THRIVE: Let’s choose to be good stewards of what we have been given.


Do you know what you own? Do you know what you are to steward? Do you know what ownership means? Do you know how stewardship is to be lived out?

Today’s verse of the day is:

‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; ‘

Psalms 24:1

Did you catch that? Everything is God’s! That means with every good and perfect gift He has given us, we are to be good stewards of them. So how will that change the way you live out your today? How will that change the way you act or behave? How will that change how you use the things you have? How will that change the way you treat things you have? How will that impact your relationships with others? How will that impact your time management? How will that impact your finances? How will that impact your home? How will that impact your family? How will that impact your work? How will that impact your team? How will that impact the way you use your talents?

Let’s pause and reflect on the parable of the talents for a moment:

‘ “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. “ ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ ‘

Matthew 25:14-30

So let’s not be blind to our calling to be good stewards of what God has given us. Let’s not be living out our lives in fear but rather in faith so that we can make the most of what God has given us. Are you young and in school? Make the most of your education. Are you married? Make the most of your marriage and treat your spouse with love, invest in your marriage. Are you a parent? Make the most of your family and treat them with the love of God, invest in your family and decide to be the parent God created you and positioned you to be. For me, that means being a husband, a good husband to my wife. For me, that means being the dad God created me to be for the good of my family and my community. So let’s be good stewards of each and every good and perfect gift from God!


Today’s post from Be The Dads is Finding Dad – Day2.


So where are you at today? Are you looking for a role model or instructions on how to live out your life? Turn to God! Turn to God’s Word! Invite Jesus into your situation so that He can lead and guide you through the Holy Spirit to be the steward you need to be. Invite Jesus into your heart and allow Him to make things clean and clear when it comes to how to live your life. Let’s pray:

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

Are you living like you own it or are you living like you are a steward of it?


How are you choosing to live today? How are you treating the gifts and the talents you have been given? How are you treating the relationships and the work you have been given? Are you living to take what you have been given and be productive with it? Are you living to multiply what you have been given because you want to be a good steward or to increase yourself? Are you living to grow your piece of the pie or are you living to grow the pie? Are you living to make things better for you? Are you living to make things better for others? Are you living like you are in charge or like you have been given a responsibility? Are you living like an owner or a manager?

Let’s consider the story of the talents. Do you realize how a talent of gold would be valued at today? Over a million dollars! So what would you do if you were given 5 talents or 2 talents or 1 talent to manage? Even with the low interest rates of today, putting it in a money market account would give a return.

‘“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’’

Matthew 25:14-30

You have been given gifts and talents! How will you use them? How will you manage them? How will you view them? Remember where it came from:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

James 1:17

Remember who owns it vs who gets to manage it based on their abilities:

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;

Psalm 24:1

The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard for January 28th

Owner or Manager

MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY: Psalms 24:1

‘The earth is the Lord ’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.’

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. — Matthew 6:21
  • If you consider things like Saving, Spending, and Giving what should the order be? Had a great conversation about this topic yesterday. Consider a tithe which is the the best and first 10% which is to be given to God. In such a case we end up with 90% that God can bless in our possession. If we don’t do it that way then we end up with 100% that isn’t blessed. Which do you think will play out better in the long term?
  • Capitalism points to ownership as the cornerstone
    • We work to earn money and consider it to be ours
    • We use that money to buy things and consider it to be ours
  • Ever considered what the Bible has to say and how it differs from this?
    • The earth and everything in it were created by God and as the Creator, He is the rightful owner.
    • God entrusts parts of it to use for a short time and so should live out these parts as managers
  • How do you view people and things? Do you have a consumer mentality? Are you always looking for how you can get something or how they can be used?
  • Do you emotions or happiness drive how you treat them? Do you keep them around if they make you happy and get rid of them if they don’t?
  • We need to take hold of the reality that we are God appointed managers!
    • Let’s acknowledge that our money is God’s
    • Let’s acknowledge that the skills and talents we have been given are God’s
    • So let’s consider all this under the microscope or magnifying glass of how can we use this in a way that pleases God?
    • So the money we have in our bank accounts and how we choose to spend it, is it pleasing to God?
    • So the people in our lives and those relationships, are we treating and building them up in a way that is pleasing to God?
    • Are we choosing to live our lives in a way that will please God?
  • Since the piece that will remain after this life isn’t the money or the stuff but the people, they are what is most important to God!
  • So how will you choose to treat your family and your relationship with them?
  • So how will you choose to treat your friends and your relationship with them?
  • So how will you choose to treat your coworkers and your relationship with them?
  • Are you choosing to live your life in a way that will show them love, build them up, and bring praise, honor, and glory to God?
  • Are you taking time to ask God how to best relate to them? Are you taking time to ask God how to best encourage them in a way that will honor God?
DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
How would it affect your management of money and other resources if you saw yourself as God’s appointed manager?
  • To give first to God! Give my best first to God! TITHE
  • To save and spend in ways that will bless and be a blessing
  • To save and spend in ways to be able to provide for my family and friends
  • To be a good steward in order that by saving well, I can give more to causes that matter most to God and bless others to demonstrate God’s love for them.
How would it affect your relationships if you saw people as entrusted to you by God?
  • It’s not an accident that you are reading this message! It is because of you that I am writing it!
  • God has positioned you here, reading this message so that you can know how much He loves you!
  • God has positioned me here to share a new message each day about how and what God is speaking to me daily.
  • God has positioned me and walked me through the year known as 2020 in preparation for the new year that I get to experience with a new role and a new set of responsibilities and a new group of people to work with.
  • I choose to make each day a Happy Today in order that others will get to experience and receive the hope and the love of God!
QUOTES FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure: where your treasure, there your heart; where your heart, there your happiness”

Saint Augustine of Hippo

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


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

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

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

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

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

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


How will you treat the owner?


You realize your role is care taker right? You realize your role is to be a good steward right?

So when the owner comes to check in on how things are going, how will you treat them? What if they send a delegate instead of showing up personally, how will you treat them? What if the delegate is a relative of theirs, how will you treat them?

We need to take hold of the truth for the truth will set us free! The truth of the matter is that the earth is the God’s and everything in it! That means the world and all the people in it! Double clicking on this a bit more to learn more, checking out what John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible has to say, we learn:

The whole universe, all the terraqueous globe, both land and water, and the circumambient air, and all that is therein; the fishes of the sea, the fowls of the air, the beasts of the field, all plants and vegetables that spring out of the earth, and metals and minerals in the bowels of it; all which are the riches of the Lord the earth is full of, ( Psalms 104:24 ) ; see ( Psalms 50:10-12 ) ;

the habitable world, and the dwellers on it, rational and irrational. These words may be interpreted of Christ, who is Lord of all; he made the world, and has a right and claim to all things in it; for the same person is here spoken of as in the preceding psalm, under the character of a shepherd; and this shows him to be very fit and proper for such an office, seeing he cannot fail of feeding and protecting his sheep; nor can they want any good thing, since the fulness both of nature and of grace is with him; and hence it is that all things are theirs, whether the world, or things present, or things to come; and though they seem to have nothing, yet possess all things, they possessing him whose all things are. The apostle makes use of this passage of Scripture, to prove, explain, and direct in the use of Christian liberty, with respect to the free use of creatures, they all being the Lord’s; and therefore good, and to be received with thanksgiving: and yet, inasmuch as there is a variety of them, such should be abstained from, when to use them serves to embolden evil men in their wicked ways, or offend and grieve weak Christians, ( 1 Corinthians 10:25 1 Corinthians 10:26 1 Corinthians 10:28 ) .

John Gill’s Exposition of the BiblePsalms 24:1

So knowing all of that, would that change how you would respond when the owner comes a knocking to check in?

Imagine the case where the owner planted a vineyard and set it all up for success and then gave it to you to manage for him. Imagine when harvest time came to collect some of the fruit, how would you treat one of his employees who shows up? how would you treat one of his kids? how would you treat him? Would you treat them any differently even though you know they are all coming with the same authority and the same purpose?

Will you accept the incredible gift of God? Will you accept the incredible sacrifice of Jesus? Will you accept the promises of eternity with God? Will you receive the grace of God without fear?

Don’t be fooled! Don’t be tricked! Don’t be mislead! Don’t be robbed! Don’t be trapped!

You have a choice to make and only you can make it! Will you choose to receive Jesus or will you reject Him? Will you take hold of the 2 commands that by following them you will do them all?

‘ “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” ‘

Mark 12:29-31

So if you haven’t invited Jesus in, would you consider it now, even before we jump into God’s Word from today’s reading? If so, let’s jump down to the prayer at the end of this post and then you can come back up here to continue if you feel so lead.


DAY 90: 2020 HINDSIGHT
— The 49-Week Challenge  Day 90 —

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 90 link to join me and sign up.

February is in the rear-view mirror

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

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


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

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


My Notes:

  • Don’t be one who rejects the stone that has become the cornerstone … don’t reject Jesus who is the foundation and the cornerstone for the faith
  • Remember how the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord! Remember how God has put people in their respective points of authority! So give to God what is God’s and give to those in authority what is theirs!
  • Don’t be tricked or fooled by flawed logic! Don’t be tripped up trying to answer a riddle that isn’t based on reality! We have the example of Jesus’s response when people tried to trick him with a scenario of multiple people marrying the same woman after she widowed and then questioning whose wife she will be during the resurrection.
  • Do you remember the lessons of the past? Do you remember the lessons of history?
  • Do you realize that generosity is a matter of the heart more than the size or quantity of what is given? Are you generous? Are you giving out of your abundance or out of your lack? Are you giving out of your excess or out of your scarcity? Are you giving out of your wealth or our of your poverty? Do you even feel it when you give? Do you make it a matter of the heart?
  • Will you live to honor God or will you risk the wrath of being removed from the presence of God?
  • Do you realize that partial obedience is disobedience?
  • Do you realize that God prefers obedience over offerings?
  • Will you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and be welcomed into heaven or will you reject Jesus and find yourself tossed into the pit, apart from God for all of eternity and being stuck in the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth?
  • Will you receive and proclaim Jesus or will you reject Him? What if you realized that if you reject Jesus before man that He will reject you before the Father?
  • Will you take careful attention to what God is calling you to do?
  • Will you take careful attention to what God is asking you to do?
  • Don’t reject God and then come to find yourself rejected!
  • Don’t do things that will grieve the heart of the Lord!
  • Do what is right in the eyes of the Lord!

