 27I will put my spirit in you and will see to it that you follow my laws and keep all the commands I have given you. 28Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors. You will be my people, and I will be your God. 29I will save you from everything that defiles you. I will command the grain to be plentiful, so that you will not have any more famines. 30I will increase the yield of your fruit trees and your fields, so that there will be no more famines to disgrace you among the nations. 31You will remember your evil conduct and the wrongs that you committed, and you will be disgusted with yourselves because of your sins and your iniquities. 32Israel, I want you to know that I am not doing all this for your sake. I want you to feel the shame and disgrace of what you are doing. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.” 33The Sovereign Lord says, “When I make you clean from all your sins, I will let you live in your cities again and let you rebuild the ruins. 34Everyone who used to walk by your fields saw how overgrown and wild they were, but I will let you farm them again. 35Everyone will talk about how this land, which was once a wilderness, has become like the Garden of Eden, and how the cities which were torn down, looted, and left in ruins, are now inhabited and fortified. 36Then the neighboring nations that have survived will know that I, the Lord, rebuild ruined cities and replant waste fields. I, the Lord, have promised that I would do this—and I will.” 37The Sovereign Lord says, “I will once again let the Israelites ask me for help, and I will let them increase in numbers like a flock of sheep. 38The cities that are now in ruins will then be as full of people as Jerusalem was once full of the sheep which were offered as sacrifices at a festival. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
–from Ezekiel 36
Pray for God’s people! Join God’s family! Be on the winning side! Choose life! Know God and make Him known! Jesus is the key, He is the way, the truth, and the life! Feeling overwhelmed? Feeling lifeless? Feeling hopeless? Feeling need? Turn to God for He can restore you! Turn to God for He can renew your strength! Trust in the Lord and He will renew your strength!

The Valley of Dry Bones

1I felt the powerful presence of the Lord, and his spirit took me and set me down in a valley where the ground was covered with bones. 2He led me all around the valley, and I could see that there were very many bones and that they were very dry. 3He said to me, “Mortal man, can these bones come back to life?” I replied, “Sovereign Lord, only you can answer that!” 4He said, “Prophesy to the bones. Tell these dry bones to listen to the word of the Lord. 5Tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to them: I am going to put breath into you and bring you back to life. 6I will give you sinews and muscles, and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you and bring you back to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” 7So I prophesied as I had been told. While I was speaking, I heard a rattling noise, and the bones began to join together. 8While I watched, the bones were covered with sinews and muscles, and then with skin. But there was no breath in the bodies. 9God said to me, “Mortal man, prophesy to the wind. Tell the wind that the Sovereign Lord commands it to come from every direction, to breathe into these dead bodies, and to bring them back to life.” 10  So I prophesied as I had been told. Breath entered the bodies, and they came to life and stood up. There were enough of them to form an army. 11God said to me, “Mortal man, the people of Israel are like these bones. They say that they are dried up, without any hope and with no future. 12So prophesy to my people Israel and tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, am going to open their graves. I am going to take them out and bring them back to the land of Israel. 13When I open the graves where my people are buried and bring them out, they will know that I am the Lord. 14I will put my breath in them, bring them back to life, and let them live in their own land. Then they will know that I am the Lord. I have promised that I would do this—and I will. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

Judah and Israel in One Kingdom

15The Lord spoke to me again. 16“Mortal man,” he said, “take a wooden stick and write on it the words, ‘The kingdom of Judah.’ Then take another stick and write on it the words, ‘The kingdom of Israel.’ 17Then hold the two sticks end to end in your hand so that they look like one stick. 18When your people ask you to tell them what this means, 19tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, am going to take the stick representing Israel and put it with the one that represents Judah. Out of the two I will make one stick and hold it in my hand. 20“Hold in your hand the two sticks and let the people see them. 21Then tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, am going to take all my people out of the nations where they have gone, gather them together, and bring them back to their own land. 22I will unite them into one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. They will have one king to rule over them, and they will no longer be divided into two nations or split into two kingdoms. 23They will not defile themselves with disgusting idols any more or corrupt themselves with sin. I will free them from all the ways in which they sin and betray me. I will purify them; they will be my people, and I will be their God. 24 A king like my servant David will be their king. They will all be united under one ruler and will obey my laws faithfully. 25They will live on the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where their ancestors lived. They will live there forever, and so will their children and all their descendants. A king like my servant David will rule them forever. 26I will make a covenant with them that guarantees their security forever. I will establish them and increase their population, and will see to it that my Temple stands forever in their land. 27 I will live there with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28When I place my Temple there to be among them forever, then the nations will know that I, the Lord, have chosen Israel to be my own people.”
–Ezekiel 37

If the world ended today, what would you have to show for your life?


