What are you doing to help those who don’t believe?


Do you realize there are people around you today who don’t believe and are heading in the wrong direction? Do you realize there are people around you today who don’t believe and don’t realize the road they are on? Do you realize there are people around you today who are feeling bad and don’t know there is an answer and there is hope? Do you realize there are people around you who need to know they matter and are loved? Do you realize that there is a plan at work for you to make a difference in their lives? Do you realize that there is a plan at work for you to give them hope? Do you realize that there is a plan at work for you to pass God’s love onto them? Do you realize that you may be the only thing in their life at the moment pointing them to the love of Jesus? Do you realize you have been put in such a place at such a time for a greater purpose? Do you realize that you have been put there for such a day and such a time as this?

So what are you going to do with this responsibility? What will you do with this purpose? What will you do with this plan? Today is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Don’t stop believing! Take time to listen! Make a difference today! Be the difference today!

Have you had an encounter with Jesus? Do you realize He gave His life to the point of death on a cross for you? Do you realize that God loves you so much that He sent Jesus, His one and only Son so that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but would have everlasting life? Have you started a relationship with Jesus?

Do you feel the pain that everyone should get this encounter and experience and relationship with Jesus? Do you feel that loss for the lost?

Do you want your family and friends to get to experience this? Do you want them to be able to receive Jesus into their hearts? Do you realize you may not be able to convince them to go to church with you but that you may have to be the church to them? By the way you live in front of them! By the actions and responses you take! By the words you use and express!

How do you handle the pain or anguish for the loss? How do you handle the passion and the love? How do you balance them in your life and in your relationship with others!

Will you keep believing for them? Will you trust God’s sovereign plan for those you love? those God has brought into your life?

Today is the day! So what will you do with it? Don’t waste it! Keep believing! Make a difference!

What will they see when they see you? Will they see Jesus with skin on?


What About Those Who Do Not Believe

Day 206: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalms 89:9-13, Romans 9:1-21, Hosea 11:12, Hosea 12, Hosea 13, Hosea 14

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/206

  1. Thank God for his rule and reign … Psalm 89:9-13
    • The heavens are yours, and the earth is yours; everything in the world is yours—you created it all. (v11)

  2. Trust in his mercy and compassion … Romans 9:1-21
  3. Turn from sin and return to God … Hosea 11:12-14:9

Do you realize the benefits?


Do you realize the benefits of walking in alignment to God’s will? Do you realize the benefits of obedience to God’s calling, God’s Word, and God’s purpose for your life? Do you realize the benefits of walking under the protection and covering of God?  Do you realize the benefits to a country whose God is the Lord? Do you realize the benefits to a country whose leaders are walking with a heart after God’s? Do you realize that it matters what you believe and what you in alignment to your beliefs?

The pendulum goes back and forthIf we look at back history and the pendulum of when people did walk in alignment and then when they walked away and the impact it had on society. If we consider where we are at today and where we are in that swing, this year could be a tipping point that makes it swing the other way making things worse if more people walk away from God.

 

Today’s reading brings us to when Solomon has become king and is walking in alignment and leading the people in alignment with God…

Wealth and Wisdom

1Now Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines up to the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life. 2Solomon’s provision for one day was 30 measures of fine flour, 60 measures of meal, 3 10 fat oxen, 20 pasture-fed oxen, 100 sheep, beside deer, gazelles, roebucks and fatted geese. 4For he had dominion over the entire region west of the River, from Tiphsah even to Gaza, over all the kings west of the River; and he had shalom on all sides around him. 5So Judah and Israel lived securely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon. 6Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 12,000 horsemen. 7So those officers provided food for King Solomon and all who came to King Solomon’s table, each in his month. They let nothing be lacking. 8They also brought barley and straw for the horses and swift steeds to the place where it should be, each according to his charge. 9God gave Solomon wisdom and discernment in great measure, and a breadth of understanding as vast as the sand on the seashore. 10Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. 11For he was wiser than all men—than Ethan the Ezrahite, or Heman, Calcol and Darda, sons of Mahol—and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. 12He also composed 3,000 proverbs and his songs were 1,005. 13He also spoke about trees, from the cedar in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall, and he spoke about beasts, birds, creeping things and fish. 14People came from everywhere to hear the wisdom of Solomon—from all kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

Hiram Offers Materials

15Then King Hiram of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon, when he heard that they had anointed him king in place of his father, for Hiram was always a friend of David. 16So Solomon sent word to Hiram saying: 17“You know how my father David could not build a House for the Name of Adonai his God because of the wars around him on every side, until Adonai put them under the soles of my feet. 18But now Adonai my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor bad incident. 19So behold, I intend to build a House for the Name of Adonai my God, as Adonai spoke to my father David saying: ‘Your son, whom I will set upon your throne in your place, he will build the House for My Name.’ 20“So now, command that they cut cedars from Lebanon for me. My servants will be with your servants, and I will give you wages for your servants according to whatever you say; for as you know, there is none among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians.” 21When Hiram heard Solomon’s words, he rejoiced greatly and said: “Blessed be Adonai today, who has given to David a wise son over this great people.” 22So Hiram sent word to Solomon saying: “I have heard the message that you sent to me. I will do all you desire concerning the cedar and cypress timber. 23My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon to the sea, and I will make them into rafts to go by sea to the place that you indicate to me. There I will break them up and you will carry them away. Then you will accomplish my desire by giving food for my household.” 24So Hiram kept providing Solomon with cedar and cypress timber, as much as he desired, 25and Solomon gave Hiram 20,000 measures of wheat for food for his household and 20 measures of beaten oil. Thus Solomon would give to Hiram year by year. 26Adonai gave Solomon wisdom as He promised him, so there was shalom between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them cut a covenant. 27King Solomon also imposed forced laborers from all Israel—the levy was 30,000 men. 28He sent them to Lebanon, in shifts of 10,000 a month: they would stay a month in Lebanon, then two months at home. Adoniram was over the forced labor. 29Solomon had 70,000 porters, and 80,000 stonecutters in the mountains, 30besides Solomon’s chief officers that were over the work—3,300 who supervised the people who were doing the work. 31Then the king commanded, and they quarried great stones, costly stones, to lay the foundation of the House with cut stones. 32So Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders along with the Gebalites cut them, and prepared the timber and the stones to build the House.

–from 1 Kings 5

Will you be willing to pass on God’s instruction to the next generation? Will you be willing to provide resources that will allow the next generation to answer their calling? Will you make sure they know who God is and to build their relationship with Him? Will you provide them an example of how good God is and the benefits of following His instructions?