As day 90 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

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

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


Today’s devotional The 49-Week Challenge comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit www.life.church — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through Bible.com

How are you going to do it?


Where will you start? Where does your hope come from? Where does your help come from? Will you try to go it your own way because you are smart enough? Will you try to do it in your own strength because you are strong enough? Will you try to do it on your own because you don’t need help? How do you think that will work out? If you try to do it on your own then you need to take ownership of what you are doing and not try to blame it on anyone else. If you try to do it on your own you need to take responsibility for the outcome. That’s right it means you get to own and be responsible for the credit or the blame for what takes place. How are you going to do it?

Why not go to God first before you start? Why not seek His plan, His will, His purpose? Why not go to Him rather than a symbol of Him? Why not ask God for wisdom and discernment in order to have a plan? God has given us access through Jesus Christ. God has given us a way through Jesus. God has provided us with the truth through Jesus. God has provided us with a way to have eternal life through Jesus. Will you remember to start there? Will you make Jesus the foundation for what you are about to do? Will you make Jesus the cornerstone to ensure things get lined up? Will you do it all for the glory of God rather than for the pride or credit of men? How are you going to do it?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gives us an example starting with Samuel 4.

‘At that time Israel was at war with the Philistines. The Israelite army was camped near Ebenezer, and the Philistines were at Aphek. The Philistines attacked and defeated the army of Israel, killing 4,000 men. After the battle was over, the troops retreated to their camp, and the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord allow us to be defeated by the Philistines?” Then they said, “Let’s bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord from Shiloh. If we carry it into battle with us, it will save us from our enemies.” So they sent men to Shiloh to bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who is enthroned between the cherubim. Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, were also there with the Ark of the Covenant of God. When all the Israelites saw the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord coming into the camp, their shout of joy was so loud it made the ground shake! “What’s going on?” the Philistines asked. “What’s all the shouting about in the Hebrew camp?” When they were told it was because the Ark of the Lord had arrived, they panicked. “The gods have come into their camp!” they cried. “This is a disaster! We have never had to face anything like this before! Help! Who can save us from these mighty gods of Israel? They are the same gods who destroyed the Egyptians with plagues when Israel was in the wilderness. Fight as never before, Philistines! If you don’t, we will become the Hebrews’ slaves just as they have been ours! Stand up like men and fight!” So the Philistines fought desperately, and Israel was defeated again. The slaughter was great; 30,000 Israelite soldiers died that day. The survivors turned and fled to their tents. The Ark of God was captured, and Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were killed.

A man from the tribe of Benjamin ran from the battlefield and arrived at Shiloh later that same day. He had torn his clothes and put dust on his head to show his grief. Eli was waiting beside the road to hear the news of the battle, for his heart trembled for the safety of the Ark of God. When the messenger arrived and told what had happened, an outcry resounded throughout the town. “What is all the noise about?” Eli asked. The messenger rushed over to Eli, who was ninety-eight years old and blind. He said to Eli, “I have just come from the battlefield—I was there this very day.” “What happened, my son?” Eli demanded. “Israel has been defeated by the Philistines,” the messenger replied. “The people have been slaughtered, and your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were also killed. And the Ark of God has been captured.” When the messenger mentioned what had happened to the Ark of God, Eli fell backward from his seat beside the gate. He broke his neck and died, for he was old and overweight. He had been Israel’s judge for forty years. Eli’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and near her time of delivery. When she heard that the Ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and husband were dead, she went into labor and gave birth. She died in childbirth, but before she passed away the midwives tried to encourage her. “Don’t be afraid,” they said. “You have a baby boy!” But she did not answer or pay attention to them. She named the child Ichabod (which means “Where is the glory?”), for she said, “Israel’s glory is gone.” She named him this because the Ark of God had been captured and because her father-in-law and husband were dead. Then she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the Ark of God has been captured.”’

Samuel 4

‘After the Philistines captured the Ark of God, they took it from the battleground at Ebenezer to the town of Ashdod. They carried the Ark of God into the temple of Dagon and placed it beside an idol of Dagon. But when the citizens of Ashdod went to see it the next morning, Dagon had fallen with his face to the ground in front of the Ark of the Lord ! So they took Dagon and put him in his place again. But the next morning the same thing happened—Dagon had fallen face down before the Ark of the Lord again. This time his head and hands had broken off and were lying in the doorway. Only the trunk of his body was left intact. That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor anyone who enters the temple of Dagon in Ashdod will step on its threshold. Then the Lord ’s heavy hand struck the people of Ashdod and the nearby villages with a plague of tumors. When the people realized what was happening, they cried out, “We can’t keep the Ark of the God of Israel here any longer! He is against us! We will all be destroyed along with Dagon, our god.” So they called together the rulers of the Philistine towns and asked, “What should we do with the Ark of the God of Israel?” The rulers discussed it and replied, “Move it to the town of Gath.” So they moved the Ark of the God of Israel to Gath. But when the Ark arrived at Gath, the Lord ’s heavy hand fell on its men, young and old; he struck them with a plague of tumors, and there was a great panic. So they sent the Ark of God to the town of Ekron, but when the people of Ekron saw it coming they cried out, “They are bringing the Ark of the God of Israel here to kill us, too!” The people summoned the Philistine rulers again and begged them, “Please send the Ark of the God of Israel back to its own country, or it will kill us all.” For the deadly plague from God had already begun, and great fear was sweeping across the town. Those who didn’t die were afflicted with tumors; and the cry from the town rose to heaven.’

Samuel 5

‘My grief is beyond healing; my heart is broken. Listen 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 . “The harvest is finished, and the summer is gone,” the people cry, “yet we are not saved!” I hurt with the hurt of my people. I mourn and am overcome with grief. Is there no medicine in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why is there no healing for the wounds of my people?’

Jeremiah 8:18-22

‘If only my head were a pool of water and my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered. Oh, that I could go away and forget my people and live in a travelers’ shack in the desert. For they are all adulterers— a pack of treacherous liars.

“My people bend their tongues like bows to shoot out lies. They refuse to stand up for the truth. They only go from bad to worse. They do not know me,” says the Lord . “Beware of your neighbor! Don’t even trust your brother! For brother takes advantage of brother, and friend slanders friend. They all fool and defraud each other; no one tells the truth. With practiced tongues they tell lies; they wear themselves out with all their sinning. They pile lie upon lie and utterly refuse to acknowledge me,” says the Lord . Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “See, I will melt them down in a crucible and test them like metal. What else can I do with my people? For their tongues shoot lies like poisoned arrows. They speak friendly words to their neighbors while scheming in their heart to kill them. Should I not punish them for this?” says the Lord . “Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?” I will weep for the mountains and wail for the wilderness pastures. For they are desolate and empty of life; the lowing of cattle is heard no more; the birds and wild animals have all fled. “I will make Jerusalem into a heap of ruins,” says the Lord . “It will be a place haunted by jackals. The towns of Judah will be ghost towns, with no one living in them.” Who is wise enough to understand all this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it to others? Why has the land been so ruined that no one dares to travel through it? The Lord replies, “This has happened because my people have abandoned my instructions; they have refused to obey what I said. Instead, they have stubbornly followed their own desires and worshiped the images of Baal, as their ancestors taught them. So now, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Look! I will feed them with bitterness and give them poison to drink. I will scatter them around the world, in places they and their ancestors never heard of, and even there I will chase them with the sword until I have destroyed them completely.”

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “Consider all this, and call for the mourners. Send for the women who mourn at funerals. Quick! Begin your weeping! Let the tears flow from your eyes. Hear the people of Jerusalem crying in despair, ‘We are ruined! We are completely humiliated! We must leave our land, because our homes have been torn down.’” Listen, you women, to the words of the Lord ; open your ears to what he has to say. Teach your daughters to wail; teach one another how to lament. For death has crept in through our windows and has entered our mansions. It has killed off the flower of our youth: Children no longer play in the streets, and young men no longer gather in the squares. This is what the Lord says: “Bodies will be scattered across the fields like clumps of manure, like bundles of grain after the harvest. No one will be left to bury them.” This is what the Lord says: “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord , have spoken! “A time is coming,” says the Lord , “when I will punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit— the Egyptians, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, the people who live in the desert in remote places, and yes, even the people of Judah. And like all these pagan nations, the people of Israel also have uncircumcised hearts.”’

Jeremiah 9

‘“What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse. Yes, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you. And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead.” Then he said to the disciples, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.” When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!” “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”

At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way. “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then when they were alone, he turned to the disciples and said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you have seen. I tell you, many prophets and kings longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.”’

Luke 10:13-24

‘Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. So he went and preached to the spirits in prison— those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.’

1 Peter 3:18-22

‘Declare me innocent, O God! Defend me against these ungodly people. Rescue me from these unjust liars. For you are God, my only safe haven. Why have you tossed me aside? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies? Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!’

Psalms 43

Ownership vs Stewardship. Buy vs Lease.


Does it make a difference to you if you own something rather than steward something? Or would you have to steward something in both cases? Would you be a better steward if you thought you owned it?

Does it make a difference to you if you buy something vs lease something? Does it matter on the duration of the lease? Does the price you are willing to pay change based on buying it vs leasing it? Does the price you are willing to pay change based on buying it vs the length of the lease?

How does your perspective change? How does your thought pattern change? How does your willingness to pay change? How does your amount willing to pay change? Would you be willing to pay the same amount each month no matter if the lease was 5 yrs vs 50 yrs? Would you be willing to pay the same amount each month no matter if you were purchasing it vs leasing it for 50 yrs?

So what is the difference between ownership and stewardship? What is the difference between buying and leasing? How do these decisions impact your life?

How does it impact your purpose and your plans?


Today’s reading kicks off in Leviticus 25.

‘“The land must never be sold on a permanent basis, for the land belongs to me. You are only foreigners and tenant farmers working for me. “With every purchase of land you must grant the seller the right to buy it back. If one of your fellow Israelites falls into poverty and is forced to sell some family land, then a close relative should buy it back for him. If there is no close relative to buy the land, but the person who sold it gets enough money to buy it back, he then has the right to redeem it from the one who bought it. The price of the land will be discounted according to the number of years until the next Year of Jubilee. In this way the original owner can then return to the land. But if the original owner cannot afford to buy back the land, it will remain with the new owner until the next Year of Jubilee. In the jubilee year, the land must be returned to the original owners so they can return to their family land. “Anyone who sells a house inside a walled town has the right to buy it back for a full year after its sale. During that year, the seller retains the right to buy it back. But if it is not bought back within a year, the sale of the house within the walled town cannot be reversed. It will become the permanent property of the buyer. It will not be returned to the original owner in the Year of Jubilee. But a house in a village—a settlement without fortified walls—will be treated like property in the countryside. Such a house may be bought back at any time, and it must be returned to the original owner in the Year of Jubilee. “The Levites always have the right to buy back a house they have sold within the towns allotted to them. And any property that is sold by the Levites—all houses within the Levitical towns—must be returned in the Year of Jubilee. After all, the houses in the towns reserved for the Levites are the only property they own in all Israel. The open pastureland around the Levitical towns may never be sold. It is their permanent possession.