If the world ended today how would your life be reflected on? If the world ended today, are you sure what would happen to you? If the world ended today do you know how you would end up? If the world was going to end today would you live today differently?

If the world ended today, what would you have to show for your life?


Today in my reading plan doesn’t have any specific reading which is why I leave the old testament readings from the week for today. My reading for today comes from Isaiah 24-39. And chapter 24 triggered my questions above.

Isaiah 24:

  • In the end times there will be much pain and suffering.
  • The Lord Will Punish the Earth
  • The moon and sun will stop shinning

Isaiah 25:

  • We need to put our hope and trust in God and align ourselves with Him so that in the end we will spend eternity with Him.
  • Let’s praise Him
  • He will provide a banquet for those who will spend eternity with him
  • He will remove sorrow and pain
  • There will be no more death
  • He is our rescuer from what could of, would of, should of.
  • We want to be on His side, the other side loses

Isaiah 26:

  • Victory belongs to the Lord and He will give it to His people
  • God defends, provides perfect peace, provides hope, provides grace, is our provider
  • God humbles the proud
  • God makes the path smooth for good people; the road they travel is level.
  • With all that God provides, will we learn and put our trust in Him?
  • God will Judge and Restore
  • God knows what has taken place and revenge belongs to Him (don’t try to get it on your own)

Isaiah 27:

  • The end hasn’t happened yet so ask Jesus into your heart and make peace with God!
  • There is only 1 God and we need to give our lives into His hands.
    • Just like the 10 Commandments say

Isaiah 28:

  • Don’t be a foolish leader! Where does your help and hope come from?
  • God is Love! God is fair and just! Would you want anyone else to be judge?
  • Don’t try to drown your sorrows and become drunk and miss the message God has for you and the plans He has for you.
  • Let’s build our lives using God’s cornerstone to help us build our lives in alignment with His will. (Jesus is the cornerstone) He provides a strong foundation n which we can build up our lives
  • Make sure you are following the plan. Don’t just keep repeating over and over the pattern you think will do the trick.
  • Ask God for wisdom! He will give it generously and without finding fault.
  • Look to God’s Word for wisdom! It never returns void!
  • The plans God makes are wise, and they always succeed.

Isaiah 29:

  • God speaks of how Jerusalem would be destroyed (history shows how it happened)
  • God provides us with warnings and signs…don’t miss them, pay attention!
  • Don’t be one who is oblivious to what is being shown.
  • Don’t lose hope, for there is hope for those whose trust is in the Lord! in God!
  • Follow God’s plan and don’t try to be too smart and do it your own way.
  • Honor and worship God!

Isaiah 30:

  • God is the only ally you need! The others aren’t going to be much help in the final battle
  • Be on the winning side! God has already won the victory through Jesus! He conquered the grave and sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for you and me. Want to know the rest of the story, read the last book of the Bible…Revelation!
  • Don’t ignore God’s message, instruction, direction, correction!
  • Obey what He tells you because He knows what He is talking about!
  • God will bless His people
    • whose side will you be on?
  • Those who fight against God will be punished

Isaiah 31:

  • God is our protector
  • We can trust in Him
  • God knows what He is doing
  • God is supernatural, so put your trust fully in Him!

Isaiah 32:

  • Are you a leader, a ruler, a boss, …, someone in charge? Are you living with integrity?
  • One day there will be a ruler who rules with integrity all the time. When Jesus comes back and is the King, we will have a king who lives with integrity!
  • Live in alignment with God!
  • We read again about God’s Judgment and Restoration

Isaiah 33:

  • Need help? Turn to God! Cry out to Him! Ask Him to help you!
  • You against God? Be warned!
    • Consider your motives! Consider your actions! Consider your choices! Consider the side you want to be on!
  • There is hope for the future! Will you join up with the winning side?
  • No more fear, no more worry, no more doubt
  • We will see God’s glory

Isaiah 34:

  • God Will Punish His Enemies

Isaiah 35:

  • But there is way, a road, a path
  • The Road of Holiness
  • “Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue, coming to punish your enemies.”
  • The blind will be able to see, and the deaf will hear. The lame will leap and dance, and those who cannot speak will shout for joy.
  • Those whom the Lord has rescued will travel home by that road.
  • They will be happy forever, forever free from sorrow and grief.