Building the Temple

1Now it came to pass, 480 years after the children of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Ziv (which is the second month), that he began to build Adonai’s House. 2Now the House that King Solomon built for Adonai was 60 cubits long, 20 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. 3The porch in front of the Sanctuary of the House was 20 cubits in length—corresponding to the breadth of the House—and its depth was ten cubits from the front of the House. 4Also for the House he made windows with artistic frames. 5Against the wall of the House he built a side-structure surrounding both the Temple and the inner Sanctuary; thus he made side-chambers all around. 6The lowest story was five cubits wide, the middle was six cubits wide, and the third was seven cubits wide. All around on the outside he provided offset ledges in the wall of the House, so that the beams would not be inserted into the walls of the House. 7For the House, while being constructed, was built of stone finished at the quarry; with neither hammer, axe nor any iron tool heard in the House during its construction. 8The doorway to the lowest story of the side chambers was on the right side of the House. They went up by winding stairs to the middle story, and from the middle to the third. 9When he finished building the House, he covered the House with beams and planks of cedar. 10He built the stories of the side-structure against the whole House, each five cubits high, and they were fastened to the House with timbers of cedar. 11Then the word of Adonai came to Solomon saying: 12“As for this House which you are building, if you will walk in My statutes, execute My ordinances and keep all My mitzvot by walking in them, then I will establish My word with you, which I spoke to your father David, 13I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.” 14So Solomon built the House and finished it. 15He paneled the walls of the House on the inside with cedar planks of cedar; from the floor of the House to the ceiling he overlaid on the inside with wood; and he overlaid the floor of the House with planks of cypress. 16Then he partitioned off 20 cubits at the rear part of the House, using cedar boards from the floor to the ceiling, building it as the inner Sanctuary—the Holy of Holies. 17The House, that is, the Sanctuary, was 40 cubits long in front of the inner Sanctuary. 18The cedar of the interior of the House was carved as gourds and open flowers. All was cedar; no stone was visible. 19He prepared an inner Sanctuary within the House, to set there the ark of the covenant of Adonai. 20The inner Sanctuary was twenty cubits in length, twenty cubits in breadth and twenty cubits in height. He overlaid it with pure gold, and overlaid the cedar altar. 21So Solomon overlaid the interior of the House with pure gold; and he drew chains of gold across the front of the inner Sanctuary, and overlaid it with gold. 22So the entire House he overlaid with gold until the entire House was finished; even the entire altar by the inner Sanctuary he overlaid with gold. 23In the inner Sanctuary he made two cheruvim of olive wood, each ten cubits high. 24The length of one wing of the cheruv was five ­cubits and the length of the other wing of the cheruv was five cubits—ten cubits from the end of one wing to the end of the other, 25and the other cheruv was also ten cubits. Both cheruvim were the same in measure and form: 26the height of the one cheruv was ten cubits and so the other cheruv. 27Then he placed the cheruvim inside the inner House. When the wings of the cheruvim extended, the wing of the one touched one wall while the wing of the other cheruv touched the other wall, while their wings in the center of the House touched one another. 28He also overlaid the cheruvim with gold. 29Then he carved all the walls surrounding the House with carved engravings of cheruvim, palm trees and open flowers, in both the inner and outer rooms, 30and he also covered the floor of both the inner and the outer rooms of the House with gold. 31For the entrance of the inner Sanctuary he made doors of olive wood, the frame of the doorposts having five angles. 32As for the double doors of olive wood, he carved on them carvings of cheruvim, palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold. He beat out gold over the cheruvim and over the palm trees. 33He also made for the Temple entrance four-sided doorposts of olive wood 34and double doors of cypress wood. The two leaves of the one door were folding, and the two leaves of the other door were folding. 35He carved cheruvim, palm trees and open flowers on them and overlaid them with gold evenly applied on the graven work. 36He built the inner court with three rows of cut stone and a row of cedar beams. 37In the fourth year, in the month of Ziv, the foundation of the House of Adonai was laid, 38and in the eleventh year, in the month of Bul (which is the eighth month), the House was completed in all its parts and according to all its details. So he was seven years building it.

–from 1 Kings 6

Prepare and provide…

1Solomon recruited 70,000 men as carriers, 80,000 as stonecutters in the mountains and 3,600 supervisors over them. 2Then Solomon sent word to Huram the king of Tyre saying, “Deal with me as you did with my father David when you sent him cedars to build a house to dwell in. 3Behold, I am about to build a House for the Name of Adonai my God and to dedicate it to Him for burning fragrant incense before Him, for regular arrangement of the Bread of the Presence and for burnt offerings every morning and evening as well as on Shabbatot, New Moons and moadim of Adonai Eloheinu. Upon Israel this is forever. 4“The House that I am about to build will be great, because our God is greater than all the gods. 5But who is able to build Him a House, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain Him? Who then am I that I should build Him a House—except to burn incense before Him? 6“So now, send me a man skilled to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, and in purple, crimson and blue yarn, and experienced in engraving, to work in Judah and Jerusalem with the skilled men who are with me, whom my father David provided. 7Send me also cedar, evergreen and algum logs from Lebanon, for I know that your servants are skilled in cutting timber in Lebanon. Indeed my servants will work with yours 8to prepare an abundance of timber for me, because the House that I am about to build will be large and magnificent. 9Now, behold, I will give to your servants, the woodsmen who cut the timber, 20,000 measures of ground wheat, 20,000 measures of barley, 20,000 vats of wine and 20,000 vats of oil.” 10Then King Huram of Tyre, replied in a letter that he sent to Solomon, “Because Adonai loves His people, He has made you king over them.” 11Then Huram continued, “Blessed be Adonai, the God of Israel, who made heaven and earth. He gave King David a wise son, endowed with insight and understanding, who will build a House for Adonai and a royal house for himself. 12So now I am sending Huram-abi—a skilled man endowed with understanding 13who is the son of a woman from the daughters of Dan and whose father was a man from Tyre—a man skilled to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, in purple and blue, fine linen and crimson, and to engrave all kinds of engraving, and who can execute any design given to him. He will work with your skilled men and with the skilled men of my lord David your father. 14Now let my lord send to his servants the wheat and barley, the oil and wine he has promised 15and we will cut as many logs from Lebanon as much as you need, and float them in rafts by sea to Jaffa. You can then take them up to Jerusalem.” 16Solomon counted all the foreign men in the land of Israel, like the census that his father David had taken, and 153,600 were found. 17He appointed 70,000 of them to carry loads, 80,000 to quarry stones in the mountains, and 3,600 overseers to supervise the people working.