“If one of your fellow Israelites falls into poverty and cannot support himself, support him as you would a foreigner or a temporary resident and allow him to live with you. Do not charge interest or make a profit at his expense. Instead, show your fear of God by letting him live with you as your relative. Remember, do not charge interest on money you lend him or make a profit on food you sell him. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God. “If one of your fellow Israelites falls into poverty and is forced to sell himself to you, do not treat him as a slave. Treat him instead as a hired worker or as a temporary resident who lives with you, and he will serve you only until the Year of Jubilee. At that time he and his children will no longer be obligated to you, and they will return to their clans and go back to the land originally allotted to their ancestors. The people of Israel are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt, so they must never be sold as slaves. Show your fear of God by not treating them harshly. “However, you may purchase male and female slaves from among the nations around you. You may also purchase the children of temporary residents who live among you, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat them as slaves, but you must never treat your fellow Israelites this way. “Suppose a foreigner or temporary resident becomes rich while living among you. If any of your fellow Israelites fall into poverty and are forced to sell themselves to such a foreigner or to a member of his family, they still retain the right to be bought back, even after they have been purchased. They may be bought back by a brother, an uncle, or a cousin. In fact, anyone from the extended family may buy them back. They may also redeem themselves if they have prospered. They will negotiate the price of their freedom with the person who bought them. The price will be based on the number of years from the time they were sold until the next Year of Jubilee—whatever it would cost to hire a worker for that period of time. If many years still remain until the jubilee, they will repay the proper proportion of what they received when they sold themselves. If only a few years remain until the Year of Jubilee, they will repay a small amount for their redemption. The foreigner must treat them as workers hired on a yearly basis. You must not allow a foreigner to treat any of your fellow Israelites harshly. If any Israelites have not been bought back by the time the Year of Jubilee arrives, they and their children must be set free at that time. For the people of Israel belong to me. They are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’

Leviticus 25:23-55

Today’s reading next brings us into the book of wisdom with Proverbs 22.

‘Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold. The rich and poor have this in common: The Lord made them both. A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. True humility and fear of the Lord lead to riches, honor, and long life. Corrupt people walk a thorny, treacherous road; whoever values life will avoid it. Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender. Those who plant injustice will harvest disaster, and their reign of terror will come to an end. Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor. Throw out the mocker, and fighting goes, too. Quarrels and insults will disappear. Whoever loves a pure heart and gracious speech will have the king as a friend. The Lord preserves those with knowledge, but he ruins the plans of the treacherous. The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion out there! If I go outside, I might be killed!” The mouth of an immoral woman is a dangerous trap; those who make the Lord angry will fall into it. A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness, but physical discipline will drive it far away. A person who gets ahead by oppressing the poor or by showering gifts on the rich will end in poverty.

Listen to the words of the wise; apply your heart to my instruction. For it is good to keep these sayings in your heart and always ready on your lips. I am teaching you today—yes, you— so you will trust in the Lord . I have written thirty sayings for you, filled with advice and knowledge. In this way, you may know the truth and take an accurate report to those who sent you. Don’t rob the poor just because you can, or exploit the needy in court. For the Lord is their defender. He will ruin anyone who ruins them. Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul. Don’t agree to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for someone else. If you can’t pay it, even your bed will be snatched from under you. Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers set up by previous generations. Do you see any truly competent workers? They will serve kings rather than working for ordinary people.’

Proverbs 22

and continues into Proverbs 23.

‘While dining with a ruler, pay attention to what is put before you. If you are a big eater, put a knife to your throat; don’t desire all the delicacies, for he might be trying to trick you. Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle. Don’t eat with people who are stingy; don’t desire their delicacies. They are always thinking about how much it costs. “Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it. You will throw up what little you’ve eaten, and your compliments will be wasted. Don’t waste your breath on fools, for they will despise the wisest advice. Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers; don’t take the land of defenseless orphans. For their Redeemer is strong; he himself will bring their charges against you. Commit yourself to instruction; listen carefully to words of knowledge. Don’t fail to discipline your children. The rod of punishment won’t kill them. Physical discipline may well save them from death. My child, if your heart is wise, my own heart will rejoice! Everything in me will celebrate when you speak what is right. Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the Lord . You will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed. My child, listen and be wise: Keep your heart on the right course. Do not carouse with drunkards or feast with gluttons, for they are on their way to poverty, and too much sleep clothes them in rags. Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old. Get the truth and never sell it; also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment. The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure to have children who are wise. So give your father and mother joy! May she who gave you birth be happy. O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes take delight in following my ways. A prostitute is a dangerous trap; a promiscuous woman is as dangerous as falling into a narrow well. She hides and waits like a robber, eager to make more men unfaithful. Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks. Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down. For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper. You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast. And you will say, “They hit me, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can look for another drink?”’

Proverbs 23

Today’s reading next brings us into the New Testament and begins in Mark 14.

‘They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Then Jesus left them again and prayed the same prayer as before. When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. And they didn’t know what to say. When he returned to them the third time, he said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But no—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”’

Mark 14:32-42

and continues into the book of 2 Corinthians starting with 2 Corinthians 6.

‘Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil ? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord . Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. ”’

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

finishing in 2 Corinthians 7.

‘Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.’

2 Corinthians 7:1

As we meditate and contemplate what we have read and learned through God’s Word, lets close today’s reading in the book of Psalms with Psalms 91.

‘Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord : He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”’

Psalms 91

How will you respond? It’s time…


Will you turn to God or away from Him? Will you go on your own wisdom or will you ask God for His wisdom? Will you try to do it all in your own strength or will you turn to God in your weakness and ask for His strength?

Who you going to trust?

How will you respond? It’s time…


God is God of all! He is the God of the mountains! He is the God of the valleys! He is the God of the plains! He is God of all! Don’t doubt God! Turn to Him! Trust in Him! Obey God!

Ahab and the Prophets

1Now King Ben-Hadad of Aram gathered all his army. With him were 32 kings, along with horses and chariots. He marched up, besieged Samaria and attacked it. 2Then he sent messengers into the city to King Ahab of Israel, 3and said to him, “Thus says Ben-Hadad: ‘Your silver and gold are mine! Your best wives and children are also mine.” 4The king of Israel replied, “As you say, my lord the king: I am yours, along with all I have.” 5Then the messengers came back and said, “Thus says Ben-Hadad: Indeed I sent word to you, ordering you to give me your silver, your gold, your wives and your children. 6Now I will send my servants to you tomorrow at this time, and they shall search your palace and the houses of your courtiers. Whatever is valuable in your eyes, they shall seize in their hand and take it away.” 7Then the king of Israel summoned all the elders of the land and said, “Please know and see how this man is bent on evil! For he sent someone to me for my wives, my children, my silver and my gold, and I didn’t refuse him.” 8All the elders and all the people said to him, “Don’t listen to him or consent.” 9So he said to the messengers of Ben-Hadad, “Tell my lord the king: All that you sent to your servant at first, I will do, but this thing I cannot do,” The messengers departed and reported to him. 10Then Ben-Hadad sent word to him again saying, “May the gods do so to me and even more, if the dust of Samaria will suffice for handfuls for all the people at my feet.” 11The king of Israel answered and said, “Tell him: ‘Let not the one who puts on his armor boast like the one who takes it off.” 12On hearing this reply—while he and the other kings were drinking in the booths—he said to his servants, “Take your positions.” So they stationed themselves against the city. 13Then behold, a prophet approached King Ahab of Israel and said, “Thus says Adonai: Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into your hand this day, and you will know that I am Adonai.” 14Ahab asked, “By whom?” He said, “Thus says Adonai: By the young men of the rulers of the provinces.” Then he asked, “Who should begin the battle?” “You!” he answered. 15So he mustered the young men of the rulers of the provinces. There were 232. After them he mustered all the people of all the children of Israel, 7,000. 16They marched out at noon, while Ben-Hadad was drinking himself drunk in the booths—he and the 32 kings allied with him. 17The young men of the rulers of the provinces marched out first. Ben-Hadad sent out scouts, who reported to him saying, “There are men coming out from Samaria.” 18He said, “Whether they are coming out for peace, take them alive, or whether they are coming out for battle, take them alive.” 19Now when the young men of the rulers of the provinces marched out of the city, with the army following them, 20each man struck down his foe. Then the Arameans fled and Israel pursued them, but King Ben-Hadad of Aram escaped on a horse with horsemen. 21Then the king of Israel went out, struck the horses and chariots, and inflicted on the Arameans a great defeat. 22The prophet then approached the king of Israel and said to him, “Go, strengthen yourself. Consider carefully what you should do, for at the turn of the year the king of Aram will march up against you.” 23Meanwhile, the servants of the king of Aram said to him, “Their God is a God of the mountains—that’s why they were stronger than us. But let’s fight against them in the plain. Then surely we’ll be stronger than them. 24So this is what you should do: remove the kings, each from his post, and appoint governors in their place. 25Then muster an army like the army that you lost—horse for horse and chariot for chariot—and let’s fight against them in the plain, and surely we’ll be stronger than them!” He listened to their advice and acted accordingly. 26It came about at the turn of the year that Ben-Hadad mustered the Arameans and marched up to Aphek, to fight against Israel. 27Now the children of Israel were mustered, given provisions, and marched against them. But when the children of Israel encamped before them, they looked like two little flocks of goats while the Arameans covered the land. 28Then a man of God approached the king of Israel and spoke to him saying, “Thus says Adonai: Because the Arameans have said, ‘Adonai is a God of the mountains, but He is not a God of the valleys,’ therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am Adonai.” 29So they encamped one over against the other seven days. On the seventh day the battle was joined, and the children of Israel struck down 100,000 of the Aramean foot soldiers in a single day. 30The rest fled to Aphek into the city and the wall fell upon 27,000 men that were left. But Ben-Hadad fled into the city, into an inner chamber. 31His officials said to him, “Look now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Please let’s put sackcloth on our loins and ropes on our heads, and surrender to the king of Israel. Perhaps he will spare your life.” 32So they girded sackcloth on their loins, put ropes on their heads, came to the king of Israel and said, “Your servant Ben-Hadad says: ‘Please let me live.’” He replied, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.” 33The men took it as a good sign and were quick to catch on, so they said, “Yes, Ben-Hadad is your brother.” “Go, bring him,” he said. So Ben-Hadad came out to him and he took him up into his chariot. 34Then he said to him, “The cities which my father took from your father I will give back, and you may set up markets for yourself in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria.” “Then I will let you go with this covenant.” So he made a covenant with him and let him go. 35Now a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his fellow by the word of Adonai, “Strike me please!” But the man refused to strike him. 36Then he said to him, “Because you did not obey the voice of Adonai, behold, as soon as you leave me, a lion shall kill you.” As soon as he left him, a lion found him and killed him. 37Then he found another man, and said, “Strike me please!” So the man struck him and wounded him. 38Then the prophet left and waited for the king by the road, disguising himself with a headband over his eyes. 39As the king was passing by, he cried to the king and said, “Your servant went out into the midst of the battle, and behold, a man turned aside and brought another man to me and said, ‘Guard this man! If by any means he is missing, then your life will be for his life, or else you will weigh out a talent of silver.’ 40Then as your servant was busy here and there, he was gone.” The king of Israel said to him, “So will your sentence be—you yourself have decided it.” 41Then he quickly took the headband away from his eyes, and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets. 42Then he said to him, “Thus says Adonai: ‘Because you have released out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life will be in place of his life and your people in place of his people.’” 43Then the king of Israel went home to Samaria sullen and resentful.