Isaiah 36:

  • The Assyrians Threaten Jerusalem
    • Put your trust in God!

Isaiah 37:

  • Turn to God for Advice and then do it.
  • The King Asks Isaiah’s Advice
  • The Assyrians Send Another Threat
  • Isaiah’s Message to the King

Isaiah 38:

  • King Hezekiah’s Illness and Recovery
  • Even when the news is bad, don’t give up on God, put your trust in Him, and call out to Him
  • God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine!

Isaiah 39:

  • Don’t be proud and arrogant because of God blessed you
  • Pride comes before the fall
  • Messengers from Babylonia king’s showing them everything

There will always be people who question when you do something good for someone else.


Ever noticed that people are suspicious of people who are doing good things. Suspecting that they are going to want something in return. Suspecting that it is a trick of some sort. Things have gotten so off track that doing nice or good things for others isn’t the norm but raises concerns in others. Does that mean we should stop? NO! It means we need to be doing it and helping others to do it too to help stop this trend. If more people weren’t scam artists or trickster, than more people would be appreciative and accepting of people doing nice things to and for them. Where are you at on this situation today? Are you suspicious? Are you doing nice things? Are you trying to manipulate others? Are you only doing in order to get something back in return? Are you being kind and generous because that is what we should do without any expectations of anything in return? Let’s reflect on this and predetermine what and how we are going to act and respond. Let’s respond with grace and gratitude when someone does something nice. Let’s do out of love for God and for others nice things that will give them a hand up, give them a word of encouragement, give them support and courage to press on. This is the day to start a new trend and get things going in the right direction.


Today’s reading is interesting because we see how others question Jesus. They question His actions. They question His authority. They question His character. They judge him even before they can see the miracle. He touched the mans heart and life and then his body to prove His intentions and His authority are all grounded in LOVE!

1Jesus got into the boat and went back across the lake to his own town, 2where some people brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a bed. When Jesus saw how much faith they had, he said to the paralyzed man, “Courage, my son! Your sins are forgiven.”

3Then some teachers of the Law said to themselves, “This man is speaking blasphemy!”
4Jesus perceived what they were thinking, and so he said, “Why are you thinking such evil things? 5Is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6I will prove to you, then, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, pick up your bed, and go home!”
7The man got up and went home. 8When the people saw it, they were afraid, and praised God for giving such authority to people.
— from Matthew 9

Let’s be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in every situation we are in today. Let’s share the marvels of God with those around us based on His leading and direction. Let’s speak what God wants us to say. Let’s do what God calls us to do. And let’s make sure that in and through it all, He receives the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name.

God isn’t looking for perfect vessels, but yielded vessels who are willing to walk with Him and follow after His ways. We see in many cases Jesus stepping into situations which the religious people of the time would have looked down on. He wants to be with people who need and desire Him. He wants us all to walk in that way. Can we walk in a way that points and brings people to Jesus? Will you decide and choose to be an ambassador for Jesus today and help to transform the world around you? One person at a time? Consider the encounter with Matthew…

9Jesus left that place, and as he walked along, he saw a tax collector, named Matthew, sitting in his office. He said to him, “Follow me.”

Matthew got up and followed him.

10  While Jesus was having a meal in Matthew’s house,#
9.10: in Matthew’s house; or in his (that is Jesus’) house.

many tax collectors and other outcasts came and joined Jesus and his disciples at the table. 11Some Pharisees saw this and asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such people?”

12Jesus heard them and answered, “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. 13 Go and find out what is meant by the scripture that says: ‘It is kindness that I want, not animal sacrifices.’ I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts.”
— from Matthew 9

Are you going to be someone who is giving a hand up rather than a hand out? Are you going to be someone is will help or someone who will enable? Jesus is clear and gives us an example to follow, so let’s take a grab of that today and follow after His ways so that we increase the average, change the temperature of the society, and help not only transform the world, but also point the world heavenly through Jesus Christ our Lord!