–from 2 Chronicles 2

Do and obey…

Solomon Builds the Temple in Jerusalem

1Then Solomon began to build the House of Adonai in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah—where Adonai appeared to his father David—at the place that David prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 2He began to build on the second day of the second month in the fourth year of his reign. 3Now the foundation Solomon laid for the building of the House of God was 60 cubits long and 20 cubits wide, according to the old standard. 4The porch in front of the House along its width was 20 cubits and its height was 120 cubits, and the inside was overlaid with pure gold. 5He paneled the main hall with cypress wood, which he overlaid with fine gold and embossed on it palm trees and chains. 6He adorned the House with precious stones and the gold he used was gold from Parvaim. 7Furthermore He overlaid the beams, thresholds, walls and doors of the House with gold and carved cheruvim on the walls. 8He made the Holy of Holies, its length corresponding to the width of the House—20 cubits long and 20 cubits wide. He overlaid it with 600 talents of fine gold. 9The weight of the nails was fifty shekels of gold. He also overlaid the upper rooms with gold. 10Next he made two sculptured cheruvim in the Holy of Holies and overlaid them with gold. 11The wingspan of the cheruvim was 20 cubits. One wing of the first cheruv was five cubits long and touched the wall of the House, while the other wing, also five cubits long, touched the wing of the other cheruv. 12Similarly, one wing of the second cheruv was five cubits long and touched the wall of the House, while the other wing, also five cubits long, touched the wing of the other cheruv. 13Thus the wingspan of these cheruvim was 20 cubits. They stood on their feet facing the main hall. 14Furthermore, he made the veil of blue, purple, crimson yarn and fine linen with cheruvim worked into it. 15In the front of the House he made two pillars 35 cubits high, each with a capital on the top measuring five cubits. 16He made interwoven chains for the inner Sanctuary and put them on top of the pillars. He also made 100 pomegranates and attached them to the chains. 17He erected the pillars in front of the Temple, one to the south and the other to the north. The one to the south he named Jachin and the one to the north Boaz.

–from 2 Chronicles 3

The law helped us realize we needed a savior! Jesus came to make a way and bridge the gap so that we could be reconciled back to God! Jesus created a new covenant through His own sacrifice on the cross to pay for our sins from then till forever. Now the decisions is yours… Will you receive this gift of the new covenant? Will you receive the gift of forgiveness? Will you receive this gift of love?

Melechizedek , a Kohen Forever

1For this Melechizedek was king of Salem, kohen of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth of everything. First, by the translation of his name, he is “King of Righteousness”; and then also King of Salem, which is “King of Shalom.” 3Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life but made like Ben-Elohim, he remains a kohen for all time. 4Now see how great this man is! Even Abraham the patriarch gave him a tenth out of the plunder. 5Indeed, those sons of Levi who receive the priesthood have, according to Torah, a command to collect a tithe from the people—that is, from their kin, although they have come out of the loins of Abraham. 6But this one—who did not have their genealogy—has collected tithes from Abraham and has blessed him, the one holding the promises. 7Now it is beyond dispute that the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8In one case, dying men receive tithes; but in the other, one about whom it is testified that he lives on. 9Through Abraham even Levi, the one receiving tithes, has paid the tithe, so to speak— 10for he was still in his father’s loins when Melechizedek met him.

Yeshua, Our Kohen Gadol Forever

11Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for based on it the people had been given the Torah), what further need was there for a different kohen to arise—designated according to the order of Melechizedek , not according to the order of Aaron? 12For whenever the priesthood is altered, out of necessity an alteration of law also takes place. 13For the one about whom these things are said belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. 14For it is clear that our Lord has sprung forth from Judah—concerning this tribe, Moses said nothing about kohanim. 15And it is even more evident, if another kohen arises like Melechizedek — 16one made not by virtue of a Torah requirement of physical descent, but by virtue of the power of an indestructible life. 17For it is testified, “You are a kohen forever, according to the order of Melechizedek .” 18For on the one hand, a former requirement is set aside because of its weakness and ineffectiveness— 19for Torah made nothing perfect. But on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. 20Moreover, it was not without a sworn oath. (Others indeed have become kohanim without a sworn oath, 21but He with an oath—sworn by the One who said to Him, “Adonai has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘You are a kohen forever.’”) 22How much more then has Yeshua become the guarantee of a better covenant. 23Now on the one hand, many have become kohanim, who through death are prevented from continuing in office. 24But on the other hand, the One who does remain forever has a permanent priesthood. 25Therefore He is also able to save completely those who draw near to God through Him, always living to make intercession for them. 26For such a Kohen Gadol was fitting for us: holy, guiltless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27He has no need to offer up sacrifices day by day like those other kohanim g’dolim—first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people. For when He offered up Himself, He did this once for all. 28For the Torah appoints as kohanim g’dolim men who have weakness; but the word of the oath, which came after the Torah, appoints a Son—made perfect forever.

–from Hebrews 7

 

Will you invest in the future?


Will you plant seeds that you won’t see grow? Will you water even though you won’t see the fruit? Will you prepare the resources for the generation to come? Will you provide the wisdom of what needs to happen so they know what to do? Will you give it up to God so that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory? Will you invest in the future? Are you ready to leave a legacy? Are you willing to set up the legacy for the generation to come? Will you store up your treasures in heaven where rust can’t destroy? where thieves can steal? where moths can’t eat them? Will you be sensitive to the prompting of the Spirit? Will you be willing to let it go and give it up to Him? Will you be willing to make it more about God and less about yourself? How will you choose to invest in the future? Even doing nothing is a choice, but is it the choice you would like to have as your final one? So…will you invest in the future?

So let’s set our hearts and soul to God’s plan and God’s purpose! Let’s bring light and hope and love into this world around us! Let’s allow Him to work in and through us in a way that will transform the world around us! Let’s get back to basics! Let’s get back to the truth! Let’s get back to absolutes! Let’s stop the wavering that is allowing bad things and wrong things to be done because of relativism! Let’s come together loving God and loving people! Let’s come together unified as a people, for divided we’ll fall! We need to get back to basics! We need to get back to the beginning! Let’s build on a strong foundation! Let’s build with Jesus as our cornerstone! We need it now more than ever! We need to unite for the common good with Jesus as the center for a cord of three strands is not easily broken and with Jesus in the middle and with all of us going to Him, we will find peace that goes beyond understanding, we will find strength to move forward, we will find grace to forgive, we will find hope for tomorrow! Do you want to leave this world a better place for the next generation than what it was when we got it? So, how will you invest in the future?

1Then David said, “This is the place where the House of Adonai Elohim will be, along with the altar for burnt sacrifices for Israel.”