–from 1 Kings 20

What is yours? What isn’t yours? The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it! What is ours is only what has been given to us by God to be good stewards of! What is theirs? So if you take away what is God’s but has been given to another for them to be stewards of, what will that mean and how will that play out?

Naboth Murdered for His Vineyard

1Now it came about after these things that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, next to the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. 2Ahab spoke to Naboth saying, “Give me your vineyard, so I may have it for a garden of herbs, since it’s right next to my house. I’ll give you a better vineyard than it in exchange, or if it seems better to you, I’ll give you its price in money.” 3But Naboth said to Ahab, “Adonai forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.” 4So Ahab went into his house sullen and resentful because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him, when he said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” He lay down on his bed, turned away his face and would eat no food. 5Then his wife Jezebel came to him and asked him, “Why is your spirit so sullen that you are eating no food?” 6Then he told her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and asked him: ‘Give me your vineyard for money, or if it pleases you, I’ll give you another vineyard for it,’ but he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’” 7Then his wife Jezebel said to him, “Now, do you really govern the kingdom of Israel? Arise, eat some food, and let your heart be merry! I will get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” 8So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, sealed them with his seal and sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who were living with Naboth in his city. 9She wrote in the letters saying, “Proclaim a fast and set Naboth at the head of the people. 10Then seat two sons of Belial before him, and let them testify against him saying, ‘You cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him to death.” 11So the men of his city—the elders and the nobles who lived in his city—did just as Jezebel had bid them, just as was written in the letters that she had sent to them. 12They proclaimed a fast then seated Naboth at the head of the people. 13Then the two worthless men came in and sat before him, and the worthless men testified against him, against Naboth, before the people saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king!” Then they carried him out of the city and stoned him to death. 14Then they sent word to Jezebel saying, “Naboth has been stoned and is dead.” 15Now when Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, “Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite which he refused to sell you for money—for Naboth is not alive, but dead.” 16As soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab rose up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite to take possession of it. 17Then the word of the Adonai came to Elijah the Tishbite saying: 18“Arise, go down to meet King Ahab of Israel, who is in Samaria. Behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth where he has gone down to take possession of it. 19You shall speak to him saying, ‘Thus says Adonai: Have you murdered and then taken possession?’ You shall also speak to him saying, ‘Thus says Adonai: In the same place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your blood too.’” 20Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, my enemy?” “I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself over to do what is evil in Adonai’s eyes. 21‘Behold, I will bring evil upon you, utterly sweep you away, and will cut off from Ahab every male, both bond and free in Israel. 22I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasa son of Ahijah because you provoked My anger by leading Israel to sin.’ 23“Adonai has also spoken about Jezebel saying: ‘The dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. 24Any of Ahab who die in the city, the dogs will eat; or any who die in the country, the birds of the sky will eat.’” 25Surely there was none like Ahab, who sold himself over to do evil in Adonai’s eyes, at the instigation of Jezebel his wife. 26He did grossly loathsome acts in following idols just like all that the Amorites had done, whom Adonai had dispossessed before the children of Israel. 27Now when Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his body, fasted, lay in sackcloth and walked about subdued. 28Then the word of Adonai came to Elijah the Tishbite saying: 29“Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the evil in his days, but in his son’s days I will bring the evil upon his house.”

–from 1 Kings 21

Who will sway you from following after God? What can sway you from God’s love? Where would you go to get out from under God’s protection? Why would you …?

Will you turn back to God? Will you invite Jesus into your heart? Will you choose today before it’s too late? Will you receive God’s greatest gift through His mercy?

The Angel with a Little Scroll

1Then I saw another powerful angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud with a rainbow over his head. His face was like the sun and his feet like pillars of fire. 2He had in his hand a little scroll that was open. He set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3and he cried out with a loud voice, just as a lion roars. When he cried out, the seven thunders spoke. 4And when the seven thunders had spoken, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said. Do not write it down!” 5Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand toward heaven 6and swore by the One who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay. 7But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel—when he is about to trumpet—the mystery of God is completed, just as He declared to His servants the prophets. 8Then the voice that I heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel standing on the sea and on the land.” 9So I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little scroll. And he tells me, “Take and eat it. It will be bitter to your stomach, but sweet as honey in your mouth.” 10So I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth; but when I had swallowed it, my stomach was made bitter. 11And they tell me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.”

–from The Revelation 10

How long will you wait? How long will it take? How far will you go? How far is enough?

How many witnesses would it take for you to receive it or accept it? Will you decide today before it’s too late? Will you choose to receive the greatest gift of all before it’s too late?

What type of sign will it take

What type of a sign would it take for you to choose? What type of a sign will it take for you to decide? Is today your day? I don’t want you to be left behind…And whatever you decide make sure you don’t miss your second chance!

Two Witnesses

1Then a measuring rod like a staff was given to me, saying, “Get up and measure the Temple of God and the altar, and count those worshiping in it. 2But do not measure the court outside the Temple—leave it out, because it has been given to the nations, and they shall trample the holy city for forty-two months. 3And I will grant authority to My two witnesses and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, dressed in sackcloth.” 4These are the two olive trees and the two menorot that are standing before the Lord of the earth. 5If anyone wishes to harm them, fire comes out of their mouths and consumes their enemies. If anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. 6These two have the power to shut the heavens, so that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying. And they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they wish. 7When they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the abyss will make war on them, and overcome them and kill them. 8And their corpses will lie in the open street of the great city that figuratively is called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified. 9Some from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their corpses for three and a half days, not allowing them to be placed into a grave. 10Those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them. They will celebrate and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. 11But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet; and great fear fell on those who were watching them. 12Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies watched them. 13At that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. 14The second woe is past. The third woe is coming soon.

The Seventh Trumpet

15Then the seventh angel trumpeted, and there were loud voices in heaven saying, “The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Anointed One. And He shall reign forever and ever!” 16And the twenty-four elders seated on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17saying, “We thank you, Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot, who is and who was, because You have taken Your great power and begun to reign. 18The nations were enraged, but Your wrath has come and the time for the dead to be judged— to reward Your servants, the prophets and kedoshim, and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy the destroyers of the earth.” 19Then the Temple of God in heaven was opened, and the Ark of His Covenant appeared in His Temple. And there were flashes of lightning and rumblings and clashes of thunder and an earthquake and heavy hail.

–from The Revelation 11

How will you handle your responsibilities?


Yesterday we discussed who is in charge and today the question of how will you handle your responsibilities as the steward comes to mind. As the steward of the work God has given you, will you respond and act appropriately? As the steward to the work God has given you, will you provide as you are supposed to? Let’s take a look into today’s Word and see what it says…

The Parable of the Tenants in the Vineyard

(Matthew 21.33-46; Mark 12.1-12)
9Then Jesus told the people this parable: “There was once a man who planted a vineyard, rented it out to tenants, and then left home for a long time. 10When the time came to gather the grapes, he sent a slave to the tenants to receive from them his share of the harvest. But the tenants beat the slave and sent him back without a thing. 11So he sent another slave; but the tenants beat him also, treated him shamefully, and sent him back without a thing. 12Then he sent a third slave; the tenants wounded him, too, and threw him out. 13Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my own dear son; surely they will respect him!’ 14But when the tenants saw him, they said to one another, ‘This is the owner’s son. Let’s kill him, and his property will be ours!’ 15So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. “What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to the tenants?” Jesus asked. 16“He will come and kill those men, and turn the vineyard over to other tenants.” When the people heard this, they said, “Surely not!” 17Jesus looked at them and asked, “What, then, does this scripture mean? ‘The stone which the builders rejected as worthless turned out to be the most important of all.’ 18Everyone who falls on that stone will be cut to pieces; and if that stone falls on someone, that person will be crushed to dust.”
19The teachers of the Law and the chief priests tried to arrest Jesus on the spot, because they knew that he had told this parable against them; but they were afraid of the people. –from Luke 20

Don’t allow greed and selfishness to keep you from giving back to the one who provided it all! Just as we are to tithe from what we get/make, we need to give back to God from what He has given us. He gave us 100% of what we have received and it is better to live with 90% under His blessings than to live with 100% without His hand of blessing over our lives. I know that is something I have learned. It’s impossible to out give God! The blessings He provides aren’t monetarily possible to match. There are gifts He provides that there isn’t enough money in the world to be able to pay back. So let’s not hold back from God what is rightly His! Let’s live lives that will bring Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name! Amen.

Let’s live lives with thanksgiving and praise! Let’s shine so bright because of who He is! Today’s Word continues with …

1From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, sent to proclaim the promised life which we have in union with Christ Jesus— 2To Timothy, my dear son:May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.