God’s put a calling on each of our lives. If God spoke to you to go, would you go? If God spoke to you to let others who you are closely tied to go, would you let them go? Would you go with a blessing or would you go in doubt? Would you let them go with a blessing or would you let them go with regret? Will you pray for them and encourage them to complete the work that God is calling them into? Will you be obedient to the prompting of the Spirit? We see what happens when the Spirit prompts them to send Barnabas and Saul…

1In the church at Antioch there were some prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon (called the Black), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (who had been brought up with Governor Herod), and Saul. 2While they were serving the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said to them, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul, to do the work to which I have called them.”

3They fasted and prayed, placed their hands on them, and sent them off.
— from Acts 13

We also see what happens when we are obedient to the prompting and the impact it can make not only on a generation but for multiple generations as the story has been captured and published to millions through the Bible.

In Cyprus

4Having been sent by the Holy Spirit, Barnabas and Saul went to Seleucia and sailed from there to the island of Cyprus. 5When they arrived at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues. They had John Mark with them to help in the work.
6They went all the way across the island to Paphos, where they met a certain magician named Bar-Jesus, a Jew who claimed to be a prophet. 7He was a friend of the governor of the island, Sergius Paulus, who was an intelligent man. The governor called Barnabas and Saul before him because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8But they were opposed by the magician Elymas (that is his name in Greek), who tried to turn the governor away from the faith. 9Then Saul—also known as Paul—was filled with the Holy Spirit; he looked straight at the magician 10and said, “You son of the Devil! You are the enemy of everything that is good. You are full of all kinds of evil tricks, and you always keep trying to turn the Lord’s truths into lies! 11The Lord’s hand will come down on you now; you will be blind and will not see the light of day for a time.”
At once Elymas felt a dark mist cover his eyes, and he walked around trying to find someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the governor saw what had happened, he believed; for he was greatly amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

In Antioch in Pisidia

13Paul and his companions sailed from Paphos and came to Perga, a city in Pamphylia, where John Mark left them and went back to Jerusalem. 14They went on from Perga and arrived in Antioch in Pisidia, and on the Sabbath they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15After the reading from the Law of Moses and from the writings of the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent them a message: “Friends, we want you to speak to the people if you have a message of encouragement for them.” 16Paul stood up, motioned with his hand, and began to speak:
“Fellow Israelites and all Gentiles here who worship God: hear me! 17 The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors and made the people a great nation during the time they lived as foreigners in Egypt. God brought them out of Egypt by his great power, 18and for forty years he endured them in the desert. 19 He destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan and made his people the owners of the land. 20 All of this took about 450 years.
“After this he gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. 21 And when they asked for a king, God gave them Saul son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin, to be their king for forty years. 22After removing him, God made David their king. This is what God said about him: ‘I have found that David son of Jesse is the kind of man I like, a man who will do all I want him to do.’ 23It was Jesus, a descendant of David, whom God made the Savior of the people of Israel, as he had promised. 24 Before Jesus began his work, John preached to all the people of Israel that they should turn from their sins and be baptized. 25And as John was about to finish his mission, he said to the people, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not the one you are waiting for. But listen! He is coming after me, and I am not good enough to take his sandals off his feet.’
— from Acts 13

But it doesn’t end there, there is more to this story (probably for me in tomorrow’s reading, but you can read on…). God’s got incredible plans for how you can do good in this world. He will not only bless you, but allow you to be a blessing in the lives of others that He will bring in and through your life. Seek wisdom through the Holy Spirit so that you can understand and know the intentions and the plans. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide and protect you and your actions. Let’s make today a great day of doing good for others…for no other reason than to glorify God! And let’s see what God will do in and through our lives!


And then let’s celebrate the victories! Let’s celebrate with others who have breakthroughs! Let’s celebrate for the victories God has provided us! Let’s not forget the good work that He is and has done in and through our lives!