Preparing for the Temple

2David gave orders to assemble the foreigners in the land of Israel, and assigned them to be masons to quarry stones to build the House of God. 3David supplied an abundance of iron for nails for the doors of the gates and for the joints, so much bronze that it could not be weighed, 4and cedar logs without number, for the Zidonians and the Tyrians brought an abundance of cedar logs to David. 5David said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced and the House that is to be built for Adonai must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all the nations. Therefore I will make preparation for it.” So David made extensive preparations before his death. 6Then He called for Solomon his son, and charged him to build a House for Adonai, the God of Israel. 7David said to Solomon, “My son, I had it in my heart to build a House for the name of Adonai my God. 8But the word of Adonai came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and fought many battles. You will not build a House for My Name because you have shed much blood before Me on the earth. 9Behold, a son will be born to you who will be a man at rest. I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon and I will confer shalom and quietness on Israel in his days. 10He will build a House for My name; he will be My son and I will be His Father. I will establish his royal throne over Israel forever.’ 11“Now, my son, may Adonai be with you, and may you succeed in building the House of Adonai your God as He spoke concerning you. 12Only may Adonai give you insight and understanding when He gives you charge over Israel so that you may observe the Torah of Adonai your God. 13Then you will prosper, if you carefully observe the statutes and the ordinances that Adonai commanded Moses concerning Israel. Chazak! And be courageous! Do not be afraid or dismayed. 14“Now behold, with great pain I have provided for the House of Adonai 100,000 talents of gold, a million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond weighing for there is so much of it. I have also prepared wood and stone, and you must add to them. 15 Moreover, you have an abundance of workmen: stonecutters, masons, carpenters and every kind of craftsmen skilled in every kind of material— 16in gold, silver, bronze and iron—beyond number. Arise and work! May Adonai be with you.” 17David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son, 18“Is not Adonai your God with you? Has He not given you rest on every side? For He has delivered the inhabitants of the land into my hand and the land is subdued before Adonai and before His people. 19Now set your hearts and souls to seek after Adonai your God. Rise up and build the Sanctuary of Adonai Elohim so that you can bring the Ark of the Covenant of Adonai and the holy vessels of God into the House built for the Name of Adonai.”

–from 1 Chronicles 22

How will you help? What will be your part? What do you have to bring? What do you have to offer? What skills and talents will help you to prepare and pass it along?

Census of Levites

1When David was old and full of days, he made his son Solomon king over Israel. 2He also gathered together all the leaders of Israel along with the kohanim and the Levites. 3The Levites 30 years old or more were counted; their head count was 38,000 men. 4Of these, there were 24,000 to oversee the work of the House of Adonai, 6,000 officers and judges, 5 4,000 gatekeepers, and 4,000 for praising Adonai “with the instruments which I made for giving praise.” 6David organized them into divisions: The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari. 7Of the Gershonites: Ladan and Shimei. 8The sons of Ladan: Jehiel the leader, Zetham and Joel—three. 9The sons of Shimei: Shelomith, Haziel and Haran—three. These were the heads of the clans of Ladan. 10The sons of Shimei: Jahath, Zina, Jeush and Beriah. These were the sons of Shimei—four. 11Jahath was the first and Zizah the second, but Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons, so they were enrolled together as a single clan. 12The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel—four. 13The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses. Aaron, along with his descendants, was set apart to be consecrated as most holy forever, to burn incense before Adonai, to minister to Him, and to bless in His name forever. 14But as for Moses the man of God, his sons are named among the tribe of Levi. 15The sons of Moses: Gershom and Eliezer. 16The sons of Gershom: Shebuel, the leader. 17The sons of Eliezer: Rehabiah the chief. Eliezer had no other sons, but the sons of Rehabiah were very numerous. 18The sons of Izhar: Shelomith the leader. 19The sons of Hebron: Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third and Jekameam the fourth. 20The sons of Uzziel: Micah the first and Isshiah the second. 21The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Mahli: Eleazar and Kish. 22Eleazar died having no sons but only daughters; the sons of Kish, their kinsmen, took them as wives. 23The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder, and Yeremot—three. 24These were the sons of Levi by clans, with the heads of clans as they were enrolled and with a list of their names by heads who carried out the task of avodah in the House of Adonai from 20 years old and upward. 25For David said: “Adonai, the God of Israel, has given His people rest and He dwells in Jerusalem forever. 26Therefore, the Levites need not carry the Tabernacle and all the vessels for avodah.” 27For according to David’s final instructions, the Levites 20 years old and upward were counted. 28For their duty was to help the descendants of Aaron in the avodah of Adonai’s House concerning the courtyards and rooms, the purification of all holy things and the performance of the avodah of God’s House, 29the rows of bread, the fine flour for the grain offering, the matzot , the cake baked on the griddle or mixed and every measure of capacity and length, 30and to stand every morning to thank and praise Adonai. They also did this in the evening 31and whenever burnt offerings were offered to Adonai on Shabbatot, New Moons and the moadim. They were to serve regularly before Adonai, according to the proper number in the manner prescribed for them. 32They were to keep watch over the Tent of Meeting, the Holy Place and the sons of Aaron their kinsmen for avodah in the House of Adonai.

–from 1 Chronicles 23

 

1Now these were the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron were Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 2But Nadab and Abihu died before their father and had no children, so Eleazar and Ithamar served as kohanim. 3David, with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, divided them into their offices according to their avodah. 4More leading men were found among the sons of Eleazar than among the sons of Ithamar, so they divided them: the sons of Eleazar had 16 leaders of clans and the sons of Ithamar had eight leaders of clans. 5Thus, they were impartially divided by lot for there were officials of the Holy Place and officials of God, both from the sons of Eleazar and from the sons of Ithamar. 6The scribe Shemaiah, son of Nethanel from the Levites, recorded them in the presence of the king, the princes, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech son of Abiathar, and the leaders of the clans of the kohanim and of the Levites: one clan taken for Eleazar and one for Ithamar. 7Now the first lot came for Jehoiarib, the second for Jedaiah, 8the third for Harim, the fourth for Seorim, 9the fifth for Malchijah, the sixth for Mijamin, 10the seventh for Hakkoz, the eighth for Abijah, 11the ninth for Jeshua, the tenth for Shecaniah, 12the eleventh for Eliashib, the twelfth for Jakim, 13the thirteenth for Huppah, the fourteenth for Heshebeab, 14the fifteenth for Bilgah, the sixteenth for Immer, 15the seventeenth for Hezir, the eighteenth for Hapizzez, 16the nineteenth for Petahiah the twentieth for Jehezkel, 17the twentyfirst for Jachin, the twentysecond for Gamul, 18the twentythird for Delaiah, the twentyfourth for Maaziah. 19These were their duties for their avodah upon entering into the House of Adonai according to the ordinance given to them by the hand of Aaron their father, just as Adonai the God of Israel had commanded him. 20As for the rest of the sons of Levi: from the sons of Amram: Shubael; from the sons of Shubael: Jehdeiah. 21As for Rehabiah, from the sons of Rehabiah Isshiah was the first. 22From the Izharites: Shelomoth; from the sons of Shelomoth: Jahath. 23The sons of Hebron: Jeriah, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, Jekameam the fourth. 24The sons of Uzziel: Micah; from the sons of Micah: Shamir. 25The brother of Micah, Ishiah; from the sons of Ishiah: Zechariah. 26The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi; the sons of Jaaziah: Beno. 27The sons of Merari: from Jaaziah: Beno, Shoham, Zaccur and Ibri. 28From Mahli: Eleazar, who had no sons. 29From Kish, the sons of Kish: Jerahmeel. 30The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder and Jerimoth. These were the sons of the Levites by their clans. 31These also cast lots even as their kinsmen the sons of Aaron did in the presence of King David, Zadok, Ahimelech and the heads of the clans of the kohanim and the Levites—the families of the oldest just like those of his youngest brother.