Thanksgiving and Encouragement

3I give thanks to God, whom I serve with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did. I thank him as I remember you always in my prayers night and day. 4I remember your tears, and I want to see you very much, so that I may be filled with joy. 5I remember the sincere faith you have, the kind of faith that your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice also had. I am sure that you have it also. 6For this reason I remind you to keep alive the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control. 8Do not be ashamed, then, of witnessing for our Lord; neither be ashamed of me, a prisoner for Christ’s sake. Instead, take your part in suffering for the Good News, as God gives you the strength for it. 9He saved us and called us to be his own people, not because of what we have done, but because of his own purpose and grace. He gave us this grace by means of Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10but now it has been revealed to us through the coming of our Savior, Christ Jesus. He has ended the power of death and through the gospel has revealed immortal life. 11God has appointed me as an apostle and teacher to proclaim the Good News,
–from 2 Timothy 1

Allow your faith to build up and to strengthen and encourage not only you but those around you. Walk in the hope that is within you thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Let’s live lives that will glorify God!

We are responsible for how we respond! We are responsible for how we react! We aren’t responsible for what others say and do, but we are able to encourage and direct others in the way we live our lives!

1Better to eat a dry crust of bread with peace of mind than have a banquet in a house full of trouble. 2A shrewd servant will gain authority over a master’s worthless son and receive a part of the inheritance. 3Gold and silver are tested by fire, and a person’s heart is tested by the Lord. 4Evil people listen to evil ideas, and liars listen to lies. 5If you make fun of poor people, you insult the God who made them. You will be punished if you take pleasure in someone’s misfortune. 6Grandparents are proud of their grandchildren, just as children are proud of their parents. 7Respected people do not tell lies, and fools have nothing worthwhile to say. 8Some people think a bribe works like magic; they believe it can do anything. 9If you want people to like you, forgive them when they wrong you. Remembering wrongs can break up a friendship. 10An intelligent person learns more from one rebuke than a fool learns from being beaten a hundred times. 11Death will come like a cruel messenger to wicked people who are always stirring up trouble. 12It is better to meet a mother bear robbed of her cubs than to meet some fool busy with a stupid project. 13If you repay good with evil, you will never get evil out of your house. 14The start of an argument is like the first break in a dam; stop it before it goes any further. –from Proverbs 17

Who is in charge?


This is such a critical question since the trickledown effect of the answer is significant. There is a difference between ownership and stewardship! There is a difference between authority and subordinate! Who is in charge? Can people tell by the way you live who is in charge? Let’s consider some things from God’s Word…

First let’s look at the statement “The earth is the Lord’s…”

  • FOR THE EARTH IS THE LORD’S, AND ALL IT CONTAINS. – 1 Corinthians 10:26
  • The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it. – Psalm 24:1
  • For all the earth is the LORD’s, and he has set the world in order. –from 1 Samuel 2:8
  • for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof –from 1 Corinthians 10:28

These verses speak to the fact that God is in charge! Now if we consider God is the owner, what does that mean to us? We are to be stewards of what God give us! We are to show our trust in Him in how we live with what He has given to us. What does it look like to be a good steward? What does it look like to be a bad steward? God’s Word provides examples of both.

Let’s take a look at some verses about steward…(manager, servant, foreman)

  • And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? — Luke 12:42
  • So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. — Matthew 20:8
  • And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. — Luke 16:1
  • 7Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. — Titus 1:7-9

So we know who is supposed to be in charge, but God gives each of us freewill to choose how we will live. Will we choose to live as stewards or try to control everything? Will we choose to live as good stewards or live lives that try to promote ourselves? We need to make it all about God!

So who is in charge of your life?

Today’s reading starts with …

The Question about Jesus’ Authority

(Matthew 21.23-27; Mark 11.27-33)
1One day when Jesus was in the Temple teaching the people and preaching the Good News, the chief priests and the teachers of the Law, together with the elders, came 2and said to him, “Tell us, what right do you have to do these things? Who gave you such right?” 3Jesus answered them, “Now let me ask you a question. Tell me, 4did John’s right to baptize come from God or from human beings?” 5They started to argue among themselves, “What shall we say? If we say, ‘From God,’ he will say, ‘Why, then, did you not believe John?’ 6But if we say, ‘From human beings,’ this whole crowd here will stone us, because they are convinced that John was a prophet.” 7So they answered, “We don’t know where it came from.” 8And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you, then, by what right I do these things.” –from Luke 20

So, “who is in charge”? Will you give an answer for the hope that is in you? Will you speak to the truth that has set you free? Will you live as a servant leader that others may come to know the freedom and the truth that comes from your relationship with Jesus?

Do you realize what you need to do? Today’s reading continues with this wisdom…

9But avoid stupid arguments, long lists of ancestors, quarrels, and fights about the Law. They are useless and worthless. 10Give at least two warnings to those who cause divisions, and then have nothing more to do with them. 11You know that such people are corrupt, and their sins prove that they are wrong.

Final Instructions

12When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me in Nicopolis, because I have decided to spend the winter there. 13Do your best to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos to get started on their travels, and see to it that they have everything they need. 14Our people must learn to spend their time doing good, in order to provide for real needs; they should not live useless lives. 15All who are with me send you greetings. Give our greetings to our friends in the faith.God’s grace be with you all. –from Titus 3

So let’s turn to the Book of Truth, the Book of Love, the Word of God for wisdom in our daily steps…

17Those who are good travel a road that avoids evil; so watch where you are going—it may save your life. 18Pride leads to destruction, and arrogance to downfall. 19It is better to be humble and stay poor than to be one of the arrogant and get a share of their loot. 20Pay attention to what you are taught, and you will be successful; trust in the Lord and you will be happy. 21A wise, mature person is known for his understanding. The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is. 22Wisdom is a fountain of life to the wise, but trying to educate stupid people is a waste of time. 23Intelligent people think before they speak; what they say is then more persuasive. 24Kind words are like honey—sweet to the taste and good for your health. 25What you think is the right road may lead to death. 26A laborer’s appetite makes him work harder, because he wants to satisfy his hunger. 27Evil people look for ways to harm others; even their words burn with evil. 28Gossip is spread by wicked people; they stir up trouble and break up friendships. 29Violent people deceive their friends and lead them to disaster. 30Watch out for people who grin and wink at you; they have thought of something evil. 31Long life is the reward of the righteous; gray hair is a glorious crown. 32It is better to be patient than powerful. It is better to win control over yourself than over whole cities. 33People cast lots to learn God’s will, but God himself determines the answer.
–from Proverbs 16

Are you putting first things first?


When you consider your priorities, what do you put at the top? It makes a difference, especially when you live every decision, every action, every value through that prism. It’s important to every other priority in life to have the top one straight. And then with every stop point, decision point, action point, you consider them against your priorities and the impact of that on those priorities. When I consider my priorities I put God first. By doing that it trickles into the way I live and express myself even when it comes to the next priority which is my marriage, my wife. Combining these two and considering what is next, they continue to set the framework around the next one, my family … my kids, my parents, my sister, my extended family. When making everything that I have to do run through this filter it helps me to try and do things that will first glorify God through my testimony of all that Jesus has done in and through my life. It also helps me to try and do things that will bless my marriage and show my love for my wife. It also helps me to try and be a good dad to my kids. I helps me try to be a good son, a good brother, … It’s important to know what is first in your life because if you don’t get a solid foundation then you find yourself on shaky ground.

This morning’s reading speaks to this topic when Jesus is talking about being a disciple.

The Cost of Being a Disciple

(Matthew 10.37, 38)
25Once when large crowds of people were going along with Jesus, he turned and said to them, 26“Those who come to me cannot be my disciples unless they love me more than they love father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and themselves as well. 27Those who do not carry their own cross and come after me cannot be my disciples. 28If one of you is planning to build a tower, you sit down first and figure out what it will cost, to see if you have enough money to finish the job. 29If you don’t, you will not be able to finish the tower after laying the foundation; and all who see what happened will make fun of you. 30‘You began to build but can’t finish the job!’ they will say. 31If a king goes out with ten thousand men to fight another king who comes against him with twenty thousand men, he will sit down first and decide if he is strong enough to face that other king. 32If he isn’t, he will send messengers to meet the other king to ask for terms of peace while he is still a long way off. 33In the same way,” concluded Jesus, “none of you can be my disciple unless you give up everything you have.  –from Luke 14

We all have a cross to bare. We all have a reason to need a savior. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! We all need Jesus! Be a steward rather than an owner, for everything belongs to God! The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it! Being a steward of the things God provides you sets you up to be a conduit of blessing for the Lord into the lives of those around you. Realizing that everything you have is God’s gives a perspective into how are you managing those resources? How are you using them for the glory of God? How about your time? How about your resources? How about your family? By putting your marriage and your kids (your household) right after God, you align so that you won’t be or become worst than an unbeliever. We see this word from 1 Timothy 5:8 …

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

So don’t just do one without the other, we see in God’s Word we are to do both

You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. –from Matthew 23

or put another way…

you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
–from Luke 11

So make sure to filter everything that you do through God’s Word, it will ensure that what you are hearing is truth. You need to have a source of truth or else you will be swayed back and forth by the waves of life or the windows of change. Today’s reading provides such wisdom …

False Teachers

1The Spirit says clearly that some people will abandon the faith in later times; they will obey lying spirits and follow the teachings of demons. 2Such teachings are spread by deceitful liars, whose consciences are dead, as if burnt with a hot iron. 3Such people teach that it is wrong to marry and to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten, after a prayer of thanks, by those who are believers and have come to know the truth. 4Everything that God has created is good; nothing is to be rejected, but everything is to be received with a prayer of thanks, 5because the word of God and the prayer make it acceptable to God.

A Good Servant of Christ Jesus

6If you give these instructions to the believers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, as you feed yourself spiritually on the words of faith and of the true teaching which you have followed. 7But keep away from those godless legends, which are not worth telling. Keep yourself in training for a godly life. 8Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future. 9This is a true saying, to be completely accepted and believed. 10We struggle and work hard, because we have placed our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all and especially of those who believe. 11Give them these instructions and these teachings. 12Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, faith, and purity. 13Until I come, give your time and effort to the public reading of the Scriptures and to preaching and teaching. 14Do not neglect the spiritual gift that is in you, which was given to you when the prophets spoke and the elders laid their hands on you. 15Practice these things and devote yourself to them, in order that your progress may be seen by all. 16Watch yourself and watch your teaching. Keep on doing these things, because if you do, you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

–from 1 Timothy 4

Let’s continue to grow and develop through the Spirit of God and the reading of His Word. Let’s allow our lives to be a reflection of what we believe and how we have prioritized what is important in our lives. By putting our hope and trust in someone who is dependable … never leave us nor abandon us… we can live lives with power, love, and a sound mind rather than in fear. Let’s practice what God is speaking to us through His word! It will keep us grounded on the path of life!