1The king is glad, O Lord, because you gave him strength;

he rejoices because you made him victorious.
2You have given him his heart’s desire;
you have answered his request.
3You came to him with great blessings
and set a crown of gold on his head.
4He asked for life, and you gave it,
a long and lasting life.
5His glory is great because of your help;
you have given him fame and majesty.
6Your blessings are with him forever,
and your presence fills him with joy.
7The king trusts in the Lord Almighty;
and because of the Lord‘s constant love
he will always be secure.
8The king will capture all his enemies;
he will capture everyone who hates him.
9He will destroy them like a blazing fire
when he appears.
The Lord will devour them in his anger,
and fire will consume them.
10None of their descendants will survive;
the king will kill them all.
11They make their plans, and plot against him,
but they will not succeed.
12He will shoot his arrows at them
and make them turn and run.
13We praise you, Lord, for your great strength!
We will sing and praise your power.
— from Psalm 21

When we consider that Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, we know that the final chapter speaks to the conclusion and the victory of Jesus. The devil goes around trying to trick people through lies, making plans and plots against Jesus, however, Jesus has already won the victory over death through His resurrection. So let’s be like the psalmist and praise the Lord, sing to Him, let’s worship Him for all He has already done and what He is yet to do in and through our lives and for the rest of eternity!


 

Don’t ask to make it easier, ask to be made stronger!


When it hurts too much try cry, lean on Jesus and He will comfort you.

God’s not somewhere out there, He is a personal God who desires to have an intimate relationship with you. Take time today to hear from God’s heart. He loves you and desires the best for You. God’s got a plan…

In Jeremiah – through the Old Testament we read:

11I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for. 12Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will answer you. 13 You will seek me, and you will find me because you will seek me with all your heart. 14Yes, I say, you will find me, and I will restore you to your land. I will gather you from every country and from every place to which I have scattered you, and I will bring you back to the land from which I had sent you away into exile. I, the Lord, have spoken.’

— Jeremiah 29:11-14

So don’t give up and don’t give in! Seek God and build up your relationship with Him!

Some may think that God wants to judge and condemn us, but that is shown to be wrong when He sent Jesus. In the end we will be judged, however, before that we are given freewill to choose who we will follow and how we will live. The New Testament speaks to it this way:

14 As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the desert, in the same way the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 16For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior.

18Those who believe in the Son are not judged; but those who do not believe have already been judged, because they have not believed in God’s only Son. 19This is how the judgment works: the light has come into the world, but people love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil. 20Those who do evil things hate the light and will not come to the light, because they do not want their evil deeds to be shown up. 21But those who do what is true come to the light in order that the light may show that what they did was in obedience to God.
— John 3:14-21

So today, not matter what you are facing, don’t turn in fear, don’t run away. Put on the full armor of God and stand firm. Ask God to make you stronger. Ask God to fill you up with the Holy Spirit that you may have wisdom and courage to take on the lies and the attacks of the enemy.

10Finally, build up your strength in union with the Lord and by means of his mighty power. 11Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil’s evil tricks. 12For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. 13So put on God’s armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.

14 So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, 15 and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. 16At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. 17 And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. 18Do all this in prayer, asking for God’s help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God’s people. 19And pray also for me, that God will give me a message when I am ready to speak, so that I may speak boldly and make known the gospel’s secret. 20For the sake of this gospel I am an ambassador, though now I am in prison. Pray that I may be bold in speaking about the gospel as I should.
— Ephesians 6:10-20 (GNT)

God brought you to it, He can and will get you through it!

Be Ready for the Lord’s Coming

1There is no need to write you, friends, about the times and occasions when these things will happen. 2For you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord will come as a thief comes at night. 3When people say, “Everything is quiet and safe,” then suddenly destruction will hit them! It will come as suddenly as the pains that come upon a woman in labor, and people will not escape. 4But you, friends, are not in the darkness, and the Day should not take you by surprise like a thief. 5All of you are people who belong to the light, who belong to the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6So then, we should not be sleeping like the others; we should be awake and sober. 7It is at night when people sleep; it is at night when they get drunk. 8But we belong to the day, and we should be sober. We must wear faith and love as a breastplate, and our hope of salvation as a helmet. 9God did not choose us to suffer his anger, but to possess salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us in order that we might live together with him, whether we are alive or dead when he comes. 11And so encourage one another and help one another, just as you are now doing.