–from 1 Chronicles 24

Jesus will be coming back – the book of Revelation tells us of that. Jesus came to be our savior so that we could have life to the full! What are we doing together today to help the future be ready? What we we doing together today to help the next generation to be ready and prepared what is yet to come? Are we you making sure we have a solid foundation of faith for them to stand upon? Are we making sure that we have a cornerstone that is Jesus so that we have a situation that is lined up in truth? Will we plant and demonstrate righteousness and hate lawlessness? Will we help people know the difference between right and wrong? Will we pour our grace and forgiveness as Jesus did for us?

Let’s humble ourselves and pray! Let’s ask Jesus to intervene in what is taking place! Let’s ask God to help us to bring reconciliation and peace and hope and joy and love to this country! Let’s stand up! Let’s stand in the gap! Let’s bridge the gap and help start the reconciliation! Let’s not allow lawlessness to have a root! Let’s not allow bitterness and anger to eat and tear us up from the inside out! Let’s move towards forgiveness in order to have life, truth, justice and liberty for all!

Superiority of the Son

1At many times and in many ways, God spoke long ago to the fathers through the prophets. 2In these last days He has spoken to us through a Son, whom He appointed heir of all things and through whom He created the universe. 3This Son is the radiance of His glory and the imprint of His being, upholding all things by His powerful word. When He had made purification for our sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. 4Thus He became as far above the angels as the name He has inherited is more excellent than theirs. 5For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are My Son. Today I have become Your Father”? And again, “I will be to Him a Father, and He will be to Me a Son”? 6And again, when He brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” 7And regarding the angels He says, “He makes His angels winds, and His servants a flame of fire.” 8But regarding the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and a scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions.” 10And, “In the beginning, Adonai, You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands. 11They shall pass away, but You remain. And they will all wear out like clothing. 12And like a robe You will roll them up, and like clothing they will be changed; but You are the same, and Your years shall never end.” 13But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet”? 14Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out for service to those about to inherit salvation?

–from Hebrews 1

 

Character and Integrity!


Do what you say and say what you do! Let your word be your word! If someone asked, how would they describe your character? If someone asked, how would they answer “do they have integrity?” Will you live a life so that you can finish in peace? Will you live a life so that in the end God will be glorified? What type of legacy will you leave? How will you be remembered? What example will you pass on to the next generation?

Today’s reading we see Joseph continue to demonstrate character and integrity even though his brothers didn’t always play by the same rules…

Lamentation for Jacob

1Joseph fell upon his father’s face, wept over him and kissed him.
2Then Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father, so the physicians embalmed Israel.
3They took 40 days for him, because that is how long embalming takes, and Egypt wept 70 days.
4When the days of formal weeping passed, Joseph spoke to Pharaoh’s house saying, “If I’ve found favor in your eyes, please say in Pharaoh’s ears,
5“My father made me take an oath saying, ‘Behold, I am about to die. In my tomb—which I dug for myself in the land of Canaan—there you must bury me.’ So now, please allow me to go up and bury my father, and then return.”
6Pharaoh said, “Go up and bury your father just as he made you swear on oath.”
7So Joseph went up to bury his father. Also all of Pharaoh’s servants, the elders of his household and all the elders of the land of Egypt went up with him,
8along with all of Joseph’s house, his brothers, and his father’s household. Only their children and their flocks and cattle were left in the land of Goshen.
9Chariots and horsemen also went up with him—it was a very impressive company.
10When they came to the threshing floor of the bramble on the other side of the Jordan, they mourned there—a very great and solemn lamentation. He observed seven days of mourning for his father.
11When the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning ritual at the threshing floor of the prickly bush, they said, “A solemn mourning ritual this is for the Egyptians.” That is why it is named Abel-Mizraim, which is on the other side of the Jordan.
12So Jacob’s sons did for him just as he commanded them.
13His sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, the field that Abraham bought as a property for burial from Ephron the Hittite, next to Mamre.
14After burying his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, he and his brothers and all those who went up with him to bury his father.

Joseph Comforts His Brothers

15When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father had died, they said, “Maybe Joseph will be hostile towards us and pay us back in full for all the evil we showed him.
16So they charged Joseph saying, “Before his death, your father gave a command, saying,
17“Thus you must say to Joseph: ‘Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin because they treated you wrongly.’ Therefore, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Then Joseph wept when they spoke to him,
18and his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your slaves!”
19But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. For am I in the place of God?
20Yes, you yourselves planned evil against me. God planned it for good, in order to bring about what it is this day—to preserve the lives of many people.
21So now, don’t be afraid. I myself will provide food for you and your little ones.” So he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.
22Joseph remained in Egypt—he and his father’s household—and Joseph lived 110 years.
23Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s sons. Also the sons of Machir, Manasseh’s son, were born upon Joseph’s knees.
24Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I’m about to die. But God will surely take notice of you and will bring you up from this land to the land that He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”
25Then Joseph made Israel’s sons swear an oath saying, “When God takes notice of you, you will bring my bones up from here.”
26So Joseph died at 110 years old, and they embalmed him and he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.
–from Genesis 50

The brothers’ fear caused them to make stuff up. Joseph’s character and trust in God revealed how he knew that it was God’s plan for him to be where he was and that they should not be afraid.

Today’s reading continues into Exodus…the start of the way out of Egypt…the process begins…What happens when people forget? Fear? Doubt? Worry?

Oppression in Egypt

1Now these are the names of Bnei-Yisrael who came into Egypt with Jacob, each man with his family:
2Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah;
3Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin;
4Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher.
5The souls that came out of the line of Jacob numbered 70 in all, while Joseph was already in Egypt.
6Then Joseph died, as did all his brothers and all that generation.
7Yet Bnei-Yisrael were fruitful, increased abundantly, multiplied and grew extremely numerous—so the land was filled with them.
8Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.
9He said to his people, “Look, the people of Bnei-Yisrael are too numerous and too powerful for us.
10Come, we must deal shrewdly with them, or else they will grow even more numerous, so that if war breaks out, they may join our enemies, fight against us, and then escape from the land.”
11So they set slave masters over them to afflict them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Raamses as storage cities for Pharaoh.
12But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and the more they spread. So the Egyptians dreaded the presence of Bnei-Yisrael.
13They worked them harshly,
14and made their lives bitter with hard labor with mortar and brick, doing all sorts of work in the fields. In all their labors they worked them with cruelty.
15Moreover the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah,
16and said, “When you help the Hebrew women during childbirth, look at the sex. If it’s a son, then kill him, but if it’s a daughter, she may live.”
17Yet the midwives feared God, so they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the boys live.
18So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this—let the boys live?”
19The midwives told Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women. They are like animals, and give birth before the midwife comes to them.”
20So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, growing very numerous.
21Because the midwives feared God, He gave them families of their own.
22But Pharaoh charged all his people saying, “You are to cast every son that is born into the river, but let every daughter live.”
–from Exodus 1

Oh the trials. Oh the troubles. Will everyone turn to God in the midst of the storms? Will everyone turn to God in the midst of the valleys? Will they turn to their strength who is God? Will they lean not on their own understanding, but rather trust in and call upon God?