God’s Word is filled with wisdom. There is a full book from Solomon called Proverbs that shares wisdom for life. Today’s reading continues with …

More Warnings

1My child, have you promised to be responsible for someone else’s debts? 2Have you been caught by your own words, trapped by your own promises? 3Well then, my child, you are in that person’s power, but this is how to get out of it: hurry to him, and beg him to release you. 4Don’t let yourself go to sleep or even stop to rest. 5Get out of the trap like a bird or a deer escaping from a hunter. 6Lazy people should learn a lesson from the way ants live. 7They have no leader, chief, or ruler, 8but they store up their food during the summer, getting ready for winter. 9How long is the lazy man going to lie around? When is he ever going to get up? 10“I’ll just take a short nap,” he says; “I’ll fold my hands and rest a while.” 11But while he sleeps, poverty will attack him like an armed robber. 12Worthless, wicked people go around telling lies. 13They wink and make gestures to deceive you, 14all the while planning evil in their perverted minds, stirring up trouble everywhere. 15Because of this, disaster will strike them without warning, and they will be fatally wounded. 16-19There are seven things that the Lord hates and cannot tolerate:
A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that kill innocent people, a mind that thinks up wicked plans, feet that hurry off to do evil, a witness who tells one lie after another, and someone who stirs up trouble among friends.

Warning against Adultery

20Son, do what your father tells you and never forget what your mother taught you. 21Keep their words with you always, locked in your heart. 22Their teaching will lead you when you travel, protect you at night, and advise you during the day. 23Their instructions are a shining light; their correction can teach you how to live. 24It can keep you away from bad women, from the seductive words of other men’s wives. 25Don’t be tempted by their beauty; don’t be trapped by their flirting eyes. 26A man can hire a prostitute for the price of a loaf of bread, but adultery will cost him all he has. 27Can you carry fire against your chest without burning your clothes? 28Can you walk on hot coals without burning your feet? 29It is just as dangerous to sleep with another man’s wife. Whoever does it will suffer. 30People don’t despise a thief if he steals food when he is hungry; 31yet if he is caught, he must pay back seven times more—he must give up everything he has. 32But a man who commits adultery doesn’t have any sense. He is just destroying himself. 33He will be dishonored and beaten up; he will be permanently disgraced. 34A husband is never angrier than when he is jealous; his revenge knows no limits. 35He will not accept any payment; no amount of gifts will satisfy his anger. –from Proverbs 6

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

It’s not your parent’s fault and it’s not your kid’s fault.


Ownership. Accountability. not Blame. not Excuses. You get to choose what you are going to do. You have control of the actions you take and the decisions you make. Leave the past in the past. This morning a post I saw resonates with this as it spoke to keys.

Keys

There things that have happened in the past that have created ideas or viewpoint or memories. We need to learn from it so that it helps us act better and more responsibly. Saying that we did something because of what our parents did or said may work when we are younger, but as we get older and mature, the reality is it is our decision how we will act and respond. The same is true when looking into something, if the parents or the kids are caught doing the wrong thing, it isn’t always the case that you should blame the other. This is brought up in today’s reading when we see how the king responds in regards the murder of their father.

When he had the affairs of the kingdom well in hand, he executed the palace guard who had assassinated his father the king. But he didn’t kill the sons of the assassins—he was mindful of what God commanded in The Revelation of Moses, that parents shouldn’t be executed for their childrens’ sins, nor children for their parents’. We each pay personally for our sins. — 2 Chronicles 25

So as you consider where you are at today, where will you turn for help? Do you have wise council who you can turn to or hear from? Will you try to get it done with human power, or will you turn to God and seek His miraculous power? Let’s not try to get it done in our own power, but let’s allow God to be the key ingredient to what we need to do and get done. I know that I can only succeed if God helps me. He has allowed a large amount to be placed before me, but I know that He is bigger than it all. I know that even before it all showed up, He had a plan for getting it done. Nothing surprises God. Setbacks are just a setup for comeback. Challenges are able to help build our faith by seeing what and how God will work through it. Fear Not, Just Believe! In today’s reading, we hear such advice to the king:

7-8A holy man showed up and said, “No, O King—don’t let those northern Israelite soldiers into your army; God is not on their side, nor with any of the Ephraimites. Instead, you go by yourself and be strong. God and God only has the power to help or hurt your cause.”
9But Amaziah said to the holy man, “But what about all this money—these tons of silver I have already paid out to hire these men?”
“God’s help is worth far more to you than that,” said the holy man.
10So Amaziah fired the soldiers he had hired from the north and sent them home. They were very angry at losing their jobs and went home seething.
11-12But Amaziah was optimistic. He led his troops into the Valley of Salt and killed ten thousand men of Seir. They took another ten thousand as prisoners, led them to the top of the Rock, and pushed them off a cliff. They all died in the fall, smashed on the rocks.  — 2 Chronicles 25:7-12

Others may not respect or respond well to your obedience to God’s wisdom and direction, but keep your hope and trust in God for the battle in the end belongs to Him. Don’t take up parts of your victory and lift it up, give God all the glory. Don’t turn your back on God or you are setting yourself up for a fall – pride comes before the fall. Be a humble servant of God and allow your life to shine for Him. Jesus reminds us of that when He spoke:

“I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!” — John 14:6

We see how the pride of victory affected the king.

14-15On his return from the destruction of the Edomites, Amaziah brought back the gods of the men of Seir and installed them as his own gods, worshiping them and burning incense to them. That ignited God’s anger; a fiery blast of God’s wrath put into words by a God-sent prophet: “What is this? Why on earth would you pray to inferior gods who couldn’t so much as help their own people from you—gods weaker than Amaziah?”
16Amaziah interrupted him, “Did I ask for your opinion? Shut up or get thrown out!”
The prophet quit speaking, but not before he got in one last word: “I have it on good authority: God has made up his mind to throw you out because of what you’ve done, and because you wouldn’t listen to me.” — 2 Chronicles 25:14-16

I have heard it said that the biggest challenge in life is success. God doesn’t call us to success, but to faithfulness is another nugget I have received in my reading and following of Os Hillman and his TGIF devotional.

What will it take to get your attention? What will it take for you to get real? What will it take for you to see the reality of the situation? Don’t be blinded by pride! Don’t be living the lie.

18-19Jehoash king of Israel replied to Amaziah king of Judah, “One day a thistle in Lebanon sent word to a cedar in Lebanon, ‘Give your daughter to my son in marriage.’ But then a wild animal of Lebanon passed by and stepped on the thistle, crushing it. Just because you’ve defeated Edom in battle, you now think you’re a big shot. Go ahead and be proud, but stay home. Why press your luck? Why bring defeat on yourself and Judah?”
20-22Amaziah wouldn’t take no for an answer—God had already decided to let Jehoash defeat him because he had defected to the gods of Edom. So Jehoash king of Israel came on ahead and confronted Amaziah king of Judah. They met at Beth Shemesh, a town of Judah. Judah was thoroughly beaten by Israel—all the soldiers straggled home in defeat. — 2 Chronicles 25:18-22

It’s important to have good counselors, good mentors, good pastors in your life to speak truth and wisdom into you. Don’t shake off the value of this but pursue God’s wisdom. Don’t forget or turn from the truth, but pursue after God’s will every day. If you turn your back on God, you are walking away from His protection and His purpose. If you walk out from under His covering and plans, you become a target. So today as you consider where you are at, ensure you are under the covering of God and within His will.

 

What is the legacy that you are passing along to your children?


There are so many things we can pass along to our children, but are we passing along something of long term value or significance? How are you forming and molding your children to know what is right and what is wrong? How are you guiding and directing your children to discover and decide which way to go? What are you feeding into their lives so that they will be built up, strengthened, and prepared for what will be before them? What type of a legacy are you preparing for them by the things you say and do?

This morning’s reading comes from 1 Chronicles 22-24, Psalm 73. It kicks off speaking of David, Solomon, and the Temple. David’s desire along with God’s promise setup for a legacy that lives on to this day. I setup Solomon for an incredible legacy and life under the wisdom of God. David wanted to make sure everything would be not only ready, but available for Solomon to be able to accomplish the task.

Do you talk to your kids about the legacy you desire for them? Do you share with them the hopes and dreams you have for their lives? Do you share your love and your time with them so that they know how much you care? Are you modeling what they should or would want to be as parents? Are you setting them up for an incredible future?

We see how David did when he explained to Solomon about the Temple:

7-10David said to Solomon, “I wanted in the worst way to build a sanctuary to honor my God. But God prevented me, saying, ‘You’ve killed too many people, fought too many wars. You are not the one to honor me by building a sanctuary—you’ve been responsible for too much killing, too much bloodshed. But you are going to have a son and he will be a quiet and peaceful man, and I will calm his enemies down on all sides. His very name will speak peace—that is, Solomon, which means Peace—and I’ll give peace and rest under his rule. He will be the one to build a sanctuary in my honor. He’ll be my royal adopted son and I’ll be his father; and I’ll make sure that the authority of his kingdom over Israel lasts forever.’
11-16“So now, son, God be with you. God-speed as you build the sanctuary for your God, the job God has given you. And may God also give you discernment and understanding when he puts you in charge of Israel so that you will rule in reverent obedience under God’s Revelation. That’s what will make you successful, following the directions and doing the things that God commanded Moses for Israel. Courage! Take charge! Don’t be timid; don’t hold back. Look at this—I’ve gone to a lot of trouble to stockpile materials for the sanctuary of God: a hundred thousand talents (3,775 tons) of gold, a million talents (37,750 tons) of silver, tons of bronze and iron—too much to weigh—and all this timber and stone. And you’re free to add more. And workers both plentiful and prepared: stonecutters, masons, carpenters, artisans in gold and silver, bronze and iron. You’re all set—get to work! And God-speed!”
17-19David gave orders to all of Israel’s leaders to help his son Solomon, saying, “Isn’t it obvious that your God is present with you; that he has given you peaceful relations with everyone around? My part in this was to put down the enemies, subdue the land to God and his people; your part is to give yourselves, heart and soul, to praying to your God. So get moving—build the sacred house of worship to God! Then bring the Chest of the Covenant of God and all the holy furnishings for the worship of God into the sanctuary built in honor of God.” — 1 Chronicles 22:7-19

How are you serving God? Are you living your role? Are you sharing the importance of doing God’s will with your children? Are you passing along your hopes and trust in God to your children? Are you sharing the testimonies of all that God has done so that they can be encouraged, so that in the highs and the lows, they will know they can trust God because He is working something out because His plan is good. His ways may not be our ways, but His ways are better than our ways, His ways are higher than our ways. Inheritance isn’t just about money. Legacy isn’t just about the stuff you leave them, but the life you are preparing for them to live. It is something that will hopefully last more than a single generation – your children’s children, your grandchildren, and even longer.