Final Instructions and Greetings

12We beg you, our friends, to pay proper respect to those who work among you, who guide and instruct you in the Christian life. 13Treat them with the greatest respect and love because of the work they do. Be at peace among yourselves.
14We urge you, our friends, to warn the idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15See that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but at all times make it your aim to do good to one another and to all people.
16Be joyful always, 17pray at all times, 18be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.
19Do not restrain the Holy Spirit; 20do not despise inspired messages. 21Put all things to the test: keep what is good 22and avoid every kind of evil.
23May the God who gives us peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being—spirit, soul, and body—free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24He who calls you will do it, because he is faithful.
25Pray also for us, friends.
26Greet all the believers with the kiss of peace.
27I urge you by the authority of the Lord to read this letter to all the believers.
28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
— 1 Thessalonians 5

So this is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s not give up nor turn away, but let’s hold onto the hand of God and press forward for He will get us through it! Let’s complete the work that God is calling us to that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Everything’s going to be alright…


What a great way to start my morning reading with these words…

Relax, everything’s going to be all right; rest, everything’s coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way!

— from Jude 1:1-2

As I wake up considering what is going on around the world, what is going on in countries who are at “peace”, what is going on and being reported in the news… As I wake up and consider what others are saying and others are thinking… I turn to my morning kick starter and what do I read:

Relax, everything’s going to be all right; rest, everything’s coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way!

— from Jude 1:1-2

I’ve read the book. I’ve read the last chapter and know who will win. Today will end another read through the Bible and it gives me these words of HOPE. Today I will need to consider what translation, what plan I will select for the coming year to go through and hear God speak into my life daily. He already knows what is coming. He already knows what is going to happen. He already knows what I am going to need to hear daily.

Thank You Jesus for all that you have done to even make this possible. Thank You Jesus for all that you are going to do to bring the final victory.

Thank You Jesus!

So today I am not going to give up! Today I am not going to give in to the lies and the attacks of the enemy who is trying to bring fear and anxiety to the world and cause strife and division. Today I am going to hold onto the truth and the hope that comes from God!

We have been given the gift of faith! Let’s share it with those around us so that they may hear the Good News! Let’s guard it that it will not be lost or stolen from us. Let’s cherish this incredible gift from God for there is no greater gift than the ultimate forgiveness that was given by the sacrifice on the cross for all of our sins. Let’s not act surprised for we have been warned. Let’s not be afraid for we know what is coming. Today’s Word speaks to us:

Their design is to replace the sheer grace of our God with sheer license—which means doing away with Jesus Christ, our one and only Master.

— from Jude 1:3-4

Let us remember today what Jude shared…

5-7I’m laying this out as clearly as I can, even though you once knew all this well enough and shouldn’t need reminding. Here it is in brief: The Master saved a people out of the land of Egypt. Later he destroyed those who defected. And you know the story of the angels who didn’t stick to their post, abandoning it for other, darker missions. But they are now chained and jailed in a black hole until the great Judgment Day. Sodom and Gomorrah, which went to sexual rack and ruin along with the surrounding cities that acted just like them, are another example. Burning and burning and never burning up, they serve still as a stock warning.
8This is exactly the same program of these latest infiltrators: dirty sex, rule and rulers thrown out, glory dragged in the mud.
9-11The Archangel Michael, who went to the mat with the Devil as they fought over the body of Moses, wouldn’t have dared level him with a blasphemous curse, but said simply, “No you don’t. God will take care of you!” But these people sneer at anything they can’t understand, and by doing whatever they feel like doing—living by animal instinct only—they participate in their own destruction. I’m fed up with them! They’ve gone down Cain’s road; they’ve been sucked into Balaam’s error by greed; they’re canceled out in Korah’s rebellion.
12-13These people are warts on your love feasts as you worship and eat together. They’re giving you a black eye—carousing shamelessly, grabbing anything that isn’t nailed down. They’re—
Puffs of smoke pushed by gusts of wind;
late autumn trees stripped clean of leaf and fruit,
Doubly dead, pulled up by the roots;
wild ocean waves leaving nothing on the beach
but the foam of their shame;
Lost stars in outer space
on their way to the black hole.
14-16Enoch, the seventh after Adam, prophesied of them: “Look! The Master comes with thousands of holy angels to bring judgment against them all, convicting each person of every defiling act of shameless sacrilege, of every dirty word they have spewed of their pious filth.” These are the “grumpers,” the bellyachers, grabbing for the biggest piece of the pie, talking big, saying anything they think will get them ahead.
17-19But remember, dear friends, that the apostles of our Master, Jesus Christ, told us this would happen: “In the last days there will be people who don’t take these things seriously anymore. They’ll treat them like a joke, and make a religion of their own whims and lusts.” These are the ones who split churches, thinking only of themselves. There’s nothing to them, no sign of the Spirit!
20-21But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!
22-23Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.
24-25And now to him who can keep you on your feet, standing tall in his bright presence, fresh and celebrating—to our one God, our only Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Master, be glory, majesty, strength, and rule before all time, and now, and to the end of all time. Yes.
— from Jude 1:5-25