Today’s reading continues into Psalms where we see how David turns to God in good times and in bad, for wisdom and for help…

Protection from the Wicked

1For the music director: a psalm of David.
2Rescue me, Adonai, from the evil man. Protect me from the violent men—
3who devise evil in their heart— every day they stir up wars.
4They sharpen their tongue like a serpent’s —viper’s venom is under their lips. Selah
5Keep me safe, Adonai, from the clutches of the wicked. Protect me from the man of violence who planned to push me off my feet.
6The proud have hidden a trap and cords for me. They spread out a net by the path. They set snares for me. Selah
7I said to Adonai: “You are my God!” Hear, Adonai, the sound of my supplications.
8God my Lord, the strength of my deliverance, You shield my head in the day of battle.
9Grant not, Adonai, the desires of the wicked. Do not let their evil plan succeed, or they will exalt themselves. Selah
10As for the head of those surrounding me, may the mischief of their lips overwhelm them.
11Let burning coals fall upon them. May they be cast into the fire, into deep pits, never to rise again.
12May a slanderer not endure in the land. May calamity hunt down a violent man.
13I know Adonai will vindicate the poor, and secure justice for the needy.
14Surely, the righteous ones will praise Your name. The upright will dwell in Your presence.
–from Psalm 140

Put your trust in God! No matter where you find yourself, turn back to Him! Call upon the Lord and be saved! Let’s live lives that allow us to have a clear conscience. Some may try to manipulate or control you through bribes and money, but stand firm. Don’t allow bad company to ruin your character.

Defense Before Governor Felix

1After five days, the kohen gadol Ananias came down with some of the elders and an attorney named Tertullus. They brought formal charges against Paul before the governor.
2When Paul was called in, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, “We are enjoying much peace through you, and reforms are introduced for this nation because of your foresight.
3We acknowledge this, most excellent Felix, in every way and every place with all gratitude.
4“But in order that I may not weary you any longer, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly.
5For we have found this man to be a pest, stirring up riots among all the Jewish people throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Natzratim.
6He even tried to defile the Temple, but we seized him.
8By examining him yourself, you will be able to learn from him all these things about which we accuse him.”
9The Judean leaders also joined in the attack, affirming that these things were true.
10When the governor nodded for him to speak, Paul responded: “Knowing that you have been judge over this nation for many years, I gladly make my own defense.
11As you can verify, it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship.
12They did not find me arguing with anyone or inciting a riot—not in the Temple or in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city.
13Nor can they prove to you the charges they now bring against me.
14“But this I confess to you, that according to the Way (which they call a sect), I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything written in the Torah and the Prophets.
15In God I have a hope—which these men also wait for—that there will surely be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.
16“Therefore I do my best always to have a clear conscience before both God and men.
17Now after several years, I came to bring tzadakah to my country for the poor and to present offerings.
18As I was doing this, they found me in the Temple, having been purified—without any crowd or uproar.
19But there were some Jewish people from Asia, who ought to be here before you to press charges if they have anything against me.
20Or let these men themselves tell what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the Sanhedrin—
21except for this one cry I shouted out while standing among them: ‘It is about the resurrection of the dead that today I am on trial before you.’”

In Prison for Two Years

22But Felix, having a rather extensive knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will rule on your case.”
23Then he gave the centurion orders for Paul to be kept in custody and yet have some freedom, and not to prevent any of his friends from attending to his needs.
24Now some days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him speak about faith in Messiah Yeshua.
25But as he was arguing about righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became afraid and said, “Go away for now! When I find time, I will summon you.”
26At the same time too, he was hoping that money would be given to him by Paul; so he sent for him frequently and would talk with him.
27But after two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and wishing to do the Judean leaders a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.
–from Acts 24

Let’s live lives that will raise the bar – helping the average to go up! Going to the lowest common denominator will just lower the average over and over again! Let’s live the lives we have been called to and live to a higher calling. The ten commandments provided a bar that would be average. Consider where we are at today? Jesus has called us to a higher level. He has called us to live lives that will show His glory so that God will be glorified in what we say and do. Let’s live with character and integrity! Let’s help raise the bar! Let’s allow our faith to rise up and help transform this world and turn them back towards God! Let’s live our lives as examples producing a legacy that will point people to God! Let’s do it before it is too late!

Two Witnesses and a Voice from Heaven

1After six days, Yeshua takes with Him Peter and Jacob and John his brother, and brings them up a high mountain by themselves.
2Now He was transfigured before them; His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
3And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Yeshua.
4Peter responded to Yeshua, “Master, it’s good for us to be here! If You wish, I will make three sukkot here—one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
5While He was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice from out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”
6When the disciples heard this, they fell face down, terrified.
7But Yeshua came and touched them. “Get up,” He said. “Stop being afraid.”
8And lifting their eyes, they saw no one except Yeshua alone.
9As they were coming down from the mountain, Yeshua commanded them, saying, “Do not tell anyone about the vision until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.”
10The disciples questioned Him, saying, “Why then do the Torah scholars say that Elijah must come first?”
11Yeshua replied, “Indeed, Elijah is coming and will restore all things.
12I tell you that Elijah already came; and they didn’t recognize him, but did to him whatever they wanted. In the same way, the Son of Man is about to suffer at their hands.”
13Then the disciples understood that He was speaking to them about John the Immerser.

See What Faith Can Do

14When they came to the crowd, a man came to Yeshua, falling on his knees before Him and saying,
15“Master, have mercy on my son, for he has seizures and suffers badly. For he often falls into the fire and often into the water.
16I brought him to Your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”
17And answering, Yeshua said, “O faithless and twisted generation! How long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.”
18Yeshua rebuked the demon and it came out of him, and the boy was healed from that very hour.
19Then the disciples came to Yeshua in private and said, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
20And He said to them, “Because you trust so little. Amen, I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
21[footnote: Most manuscripts omit verse 21: But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.]