Today is the day to consider and get started. Today is the day to reflect and respond. Today is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it. How will you be preparing the legacy you want to pass along to the next and future generations?

Who do you think is in charge?


As I consider this question the two words that come to mind are ownership and stewardship. The owner is in charge whereas the steward is managing what the owner has put under their control.

God’s Word tells us that:

“The earth,” after all, “is God’s, and everything in it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:26

God claims Earth and everything in it, God claims World and all who live on it. He built it on Ocean foundations, laid it out on River girders. – Psalm 24:1-2

Which means it’s all His. It means that He is in charge! It means we are stewards of every good and perfect gift that comes from Him.

So let’s go to God to learn. Let’s enter into His presence to hear what He has to say, not to tell Him what we think. Let’s not run off at the mouth, but rather turn to God’s Word and listen to His wisdom and direction, His correction and discipline. We need to keep our eyes, our hearts, and our minds on the things of real value, God’s Word reminds and warns us:

10The one who loves money is never satisfied with money, Nor the one who loves wealth with big profits. More smoke. 11The more loot you get, the more looters show up. And what fun is that—to be robbed in broad daylight? 12Hard and honest work earns a good night’s sleep, Whether supper is beans or steak. But a rich man’s belly gives him insomnia. 13-17Here’s a piece of bad luck I’ve seen happen: A man hoards far more wealth than is good for him And then loses it all in a bad business deal. He fathered a child but hasn’t a cent left to give him. He arrived naked from the womb of his mother; He’ll leave in the same condition—with nothing. This is bad luck, for sure—naked he came, naked he went. So what was the point of working for a salary of smoke? All for a miserable life spent in the dark? – Ecclesiastes 5:10-17

So rather than trying accumulate more than necessary, make the most of what God gives you.

18-20After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live. – Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

Don’t take anything for granted, rather be a good steward of what God gives you.

1A good reputation is better than a fat bank account. Your death date tells more than your birth date. 2You learn more at a funeral than at a feast—After all, that’s where we’ll end up. We might discover something from it. 3Crying is better than laughing. It blotches the face but it scours the heart. 4Sages invest themselves in hurt and grieving. Fools waste their lives in fun and games. 5You’ll get more from the rebuke of a sage Than from the song and dance of fools. 6The giggles of fools are like the crackling of twigs Under the cooking pot. And like smoke. 7Brutality stupefies even the wise And destroys the strongest heart. 8Endings are better than beginnings. Sticking to it is better than standing out. 9Don’t be quick to fly off the handle. Anger boomerangs. You can spot a fool by the lumps on his head. 10Don’t always be asking, “Where are the good old days?” Wise folks don’t ask questions like that. 11-12Wisdom is better when it’s paired with money, Especially if you get both while you’re still living. Double protection: wisdom and wealth! Plus this bonus: Wisdom energizes its owner. 13Take a good look at God’s work. Who could simplify and reduce Creation’s curves and angles To a plain straight line? 14On a good day, enjoy yourself; On a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days So that we won’t take anything for granted. – Ecclesiastes 7:1-14

Allow wisdom to guide you and top shine light unto your path and produce the right words and behavior with which to speak and treat others.

We live in a fallen world and we learn that:

As long as men and women have the power to hurt each other, this is the way it is. – Ecclesiastes 8:9

How we live now, how we treat others, how we serve God may appear to have no impact to some, but in reality in the end there is judgment and the consequences will be revealed and executed. So live a life that will glorify God.

Do you owe? Are you in debt?


Whether you consider this question from any particular angle, it is an interesting question to ask. Be it on a relational basis. Be it on a financial basis. Be it on a spiritual basis. There are many angles and view points to consider this question.

Now imagine if there was someone who would pay it all off for you. How would that make you feel? How would you respond? Would you feelings last or fade? Would it matter how big or how small the debt was? Would you be grateful to them forever? What if it ended up coming from an unlikely place? How about even someone you don’t know and didn’t even ask for help from? How big or impacting would that be?

As I think of the title above, lyrics came to mind…

Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe

ALL : Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe. from Hope Church North Park on Vimeo.

And as I did a search the above video caught my attention.

This morning’s devotional from 365 Fear Nots, speaks of how God came to us before we were even looking for Him.

Isaiah was fearless enough to tell that the Lord had said, “I was found by people who were not looking for me. I appeared to the ones who were not asking about me.”

Romans 10:20 (CEV)

We give thanks to God for choosing us in love and can be bold and fearless when speaking His truth. Do not be afraid of upsetting men.

He loves us so much that He sent Jesus to reconcile us back unto Him.

This morning’s verse from Spurgeon’s Morning Devotions (Day 34) comes from Romans:

12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. – Romans 8:12

God created us. God set the rules and having broken them we are in debt to His justice, a debt we can’t afford. God provided a way for us to become debt free, Jesus! So we no longer owe once we have turned back and received Jesus, we have asked Him into our heart and to help us clean it out. Spurgeon’s devotional put it this way:

“But of the Christian it can be said that he does not owe God’s justice anything, for Christ has paid the debt his people owed; for this reason the believer owes the more to love. I am a debtor to God’s grace and forgiving mercy; but I am no debtor to his justice, for he will never accuse me of a debt already paid. Christ said, “It is finished!” and by that he meant, that whatever his people owed was wiped away forever from the book of remembrance. Christ, to the uttermost, has satisfied divine justice; the account is settled; the handwriting is nailed to the cross; the receipt is given, and we are debtors to God’s justice no longer. But then, because we are not debtors to our Lord in that sense, we become ten times more debtors to God than we should have been otherwise. Christian, pause and ponder for a moment. What a debtor thou art to divine sovereignty! How much thou owest to his disinterested love, for he gave his own Son that he might die for thee. Consider how much you owe to his forgiving grace, that after ten thousand affronts he loves you as infinitely as ever. Consider what you owe to his power; how he has raised you from your death in sin; how he has preserved your spiritual life; how he has kept you from falling; and how, though a thousand enemies have beset your path, you have been able to hold on your way. Consider what you owe to his immutability. Though you have changed a thousand times, he has not changed once. Thou art as deep in debt as thou canst be to every attribute of God. To God thou owest thyself, and all thou hast–yield thyself as a living sacrifice, it is but thy reasonable service.” – Day 34 from Spurgeon’s Morning Devotions

So where are you at today? Are you still under the justice? Are you free from the penalties for what you have done? Are you now living in a life where you are living a life of love because God first loved you? Are you giving yourself into God’s hands as a sign of worship and to give Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory? Are you helping others so that by your good works others will glorify Your Father in heaven?

We all have been given freewill to choose. What are your choices? What are you choices saying about you? What are your choices saying about what you believe? What are your choices saying about your heart?

Today is a new day. This is the day the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it. Let’s live a life that shines salt and light so that by our works, people will praise and glorify our Father in Heaven.

Don’t worry or fear… Seek wisdom and guidance.


“But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you!” – Luke 21:13-15

Where should you turn? Who can you turn to? Where can you start to look for wisdom and guidance? What can you do? How can you do it?

The key is to honor God by seeking Him and His will (seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness) and A.S.K.ing Him (Ask, Seek, Knock).

Who do you belong to? Have you received Jesus into your heart and your life? Then God’s Word tells us:

16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. – 1 Corinthians 3:16-23

So live today in a way that shows the world whose you are. Live your life so that others will see your work and praise Your Father in Heaven. Live your life so that others will see that you are the servant, the friend, and the bride of Jesus. No matter what you are facing or comes your way, remember who you are. No matter the temptation, no matter bribe, no matter the difficulties, no matter the dangers, don’t fall to that level but rather stand up and step up with the power and the promises of God. Let your light shine so that others will see God’s love and grace and home through your life. Do it because you are Christ’s.

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I lift up this day to You as an offering to You that in and through it, my thoughts, words, and actions will bring You praise, honor, and glory. Help me Lord to stand  firm and glorify You. Help me to live a life that will honor You. Grant me wisdom and discernment for every conversation so that in and through it all, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Are you trying to do it all in your own strength?


Not only are you not supposed to go it alone, but you aren’t supposed to try and get it all done in your own strength. Turn to God for wisdom. Turn to God so that you can do it His way. Assuming you can just do it the same way as the last time leads you into a situation that is different, but you are trying to do the same thing as the last time. We need to make sure there isn’t anything that would keep God’s blessing from touching our lives.

When or if you do that and fail, we try to analyze what went wrong. What we could have done better. What about our performance missed the mark. We may need to look deeper into making sure we are prepared. We may need to look deeper into the state of the hearts of those we have joined with to get it done. If there is anything that would keep God’s hand from blessing you, you need to take care of it and get it done. How can you know? You have to turn to God and ask. God’s Word tells us that we have not because we ask not. So we need to stop and ask God for wisdom. We need to check the team or the group to make sure there is no sin that is keeping us from the blessings of God. If there is sin, it causes a chink in our armor which by definition creates a narrow opening and vulnerable area in one’s armor that the opponent will usually aim for and in this case it would be the devil who is trying to get an advantage and keep you from accomplishing God’s will and glorifying God.

As Os says in TGIF today:

“Sin makes our armor vulnerable to attack from satan, who then gains permission from God to attack us in the area where we have failed to uphold righteousness. If we break down in moral purity, satan comes in and establishes a stronghold. If we give place to bitterness and unforgiveness, we will break fellowship with God and others. If we become money-focused, we will fall into greed and deception. It is a vicious cycle.

Examine your armor today. Make sure you are not susceptible to attack. Begin from a solid spiritual foundation and your chances of success will be great. “

I learned through some challenging times the power of forgiveness to get out of the foothold or stronghold of the devil. I learned that not only unforgiveness not a word, but it is also not something that God desires as He loves us so much that Jesus died on the cross that we could be forgiven by receiving and accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior and asking for forgiveness. The bitterness is like taking poison and expecting the other person to get sick or die. It will eat you up from the inside out. Don’t allow greed or bitterness keep you from being and becoming everything that God desires for you in your life.