So today, let’s love. Let’s speak truth, love, and hope to everyone we encounter. Let’s not give up! Let’s press forward in trust of what God has promised. We have three things to hold onto until completeness arrives: Faith – trust steadily in God, Hope – unswerving hope, and LOVE – extravagant love. So let’s love those around us that the truth of God will be revealed to them. GOD IS LOVE! So let’s shine the light of God into the world around us that so many can come to see. GOD IS LIGHT! There is no darkness in Him.

Let’s praise God today. Let’s be living sacrifices that will glorify Him. Let’s keep our promises.

No more playing fast and loose, let’s live lives that honor God! Let’s follow His Way and grab onto the hope and truth and love of salvation!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When will you look beyond the material stuff, the feel good stuff, and the self promoting stuff?


How much stuff do you need? Money isn’t evil, the love of money is the root of all evil.

Is it more important to feel good than to do good?

Is it more important to self promote than to be a servant leader?


 

What will it take to grow up and look beyond this?

It’s not about planting or watering, it is about the reason behind it. It’s the fact that we are doing what we do out of obedience to God so that in all we do, He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory. One may plant the seed, another may water, but it is God that makes it grow! Let’s remember the solid foundation we have to be able to build upon, it is Jesus! Let’s make sure we are building our lives on top of this foundation with material that is good, that is just, that is right, that is of value, that will bring God all the praise, the honor, and the glory. Let’s make sure that when it is tested that it will stand the test! We are the temple of God, so take care of it! Let’s live by God’s rules for His ways are right and pure and just! Being God’s fool is better than being smart according to the world! Don’t brag or inflate yourself or others, everything you have is a gift from God!

Will you live your life as a servant to others? Will you lead through a servant lifestyle? Will you stop trying to make it all about you? Consider how you can help! Consider how you can serve! Be a guide rather than trying to be a guard! Be reliable! Be accurate in your knowledge! Don’t make it or allow it to become a popularity contest! Don’t be judgmental towards others! Be aware and smart about what you do and how you do it! God knows our heart and our mind, He sees our intentions, He knows our purposes, He hears our prayers, so don’t think you will get away with anything for one day it will all come out into the open. Are you willing to live a life where when you are done you will get to hear from God “Well done my good and faithful servant”? Perspective is key! It’s important to look at things through God’s perspective or point of view. Don’t let gossip or hearsay direct your actions or reactions! Don’t allow hearsay to inflate or deflate reputations! Do any of us really know it all? What’s in a person’s mind? What’s in a person’s heart? Is there anyone who really knows you or that you really know them? Is there anything that could be found out that we could actually take credit for? Isn’t everything just a gift from God? So why are you comparing yourself to others? Why are you competing against others? With God giving you everything you need and allowing you full access to Himself (more than you can handle) why not just focus on you and Him? Let’s come alongside one another as brothers and sisters in love! Let’s live our lives for God, so that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory. Not focusing on trying to make everyone feel good or making sure we have every new gadget that comes out or pumping ourselves up. We need to make sure we live a good life, not as spoiled children. There will be many who are looking to pop your balloon and drag you down, but live a life filled with the Father’s Love that helps us and other to grow up! Make the time! It’s important! Make the effort! It’s worth it! Don’t live life as a balloon full of hot air, but rather live a life of purpose that’s empowered by the Spirit of God!

What way would you want someone to come into your life to speak to you?