Second Prediction: Death and Resurrection

22Now while they were gathering in the Galilee, Yeshua said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men;
23and they will kill Him, and on the third day He will be raised.” And the disciples became greatly distressed.
24When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and said, “Your teacher pays the Temple tax, doesn’t He?”
25“Yes,” Peter said. Now when Peter came into the house, Yeshua spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? The kings of the earth, from whom do they collect tolls or tax? From their sons or from strangers?”
26After Peter said, “From strangers,” Yeshua said to him, “Then the sons are free.
27But so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw out a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. And when you open its mouth, you’ll find a coin. Take that, and give it to them, for Me and you.”
–from Matthew 17

The Spirit that was given us through our faith and trust in Jesus is the same Spirit that should draw us together in unity! The same way the trinity is in unity! Let’s come together, let’s unify, let’s become the people God has called us to be! Let’s allow our lights to shine so that the world can see that there is hope! Let’s allow our lives to be salt that helps spice up and heal the land. Let’s step up before it is too late! Let’s put on the full armor of God! Let’s pray and fast so that we will be ready for what is yet to come!

 

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew got up and followed him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Cyprus

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

In Antioch in Pisidia

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

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


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

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

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

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


 

What are you doing to make LOVE GROW?


Are you thankful? Are you praying? Are you believing? Are you proclaiming? Are you filled with faith? Are you rejecting doubt? Are you helping others flourish? Are you loving not only much but well? Love sincerely! Love intelligently! Don’t make it all gushy and sentimental! Love in a way that is circumspect and exemplary! Love in a way that will make Jesus proud! Flourish in the fruits of the spirit! Live in a way that draws others towards God! Live right where you are at in this very moment in ways that will glorify God and draw others to Him! As long as we are still breathing there is more that we can do! Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Step up and step out in faith! Give others a hand up and a hand out to help them to learn and receive the gift of God! So let’s live that we are credits to the Message of Christ! Let’s let our conduct when people see and don’t see us be conduct that glorifies God! Let’s stand united! Let’s stand with the singular vision of Christ! Let’s content for the trust of others in the Message of Jesus! Let’s stand for the Good News! Don’t allow the enemy of our souls to try and keep us from achieving God’s plan in our lives. Living by faith the antidote of fear! In this world, we will face trials, challenges, conflicts, the key is how will we respond! Let’s consider it all joy when we face trials for:

2-4Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
5-8If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.
— James 1

As others are sharing the Good News of Jesus, don’t consider a competition, cheer them on! Jesus is being proclaimed! As we give our all for Jesus, we have a win-win situation. As we life continues we live and win, and when our time on earth is done, we get to join Him in heaven and have more life and win. So let’s let our conduct be a testimony to who Jesus is. So don’t give up! Don’t give in! Press on!

1-2Paul and Timothy, both of us committed servants of Christ Jesus, write this letter to all the followers of Jesus in Philippi, pastors and ministers included. We greet you with the grace and peace that comes from God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.

A Love That Will Grow

3-6Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
7-8It’s not at all fanciful for me to think this way about you. My prayers and hopes have deep roots in reality. You have, after all, stuck with me all the way from the time I was thrown in jail, put on trial, and came out of it in one piece. All along you have experienced with me the most generous help from God. He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does!
9-11So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.

They Can’t Imprison the Message

12-14I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here, and everyone else, too, found out that I’m in jail because of this Messiah. That piqued their curiosity, and now they’ve learned all about him. Not only that, but most of the followers of Jesus here have become far more sure of themselves in the faith than ever, speaking out fearlessly about God, about the Messiah.
15-17It’s true that some here preach Christ because with me out of the way, they think they’ll step right into the spotlight. But the others do it with the best heart in the world. One group is motivated by pure love, knowing that I am here defending the Message, wanting to help. The others, now that I’m out of the picture, are merely greedy, hoping to get something out of it for themselves. Their motives are bad. They see me as their competition, and so the worse it goes for me, the better—they think—for them.
18-21So how am I to respond? I’ve decided that I really don’t care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on!
And I’m going to keep that celebration going because I know how it’s going to turn out. Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.
22-26As long as I’m alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I’d choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better. But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it’s better for me to stick it out here. So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues. You can start looking forward to a great reunion when I come visit you again. We’ll be praising Christ, enjoying each other.
27-30Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. Let nothing in your conduct hang on whether I come or not. Your conduct must be the same whether I show up to see things for myself or hear of it from a distance. Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people’s trust in the Message, the good news, not flinching or dodging in the slightest before the opposition. Your courage and unity will show them what they’re up against: defeat for them, victory for you—and both because of God. There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting. You’re involved in the same kind of struggle you saw me go through, on which you are now getting an updated report in this letter.
— Philippians 1

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe! So to show that we are His: Agree with one another! Love each other! Be deep spirited friends! Don’t be pushy and try to get your own way! Don’t be a sweet talker trying to get your own way! Don’t be so self-centered that you miss the true calling. Help others get ahead! Give others a helping hand rather than trying to just go and get yourself to the top!

5-8Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
9-11Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.
— Philippians 2

So let’s rejoice together! Let’s be living lives that lift others up! Let’s be living a life that testifies of who God is!

12-13What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.
14-16Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.
17-18Even if I am executed here and now, I’ll rejoice in being an element in the offering of your faith that you make on Christ’s altar, a part of your rejoicing. But turnabout’s fair play—you must join me in my rejoicing. Whatever you do, don’t feel sorry for me.
19-24I plan (according to Jesus’ plan) to send Timothy to you very soon so he can bring back all the news of you he can gather. Oh, how that will do my heart good! I have no one quite like Timothy. He is loyal, and genuinely concerned for you. Most people around here are looking out for themselves, with little concern for the things of Jesus. But you know yourselves that Timothy’s the real thing. He’s been a devoted son to me as together we’ve delivered the Message. As soon as I see how things are going to fall out for me here, I plan to send him off. And then I’m hoping and praying to be right on his heels.
25-27But for right now, I’m dispatching Epaphroditus, my good friend and companion in my work. You sent him to help me out; now I’m sending him to help you out. He has been wanting in the worst way to get back with you. Especially since recovering from the illness you heard about, he’s been wanting to get back and reassure you that he is just fine. He nearly died, as you know, but God had mercy on him. And not only on him—he had mercy on me, too. His death would have been one huge grief piled on top of all the others.
28-30So you can see why I’m so delighted to send him on to you. When you see him again, hale and hearty, how you’ll rejoice and how relieved I’ll be. Give him a grand welcome, a joyful embrace! People like him deserve the best you can give. Remember the ministry to me that you started but weren’t able to complete? Well, in the process of finishing up that work, he put his life on the line and nearly died doing it.
— Philippians 2

 

 

 

 

Be generous and pass it on!