Let’s live lives that glorify God. More concerned with what God thinks of what we are doing and more aligned with what He speaks to us to do.

 

References:

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that is within it. I praise You Lord for the incredible opportunities before me and for Your hand in it, for I know that You will never leave me nor forsake me. Grant me wisdom for today. Help me I pray to complete the work You have planned for me and grant me the wisdom and discernment and courage to complete it. Lord, I look to You for guidance that You will speak to me and through me so that with every thought, word, and action You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

What’s it going to take?


Do you believe? Do you believe the promises? Do you believe the testimonies? Do you?

If not, why not? If not, what is it going to take to persuade you completely? Do you realize the benefits? Do you realize it’s not all about you? Do you realize it has to do with God?

“Being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.”Romans 4:21

How much are you going to put your trust in what you think over what God promises? If God says He will do it, then He will. You can take God’s promises to the bank, they are dependable and for sure. Are you facing doubts? Are you facing impossibilities? Are you facing mountains? Are you facing storms? Why are they there? Is God trying to do something in your life in and through such an experience? If yes, then step up and step out and pursue after His plan, His purpose, His promise in faith. Faith without action is dead! So take action today. Don’t put God in a box, because He is bigger than that. By believing and stepping out and taking the risk of trusting God, Abraham was able to experience the promised son Isaac. By believing the message to get out of the boat, I have begun a new journey. By doing what God called me to do, I became president of a homeowners association of over 10000 people. By doing what God called me to do, I have been able to become a producer who helps ensure that the lights, the media, the cameras, the stage, and the floor are in sync with where we are at and the flow in preparation for the message to be preached, the music concerts to be performed, the productions to be revealed for His glory.

It takes believing in God! It takes trusting His promises!
It takes stepping out in faith!

As Os put it in today’s TGIF devotional,

“Once you know that it is His will for you to pursue, do it with faith. Faith requires action when we know it is He who is leading. It may require risk. Faith is sometimes spelled R-I-S-K. Abraham did not limit God. It is this confidence in God that God honored and rewarded. He wants to do the same with you and me. ” – Being Fully Persuaded by Os Hillman

So trust in God! His Word tells us:

whoever trusts in me will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain.
Isaiah 57:11-13

 


References:

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for who you are and for all that You do, have done, and will do in and through my life. I lift up this day to You as an offering of myself that You may be glorified. Help me I pray that with every thought, every word, and every action Lord, You will receive all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Are you strong? or Are you being strengthend?


9Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

18The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. – Psalm 34:18

“The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength.” – 1 Samuel 2:4

25This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. — 1 Corinthians 1:25

If you are strong and making it on your own strength, how far will you make it? How much pressure can you take? How much weight can your shoulders or legs handle? How much strain and stress will you be able to take? Is your strength enough to keep you from breaking? Is your strength enough to keep you from being destroyed?

Consider the alternative where you are being strengthened. That God is for you so who can be against you. That God walks with you through every situation. That God will never leave you nor forsake you when you have come to Him. That when we are yoked to Jesus he tells us:

28Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  29Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  30For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” — Matthew 11:28-30

Check out Psalm 30 and Psalm 28.

Check out this song: I’m trading my sorrows

The reality is that for some it means that we have to come to the end of what we can do in our own strength before we will turn to God. For others they have already been broken and realize their frailty and as such go to God first when something comes their way looking for wisdom, looking for courage, looking for strength to make it through. God is bigger and stronger than anything that we will face. The question is how far will you go without God? How far will you go before You ask God to go with you? Or will you be like the Moses who said:

“If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place. How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.” — Exodus 33:15-16

Or Jacob who said:

“I will not let you go unless you bless me.” – Genesis 32:26

Do you want to go it in your own strength or would you rather be strengthened by God as you are walking with God through it?
Don’t be afraid to be broken, because that may be just what was needed to give you the strength, the courage, and the hope to accomplish the greater things that God has planned for you.
Os closes in TGIF today with the following:
“Do not fear brokenness, for it may be the missing ingredient to a life that emerges with a new kind of strength and experience not known before. Pray for a broken and contrite heart that God can bless”. — The Strength of Brokenness
My daughter was a great example of this while she was dealing with a broken hand. She was hit by a pitch her first at bat on the Sunday of a tournament where she was scheduled to catch the game. She was a trooper. She was there for her team with a good attitude, encouraging them and being there for them. Her light shone for Jesus and I am sure the team saw it. God blessed the team through this time with a couple new girls on the team as well as blessed her by making the recovery time 2 weeks shorter than the normal 6 weeks. She is back after her first tournament last week and God continues to be her strength. Praise God that He is building a Godly heritage into our lives.
References:

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I thank You for the brokenness years back that taught me the power of forgiveness. I thank You for the brokenness of change and trials that taught me to put and keep my trust in You. I thank You Lord that You helped me to be transparent and share what You were doing in and through my life during the mountain tops and the valley lows so that others may come to realize that You are with me, never leaving me nor abandoning me no matter what will come my way. Help me today Lord so that every thought, word, and action I take will be glorifying to You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Do you understand the structure?


Do you submit to the authority put over you?

13For the Lord’s sake, respect all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 14or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. 15It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 16For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 17Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the king. – 1 Peter 2:13-17

1Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. 6Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. 7Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority. – Romans 13:1-7

There is some limit though, and that is when it conflicts with God’s Word

29But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. – Acts 5:29

When we get this and live in alignment with it, God will use our obedience to bless us. It takes a lot of faith to believe and trust in God to understand and live out the principles of authority. In today’s TGIF reading, Os puts it this way:

“God has placed a system of authority in our world that requires faith to operate under its boundaries: fathers over sons and daughters, employers over employees, government leaders over the people, church leaders over church members. These are authority structures God has placed in our lives to protect and guide us to His will. Some confuse position with worthiness or qualifications of that position. It is the position that God works through. The fact that an authority may not be a Christian may have no bearing on whether God can work through him as your authority. It is only when that authority counsels against a biblical mandate that we should not follow that person’s guidance. The hand of the king is in the hand of God.” – Being a Person Under Authority

 

Who has God put in authority over you to protect you? Will you live a life of faith that trusts in those in authority over you?

I did especially when it so aligned with what God had been speaking to me. Imagine people in authority giving you warning signs to move on. Imagine people in authority celebrating your decision when you get out of the the boat. They aren’t out to get you, they are looking out for you. Have you experienced it? Jesus speaks of the incredible faith shown by the centurion because he understood the principle of authority and for him to respond to Jesus showing that he trusted in Jesus’ authority to heal if he chose and knew it didn’t take Jesus coming to his house to make it happen.

So where are you at today? Do you have this faith?

 

References:

My Prayer

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I praise You Lord for the incredible family and friends You have surrounded me with. I praise You Lord for Your faithfulness and Your vision and wisdom that help me daily and encouraged me to keep moving forward and not giving up. Lord, as I look towards this day I ask for Your hand to be over it. Bless and protect my family and friends and guide us down the path You have set before us with confidence and faith in You and those You have put in authority over us. Help every thought, every word, and every action I take to bring You praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Are you telling your Story and giving God the Glory?


Consider what has taken place in your life and the story your life can tell. Are you sharing the testimony of what God has done and is doing in and through your life? Consider what you have been through and where you ended up. Consider what you have learned and how it has transformed you. Consider the outcomes and what it showed you. Do those around you get to hear of the great things God has done and is doing in and through your life? How about your friends? They may be going through something and needing to hear a word of encouragement about God’s love, God’s provision, God’s plans and purposes, and it might be that what you have been through is the right medicine. How about the people you hangout with at work or on weekends? Do they hear the great and mighty things God has spoken into and through Your life? When we are going through the situation or circumstance our focus can be on the now because of the stress or the fear or the anxiety of it all. Our testimonies can help others to see beyond their circumstances and to the truth that God can use all things for good. It might be that you have a story or a testimony about betrayal or lies, it might be about bitterness and anxiety, it might be about lack or need, and how God showed you the power of forgiveness and the fact that unforgiveness isn’t a word and shouldn’t be an option. It might be how God showed you his love through provision and encouragement. It might be how God sees your very situation and through Your devotional times and prayers answers your prayers through a Tweet as you close your prayer. Let’s consider what our experiences are and how they can glorify God and spread the good news of His LOVE and His PLANS and His PURPOSE for our lives.


Today’s devotional from TGIF by Os Hillman speaks to this with the title An Eternal View of Circumstances.

“Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” – Philippians 1:12

In Os’ devotional today he asks some pretty important questions:

“Are your life circumstances advancing the gospel? Can you see the Lord’s hand in your life in such a way that all of your life experiences, joys, sorrows, hardships, and training have resulted in advancing the gospel? ” – Os Hillman

Os speaks of how perspective is important as we see Paul’s view of his circumstances were catalysts rather than roadblocks to advancing the gospel message. When we look at our circumstances as catalysts it will keep us from despairing over our circumstances.

Are you praying for those in authority over you like God’s Word says? Os shares the story of a pastor from the nation of Benin in Africa. What we say and what we do may impact someone whose life is transformed and impacts many others because of our obedience to pray for and share the good news God has put in our heart. Are you willing to risk sharing your story for the possibility of impacting others and seeing the bigger cause and bigger picture?

We each have had experiences. At home. At work. At school. At church. At the park. … Let’s take a hold of Os’ challenge in his closing:

“Are your work and life experiences serving to advance the gospel? What experiences has God allowed in your life that are part of His plan to advance the gospel? Ask Him to help you see your life the way He sees it. Seeing our life the way God sees it will help us avoid discouragement in those times when life appears to be a mystery to us.” – Os Hillman


Fearful to Fearless

365 Fear Nots: Verse Of The Day

For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. — Psalm 96:4-5 (KJV)

Biblical Truth:

Praise the Lord, for He is great! No other god can compare to the one God who is the author of all creation. Only He is deserving of our honor and worship.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I thank You Lord for having given it all that I can be
reconciled to You. I thank You Lord for the testimonies that allow me to glorify You through the retelling of all that You do and continue to do and have done in and through my life. Lord, as I look ahead to this week, I ask Lord for Your wisdom and discernment for each situation, each conversation, each decision that I will face. Help me Lord in and through them all to give You the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Today’s Reading…

Discipleship Journal’s Book-at-a-Time Reading Plan

  • Nehemiah 11
  • Nehemiah 12
  • Nehemiah 13
  • Psalms 119:33-48