As a severe disciplinarian who makes you toe the mark? Or as a good friend and counselor who wants to share heart-to-heart with you? You decide. — from 1 Corinthians 4:21


Consider the road you are taking! Consider those around you that need you to step in, step up, and give them a hand up! Consider the love they need from you! Consider the hope that you can share! How will you show up today for those around you who are looking to you?

Have you shared your Story?


Stories of what God is and has done in and through your life? Have you shared divine encounters? Have you shared life changing events that have taken place? Have you shared the miracles you have witnessed? Have you shared any of them?

Don’t hold them to yourself! Don’t hold back from sharing the hope that is within you! Don’t give in to fear, share the joy, the love, and the hope of your experiences!


God’s Word tells us that “by the blood of the lamb” – Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on the cross – and “by the words of our testimony” – where we share our stories of hope and truth and love, we will defeat the devil and his snares and traps, his lies and thefts, his killing of people and dreams.


 

There is power in words! Power to build up and power to tear down! Use your words wisely!


Paul’s experience was a bright light and an audible voice. I had an experience where I had been struggling with God as He was telling me to step up and I was pulling a Gideon and saying are you sure and it came down to an audible voice that gave me an ultimatum – I could be who He called me to be or I would be nothing, I get to choose. So I chose to do it His way and trusted Him through that decision and every trial and test and challenge that came my way by bring it to Him. If He wanted me to be there He had a plan and a purpose. If He wanted me to be there He either felt I had the skills or that He could develop them in me. If He wanted me to step up into such a role, He was going to make a way for it to happen.

Here are a few examples of how I have shared this story…

If we don’t learn from our own experiences, how can we share it with others. When we have learned from our experiences, how can we hold back from sharing it with others who need to be encouraged and hear your story? What stories do you have to share? What stories do you have that others need to hear? God created this blog as my outlet. I thought I would create a private blog that I would only share with family and close friends, but He had another idea. In 2005 I started to blog with from2005toeternity.spaces.live.com which has since been migrated over to WordPress.com when Microsoft got out the Windows Live Spaces business. And the rest is history. The people I have met over the years, the lives that have been changed, the lives that have been saved, the challenges that came and went, the people who I would never have met had it not been for obedience to share my devotional time with others. I don’t have to convince or manipulate anyone, I just have to share the truth of what God is and has done in and through my life. I just share my story aka testimony. In doing so with the partnering of Jesus, the devil’s schemes and ploys can be overcome and defeated. It is promised and in Revelation which happens to be the book I was in when I first started blogging, I read it to the end and the devil loses and God wins!


In today’s reading, we hear from Paul…

http://www.bible.com/bible/97/act.22.msg

http://www.bible.com/bible/97/act.23.msg

It’s worth reading people’s stories of what God has done. Be it Paul’s or mine. God has done so much. About a year and a half back I was sharing my story and readings and it even opened up the door at work when someone questioned me on how I pick my readings as they were so applicable to what I was going through. The real answer is that it is a miracle just as he was saying. I pick a reading each year which defines how the Word is going to be read for the next 365 days. I never know ahead of time what Words are going to be spoken, however, God knows exactly what I need to hear daily and He schedules it in advance so that I get what I need when I need it. It really is a miracle how God’s Word speaks. I remember on day many years ago (before my son was born) praying before I started my reading asking God if I would ever have a son. I told Him how I had felt connected to Philip the evangelist who happened to have 4 daughters who were prophetesses and if that was to be my story I was totally ok with that, but I wanted to make sure my expectations were in place as my wife and I had talked about having 4 kids. That morning the reading was about Abraham and Sarah who receive the promise of a son, a son named Isaac. I took that as my sign and told my wife later that day how God told me we would have a son and so my boy name for a child changed that day from Benjamin to Isaac, and Isaac is now 7. God is so good. Another conversation I have had was about 3 or 4 children. We had “negotiated” 4 and one morning, God spoke to me, knowing the pressure my wife was feeling He asked me don’t I have 2 incredible girls? don’t you have the son I promised you? do you really need a 4th? When He put it that way I realized I didn’t and when I shared that with my wife it lift a burden off her shoulders she should never have had to carry. God knows not only what we need but also what we need to do and when to do it. God is faithful and true.

Imagine the lives you can impact and change if you share your story with those God has brought into your life!


You were created with a purpose, on purpose for a purpose!

https://www.bible.com/bible/97/psa.139.msg