How generous are you with the gifts you have received? How generous are you with the blessings that have come your way? Do you hold onto all of them or do you pass them on to others? When you are blessed and receive something, what is your first response to pull it in or to think what you can give or do with it? Are you a generous giver? Are you someone God is able to use to bless others? God is generous and a giver. For God so loved the world that He … gave His one and only Son so that whoever would believe on Him would not perish but would have eternal life. He set the example. Jesus loved us so much that He humbled Himself and gave His all, to the point of death and not just death, but death on the cross. He wanted to pass on the blessing of eternal life with God by bridging the gap and giving His life as the ransom for us all, not something that would need to be repeated, but once for all. So let’s live lives that show that our hope and trust are in God! Let’s let our generosity not our greed be the light that shines. Let’s let our generosity not our selfishness be the hope that others see and thank God. Let’s pass on this hope that is within us to those that come our way.

For some it takes heading the wrong way to get to a point where they will turn back and find God. For others it takes a downward spiral till they hit rock bottom before they will look up to God and ask for help. But you don’t have to do that or go that far. God is waiting for you with open arms and loving heart. Just like the lost son whose father celebrated his return, for when he was gone it was as though he were lost or dead, but in returning there was joy for his life and being found. Do allow the devil to trick you or trip you up! Don’t let lies and deception be the way that draws you away from God. Allow God to be your guide and your comforter. Allow Him to grant you wisdom and discernment. Lift Him up in praise and worship. Be obedient to His prompting and wisdom and glorify Him in all that you do. If we try to go our own way, because we have freewill He will allow you to get what you asked for. Kind of like the saying when you people say be careful what you ask for, you just may get it. His plans are bigger and better than anything we could come up with on our own. So rather than taking what you’ve gotten and run, why not take what you’ve been given and invest it in the kingdom where you can multiply it for the glory of God, investing in things that won’t be rusted, or stolen, or break or are temporary, but in things that will last for eternity, storing up treasures in heaven.

When we focus on God, we know what is right and what is wrong. We know how to be men and women. We know how to be fathers and mothers. We know how to be brothers and sisters. We know how to be friends and family. We can know what LOVE really is. Love is more than a feeling! God is Love! Let’s be generous with the Love of God! Let’s pass it on to those who God brings into our lives so that they can come to know the hope that is in us as it is in them also. Let’s pass it on rather than just hold onto it so tight that nobody else can become aware of or receive the saving grace of God.

Let’s make today and everyday about love. Let’s avoid bickering and love instead. Let’s avoid envy and love and share instead. Let’s avoid cheating and be generous in our love for others so that they may know the hope that is within us and the Love of God! Let’s use our words for encouraging and lifting others up! Let’s be people who are trying to rescue lives and help other rebuild and get out of the hole! Let’s be people who share God’s hope that is within us so that others don’t need to keep walking in despair but rather can be returned to God and His Spirit.

Are you willing to cross enemy lines that people’s lives can be changed, can be restored, can be saved?

There is a difference between being kind and being soft! Don’t try to judge others! Don’t criticize others for it just puts yourself in a worse position. Every time you point other others count the number of fingers pointing back. Ever heard people say it takes one to know one. Don’t be judgmental of others because we all know that none of us are good enough. God’s Word tells us that not just some, but that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That’s right… ALL! Don’t be judgmental so that you can avoid detection for the things you have done or are doing. God knows all and sees all. You can’t distract Him or cause Him to miss something by saying look over there. He sees beyond the smoke and mirrors of life. He sees right into your heart. He knows your every thought. Nothing gets passed Him. Consider this excerpt from this morning’s Bible reading (Romans 1, 2, Psalm 142) from Romans 2:

1-2Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn’t so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you’ve done.
3-4You didn’t think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard? Or did you think that because he’s such a nice God, he’d let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.
5-8You’re not getting by with anything. Every refusal and avoidance of God adds fuel to the fire. The day is coming when it’s going to blaze hot and high, God’s fiery and righteous judgment. Make no mistake: In the end you get what’s coming to you—Real Life for those who work on God’s side, but to those who insist on getting their own way and take the path of least resistance, Fire!
9-11If you go against the grain, you get splinters, regardless of which neighborhood you’re from, what your parents taught you, what schools you attended. But if you embrace the way God does things, there are wonderful payoffs, again without regard to where you are from or how you were brought up. Being a Jew won’t give you an automatic stamp of approval. God pays no attention to what others say (or what you think) about you. He makes up his own mind.
12-13If you sin without knowing what you’re doing, God takes that into account. But if you sin knowing full well what you’re doing, that’s a different story entirely. Merely hearing God’s law is a waste of your time if you don’t do what he commands. Doing, not hearing, is what makes the difference with God.
14-16When outsiders who have never heard of God’s law follow it more or less by instinct, they confirm its truth by their obedience. They show that God’s law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God’s yes and no, right and wrong. Their response to God’s yes and no will become public knowledge on the day God makes his final decision about every man and woman. The Message from God that I proclaim through Jesus Christ takes into account all these differences. — Romans 2:1-16

The reason we need Jesus and a relationship with Him is because we can’t do it in our own strength or power. We need a walk with Him all the time — He will never leave us nor abandon us, so He is available to help through it all. It’s not about rituals or religion, it’s about a living, intimate relationship with God! It’s by grace through faith that we are saved!

17-24If you’re brought up Jewish, don’t assume that you can lean back in the arms of your religion and take it easy, feeling smug because you’re an insider to God’s revelation, a connoisseur of the best things of God, informed on the latest doctrines! I have a special word of caution for you who are sure that you have it all together yourselves and, because you know God’s revealed Word inside and out, feel qualified to guide others through their blind alleys and dark nights and confused emotions to God. While you are guiding others, who is going to guide you? I’m quite serious. While preaching “Don’t steal!” are you going to rob people blind? Who would suspect you? The same with adultery. The same with idolatry. You can get by with almost anything if you front it with eloquent talk about God and his law. The line from Scripture, “It’s because of you Jews that the outsiders are down on God,” shows it’s an old problem that isn’t going to go away.
25-29Circumcision, the surgical ritual that marks you as a Jew, is great if you live in accord with God’s law. But if you don’t, it’s worse than not being circumcised. The reverse is also true: The uncircumcised who keep God’s ways are as good as the circumcised—in fact, better. Better to keep God’s law uncircumcised than break it circumcised. Don’t you see: It’s not the cut of a knife that makes a Jew. You become a Jew by who you are. It’s the mark of God on your heart, not of a knife on your skin, that makes a Jew. And recognition comes from God, not legalistic critics. — Romans 2:17-29

It’s a matter of the heart! Have you asked Jesus into your heart? Have you allowed him to come in and help get things cleaned up? Or are you resisting allowing Him in out of the fear from the lies of the devil that you will have to give things up. Don’t be robbed by the devil’s lies. Don’t allow the devil to steal the hope that should be inside you. Don’t allow the devil to trip you up and cause you to stumble, but hold onto to God with every step of every day and allow Him to direct your path. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and He will take care of you.